Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Run, Reflect, Rejoice

MLK

My son, his girlfriend and my husband at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. MLK

We just got back from Washington D.C. where I enjoyed four memorable runs. Shown above is one of many Martin Luther King Jr. quotes chiseled into the wall surrounding the memorial statue. I was reminded of other memorable words worth reflecting on this New Year’s eve.

085A poem by Rumi, dedicated to my husband.

A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden’s beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.

LynnWashingtonRun

Morning run, Friday, December 28, 2012

“When you race, you liberate your soul from the limits of your body. You push your body beyond its limit. In every race, you relive the innocence of childhood and the hope of youth, only to see them dashed in the pain of adulthood and the weakness of old age.”  Kamal Jabbour

Wishing you and your loved ones, a peaceful, joyful and healthy New Year!

Lynn

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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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Three cheers for Bloor Street!

People4Kids Gala

We did it! Last Wednesday we pulled off another gala at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, Canada. It was hard work and as we were in the homestretch of organizing my husband, who was on domestic duty while I did my special events schtick, asked if he should spoon feed me, chained to the computer as I was. So we raised enough money to provide support to over 65 children orphaned by HIV-AIDS in Ethiopia. That felt great! And many thanks to our  supporters and the outstanding People4Kids Gala committee.

People to People AID Organization Canada, Board Chair, Tigist Abebe (left)

Favourite photo from 2011 Gala of my son and his girlfriend

Two doors west of the ROM is Varsity Stadium, home of my running club. The day after the gala I went for drinks with my running pals. Last year while in event-organizer mode, my training suffered greatly. This year, thanks to the regular workouts and support of my club, I ran some solid races and was awarded Athlete of the Month status for April. That felt great!

What the running club bought for the newborn twins of one of our teammates.

In between the ROM and Varsity Stadium is the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM)  and guess what! On Friday, we were there to enjoy the music of Egberto Gismonti in Koerner Hall, located in the RCM. I saw Gismonti perform about 30 years ago at the Bamboo Club (now LUSH Handmade Cosmetics). It WAS great!

Still on-the-go two nights later, just next door to the ROM

I’ll be hard pressed to pack in that much excitement into a one-block, three-day stretch again. Triple-dipping on Bloor Street . . . WooHoo Toronto!

Look up! It’s C5 at the ROM, scene of the gala – as seen from the lobby of Koerner Hall

Where we were on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday last week


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“Once Upon a Time in the West”

Back from our southwest swing, we enjoyed watching a film for which we saw a poster in a Taos, New Mexico coffee shop, a 1968 Sergio Leone film, “Once upon a Time in the West”. We revisited the desert in this film featuring Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale. Apparently, it is a favourite of film aficionado’s and film makers including Quentin Tarantino, appearing on many an all-time, top one hundred list.

While in Arizona, I was eager to pay a visit to the Cowtown Boot Outlet. I am always on the hunt for stylish but comfortable footwear and blogged about this in the post titled RUBBER SOLES. One exception to the superior comfort of rubber soles is the cowboy boot. What is it that makes cowboy boots so comfortable? Granted, they are not the height of stylishness but they are certainly a little more lithe in appearance than my beloved Blundstones. My comfy footwear instincts were dead on and I was rewarded with a pair of black leather boots for $113.  Sadly there is no such outlet in Canada, not even in Alberta but if you are in the U.S. and in need of comfy boots –  you gotta go!

Score: Comfy all-leather boots for $113

Justin Boots - Black Kipskin

On my last run in Phoenix I was drawn to finish my 6 miles in South Mountain park despite the risk of re-injuring my tender ankle. Fortunately all went well and I left feeling ready to tackle speedwork and increase my mileage upon returning to Toronto.

Last run in the west for this cowgirl


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The Moose & Marc Chagall

Wondering what a moose has in common with Marc Chagall? In the past month or so these were a couple of highlights in my little world, that never made it to the blog-o-sphere due to the now intermittent pace of my posts. In January of 2011 at this time I had not missed a day of blogging for a total of 21 posts while this will be my second post of the year.

St. Albert, grain elevator

St. Albert, a suburb of Edmonton, Alberta, enjoyed a spell of warmish winter weather during my four day visit in December. The path along the Sturgeon river was runnable and in many ways much more pleasant than my summer runs (see Running with the Mosquitoes) where at times one must concentrate on keeping  your mouth closed to avoid getting a mouthful of insects. I did a stretch of the Sturgeon river path, hitherto unexplored and was rewarded by the sight of an icon of the prairie landscape, a grain elevator, something I’ve grown to to love.

Click here for Big Lake webcam photos

A short stretch through an older section of St. Albert led me to a winding road flanked by parkland. About 150 feet ahead, I noticed a large creature, with an awkward loping stride crossing the road. Was it a horse? NO, it was a moose. I grabbed my BlackBerry and whilst fumbling with cold hands, missed capturing  the moment. My dismay at missing this photo opportunity changed to concern that the moose might decide to trot my way. I reversed direction and found myself looking over my shoulder regularly, just in case.

This was the second moose sighting of my life, the first a couple of years ago, sighted just off the highway while driving near Parry Sound. I wonder how many Canadians have actually seen a moose in the wild? I learned that this is fairly common in Alberta although my 95 year old father-in-law a resident of St. Albert for over 45 years has never seen one. I discovered that I my sighting took place about three miles from Big Lake where many a moose and other creatures are to be found.

Second trip to the Chagall exhibit

As for Chagall, due to the disappointment of missing a trip to an art gallery while  in NYC to run the marathon with my sister as support crew, we did a tourist day in Toronto. Our first stop was the AGO for the Chagall exhibit. Featured alongside Chagall were his Russian avant-garde contemporaries. The most striking contribution from this group was the film, Man With a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov a film which as a film aficionado in the early-eighties, I viewed in a tiny room of the U of T film library housed in the basement of Sigmund Samuels library. The film released in 1929 is notable for it’s unabashed experimentation with this new art form and was projected onto a very large screen in a prominent area of the exhibition. Bravo AGO, you are doing a great job of making our gallery a world-class venue.

In 1981 during a three month solo tour of Europe I visited the Chagall Museum in Nice, France and more than half a lifetime ago, made this entry in my travel journal.

Saturday, February 21, 1981

. . . the Chagall Museum and there was a small chapel in which a girl was practicing on a harpsichord painted by Chagall, if there was one moment which I might say was THE moment I was looking for here in Europe I would probably choose that one.

Chagall Harpsichord painting – Meeting of Isaac & Rebecca

While the number of Chagall paintings and drawings in the AGO exhibit was limited, the selection of 32 works was quite satisfying to this Chagall lover. I signed up for an AGO membership and I returned in late-December with my husband for another visit.

Paintings done by Chagall of his hometown Vitebsk (Belarus, then part of the Russian Empire) are testimony to the power of art to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary. In December I had an invitation to experience an extraordinary marathon in Russia. To begin with my friend was looking for some who would help provide the appropriate reading glasses to the Buryat people. The training for this is very simple and is done by Agape.  At the end of the mission I was invited to participate in the 8th Annual International Baikal Ice Running Marathon. This marathon is run on a frozen lake with the route mapped out by satellite in order to insure safe ice running. Due to my volunteer commitments this year I declined but for my friend this will be his very first marathon attempt. Imagine that!


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Song for a Winter’s Night

December has been a month of catching up with friends, preparing for the holiday season and somehow blogging has fallen by the wayside. I’ve been enjoying gradually increasing my mileage to 40 miles a week over seven days of running.

At a party the other week a friend mentioned that he had found out about my blog through another friend who told him that I blogged very regularly.  He was happy to hear that you can sign up for an email subscription rather than visiting my blog to check for new posts. My posting has slowed to 2-5 times a month lately while earlier in the year I was posting nearly every day.

Photo by Shaylan Spurway

We enjoyed a memorable evening last weekend in Stratford, Ontario at a performance by  iconic singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. While visiting Stratford in early October for the Festival City 10K we were learned that the last two shows of his latest Canadian tour would take place in the cozy setting of the Stratford Festival Theatre. Adding to the appeal of this weekend getaway was that our B & B of choice, The Judges Quarters is a five minute walk from the venue.

The Judges Quarters

Breakfast at The Judges Quarters

Having heard from others that Lightfoot’s voice has been much diminished due to an illness that involved a tracheotomy our expectations were not high but we were still very keen. Press coverage describes Lightfoot as frail but I would choose the word slight and I thought in fact, that his physical movements suggested a regular fitness regime. And indeed, post-concert research uncovered an article where Lightfoot reveals, “I did 81 shows last year. . . none of that would be possible if I didn’t stay on top of things and do the workouts.”  Like a good marathoner, Gordon Lightfoot is very much in tune with what he is capable of physically and portions out his energy over the course of his extensive performance tours very carefully.

Still there were times when his voice faltered but the absence of youthful vigour was replaced by the powerful emotional resonance of his voice and lyrics. Lightfoot prefaced the high point of the evening with a brief, “this is a good one”. And so it was as the dedicated singer-songwriter doing what he must do, imbued Song for a Winter’s Night with both innocence and experience. It was a starry, snow-dusted, teary-eyed and very memorable evening in Stratford. Thank you Gordon Lightfoot.

Song for a Winter’s Night

The lamp is burnin’ low upon my table top
The snow is softly falling
The air is still in the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly calling

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you

The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon each page
The words of love you sent me

If I could know within my heart
That you were lonely too
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are lifting
The morning light steals across my window pane
Where webs of snow are drifting

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you
And to be once again with you

Balzac's coffee, Stratford

Flagship location of Balzac's coffee, Stratford


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Gone running . . . 2 weeks@114K

Nearly two weeks since my last post.  Could it have anything to do with my training for NYC and working twice the number of hours designated to my job, which I love in spite of its busyness.  Perhaps.

Just another early morning run to the lake

I ran 114K or 70 miles each of the last two weeks but my life was not just about work and running, although blogging is taking a big hit. Here are some highlights of the past two weeks.

Cool crisp day by the falls

I was in Niagara Falls for a couple of days although I did put in full days of work, the view from my temporary office was great and I ate well.

Consumed in Niagara Falls

I ran 22 miles/34K on Saturday and my husband did a fantastic job of feeding me over the weekend.

What I ate after running 34K

  • We celebrated my husband’s birthday at our local Scottish pub the Caledonian.
  • I treated a new friend from Venezuala to a latte and left the cafe without paying.

My view from my office in Niagara Falls

  • I got my bike fixed up and it is now rides really well. I was not impressed with the tune-up done at Bike Couture but very impressed with the tune-up after the tune-up at Set Me Free on College at Grace street.
  • Our marriage sharing group reconvened after the summer break.
  • I ran into a new friend when she was in the middle of her longest run ever and we got to run together for a few miles.
  • I had breakfast with my former coach Zeba Crook who now teaches at Carelton.
  • I count my blessings while I make steady progress through Romeo Dallaire’s “Shake Hands with the Devil”.

The brother of one of my Saturday run pals died last week, giving us all pause to consider the fullness of our lives and the gifts sent our way.

Here is a  snippet from a favourite William Blake poem which I read at a friend’s “Celebration of Life” many years ago.

I thought Love lived in the hot sunshine,
But O, he lives in the moony light!
I thought to find Love in the heat of day,
But sweet Love is the comforter of night.

Seek Love in the pity of others’ woe,
In the gentle relief of another’s care,
In the darkness of night and the winter’s snow,
In the naked and outcast, seek Love there!

Thank you for reading . . .