Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Running in the Seventies – Some Differences

Writing about my husband’s past running accomplishments in my last blog reminded me of some of the changes that have occurred over those years.

Looking smug at the start of Ottawa Marathon,1982

  1. Conventional advice for winter running was to wear woolen socks to keep hands warm. Who knew that you might dedicate a pair of regular mitts or gloves to exercise, let alone spend money to buy special ones to run in.
  2. Runners used string to measure routes on paper maps.  The really high-tech folk, of whom I knew only two, bought special map measuring wheels.  My upgrade was to use candle wicking which had wire inside and improved accuracy while measuring around a bend.
  3. Not all results were made public for the Boston Marathon.  Not only were the qualifying times more difficult (sub- 3hours for open men) but you only got your name in the official program if you were 3:15 or faster, whether male or female.
  4. There was no such thing as a personal music device.  I owned the first Sony Walkman, introduced in 1981.  The prototype was a behemoth and to run with it involved a complicated system of belts and strapping which felt like being wrapped in a very wide tensor bandage.
  5. There was no affordable stopwatch available until 1974 when Casio produced the first, priced at $150.  A bargain compared to the $2100 Pulsar by Hamilton a few years earlier.
  6. Instead of chip-timing, the popsicle-stick-timing system was commonly used and believe it or not, fairly effective.
  7. There was no Olympic marathon for women. The first Olympic marathon for women took place in 1984, three years after I had run my first marathon at age 26.  Joan Benoit stepped into the record books with her historic victory.

To hear Joan Benoit read the poem below CLICK HERE

Wanting to be able to
by: Piet Hein

“Impossibilities” are good
not to attach that label to;
since, correctly understood,
if we wanted to, we would
be able to.

26 miles later, Olivia Newton-John Wannabe feels the pain

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The Bend at Boylston

Yesterday was the 3rd day of 2011 that I did not post.  And no, it was not because I was watching the Oscars.  Although I’ll jump on that theme and mention that  movies were something of a topic on the Saturday run.  The DVD of my favourite movie Ugetsu Monogatari by Kenji Mizoguchi is now making the rounds of our group  albeit slowly.  And next week, I’ll hand off another favourite, Johnny Guitar a Nicholas Ray film, beloved by Truffaut and Almodavor to name a few.  If you love film, you owe it to yourself to click on my links to information about these two classics.

Mainly the absence of a post was due to a thematic vacuum.  Jumping off from a point I made in my last post about how lovely those long straightaway marathon finishes are I’m going to assign a 5 star rating system to final mile of some of the marathons I’ve run.

Boston Marathon *****
Detroit Marathon ****1/2
California International Marathon (Sacramento) ****
Columbus Marathon ***1/2
National Capital Marathon (Ottawa) ***1/2
Chicago Marathon ***1/2
Mississauga Marathon **1/2
Toronto International Marathon **1/2

I like the finish on Ford Field of the Detroit Marathon and the separate finish for men and women and the California International Marathon but nothing beats the final mile of Boston with the final turn onto Boylston Street, a slight downhill grade and the stupendous crowd support with the finish line in sight. Check out the this footage of the turn on to Boylston.

And this exciting footage of Dire Tune and Alevtina Biktimirova battling it out in the 2008 Boston Marathon. I’ll be there in 14 months and counting!


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Ottawa Marathon, Some Memories

I had planned to tie in my afternoon as a tourist in Ottawa with the Ottawa marathon race route. However we are making a mad dash out to Scarborough this afternoon to check into a hotel, using Aeroplan points, close to the location of a Valentine’s dinner we are attending. The dinner is hosted by the marriage enrichment group that we are a part of. Last year we attended with my parents, as they attended a retreat organized by this same group, a few decades ago.  Perhaps “the boys” will have a party in our absence. The boys being our son who is home most weekends, and his friend, Alain who lives with us 24/7.

I have run the Ottawa marathon four times. It is tied with the Boston marathon for repeat outings.My first running of this marathon was in 1982 and I was wearing a t-shirt that read, No Nukes are Good Nukes. Those were the days. Here are my Ottawa marathon times.

# Ottawa Marathon, May 1982 — 3:37
# Ottawa Marathon, May 2002 — 3:07:02 (personal best, age 46)
# Ottawa Marathon, May 2003 — 3:11
# Ottawa Marathon, May 2004 –3:10

Speaking at Ottawa Marathon Race Expo

In 2005 I was a co-presenter at the Ottawa marathon race expo with Steve Boyd. Steve holds umpteen Canadian masters records and also has a doctorate, I think it is in the history of political thought from Queen’s University. Shortly after, I wrote an article on Steve Boyd which is somewhere on the hard drive of an old computer. I hope to retrieve this one day (so many things to do, so little time) and post it on my blog. I’ve added some award-ceremony photos and a bit about Steve Boyd to my post on Dylan Wykes the winner of the California International Marathon, as Steve is Dylan Wyke’s mentor-coach.

Have a wonderful evening all!


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30 years of running, 20 marathons run

As I work towards deciding which marathon to run this spring, I quickly jotted down, in chronological order a list of the marathons I’ve run and my times. It is the first time I have done this and eventually I’ll add more detail to this record which at this point is a draft, more or less. In bold are the top three highlights.

  1. Toronto Marathon, October 1981 — 4:11
  2. Ottawa Marathon, May 1982 — 3:37
  3. Toronto Marathon, October 1985 — 3:15
  4. Shamrock Marathon (Virginia Beach), March 1987 — 3:07 (gave birth to son Steven on December 19th, 1987)
  5. Toronto Marathon, October 1996 — 3:30 (9 1/2 years since last marathon)
  6. Boston Marathon, April 1997 — 3:28
  7. Columbus Marathon, October 1998 — 3:14
  8. Boston Marathon, April 2000 — 3:14
  9. Columbus Marathon, October 2000 — 3:15
  10. Ottawa Marathon, May 2002 — 3:07:02 (personal best, age 46)
  11. Ottawa Marathon, May 2003 — 3:11
  12. Ottawa Marathon, May 2004 —3:10
  13. Detroit Marathon, October 2004 — 3:11
  14. Mississauga Marathon, May 2005 — 3:14
  15. Detroit Marathon, October 2005 — 3:10:09 (Ontario age-group record, 50-54)
  16. Mississauga Marathon, May 2006 — 3:12
  17. Chicago Marathon, October 2006 — 3:13 (1st in 50-54 age-category)
  18. Boston Marathon, April 2007 — 3:17:54 (3rd in 50-54 age-category)
  19. Boston Marathon, April 2008 — 3:22 (7th in 50-54 age-category)
  20. California International Marathon, December 2010 — 3:42 (1st in 55-59 age-category) (2 1/2 years since last marathon)

Ottawa marathon 1982 - Nice headband!