Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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First stop Sacramento

For someone who is used to running high-mileage in marathon training.  Running 50 miles a week hardly takes a thought.  I run about an hour a day with a 2 hour plus run on the weekend – this is the default.   However, with 15 weeks until my pre-Boston, marathon outing in Sacramento, the moment has come to either train seriously, forget about it or suffer in the final miles of the race.

2007, Sacramento 30K

So, I’m formulating my plan and the mileage build will go like this 57 miles this week, 61 miles next week and 57 miles the following week (including a rare day off for travel).  I like to do 2-3 solid weeks of building miles and then take an easier week.  Fortunately, this easy week will coincide with a trip to Germany.  My long run will increase from 12-15 miles to 17, 18 and up to 22 miles.

In addition to the increased mileage I have to start speedwork.  I’ve committed to hitting the track with a group.  For the past two years I’ve been taking evening courses, this year I will go to track school.  I’m excited about running on the new Varsity stadium track.  The very scene of my first marathon finish.  The coach, Paul Osland is a former Olympian who is now whipping a group of motivated masters into tip top shape.  I’m apprehensive about the return to the intensity of speed work.  My fast running for the past two years has gone something like this . . . run fast when I feel like it for 30 – 120 seconds.  Take as much rest as I need.

From what I can tell, the plan for Thursday is to run 150 meters at a very fast pace, 18 times and the do it again for a total of 36 fast repeats.  Then we are to bound up stairs, 2 steps at a time, 5 times and then repeat.  I’ve never done circuit training, of which we are to do 4 laps.  Hmm . . .

This could be painful.  Given that most of these runners will be peaking in the early fall, and my timing of a December marathon is unusual, I hope to get some sort of just-starting-out dispensation. I’m reminded of how once, when in top form I remarked to another runner as we readied ourselves for a grueling session a la Zeba Crook that his workouts were effective because they helped us to increase our pain threshold.  The runner turned to me and said, “but that is not what I signed up for”. No doubt . . . I’ll soon have a tale to tell.

Gulp . . .


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Balfour Books, A SALE! (continued)

So what did I buy in my 10 minute browse through the sale, thinking (mistakenly) that I’d be back the next day.  About a decade ago, I did a major book purge, and discovered that books of poetry held up very well as keepers.  So, I went straight to the poetry section and bought . . .

Balfour Books, poetry sale

  • Joy Kogawa’s “A Choice of Dreams” (1974) & “Jericho Road” (1977)
  • A biography of Byron by Benita Eisler
  • “Curve Away from Stillness, Science Poems” by John Allman
  • “HONKU, The Zen Antidote to Road Rage” by Aaron Naparstek
  • “The Ancient Olympics, A History” by Nigel Spivey

I bought the book of science poems, thinking it might contain overarching, poetic expressions of my blog name.   I’d not heard of John Allman but am pleased to have been introduced to his elegant poetics of science although I’m not sure about the helix shaped text images.

“Honku” was purchased perhaps as comic relief to the mention earlier, of the impenetrable and enigmatic Japanese Death Poems.  “Honku” calls itself the Zen antidote to road rage.  While I tend to agree with my husband that this book was likely in the 50 cent bin prior to the sale, I did get a modest laugh or two for my dollar.  A couple of road rage haiku  . . .

Alaska’s melting–

hope your Yukon Denali

doubles as a boat

&

Is it you or me

victim of insanity

honker or honkee?

The Byron bio, I bought to give to the only person (other than my son) who has posted a comment on my blog.  In response to the Rumi poem I posted on my HEART page she posted her favourite Rumi poem and made reference to Byron.  Email me “D”, let’s get together soon!

As for Joy Kogawa’s poetry, first I”ll publicly confess that I have not read “Obasan”, shame on me, really, really.  I do have some personal recollections of Joy however as my parents were heavily involved in the group that worked towards Redress for Japanese Canadians.  Once I get a decent scanner, I’ll post a photo of me, my mom, an aunt, Joy Kogawa and my son at 9 months on September 22, 1988.  We had just left the House of Commons after hearing Brian Mulroney apologize for the internment of Japanese Canadians and announce Redress.

Finally, “The Ancient Olympics” has proved to be a well-researched, mini-compendium of the Olympics.  Most interesting to me and worthy of further investigation was the separate contest held to honor Hera. Possibly as old as the festivals for boys and men, foot races for unmarried girls were the only competitions. The winners of these races were entitled to dedicate images to commemorate their victories, and take part in the sacrifice of cows to honor Hera. As a big fan of running skirts, I like the image of the short tunic worn by female competitors.

Our son’s friend who lives with us just returned from a one-month trip to Vietnam.  Our son is moving out tomorrow.  Big day . . . better get to bed.

Bon soir!

6 books for $6.00


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Fluids on the run, a tip

I am trying to post once a day but it is not easy to find the time.  Here’s a quickie.

I’ve developed a low-tech alternative to the fluid belt.  After struggling with belts that bounce up and down and elastic that loses its stretch I decided that I prefer to run without the bouncy bottles.  Instead, I carry a zip lock bag or two filled with Gatorade powder and add the water at water fountains.  This is feasible in the winter as well, if you plan your pits stops in advance. In a pinch, duck into a laundromat for your water.  It is quite easy to drink from the bag.

Now the next tip I’m told is something “a MAN would NEVER do” by a male running buddy.  I cut off the tip of a sock and use it as a pocket by pinning it to the inside of my running shorts.  Specialty sports gear can be expensive and pockets come at a cost.

Let me know if this works for you.  And, if you are male, let me know what you think of the sock-pocket idea.  Cheers!


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Balfour Books, A SALE!

Balfour Books

Just got back from a favourite second-hand bookstore, Balfour Books. They are moving to a new location, 4 blocks east on College, near Markham. In preparation for the move, every book in the store is $1.00, today and tomorrow. They are at the famous “Little Italy” corner of College and Clinton.

601 College Street 416.531.9911


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Last day of work

Moving Day

I set out for my pre-work run later than usual as I only had to log a few hours today, my last day of work at my place of employment for the past two years.  While running I listened to my Dave Allen, “Making It All Work ” book and then some quiet music, Keith Jarrett’s “The Melody at Night With You”, in order to meditate a little on the upcoming changes.  My husband and I saw Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette perform at the Four Seasons Centre for the Jazz Festival earlier this summer.  The performance was superb, consumately emotional and priceless!  It had been 25 years since I had seen this same trio perform and seeing them again, has enlivened my enjoyment of their music.

I start my new job on September 7th.  This is the same day that my son starts his internship at Research in Motion.  He is a software engineering specialist in U of T’s Computer Science program.  His salary as a student intern will exceed what I was earning at my former workplace.

Earlier in the week my husband helped me cart home the enormous amount of stuff, that I had let accumulate at work.  Included in this was a lot of running gear, my foot masager, oodles of personal care products, lots of framed photos, numerous hand-crafted ceramic gifts given to all staff from our creative and generous information resources coordinator and a few books including a copy of “Japanese Death Poems”, “Jack Daniels Running Formula”, “Beloved, Henri Nouwen in conversation” and a Microsoft Access reference book.    The death poems were written by Zen monks  and Haiku poets on the verge of death.  Ive posted a sample in the WORDS section of my blog.

I’ve used Jack Daniel’s book extensively to guide my training and as far as training books go, it is in a league all its own.  I gave my copy to Nelson Njeru, a 2:10 Kenyan marathoner who gave a boost to the  George Brown College cross-country team when he began some studies there and signed up to run for them! Nelson, I should mention is now in his forties.

Questions about what my new workplace will be like percolate.  Will I be able to muster up a team for the Bay Street Rat Race or Corporate Challenge ?  Will the golf course across the street have a driving range I can go to at lunch?  I am an ultra- novice golfer but I do find it fun.

As for farewells, I was given a gorgeous floral arrangement and taken out for a delicious lunch by two colleagues.  We called it the tri-level lunch (inside work joke) and caucused a little on big picture work issues.  I made a lot of friends at my workplace and while I look forward to a wonderful new career opportunity I will miss them.  Maybe I’ll be invited back for the holiday party given my status as two-time holiday party committee member.

Many of the “good-byes” involved resolutions by my co-workers to start or stick to a fitness routine.  I seem to have that effect on people  🙂

Adieu, adieu!


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Mind management and marathon training

I’m thinking about how to find the time to add on those marathon training miles. To this end I’ve been listening to Dave Allen’s book “Making It All Work” on my IPod. I know that the efficiency gains that will result from reading this book means more time for more miles. And, I’m learning about how to do this while I’m running. I read his first book, “Getting Things Done” and found it one of the better books on time management. Although, as Dave Allen would say it is more about mind management. He’s known as the GTD guy, short for “Getting Things Done”. In this latest book, he outlines why his organizational systems line up with the way short term memory works to make more room for creative and focused thinking and of course, getting more things done.

David Allen

Purchased from ITunes

I am a huge fan of time management literature. At some point in time I’ll inventory all those I’ve read. I’m trying to learn how to “tweet” and Dave Allen is the person I am trying to “follow” on Twitter. This because of a course I took this summer on social media and blogging. One of the outcomes of the course was that I disabled my Facebook site. Although, I rarely used it, only had it because it seemed to be a social necessity, I learned that there are numerous unaddressed privacy issues inherent in the Facebook platform and that there are other ways to have a web presence i.e. blogging.

Speaking of getting things done, I better get out for my daily run, and daily dose of marathon and mind management training.


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A calorie burned is a calorie earned – for a treat!

I consider myself fortunate that within one block of my house, on opposite corners, stand a YMCA and Starbucks.  Two or three times a week, following my run, I lift upper and lower body weights at the YMCA and then walk across the street to treat myself to what I call the “fatty latty”, a triple-venti-vanilla-whole-milk latte.  Nothing beats the satisfaction of strolling home over that last block, workout done, sipping on my latte.

At most times, I’m not the best role model of healthy eating as I burn a lot of calories daily and am able to afford to spend a few of them on treats.  One of my favourite treats, is pictured here . . .

poutine "the works"

Meal replacment

Yes, poutine is my  junk food of choice.  My mom turned me on to something called “The Works” a New York Fries special, a poutine variant which in addition to the usual fries, gravy and cheese curds has chili, sour cream, bacon bits and green onions.  I know, I know . . . you can feel the heart attack coming on but exercise and low body weight is a great cholesterol regulator.   The poutine pictured here was ordered and quickly consumed by yours truly, very recently at Ann’s Cafe in Richard’s Landing, St. Joseph’s Island which is about 50k east of Sault Ste. Marie.

The weeks when I eat most healthily are the 3 weeks preceding a marathon when I am tapering i.e. reducing my training volume and reducing my body weight by 5-6 pounds to lighten the load for the 26.2 mile marathon trek.

Lattes at the Ezra Pound

Getting back to coffee, my husband and I do try to diversify our coffee intake and recently tried the Ezra Pound on Dupont Street.  In homage to its (mad and fascist) namesake, the EP  has a poetry vending machine dispensing poems for a toonie, a project of Toronto Poetry Vendors (TPV).  There is poetry on this blog at the HEART and WORDS pages.

Poetry

Click on this to read!

poetry

Poetry Vending Machine

poetry

Poem Packet $2.00