Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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The Easter Bunny & the Boston Marathon

Easter bunnies

Once again, I find myself on the last day of the month rushing to meet my twice-a-month minimum blogging goal. We are hosting our family Easter dinner, making things a little busy around here. Although, I was pleased to find out that my husband will not go into the office today. It is a busy time for him. So having assigned him some chores, I now have a bit of breathing room for a quick blog post.

Tapering for Boston

I started tapering for Boston on Thursday by taking a day off. This on the heels of a 10 day cycle of 100 miles total. Things went well and I found myself wondering if I had trained hard enough. Although for the final 16 miler on Wednesday my pace was at the slower end of the pace-range I had in mind.

Thursday night I met a friend for a very informal Scrabble tournament at a local restaurant. I had warned him that when my husband and I play, we really, really take our time. In fact, we read while the other is taking their turn. Nonetheless, I think he was a bit surprised at how long I took and I felt a bit rushed. I was supplied with a *Cheat Sheet* which included; all the allowable two-letter words, all three letter words, all short words using *Q* and more. Newcomers are allowed to use this for their first three games.

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this outing but despite getting whopped, I found sipping a glass of Malbec over the course of three Scrabble games and intermittent conversation very relaxing. My friend who recently read the book, “Younger Next Year” has increased his workout habits. I’m hoping that if I get more serious about a mental fitness program that my brain will be younger-next-year.

My husband and I are very evenly matched at Scrabble and we have recorded the scores for all the games we have played. I feel I learned quite a bit on my evening out and am thus very eager to test this out on him. He has declined and is sticking to the solitary pursuit of Sudoku. He’s much enjoyed the beautiful board pictured above, a gift from our son’s girlfriend. Quite a striking “objet”.

Cute bunny

Happy Easter friends!

My mental fitness routine, as yet, is not fully articulated but roughly includes reading more,  making the effort to learn new software and how to use all the features of the many gadgets that have come into my life. I’m  hope to tackle some Sudoku however having gone through a phase of Sudoku-obsession when they first came on the scene, I have concerns about taking the plunge again.

I’m plodding towards completion of “Les Miserables” having read 850 pages of 1202, I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been interspersing this with another book of reflections and a teaser for “The Great Convergence, Asia, The West and the Logic of One World”. I generally read more non-fiction than fiction but the plan is to read “Tale of Two Cities” after that. While I love Dickens this one wasn’t at the top of my list until reading “Les Miserables”. Dickens by the way, was born 10 years after Victor Hugo and died 10 years earlier.

There’s bread to bake and houses to clean so I must go. Although, I no longer have to make breakfast having fueled up on one of the chocolate bunnies from the  top photo.

Wishing you a Happy Easter!

“Woe, alas, to those who have loved only bodies, forms, appearances! Death will rob them of everything. Try to love souls, you will find them again.”  Victor Hugo – Les Miserables

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Friends, Runners & Committee Members

Much going on and there are nice intersections of the above. Monday was the start of a ten day training blitz, my peak training for Boston. My plan is to average 10 miles a day for this ten day period. I ran 18  miles on Monday during which I picked up the pace through 10 miles to the end. Two days before I raced 3K at the Canadian Masters Indoor Championships and was happy to have my best performance of my four-race indoor season of two 5K’s and two 3K’s. I was able to raise my age-graded score by 1% over each race. My 12:30 for 3K translates into a 9:42 as an open female, a solid national class time. It was an honour to be awarded the Ontario Masters Athlete of the Month for February. You can read about this HERE . . .

April is the Busiest Month

The Boston Marathon is on Monday, April 15th and the People4Kids Gala on Wednesday, May 1st. My husband and I are Co-chairs and what we thought would be a two- year commitment now has a life of its own. The funds raised at the gala go towards an orphan sponsorship program in Ethiopia which is run by the largest community group of Ethiopians and Eritreans here in Toronto, People to People AID Organization Canada (P2P). We have sponsored a little girl for a few years and while on my runs, I often visualize myself running in Africa, especially while listening to the song Viva Africa which has become a favourite of my Boston 2013 training cycle. You can have a listen at the YouTube link at the bottom of this blog.

View from my Laptop

View from my laptop

The photos to the left of “little Tigist” – so called because the Chair of P2P Canada is our “big Tigist” – were taken at Christmas. She is wearing a hoodie that was a gift from us along with a schoolbag and Christmas card. We hope to visit her soon. Our friend Ambaye, who is on the Board” of P2P traveled to Ethiopia in December and kindly offered to take these gifts with him.

Earlier in the month, I enjoyed planning a breakfast reception held in the Old Senate Chamber at University College to celebrate our gala supporters and kick off year three. We have a committee of eleven which includes four Ethiopian-Canadians. Defying stereotype, none of the Ethiopians run while five of us, including four Asian committee members do. Three of us are on the UTTC Masters track team, as is one of our key supporters.

We in fact sold two gala tickets to a runner friend who challenged our Ethiopian friend to do, what for Ambaye is the improbable, run a 5K.

Yesterday I jogged an easy 3 miles in the morning and in the early evening did a 10 mile run on the treadmill which included 60 minutes of running at marathon to half-marathon pace. I broke it into sections of 1 x 20 minutes, 2 x 15 minutes and 1 x 10 minutes, running progressively faster for each section. Tomorrow, I’m running 16-18 miles with the Saturday Guys. Although two of the four are lucky to be in warmer places . . . sigh. On Monday, I plan to do intervals with the team, the longer the better and will reach the summit of my training on Wednesday with a final long run of 17-18 miles which will include 8-10 miles of progressively faster running.

At right, big Tigist

At right, big Tigist

Did I mention that I’m doing Boston for fun?! That and to raise funds for P2P. Yes, my training is not what it used to be and I’ve resigned myself to doing well at shorter distances but not being able to maintain the quality of performance over the long haul. Lacking natural endurance I used to compensate by running a lot of mileage but at age 57 the miles don’t come as easily.

I am hopeful that my recent foray into more track racing will result in some self-knowledge gains that will point me towards how to  best train for marathons in my late-50’s and early 60’s. While I am happy to be able to run Boston this year, I don’t plan to return until 2016 when I will be in the 60-64 age group. I turn 60 in the fall of 2015. Can’t get my mind around that one. Three cheers for the prospect of being able to run marathons at age 60 but make no mistake  . . . 60 is *NOT*  the new 40.