Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Guide My Feet

Team Spirit, on the run

Since running in a 10K race last Sunday, I’ve been pushing steadily on the homestretch of gala planning. I was satisfied with my race effort of 43:25 but felt that I was sharper for the 5K run on March 31st. I placed 1st in my category by 7  1/2 minutes and was almost three minutes faster than 10K I ran last fall. Training with a team has really paid off. My post-race plan calls for 10-12 days of reduced mileage and lots of recovery time in order to boost my energy stores for Wednesday, May 2nd, the day of the People4Kids gala fundraiser for children orphaned by HIV-AIDS in Ethiopia to take place at the ROM.

Team Spirit - with work to do

I ran eight  miles this morning with two friends. The pace was brisk as I was eager to get on with my day. I woke at 4:30 a.m. in order to prepare all the materials to for a big work session at our home. A couple of hours after the run cookies were packaged, envelopes and goodie bags stuffed and decorative elements created, all in a few hours with the help of ten volunteers.

Envelope stuffers

Expert goodie bag stuffer, John, oversees kitchen crew

Rewinding to last Saturday, I rested up for the Sunday race by baking 35 dozen cookies with a friend. THANK YOU ROBYN!

I can't believe we baked 35 dozen cookies!

Our event is technically sold-out but we are open to overbooking the few spots that will be free on event day due to usual unforeseen circumstances that will inevitably arise for some guests. As I work away with four days to go, I’ll be humming this song to myself and thinking about the little girl we sponsor and the estimated 123 million or more orphaned children in the world.

Decorative elements

You can listen to one rendition of Guide My Feet here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z64X_LWQrN8

GUIDE MY FEET

Guide my feet while I run this race.
Guide my feet while I run this race.
Guide my feet while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

Hold my hand while I run this race.
Hold my hand while I run this race.
Hold my hand while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

Stand by me while I run this race.
Stand by me while I run this race.
Stand by me while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

I’m your child while I run this race.
I’m your child while I run this race.
I’m your child while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

Search my heart while I run this race.
Search my heart while I run this race.
Search my heart while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

Text & Music: African American Spiritual

Harmony: Wendell Whallum

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On blogging, baking and running around

Yikes! My goal is to post at least once a week and I am behind. I am seriously busy these days but my running is going very well. It just leaves little time to blog. And I do miss blogging and both my husband and son read my blog. I think they miss the blogging me 🙂  I also miss having the time to bake but was able to squeeze in a lemon-poppyseed pound cake for my boss’s  birthday and some wild pig shaped gingerbread cookies which I mailed to my nephew in Phoenix.

Havelina (wild pig) gingerbread

I’ve been taking a course which takes about 15 hours a week of my time. I’m in the throes of organizing a gala which my husband and I Co-Chair and work is fairly intense these days. I hope to run under 21 minutes later this year for 5K and have been joining my track team 1-2 times a week for speed sessions.

I ran 6.5 miles yesterday in the most broken up fashion ever in trying to fit everything in. I’m planning to run a 5K in the beaches area and the race is a throwback to the days of small community driven races. There is no on-line entry and no mail-in entry. The registration takes place over the course of six evenings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. way out on the other side of town. A real dilemma for the time-crunched. I considered finding another race but I’ve run this one a couple of times and I like the low-key atmosphere and the course is a fairly fast, out and back route along the eastern beach.

Lemon poppyseed pound cake

There are a couple of friends who live way east of me who I’ve not seen for awhile. I sent an email in the morning to see if they might be able to meet me for coffee during my rare appearance in that neck of the woods. Bingo! One friend had a date nearby that meshed with my timing.

Here is how my run went:

  • 5:00 p.m. Run half mile to subway
  • 5:05 – 5:20 p.m. Read course material on subway
  • 5:20 – 5:50 p.m. Run from Coxwell subway to friend-meeting point at Book City on Queen street.
  • 5:50 -7:00 p.m. Catch up with Dolores and enjoy bowl of seafood chowder with slice of bread
  • 7:00-7:05 p.m. Run to community centre to register for run
  • 7:05-7:20 p.m. Register for run
  • 7:20-7:55 p.m. Run to Coxwell subway station
  • 7:55-8:10 p.m. Finish reading course material on subway
  • 8:10 – 8:15 p.m. Run home

Total distance run over 3 hours and 15 minutes was 6 1/2 miles. Perhaps the lowest quality run ever. However, I’ve been having really great workouts since February including the night before. It was magical to be able to run on the Varsity stadium track at the very end of winter. WooHoo! I ran 6 x 1000 meters at a steady pace.

The week before I was really pleased with my result at the Canadian Masters Indoor Track Championships. I ran the 3000m in 12:32 which was a very solid national class age-graded score equivalent to running 9:52 in the open category. My confidence has really been boosted by racing on the track.

That's me on the left in the outside lane

As for the course, I just finished an assignment that is due Saturday. I’m frantically trying to get ahead of the game as the date the big project is due coincides with the gala. Enough, is enough and I’m now allowing myself the luxury of a blog post.

This is not a sustainable pace and I look forward to life post-gala. But the effort is worth the result and sometimes, there is no other way to get things done than get into fifth gear for awhile. If I get this post done tonight I still have ten days to get two more done by the end of the month.

I have no one to blame but myself for this state of affairs. But I do feel quite fulfilled and it won’t be long before I can take my sweet time and hopefully run a 5K under 21 minutes at age 56 with enough time to smell those roses afterward. According to the age-graded calculator my new motto should be:

20:59 is the new 16:59 . . . sigh


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To the Bakery and Back

Christmas tree, Distillery style

With no companions for this run and so-so weather, I knew I would have to gear up mentally for my 12 miler, my longest run since the NYC marathon. Yesterday, I did my first treadmill workout due to the slushy, messy road conditions and icy sidewalks that come with precipitation when the temperature hovers around 0C.

I decided to run an unusual route in that normally I run routes with minimal pedestrian traffic but with the threat of slippery sidewalks, sticking to well-trodden routes is a necessity. My route incorporated a run along Church Street, King Street East and the Distillery District, three areas which are off our beaten path.

Art in the City

I ran east on Davenport and then down Bay street, over to Yonge, east on Wellesley and down Church Street. I was able to get a glimpse of the new Loblaws housed in Maple Leaf Gardens. I never did see a Leafs game although went to quite a few Canadiens games while growing up in Montreal. I think I’ve seen three concerts at the Gardens, Neil Young, Rush (free tickets) and Hall & Oates. I think the bulk of my mega-concert days took place in Montreal at the Forum.

Brick Street Bakery

North of Queen and Church was a striking mural and close by a large Metro grocery store. There seems to be big-time inner-city grocery wars happening. I guess that is a sign of a very liveable downtown core. As I got closer to my planned turnaround point at Trinity near Front, it dawned on me that one of my favourite pastry treats was very close-at-hand. At Trinity and Mill street in the Distillery District is the Brick Bakery. WooHoo! While I woke up this morning with the mantra “no more chocolate” reverberating in my head, I said a big YES to an eccles cake pit stop.

Eccles cake

Brick Bakery offerings

Eating eccles cake

Fueled up I began the return leg westward via the lakeshore. The stretch of the lakeshore east of Yonge street is quite dismal but it is usually quiet enough to run on the road and one of the first roads to be plowed after a snowfall. I made another pit stop at Harbourfront Centre where I was able to check out an art show featuring portraits. A portrait by Louie Palu of a 22 year old marine serving in Afghanistan was particularly compelling and I found myself saying a prayer for our troops.

The rest of the run was part of my usual six miler which always makes the time seem to go by faster. I felt comfortable and steady all the way, with energy to spare when I returned home. Energy which will be put to good use this evening as we have as guests our 5, 7 & 9 year old nephews and niece. Muppet Movie, here we come.

I am almost 100% committed to a spring goal of running a fast 5K. I’ve never really trained specifically for 5K but I think I need to do this to get some speed back. This will involve joining  a hard-training track club. Yes, you’ve heard it before, the false starts I’ve made in signing up but I think 2012 is the year that I will finally do it.

What is it that you might finally do in 2012?

Happy New Years all!

p.s. Ever since tasting my first eccles cake a few years ago, I have been meaning to bake them hence another finally-do for 2012. I got the contact info I need from the clerk to get the Brick Bakery recipe.


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1st Year Blog Anniversary – My Favourite Posts

My blog made its debut a year ago today.  Born as a final project for a course on blogging at OCAD. To celebrate, I briefly looked over the 287 posts I made over my first year and chose my favourites.  My average rate of posting per week was just over 5 posts.  Over the first few months of the year, I had aspirations to post as much as I ran and joined the WordPress postaday club.  However my commitment to organize the People4Kids fundraising gala last May 3rd took priority and my rate of posting dwindled.

Hours after finishing the CIM - Feeling good!

Since the blogging course I’ve taken digital photography, InDesign and Adobe Illustrator courses and that too has consumed much time.  So I’ve reset my sights on posting 2-four times a week. So here are my favourites, in no particular order.

The Final Mile, a State of Grace

Running the final mile of the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento last December.

Slainte

About an 8K race run prior to the CIM.

19 Miles & Moore Park Ravine

My longest run in preparation for the marathon run on one of my favourite Toronto routes.

Ready, Set . . . Bake

A day of baking for a good cause shared with a friend.

ACE-ing Portland at the NINES

Our highly enjoyable adventures in Portland, Oregon.

I Think My Bathroom Scale is Broken

The post that got me Freshly Pressed with 2061 hits in one day.

Blogging Jogger Gets Freshly Pressed

My feelings on getting Freshly Pressed.

Haines, Sweet Haines

A visit to a special place in Alaska.

Happy in Haines

More about this special place.

If My Husband Had a Tatoo

A bit about my husband’s running accomplishments.

Thank you to all my subscribers and those who tell me that they enjoy reading my blog.  Your readership makes blogging fun and keeps me motivated.


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For those who run every day, this is moderation

As planned, I got in 45 miles this week.  I was also more conscious of eating moderately as opposed to eating as much and whatever I want.  One example is a variation on the usual breakfast I order when my father-in-law takes us out to his favourite breakfast spot. Normally, I relish one of Ricky’s famous big breakfasts, the Perogy and Egg Platter which includes; 3 eggs, 7 perogies with grilled onions, your choice of bavarian, chorizo or calabrese sausage and toast.

To moderate this indulgence I convinced my husband to share this big breakfast with me along with a waffle breakfast.  I call it the breakfast buffet. In case you were wondering, we split the 7th perogy in half.

Big breakfast

Big breakfast, split two ways

Waffles, breakfast dessert

Waffles, breakfast dessert for two

Today I’m baking a pie for my father-in-law.  I love the way he hints that it would be nice if I baked a pie. Actually, the beauty of it is that he says, “Are you going to bake a pie?” and then laughs and says he is just kidding me.  I can’t really tell if he is teasing me or hinting but I always commit  to baking a pie, in this case a lemon meringue pie.  I am quite vain about my pie making prowess so it doesn’t take much to get me going.  This is the third pie I’ve baked in the past month.

I have an internal rating system for each effort.  I baked a blueberry pie for a BBQ for workmates which was a disappointing *C*, about the lowest score I have given myself. Of course, I don’t mention the rating system to the eaters as I know any home baking is usually appreciated and most often better than anything store bought. I’m trying to get over making excuses and being too hard on myself for what I cook or bake for others.  As for the moderation, I never say no to my own baking, after all the joy of running is connected to the joy of baking but I will stick to one serving.

I baked a lemon meringue pie for a departing work colleague which turned out very well, an *A* effort.  What made it fall short of an A+?  That would be the aesthetics.  It looked fine and the crust was nicely browned but the edging was very basic with no fancy leaf patterns or other embellishments I sometimes create.

My father-in-law has good reason to remember me for my pies.  For my in-laws 50th Anniversary I baked nine pies in one day.  We had a very big crowd at a brother-in-law’s cottage which was one part of an all-weekend celebration.  I was very touched by my father-in-law’s public appreciation of my efforts which was really the least I could do.  I baked apple pie, blueberry pie, peach pie and rhubarb-raspberry pie.  Other pies in my repertoire include my famous sweet potato pie flavoured with maple syrup and pecan pie drizzled with chocolate.  Pies I aspire to make are banana cream pie, coconut cream pie and cherry pie.

Lemon meringue pie

Today's lemon meringue pie gets a B+

With increased mileage, I find myself looking forward to baking a little more.  Bring on the pies . . . I mean miles.


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Toronto, Lately . . .

For my last few posts I’ve been dwelling on the details of our vacation, with encouragement in that direction as one of those posts was Freshly Pressed.  But, it is time to get back to my blogging basics, my daily run and the life in which that is embedded.

Winston Churchill Park, Toronto

View from Winston Churchill Park, Toronto (Blackberry photo)

The most scenic parts of Toronto are the ravines.  I can do 18 miles from my very urban location and run close to 70% of that on paths or wooded trails.  This route includes the Cedarvale Ravine, the Beltline, Mt. Pleasant cemetery and Moore Park Ravine.  You can check out my favourite route through Moore Park Ravine HERE.

I’m getting back in the groove with training and logged 40 and then 41 miles the past two weeks.  I’m on track to run 42-45 miles this week.  With the return to my regular running routine and avoiding sweets, other than the blueberry and lemon pies I baked, I’ve lost those five pounds gained on holiday.  Those were the pounds that made me deduce that our bathroom scale was broken.  More likely culprits than the scale malfunction are the following concoctions that would add a little zest to any vacation.  My ideal training weight is 107-108 pounds, which at just a bit over 5 feet, 1 inch is considered, by some exacting medical charts an ideal weight for my height.  I was told by my chiropractor that my consistently light weight was one of the reasons why I have stayed injury free for my past 25 years of my 30 years of running.

Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon cheesecake, Rocanini Coffee Roasters, Steveston, B.C.

Mango Bread Pudding

Mango Bread Pudding, Stowaway Cafe, Skagway AK

With the exception of my weekly long run I usually head to Lake Ontario and head east or west on the Martin Goodman Trail.  On Thursday I decided to go northeast as picking up a specialty item for a Japanese dish I was reparing for a Canada Day picnic would be a time saver.  This route took me through the Nordheimer Ravine and two mini-wetland projects, the Roycroft and Glen Edyth wetlands which goes past Winston Churchill park.  Winston Churchill park has a unique view of the CN Tower in that is almost a totally green view.  I did 7 or 8 sections of fast running which included stairs and uphills and then headed home with a stop at the P.A.T. Central Asian grocery store on Bloor, west of Bathurst.

Abura-Age

Abura-age, fried bean curd

On Wednesday my husband went to see his knee doctor.  He was expecting to get another cortisone shot but was told not to play any sports or run and to return if pain returned.  My husband concludes that he will have to wear a fake mustache when he does his meager amount of running, just in case Dr. ______ is around the next corner. He agreed with me that if he wants to get serious about running regularly, he will have to lighten the load on his knee.  So he has set a goal to go under 160 pounds, a loss of 6-7 pounds.  He was about 140 pounds when I met him and still looks slim at 167 pounds but to have any chance of getting back to his two hour weekend runs, lightness matters.

Maze gohan

Maze gohan

In addition to the Japanese dish, maze gohan, I baked two lemon poppy seed pound cakes for the family picnic buffet. I find my own baking the hardest to resist so with the array of fabulous picnic food and a holiday weekend ahead, the new regime of vigilant consumption is scheduled to begin on Monday.

Lemon poppyseed cake

Lemon poppyseed cake


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Ready, Set . . . BAKE

Alarm went off at 6 a.m. and I dozed back to sleep, waking after 7 a.m. and having to be out of the house for 7:30 a.m.  I considered deferring this longer run to Sunday but roused myself and plodded up the hill to St. Clair.  I was late but had sent an alert by email and BlackBerry Messenger to my companions.  It was only around mile 12 that I began to feel perky.  Miles run for the day, fifteen.

The cause of early morning sluggishness was a later than usual night due to my first ever bake-a-thon.  Leading up to our May 3rd, Gala my calendar of activities will be severely constrained to Easter dinner or event planning task sessions or meetings or runs.

Get set . . . bake!

My dear friend Dolores and I over the course of nearly 6 hours baked about 28 dozen cookies!  We discovered this to be a relaxing and rewarding way to spend time together.  Although early on as I exercised some quality control advice from my 30 years or more of making this particular cookie type, Dolores may have wondered what she had got herself into.  But she patiently heeded my instructions with appreciation for the fact that magnification of a slight over-size cookie could result in a  shortfall at the end of the evening.  Our minimum target was 300.

Batch #2 with 2 1/2 pounds of butter.

It didn’t take long for us to get into a groove and the afternoon and evening flew by, punctuated by a vegetarian dinner of Spanish Bulgur, a classic recipe from Diet for a Small Planet. Together we were able to nearly finish the whole mega-batch of 11 times the usual recipe for Mexican Tea Cakes from a Betty Crocker Cookie Book that was given to me by an aunt around 1967.

The Finished Product

We lamented the fact that our friend Robyn who is suffering from the severe sleep deprivation of mom-hood was unable to join us but felt good that the two of us had pulled it off.  And where will these cookies go you may ask?  Each gala guest will receive in their goodie bag two cookies, lovingly prepared by Dolores and Lynn.

Tulips for the Assistant Baker