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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“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!