Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

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“Once Upon a Time in the West”

Back from our southwest swing, we enjoyed watching a film for which we saw a poster in a Taos, New Mexico coffee shop, a 1968 Sergio Leone film, “Once upon a Time in the West”. We revisited the desert in this film featuring Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale. Apparently, it is a favourite of film aficionado’s and film makers including Quentin Tarantino, appearing on many an all-time, top one hundred list.

While in Arizona, I was eager to pay a visit to the Cowtown Boot Outlet. I am always on the hunt for stylish but comfortable footwear and blogged about this in the post titled RUBBER SOLES. One exception to the superior comfort of rubber soles is the cowboy boot. What is it that makes cowboy boots so comfortable? Granted, they are not the height of stylishness but they are certainly a little more lithe in appearance than my beloved Blundstones. My comfy footwear instincts were dead on and I was rewarded with a pair of black leather boots for $113.  Sadly there is no such outlet in Canada, not even in Alberta but if you are in the U.S. and in need of comfy boots –  you gotta go!

Score: Comfy all-leather boots for $113

Justin Boots - Black Kipskin

On my last run in Phoenix I was drawn to finish my 6 miles in South Mountain park despite the risk of re-injuring my tender ankle. Fortunately all went well and I left feeling ready to tackle speedwork and increase my mileage upon returning to Toronto.

Last run in the west for this cowgirl

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Champagne & Chocolate, the Morning After

Making an Impression

My husband and I were not feeling too cheery this morning after what for us was a wild party night.  He had three beers and I had two piccolos of sparkling wine, which is about the most either of us ever drink at one time.  The kicker was that when we got home we gorged ourselves on chocolate.  This is very unlike us.  Chalk it up to post-event-organizing decompression.

Nonetheless, one of our first morning conversations was to ask him to carry some large  bricks to the front yard.  Over the past few days I’ve been shoring up the front garden with a makeshift cement block wall.  I got to work on reconciling some financial stuff for the gala and before I knew it, there was not much time left to run before work. I ran three easy miles. I weighed myself for the first time in a couple of weeks and was surprised to find myself down a pound to 109.  This is a not-too-skinny weight for someone who is 5 foot 1 inch tall.  It was it bit surprising, given I have really cut back on the miles in the past few weeks but it may be due to loss of muscle mass.

Pat's Pile

Lynn's Pile


The usual group of Saturday runners are injured, out-of-town, preparing to go out-of-town and MIA.  It will be tough to get myself out the door tomorrow morning.  Sigh . . . pass the chocolate honey.

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Power gels or chocolate?

When running a marathon, a past pre-race routine has been to drink a lot of gatorade, a can or two of Boost and then down a powergel, shortly before the race starts. Later in the race I take a gel at the 15K and 30K marks and further on, if needed. Through the years, as my body became better at using fat as a fuel, I needed fewer carbohydrates.

Mounds Dark Chocolate - 2 mini-bars

Power gels are the yuckiest, things you can imagine, a sugary, gooey syrup that must be followed with water in order not to gag on the stuff. Years ago, I asked a friend, a PhD in nutrition to analyze the contents to see if there was anything other than glucose in the mix. The answer, NO. Since I sometimes would have a power gel near the end of long run, I decided why pay nearly $2 for this concoction when I could be eating chocolate.

Mocha Clif Shot

In addition to the improved taste, a chocolate bar purchased on the run, also buys you a ticket to a washroom. This is a real bonus in the winter when most of the washrooms in city parks are shut down.

The talk at the high school went well. And the thank-you gift, a box of Lindt chocolates, inspired my blog topic. Chocolate however, does take a bit more effort to ingest so the gels, while racing the marathon will still be required.

Peanut Butter Crunchy Bar

Picking my poison, my preferred gels are Clif Shots with Mocha, my favourite flavour.

The mocha flavour is special because it has caffeine in it. Although this is only available in the U.S. as Canadian Food and drug regulations do not allow caffeine to be present in gels. I don’t normally go for sports bars but while traveling find that they are handy (and economical) items to have on hand in while on-the-go, in transit. My husband and I like the Peanut Butter Crunchy bar.

The best box of chocolates I’ve ever had was a gift from our across-the-street neighbours, who really know “good things”.

Stubbe Chocolate

The chocolates were from Stubbe which has a location at Dupont and Christie. The other day I bought two Stubbe chocolate bars at the LIT Espresso bar for my son and our roommate.  I’ve become a Stubbe devotee.

Stubbe chocolate bars, one with almonds, the other with peppercorns

LIT is the only place in Canada, I’m told, that brews Stumptown coffee. Those of us who are addicted to Starbuck’s, do notice the Stumptown difference.

LIT espresso bar, College just east of Ossington

Stumptown Coffee

Well, I really must go but I hope to continue this discussion of chocolate very soon. Sweet dreams!

p.s.  I ran 7 miles on the treadmill this morning and made edits to my talk, while running.