Archive for January, 2010

Found: somewhere yesterday during my first outdoor run in two weeks. It took about 2o minutes (of my 28 minute run) to find it, but, most importantly, it was found.

The temporary loss took shape of a very angry mother, unable to deal with the parking lot scene at my kids’ school. (It was nobody but my own fault that I was unable to follow the one-way signs. A few “tsk tsks” from a mother was all it took for me to jump off the deep end.) One rather large scream later inside my car and the thought:  “I’m gonna rip someones head off if I don’t get outside to run!”, was all it took for me to realize that getting out to play might be a good idea.

So, the next time you see me a little crossed-eyed, it might be because I haven’t yet gone out to play. Or it might be because the democrats have no idea what to do with the majority, even if it’s only 59 instead of 60 senators.


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On more than one occasion people have congratulated me for breaking the disc golf world distance record in my age group.  I’d love to take credit but it’s not me. Would you believe that there is another Leslie Charles running around playing disc golf!? So I decided to interview her. This is the beginning of hopefully many inspirational/motivational stories celebrating the act of playing. Enjoy! (note: LAC is the author, me, Leslie Anne Charles)

“Play” is a recreational activity I do for diversion from work and life’s more “adult” concerns. I like the word “recreation” because it not only includes physical activity but a sense of self-renewal or re-creation of one’s mental self.

Disc golf is my current form of play. It’s a terrific little-known sport that you can either hack around at or concentrate on skill building. Some people are natural athletes, I am not. It’s rather humorous that I can love something I’m not all that great at, but I do. One aspect about disc golf I like a lot is that it’s played in parks and natural areas (it rather reminds me of trail riding on my  horse) and involves quite a bit of walking and moderate exercise. I mean hey, you’re outdoors, you get to walk around and throw things: what’s not to like?

LAC: Why did you start? After 30 years of owning horses, riding dressage and participating in shows, a series of unexpected converging forces necessitated my giving it the equestrian lifestyle. My partner in life has played disc golf for years and because my knees aren’t hardy enough for tennis or softball, I asked him to teach me how to throw. I was 63 years old at the time and had absolutely no natural ability for the game, but why let a little thing like that stop me?

In spring, summer, and fall I play several times a week. Unlike many women, I really enjoy playing alone, especially in the morning when almost no one is on the course. Being self-employed, I sneak out to one of the nearby courses when I can and because I enjoy playing solo I’m not tied to anyone else’s schedule. But there are a few local people I really enjoy playing with, including Rob. In addition to the many rounds I play per week I also spend time practicing on a soccer field near our home. And I love playing tournaments. Winter disc golf is a “different” experience and I enjoy it as long as it isn’t too cold or the snow too deep. Living in Michigan, it’s either get out there anyway or resign yourself to a long winter.

LAC: Why do you play? Mental and physical health. Disc golf is fun, challenging, and it gives me a chance to set some goals. Although I don’t get all hung up about “performance” I strive to do my best; sometimes I’m pretty good and other times I’m not. I enjoy being physically active, so getting exercise is a big reason I play (I also do additional working out to keep myself in shape for disc golf). And you never ever know what you’ll accomplish until you give it a shot! In 2008 I set a new world distance record for women in my age category and in 2009 I won the (first ever) Senior Grandmaster division championship. But I don’t really play to win. I play to play.

LAC: Any words of advice for someone who doesn’t play? Do something! Don’t sit around and make excuses about why you can’t or shouldn’t be doing something. With my knees, I should be doing scrapbooking, but I’ll throw discs as long as I can. If one activity doesn’t work for you, get out there and find something else that floats your boat!

When I play, I laugh a lot. I laugh at myself, at some of the funny places where my discs land, sometimes I at my body’s inability to do what I ask. And I learn. If you have any hesitation about playing, think about small children, their lives are filled with laughing and learning. What more could you ask for as an adult, than to laugh and learn like you did when you were a kid?

I’m a motivational speaker and I write self-help books. Play is a journey for me, not a destination. With the right attitude it can all be enjoyable. From my years in equestrian competition I learned that I am not my performance. I’m still wonderful, even when I suck. Mind you, I’m 67 now so I have a unique relationship with time: in four years, my game has improved a lot but at some point age can or will hinder my progress. Maybe it already has, but I still plan on improving.

I love affirmations and instead of telling myself how much I suck I tell myself, “My discs fly straight and far.” Right now I’m using the self-talk message that I have a 700 rating (my real rating is 666 so I have a way to go).

LAC: Do you have a mentor (hero or fearless leader)? Erin Oakley, our league leader, who has done so much for women disc golf players here in Michigan is my all-time mentor. She is so patient and encouraging; I’ve never seen anyone like her. And I admire Lisa Warner, from Ohio, who generously gave me some excellent tips the one time I got to play a round with her. Talk about women who know how to play; both Erin and Lisa are prime examples! I want to be like them when I grow up.

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A good friend bought me a long sleeve technical fabric this last fall. I simply love it!

First of all, that it’s a hoody automatically places it high on my list. (Side note: I’m wearing it right now even though I don’t plan on running today!)


everything: the fit is perfect. Length is just right –enough that I don’t expose the ol’ belly even if I wear my shorts below my hips. The material: technical & comfortable. Hood: great. Stays up when running. Logo on front is not too obtrusive. Side writing (IRUNLIKEGIRL!) is also well done.

Like most good technical gear, it smells. (Note to self: time to purchase one of those tech. gear detergents).

YES! In a heart beat. $40 isn’t so pricey and it’s so comfortable.

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One More Mile Skort

I purchased the One More Mile Skort after Runner’s World had it in their review a while back. Compared to the other skorts out there, it was the least expensive. I must say, I was dubious about wearing a skort–I have never been a skirt lady. Always baggy shorts. But I’m loving the skort! Makes me feel good and it’s comfortable.

One More Mile Skort

( http://www.onemoremilerunning.com/Shorts/Skirts/Running-Skirt/prod_227.html )

I love the way this looks on me.  The length is perfect–about half way down the thigh. It’s modest enough that this is my favorite skort to wear at the gym. The liner underneath is comfortable, breathable, and never rides up. Elastic waist has never failed nor folded. This skort also has two pockets in the front which I haven’t seen from other companies. It’s affordable at $29. Others run around $50.

The material looks great at first, but after the first wash it piled.  The pockets are great but the velcro enclosure really is bothersome. The liner might be just a tad too long. Not a huge fan of the purple logo.

Maybe. I think I would try another one, even though the price is right and it fits really well. I would hope they would investigate using a new material and work on the velcro enclosures.

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Ah, the female athlete. One thing for sure — it’s hard to define us. We are not one unit, one voice, one sport. We don’t chase after the same ball, throw the same disc nor want desire the same results.

What we do have in common is the passion to play. I want to invite (lure, compel, and cajole) those who never play: to play; to those who do: share the love.

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