Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Music for a run in the rain

I ran six miles this morning, heading out into a light rain which slowly escalated to a near drenching downpour.  It was barely dawn as I ran north on Spadina, crossing paths with a friend who was running at a good clip making a beeline for home.  On the other side of Spadina close to where we met is a favourite espresso bar called the Dark Horse cafe.

Dark Horse Cafe, Spadina north of Queen

I did a couple of faster sections, running to Arvo Part which somehow seemed fitting in the dawn rain.  A couple of weeks ago I attended a concert which included Arvo Part’s music at Koerner Hall called The Mystical Worlds of Part & Schafer. “Arvo Part (Estonia) and R. Murray Schafer (Canada) are two of the world’s greatest living composers. Koerner Hall will resound with 180 resplendent young adult voices under the baton of famed Estonian conductor Tonu Kaljuste.”

The photo below is taken on the balcony outside Koerner Hall which looks onto Philospher’s Walk and the ROM.  The final piece of the performance involved a surround sound effect of four choirs on the four sides of the hall.  A choir was directly behind our seats which provided a unique musical immersion. The piece I ran to this morning is a current favourite by Arvo Part. I discovered “Summa” as part of Air Canada’s audio entertainment selection this summer.

I hope you’ll have a listen and tell me if you like it.

Balcony at Koerner Hall

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Meals for Marathoners

Of all weeks, the two weeks prior to a marathon is when I most carefully watch what I eat.  There’s no point in carrying extra baggage for the 26.2 miles.  A staple for this period is my favourite healthy food, tabouli.  I really love this dish but it is a lot of work to cook the grains and chop the greens so I only make it for special occasions like pre-marathon week or parties.  Yesterday I made a double batch and will be taking this for lunch 3-4 days in a row.  It keeps very well.  I usually add the tomatoes day to day, as they are the one ingredient that does not keep well.

Tabouli with Wild Rice

Lynn’s Tabouli with Wild Rice

(a recipe with inspiration from Anne Lindsay’s Lighthearted Everyday Cooking and Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé)

3/4 cup bulgur

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 can chick peas

1/3 cup finely chopped green onion

Dressing

1/3 cup lemon juice

3 cloves garlic

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup olive oil

black pepper, to taste

Soak bulgur in 6 cups hot water for an hour.  Place cloth on the bottom of a colander and pour bulgur on the cloth.  Let drain and then gather the cloth and squeeze as much water as possible from the bulgur.  While bulgur is soaking, bring chicken stock and rice to a boil in a saucepan; cover and simmer fro 40-45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Drain, if necessary; let cool.

In salad bowl, combine bulgur, rice, tomatoes, parsley, mint, green onion and chick peas.  Stir ingredients for dressing, pour over salad: stir to mix.   Cover and refrigerate until serving time or for up to 3 days.

That’s not to say that I won’t indulge in a bit of meat and potatoes.  My body craves protein and a bit of fat and my husband cooked up one of his best breakfasts ever on Sunday morning.  I was ravenous when he produced this winning breakfast spread.

Eggs, beef breakfast strips, bagel and home fries

Empire Sandy - Monday, November 29, 2010

As for the run today, well, I just love the freshness of these late fall mornings.  The Music Garden was decked out for the holidays, an enjoyable festive sight and dawn on the lake was as beautiful as ever.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say iit many times more, what better way to start the day. Sigh . . .

Music Garden in a holiday mood


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Season of hope and joyful expectation

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. — Isaiah 2:4

We started our holiday season yesterday by attending Advent Vespers at St. Basil’s church, a developing tradition for us, that we much anticipate. From a purely musical point of view I was a tad disappointed that O Come, O Come Emmanuel a favourite carol, was not on the program.  I am a collector of different versions of this beautiful song including versions by; Joan Baez, Bette Midler and Sufjan Stevens. One of the things I enjoy about ITunes is being able to search by song and checking out the umpteen versions of classics like this.

CLICK HERE to hear Bette Midler sing.

It just struck me that I’ve never run a marathon at this time of year, will this bode well for the outcome 🙂  Well, whatever the outcome I hope to maintain my joyfulness about the gift of running and the many good things it has brought into my life.

We look forward to celebrating; our son’s birthday on December 19th, hosting our family dinner with 20-25 guests expected and having a small get together or two.  The small get together is a departure from our nearly 20 out of 23 years of mega-gatherings.  With the marathon, Christmas dinner, an uber-busy new  job, the decision was made to keep things simple this year.

Chateau Frontenac in late-November

Last year at this time we visited Quebec City.  My last and only visit there was when I was 16 years old.  the visit was a nice prelude to the holiday season and wintry weather. We enjoyed a couple of casual meals in the bar of the Chateau Frontenac and enjoyed the festive trimmings in the lobby.

Le Manoir d'Auteuil

Le Manoir d’Auteuil our hotel, turned out to be perhaps the very best value of recent hotel stays.  We found this place thanks to trusty Trip Advisor reviews. Our charming room in this art deco style hotel included a bottle of wine, internet and breakfast all for $99.00.  The hotel is across from the Plains of Abraham and close to the centre of town.

Ah, but enough of remembrances of visits past and holidays ahead, the enjoyment of which shall commence fully, once my marathon is run.  Advent wishes to all!

Psalms and hymns were my first taste of inspirational music. …they prepared me for the honesty of John Lennon, the baroque language of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, the open throat of Al Green and Stevie Wonder. When I hear these singers, I am reconnected to a part of me I have no explanation for – my “soul” I guess.

Bono

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, November 2009

 


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Slainte!

Saturday morning arrived without the usual rushing about to prepare for a long run.  In fact, on this cold morning we didn’t rise until 8:30 a.m. fully 3 1/2 hours later than usual, a well deserved rest.

Caught by papparazzi setting off for Hamilton

However a half-day of rest and it was off to the races, a Grey Cup 8K in Hamilton starting at noon.  As we fueled up before hitting the highway, winter storm conditions descended.  I remarked that perhaps driving to Hamilton during one of the first storm like snowfalls was unwise.  My husband sensing my ambivalence about racing made it clear that he was determined to get me to the start line and we forged ahead.

Ready to roll

Getting set

The conditions cleared, worsened, cleared and finally we made it to the Macassa Yacht club to register in good time and do a 20 minute warm-up.  This is the off-season for road racing so the event was very low-key and the crowd small.  The weather forecast of snow flurries and 50K plus winds materialized down by the bay as we readied ourselves for the start.

Off we went and I immediately counted the number of women ahead of me.  I ran my own pace, a heartrate of 159-164 for the first 5.5 K and at that point overtook the first woman.  After passing her I ran steadily and then stopped checking my heartrate and ran from 6-7K harder and then picked up the pace for the last 8K.  At a certain point, it is not productive to know how hard your heart is beating.  I finished strongly although I think my time of 37:40 something does not quite represent my current fitness as the strong winds were an impediment.

After the race we went to the Hamilton YMCA to freshen up before the post-race celebration at the Slainte pub.  At the pub, runners dined on lasagna and in a very jolly pub atmosphere.  We arrived a bit late and the race crowd seemed to be leaving so our impression was that there were no awards for the race.  Before leaving I scouted for a washroom and heard age-category winners being announced on the second floor.

They're off!

As it turned out for a tiny race there was quite a fuss made about age-categories and when I entered the room, the announcer called me up to claim my plaque.  Very nice, the efforts made by organizers to recognize us.  My regret was that I had promised to wear a Saskatchewan Roughriders hat up to the podium but missed my chance.  I ran into an acquaintance who told me he had noticed my name and had remarked to himself that “LK, she still has it!”  That was a generous thought and my husband and I chuckled in appreciation.

A plaque for first woman overall

In addition to my plaque I won a $20 certificate for the Slainte pub which I think I will give to my boss, who lives in Hamilton and organized yesterday’s Grey Cup party at work.

Slainte, my friend!

Slainte pub, great place for post-race party

 


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Odds & Ends

TUESDAY

Started listening to an audio book called Crazy Busy.

WEDNESDAY

I had a wonderful run on Wednesday, leaving the house just before 6 a.m. for a total of 10 miles, a beautiful and bracing fall morning.  At six miles I ended up at Winston Churchill park and did a couple of loops of the nearly 800 metre path around the perimeter.  My time running at tempo pace was about 7:35 per mile and I felt great.  I’m feeling upbeat about the marathon and enjoying being in the best shape over the last 2 1/2 years.  I can’t think of a better thing to have under one’s belt than that, an invigorating, fast-paced run to face a fast-paced day at work.

Winston Churchill park, Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FRIDAY

Really enjoyed my run this morning in new winter gear. The hood on my new jersey, which is very balaclava like makes me look like ET but it really creates a cozy micro-enviroment for late fall runs.  My boss made chili and I made a lemon, poppyseed, pound cake for a Grey Cup luncheon at work.  Dinner at the Bloor Street Diner and now I’m resting up for an 8K race in Hamilton tomorrow at noon!

Grey Cup luncheon at work


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Portrait of the runner as a young artist

In a previous post I mention renowned coach Jack Daniels, author of one of the best training books available, namely Jack Daniel’s Running Formula.  What a surprise to discover that he will be speaking at the California International Marathon race expo in Sacramento.  This marathon expo has a more serious bent and for a long-time runner like me of more interest than the “couch-potato-to-marathon” in three months seminars.  Although my husband and I both (independently) ran our first marathons shortly after discovering a Runner’s World article on how to train for a marathon in three months, that was recycled once a year.

As for rebounding from bad habits, I have mentioned my very active girlhood but not yet confessed that for five years I was a smoker.  Those years from 18-23 coincided with my time studying fine-arts at Sir George Williams C.E.G.E.P. and Concordia University.  When I graduated from high school, I was torn between studying fine-arts and physical education but tipping the balance was the encouragement of winning an art prize when I graduated. When I entered C.E.G.E.P. I made an effort to join the hockey team however the practice rink was not accessible to me and this made it easier for me to gravitate to the “dark side” of bohemia. My husband jokingly wonders if Smoking-101 was a required course for a fine-arts student in those days.

Foolishly cool at age 19

However rebound I did at age 23 so my life tally of healthy living is 50 years of health, 5 years of foolishness which involved the economy measure of rolling my own cigarettes of Drum tobacco as a student.  Gross!


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Changing the face of men’s health — A message from my son

Greetings!

This Movember, the month formerly known as November I’ve decided to donate my face to raising awareness about prostate cancer. My donation and commitment is the growth of a moustache for the entire month of Movember, which I know will generate conversation, controversy and laughter.

I’m doing this because 4,400 men die of prostate cancer in Canada each year and one in six men will be diagnosed during his lifetime.  This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to Prostate Cancer Canada.

To help, you can either:

* Click this link http://ca.movember.com/mospace/1295688 and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
* Write a cheque payable to Prostate Cancer Canada, referencing my name or Registration Number 1295688 and mail to: Prostate Cancer Canada, Suite 306 145   Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 1E3, Canada.

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit: http://ca.movemberfoundation.com/research-and-programs

Thank you in advance for helping me to support men’s health.

Steven