Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

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Running & Cycling Around Town

I had my bike tuned up last week and rode my bike to work for the very first time on Monday.  How marvelous to get to work in 6 minutes, rather than 15.  A great development given my current time crunch.  My life now is all about lists, lists and more lists.

This morning I realized that I had forgotten to get a document signed, that had to be sent to the ROM for noon today.  So I ran to the signatory’s home and back for about 4 miles with a stopover at Walmart to pick up a number of much needed stationary supplies.  Very convenient that they open at 9 a.m. for a busy person who often starts work at 10 a.m.  I was able to scratch a slough of things off one list.

I took a bean salad to work for a farewell lunch that coincided with the nicest weather of the day, allowing us to eat cake and drink coffee in our backyard patio.  Lovely people, lovely weather.  Most of the meal was prepared by a Columbian couple and it was very tasty.  I left work a bit early to dash to the UPS store at King and Bathurst which is printing the Gala program booklet.  Getting there 30 minutes early means that they will be able to have it ready for late-afternoon tomorrow.  They did an amazing job, the prices are very competitive  and the staff and owner are  friendly.

From there I stopped at Sanko Japanese Foods where I picked up some obscure items for a complicated Japanese rice dish that I usually only make for very special occasions.  I confess, that there is a bit of vanity involved in this time consuming choice as we are going to a pot luck party at the home of the first Asian Canadian woman to be a judge.  Sanko is opposite Starbuck’s so I stopped for a coffee break and made lists and more lists, sent emails on my Blackberry and was able to cross off more “to do’s”.

I stopped by the Paper Place but they were closed and I headed west on Queen street to Woolfit’s Art Supply store.  I picked up a number of items including a 32″ by 40″ piece of black foamcore on which to display the Silent Auction results.  The clerk wrapped this item in plastic and I asked her to make a handle out of tape.  Thankfully there is little wind today and I was able cycle home with one hand on the handlebars and the other holding this potential sail.

And now, I’m home eating leftover pizza and ready to work.  Tomorrow afternoon I will part of an interview conducted by John Chipman of CBC radio.  The young man I ran with on the weekend, John Chipman and I will go for a 5 mile run and some of the chit chat will form part of a 2-3 minute radio segment.  He is not able to tell me when it will be aired but I’ll post the date when I find out.

In a week I’ll be able to tackle my growing list of Post-gala, things to do.


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How did I get so busy?

My husband is threatening to unsubscribe from my blog.  He tells me it has been a week since my last post and he teasingly says that he no longer knows what I am  up to.   One week to gala day.  We had our last pre-gala committee meeting at our house and had a nice time of it.  I estimate that I spent about 60 hours over the past two weeks on the eight page program booklet with Silent Auction catalogue.  Finally, this morning I sent it to print.

Is a picture worth a week of bloglessness?

Does this photo explain a week of blog-less-ness?

I took a day off from running yesterday. It is just not the time to push too hard but I did do 4 x 7 minutes hard today and had a good weekend of running with 13 miles on Saturday and 7 miles on Sunday. On Sunday I ran with a 19 year old from Namibia who told me that he doesn’t really run long distances. We ran through High Park up and down some of the steepest hills and his breathing never changed from that of someone walking. Well, he is after all 36 years younger than me but still. I expect more of myself and he certainly led me to expect less.

I look forward to having the time to blog and take photos.

Sweet dreams.

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Bad Weather, Running Boycott

Today, I did not run because I am super-busy and fed up with this prolonged wintery spring weather.  I don’t remember ever having come to this!  But, heck . . . where is spring?

People4Kids gala, a “labour of love” for my husband and I has already been proclaimed a success.  Joy Kogawa, renowned Canadian writer and friend, David Walsh , recipient of the Jane Jacobs award are two of our special guests.  Joy will read a poem, chosen by me, about children.  The gala will benefit an orphan sponsorship program in Ethiopia for children who lost their parents to AIDS.

Highlights of the past few days:

  • I sat beside our City Counsellor at lunch on Monday.  He seemed like a very genuine person.
  • I went on a day trip to Buffalo with my sister and bought a dress on sale for $8.98.
  • We have received donations from many of my favourite businesses, like Dufflets, Whole Foods, The Queen Mother Cafe, LUSH, Starbuck’s, Auberge du Pommier.
  • And of course . . . NEW BALANCE TORONTO!

Tomorrow is another busy day.  After work, I will go with a young man to outfit him with a pair of running shoes, courtesy of Mountain Equipment Coop.  Then to meet my mom for dinner and to the Toronto to Japan fundraiser for the Japan Red Cross.

I’ve been sitting in front of a computer for far too long today.  Life is very full and interesting and there is much to write about but no time.  Bon soir!

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Boston Marathon

Lucky Boston marathoners.  Conditions were fine with a tailwind and without the heat that often accompanies a Boston tailwind.  What a fine, fine feeling that must have been.  Congrats to all finishers.  Unbelievable times from the elite runners.

My day was busy with a lunch meeting and no time to have a peek at the action via the web.  I can’t believe that I missed five days of blogging!  But with 14 days to go for the gala I am working at light-speed.  I have been running.  I haven’t missed any running days although the Saturday longer run was shorter than usual due to the dismal conditions of very cold rain.  I ran about 9.5 miles on Saturday, then 5 miles on Sunday during which time the cake I had in the oven got a bit overdone.  Today, I had a very satisfying workout at U of T.  I had suggested that I should run 6 x 500 meters but my coach said I should do at least 8.  So I did eight and kept a consistent pace with the last two run run hard and faster than the previous ones.

I looked at the results from Boston for my category and boy are the women in my age category getting fast.  It will take a lot of hard work to place in the top five next year.  I’ve run Boston five times and all those times were into a headwind.  At least I never had to run it on one of the super hot days.  That would do me in.  I’ll take a headwind any day.

I look forward to more blogging after May 3rd.  Ciao!

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The Boston Marathon, a Run For All Reasons

The running of the Boston Marathon is fertile ground for stories to inspire, but most would be hard put to find one more compelling than that of Team Hoyt.  Rick Hoyt has cerebral palsy and the medical advice given to his parents on his birth was that he should be institutionalized, as there was no hope that he would have a “normal” life.  Nonetheless, his parents treated him like an ordinary child and with the help of a computer device Rick was eventually able to communicate to his family, his passion for sports.

Thus it was that Dick Hoyt began to enter charity runs and compete while pushing Rick in a wheelchair.  A source of much enjoyment, the pair began entering marathons and from there, progressed to triathlons. For the swim, Dick would tow Rick in a tiny boat and for the cycling portion would carry him on the front of his bike.  As of 2008, they had completed 229 triathlons and 66 marathons, often finishing in the top 10% of the field with a marathon personal best of 2 hours 40 minutes and 47 seconds.  A time, which is 3o minutes under the qualifying time for Open Men in the Boston Marathon.

In 2009 the duo completed their 27th Boston Marathon, Rick was 47 and Dick was 68 – sending a message to the world to include rather than exclude those with disabilities from activities that most of us have the good fortune to easily be a part of.

Never, ever give up! What does that mean to you?

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Here, There & Everywhere

That’s how the day felt.  I got to work early for a three-hour shift leaving before noon to head out to Scarborough via TTC for a funeral.  I barely knew the deceased but was happy to be pay my respects to the family of my step-grandfather, the only grandfather, on my mother’s side, that we knew.

I got a ride back from my brother and he dropped me off on Queen Street West.  I picked up a gift certificate from the Australian Boot Company where I bought my Blundstone boots, their contribution to the gala Silent Auction.  Then I had a quick lunch at Sweet Lulu’s, a Pad Thai’ish, design-your-own noodle dish, had a peek at The Paper Place, formerly the Japanese Paper store and then home with a short stopover at Starbuck’s for a latte.  I did some work and then got ready for my first outdoor track workout of the year at Varsity Stadium.

I checked the forecast before leaving, 17C with wind gusts up to 69K!  The wind was very fierce at times, and I saw a large flat piece of wood fly onto the hood of a car.  With this strong wind at my back, I was not looking forward to the post-workout jog home into the wind.

The workout consisted of 6 x 600 meters with a 90 second recovery.  It was quite a huff and puff effort but it felt good to feel my legs turn over quickly.    In spite of missing a speed session last week, I felt fairly sharp so perhaps my speed is on the rise.   The circuits felt easier, due to the notable absence of the dreaded hopping up stairs from same leg to same leg. There is something refreshing and dreamy about lying on your back doing a stretch, looking at the great expanse of sky from a large field in the middle of downtown Toronto. However, there is something disgusting about lying on this same track and noticing that the there are numerous cigarette butts and matches littered about on the astroturf.

Thankfully, the wind had died down on the way home and it wasn’t half bad.  Waiting for me was a meal of Osso Bucco prepare by our resident chef, Alain.  I have a good life.


Ready, Set . . . BAKE

Alarm went off at 6 a.m. and I dozed back to sleep, waking after 7 a.m. and having to be out of the house for 7:30 a.m.  I considered deferring this longer run to Sunday but roused myself and plodded up the hill to St. Clair.  I was late but had sent an alert by email and BlackBerry Messenger to my companions.  It was only around mile 12 that I began to feel perky.  Miles run for the day, fifteen.

The cause of early morning sluggishness was a later than usual night due to my first ever bake-a-thon.  Leading up to our May 3rd, Gala my calendar of activities will be severely constrained to Easter dinner or event planning task sessions or meetings or runs.

Get set . . . bake!

My dear friend Dolores and I over the course of nearly 6 hours baked about 28 dozen cookies!  We discovered this to be a relaxing and rewarding way to spend time together.  Although early on as I exercised some quality control advice from my 30 years or more of making this particular cookie type, Dolores may have wondered what she had got herself into.  But she patiently heeded my instructions with appreciation for the fact that magnification of a slight over-size cookie could result in a  shortfall at the end of the evening.  Our minimum target was 300.

Batch #2 with 2 1/2 pounds of butter.

It didn’t take long for us to get into a groove and the afternoon and evening flew by, punctuated by a vegetarian dinner of Spanish Bulgur, a classic recipe from Diet for a Small Planet. Together we were able to nearly finish the whole mega-batch of 11 times the usual recipe for Mexican Tea Cakes from a Betty Crocker Cookie Book that was given to me by an aunt around 1967.

The Finished Product

We lamented the fact that our friend Robyn who is suffering from the severe sleep deprivation of mom-hood was unable to join us but felt good that the two of us had pulled it off.  And where will these cookies go you may ask?  Each gala guest will receive in their goodie bag two cookies, lovingly prepared by Dolores and Lynn.

Tulips for the Assistant Baker