Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

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The Day in Miles

Ran 5 easy miles before work.  Walked a mile to work.  Walked from work, just over  a mile to Village by the Grange to meet a friend for dinner.  My husband met me at Village by the Grange and we walked just over a mile to the Air Canada Centre to see the Raptors play the Milwaukee Bucks.

Benefits of walking, priceless.  For any other method of  transport there are tokens or a $19 taxi ride home.

I resisted the Japanese version of Twinkies but ate nearly a whole box of Crunch & Munch at the game.

This Japanese restaurant gets the thumbs up!

Raptor head steals the show (Raptors lost 104-98)

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Chariots of Fire

I am feeling inspired today, my heart warmed by the generosity of those who have been able to support our efforts to raise funds for a sponsorship program for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia, knowing that there are so many good causes out there calling on us all.  I was reminded today that the phrase Chariots of Fire is from William Blake, a favourite poet of mine and many.

Primary Series Blue, 2008 (oil on paper mounted on wood with resin 12" x 12" x 2") Value $400

One special contribution comes from artist Frank Caracciolo who lives in Montreal but hails from New York.  He is donating a resin-coated oil drawing to our Silent Auction.  In my blog on The Urban Landscape I had posted a photograph of a work I had seen at Propeller Gallery on Queen Street.  I decided to contact Frank and he replied immediately to say he he was willing to donate the piece shown here.  I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this but the photo doesn’t quite do justice to the beautiful patina and tactile surface of his drawing technique.  CLICK HERE to link to his website.

I leave you with the words of William Blake as well as a link to the hymn Jerusalem that was composed to this poem.


William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

JERUSALEM sung at the end of the film, CHARIOTS OF FIRE

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A Word from the Weary

I’m running a bath having just returned from an evening track workout at U of  T.  I thought about missing a post today but then decided that I’ll do a short post until the bathtub is full.  The workout went well, 4 times 1000 meters at a fairly hard pace, with 3 x 60 meters before the longer sections and 6 x 60 meters afterward.  The circuit training was not nearly as grueling as the other week.  No hopping upstairs on one leg.   This coach was subbing for the more demanding task master.

And in gala news, we are down to the last 20 tickets.  I mentioned the event to one of my teammates and she was interested.  She does a lot of work in Africa as a feminist lawyer, specializing in girls and women’s rights.  She is also a Canadian age-group record holder at various track distances and can do 2 sets of 25 push-ups, no problemo.  What a woman!  Now if she decides to buy a gala ticket, she will be perfect in my eyes 🙂

Good night all.




Around the Bay 30K

Kudos and congratulations to all those who took part in this historic road race today.  It is the Ontario road runner’s equivalent of a season-opener.

While out on Friday we ran into an acquaintance who asked if I was running on Sunday.  I drew a blank.  It was only on Saturday morning that it struck me that this was the weekend of one of Canada’s foremost long-distance races, the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton.  How could I forget?! Many of those who have been training diligently through the winter have been driven by the goal of racing this 30K.

Last year a record I had established in 2006 was broken.  A new course (and Canadian) record for 30K of 2:07 was set by Jennifer Ditchfield.  My goal when I set the record was to run under 2 hours and 10 minutes.  I was disappointed to run 2:12 and that did not feel easy.

Around the Bay on a warmer day.

My friend Michal Kapral, a.k.a. the joggler jumped in around 25K and ran with me for awhile.  I told him that I was fading and wondered out loud whether any masters women were closing in on me.  He immediately started running backwards and let me know that I was in danger of being picked off.  That is when I learned that sometimes it is better not to know.  Ignorance is more blissful than having a set of eyes in the back of one’s head.  The rival masters runner did pass me and it felt worse knowing that this was a possibility so far in advance.

Michal at one time was considering trying to set a Guiness record for the backwards marathon.  He holds or held, the record for a marathon pushing a baby jogger and for running an entire marathon while juggling three balls.  He has also won the Toronto marathon in a time of 2:31.

With my plan to run Boston next year, it is doubtful that I can do the 30K as it is my view that many a runner has left their Boston best, down by the bay. It is a challenging 30K route that when raced to the full, is not far off the effort of running a marathon. With 3-4 weeks separating it from Boston, there is not much time to recover to put your best foot forward at Boston. This has been the subject of ongoing debate among long distance racers and their coaches over the past century.

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Ethiopia on My Mind

Runner’s World has an article on 20 Races To Do Before You Die

Included on this list is the Great Ethiopian Run, Africa’s biggest road race.  Here is what they say.

For atmosphere, energy and even anarchy, the Great Ethiopian Run simply can’t be surpassed. In a country where running is the national craze, this mass-participation 10K is a colourful, lively and sometimes chaotic race but also a tough challenge thanks to a handful of climbs and the altitude in the capital Addis Ababa. More than 30,000 runners line up at the start each year and if you join them you’ll be one of the few foreigners enjoying this amazing cultural experience.

Great Ethiopian Run

Earlier this week I mentioned that Chung-Yee and are thinking about doing this race in 2012.  The elevation is not the 2500 feet I mentioned but 2500 metres!

Last night my husband and I went to a performance of the Ethio Fidel Jazz Band who will be playing at the People4kids gala. They had a guest vocalist, Fantahun Mekonnen who along with the renowned Girma Woldemichael on saxophone just blew everyone away.  Mekonnen also played the krar a traditional instrument.

Krar, Traditional Ethiopian Lyre

I’ve been a bit lax lately about tracking my training miles but I’ve been fastidious in updating my ticket tracking spreadsheet. As Gala chair I challenged the committee to try and sell out by Sunday, April 3rd. We have 28 tickets left, if you would like to buy a ticket, donate a silent auction item contact me at people4kids@bell.net  —  This is going to be a very special evening in support of an excellent cost-effective sponsorship program that enables *some* of the over 1 million AIDS orphans in Ethiopia to go to school.

I took today off from running, my second day off this year, as I had done back to back hard days, Thursday and Friday.

Have a wonderful evening all!

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Is my running mojo back?

The prolonged wintry weather has made getting out for my daily run a day-to-day struggle.  Once I decided to defer my marathon plans to the fall, I’ve found myself delaying my run and procrastinating daily.   As I’ve mentioned earlier,  part of this is the focus on the gala.  The other factor is that I love my new job, which means I’ve got two intensely great things happening and running, well it is in third place for the moment.

Plans for the usual Saturday run got thrown off-kilter as I have to work tomorrow morning.  This threw me into a bit of panic, relying as I do on meeting the guys most Saturdays for the longer run.  BUT a plan emerged, a second-wind of motivation jettisoned me to work earlier than ever, with the intention of leaving early (love those flexible hours) to do an afternoon long run.  This full scope of this plan was dependent on whether my legs were fresh enough from yesterdays workout to run at least 10 miles.

Running from work involves taking as few things as possible to work  and having outerwear that you won’t need the next day or two.  As my shoes are at work, I wear my runners to get there and today wore my running jacket under a down vest.  I take only the essentials, bank card, credit card, money, keys, camera & BlackBerry.

The only drawback to this plan was that I would miss lunch. Everyday a volunteer or staff person cooks lunch for everyone and today’s lunch, homemade pizza, looked very appetizing. But, leave I did, and I ran down to the lake and then ran east along the Harbourfront promenade where a helpful dog walker offered to take this photo of me by the Empire Sandy.

Empire Sandy has weathered the winter.

Uplifted by the brilliantly blue sky and the wind on my left shoulder, I ran on.  My legs felt okay and I found myself seizing on the idea of taking a photo of Cherry beach as if I did that, I’d be getting in 12 miles.  This photo assignment took me through the really gritty parts of the Martin Goodman Trail with scenes befitting the Rust Belt or the HBO series, The Wire.  I got my photo and thankfully the wind was not too bad going west.

Down by the Docks

I ended my run at Starbuck’s and a little chit chat with the two baristas, both of whom run.  Ah, triple-venti-whole milk-vanilla-latte and a cinnamon bun . . . satisfaction plus.

Cherry Beach has got me on the run.

CLICK HERE to see what the Urban Dictionary has to say about the meaning of mojo.



I was off work today and from waking spent most of the morning and early-afternoon working on the gala and found it hard to tear myself away.  I had gala related meetings at 11 a.m. and then 6 p.m. and ended up leaving my run to the mid-afternoon.  Due to the 6 p.m. meeting I was unable to attend the U of T track workout.  So I did short, very fast sections on the treadmill at up to the 10.1 setting.  After that I did some of the circuit training including the hopping upstairs from same leg to same leg.  That got my heart beating faster than the short sprints.

The committee member I met with in the evening works 7 evenings a week, 5 days a week, has been taking courses and had started a business as an event planner.   She has offered to help with the decor for our event.  Wow!

A busy woman

We met at C-5 to discuss the floor plan and add a bit of colour to the black and ivory colour scheme.  I enjoyed finding out more about my friend and her ambitions and amazing work ethic.  She came to Canada via France and has only been here a couple of years.  We enjoyed exotic non-alcoholic beverages, fries with blueberry ketchup and mango and coconut ice cream, coffee and tea.  It was a quiet night, ideal for getting to know someone better.

Fries with Blueberry Ketchup

At my earlier meeting I also found out more about another committee member who has just finished writing a first draft of a novel which chronicles the political upheaval and turmoil that began in Ethiopia in the late 70’s.   This woman, I discovered spent over eight years in an Ethiopian prison.

The more I find out about the orphan sponsorship program the gala is supporting and the country itself, the more I’m beginning to feel that a trip to Africa may occur in the next couple of year.  I have already mentioned the Great Ethiopian Run which is a 10K, I did however forget to mention that it is at an altitude of 2500 feet.  That could be really challenging.  I think Chung-Yee and I are serious about this.

One of the things I love about being a volunteer is that you meet great people who like to get involved.  Hat’s off to the committee!  This fundraising adventure is raising friends too.