Time Out

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My Facebook feed is filled with lots of pictures of friends running. Some are doing local races and others are down for the big Princess Marathon weekend at Disney. Looking at all the fun everyone is having makes me envious and makes me want to lace up my running shoes and start training again.

But I am in time out. And it is a much-needed time out.

I learned this lesson in my early twenties after I had ankle surgery and got back out on the volleyball court a little too soon. Of course being in my twenties I was in the indestructible phase of my life so I could play through the pain (or at least I thought I could).

Time out to recover doesn’t mean a time out from an active life. It’s just a different kind of active and on a much different scale. Of course it is frustrating not being able to play but over the years I have learned to appreciate giving my body a break. I’m hoping giving myself a long break now will keep me from breaking myself when I get back out there.

Good luck to everyone running this weekend. Can’t wait to get back on the road with you.

Shhhh………

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When Jim changed his diet and started logging his food I jumped on board. I find that when both people in a couple do something together both people are more successful. About a month ago I started logging my food.

 

Writing down everything I eat made me very aware both the good and bad things I eat. It was pretty eye opening.

 

One of the side affects of logging your food is losing weight. Over the past month I’ve dropped 2 pounds.

 

This is something that I should celebrate. There are television shows dedicated to people celebrating their weight loss. But instead of celebrating I’ve been rather quiet about it.

 

I am a pretty fit person. I surf and do yoga. I have run marathons and half marathons (something I can’t wait to do again.) Sharing these things is safe; people are okay with hearing about it.

 

But people are less receptive (and sometimes critical) when they hear about a thin person losing weight. My goal wasn’t to lose weight, it just happened. Shedding some extra pounds is good for my knees, back, and ankles. It also is a sign that I am making better choices with my food.

 

Unfortunately sharing this may come across as bragging, vanity, or showing off. So this is something that I’ve quietly done. (Yes I know the irony of sharing this now.) But it makes you wonder why some people are offended by seeing someone become healthier.

 

Shame on people involved in skinny shaming, what’s next healthy hating, thin threatening, fitness frowning?

 

Let’s celebrate each other’s accomplishments and encourage one another.

 

Stop tearing other’s down, instead let’s build each other up. Then we’ll all be better.

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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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I run like a girl

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I run like a girl.

 

I’ve always run like a girl.

 

When I was six years old learning to play soccer I ran like a girl.

 

When I played basketball in high school I played like a girl.

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When I was in college and practiced keeper with the men’s team, I defended the goal like a girl.

 

When I surf and charge head high waves, I surf like a girl.

 

Every marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k I’ve competed in, I’ve run like a girl.

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Everything I do, I do like a girl.

 

To me it’s never been a bad thing, I run like a girl because I am a girl.

 

I am proud to be a girl.

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I refuse to run like a boy, throw like a boy, surf like a boy, or do anything like a boy. In the same way I don’t think someone should try to do something like a girl.

 

Just be who you are, and if you are a girl, go out and run like one!

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Five perfect races

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Last year Jim and I flew down to Orlando so I could run my fifth and final Princess Marathon. For a few days we escaped the bitter cold of New England and lived like royalty in the 3-bedroom Grand Villa at Bay Lake Towers.  The weekend was bittersweet because I knew once I crossed that finish line I would no longer be able to call myself a perfect princess.

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We lived large enjoying the parks, watching Wishes from the top of the Bay Lake, and running both the 5k and the half marathon. It was a great way to finish .

 

The first race was so small. I even got a bib for Corral A. My friend Trish (who thankfully convinced me to run the Princess) and I wandered all the way up to the start line. We stood a few feet away from the elite racers. Once the gun went off it felt like we were passed by everyone.

 

I was wearing my ears and mouseketeer costume, a stark contrast from all the people dressed up like princesses. Having my name across my chest was great because people all along the course yelled “Darcy”. But it wasn’t until mile 12 when I came up to the fairies that one of them yelled “A mousketeer!” That made my race.

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Every year we dressed up, but I never went as a princess. Year 2 the Evil Queen, year 3 the Frog Prince (Jim was the princess), year 4 the Queen of Hearts, and last year Dory (Jim was Marlin). While we never did run into Nemo, we did reach our goal of running the first 5 races.

 

This is the first year where I am sitting out of this race. My friends Meghan and Faye are down in Orlando for race weekend. Faye is doing the inaugural 10k and Meghan is running her third princess marathon. Last night as I read their posts on Facebook about this weekend’s run I got teary. This race was such a big part of my life for so many years. But it was time to say goodbye.

 

Thank you for 5 amazing races.

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Don’t quit the race- Dogged determination of the back of the pack

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Back in September I ran the relay of the Rock n Roll Providence. It was nice only running 8 miles of the half marathon course. After my partner Lisa snuck up on me at the relay transition (I expected I had about 15 more minutes of relaxing) I ran my leg and our combined race time was just over 2 hours. Finishing the race in 2 hours gave me time to put on fresh clothes, listen to a few songs from Atlas genius, and cheer for the people in the back of the pack.

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As the seconds and minutes on the race clock tick by and the time increases from 2 hours to 2 and a half to 3 hours the numbers of runners on the course becomes more sparse. Compared to earlier racers, these runners appear to be walking. Their goal is to finish, not to get a Personal Record.

The finish line in Providence looks down a hill. The space between runners gets wider. At times it appears that last runner crossed the finish line. Then from around the corner and up the hill, a few more runners appear. With dogged determination they ascend the last stretch. They made it. They will collect their medal and most important be counted among the finishers.

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As I restart my journey into running I reflect on why I love running and the running community. Seeing the last finishers, the back of the packers finish their race is a reminder of the importance of finishing. It is a testament to why I enjoy running. I am reminded it is not always about being the swiftest and most graceful runner; sometimes it is about being the person who has the persistence to not quit the race.

The view from the front

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It’s December, Christmas is right around the corner with a New Year waiting right behind it. For me running is a distant memory. The last race I ran was several months ago, back when we were wearing shorts and t-shirts for running instead of dressing up like the brother from “A Christmas Story” before heading out.


As I sit in my current condition I get a chance to reflect on quite a few things. One being that last race. Instead of running the 13.1 my friend Lisa and I opted to do the relay of the Rock n Roll Marathon in Providence. The course was split between the 5-mile hilly portion and the 8-mile flat part of the course. Lisa chose the first leg.

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Looking back now I realize that was quite a special gift for me. As much as I love running I know I am a middle to back of the pack gal. I have no aspirations of trying to really increase my speed and with my knee the way it is my only aspiration right now is to be able to start running again.

 

My race pace relegates me to starting in one of the corrals that crosses the start line a few minutes after the gun goes off. I don’t get to see what things look like in the front; I don’t get to see how beautiful and graceful those runners are. This race was different.

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The relay runners waited at the transition, we were sipping coffee, checking our gear, and making last minute bathroom stops while we waited. The race started about five minutes late, and we looked at our watches and started doing calculations in our head figuring out the pace our partner would run and matching it to the new time so we would know when we needed to be ready to run.

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At almost 25 minutes after the start time, we saw the first runner go by. Yes, I have seen elite runners on television and it is spectacular. But seeing it in person is almost indescribable. This man came screaming by, holding a pace that would leave me breathless in a matter of minutes. His shoulders and face have a determined relaxation. It is as if he is both enjoying being out for a run and calculating just how fast he needs to go to finish the final 8 miles.

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A few minutes after he passed the lead woman darted past us. She had two male runners in front of her. She had a look of peace as she eyed the male runner a few hundred yards in front of her. There was such grace and beauty in her stride.

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Shortly after the lead runners came by, the rest of the racers passed the transition station. As the minutes on clock ticked by the runners began to look less like the lead runners and more like the runners I am familiar with. Runners with much less grace in their stride but with an unyielding determination to finish the race, runners like me.

 

As a participant I won’t be able to see the beauty of the lead runners. Instead I will see the beauty of the middle and back of the packers. The beauty of people who are not afraid to start a race and who aren’t afraid to finish. But it is a great gift getting a chance to see the view from the front.

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