Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Rainy run in Fergus

Rail path from Fergus to Elora, Ontario

Oh, and did I mention that I ran a marathon a couple of weeks back? I’m on the mend from the disappointment of my second-slowest marathon time since my first marathon back in 1981. At some point I hope to blog about it but I’m moving on and enjoying a lot of very short runs as part of my recovery. We just spent three days in Fergus in small-town Ontario and enjoyed a lot of R&R at a local B&B.

Fergus Brew Pub – Sante!

It was a rainy time and we decided to skip our planned three miler on Saturday. I was ready to skip running on Sunday but got out the door thanks to my husband. He had looked into the local trails and led us to the trail-head of a rail path which runs from Fergus to Elora. I carried out my plan to run a modest 20 minute tempo workout within a 5 miler. In spite of the light rain, I felt pretty good and was tempted to extend my tempo run. Erring on the side of post-marathon recovery, I stuck to the plan.

I took a full five days off running after the marathon BUT I am trying to salvage a modicum of fitness to run a masters cross-country meet on November 11th.  My strategy is to keep my runs very short and do some minimal tempo running. In addition to the five days off I ran three miles, twice, for a total of six miles my first post-marathon week. My longest run so far has been five miles.

I read this when I was a girl! Coffee at the Fergus General Store

I’ve been enjoying catching up with friends and getting out and about. Last week we attended the final 2012 Massey Lecture at Koerner Hall, given by Neil Turok. Last night I saw Otto Preminger’s  Bonjour Tristesse from 1958 at the Bell Lightbox and I’ve been getting a bit of reading in. Although my current read A Song for Nagasaki while inspiring if not life-changing, is heavy going. Tomorrow we are going to see Betty Lavette at the Wintergarden Theatre. We saw her earlier this year at the Portland Blues Festival.

Fergus was exactly what we were looking for. It is a simple one-main-street-town with limited choices of what to do. We really enjoyed the fall fair at a local church, picking up books, dishes and a parsons bench.  I was also the winning bidder on the nativity scene shown below 🙂 We also checked out a couple of flea markets, ate at an Indian restaurant, a creperie and a brew pub across the way from our B&B.

The only bidder, the winning bidder! Handknit Nativity Scene

Getting back to the marathon, there is a whole other very happy side of the story which is a about my “other team” but somehow it seems too long a tale to tell as I rush to complete my second post of the month. Two posts a month is my minimum and well, it IS the 31st.

While we were away we found out via Facebook that our son and his friend who lives with us were holding a Halloween party. We hoped the party goers did not get carried away like this pumpkin we spotted in Elora on Saturday. Happy Halloween!

Spotted in Elora

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Guest blogger, Chung-Yee Loo on race hardware

The longer I run, the more I discover that while we runners are similar in many ways, our approach to our sport can be as varied as our numbers. In putting the spotlight on my friend Chung-Yee, I can’t help but recall an encounter with a former team mate at a race, an age-group competitor who inevitably places first in his age-category. He complained that there seems to be less merchandise for age-group competitors and only “stupid old medals”.  Enter Chung-Yee, running adventurer extraordinaire and her lovely tale of what she does with her hard-won finisher medals. Three cheers for Chung-Yee and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Photo
Treasures in a salad bowl and a tea biscuit tin box
Originally posted on Chung-Yee’s Facebook page

When people find out that I run, they always ask a set of similar questions:

“Have you run a marathon?” Yes.

“Have you run Boston?” No, not yet. I am too young to run Boston. At this point, I have to explain to them that with my average finishing time at 4 hours and 45 minutes, I would have to be 70 years old before I could qualify to run Boston.

“What do you do with your t-shirts and medals?”

Most t-shirts go to Goodwill or various charities. I do keep a few technical shirts which the fit, design and colour make me look good. A girl has to look good while running. I also keep shirts that have sentimental value. The ones from the New York City Marathons – the experiences there were just awesome and the memories running through all five boroughs are just as vivid now as they were a decade ago. Another is the Marine Corp Marathon’s finisher shirt and baseball cap that I was wearing on my way back to the hotel after the race, when a marine said that he is an awe of my strength. “Huh?” was the only answer that I had enough energy to express. “You are still standing straight and upright.” Awe now, how could I not respond with a smile:-)

As for the finisher medals, I keep them a salad bowl. I used to hang them on a door knob, then on “over-the-door” racks. But as I ran more races each year, I had this vision that the weight of my medals would yank off the top half of the door. The salad bowl I use now is clear and transparent with leafy motifs, and it is made from plastic so the container does not weigh much. However, it is a different story with my finisher medals … it weighs a ton. I do take the medals out of the salad bowl, especially during “mental health days”, and place them on my counter to remind myself of those accomplishments and how I persevered through whatever obstacles that could come about during epic challenges. Most of the time though, the medals stay in the salad bowl, just visible enough to inspire myself to continue to run.

Every single race I have entered, I have recorded my results on the back of the race bib and have saved those bibs in a tea biscuit tin box. This simple box, from the Hudson Bay Holiday treat collection, was given to me by a good friend Aggie who I affectionately call “Mrs. Claus” because she looks like Mrs. Claus and she volunteers as Mrs. Claus for the Children’s Aid Society. It seems fitting that this box stores a continuous record of my running career.

Aggie is in her seventh decade but she has the energy of someone more than half her age. Over the years, she has been an active volunteer for local races and I always look for her behind the registration desks or at the medical tent at the finish line (she is a registered nurse). I could always count on her words and hugs of encouragement. With support from Aggie, I hope to continue to run into my seventh decade, and hopefully by then, I could qualify to run the Boston Marathon and add that race bib to the tea biscuit tin box collection.

CLICK HERE to read Chung-Yee’s previous post on Mind, Motion & Matter called Celebrating 40 on My Own Terms.

Thou who hast given so much to me, give me one more thing – a grateful heart!

George Herbert