Parades and Races

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Jim and I survived the constant barrage of precipitation as we joined our friends to support and promote Clean Ocean Access in the annual Newport St Patrick’s day parade. While we were out on the parade route I realized that walking in a parade has a lot of similarities to running a 5k.

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Of course there is the obvious, both have a start and a finish. At both the start and finish of a parade and a race you will find spectators who cheer for you as you go along the course.

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The next and maybe a little less obvious similarity is the beer. Many of the races Jim and I did over the years were accompanied by beer either during but usually after the race. This similarity could be because this was a St Patty’s Day parade but there was definitely lots of beer and other beverages which Dionysus would approve.

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Finally and probably the most important similarity was the sense of community. One of the things I love about road races is how it brings people together. Even though there was rain falling from the start of the parade to the finish, people still came out to the streets of Newport to celebrate this fine holiday.

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Happy St Patrick’s Day.

We’re moving to Dallas

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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.

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Ruggles, the Real Cost of Localism in Surfing

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Ruggles Ave

Up until a few weeks ago the wave at Ruggles Ave in Newport, RI was kept in obscurity. Few people knew about the break. The local surfers kept it quiet; they did not want a crowded lineup. Then the fate of the wave was in question. Hurricane Sandy damaged parts of the famed Newport Cliff Walk. In order to repair and protect the walk the Rhode Island Department of Transportation proposed building a stonewall that would serve as a break wall. To complete the construction 200-foot temporary causeways would need to be built. The causeways would sit in the middle of the surf break at Ruggles.

The Newport surf community was up in arms about losing their wave. Sid Abruzzi headed an effort to stop the construction. With the help of Clean Ocean Access, they started a petition via change.org, which got over 6,000 signatures from around the world. Abruzzi was featured in several newspapers around the country, speaking about how important the wave is to Newport. The effort was successful, Ruggles was saved.

Ruggles Contstruction

While the local Ruggles surfers appreciate the attention and effort to save the wave, they have a dirty little secret, they don’t want people to come surf their wave. After talking with non-Ruggles surfers in the community and researching the spot via the web I discovered numerous accounts of tires being slashed, cars being keyed, and people being physically threatened. These tactics were all means to regulate the number of surfers in the lineup.

Another tactic was refusing to reveal the name and location of Ruggles. Numerous articles were written about Newport surfers, and at the request of the surfer the name of the break location was not included.

In all the commotion to save Ruggles, the crew failed to stop and listen to what was really going on. The head engineer from the Rhode Island Coastal Resource Management was against the proposal. The Newport City Council was against the proposal. The opposition was because the proposed construction could impact the economy of Rhode Island.

Hospitality and tourism is the second fastest growing industry in the state and currently ranks fourth overall. The tourism industry brings $2.31 billion into the state and supports over 66,000 jobs. Newport is one of the main draws to Rhode Island, with the Cliff Walk being one of the crown jewels, attracting an estimated 800,000 visitors annually. Altering the Cliff Walk had the potential to impact tourism for the state. The risks of the initial proposal far outweighed the gains, which made it unrealistic and unlikely.

While the construction proposal was probably not going to happen, if the wave at Ruggles was really at risk, the localism of the Ruggles surfers would have be one of the biggest threats to the wave. There are two camps in the Newport surf community, those who are welcome at Ruggles and those who are not. The not crowd is the larger of the two. The result of this rivalry is many surfers were apathetic to the plight of saving Ruggles. The interest was in protecting tourism and the environment, not the wave. Many could have cared less about the surf at Ruggles Ave. The prime reason they did not care about the wave, it was difficult to care about something they had not attachment or connection with.

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Now that the Ruggles has been saved, there is a looming question; now what? With an outpouring of support from around the globe many people may feel a connection to the wave because they were part of the fight to save it. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the thanks those surfers get is a keyed car?

Am I Afraid?

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I read a blog the other day that made me pause and reflect. A woman who ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon wrote it, it was her first half. Though she had been training for a finish time of around 2 hours, she actually finished about an hour after that. It bothered her, she wanted to find out if she really deserved the Corral A assignment. Immediately after the race, she signed up for a 20k and crossed the finish line in under two hours. (http://thefinalforty.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/race-recap-miles-for-music/)

 

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As I read the blog it occurred to me, I’ve never really run a race to prove I can make a goal time. I have pushed it on a few 5ks but it was just because I was feeling really good and really in the moment. But most important I just felt like running. So a question has been lingering, why haven’t I tried to break 2 hours on a half marathon? Based on my 5k time it should be well within my limits.

 

In previous blogs, I’ve written about how much I just enjoy getting out and running. I’ve also written about how much I enjoy running with new runners. But I recognize that the pace I run is really comfortable. I am so much in my comfort zone that I can knock out a sub 2:30 half marathon with virtually no training. Am I satisfied with being comfortable? Am I satisfied with simply enjoying every run? Or do I want something more?

 

Answering the question is a struggle. One thing really bothers me. Am I afraid to try? Am I simply afraid to set a goal time? Am I afraid I won’t be able to do it?

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I love running. I love the not so competitive atmosphere running offers. I love the friendship and camaraderie. As I struggle to answer the question I also wonder if chasing a time goal will make me lose the things that draw me to the sport. Or am I selling myself short by not challenging myself and trying?

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There are a few more races on my schedule for this year. I’ve got the Newport 10 miler in April and I’m going to sign up for a half (not sure which one) in the fall. I think it’s time to reassess what I really want to achieve from this sport. And maybe, even if it is for one race only, I should make a goal of getting a PR (for both the half and full marathon).

A Running Tradition

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Many cities around the country host a Thanksgiving race. It is a wonderful pre-meal celebration where you get to burn calories in preparation of the pending meal. Families kick off their festivities by gathering for a run. Friends come together for a morning run before they part ways for their own holiday celebrations.

I can’t think of a better way to start the Thanksgiving holiday than to go on a run. It’s nice to know, I’m not alone.

Yesterday we joined hundreds of other runners converging in Newport for the annual Pie Run. This race does bring out the competitive spirit in some, but for others it is a way to be with family. Lots of parents bring their kids to do the five -mile course. Some walk, some run, and some get pushed in strollers, but they do it together.

Our family wasn’t a running family until a few years ago. But after we started running we started this Thanksgiving tradition. We started with a Turkey Trot in Miami and we make it a priority to do a run every year. It might not be an official race, but it doesn’t matter. We even get our non-running but very talented at running daughter to join us.

This Thanksgiving was no different.

We don’t run to win the race. We do it to spend time together as a family. We do it to spend distraction free time together, no cell phones, no iPads, no laptops, or television. We try running together but our daughter is pretty fleet of foot and now she runs ahead of us. Unlike when we started and we had to encourage her from start to finish. But I guess it is to be expected, it’s time for her to run ahead and run her own race.

At the finish, we say hi to friends. And we are reminded that we have so many things to be thankful for, like the huge meal we are about to eat.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, even if you didn’t do a race yesterday, don’t worry there is always today.