What are you wearing?

Standard

DCIM101GOPRO

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.

IMG_0462

Danielle’s Perspective

Standard

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.

IMG_4710

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.

IMG_4734

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.

RnR PVD

Ebb and Flow

Standard

IMG_3835 IMG_1385

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.

IMG_3908

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.

IMG_3927 IMG_3925

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.

IMG_3929

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.

IMG_3930

See you in the water!

IMG_3910

The fit and fat of it

Standard

 

IMG_1298

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.

 

Water hiking

Standard

IMG_1385

Unlike many other sports, surfing requires the right conditions. There are days when you might be geared up for riding some waves, but first Mother Nature has to bring the waves. This makes surfing both frustrating and magical.

 

We’ve been on a lull here in Rhode Island. The forecast predicted waves, but nature forgot to bring them. So when the waves don’t come thank goodness for paddleboards.

 

The weather has been amazing and we are finally to the point where we don’t have to wear a wetsuit in the water. Those days don’t last long in RI, so we have to take full advantage. On the calm days when the water is clear, we go exploring the waters looking for fish, starfish, jellyfish, crabs, and other sea creatures. It’s the water version of hiking and listening to birds and trying to find a squirrel.

How’s your spiritual health?

Standard

Let’s go to the gym and get our sweat on.

 

The cool thing about working out is tangible results. If you have a goal to trim your waist, you will notice a difference when you slide into that pair of skinny jeans. If you have a goal to run faster, the time on the clock will show faster mile splits.  If you have a goal to lift more weight, when you place five more pounds on the bar and lift, you’ve done it.

 

Physical fitness is just one of the part of being a healthy person. It is also the easiest to measure.

 

When we start talking about the more fuzzy things like spiritual fitness most of us have no idea where to start. There isn’t a gym membership for spiritual health. It is also something that you can’t easily quantify. How do you measure if you spiritual health? How do you define if you have more meaning and purpose in your life?

 

Some people think of church and religion when they hear the word spirituality. For me spirituality is something that falls outside of the scope of church and religion. I’ve never been much of a churchgoer and I’ve never followed any religion, however I’ve studied several of the world’s religions. Now I try to incorporate aspects of different religions into my life.

 

In many ways I still don’t know how to “work out” to get stronger with my spiritual fitness. But I do understand what things make me feel more spiritual and connected to the world and the people around me.

 

Running, surfing, and yoga.

 

These do much more than just help me strengthen my cardio and get toned. When I run, surf, or do yoga I feel more connected to the world around me. In a pose, riding a wave, and finding my stride I have moments where I focus so intently on what I am doing, the rest of the world dissolves.

 

Those meditative moments of being rooted in the present are few and far between. But in those moments where I am in the flow, the world is perfect. In those moments I reach a state of peace and perfection. I also strengthen more than my body, I strengthen my heart, my mind, and my soul.

IMG_1235

Bits and pieces

Standard

IMG_1298

Winter has finally given way to spring and summer is nearly here. I’ve been out of the water for months. I would love to blame the cold winter from my surf hiatus, but instead an injury kept me on land and out of the water.

 

After weeks of rest, recovery, and physical therapy I finally feel strong enough to get back in the water. To say I am rusty would be an understatement; I actually feel I am demonstrating all of the things not to do while surfing. So I’ve been trying to manage my time in the water by avoiding crowds, this way I am a danger to far less people.

 

To compound my reintroduction to surf, because of the nature of my leg injury I’ve decided a change was needed to protect my leg from getting reinjured. Since I began surfing I’ve always had a regular stance, which means my right leg is in the back and the leash goes on that leg. My right leg is my bum leg. So I’ve been learning to surf goofy, putting my left leg back and right leg forward.

 

In many ways it feels like learning from scratch. Right now my brain is wired to pop up the same way I’ve always done it. Telling my head to do it a new way is no easy feat. But it is coming along, although it is in bits and pieces.

 

I have moments where it makes sense followed by moments of what do I do next. I get the pop up but I can’t manage the turn. I make the turn but immediately fall. I catch the wave and look down at my feet. And everything is moving so fast; my brain can’t process it quickly enough.

 

Hopefully soon I will be able to string together each glimpse of surfing and it will start to feel more like the real thing. In the mean time, I’m just happy to be back out in the water because I’ve been Vitamin Sea deficient.