Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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


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.


Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, November 2009


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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


Started listening to an audio book called Crazy Busy.


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


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


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.


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Budding blogger

Listening to Murakami’s book has been cause for some reflection on how running became such an integral part of my daily routine.  In addition, I’m asking myself, how is it that I have somehow also acquired the “habit” of blogging.  There are clues to be found in the life I led as a 12 year, almost 13 year old.

I was given a journal Christmas of 1967 by my mother and thereupon began 20 years of keeping a journal.  The journal keeping ended when I became a mom.  Life just seemed too busy and immediate, that I did not have the desire to mull over the contents in writing.  Not that I did not reflect on my life, as in fact, that is a lot of what I do when I run.

Portrait of a blogger as a young athlete

As a child I was not in any way precocious but I was extremely active and involved in all kinds of games and sports.  I had forgotten how so.  In my journal I drew pictures to illustrate my entries including pictures of a new hockey stick, a high jump made by my dad, a baseball bat, a basket player and much more.  I noted, every single occurrence of gym class and all viewings of hockey night in Canada.

Wednesday, August 14, 1968

Because of my dad’s makeshift high jump, high jumping became a neighbourhood sport and I was the champ.  Thus, when I attended my first track meet, an inter-park affair, I placed first in my Junior age-group.  Our park, was a very small park and I was the only first place finisher.  I remember being feted quite thoroughly for this, nearly carried home on the shoulders of my teammates, or at least that is how it felt 🙂

I should mention that one of the first conversations I had with Friend 2 from yesterday’s blog involved the discovery that my favourite girlhood sport of high jump, was her most despised sport and sports in general are not her thing.  In spite of finding a certain camaraderie with sports-mates, most of my female friends generally fall into the category of being non-athletes who read a lot.  Although an active child, I did love to read and was the youngest volunteer at the local library.  I diligently worked my way through the biography section in alphabetical order and more.

I’ve kept a few of my journals, but thrown out those from age 20 to 32 as my only interest in them seemed to be worry that they might be read, so out they went.  Maybe tossing the records of the brooding days of my twenties is related to Rainer Maria Rilke’s advice in Letters to a Young Poet.

“…have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903


Another kind of adventure

Just over three weeks ago, I made a post about an outing with two friends, well Friend 2, the expectant mom gave birth to the adorable Henry 2 1/2 weeks ago.  She has a blog which you can click on here, called Frugal and Fit and no surprise, the pace of her posts has slowed a lot.

One rule of thumb for getting things done with a newborn is to expect that anything that used to take one day, will now take a week.  The meaning of busy and tired are dramatically redefined.  Best wishes to the happy but tired parents!  And welcome to the world, Henry.

The beautiful, and sometimes inconsolable Henry!

In our household, the 2  1/2 week mark was when my husband began to panic, thinking that I might never get back to running.  Or perhaps, thinking that a nice run was all I needed to perk up a bit.  He insisted that I go for a run with the stern directive that he was kicking me out of the house and locking the door for 45 minutes.  That would have been early January and I can still remember the weird spacey sensation of running in the cold, weighed down by an otherworldly fatigue.

I ran erratically after that, until week six.  I was elated to discover that the Central YMCA had a childcare service, not too common at that time, and those places with childcare generally did not accept infants until at least 6 months.

So I was there on my son’s 6 week  birthday, ready to produce his birth certificate.  I was there every weekday, arriving dressed to run and skipping a shower as I only felt comfortable leaving him for 30 minutes.  These 30 minute runs took place on the tiny indoor track as parents were not allowed to leave the building and there were no treadmills at the YMCA back then.

I had my son a couple of months after turning 32.  The age at which my mom had the youngest in our family of six kids.  When I have the time to give justice to the story, I’d like to write about how my mom passed along her love of sports to all her kids.

Thank you mom!

My mom at age 32 with the last of her six children, my baby sister

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A toast to a fine November, Day 7

I took the appearance of snow on my 8 mile run this morning as confirmation from the weather gods that the time to back off from training, and rest for the marathon has arrived.

In spite of having run 75 miles this week, my legs were peppy and in the final stretch I knew that my 55 year old body, is still capable of a much heavier training load.  But, as the end of phase 1 of my return to marathon racing after a more than 2 1/2 year sabbatical, this is a good place to be.  Ready for more.  The most I have run in one week is 104 miles.  And, within that total, the intensity of the runs was far greater.  but now is the time to err on the side of caution, i.e.  rest rather than daydream about the next training cycle.

Friday, November 20, 2010 - 7:00 a.m. Marilyn Bell Park

What a lucky year it was to be training for an early December marathon. I did not have to suffer through any rain for any of my long runs or fast paced runs. The photo of my run on Friday morning was typical of my early morning runs. The turning point seems to have come today, just as my training load is reduced by almost half.

Wintry weather rolls in to the lake

I have to focus on thinking about the race itself and checking the weather forecast for Sacramento daily.  My ideal temperature range for racing a marathon is 5-12C.  There has been a lot of rain lately but sunny days are in sight.

Sacramento Webcam

Our hotel is about 4 blocks from the finish line.  This is very useful as there is nothing more difficult than trying to meet someone after they have run a marathon.  Behavior, while in that state is quite unpredictable.  So if my husband and I don’t connect within 10 minutes, after I finish, I’ll head back to the hotel.

Many details of race day planning still to come but for now, I look forward to a quieter week.  To end the day we make  a toast to the Saskatchewan Roughriders who are enroute to the Grey Cup in Edmonton and the end of my training cycle.  Go Green, Go Riders!