Archive for the ‘running’ Tag

What Would Diana Wear   10 comments

I am referring to Diana Ross of The Supremes, not the late Princess Diana. These days people comment on how “skinny” I am. Whether it’s a compliment or not is up to interpretation but, if it is, I have to give Ms Ross some of the credit – or blame – depending on how you look at it; and also to the 60s British supermodel Twiggy, although I don’t think there was such a thing back as a supermodel back in 1966 which is when this journey began. I know there is much concern these days about the detrimental effect ultra-thin models have on young girls’ body images and self-esteem. I don’t know if that was true in my case, nor if at age 18, I could be considered a young girl.

I had gone through the typical weight gain that is widely attributed to freshman year dorm living. I’m not sure what the catch term is – Freshman 15? I also am not sure that I gained 15 pounds, but what got me started, I guess, was my mother’s comment when I arrived home for the summer. “You’ve put on some weight,”coming from someone who always told me I looked fine just the way I was, definitely got my attention. So did the episode in the Alexander’s dressing room a few days later. I don’t remember what the garment was, but it  was a size 13, my usual size at the time, and it was too tight.

I watched my weight all summer, but really got into it when I went back to school, a place I really did not want to be. The college was Ladycliff,  a small Catholic women’s school that is no more, but when it was, was located on the banks of the Hudson in a small town named Highland Falls. By day two of Freshman year I’d realized that it was not my cup of tea,  as did many of the young women who became my friends. Some of them were able to persuade their parents to let them transfer at the end of Freshman year. Others like me, weren’t as lucky. The former waved goodby and went to school with a more 60s vibe the rest of us bonded and forged deep friendships commiserating. But eventually we accepted our lot and concentrated on fun, and oh yes, our education.

Meanwhile I know, you’re wondering what does this have to do with  Diana Ross?

Technically, I don’t know if I became anorexic, it was more a cycle of bingeing and starving, so I guess it was a bulimia anorexia hybrid, although I never forced my self to throw up.  Since then, I’ve read that eating disorders stem from a feeling of having no control over one’s life. And that’s how I felt back at Ladycliff for sophomore year.

I’d always loved the Supremes, and they were at the peak of their popularity, and since it was also the time of Ed Sullivan Show and weekly shows like  Hullabaloo that showcased all the popular groups of the times, I had many chances to admire how thin Ms Ross was with the result that she became my poster girl for thin.

diana Ross

Speaking of poster girls, it was about this time, Twiggy hit the big time, appearing on the covers of Seventeen and Bazaar……..



………..and it all came together………


There’s no one here to make me eat. Ha ha.

It is my belief that as in the case of alcoholics, food disorders are never cured, but merely overcome, and then only by a hair. What happened in my case was I transferred my dependency to exercise. I started running in 1978 and when I moved to California ran in 10K races for years. I still run occasionally, but attend the gym religiously. Knowing I’m a gym rat, my niece gives me workout clothes each Christmas and truth be told she has better taste in that department than me. The pants she gave me this year were especially nice and I love that they have a long comfortable waistband so I don’t have to worry about plumber’s


But what really caught my eye was this size comparison chart on the inside of the waist band.


Small here in the USA is LARGE in Japan? Oh my goodness, is Diana a large? How about Twiggy?  Like I said – I’m recovering.





When Relativity Clashes with Reality   1 comment

Did you ever  look at reality and relativity? If it weren’t for two letters, the v and the second i, they’d be the same word.

Speaking of letters, when  one arrived in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago it got me to thinking about reality and relativity.  Actually it was a card, not a letter, and it was from my friend Connie


I first met Connie the year after I moved to San Jose – at a 10K race. It was the era when running was in its heyday. We began participating in races all over San Jose, joking that the only reason we raced was so we could go out to breakfast afterward. And you know what?  The jury is still out on that.

Connie and I had other things in common besides a passion for running and a fondness of food. We were both East Coast ex-pats, she being from New Jersey. And here’s where relativity comes in. Connie was nine years older than me, but since she and her husband, Jerry had started their family very early, and my parents, fairly late, my youngest brother was only a year older than her oldest son, so in a way, I fell between the generations.  Whenever I wasn’t journeying back to New York for the holidays, I had a standing invitation to spend them with her and her family. I used to say Connie adopted me.

The one holiday I never missed was Easter, and her Polish brunch, a somewhat raucous event with Easter Egg fights (rules available upon request), ham, kielbasa, potatoes, and bottomless glasses of champagne to wash it all down. When I saw how she signed the Easter card, I assumed she was referring to those days.



But then, this fell   out


Early on in our friendship we’d driven up to San Francisco to run  in a 10K on the beach. Yes on the beach, as in on the sand…… in clunky running shoes.

When I looked at the results page, I was taken back.

It wasn’t the hyphenated name I haven’t used in nearly  twenty-five years.

Nor was it my time; 45 minutes was a little slower than my normal pace, but .. did I mention it was 10,000 meters ….. in the sand? Actually I was surprised I’d come in second in my age group. But that was it – the age group. looking back from the high peak of today, it seemed so young




That settled it, I had to call Connie. I checked my watch, something I always do when calling the west coast. She’s still out there, but now up in Washington. It was great to hear Jerry’s familiar singing of hello, “then the same old “Connie, it’s Ginny,” as if I were still just across town.

Connie  knew me well. She was expecting my call, but was surprised when I admitted it had taken me a while to remember this particular race.

“You didn’t remember that old guy changing his clothes right in front of us?”

She was exaggerating. He changed out of his running shorts behind his car.I picked up the results sheet and turned the page, searching  for his name “Here he is, Walt Stack.  He finished nine seconds ahead of you.”

She laughed.  “But I wasn’t last!”  Connie always ran with the fear of being the last one to finish a race.

We were so young,” I moaned. “Do you realize my niece is the same age as I was then.”

Connie came right back at me with a more alarming reality check.

“Do you realize Lori is a year older than I was!”

Until that moment  my mind had preserved Lori, her youngest daughter,  in the whirling drama of high school. In a flash, reality set her free.

Having thoroughly depressed each other with the relative reality of our “happy” memory, we ended the conversation with promises to keep in touch.


I did leave out one relative point, though.  That old guy? The one was  nine seconds faster than Connie? The one with no inhibitions about changing out of his running shorts? Connie is now a year older than he was.

But I don’t think she’d have wanted to hear that, do you?


Posted April 15, 2013 by virginiafair in Uncategorized

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