Strides Down Memory Lane

Today’s long run took me to where it all began…

This morning I decided to head west out of my driveway toward the bike path (I’d grown weary of the hills of my usual run) and headed toward Barrington. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself and at myself while running behind the Barrington shopping center — You see this is where I first started to run.

Prior to 1991 the only running I did were “errands” and “late”. That all changed after I found out the third day of my black belt test would have a run. The run would start on the newly paved East Bay bike Path behind the shopping center to the Barrington YMCA then through the woods of Veterans Park. While running there would be obstacles and martial art techniques that had to be employed on hidden attackers. My friend and I would drive to Barrington several times a week to practice the route and to get into “running” shape!

After my black belt test I continued to run sporadically until I decided to run my first 5k. this happened in 2000 I remember training and hating every minute of it until the day of the race when I fell in love with the running community and its’ comradery and passion. I decided my next challenge was to be the Newport Pie Run, a 5 mile race. I bought a white long sleeve shirt and had all my martial art students sign it, to keep me from chickening out! I ran the Pie Run for about eight to ten years before I had to quit to help my mother with Thanksgiving preparations.

In 2010 I got a couple of friends and students to do the CVS 5k with me most of them quit running it years ago except for my friend Carol and me we’ve run/slogged/walked every year since! We both love it and celebrate it like a holiday. I’ve run a few other 5k’s each year but this year I’ve taken on the challenge of running a half marathon — Hence my long run training that brought me back to the beginning.

Martial art has changed my life in so many ways; Running is just one of them. Which is why I smiled and said a prayer of gratitude while running on the bike path toward the YMCA today, still making strides…

Ginnie

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Steps I’ve Taken

Here are a few things I’ve tried, noticed and or other general observations during my first six weeks of half marathon training.

Let me begin by saying it’s been a good five to six years since I’ve done any “serious” running training. I’ve slogged a couple of miles a week and have run a few 5k’s a year — That was until I got the “bright idea” to run a half marathon at 60!

The first thing I did was to research how I could do this safely and with the least amount of stress to my body and have fun doing it. I found Chi Running by Danny Dreyer, and downloaded his Chi Walking and Running videos, and bought his  Chi Marathon book. While the transition from my former duck slogging style (I have a foot that splays out) to the Chi Walking and then Chi Running concepts have been an adjustment they are as advertised I’m up to seven miles with very little issues and I’m hoping to keep it that way. I’ll admit I’m walking as well as slogging, but my slogging is increasing – My goal isn’t to win the race but just to finish before the sun sets! I find the half marathon training regime to be easy to follow and not at all stressful. I’m able to maintain my martial arts and weight training regimes as well.

One of the items I’ve used in conjunction with the Chi Running/walking training is a metronome. I admit it wasn’t easy to use at first and it harkened me back to my traumatic band experience of trying to stay in step! That said it has helped me find a tempo that I can maintain without taxing my body. Another I can’t live without (okay I can live without it but would hate to) is my Apple Watch. I love the feed back while I’m working out it’s helped me maintain a good training heart rate so I’m not slogging at an anaerobic pace. Plus it logs all my stats. A new little item I’m using is the “Flip Belt” I love it. It carries my keys, phone, a water bottle and anything else I’ll need during training or in a race – You forget its there!

Nutritionally I’ve eliminated junk and have been eating clean, the least amount of processed food possible. One thing I highly recommend is Zeal by Zurvita an all in one nutritional drink that is a synergistic blend of whole food concentrates. It is Gluten free, Vegan and Kosher. I use Zeal twice a day and it helps energize me through my runs and refuels me mid afternoon. (Contact me for further information) If you are interested.

What’s changed? I’m down eight lbs I feel great my body is in the best shape it’s been in at 60! I love having a goal, and inspiring others. There are many more steps before this all culminates sometime on October 8th, my hope is that I continue to make progress, remain healthy, learn something while enjoying the process – Baby Steps…

Ginnie

Scent – A- Mental Memories

I love how scents can evoke a memory whether it’s the smell of food from your child hood or a cologne from a loved one. Today’s run by the bay brought back so many memories. As I came down surprise hill in Colt Park (Bristol RI) I inhaled the unforgettable scent of sea air. Suddenly I was back in 1960 something riding the Prudence Ferry to Hog Island and summer camp. Where we’d march to swim lessons and free swim and had the time of our lives and when the day ended we boarded the ferry once again singing songs and anticipating which lollypop flavor our camp director would give us, but there was much more we’d all sit on pins and needles wondering if this would be our day to “drive the ferry”! You see each evening Hector Massa (our camp director) would choose a few campers to “drive” the ferry with Captain Manny Souza. We’d be seated on a high stool and hold onto the giant ship’s wheel with captain Souza “assisting us”. What an incredible view of this beautiful harbor we’d have.

The sea scent continued to jar my memory to the wonderful times I had with my dad and my uncle Danny at the Bristol Teepees. My brother, cousins and I would swim, snorkel, raft and the most fun having our dads toss us into the air to dive. The day seemed to go on forever it was always a highlight of the week when we got to go.

Then there were more memories from the Bottom of Maple Street in Warren where we’d swim with my cousins and their neighbors when we visited my aunt Virginia. There was a large rock that came into play during high tide and the always fun adventure of walking on the railroad tracks (now the East Bay Bike Path).

There are the times spent with my mom clamming or qua hogging (she couldn’t swim and this was her only beach pursuit).

My memories took back to the mid seventies when I live in Newport and would head down to First Beach for a walk and to listen to the surf. Walk the cliff walk or sit at the Purgatory Chasm and take pictures. Flying kites on second beach or riding around ten mile drive and Fort Adams.

The sea air is my tonic, my zen, my home…

What’s yours?

Gin

Life Odometer @60

Remember when the odometer on a car just flipped instead of flash?

If you do then your life odometer is close to mine…

I remember my first car when I’d try to recall each major odometer milestone 1000 miles happened on President Avenue Fall River, and so on…

Now that my life’s odometer hit 60 years I’m suddenly more aware of personal milestones; where I’ve been, where I am and yes, where I’m going…

Life’s journey is not so much different than a road trip; the past is in the rearview, the present is behind the wheel, and the future is on the GPS…

I’m trying to be very aware of where I am and how I got here so I can plan my next turn. I’ve been inspired by my young students who’ve graduated to black belt. One of whom gave me a bracelet with “It’s not a sprint, It’s a marathon” on it. An awesome reminder that I’m in it for the long haul. I’ve also have been rejuvenated in my running through reading Runners World the amazing stories of runners in their 70’s running ultras and the many other runners who’ve over come challenges. This has motivated me to take on a half marathon. Which ironically will be right about when my odometer will hit 60.5…

Good to be back!

Gin

Why I Love The CVS 5K

My favorite day of the year is not my birthday, Christmas or any other recognized holiday it is the 3rd Sunday in September! This when the CVS Downtown 5K is held.

A road race I hear you asking, what’s so special about that? Where do I begin? Maybe it’s that children, and adults of all ages, shapes and sizes can run with Olympians. It could be the bands along the way — Then it might be the excellent pizza at the end of the race or the great giveaways.  Perhaps it’s how incredibly organized it is and the awesome volunteers. It isn’t any of those obvious things (although all true).

What makes the CVS 5K so awesome, is people coming together to have fun, being with friends, and family, accomplishing a goal, doing something healthy (aside from the pizza). My friend said it best today “It’s the best thing about America.” Standing as one as the anthem is played , people thanking the police along the way, watching policemen high five a cranky child. Everyone trying their best whether they finish under 15 minutes or over 60 minutes. It is encouraging fellow participants along the way or being encouraged, as I was today to make it up the last big hill by a young gentleman who gave me a hug and a high 5 at the end. It was a race. In fact it was the 5k national championship. But for the rest of us it was more about the human race. I guess I keep coming back because it renews my faith in what is good, where the only left and rights are turns. Where we can share a common goal and celebrate together as one team…

Yes Virginia there is a Santa Clause and he’s probably running among the rest of us on the 3rd Sunday in September…

Peace

Gin