Ebb and Flow


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When we moved up to Newport a few years ago Jim and I expanded our watersport activities when we bought some stand up paddleboards. We learned to surf our boards and on flat days we enjoy the water with a nice long paddle. Paddling is our recreational and leisurely activity.



Last Sunday I changed that by entering the Providence Paddle Battle. I opted for the 3-mile course along the scenic Providence skyline. There was a 9-mile course but I learned a lot from my first half marathon and decided to ease into paddle racing.


Race day was a beautiful day in Providence. Before we started the wind was low and the temperature was cool. The start was delayed because the course needed to be set and Mother Nature decided to change the conditions. We did a paddle out and return. The way out was perfect, and easy, a little too easy.

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We paid the price on the return to the finish. The light wind turned into a constant head wind and it was low tide so we were going against the current. Not exactly ideal conditions.


What I discovered in running, a marathon and a half-marathon are two different beasts. I found out last Sunday a paddle race is a completely new species. After the race I discovered muscles that have never been documented in Gray’s Anatomy.


Paddling requires every body part. At the end of the race when I was exhausted I was ready to stop and walk but there is not walking and resting when you are paddling, especially when mother nature is pushing you away from the finish.


As I neared the finish and my body was spent, I had to find something to keep me going forward. My distance running instincts kicked in and I relied on sheer will power to get me to the finish. At some point I adopted a mantra and used it with each stroke. “Fuck you, fuck you.” Don’t ask me why I picked those words, but when the brain takes over because the body wants to quit you don’t argue with the one thing that motivates you to finish what you start.


I got smoked by most of the other racers. When you run your shoes don’t give you a major advantage or disadvantage. However, when you paddle your vessel is a major factor in how swiftly you cut through the water. I was on a board designed for surf and most everyone else was on a board designed for speed.


It was discouraging seeing everyone’s backs but somehow I managed to keep the race in perspective. At the end of the day I say it was a success. I finished my first SUP race and even got second place in my division (there was a surfboard division.) I’m not convinced SUP racing is my thing but it was a great experience.


See you in the water!


Pre-Race Jitters



It’s been almost a year since I participated in a race. It’s been so long I’ve forgotten a lot of the things that go into race preparation. I’ve even forgotten about about the pre-race jitters.


Over the years my pre-race anxiety has subsided considerably. I figured out what to wear to a race, what to bring to a race, how to pre-hydrate, what time to show, how to hydrate during the race, and when to go to the bathroom before the gun signaled the start of the race. Tomorrow I’m doing my first Stand Up Paddle (SUP) race.


A race on water is much different from one on land. To begin, it takes a lot longer to paddle a mile than it does to run a mile. So that means my 3 mile race will take about as long as it does to run a 10k.


Some of the logistics concern me. What if I have to make an emergency number 2 stop during the race. I really doubt there will be floating port o johns along the course.


Then there is the matter of water stops. I imagine volunteers swimming around in the water handing out cups. I doubt it


And hydration during the race? Will there be volunteers swimming around in the water handing out cups of water? I really doubt it.


How do you dress for a SUP race? Will it be to hot for a rash guard? Will I burn if I wear just a swimsuit?


So many questions. I guess I’ll just pack more than I need and stick with nutrition and hydration that I know works for a distance run. Aside from that, I’ll just be flexible and see how things go.



Ice bucketed


I’ve successfully avoided getting challenged to dump ice water on my head until this week. At chorus camp the ice bucket challenge was in full force. My dear sweet wonderful Kia decided of all people to nominate it would be mom. While I was honored I wasn’t fully on board with the challenge.


Okay I get the concept the challenge is a great way to raise awareness about ALS. While awareness is awesome awareness doesn’t buy the things it takes to find a cure.


So before I accepted the challenge I told Kia we needed to donate some money to ALS, not the full challenge money but some. And that is what we did. But because I am partial to organizations that expose kids who don’t normally get out in the water to surfing I donated to the surf bus foundation also.

We’re moving to Dallas



We’re moving to Dallas

At work we decided to move half way across the country. We are going to Dallas.

Okay not literally, we made a team goal to run, walk, crawl, swim, bike the number of miles it takes to get from Newport, RI to Dallas, TX. We are all tracking and logging our miles.

The past two weeks my RunKeeper has been working overtime tracking my walking, biking, and paddle boarding (still no running). I would probably have a few more miles but I haven’t figured out how to translate surf sessions into miles.

I am a relatively active person but tracking every activity is really interesting. What a great way to really see how you’ve been moving.

So far we’ve collected quite a few miles, which means we are closer to our goal of a big juicy burger (ironic I know).

So I guess we’ll be seeing you somewhere in the middle of the country.


The fit and fat of it




Recently I had some friends tell me I looked fit. I am ashamed to say my response was no, I feel fat. While my response is disappointing it actually reflected how I’ve been feeling about my body. Since I am still not fully recovered from my injury I’ve added extra cargo onto my frame. However, I’ve failed to recognize not all of it is fat.


Since running is still out I’ve been walking, surfing, paddle boarding, and doing yoga. While these are not as heavy into fat burning as say running they are geared more towards strength and muscle. While I’ve been packing on pounds a lot of it is muscle in my core, upper body, and legs.


It’s time for me to redefine fit and fat. Fit means a lot more than being at my prime race weight. Next time someone complements me by saying I look fit I need to answer with a simple thank you.