Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

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Weight Training, Love it or Lose It (again)

I’m reblogging this post for my UTTC Masters friend Amy who was asked me last night whether I have ever done weight training. I’m using her question to make it easy for me to post for the first time in four months. When I started my blog, I was not active on FaceBook but I confess that since I started becoming more active, it has taken me away from focusing on regular blog posts.

This is also a good opportunity to link to the beautiful article Amy wrote about her mom and the Boston Marathon.

I am a big believer in the benefits of lower body weight training. However, my weight training has waned over the past couple of years. I’m hoping this will reinvigorate me and I’ll get back to the program. Here is the original blog post from February 2011. At the end of the post are links to a couple more posts on weight training.

Weight Training, Love it or Lose It

Since blogging about the start of my off-season weight training regime, I have indeed been working through the first phase of Anatomical Adaptation as defined by Joe Friel, in the Triathlete’s Training Bible. My friend uber-Ironman triathlete Bev Coburn introduced me to this method of periodization of weight training.  I’ll never forget how she, in her low key way, said once you start this routine you’ll be doing this for the rest of your life.  In fact, I been doing upper body weight training since my early twenties however I had never done lower body weights, as I felt that running was enough of a leg workout AND I had never systemized my weight training.  You can find out more about Bev’s athletic accomplishments and work as a personal trainer and fitness consultant at Active Age Fitness.

Ed Whitlock, Beverly Coburn, Bob Moore

So she was very right, as nearly a decade later, I’m sticking with the program and see no end in sight.  My favourite part is the Maximum Strength Phase as this is where you really see yourself bulk up a little.  So why not time this phase to coincide with a reunion with your high school basketball team or a holiday when you will be mainly wearing a swimsuit. The reality of my training is that the maximum weight phase does not coincide with key races.  Once the serious racing begins, weight training shifts into maintenance mode and my focus is on becoming very lean and wiry.

Anatomical Adaptation (AA) phase * (2 sets)
Total sessions/Phase 8-12
Sessions/Week 2-3
Load Select loads that allow only 20-30 reps
Reps/Set 20-30
Speed of Lift Slow to moderate, emphasizing form
Recovery (in minutes) 1-1.5

* Table from Triathlete’s Training Bible

Here is a list of the weight machines or free weights I use.

Lat pull-down machine
Chest press machine
Seated row machine
Free weights or machine for pectoral muscles
Bicep curls with free weights
Reverse wrist curl with free weights

Squats on Smith machine
Leg press machine
Calf raise on leg press machine
Knee extension machine (no periodization – 3 x 8-10 reps ongoing maintenance)
Hamstring curl machine (no periodization -3 x 8-10 reps ongoing maintenance)
Hip adductor machine (no periodization – 3 X 8-10 reps ongoing maintenance)
Hip abductor machine (no periodization – 3 x 8-10 reps ongoing maintenance)

For my next weight workout I will enter into the Maximum Transition (MT) phase and then into the Maximum Strength Phase, shortly after.  For all the details click on Periodization of Weight Training

Maximum Transition (MT) phase * (3 sets)
Total sessions/Phase 3-5
Sessions/Week 2-3
Load Select loads that allow only 10-15 reps
Reps/Set 10-15
Speed of Lift Slow to moderate, emphasizing form
Recovery (in minutes) 1.5-3

* Table from Triathlete’s Training Bible

What happens if you find that you cannot learn to love weight training? If you are a middle-aged woman, you will experience fairly dramatic declines in strength which can result in poor posture and the hunched shoulder look. You might find opening heavy doors progressively more difficult as well as carrying bags of groceries for more than a short while. If you learn to LOVE the results of consistent weight training, you could be bounding up the double set of long stairs, at the York Mills Subway Station, arriving at the top first, while many of the morning commuters are standing or slowly walking up the escalator.

Subway Stations, A Good Place for Circuit Training

A funny thing happens to me while taking public transit.  I often get offered a seat by kind, younger men and women, sometimes I happily accept this offer, secretly telling myself that yes, my legs could use a break from all the miles I’ve run.

“Citius, Altius, Fortius.”

February 5, 2011

Weight training questions? Talk to the Blog

My husband and I were discussing what stages of weight training each of us is in.  I am in the Maximum Transition (MT) phase and he is in the Maximum Strength (MS) phase.  He asked a few questions about how … Continue reading 

January 28, 2011

Legs in Motion, A Legend

Following my post about weight training, a reader asked for recommended reading. I was reminded of this groundbreaking book from the early 80’s by Gayle Olinekova which inspired me to begin my weight training routine. Gayle was ahead of her … Continue reading 

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New Years Lessons and Resolutions

Alan Brookes of the Canada Running Series retweeted the article New Years Lessons and Resolutions from Canadian Runners with the question, How about YOU? This blog post is my reply to the questions asked in that article.

Oh, where oh where would we older folks run track without OMA

Oh, where oh where would we older folks run track without the OMA

What did you learn in 2013 that you want to apply to your training in 2014

The importance of maintaining good leg turnover. I’ve known this intellectually for most of my 30+ years of running but training with the UTTC Masters track team with coach Paul Osland, an Olympian,  has provided the tools to make this a part of my training routine. Even though I have been running fewer miles since the Ontario cross-country championships last November, I’ve been able to maintain my cruising pace, which has quickened thanks to regular track workouts.


Super-fast coach Paul

What was a great moment that you will remember about 2013?

That is a difficult choice. But I’m going to say being chosen Ontario Masters Athlete of the month for February by Ontario Masters Athletics (OMA). This gives me the chance to highlight the fantastic support masters runners and track athletes get in Ontario.  I was recognized for having broken the Canadian indoor 5K record twice at this rarely-raced distance.
Doug Smith checks out Doug Smith trophy at U of T Athletic Center

Doug Smith checks out Doug Smith trophy at U of T Athletic Center

The remarkable thing to me is the dedication of long-time volunteers like Doug Smith (President of the OMA) who create the opportunity to race and break records. Doug Smith who with his self-deprecating sense of humour, does an amazing job of making everyone feel welcome whether to the OMA or to UTTC Masters on top of just about everything else including meet organizing, race photos and website maintenance. There are many dedicated volunteers who helps as timers, registrars, lap-timers, record-keepers, cheerleaders and more, including Stafford who emailed me a nice certificate to commemorate the 5K record. Paul Osland our high-functioning Olympian coach, is in his third term as President of the CMA, following in Doug’s footsteps as an extraordinary volunteer. On behalf of all masters runners in Ontario. Thank you all!
The University of Toronto Track Club (UTTC) has recently fully embraced the Masters concept and the UTTC Masters have been warmly welcomed to the main club. A huge benefit is sharing the indoor track and outdoor track at Varsity Stadium.
What goals do you have for 2014?

In order of priority:

  1. Help UTTC Masters team win the Breslin Cup.
  2. Increase my age-graded score for the outdoor 1500 at the Ontario Masters Provincial Track and Field Championships
  3. Increase my age-graded score for 5k on the road.
  4. Run faster than last year at the Boston Marathon.

Two resolutions: one running resolution and a non-running one?

Get back to regular weight work. When I was in top form I was able to legpress 250 lbs. and squat 135 lbs. I can probably only do about 60-65% of that now. Remain ever-grateful for the good heath that allows me to keep training so I can get slower gracefully.

Keep mentally fit. One aspect of this is to keep up to date with all things digital. This is made easier with my great in-house tutor, son Steven, a recent U of T, comp-sci grad. He knows how much time I spend at home and at work on the computer so to celebrate his first job as a software developer, he surprised me with a Christmas gift of a Yoga Pro 2 laptop. He told me this will increase my productivity. Weighing in at 3.1 pounds with a 13.1″ by 8.6″ high resolution screen, perhaps this highly-portable laptop means I should set my sights higher than my two posts a month. I’m not about to make promises I can’t keep but we shall see!

Lean, mean blogging machine

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At the track, proud to be 47th

Some stats about my first track race of the outdoor season at the  York University track team Twilight meet

  • 48     Number of entrants in the Women’s 800 Meter race on June 25th
  • 47     My finishing place (2:57.72)
  • 46     Number of years between the date-of-birth of the youngest and oldest entrant (that would be me)
  • 42     Number of years between my age and the age of my neighbour’s daughter who ran 2:31.25 in Heat 3
  • 5       Number of years between the oldest entrant and the next oldest entrant
  • 4       Number of heats run for the race
  • 3       Number of seconds faster I want to run at the Ontario Masters Track Championships on July 6th & 7th
  • 2       Number of masters teammates who joined me in running the Women’s 800 meter race
  • 1       Number of seconds by which Kailee Sawyer broke the meet record in 2:06.96
  • 0       Number of other entrants in my age-category
2 - The number of UTTC Masters teammates who joined me in the 800 meter race.

Well done Rita and Gwen and thanks for the camaraderie!

Women 800 Meter Open/Senior
 Series Rec:: * 2:07.09  6/21/2005   Megan Brown, Newmarket Huskies            
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals  H#
  1 Sawyer, Kailee            97 Laurel Creek TFC       2:06.96*  1 
  2 Stafford, Gabriela        95 U of Toronto TC        2:09.29   1 
  3 Walmsly, Honor            93 U of Toronto TC        2:10.47   1 
  4 Nock, Paige               95 Durham Dragons A       2:13.46   1 
  5 Lucki, Alexandra          96 Etobicoke TFC          2:14.31   1 
  6 Serafini, Rosa            89 U of Toronto TC        2:14.63   1 
  7 Rouse, Savannah           98 U of Toronto TC        2:15.06   2 
  8 Raftis, Kylee             99 Central Toronto        2:15.29   2 
  9 McCuaig, Sarah            90 McGill Olymp           2:15.72   1 
 10 Martynova, Svetlana       90 U of Toronto TC        2:16.18   1 
 11 Lampard, Katherine        95 Central Toronto        2:16.76   1 
 12 Ambrose, Taya             97 Laurel Creek TFC       2:17.59   2 
 13 Hennessy, Kelly           94 U of Toronto TC        2:19.14   1 
 14 Smith, Stephanie          90 York University        2:19.14   2 
 15 Adamson, Jessica          94 U of Toronto TC        2:19.65   2 
 16 Thompson, Miranda         99 Central Toronto        2:20.25   2 
 17 Stewart, Kate             98 Newmarker Huskie       2:20.55   3 
 18 Freeman, Jenna            93 South Simcoe Duf       2:20.77   2 
 19 Macdonald, Alannah        94 Niagara Olympic        2:20.80   2 
 20 Nardi, Danielle           96 U of Toronto TC        2:20.98   2 
 21 Fedorov, Yulia            96 Newmarker Huskie       2:21.52   3 
 22 Emilio, Sarah             93 U of Toronto TC        2:21.94   2 
 23 Moreau, Julia             97 Laurel Creek TFC       2:22.59   2 
 24 Horner, Kelsey            97 York University        2:23.04   2 
 25 Nagy, Sarah               73 Newmarker Huskie       2:23.30   2 
 26 Thompson, Aija            93 U of Toronto TC        2:24.04   3 
 27 Papaioannou, Stephanie    97 U of Toronto TC        2:26.36   3 
 28 Rothenbroker, Meghan      95 Newmarker Huskie       2:26.61   3 
 29 Burrows, Arden            97 U of Toronto TC        2:26.84   3 
 30 Gobbo, Victoria           97 310 Running            2:27.70   3 
 31 Charbonneau, Natasha      98 South Simcoe Duf       2:29.80   3 
 32 Carley, Hannah            97 Newmarker Huskie       2:30.10   4 
 33 Thomson, Kennedy          98 Runners Edge TC        2:30.38   3 
 34 Park, Laura               97 Newmarker Huskie       2:30.57   4 
 35 Earl, Celeste             98 U of Toronto TC        2:31.25   3 
 36 Chenskikh, Darya          94 York University        2:32.38   4 
 37 Tramble, Lindsay          98 Etobicoke TFC          2:32.48   3 
 38 Mccormick, Audrey         98 South Simcoe Duf       2:35.30   4 
 39 Armstrong, Jasmine        98 South Simcoe Duf       2:35.63   3 
 40 O'Hagan, Heather          61 Newmarker Huskie       2:36.44   4 
 41 Mayer, Katarina           98 Etobicoke TFC          2:39.50   4 
 42 Waller, Georgia           00 York University        2:39.89   4 
 43 Bailey-Mason, Gwyneth     66 U of Toronto TC        2:44.08   4 
 44 Botelho, Rita             60 U of Toronto TC        2:51.59   4 
 45 Abell, Sarah              01 U of Toronto TC        2:52.63   4 
 46 Rout, Jennifer            64 Newmarker Huskie       2:56.55   4 
 47 Deutscher Kobayashi, Lynn 55 U of Toronto TC        2:57.72   4 
 48 Reynoso, Aura             66 Newmarker Huskie       3:05.23   4


Music for a run in the rain

I ran six miles this morning, heading out into a light rain which slowly escalated to a near drenching downpour.  It was barely dawn as I ran north on Spadina, crossing paths with a friend who was running at a good clip making a beeline for home.  On the other side of Spadina close to where we met is a favourite espresso bar called the Dark Horse cafe.

Dark Horse Cafe, Spadina north of Queen

I did a couple of faster sections, running to Arvo Part which somehow seemed fitting in the dawn rain.  A couple of weeks ago I attended a concert which included Arvo Part’s music at Koerner Hall called The Mystical Worlds of Part & Schafer. “Arvo Part (Estonia) and R. Murray Schafer (Canada) are two of the world’s greatest living composers. Koerner Hall will resound with 180 resplendent young adult voices under the baton of famed Estonian conductor Tonu Kaljuste.”

The photo below is taken on the balcony outside Koerner Hall which looks onto Philospher’s Walk and the ROM.  The final piece of the performance involved a surround sound effect of four choirs on the four sides of the hall.  A choir was directly behind our seats which provided a unique musical immersion. The piece I ran to this morning is a current favourite by Arvo Part. I discovered “Summa” as part of Air Canada’s audio entertainment selection this summer.

I hope you’ll have a listen and tell me if you like it.

Balcony at Koerner Hall

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Season of hope and joyful expectation

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. — Isaiah 2:4

We started our holiday season yesterday by attending Advent Vespers at St. Basil’s church, a developing tradition for us, that we much anticipate. From a purely musical point of view I was a tad disappointed that O Come, O Come Emmanuel a favourite carol, was not on the program.  I am a collector of different versions of this beautiful song including versions by; Joan Baez, Bette Midler and Sufjan Stevens. One of the things I enjoy about ITunes is being able to search by song and checking out the umpteen versions of classics like this.

CLICK HERE to hear Bette Midler sing.

It just struck me that I’ve never run a marathon at this time of year, will this bode well for the outcome 🙂  Well, whatever the outcome I hope to maintain my joyfulness about the gift of running and the many good things it has brought into my life.

We look forward to celebrating; our son’s birthday on December 19th, hosting our family dinner with 20-25 guests expected and having a small get together or two.  The small get together is a departure from our nearly 20 out of 23 years of mega-gatherings.  With the marathon, Christmas dinner, an uber-busy new  job, the decision was made to keep things simple this year.

Chateau Frontenac in late-November

Last year at this time we visited Quebec City.  My last and only visit there was when I was 16 years old.  the visit was a nice prelude to the holiday season and wintry weather. We enjoyed a couple of casual meals in the bar of the Chateau Frontenac and enjoyed the festive trimmings in the lobby.

Le Manoir d'Auteuil

Le Manoir d’Auteuil our hotel, turned out to be perhaps the very best value of recent hotel stays.  We found this place thanks to trusty Trip Advisor reviews. Our charming room in this art deco style hotel included a bottle of wine, internet and breakfast all for $99.00.  The hotel is across from the Plains of Abraham and close to the centre of town.

Ah, but enough of remembrances of visits past and holidays ahead, the enjoyment of which shall commence fully, once my marathon is run.  Advent wishes to all!

Psalms and hymns were my first taste of inspirational music. …they prepared me for the honesty of John Lennon, the baroque language of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, the open throat of Al Green and Stevie Wonder. When I hear these singers, I am reconnected to a part of me I have no explanation for – my “soul” I guess.


Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, November 2009


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Saturday morning arrived without the usual rushing about to prepare for a long run.  In fact, on this cold morning we didn’t rise until 8:30 a.m. fully 3 1/2 hours later than usual, a well deserved rest.

Caught by papparazzi setting off for Hamilton

However a half-day of rest and it was off to the races, a Grey Cup 8K in Hamilton starting at noon.  As we fueled up before hitting the highway, winter storm conditions descended.  I remarked that perhaps driving to Hamilton during one of the first storm like snowfalls was unwise.  My husband sensing my ambivalence about racing made it clear that he was determined to get me to the start line and we forged ahead.

Ready to roll

Getting set

The conditions cleared, worsened, cleared and finally we made it to the Macassa Yacht club to register in good time and do a 20 minute warm-up.  This is the off-season for road racing so the event was very low-key and the crowd small.  The weather forecast of snow flurries and 50K plus winds materialized down by the bay as we readied ourselves for the start.

Off we went and I immediately counted the number of women ahead of me.  I ran my own pace, a heartrate of 159-164 for the first 5.5 K and at that point overtook the first woman.  After passing her I ran steadily and then stopped checking my heartrate and ran from 6-7K harder and then picked up the pace for the last 8K.  At a certain point, it is not productive to know how hard your heart is beating.  I finished strongly although I think my time of 37:40 something does not quite represent my current fitness as the strong winds were an impediment.

After the race we went to the Hamilton YMCA to freshen up before the post-race celebration at the Slainte pub.  At the pub, runners dined on lasagna and in a very jolly pub atmosphere.  We arrived a bit late and the race crowd seemed to be leaving so our impression was that there were no awards for the race.  Before leaving I scouted for a washroom and heard age-category winners being announced on the second floor.

They're off!

As it turned out for a tiny race there was quite a fuss made about age-categories and when I entered the room, the announcer called me up to claim my plaque.  Very nice, the efforts made by organizers to recognize us.  My regret was that I had promised to wear a Saskatchewan Roughriders hat up to the podium but missed my chance.  I ran into an acquaintance who told me he had noticed my name and had remarked to himself that “LK, she still has it!”  That was a generous thought and my husband and I chuckled in appreciation.

A plaque for first woman overall

In addition to my plaque I won a $20 certificate for the Slainte pub which I think I will give to my boss, who lives in Hamilton and organized yesterday’s Grey Cup party at work.

Slainte, my friend!

Slainte pub, great place for post-race party


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Odds & Ends


Started listening to an audio book called Crazy Busy.


I had a wonderful run on Wednesday, leaving the house just before 6 a.m. for a total of 10 miles, a beautiful and bracing fall morning.  At six miles I ended up at Winston Churchill park and did a couple of loops of the nearly 800 metre path around the perimeter.  My time running at tempo pace was about 7:35 per mile and I felt great.  I’m feeling upbeat about the marathon and enjoying being in the best shape over the last 2 1/2 years.  I can’t think of a better thing to have under one’s belt than that, an invigorating, fast-paced run to face a fast-paced day at work.

Winston Churchill park, Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Really enjoyed my run this morning in new winter gear. The hood on my new jersey, which is very balaclava like makes me look like ET but it really creates a cozy micro-enviroment for late fall runs.  My boss made chili and I made a lemon, poppyseed, pound cake for a Grey Cup luncheon at work.  Dinner at the Bloor Street Diner and now I’m resting up for an 8K race in Hamilton tomorrow at noon!

Grey Cup luncheon at work

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Portrait of the runner as a young artist

In a previous post I mention renowned coach Jack Daniels, author of one of the best training books available, namely Jack Daniel’s Running Formula.  What a surprise to discover that he will be speaking at the California International Marathon race expo in Sacramento.  This marathon expo has a more serious bent and for a long-time runner like me of more interest than the “couch-potato-to-marathon” in three months seminars.  Although my husband and I both (independently) ran our first marathons shortly after discovering a Runner’s World article on how to train for a marathon in three months, that was recycled once a year.

As for rebounding from bad habits, I have mentioned my very active girlhood but not yet confessed that for five years I was a smoker.  Those years from 18-23 coincided with my time studying fine-arts at Sir George Williams C.E.G.E.P. and Concordia University.  When I graduated from high school, I was torn between studying fine-arts and physical education but tipping the balance was the encouragement of winning an art prize when I graduated. When I entered C.E.G.E.P. I made an effort to join the hockey team however the practice rink was not accessible to me and this made it easier for me to gravitate to the “dark side” of bohemia. My husband jokingly wonders if Smoking-101 was a required course for a fine-arts student in those days.

Foolishly cool at age 19

However rebound I did at age 23 so my life tally of healthy living is 50 years of health, 5 years of foolishness which involved the economy measure of rolling my own cigarettes of Drum tobacco as a student.  Gross!

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Changing the face of men’s health — A message from my son


This Movember, the month formerly known as November I’ve decided to donate my face to raising awareness about prostate cancer. My donation and commitment is the growth of a moustache for the entire month of Movember, which I know will generate conversation, controversy and laughter.

I’m doing this because 4,400 men die of prostate cancer in Canada each year and one in six men will be diagnosed during his lifetime.  This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to Prostate Cancer Canada.

To help, you can either:

* Click this link http://ca.movember.com/mospace/1295688 and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
* Write a cheque payable to Prostate Cancer Canada, referencing my name or Registration Number 1295688 and mail to: Prostate Cancer Canada, Suite 306 145   Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 1E3, Canada.

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit: http://ca.movemberfoundation.com/research-and-programs

Thank you in advance for helping me to support men’s health.


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Run for the sun

On that account, we can’t complain of the number of sunny days in November.  What a beautiful month it has been.  My morning run was all about chasing down the sunrise.  Thanks to the return of early morning light, I was able to run west on the quieter part of the Martin Goodman Trail.  Armed with the knowledge that the sun would rise at 7:06, I found myself in perfect position for a full view of the sunrise, the unobstructed boardwalk along Marilyn Bell Park.

View from Marilyn Bell Park, 7:06 a.m. November 11, 2010

Rower near Ontario Place, November 11, 2010, 7:08 a.m.

I will save my 1 minute video of the sunrise for the dark, dreary days of winter.