Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

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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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Travel with Running Gear in One Carry-on Bag

Monday, September 13, 6:45 a.m. Lake Ontario

I woke at 4:30 a.m. today as I’ve decided to try and move my sleep pattern towards the upcoming time zone change. My run started in the dark with a fairly steady downpour.  When I reached the lake the sun was beginning to break through the cloud cover, as seen in the photo.  On arriving home, the day fully emerged as one of those quintessentially lovely, late-summer days.

Also in preparation for my trip to Germany, I have become obsessed with the goal of traveling with one carry-on bag. I have been scouring the internet for tips in order to achieve this.  Marathoners know, that every extra pound carried over the 26.2 mile trek requires extra energy. As travelers we runners are at a slight disadvantage (although not to the extent as golfers or pole vaulters) to traveling light, as we must pack our space consuming running shoes.  If you are traveling to a race, add to that a pair of racing flats.  And, if you are racing a marathon in transitional weather, then racing gear for 3-4 seasons might be required.

I confess that while I am an experienced marathoner, I am a beginner at the one-bag-carry-on challenge.  In fact I am trying to kick my over-packing habit.  My desire to be organized and ready for anything works against me when it comes to packing.  The name of the game for the one-bagger is multi-tasking clothing items.  An additional challenge is finding multi-tasking clothing for a trip to the opera in Frankfurt.  I am someone who likes to be dressed appropriately for every occasion.  I hope to compile these tips to once I successfully enter the realm of the one-bag-carry on living.

For starters:

Tip #1 – Take along an old pair of running shoes for your runs and leave them behind at the end of your trip to make room for any purchases.

Tip #2 – A stylish pair of sweatpants can do triple duty as PJs, casual wear for a plane trip and exercise gear

Tip #3 – Wear the running top for the next day as your PJ top

Tip #4 – Don’t take more than 2 versions of a running outfit suited to one particular type of weather

Tip # 5 – If you wake early to run and your traveling mates sleep in.  Make sure all your gear is assembled before you go.  In IPod can be used as a flashlight if you have to navigate in the dark.

Please feel free to comment and add your own tips.  Thank you!