Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


3 Comments

“The More You Move, the More You See”

I think I first saw this expression on the New Balance website.  Non-runners may not appreciate that using your legs to get you around town can be scenic and entertaining.

My NYC training plan called for 31K or 19 miles on Saturday. I had to be mentally tough going into it as the usual Saturday crowd were not around. I decided to focus on putting in the time on my feet and not worry about quality as that will come in good time. I devised a  scenic and mainly flat route and looked forward to taking my camera along.

Route to High Park

First mile to the west

Rather than the usual due south route down Strachan which is in the throes of  increased traffic caused by the Canadian National Exhibition, I ran west to High Park. Between Lansdowne and Roncesvalles are a few blocks blocks of urban decay, the outcome of a busy and confusing juncture where two streetcars lines intersect.  To enhance the ambience of this strip, leading the way was a man on a large motor scooter driving on the sidewalk whilst leaving a trail of marijuana smoke in his wake. Some people!

Tree that grows in Brooklyn

Urban decay, Ailanthus altissima, that tree that grows in Brooklyn

I entered into High Park by the northeast quadrant, running counter-clockwise on the trails past Grenadier Pond and then south to the lake and the Waterfront Trail.

High park trails

Favourite section of High Park trails

In High Park I was watching out for friends from People to People AID Organization Canada, who were holding a fundraising walk later that morning but did not see a soul as I must have been a bit too early having set out at 7:30 a.m.  That is the group for which my husband and I organized a the fundraising gala, People4Kids last April.

Grenadier Pond

Grenadier Pond 8 a.m.

The fogginess of the morning set the scene for some pretty and atmospheric sights and one rather euw’ish sight which I learned upon examining the photo I took was a tent caterpillar nest.

Tent Caterillar nest

Euw!!

When I hit the lake I went east for 3K and then back west through the Humber Bay Park east and then to a never-before-trod for me, destination of  Humber Bay Parks – Waterfront Trail

Butterfly garden

Twig sculpture in the butterfly garden

Running through the wild flower garden I spotted what I think were American goldfinch, twittering about. In Humber Bay park east, I saw what appeared to be a female cardinal.  The entrance to Humber Bay park east is quite a maze of paths and parking lots and I was on the lookout for the entrance to Humber Bay park west which I had over the course of three decades missed in my occasional forays to this area of the lakeshore.

Lighthouse, Humber Bay park west

To the lighthouse

I was successful in finding the entry point and was rewarded with a pleasant run of about two miles, out and back on this new found route. Waiting for this intrepid runner at the turnaround point were two surprises,  a groundhog and an historic lighthouse.

Grounghog

Twas a groundhog . . .

Along the way I also spotted a photo session with a lean, blond model wearing a black negligee and a large number of scuba divers, in and out of the water.

The run itself was verging on being a “slog” but with the help of some Gatorade, I perked up a bit in the second half.  I made two stops to drink Gatorade using the plastic bag technique mentioned in a PREVIOUS POST.  I’ve refined this method by adding a second chamber, sectioned off with an elastic.

Gatorade in a bag

Low tech fluid replenishing system

This weekend my husband was a model of support in that while I was out running he shopped for meat at Grace Street Meat Market, bought vegies and fruit at the Wychwood Barns farmer’s market, brought me my fatty latte from Starbuck’s (triple-venti-whole-milk-vanilla latte) and cooked me a bacon and egg breakfast.

I felt quite tired today, as though I was coming down with “something” and while I napped he went and did some essential grocery shopping and my son did the dishes after my husband had cooked breakfast again.  He also cooked dinner last night and is cooking dinner while I write. Thank you, thank you my darling.  This felt even more commendable given that he feels that I’m not coming down with  “something” but suffering the effects of two large glasses of wine enjoyed at a  party last night.  Alcohol has greater effect when in hard training, this is true.

I should also mention that getting out the door this morning for a 10K run was easier for having our roommate Alain to run with.  I certainly can’t complain about household support for my training.

So I got my 108KM in for this week and am hoping to hit 116 km or 70 miles for the upcoming week.  I’m sure looking forward to the easy week scheduled after that.  But the fatigue level of this week tells me that I am pushing myself in the way that one must, to get to the next level of fitness.

The more I move, the faster I’ll see that finish line at the New York City Marathon.  Olé!

Advertisements


2 Comments

62 Miles = 100 Kilometers

Nowadays when I tell people how far I’ve run or my weekly mileage tally most people assume I mean kilometers not miles. So, for the record I ran 100 KM this week.

NYC Marathon

That would be miles, not kilometers

A highlight of the past eight days was that I ran with two new people. The first was our roommate Alain, a friend of my son’s who lives with us. We enjoyed a 10K run at a faster-than-usual easy day pace. A few days later I ran with a 19 year old friend from Afghanistan who hasn’t been running at all but did come second in the city wrestling championships in the 55 kilogram category. He easily ran with me for five miles through High Park including Deer Pen Road, the steepest road in the Park. He did this while wearing his wrestling shoes. We are planning to run again. It feels good to be able to run with fit youngsters who have mothers 10 years my junior.

I enjoyed introducing him to High Park. He lives less than a mile away but had never visited. He really enjoyed the trails and particularly enjoyed the part I dread most, the off-leash dog area of the trail. As it turns out, he had a dog in Afghanistan and as he started to tell me about his large Russian bred dog, said, “Things are different in my country” which was perhaps in my little world, the understatement of the year. I rightly guessed that his dog was an attack dog, trained to protect people and property.

He got quite a kick out the packs of unleashed dogs playing on the trail and encouraged one to run alongside us, to the chagrin of the owner. I do confess as a tending-to-cower runner in the presence of dogs, I rather enjoyed this show of confidence. My friend thought it quite funny that I would be scared of Canadian dogs. I asked a friend from Sierra Leone about the dogs in his country and he confirmed that owning 2-3 dogs trained this way was a necessity.

As for NYC Marathon training, the week went very well and I felt surprisingly good today after my 18 miler yesterday which went a big way in getting me past my minimum target of 60 miles for the week. Mixed in to those miles was 35 minutes of tempo running and 10 x 1 minute hard.

Yesterday I woke at 4:00 a.m. and set out on my 18 miler at 6:40 a.m. The morning grew hotter and more humid and while the run was hard, it was not a slog. I napped for a couple of hours afterward to make up for rising so early.

My goal for next week is to hit 65 miles minimum. I’m going to have to tighten up my time management as I’m heading into a very busy period at work.  Today I learned how to make lists on my BlackBerry which I hope will be one tool to improve my ability to Get Things Done.  One thing I’ve been doing this year to save time is to avoid shopping if at all possible. You would be amazed at how much time you can save if you decide just to get by with what you have and avoid stores.

Best to save that leg power for running not shopping.  Marathon training can save you money 🙂


Leave a comment

The Country Mile

Some of the toughest training I’ve done has been in the country. Thus I find that intense training while on a cottage vacation is to be avoided. I organize my mileage to peak just before such holidays in anticipation of unfavourable conditions such as ornery, ill-trained country dogs, trekking through bear country and narrow sloping shoulders on the highways and byways, elements which help do justice to the term a “country mile”.

Running Haliburton

North Shore Road, Haliburton Highlands

I once saw Dick Beardsley speak at the Ottawa Marathon Race Expo. He is famous for his Duel in the Sun with Alberto Salazar at the Boston Marathon in 1982 where they ran together for the full 26.2 miles and finished 2 seconds apart, Salazar the victor. At the Expo Dick Beardsley told us that whenever he had to train in the country he would visit the farms nearby and introduce himself to the neighbourhood dogs. Good advice if you want to experience less tension when running in the country. Though I admit that my fears have a tinge of irony in that the only time I have been bitten by a dog was while running on Queen Street West when a leashed dog leapt up and and set some faint tooth-marks into my thigh.

Cosy Corner

Cosy Corner, Haliburton – Sweet Tooth Special – Note: I could not eat the toast 🙂

My weekly mileage tally ending last Sunday was 56. This put me a little ahead of my NYC Marathon training plan, especially since I ran an unplanned-for 17 miles very early on the Saturday before we left for the Haliburton Highlands. I had planned to do 17 miles two weeks later but capped a successful four-week training bloc by doing more than planned. WooHoo!

My easy 6 miler last Sunday was run from a cottage on Boshkung Lake  just north of Carnarvon off of Highway 35 in Ontario.  Thankfully, after a one-mile busy stretch on the narrow shoulder of the highway, I was able to run on North Shore Road, a meandering road with varied terrain, which curves pleasantly along Beech Lake and is dotted with cottage homes and farms. This is the best cottage running I have ever enjoyed and for the first time, country miles felt shorter than city miles.

Stanhope museum

Roadside attraction

While it was an easy week for the legs, my arms were called into action. The first morning, I was invited to be the fourth in a game of tennis. I like tennis but since playing a bit as a girl, have averaged a game a decade.  The day was cool, the company congenial and the approach relaxed so I very much enjoyed this uncommon departure from my usual athletic routine.

Par Three Golf

Par Three Golf in Carnarvon

The tennis game sparked my desire to one day learn to play a bit better and my friend suggested that we might play now and again at Glendon College. After tennis, I had allowed myself the option to skip a run, but thanks to the initiative of my husband got out for a six miler although my legs were none too perky after 90 minutes of running around the court. In addition to tennis we kayaked , played ping pong and then had a nine-hole, par three game of golf; my score, an astonishing 24 over par at 51! My husband did much better and scored his first birdie ever.

North Shore Road, cycling

Bike Escort on North Shore Road

Yesterday, was our last day in the country and I ran earlier than the rest of the week.  My reward was seeing three deer in two separate sightings. I also spotted from afar a very large black dog prowling in front of a home and decided to do some double loops closer to home. It struck me then that part of the ease of my previous runs was due to having my husband leading the way on his bike. This was the first run I did solo.

Deer on North Shore Road

Deer on North Shore Road

So after being buoyed by my earlier runs, I returned home  like a dog with its tail between its legs in reporting that I chose the comfort of cars whizzing by on the main road to the perils of country dogs. My overactive imagination created the faint thought that perhaps that large black dog with white around the neck, seen from afar was a wolf. My husband will be distressed to read that I even mention this outrageous imagining. Perhaps I was influenced by thoughts of an outing planned for later that day, a trek to the Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre. To be honest, learning more about wolves made me well . . . more wary of dogs perhaps not the best outing for this easily startled runner. Awoooooooo . . .

Wolves at Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre

Wolf pack at Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre


1 Comment

1st Year Blog Anniversary – My Favourite Posts

My blog made its debut a year ago today.  Born as a final project for a course on blogging at OCAD. To celebrate, I briefly looked over the 287 posts I made over my first year and chose my favourites.  My average rate of posting per week was just over 5 posts.  Over the first few months of the year, I had aspirations to post as much as I ran and joined the WordPress postaday club.  However my commitment to organize the People4Kids fundraising gala last May 3rd took priority and my rate of posting dwindled.

Hours after finishing the CIM - Feeling good!

Since the blogging course I’ve taken digital photography, InDesign and Adobe Illustrator courses and that too has consumed much time.  So I’ve reset my sights on posting 2-four times a week. So here are my favourites, in no particular order.

The Final Mile, a State of Grace

Running the final mile of the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento last December.

Slainte

About an 8K race run prior to the CIM.

19 Miles & Moore Park Ravine

My longest run in preparation for the marathon run on one of my favourite Toronto routes.

Ready, Set . . . Bake

A day of baking for a good cause shared with a friend.

ACE-ing Portland at the NINES

Our highly enjoyable adventures in Portland, Oregon.

I Think My Bathroom Scale is Broken

The post that got me Freshly Pressed with 2061 hits in one day.

Blogging Jogger Gets Freshly Pressed

My feelings on getting Freshly Pressed.

Haines, Sweet Haines

A visit to a special place in Alaska.

Happy in Haines

More about this special place.

If My Husband Had a Tatoo

A bit about my husband’s running accomplishments.

Thank you to all my subscribers and those who tell me that they enjoy reading my blog.  Your readership makes blogging fun and keeps me motivated.


Leave a comment

Massage Runs – How easy is that?

Lake Ontario

Favourite turnaround point

Ta da . . . I got my 55 miles the week past with a very easy 5 mile run Sunday morning.  This run was what I call a “massage run”.  Reasons for running this pace include; long run recovery, race recovery and double-run days.  Sometimes I joke that one of my strengths as a marathoner is my ability to run slow.  Some runners just do not have the temperament to run those slow miles that boost total mileage and total fitness. Their view is that running that slow is well, not really running.

Often times mileage accumulated this way are disparaged as junk miles.  Defined so if one takes a narrow view of training methods as a quantity versus quality. High mileage programs may essentially be the same as the low mileage quality programs except for the addition of those extra easy and very easy runs which at the 100 mile a week level might give you an extra 15-20 miles a week. At the peak of my training in years past I ran 11 times a week, with 4 days of double-workouts with most of those second runs falling into the very easy or massage pace zone.

What do those additional miles do for a runner?  Some like Matt Fitzgerald author of Mind, Body Running suggest that high-mileage training is one of the factors that improve running economy.  Anecdotely, I’ d agree that at the end of those high-mileage weeks the body is very motivated to find the most economical way to keep on moving.  You also in the most gradual of ways increase the strength of the musculoskeletal system and gently improve aerobic conditioning.

On the subject of real easy, non-running style here’s a quick recap of some of the things I’ve been up to in the past week or so that I have done while not running.  We went to a couple of theatre events, the first a sketch comedy production called All Grown Up by Asiansploitation a troupe we’ve followed for the past couple of years. The other Kim’s Convenience, voted best play at the Toronto Fringe Festival.  One very hot afternoon we escaped to the movies to see Cowboys and Aliens. I also watched The Fighter on DVD for the second time.  Really enjoyed that one, a classic sport redemption tale which I give ****1/2 out of 5 stars.

Kim's Convenience

Encore for Kim's Convenience, Best of the Toronto Fringe Festival

As for eating, we very much enjoyed a lunch at Pizza Libretto on Ossington avenue which included absolutely amazing vanilla ice cream and the best pannacotta I’ve ever tasted.  I was very proud of the Chap Chae, a Korean noodle dish that I made for an international pot luck dinner last night.  I made this with two very recently arrived acquaintances from North Korea in mind.

Chap Chae

Chap Chae, Korean Yam Noodle dish

Tonight due to a late departure from work we ate at the Caledonian, the only Scottish pub in Toronto where I took pleasure in one of my favourite dining out meals, a burger with fries.  Eat to run, run to eat . . . it is a good life.

Pannacotta

Best pannacotta ever!