Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Friends, Runners & Committee Members

Much going on and there are nice intersections of the above. Monday was the start of a ten day training blitz, my peak training for Boston. My plan is to average 10 miles a day for this ten day period. I ran 18  miles on Monday during which I picked up the pace through 10 miles to the end. Two days before I raced 3K at the Canadian Masters Indoor Championships and was happy to have my best performance of my four-race indoor season of two 5K’s and two 3K’s. I was able to raise my age-graded score by 1% over each race. My 12:30 for 3K translates into a 9:42 as an open female, a solid national class time. It was an honour to be awarded the Ontario Masters Athlete of the Month for February. You can read about this HERE . . .

April is the Busiest Month

The Boston Marathon is on Monday, April 15th and the People4Kids Gala on Wednesday, May 1st. My husband and I are Co-chairs and what we thought would be a two- year commitment now has a life of its own. The funds raised at the gala go towards an orphan sponsorship program in Ethiopia which is run by the largest community group of Ethiopians and Eritreans here in Toronto, People to People AID Organization Canada (P2P). We have sponsored a little girl for a few years and while on my runs, I often visualize myself running in Africa, especially while listening to the song Viva Africa which has become a favourite of my Boston 2013 training cycle. You can have a listen at the YouTube link at the bottom of this blog.

View from my Laptop

View from my laptop

The photos to the left of “little Tigist” – so called because the Chair of P2P Canada is our “big Tigist” – were taken at Christmas. She is wearing a hoodie that was a gift from us along with a schoolbag and Christmas card. We hope to visit her soon. Our friend Ambaye, who is on the Board” of P2P traveled to Ethiopia in December and kindly offered to take these gifts with him.

Earlier in the month, I enjoyed planning a breakfast reception held in the Old Senate Chamber at University College to celebrate our gala supporters and kick off year three. We have a committee of eleven which includes four Ethiopian-Canadians. Defying stereotype, none of the Ethiopians run while five of us, including four Asian committee members do. Three of us are on the UTTC Masters track team, as is one of our key supporters.

We in fact sold two gala tickets to a runner friend who challenged our Ethiopian friend to do, what for Ambaye is the improbable, run a 5K.

Yesterday I jogged an easy 3 miles in the morning and in the early evening did a 10 mile run on the treadmill which included 60 minutes of running at marathon to half-marathon pace. I broke it into sections of 1 x 20 minutes, 2 x 15 minutes and 1 x 10 minutes, running progressively faster for each section. Tomorrow, I’m running 16-18 miles with the Saturday Guys. Although two of the four are lucky to be in warmer places . . . sigh. On Monday, I plan to do intervals with the team, the longer the better and will reach the summit of my training on Wednesday with a final long run of 17-18 miles which will include 8-10 miles of progressively faster running.

At right, big Tigist

At right, big Tigist

Did I mention that I’m doing Boston for fun?! That and to raise funds for P2P. Yes, my training is not what it used to be and I’ve resigned myself to doing well at shorter distances but not being able to maintain the quality of performance over the long haul. Lacking natural endurance I used to compensate by running a lot of mileage but at age 57 the miles don’t come as easily.

I am hopeful that my recent foray into more track racing will result in some self-knowledge gains that will point me towards how to  best train for marathons in my late-50’s and early 60’s. While I am happy to be able to run Boston this year, I don’t plan to return until 2016 when I will be in the 60-64 age group. I turn 60 in the fall of 2015. Can’t get my mind around that one. Three cheers for the prospect of being able to run marathons at age 60 but make no mistake  . . . 60 is *NOT*  the new 40.


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A fast pace

Indeed! With seven weeks before the Boston Marathon I’m heading into the heart of marathon training. In addition to 60+ miles of training a week, a number of other activities are keeping me busy. But first a running update.

Lynn Kobayashi, Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi

*The Look* On the verge of death or childbirth? I think I need some finish line coaching from Usain Bolt.

A few weeks back I set a Canadian age-group record for the indoor 5K. It was “low-hanging fruit” as far as records go but as one friend said I’m sure it was delicious nonetheless. I ran 21:55 – breaking the old mark of 26:14 held by Gossette Radlein since 2008. Tomorrow, I’ll be running another indoor 5K so it looks like I will be running to lower the Canadian record 🙂

Lynn Kobyashi, Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi

Why am I HERE? (far right)

The 5K was an invitational race with athletes of all shapes, sizes and ages, and just one woman. That would be me. I’m not sure what the logic was of putting me in the best starting spot, the inside track, so to speak, perhaps that was the spot where it would be least likely for someone to trip over the vintage 1955 wannabe record chaser.

5K jerry k

Jerry, the class of the field.

A couple of other records were broken in the race. Jerry Kooymans broke the men’s 55-59 record and Jack Geddes ran 23:29 – breaking the record of 27:46 held by Whitey Sheridan in 1991. I was happy to take the record down to a respectable level, a solid national class time (equivalent to about 17:40 were I in the Open category).

Mini Meet JackLynn

Setting the pace for a 75 yr. old record-holder.

Jerry on the other hand is the crème de la crème of masters running in Ontario, an international caliber athlete who has been competing his whole life and still holds records for the Princeton team. Jerry ran most of the way by himself, finishing in 16:44. He broke the old record of 17:27 held by Robert Jackson set in 2011. Jerry is just a few months older than me which makes me an expert in knowing when he enters a new age-category.

Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi, Lynn Kobayashi

We did it!!

This blog post has filled up rapidly thanks to all the great photos courtesy of Doug Smith of the Ontario Masters Track and Field Association. So I’ll have to elaborate on my other activities some other time. As far as that goes, let’s just say that Ethiopia is on my mind.

My To Do List for the Next Ten Weeks

  • Organize reception at University College on March 7th to recognize and attract sponsors and supporters for gala to benefit Ethiopian orphans. If you are interested or know of companies who might be interested, download this invitation: Sponsor Reception or email: people4kids@bell.net for more details.
  • Organize gala for Ethiopian orphans at the ROM on May 1st
  • Finish reading Les Miserables – The harsh conditions in the book make me think of hardships faced by those in developing nations. I am 45% of the way through.
  • Run for Ethiopian orphans at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15th.


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Three cheers for Bloor Street!

People4Kids Gala

We did it! Last Wednesday we pulled off another gala at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, Canada. It was hard work and as we were in the homestretch of organizing my husband, who was on domestic duty while I did my special events schtick, asked if he should spoon feed me, chained to the computer as I was. So we raised enough money to provide support to over 65 children orphaned by HIV-AIDS in Ethiopia. That felt great! And many thanks to our  supporters and the outstanding People4Kids Gala committee.

People to People AID Organization Canada, Board Chair, Tigist Abebe (left)

Favourite photo from 2011 Gala of my son and his girlfriend

Two doors west of the ROM is Varsity Stadium, home of my running club. The day after the gala I went for drinks with my running pals. Last year while in event-organizer mode, my training suffered greatly. This year, thanks to the regular workouts and support of my club, I ran some solid races and was awarded Athlete of the Month status for April. That felt great!

What the running club bought for the newborn twins of one of our teammates.

In between the ROM and Varsity Stadium is the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM)  and guess what! On Friday, we were there to enjoy the music of Egberto Gismonti in Koerner Hall, located in the RCM. I saw Gismonti perform about 30 years ago at the Bamboo Club (now LUSH Handmade Cosmetics). It WAS great!

Still on-the-go two nights later, just next door to the ROM

I’ll be hard pressed to pack in that much excitement into a one-block, three-day stretch again. Triple-dipping on Bloor Street . . . WooHoo Toronto!

Look up! It’s C5 at the ROM, scene of the gala – as seen from the lobby of Koerner Hall

Where we were on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday last week


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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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Running for the two of us

I’m trying to boost my mileage a little but this week had to be satisfied with matching the 45 miles or 72K that I ran two weeks ago. Commuting to Mississauga for a four day in-class session of my four-month course cast a pall on my running ambitions for the week. To make it to my destination meant leaving home around 6:45 a.m. Adding to this were two evening engagements with start times not far off my usual bedtime on days when I leave home for work at 9 or 10 a.m.

Getting lapped in the mile by teammates

I’ve been too busy to write much about my renewed commitment to increased racing fitness but joining a track club was something I finally did in January after nearly two years of thinking about it. My 2012 drive to get fit was set back by turning my ankle and a bad cold over the couple of weeks while I was on holiday and this week’s challenge was to merely maintain my momentum. But I’m excited about applying myself to speed work with the track club and feel confident that I can maintain this momentum alongside my volunteer commitment of organizing the People4Kids Gala to take place on Thursday, May 3rd at C-5 in the ROM.

Part of my confidence is due in part to focusing on quality rather than quantity over the next few months. Last year at this time I was hoping to run a marathon however, the commitment to high mileage was too much to maintain while organizing the gala. I’m also banking on the hope that having a club to train with at regular times will reduce the amount of determination I need to get myself to do interval sessions.

Here is what I did this week:

  • Monday – 10 miles easy (day after 800 meter and mile race)
  • Tuesday – 3 miles easy (left for run at 5:15 a.m. and went to bed at 8:30 p.m.)
  • Wednesday – 7  miles (Decided to stay at a hotel near the course site in Mississauga to facilitate an evening run)
  • Thursday – 4 miles (threshold session on hotel treadmill)
  • Friday – 2 miles (left for run at 5:30 a.m.)
  • Saturday – 14 miles solo
  • Sunday – 5 miles
  • Total / 45 miles

My husband joined me at the hotel in Mississauga and assumed the stress of commuting to his workplace. Thankfully, the week was not as crazy as expected as the two hour commutes back to Toronto did not materialize as I received a lift home on three of the days. This allowed me to nap on Thursday before attending the gala opening of the auto show. This event is very popular as there is a lot of complimentary food and drink. In order to conserve my energy I did not take advantage of the drink offers other than juice and coffee but was extremely happy to enjoy the free oyster bar among other things.

Free oysters courtesy of Lexus

On Friday, I was also able to nap and along with members of the gala committee went to hear Waleed Abdulhamid perform. We were in negotiations to have him play at our gala and were well satisfied by his performance that he is our man.

Fellow talent hunters

Saturday morning brought sludgy snow and overcast skies which made getting out the door, with no company, difficult. But my husband reminded me of how lucky I am to be able to run injury-free and tells me that I have to run for the two of us, thus helping to prod me to hit the roads. Part of the process of getting out the door involved downloading some new music and creating a new playlist called “long run”.

I had fully intended to run to the Athletic Centre at U of T and run indoors but as I left the house it stopped snowing and the sky cleared. So with uncleared sidewalks predominating I decided my best bet was to run along Bloor the whole way, which I did for a very long stretch from St. George to Woodbine. I ran back  the exact same way. Not bad for a winter run but the tips of crocus leaves have been showing for a couple of weeks and wouldn’t it be nice if spring was early this year. Training without the company of my favourite training partner, my husband over these past few years has proven a challenge however his encouragement is at the top of the list of my arsenal of motivational tactics and inducements to get out the door nearly every day of the year.


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Winding down and warming up for the holidays

Season of hope

The past week has been a transition from hyper-busy to a bit of calm before the holidays. We will be away a for two long weekends in December so I’m working hard at getting a lot done now, to make up for the away time. Take note Steven and Alain in case you were thinking of hosting a party 🙂 I ran 35 miles this week with a long run of 7 miles. I’ve been doing upper body weight work and doing walking lunges and hope to start lower body weights next week. My only speedwork since the marathon has been to pick up the pace for about five blocks when my husband passed me on his bicycle on College Street.

To prepare for hosting three festive events, I’ve been cleaning and organizing like crazy. My mantra: Out with the old and then MAKE DO! I have been accused of having some Luddite-like views in certain areas. Such as the refusal to own a dishwasher and the belief that if I cannot keep my own home clean and tidy I have too much space and too much stuff. I have too much stuff and consequently my home is far from being as clean and tidy as I would like it to be 🙂 I am having a farewell party for a co-worker who is returning to Hungary on December 27th, hosting our family Christmas dinner for 21 guests and then a farewell party for a friend who is going to cycle from Cairo to Capetown as a fundraiser for the Ethiopian orphan sponsorship program that we support by organizing a gala. My friend Bev is 61 years old, has two kids and two grand kids. I’m going to blog about Bev’s trip soon.

Cairo to Capetown

Bev (centre) introduced at Ethiopian Community Dinner by Board Chair (right)

We attended Advent Vespers at St. Basil’s church which always makes for a special evening but I was a bit disappointed that for the second year in a row, Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel was not sung. Here is a good version by Sufjan Stevens.

After Vespers we dropped the church hall for a snack and coffee and then went for a drink atop the Hyatt Regency at the famous rooftop bar that dates back to the time when this hotel was the Park Plaza. It was my first visit to this famous Toronto lounge.

I’ve already sent one Christmas card and began playing Christmas carols last week. I cleared our dining room table of my work-work and volunteer work paraphernalia and my husband and I enjoyed a nice sit down dinner. I guess things must be settling down if I have time to arrange flowers. Dickens is a favourite author, with David Copperfield my favourite of the four Dicken’s novels I’ve read the others, Great Expectations, Bleak House, Dombey and Son. I think I’ll read The Christmas Carol over the holidays. Yes, I am feeling very happy to have the time to thoroughly enjoy, appreciate and contribute to the best of the coming season of hope and joyful expectation.

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child himself.

Charles Dickens


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Fatherhood & the Global Village

A Kobo Reader for dad

One of my husband’s most endearing qualities as a dad this past year, was to extend his circle of fatherly care, outside our immediate family. He did this by taking the plunge alongside me to chair a gala that raised $22,000 in net revenues for an orphan sponsorship fund in Ethiopia a program of People for Kids, AID Organization Canada.

The event was a small, family, friends and workmates fundraiser and a crucial element of making it all work, was that my husband had to step, or should I say sprint, far outside his comfort zone in asking for help (i.e. ask for money!)  from friends, family and colleagues.

Partners in fundraising

He was hugely gratified by the response to his outreach and we are both very grateful for the support of so many. And of course, my love for him grew with this big step on the journey of parent and couple-hood, a journey where are first steps together were taken on a run – of course. Happy Father’s Day my love!

Fathering is not something “perfect” men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child-raising is not the child, but the parent. 

Frank Pittman