Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Postcard from Juneau

Landing in Juneau at sunset on Sunday, May 30th

So much to say, that it becomes to hard to write about it. A fabulous day all-round with the most perfect weather of the year to date. Very short run along the Juneau waterfront.

Memorial Day at the Mendenhall Glacier

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Sleepy in Seattle

Rhododendren House in Portland, Oregon

Yes, we have a stopover at the Seattle airport, enroute to Juneau and are a little weary although the day got off to an energetic start. Shortly after rising I left for the the first leg of my run. The flat river route seems to be the preferred route for the Portlanese. One side is eclipsed by the closeness of the highway to the river but a path has been created a little offshore to offset this abomination of urban planning.

Off shore running path

I ran 4Km solo, returning to the hotel to pick up my husband for the second leg, a much hillier route up by Washington park. Talking about “real estate”, the view and vegetation was magnifico, well worth the huffing and puffing to climb the steep hillside terrain.  The photo below may bear some resemblance to the Glen Road bridge in Rosedale, Toronto however that is due to the shortcomings of my camera.  By comparison, the depth of colour and density of the foliage in Portland makes even the most treed areas of Toronto look wanting

Running up that hill!

The greens surpassed those of Ireland in the fall although I’ve yet to experience an Irish spring.  Where there is greeness, there is rain and lots of moss. Check out the concrete benches lining the sidewalks of this older section of town.

Moss park bench

The properties are so gorgeous that it seems owners feel compelled to name them. Thus, you have The Rhododendron House, which incidentally was for sale.

A bit of rest after a hard climb

Gamely, my husband agreed to run with me for this third day straight. With his knee trouble it has been avoiding running consecutive days but he says his knee is “okay”.

House on the hill

The most risky aspect of this run, knee-wise was the steep return downhill. I advised him to walk down the steepest sections. Hopefully, this tourist-trotting won’t aggravate his tender meniscus as we are heading up to “rave run” territory and our shared runs are always a highlight of any vacation.

Run for the view


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Pitching Portland

Japanese garden, Washington park

Until recently, I had a vague notion that I might like to visit Eugene, Oregon one day being a famous runner’s city but Portland was just a name.  I asked my brother who lives in the Yukon whether he thought we would enjoy visiting Anchorage, Alaska and I received a flurry of emails detailing the wonders of Portland.  We spoke on the phone and he assured me that I would love it and if I didn’t love it, he would give me my money back.

Early morning hang-out, THE NINES lobby

And that is how we ended up sipping coffee in the lobby of the ultra-hip THE NINES hotel.  My brother sent me a Hotwire alert that was offering rooms at THE NINES for nearly half price.  The same price as what we will pay for a very modest rooms in Juneau and Haines in Alaska and where the internet will probably not be free.  So we arrived mid-afternoon on Thursday and fly to Juneau, late Sunday afternoon through Seattle, touching down in Juneau around the time the sun will set.

In pitching Portland to me, Jack described the city as being very Lynn-esque.  Hmm, my husband and I have been mulling this one over, and he says, “Well, not my Lynn particularly.”  The key elements, I think are a bike, runner friendly place with great coffee and bookstores, extensive public transit and casual outdoorsy feel.  But, the birthplace of grunge and a skateboarders haven, not really.  I’m definitely into low-risk sports and if pressed, would have to name jazz as my favourite music.  On the other hand I was a huge fan of Patti Smith when in art school and her bio was the top seller at Powell Books, which is a far better showing than on the NYT best seller list.

So, so good . . . going back for more.

Highlights so far have been; Powell Books, which far outstrips the Strand in New York City, the Japanese gardens in Washington Park, the amazing light rail transit, Stumptown coffee at the ACE Hotel and the best cheese blintzes ever at Kenny and Zuke’s deli just a door away from the ACE Hotel.

A time to blog and a time to RUN!

So much to do, and so much to report but I have a run to get in so gotta go . . . adios!


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Postcard from Portland

Wish you were here and hope the young men minding the homestead have good weather for barbequing.  Hoping the rain here will let up a bit to allow a dry run tomorrow.  It was raining when we left Toronto, pouring at our stopover in Calgary and then when we arrived in Portland, letting up about an hour ago.

Was up at 4:15 a.m. Toronto time.  Thank goodness that we are in the hometown of Stumptown Coffee . . . ole!

Staying awake in Portland


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What’s up with Lynn?

Forget-me-nots & anemones

Forget-me-nots & anemones

While on the way out the door for my run, my husband told me he had checked my blog three times yesterday.  “What’s up with Lynn?”  he asked, in reference to the absence of new posts.  I found this funny and flattering, in that being a think-out-loud kind of person he definitely knows what is on my mind.  But, the written word does offer another perspective  and as we continue our journey of couplehood we’ve  discovered that writing is a preferred communication medium for my husband.

We are part of a unique sharing group.  It is a couples/marriage sharing group and it has a distinct format.  One couple does a presentation on whatever relationship topic they they like and then they pose a question related to that topic.   The couples disperse to separate rooms or areas and then each person writes a letter to their spouse for 10 minutes.   Then spouses read each others letter twice and then discuss the letters, starting with the letter which contains the strongest emotions.  The discussion is 10 minutes long.

Each letter has to begin with telling your spouse what their most endearing quality was for the day, week, month and so on.  There are also guidelines as to how to express your feelings, as just that, rather than as blame.

Then everyone regroups and we “share” our thoughts and if desired, the contents of our letter.  It is a totally enriching experience to learn from each other and to spend time this way with couples who are highly motivated to “dwell deep”.  The ranges of ages for the nine couples in our group is mid-thirties to early-seventies.

Plant from neighbour

Transplanted from the abundance of a neighbour's garden

To partially answer the question of what’s up, I ran about 14 miles on this absolutely gorgeous day but is was a struggle.  I’ve never felt quite so dead legged as I did today, parting company with my friends to walk and run the final four miles home.  About 400 meters from home I realized why the fatigue.  Blame it on the garden.  Thursday was a GARDEN-RUN-GARDEN duathlon and I am feeling the after-effects now.  The garden is also the reason why I am getting so irregular with the blog.  Although, our gardens, front and back are very modest in size.  A number of our neighbours have incredible gardens they have been tending for decades which overflow with plant material, from which I have inherited a few specimens.

Better go plant those dahlia bulbs . . . ciao!

These dahlias may grow as big as a saucer, I'm told.


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Run to the lake and back and back again

Footbridge at Palace Pier

The early Saturday drizzle was not the best set up for a longer run without company.  I got a lot done while in procrastination mode, tidying up, gardening.  My husband offered to run five miles with me however this involved a loop back to the house, and the idea of getting close to home with many miles still to run, seemed mentally challenging.  But once I got bunch of chores done, the mood to run long finally arrived and out the door I ran ready to relax into a two hours or more solo run.

View from Coronation Park foot path

The marathoner in me triumphed as I enjoyed a steady pace through High Park, out to the Palace Pier bridge, then back east along the lake, heavily clothed in fog to just south of the Rogers Centre.  From there I ran northwest, home through the city.

Saturday run by mileage markers

It was our anniversary weekend but different commitments including a party for soon-to-be-parents made it difficult to get away.  Our solution was to travel very close to home and that somewhere was on one of my regular running routes.  A place by the lake of course!

Radisson by the Lake

The only expectation I had of the Radisson Hotel on the lake, just west of Queen’s Quay was that there would be a view.  It was a surprise to find our room nattily attired to a standard one might expect in a NYC boutique hotel.  And then with a little something you might not expect at a NYC boutique hotel, a high powered telescope. Which seemed a bit funny given that the easterly view of our corner room was a wall of condos.

Room with a . . . . telescope!

Coincidentally, the Toronto Goodlife Marathon route passed in front of our hotel, affording the chance to provide a bit of crowd support where none existed. I hope the strong tailwind made up for the drudgery and discomfort of the rain.  It was painful to watch runners slog by, both eastward and westward.  Go, marathoners!  I was impressed at how our cheers, lit up the faces of some.  I’m not sure if I could manage a smile in those conditions.

Brendan Kenny, Toronto Marathon Winner

As for our run, we did a route that took us to the Esplanade, a never run route for us.  This also gave us a chance to see the eventual winner speed by half-marathoners who had started out an hour earlier.

Tourist in Toronto

After our run, we walked over to Terminal Quay for breakfast at the Watermark Pub and an enjoyable browse through the Tilley store. Exiting the hotel parking lot proved easy, in spite of the ongoing stream of marathoners we were delayed barely a minute or so.

All's well that ends with Eggs Benedict

Ah, life by the lake.  I found myself wondering how much space and garden I would be willing to give up to trade in our too-big-for-us fixer upper for a lake view.


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Champagne & Chocolate, the Morning After

Making an Impression

My husband and I were not feeling too cheery this morning after what for us was a wild party night.  He had three beers and I had two piccolos of sparkling wine, which is about the most either of us ever drink at one time.  The kicker was that when we got home we gorged ourselves on chocolate.  This is very unlike us.  Chalk it up to post-event-organizing decompression.

Nonetheless, one of our first morning conversations was to ask him to carry some large  bricks to the front yard.  Over the past few days I’ve been shoring up the front garden with a makeshift cement block wall.  I got to work on reconciling some financial stuff for the gala and before I knew it, there was not much time left to run before work. I ran three easy miles. I weighed myself for the first time in a couple of weeks and was surprised to find myself down a pound to 109.  This is a not-too-skinny weight for someone who is 5 foot 1 inch tall.  It was it bit surprising, given I have really cut back on the miles in the past few weeks but it may be due to loss of muscle mass.

Pat's Pile

Lynn's Pile

CHOCOLATE DECOMPRESSION

The usual group of Saturday runners are injured, out-of-town, preparing to go out-of-town and MIA.  It will be tough to get myself out the door tomorrow morning.  Sigh . . . pass the chocolate honey.