What are you wearing?

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This morning was a crisp 18 degrees, a little cooler with the wind chill. After loading up the car I headed to the beach to check out the waves. They were in rare form, nice size and not close outs. As I looked at the water and the surfers in the lineup I was not sure that I wanted to suit up. There was no other way to describe the weather except with words like frigid, freezing, Jack Frost’s backyard, or whoa why on earth am I outside today? While I was sitting in the car pondering I realized that much like in running, what you wear matters.

 

I’ve gone out running in some pretty brutal weather. My personal weather restrictions are lightening, ice, and wind- lots of wind. I do have a limit on air temperature, but that is subjective. My decision to run when it is cold depends most on how I feel that day.

 

Fashion is forgotten when you run in extreme weather. The goal is to put on enough clothes to stay warm while not wearing so much that you overheat. Finding the right balance is not easy especially if your running route takes you far from your start point. When find that perfect level of layering it makes running in cold weather tolerable.

 

Surfing isn’t much different. With the right equipment it isn’t so bad. So after a few minutes of debate I climbed into the back of the truck to get dressed. And layering doesn’t just work well in running, I use it in surfing too. Smartwool socks and gloves fit nicely under my wetsuit and they help to keep me toasty warm.

 

Although for me, it was a frustrating day of surfing I was really happy to be out in the water. And despite the cool temps I never really felt cold, until I got out of the water.

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One Goal

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For me there wasn’t much running in 2014. Getting injured early in the year can put a damper on any plans for running. And getting a really fun injury does more than put a damper on running it puts a cloud like the one that hangs over Eeyore on your running plans.

 

Last year my friends participated in a wide variety of races. And it looked amazing. There was the Ragnar, Marine Corps Marathon, Newport 10 Miler, tons of races in VA Beach and Florida. As I looked at the pics on social media I was a little envious because everyone was having so much fun.

 

So now that we are onto a new year I decided I need to find a realistic goal. My race calendar is currently very wide open and I plan to keep it that way for quite some time. And while I would love to have some grand goal of getting a PR in a 10k or running another half marathon my goal is much milder.

 

This year I have one very simple goal, I want to run a 5k. I want to be able to run all 3.1 miles. And I want to do it without really hurting myself.

 

To my friends who are onto big races, good luck. I will see you at the finish line.

Danielle’s Perspective

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My friend Danielle is training for the big race, 26.2 miles. Over the past few years she has run a few 10 milers and half marathons. Before we met she never considered herself a distance runner but now she has embraced the runner lifestyle.

 

After one of her training runs Danielle made a post on Facebook saying that she dedicated the run to me. Reading her words really moved me; she said that I had helped to encourage her to do her first half marathon. It never occurred to me that I helped to inspire anyone to run.

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As I read her post I was moved to the point of wanting to go out for a run. And that is when I had my other epiphany, running is hurting me.

 

One of the things an athlete has to learn is the difference between good pain and bad pain. Good pain is when muscles get sore and ache, the burn. Bad pain is when you risk agitating and re-injuring yourself.

 

When I read Danielle’s post it clicked, I would be running right now if my body would let me. I’ve battled with and overcome the mental issues associated with returning from an injury but now it is the physical issues that I need to deal with. My peroneal tendon gets aggravated every time I run and sometimes when I walk.

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With 2014 closing and a new year a few days away I realize it is time to rethink my relationship with running. I can’t say that I will never be able to run again, but I have to be realistic, running right now does more harm than good. It is time to focus on the things I can do and not the things I can’t do. So that means more yoga and surfing. Maybe one day I will be able to lace up my shoes and hit the pavement, but today is not that day.

 

Thank you Danielle for your kind words. Even though I can’t be out there with you, I will gladly cheer you on and help you celebrate your running accomplishments.

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Write it down

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It is really easy to claim you eat healthy but until you really keep track of the food you eat you can’t be too sure.

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Jim had a recent trip to the doctor where he discovered yet again he has high cholesterol. He’s actually known this for years but to the doctor who looks at the blood work it is quite a discovery. So Jim gets advice to change his diet and start exercising. After this visit Jim did something different, he downloaded My Fitness Pal to start a food diary. He said that once he started writing down what he was eating it became a little harder to have junk food because now he is accountable. Since he’s started logging his food Jim’s lost 8 pounds, pretty impressive because he hasn’t increased his exercise.

 

Once Jim told me about it I decided to give it a try. While writing down what I eat didn’t steer me away from the Fruity Pebbles I did manage to stay away from the chocolate treats. So far I’ve learned I consume too much sodium and I need to increase my protein. And I have to agree with Jim I do feel more accountable now that I’m logging what I eat.

 

Now we both get to see if this helps us both stay mindful of what we eat during the holidays.

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Just a mile

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A few weeks ago I started running again. Now running is a slow and painful process. I am in the same spot as anyone new to running. Each time I go out now it’s just a mile.

Just a mile is a phrase that used to mean something very different than it does today. To a distance runner just a mile is a short distance, something close to a sprint. Today just a mile is a restriction, the distance I need to start with to build up strength in my legs and feet.

Today thousands of runners will pound the pavement along the streets of New York City. I will be watching the race on television, trying to find some running inspiration. I’m still unsure about my running future. But as I watch the race I will remember that each one of those runners (even the elite ones) had to start somewhere. It was probably with just a mile. I guess that’s not a bad place to start.

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The first steps

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In February I thought I might never run again. Now I am open to the idea that I may never run the same way again.

 

Last weekend I decided it was time to lace up the shoes and go for a run. Okay- go for a jog. Okay- go for a really slow and short shuffle around the block.

 

Jim and I were shooting for about half a mile and we went just a little longer. I have to say after sitting out for this long half a mile was enough to make my calf muscles really sore. And yes to answer the question you are thinking of asking my ankle did feel tender both during and after the run.

 

Today we went out again, this time we made it almost a mile. After today’s run I am confident that I won’t be going much longer distances for a while, I still have quite a bit of rebuilding of muscles and confidence to do.

 

I think the confidence will take longer than the muscles. As Jim and I were running I kept imagining falling. Then after my imaginary fall all I could think about is how badly my leg hurt when I injured it.

 

As with all healing it takes time. But these two runs mark the first steps of healing.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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See you in the water!

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