Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

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What’s up with Lynn?

Forget-me-nots & anemones

Forget-me-nots & anemones

While on the way out the door for my run, my husband told me he had checked my blog three times yesterday.  “What’s up with Lynn?”  he asked, in reference to the absence of new posts.  I found this funny and flattering, in that being a think-out-loud kind of person he definitely knows what is on my mind.  But, the written word does offer another perspective  and as we continue our journey of couplehood we’ve  discovered that writing is a preferred communication medium for my husband.

We are part of a unique sharing group.  It is a couples/marriage sharing group and it has a distinct format.  One couple does a presentation on whatever relationship topic they they like and then they pose a question related to that topic.   The couples disperse to separate rooms or areas and then each person writes a letter to their spouse for 10 minutes.   Then spouses read each others letter twice and then discuss the letters, starting with the letter which contains the strongest emotions.  The discussion is 10 minutes long.

Each letter has to begin with telling your spouse what their most endearing quality was for the day, week, month and so on.  There are also guidelines as to how to express your feelings, as just that, rather than as blame.

Then everyone regroups and we “share” our thoughts and if desired, the contents of our letter.  It is a totally enriching experience to learn from each other and to spend time this way with couples who are highly motivated to “dwell deep”.  The ranges of ages for the nine couples in our group is mid-thirties to early-seventies.

Plant from neighbour

Transplanted from the abundance of a neighbour's garden

To partially answer the question of what’s up, I ran about 14 miles on this absolutely gorgeous day but is was a struggle.  I’ve never felt quite so dead legged as I did today, parting company with my friends to walk and run the final four miles home.  About 400 meters from home I realized why the fatigue.  Blame it on the garden.  Thursday was a GARDEN-RUN-GARDEN duathlon and I am feeling the after-effects now.  The garden is also the reason why I am getting so irregular with the blog.  Although, our gardens, front and back are very modest in size.  A number of our neighbours have incredible gardens they have been tending for decades which overflow with plant material, from which I have inherited a few specimens.

Better go plant those dahlia bulbs . . . ciao!

These dahlias may grow as big as a saucer, I'm told.


Baking not Blogging

Sunnyside Beach not so sunny.

Yesterday, making all the pieces of my day fit together meant arriving at work super-early, running from work, along the lake, through High Park and a brief interlude at home followed by dashing off to a meeting at C-5  with the bandleader of Ethio Fidel Jazz band who will perform at our gala People4Kids.

The day got off to a sweet start as we got an early morning delivery of chocolate from CAMINO fair trade, organic chocolate destined for Gala goodie bags.  We received this note from CAMINO.  WooHoo!

Thank you for considering us as sponsors for your event. We are truly impressed with all your hard work and dedication towards orphaned children affected by AIDS in Ethiopia. We are happy to be able to contribute a small gift for your gala. We are able to offer you 300 chocolate minis (55% dark).

I just popped a chocolate into my mouth and yes, yum, it is superfine stuff.  Thanks Camino chocolate, you are the best!  I’ll also be seeking out their chocolate coconut bar.

Western Horizon seen from Sunnyside Beach

The foggy dew of the morning evolved into an atmospheric mistiness over the lake in the afternoon.  I took the beach shots just before starting the 12 x 200 meter pick-ups with 75 second recovery.  When I remarked to my coach that it was a fun workout, he confided that it is one of his favourites.  My coach, a former Olympian also holds some world records for his age group in the 800 meters.  I gather that one of his training secrets is circuit training which includes hopping up stairs on one foot.

On the heels of my workout I bounded breathlessly into our local Starbuck’s at College and Dovercourt to be greeted by the manager who told me that yes, Starbuck’s will donate a $75 gift basket to the Gala.  This manager is very excited about the opportunity she will have next week to meet Howard Schultz of Starbuck’s.

C5 Charcuterie Plate

As for food I added shredded apple and orange juice to my carrot oatmeal to improve on the “fruitlessness” of Wednesday. Also consumed through the day was; 1 bottle YOP, Activa yogurt (2.9% MF), peanut butter and banana sandwich, portion of a large charcuterie platter and that is it.  Not much really as my appetite is still a little curtailed and I’m feeling about 90%.  A nurse who is part of the team looking into the illness incurred by me and many last Friday was quite interested to hear that I had previously been struck down by the Norwalk virus.

Apple, Carrot, Orange Juice Oatmeal

After returning from C5, I was inspired by the sight of 4 very ripe bananas to bake banana bread for a friend’s visit.  Well, actually she will put to work, helping me to bake 30 dozen cookies.  After baking I was completely out of gas.  Time for bed – blog or no blog.

To Blog or To Bake Banana Bread

p.s.  I just got off the phone with Dufflet pastry and they are donating a cake certificate to the silent auction.  Life is sweet! But — will my friend feel the same way after helping me bake 30 dozen cookies?


Those Google Ads

Recently, I discovered that Google Ads are popping up when people visit my blog.  It turns out that this is the way that the WordPress people make money.  If you do not want the ads on your blog, you have to pay a small fee of $0.08 a day. I would be interested in knowing whether any offensive or ridiculous ads have shown up at your end.  WordPress blogs are not allowed to be monetarized so rest assured, I’m not making any money from the ads.

Click HERE for more information about the Google Ads.

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2011 Tally – Blogging versus Running

Island Airport, Home to Porter Airlines

Ran 5 miles down to the lake and took this photo of the ice by the Island airport early in the day. And now, I’m frantically trying to keep up with my PostADay2011 program here in the terminal of that same airport, waiting for a flight to Ottawa. I’m here on my own, so the blurry photo was taken by setting the camera on auto and balancing it on top of a small bottle of apple juice. I dashed to airport from my photography class and feeling quite weary, took good advantage of the Porter amenities, downing three coffees and four shortbread cookies.

Tripod of the Day, Bottle of Apple Juice

Running versus Blogging Tally

40 days running

39 days blogging


Runner’s World Rookie Marathon Training Plan

A young American woman, 22 years old is training for her first marathon in Italy.  She is using a plan which is very similar to what both my husband and I used to run our first marathons.  You can find the 16 week plan at Rookie Marathon Training Plan

My husband started running in his early twenties and ran his first marathon a few years later, using a Runner’s World, Three-Months to a Marathon plan.  I was in my mid-twenties and had been running a few weeks, when I decided to train for a marathon using the same plan which Runner’s World recycles yearly.  So I feel some nostalgia in reading about this woman’s ambition to run a marathon when she returns to the U.S.  She is calling it the SkinnyItaly Project. Go, go, young one, you CAN do it.  YES, you can.

I enjoyed reading about her reasons for running and her determination as shown below:

  • It’s FREE
  • Relieves Stress
  • Pushes your mental and physical strength
  • You can do it ANYWHERE
  • Again, it’s FREE
  • Achieve a lean, mean, STRONG physique

I’m going to be MADE. Into a Marathoner.  My coach will be my own stubbornness and muscle tension from my daily lifestyle in Italy.  Running a marathon has been on my BUCKET LIST (aka life goals), along with building orphanages in Uganda.

You can check out the full story of the SkinnyItaly project HERE.

I’m inspired by the marvelous energy and enthusiasm of the young.  It is easy as one ages to view youth as a phase we passed through and thought better of it.   I like to think that we can distill the essence of youth and reinvent ourselves as youth-full in spirit as we age, or at the very least, appreciate it vicariously.   Although, like George Sheehan I’ve often thought that running has been, and still is my fountain of youth.  Vigour is definitely a good foundation for optimism.

Dostoevsky said that “The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.”   However sobering this gloomy outlook  may be, know truly that it is never too late to start exercising regularly, or too early.


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 many repetitions he should be doing and how many weeks.  My answer; um, you could check my blog.  Said he, “So now you won’t talk to me, I have to talk to the blog?”.  I chortled but I think he was hoping for some sympathy.

There is a certain convenience in having some of my thoughts about training collected and recorded.  With 30 years of running experience, I get asked the same questions with some regularity.

A recent question in response to my post on weight training was a recommendation for a current book on the subject that is easily available.  I asked my weight training consultant, champion triathlete Beverley Coburn of Active Age Fitness for her thoughts.

Here they are:

“Really like the book, Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength by Jim Stoppani (Human Kinetics). This book has everything in it for building programs for beginners up to bodybuilders. I especially like the details. Stoppani describes the muscles and exercises for each muscle group i.e. shoulders with isolation and compound exercises for the front, rear and medial deltoids – great for developing muscle balance. Another book that has great pics is Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier.

I’ve seen Strength Training Anatomy in bookstores for around $25. Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength, I purchased on-line through Human Kinetics – possibly in bookstores too (somewhere around $25-$35).”

Would someone you love, like to receive this as a Valentine’s gift?

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I’ve finally gotten round to writing an ABOUT tab for this blog. Here it is.

Detroit, Ford Field Finish

The choice to return to very active life I experienced while growing up, has brought many good things into my life. This journey began with a few runs, while still a smoker, fitness classes at the YMCA which led to quitting smoking, cold turkey. With all the excess energy of being more fit and tobacco-free I began to run regularly, first a mile and then a few months later, a marathon in 4 hours and 11 minutes. Recently, I celebrated 30 years of running for fitness, friendship with my 20th marathon, surpassing the Boston qualifying standard by 33 minutes.  One of the good things was meeting my husband over 25 years ago when he introduced himself in a YMCA cafeteria after the 1985 Peterborough Half-Marathon. He remains, my favourite running partner. We have a 23 year old son, 17 nieces and nephews and 4 grandnephews and grandnieces.

Highlights of my racing career came later in life; 1st place finish in the 50-54 category at the Chicago Marathon, 3rd place (50-54) at the Boston marathon and a time of 3 hours & 10 minutes at the Detroit Marathon, run at age 50. I like to refer (or brag) of having qualified for the Boston Marathon in the Open Men’s category at age 50. This time also qualified as an Ontario 50-54 age group record for the marathon. The time I am most proud of from my younger days is having run my 4th half-marathon in 1 hour & 23 minute after less than 3 years of running and with low-mileage training due to chronic ankle injuries.

Over the years I have learned that advising people about how to train is tricky business AND that there is no formula. We are, as George Sheehan put it, “An experiment of one.” I’ve run while pregnant, run good times on low mileage, run great times on high mileage and run purely for fitness for the first 9 years of my son’s life, returning with a vengeance by logging more than 100 miles a week at times, with high-intensity workouts thrown into the mix.

Along the way, I’ve had to learn and abide by the “laws of the body”, George Sheehan again. I hope that providing some insight into how running fits into my daily routine might encourage you to commit to habits that will enhance your quality of life. I find the benefits to be as much (if not a little more) about mental well-being as physical.

There is an abundance of information available on fitness and training for the motivated and curious, and it is not my goal to spend a lot of time on the details of which others have expertly written. I would caution however that discernment is required as there are obvious paralells between “getting fit quick” and “getting rich quick”. I hope my observations about what has worked for me, while running close to 60,000 miles or more in my lifetime, might arouse your curiosity and point you in the direction of finding out what routines work for you, be it running or your heart thumping activity of choice.

As for all the non-running chit chat, I think of it as my side of a conversation, were we to share each others company while on a run — that being the most companionable of spaces.  Consider this your invitation to comment and question.

All the best!


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The Running Photographer

Taking my camera with me on my daily runs has injected a new and big element of fun to my running, even when I’m doing a treadmill run, as you’ll know if you read my blog a few days back.

I started this blog as an outcome of taking a course at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) on The Art of Blogging (and social media).  I am about to start a second course on digital photography.  An exciting aspect of this second course is that it will be held in the main building rather than in the less glamorous annex facility across the street where my blogging course took place.  This is one of those love-it or hate-it structures and I am on the love side, from the outside at least.  Soon I’ll get the inside scoop.

Ontario College of Art and Design - Toronto, Canada

A funny thing about aging is that as the years go by you sometimes forget about past lives, so to speak. When I bought my point and shoot camera this summer, a Canon, I thought of myself as something of a novice. How could I forget that in my early twenties, I was considered an up and coming avant-garde photographer in my small world of fine-arts at Concordia University.  I had also  forgotten that when I first moved to Toronto decades ago, I used to develop photos in the darkroom at OCAD.

Artist - Previous Incarnation, a Few Decades Ago

I once googled myself and was surprised to see a reference to an exhibit at Optica Gallery in Montreal where I was part of a four-person exhibit of young artists. I found this description of my photos which I cannot remember writing  perhaps it was the curator who wrote this. . . . takes photographs of things from her immediate environment to which she is attracted in every possible sense.

Now I’ll take a moment here to do a mini-lecture to the young, to whom, the idea of how much one might, can or will change through the years is elusive.  My advice is to be careful how you present yourself on-line because you may live to regret the social media trail you’ve blazed and recorded for posterity or notoriety.  Never say never.

On the topic of running and photography, my friend John is a marvelous photographer and all-round-great-guy who runs and has started a blog!  I can’t tell you how many memorable running moments he has captured on film.  CLICK HERE to get to John’s blog.  The impetus for his blog is a one-year job posting in Hong Kong. Lucky fella!

So back to the running . . . today I ran just over 8 miles on the treadmill with 5 x 5 minute sections at tempo pace, did upper and lower body weights and did not take any photos of what was on the treadmill TV 🙂

The bottom line . . . the more reasons you have to run or exercise, the more you’ll stick to it.  This year, I discovered a new one – photography.


Blog Goal – Post as Many Days as I Run in 2011

Dear Friends,

WordPress has challenged Bloggers to Post every day in 2011.

I run most every day and find it easier to assume that I will run every day, than to have to decide yes or no each and every day.  Similarly, I thought it might be easier to feel no pressure to blog every day BUT in fact, it seemed to consume more energy to decide yes or no every day.

As with running, I will not be obsessive about maintaining a streak (I’ve never been a streaker in that sense but all power to those with that approach.) however I would like to see how it feels to assume blogging as a daily habit. My estimate of non-running days for 2010 is 10-12 days. The typical reasons for days off from running are rest, before and after races or travel days.

I hope you’ll bear with me if the quality of posts gets a little thin or off-topic however I feel certain that the more I write, the better I’ll get at it.

1968-1988 Twenty Years of Journal Keeping

I’ll also be making use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and “likes” along the way.  A special thanks to Robyn (the only person I know who has a blog and does that date me?) author of Fit ‘n’ Frugal for posting her comments.

Thank you!


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Challenges to Young Poets, (Bloggers and Runners)

“Challenges To Young Poets, (Bloggers and Runners)” With apologies to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Ideas, inspirations, and starting points for poets, as proposed by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet laureate of San Francisco with my additions and very slight changes in italics.

Climb or run up the Statue of Liberty.

Reach for the unattainable.

Dance or run with wolves and count the stars, including the unseen.

Be naive, innocent, non-cynical, as if you had just landed on earth (as indeed you have, as indeed we all have), astonished by what you have fallen upon.

Write living newspapers.  Be a reporter from outer space, filing dispatches to some supreme managing editor who believes in full disclosure and has a low tolerance level for hot air.

Read between the lines of human discourse.

Avoid the provincial, go for the universal.

Think subjectively, write objectively.

Think long thoughts in short sentences.

Don’t attend poetry or running workshops, but if you do, don’t go to learn ‘how to” but to learn “what” (What’s important to write about).

Don’t bow down to critics who have not themselves written great masterpieces or have run masterfully.

Resist much, obey less.

Secretly liberate any being you see in a cage.

Write short poems in the voice of birds. Make your lyrics truly lyrical. Birdsong is not made by machines. Give your poems wings to fly to the treetops.

The much-quoted dictum from William Carlos Williams, “No ideas but in things,” is OK for prose, but it lays a dead hand on lyricism, since “things” are dead.

Don’t contemplate your navel in poetry and while running and think the rest of the world is going to think it’s important.

Remember everything, forget nothing.

Work on a frontier, if you can find one.

Go to sea, or work near water, and paddle your own boat.

Associate with thinking poets and runners. They’re hard to find.

Cultivate dissidence and critical thinking. “First thought, best thought” may not make for the greatest poetry. First thought may be worst thought.

What’s on your mind? What do you have in mind? Open your mouth and stop mumbling.

Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.

Question everything and everyone. Be subversive, constantly questioning reality and the status quo.

Be a poet, not a huckster. Don’t cater, don’t pander, especially not to possible audiences, readers, editors, or publishers.

Come out of your closet. It’s dark in there.

Raise the blinds, throw open your shuttered windows, raise the roof, unscrew the locks from the doors, but don’t throw away the screws.

Be committed to something outside yourself. Be militant about it. Or ecstatic.

To be a poet at sixteen is to be sixteen, to be a poet at 40 is to be a poet. Be both.

To be strong at sixteen is to be sixteen, to be healthy at 50 is a to have good genes, good luck and good habits.

Wake up and pee, the world’s on fire.

Have a nice day.

First read at the 17th Annual San Francisco High School Poetry Festival, February 3, 2001

My first exposure to Ferlinghetti was in a grade nine art class where we read from Coney Island of the Mind and did drawings inspired by these poems.  I also recall creating a giant papier mache pizza a la Claus Oldenberg.

City Lights, a must see when in San Francisco

During our short 1 1/2 day stay in San Francisco earlier this month we visited City Lights Bookstore which was co-founded by Ferlinghetti.

Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with poetry, running and blogging or whatever you like to do for FUN!

Purchasing Nox, by Canadian poet Anne Carson

Extensive Beat literature and poetry section