Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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My umpteenth fifteen mile run

Doing a long run on the weekend is a deeply ingrained habit for me. If I were to run for fitness only, my routine would be something like this: Run an hour a day for five days of the week, run 2 to 2 1/2 hours once a week and 40-60 minutes the day after the long run.

After my 15 1/2 mile run today, I tried to guesstimate how many times I have run 15 miles or more in my 31 years of running. I can safely say that I have run 15 miles or more at least 1000 times.

The most important day of the week for good weather is the day of the long run.  I was disappointed by the forecast of wind and rain. Boo!! When I woke this morning I checked the weather forecast and it showed that appearance of rain was slightly delayed. I left the house at 7:30 a.m. hoping upon hope for a further delay to the rain. Taking the 30K easterly wind into account, I planned a run along the lake heading west and then a trek north through a forested area by the Humber River.

Near mouth of the south Humber river, CN tower in top left

The lakeshore section was a breeze, with the tailwind. Near Sunnybrook pool I was overtaken by one of my husband’s work colleagues and we enjoyed a pleasant mile together. I considered running back east with him but his plan was to walk for a bit every 2K so with the wind-in-your-face factor added to this, I stuck to my plan. I continued on, heading north along the Humber river path. I find this path a bit creepy as there are not as many people running or walking here as there are on the lakeshore. A couple of decades ago I was passed by a “flasher” riding a bicycle. Since then I’ve been careful to run here only during peak weekend hours and indeed I ran by three runners in the short creepy stretch.

While running this route I realized that I had not run this way for nearly a dozen years. Thus, when I got to the trail-head, I realized that I couldn’t quite remember how this path connects with the other section of the path that goes through the north Humber. I tried to guess and went up one wrong street but thanks to the GPS on my BlackBerry was able to find the path entrance.

A big- time memory awaited me as it was on this section of the path that I became aware of the existence of a then-35-year-old-runner who is now my husband of over 26 years. I was running with a group which included my husband’s coach at the time who said, “There goes a fine young man!” just as this fine young man pulled away from the main group in following his instructions to pick up the pace at the end of his long run. Note to then-29 year-old runner self: fine young man, hmm . . .  Incidentally, he was preparing for the Detroit marathon which he ran in 2 hours and 36 minutes.

Ginger Hammer a carrot juice boost from Booster Juice

In exiting the park, I got a bit lost again before I hit Bloor street where I made a beeline east all the way home. Well, actually not quite a beeline as I stopped at Booster Juice for a Ginger Hammer which has fresh squeezed carrot and apple juice and a bit of ginger. One of the best ways you can spend 167 calories, delicious and so nutritious. I also dipped into a stamp and scrapbooking store to see if they had a paper punch in the shape of a cherry blossom. No luck so it looks like I will have to order this on EBay. This has to do with my gala planning. The committee member from last year who took care of decorations has been ill so I’ve added decorating to my task list.

From: The Flirty Guide CLICK PHOTO to see more . . .

I felt quite strong in spite of having the wind in my face. Once home, I checked my route at gmaps-pedometer  and was pleased to see that getting lost had added 1.5 miles to my route for a 15 1/2 mile total. If I run 5 1/2 miles tomorrow I’ll end up with a weekly total of 55 miles.  With speedwork on Monday and Thursday I’m patting myself on the back for a solid week of training.

Well, better go check out EBay. If only I could remember my username and password.  So many miles to run, too many passwords to remember.

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On blogging, baking and running around

Yikes! My goal is to post at least once a week and I am behind. I am seriously busy these days but my running is going very well. It just leaves little time to blog. And I do miss blogging and both my husband and son read my blog. I think they miss the blogging me 🙂  I also miss having the time to bake but was able to squeeze in a lemon-poppyseed pound cake for my boss’s  birthday and some wild pig shaped gingerbread cookies which I mailed to my nephew in Phoenix.

Havelina (wild pig) gingerbread

I’ve been taking a course which takes about 15 hours a week of my time. I’m in the throes of organizing a gala which my husband and I Co-Chair and work is fairly intense these days. I hope to run under 21 minutes later this year for 5K and have been joining my track team 1-2 times a week for speed sessions.

I ran 6.5 miles yesterday in the most broken up fashion ever in trying to fit everything in. I’m planning to run a 5K in the beaches area and the race is a throwback to the days of small community driven races. There is no on-line entry and no mail-in entry. The registration takes place over the course of six evenings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. way out on the other side of town. A real dilemma for the time-crunched. I considered finding another race but I’ve run this one a couple of times and I like the low-key atmosphere and the course is a fairly fast, out and back route along the eastern beach.

Lemon poppyseed pound cake

There are a couple of friends who live way east of me who I’ve not seen for awhile. I sent an email in the morning to see if they might be able to meet me for coffee during my rare appearance in that neck of the woods. Bingo! One friend had a date nearby that meshed with my timing.

Here is how my run went:

  • 5:00 p.m. Run half mile to subway
  • 5:05 – 5:20 p.m. Read course material on subway
  • 5:20 – 5:50 p.m. Run from Coxwell subway to friend-meeting point at Book City on Queen street.
  • 5:50 -7:00 p.m. Catch up with Dolores and enjoy bowl of seafood chowder with slice of bread
  • 7:00-7:05 p.m. Run to community centre to register for run
  • 7:05-7:20 p.m. Register for run
  • 7:20-7:55 p.m. Run to Coxwell subway station
  • 7:55-8:10 p.m. Finish reading course material on subway
  • 8:10 – 8:15 p.m. Run home

Total distance run over 3 hours and 15 minutes was 6 1/2 miles. Perhaps the lowest quality run ever. However, I’ve been having really great workouts since February including the night before. It was magical to be able to run on the Varsity stadium track at the very end of winter. WooHoo! I ran 6 x 1000 meters at a steady pace.

The week before I was really pleased with my result at the Canadian Masters Indoor Track Championships. I ran the 3000m in 12:32 which was a very solid national class age-graded score equivalent to running 9:52 in the open category. My confidence has really been boosted by racing on the track.

That's me on the left in the outside lane

As for the course, I just finished an assignment that is due Saturday. I’m frantically trying to get ahead of the game as the date the big project is due coincides with the gala. Enough, is enough and I’m now allowing myself the luxury of a blog post.

This is not a sustainable pace and I look forward to life post-gala. But the effort is worth the result and sometimes, there is no other way to get things done than get into fifth gear for awhile. If I get this post done tonight I still have ten days to get two more done by the end of the month.

I have no one to blame but myself for this state of affairs. But I do feel quite fulfilled and it won’t be long before I can take my sweet time and hopefully run a 5K under 21 minutes at age 56 with enough time to smell those roses afterward. According to the age-graded calculator my new motto should be:

20:59 is the new 16:59 . . . sigh


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Once a runner, the 3 R’s to getting out the door

Every now and then I ask myself, how did I ever get into this “racket” – that being, the daily imperative to run. This morning I remarked to my husband that I’ve spent more years of my life as a runner than as a non-runner which led me reflect on what has kept me going.

I started running in the spring of 1981 and ran my first marathon shortly after turning 26  later that year. I’ve lived 25 years as a non-runner and 31 years running daily for the majority of those years. I’m sounding a bit like a broken record with my oft repeated quip when asked how long I’ve been running. “Longer than you’ve been alive!”

Running in the early 80's

It should be no surprise that to run consistently for so many years, I’ve developed a very long list of reasons to run and many techniques for getting out the door. One motivator I never had was weight loss. I was one of those really skinny kids and always felt ashamed of being the skinny teenager who would disappear when I turned sideways. Hence I was was given the nickname by my four brothers of “skinny Lynnie”.  Apart from that, I’m no different from most folks and my inner couch-potato regularly fantasizes about what I could be doing instead of going out for my daily run and what I might do with the time I would save.

BUT  the memory of the satisfaction I feel of having done a great thing for mind and body is always fresh. Lacking the focus on calories burned has perhaps kept me a little more attuned to the sense of well-being that comes with the endorphin induced runner’s high and the state of relaxation that can only be experienced after vigourous activity. I also appreciate the “solitude” of the long-distance runner, rather than its infamous loneliness. I call it running from the inside-out.

31 yrs. of running, 27 yrs. with favorite running buddy

For me the bottom line is the realization of how few things in life come with the guarantee that you will not feel any regret. When was the last time you heard someone say, “I really regret having exercised.” When I feel the urge not to run, I think of how I’ll feel after my run, not how I feel at that moment. Do I want to feel a sense of accomplishment at maintaining a healthy lifestyle and “alone time” to reflect or do I want to feel the 3 R’s of:

REGRET, REGRET & REGRET