Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

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Winding down and warming up for the holidays

Season of hope

The past week has been a transition from hyper-busy to a bit of calm before the holidays. We will be away a for two long weekends in December so I’m working hard at getting a lot done now, to make up for the away time. Take note Steven and Alain in case you were thinking of hosting a party ūüôā I ran 35 miles this week with a long run of 7 miles. I’ve been doing upper body weight work and doing walking lunges and hope to start lower body weights next week. My only speedwork since the marathon has been to pick up the pace for about five blocks when my husband passed me on his bicycle on College Street.

To prepare for hosting three festive events, I’ve been cleaning and organizing like crazy. My mantra: Out with the old and then MAKE DO! I have been accused of having some Luddite-like views in certain areas. Such as the refusal to own a dishwasher and the belief that if I cannot keep my own home clean and tidy I have too much space and too much stuff. I have too much stuff and consequently my home is far from being as clean and tidy as I would like it to be ūüôā I am having a farewell party for a co-worker who is returning to Hungary on December 27th, hosting our family Christmas dinner for 21 guests and then a farewell party for a friend who is going to cycle from Cairo to Capetown as a fundraiser for the Ethiopian orphan sponsorship program that we support by organizing a gala. My friend Bev is 61 years old, has two kids and two grand kids. I’m going to blog about Bev’s trip soon.

Cairo to Capetown

Bev (centre) introduced at Ethiopian Community Dinner by Board Chair (right)

We attended Advent Vespers at St. Basil’s church which always makes for a special evening but I was a bit disappointed that for the second year in a row, Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel was not sung. Here is a good version by Sufjan Stevens.

After Vespers we dropped the church hall for a snack and coffee and then went for a drink atop the Hyatt Regency at the famous rooftop bar that dates back to the time when this hotel was the Park Plaza. It was my first visit to this famous Toronto lounge.

I’ve already sent one Christmas card and began playing Christmas carols last week. I cleared our dining room table of my work-work and volunteer work paraphernalia and my husband and I enjoyed a nice sit down dinner. I guess things must be settling down if I have time to arrange flowers. Dickens is a favourite author, with David Copperfield my favourite of the four Dicken’s novels I’ve read the others, Great Expectations, Bleak House, Dombey and Son. I think I’ll read The Christmas Carol over the holidays. Yes, I am feeling very happy to have the time to thoroughly enjoy, appreciate and contribute to the best of the coming season of hope and joyful expectation.

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child himself.

Charles Dickens

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Now we are four (runners)

I’ve set a record for the longest interval between blog posts of 8 days.¬† Surpassing the previous lapse of 7 days.¬† I have been and busy! I logged 60 hours of work and 60 miles of running with little time left to blog.

Wychwood barns

Sharing Saturday chores for a change

I started the week with aspirations to hit 70 miles however on my runs last Sunday and Monday, I felt as though I was running the final miles of a marathon as my legs were super-heavy.  Thus I knew that it was time to back off a little. I had planned to do a tempo run on Tuesday but instead ran an easy 7 miles.  I did a 45 minute section of tempo running on a 10 miler on Wednesday.  Even though I broke the 45 minutes into four sections I was not able to get my heartrate into the threshold zone consistently  because my legs went dead on me after the first 8 minutes.

Wychwood barns

Oh so succulent

I reconfigured the sequence of my workouts due to my belief that our annual family event was on Saturday and did my long run on Friday morning.  I set out with a minimum goal of 16 miles given the results of the last hard workout but happily felt good enough to get in 18 miles. I discovered on Friday afternoon that the family event was on Sunday not Saturday.  I decided to defer the 10 miler I had planned for Sunday to Monday in favour of being less rushed and also to give myself another rest day.

Wychwood barns

Beautiful beets

My husband usually does the meat and vegetable shopping on Saturdays while I’m running.¬† Due to my confusion about dates I was able to go along with him to the farmer’s market at the Wychwood Barns.¬† This market is on one of my long run routes and it was the first time I had been there in my civvies as prior visit have been when I needed to make a pit stop.

Wychwood barns

Fresh & fruity

Today I ran 10 miles with 8 x 2 minutes hard. The cooler temperature and the extra rest was a help as I felt great!  There is a lot of exciting stuff going on at our place. Our son just moved back from his year internship at Research in Motion and both he and his friend Alain, who lives with us, are going to join my husband and I in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. Before I had begun my workout, Alain was back from his run and just as I finished my run, Steven appeared, having just finished his. When my husband returned from his workout, he cooked up a big breakfast, well-deserved by all.

To find out more about what is keeping our household fit click on Scotiabank Charity Challenge to see our motivation.¬† CLICK HERE to find out more and perhaps place a pledge on me ūüôā If you would like to join our team just send your inquiry as a comment on this post.


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WooHoo . . . we did it!

I had today off and made good use of it.  I spent quite a bit of time in the garden and then ran, destination St. Lawrence market.  The market was alive with lunch hour in full swing but alas the store that I used to buy Ismay morning glory seeds was no longer.  Then I ran to Staples to pick up printer ink for my workplace and dropped it off during lunch.  There were extra burgers on hand, so I packed one up and ran home, consuming it shortly after arriving.

Then back to the garden.  I love weeding!

With an evening gala meeting by late afternoon, I had to get serious about organizing financial information which kept me quite busy until shortly before meeting time.  Our meeting place was the Emmett Ray bar just around the corner.  The gala photos made their debut and we set a date for next year of Wednesday, May 2nd.  The meeting was about the financial stuff but other committee members decided to join us just because . . . we really like each other!

The music was very loud at the Emmett Ray but in spite of this impediment we had a very gay time enjoying the success of our event and looking ahead to 2012.

WooHoo . . . we did it!!!!!!!

Celebrating our success!

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What do mothers want?

Here is an abridged version of a piece written by Marian Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children‚Äôs Defense Fund and first African-American woman called to the bar in Mississippi.¬† Joy Kogawa, community activist and award-winning novelist and member of the Order of Canada read this at the People4Kids Gala chaired by me and my husband, which took place last Tuesday.¬† The success of this fundraising gala was the best Mother’s Day gift I ever received.

A PRAYER FOR CHILDREN (edited short version)

We pray for children
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who like ghost stories,
who erase holes in math work books
who can never find their shoes.
We pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of shoes,
who never “counted potatoes”
and who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead.
We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.
And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
And whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who shove dirty clothes under their bed and never rinse out the tub,
We pray for children
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry
And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist,
and who aren’t spoiled by anybody.
We pray for children
who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance.
for those we smother with kisses…And for those who will take the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

People4Kids Gala at C-5 - Sold Out

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Rest in Peace Danny, God Bless

Over $42,000 was raised in order to give Danny Kassap a proper burial in Mt. Pleasant cemetery, a place where he ran regularly.¬† To find out more about Danny’s story CLICK HERE.¬† How to measure the stress endured by those on the “refugee highway” running from, but leaving behind a life, for better or for worse.¬† Danny’s seven year struggle came to fruition in 2008 when he was granted landed immigrant status.¬† His story is the story of a refugee who found refuge and hope in running. The strength he showed through hardship won hearts and friends.

Forever young, at age 28


Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew;
Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that.

The consul banged the table and said:
‘If you’ve got no passport, you’re officially dead’;
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go today, my dear, but where shall we go today?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said:
‘If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread’;
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying: ‘They must die’;
We were in his mind, my dear, we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren’t German Jews, my dear, but they weren’t German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren’t the human race, my dear, they weren’t the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors;
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

Now that Danny’s funeral costs are covered it has been suggested that friends and supporters consider directing donations to Covenant House where Danny found shelter in his early days in Canada.

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I’m back!

I’ve learned that you cannot blog daily while organizing a gala, running and working.¬† Training for NYC starts Monday.¬† For now, I’m taking it easy and focusing on Monday as the day to step into a six-month marathon training plan.

As for the Gala, we sold out, are already planning for next year and met our net revenue goals.¬† We’ve got that loving feeling.¬† And it’s growing, growing, growing . . .

The happy but exhausted co-chairs of People4Kids Gala.

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Running & Cycling Around Town

I had my bike tuned up last week and rode my bike to work for the very first time on Monday.  How marvelous to get to work in 6 minutes, rather than 15.  A great development given my current time crunch.  My life now is all about lists, lists and more lists.

This morning I realized that I had forgotten to get a document signed, that had to be sent to the ROM for noon today.¬† So I ran to the signatory’s home and back for about 4 miles with a stopover at Walmart to pick up a number of much needed stationary supplies.¬† Very convenient that they open at 9 a.m. for a busy person who often starts work at 10 a.m.¬† I was able to scratch a slough of things off one list.

I took a bean salad to work for a farewell lunch that coincided with the nicest weather of the day, allowing us to eat cake and drink coffee in our backyard patio.  Lovely people, lovely weather.  Most of the meal was prepared by a Columbian couple and it was very tasty.  I left work a bit early to dash to the UPS store at King and Bathurst which is printing the Gala program booklet.  Getting there 30 minutes early means that they will be able to have it ready for late-afternoon tomorrow.  They did an amazing job, the prices are very competitive  and the staff and owner are  friendly.

From there I stopped at Sanko Japanese Foods where I picked up some obscure items for a complicated Japanese rice dish that I usually only make for very special occasions.¬† I confess, that there is a bit of vanity involved in this time consuming choice as we are going to a pot luck party at the home of the first Asian Canadian woman to be a judge.¬† Sanko is opposite Starbuck’s so I stopped for a coffee break and made lists and more lists, sent emails on my Blackberry and was able to cross off more “to do’s”.

I stopped by the Paper Place but they were closed and I headed west on Queen street to Woolfit’s Art Supply store.¬† I picked up a number of items including a 32″ by 40″ piece of black foamcore on which to display the Silent Auction results.¬† The clerk wrapped this item in plastic and I asked her to make a handle out of tape.¬† Thankfully there is little wind today and I was able cycle home with one hand on the handlebars and the other holding this potential sail.

And now, I’m home eating leftover pizza and ready to work.¬† Tomorrow afternoon I will part of an interview conducted by John Chipman of CBC radio.¬† The young man I ran with on the weekend, John Chipman and I will go for a 5 mile run and some of the chit chat will form part of a 2-3 minute radio segment.¬† He is not able to tell me when it will be aired but I’ll post the date when I find out.

In a week I’ll be able to tackle my growing list of Post-gala, things to do.