Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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I run because . . .

Lynn Kobayashi, Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi

Running the ramparts in Quebec City (August 2012)

Today is National Running Day, a day to tell family and friends why you run. I run most every day except when recovering from a marathon or resting up for a big race. I started running in 1980 and ran my first marathon in 1981. Here are a few of my reasons for running although the longer I run, the more reasons I find, which includes all the great friends I have made through the years and the husband I met in 1985.

I run for physical and mental health!
It’s the easiest way to stay fit and a sure antidote for stress release. Things always look better after a run. If I had to break down the benefits to me personally, I’d estimate that the balance is heavily tipped on the side of mental health.

I run because it is accessible!
Is there anyone physically capable of running, who has not done so? With no equipment required, it is a sport where talent can shine, even in the poorest of countries.* This means the talent pool of the world is mobilized, making running THE most competitive sport in the world.

I run because I enjoy competition!
If you are able to run, you have likely also raced, be it on a track or to catch a bus. You can compete with yourself, others or a machine.

I run because I can!
The longer I run, the more resonant this becomes. I remind myself daily of all those who cannot run. This includes my husband for whom the occasional 5K run is a rare treat because of a torn meniscus. And my sister-in-law, very recently diagnosed with cancer in her spine and now immobile. Plus my friend Hassan who triumphed by walking 5K last fall with the crutches he needs due to the effects of polio. The courage of those who face physical challenges and cannot run motivates and inspires me.

Happy Running Day!

* See Maria Mutola’s story

My hero Hassan!


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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


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Busiest month ever?

I had meant to post these quotes last weekend but time has slipped by quickly in this which is perhaps the busiest month of my life. Belated Easter Greetings!

Happy Easter

“There is enough in the world for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.”  Frank Buchman

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But … the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’  Martin Luther King

At the moment I am oh-so-tired but I got my long run of 15 miles in today and it looks like I will hit my mileage goal of 55 mile/89 km for the week. My plan seemed at risk on Thursday when I could feel a cold coming on. I decided to make it a short day at work due to fatigue but stopped at Starbuck’s on the way home hoping for a caffeine lift. Sinking into one of the big cushy chairs after one sip of my latte, I fell asleep for 30 minutes. When I got home I napped for 90 minutes and didn’t feel too bad afterward so I picked myself up and headed to my team workout. The workout was 4-6 800’s which I ran at a brisk, but far from top-end pace. Surprisingly, I felt better after the workout than I had felt all day. I slept well that night and ran an easy six miles before work.

Moving back in time, I ran 50 miles last week on the heels of my 21:04 in the 5K.  In spite of over-stimulation on three fronts, my course, my work and working towards the People4Kids Gala on May 2nd I have managed a bit of fun since my last blog. And now, more blogging fun as post-long-run fatigue finds me a little lacking in the focus needed to plow through my school assignment.

Bay of Quinte, Prince Edward County

In early April we stayed overnight at a B & B in Prince Edward County, a stay that prompted me to write a 2 Star review on Trip Advisor, my second bad review, the first being at a hotel on the Ramblas in Barcelona.  The main benefit of the time away was that we were very happy to return home.

Never too old for an Easter egg hunt

We had some fun on Easter Sunday with a family gathering and I was pleased that my trademark home-baked challah was a bit hit. Another highlight was a lunch at C-5 our gala venue with my mom and two of her friends from her days of fighting for redress for Japanese Canadians. One friend a writer and Companion of the Order of Canada and the other the first female judge of Asian descent in Canada. I enjoyed hearing them catch up on news. On the topic of busy months I’ll have to ask my mom, mother of six children and 14 grandchildren, how my busiest month stacks up to hers?

Trio of role models (my mom in the center)


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Two Deserts, Two Views

The ferry to the Sudan

We’ve left the high ground of Santa Fe and are back in Phoenix. I’m hoping the lower altitude will help me shake the nasty cold that became full-blown after a tough 5 miles at 7000 feet in Santa Fe leaving me grounded at altitude for two days. It seemed wise to reserve my oxygen intake, lessened by over 20% for getting well. My plan to race today was quashed and I will be thrilled if I can run 3 miles today comfortably as the run of barely two miles yesterday was a run-walk effort. This was partly due to running on trails with my ankle is feeling nearly 100% it is hard to stay away from the Sonora desert trails of South Mountain Park which is right in our backyard. My husband saw a coyote hanging out back yesterday while later in the day a coyote was spotted on the street in front of our nephew’s house. Although we are told that the critter to watch out for is the javelina a type of wild pig.

Room in Aswan with view of the Nile

Hotel Andaluz Albuquerque, view of the freeway

I was excited to check Twitter and find that Bev Coburn @activeage posted a number of photos from the Sudan on Twitter. I also received this email:

We will be arriving in Addis late afternoon on February 20th and will have a full rest day on the 21st.  The Communications Director for the tour is going to try to join me on the visit to the orphanage. I will make sure we get lots of pictures. I will let you know in the next couple of weeks all the details of our campsite where we will be in Addis.

The tour so far has been a lot of fun and full of adrenaline rushes – many surprises along the way including kids ambushing us in a small town in Egypt.

Every day gets better.  We are now in northern Sudan – the ancient city of Dongola. The Nubian people are so friendly.

Talk soon,
Bev

I wonder if Bev might be able to meet the nine year old girl we sponsor when she visits the orphanage. One of the unique things about this sponsorship program is that the parameters of the relationship between sponsor and child are more flexible than other programs. Reasons for this may be the relatively small size of the program along with the strong relationships between Ethiopians in Canada and those in Ethiopia. The People to People AID Organization Canada program coordinator will be in Addis when Bev passes through. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at about 7500 feet above sea level is a few hundred feet higher than Santa Fe so it will be a hard ride to get there.

Trail running in South Mountain Park

Meanwhile after a ferry ride to the Sudan, Bev seems to have spent a night in a hotel where she was looking forward to washing the sand out of her hair. Their average pace per day is 120K. While cycling the length of Africa seems astonishing I should mention that Bev’s past as an elite Ironman triathlete and posting national best age-group times as a triathlete and runner is a good starting point for taking on this challenge. Here’s a quote from a talk that Bev gave a few years ago.

What is a good GOAL? A good GOAL is one that you are 85% sure you can accomplish. Personally, I love a GOOD, LOFTY GOAL!

 


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A Tale of Two Deserts

I wish I could claim to be a hardy traveler but truth be known, I’m not particularly adventurous. In some ways, I think that my inclinations to comfort and order help to make me a good marathoner. When I was running my best, I was exceptionally good at sticking to a plan and recognizing the training benefits of regular sleep schedules and eating habits as aids to top performance.

Running in Santa Fe, NM

We breezed through the desert city of Albuquerque, New Mexico on Monday where we stayed at The Andaluz a recently restored and now state historic building and are now in another desert town, Santa Fe enjoying the amenities of the Hotel St. Francis. From this comfortable vantage point in the North American desert I’ve been checking on the progress of my super-hero, athlete-friend Beverley Coburn.

Bev at the start line, Giza, Egypt

Bev is also traveling through the desert however she is sleeping in a small pup tent and making her way on a bicycle. She is on a four month cycling trip which started on January 14th which will take her from Cairo to Capetown.

1 star accommodations in Egypt

Bev is raising funds for the orphan sponsorship program run by People to People AID Organization Canada.  This is the orphan sponsorship program that my husband and I support as volunteer Co-chairs and organizers of the People4Kids Gala which will take place this year on Thursday, May 3rd at the ROM. If this is the type of cause you are interested in supporting  you can CLICK HERE to make a donation to her ride. Here are a couple of photos from the farewell party we held for Bev earlier this month.

Chair of P2P Canada, Bev, Lynn & P2P Board member

You can follow her progress through the Tour D’Afrique blog or on Twitter @activeage or @People4Kids. She has cycled through Egypt and is now cycling through the Sudan. GO BEV GO!

“Then tell the Wind and Fire where to stop, but don’t tell me.” (Dickens, Tale of Two Cities)

Farewell cake


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The Boston Marathon, a Run For All Reasons

The running of the Boston Marathon is fertile ground for stories to inspire, but most would be hard put to find one more compelling than that of Team Hoyt.  Rick Hoyt has cerebral palsy and the medical advice given to his parents on his birth was that he should be institutionalized, as there was no hope that he would have a “normal” life.  Nonetheless, his parents treated him like an ordinary child and with the help of a computer device Rick was eventually able to communicate to his family, his passion for sports.

Thus it was that Dick Hoyt began to enter charity runs and compete while pushing Rick in a wheelchair.  A source of much enjoyment, the pair began entering marathons and from there, progressed to triathlons. For the swim, Dick would tow Rick in a tiny boat and for the cycling portion would carry him on the front of his bike.  As of 2008, they had completed 229 triathlons and 66 marathons, often finishing in the top 10% of the field with a marathon personal best of 2 hours 40 minutes and 47 seconds.  A time, which is 3o minutes under the qualifying time for Open Men in the Boston Marathon.

In 2009 the duo completed their 27th Boston Marathon, Rick was 47 and Dick was 68 – sending a message to the world to include rather than exclude those with disabilities from activities that most of us have the good fortune to easily be a part of.

Never, ever give up! What does that mean to you?


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George Sheehan’s Important Running Tips

Here are 10 of 20 tips from the guru of the first-wave boomer, running boom. CLICK HERE to see all George Sheehan’s Tips

1) Keep a record of your morning pulse. Lie in bed for a few minutes after you awaken and then take your pulse. As your training progresses, it will gradually become slower and after three months or so plateau out. From then on, if you awaken and find a rate of 10 or more beats higher, you have not recovered from your previous day’s runs, races or stresses. Take the day or more off until the pulse returns to normal.

2) Do your exercises daily. The more you run, the more muscle imbalance occurs. The calf, hamstrings (back thigh) and low back muscles become short, tight and inflexible. They have to be stretched. On the other hand the shins, the quads (front thigh) and the belly muscles become relatively weak. They must be strengthened. Learn the Magic Six: Three strengthening exercises, three stretching exercises.

3) Eat to run. Eat a good high-protein breakfast, then have a light lunch. Run on an empty stomach at least two, preferably three hours after your last meal. Save the carbohydrates for the meal after the run to replenish the muscle sugar.

4) Drink plenty of fluids. Take sugar-free drinks up to 15 minutes before running. Then take 12 to 16 ounces of easily tolerated juices, tea with honey or sugar, defizzed Coke, etc. before setting out. In winter that should be all you need.

5) Find your shoes and stick to them. High-arch feet do better with narrow heels. Morton’s Foot (short big toe, long second toe) may need an arch support in the shoe. If a shoe works, train in it, and wear it to work

6) The fitness equation is 30 minutes at a comfortable pace four times a week. Your body should be able to tell you that “comfortable” pace. If in doubt use the “talk test”. Run at a speed at which you can carry on a conversation with a companion.

7) Wait for your second wind. It takes six to 10 minutes and one degree in body temperature to shunt the blood to the working muscles. When that happens you will experience a light warm sweat and know what the “second wind” means. You must run quite slowly until this occurs. Then you can dial yourself to “comfortable,” put yourself on automatic pilot, and enjoy.

8) Do not cheat on your sleep. Add an extra hour when in heavy training. Also arrange for at least one or two naps a week and take a long one after your weekend run.

9) Most injuries result from a change in your training. A change in shoes, an increase in mileage (25 miles per week is the dividing line; at 50 miles per week the injury rate is doubled), hill or speed work, or a change in surface. Almost always there is some associated weakness of the foot, muscle strength/flexibility imbalance, or one leg shorter than the other. Use of heel lifts, arch supports, modification of shoes and corrective exercises may be necessary before you are able to return to pain-free running.

10) Training is a practical application of Hans Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome. Stress is applied, the organism reacts, a suitable time is given to reestablish equilibrium. Then stress is applied again. Each of us can stand different loads and need different amounts of time to adapt. You are an experiment of one. Establish your own schedule, do not follow anyone else’s.