Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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The Boston Marathon, be prepared

The Canadian fall marathon season peaked at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with the stunning performance of Lanni Marchant who set a new Canadian record of 2:28:00 for the marathon. The former record of 2:28:36 has been famously held by the humble and unassuming Sylvia Ruegger for 27 years. Ruegger at times has seemed almost embarrased for the record to have stood for so long and was at the finish line to greet Marchant.

My fall season will not include a marathon for the first time in 3 years. With the sharp decline in my marathon performance, in relative terms, I have decided to run fewer marathons, with a focus on running a marathon mainly as a celebration of a significant birthday. Last fall I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, in 2011 it was NYC and the year before, the California International Marathon in Sacramento. I have my eye on the Marine Corps Marathon as the stage for my next big birthday celebration.  An exception to this general marathon reduction scheme is the 2014 Boston Marathon. Like most who ran last year, returning in 2014 feels necessary in bringing a sense of closure to the 2013 experience.

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This is where it all begins

My fall has been about cross-country running and after November 16th, when the final race of the Ontario Masters Cross-Country Series takes place, my training will be focused on the Boston Marathon.  The first step to being prepared for Boston 2014 it seems, is finding a centrally located Boston hotel that is less than $400 a night. Prices seem to have jumped more than 50% from last spring. Advice to those training for Boston is to make your hotel reservation ASAP.

Earlier this fall we passed through Boston on our way to Cape Cod and could not resist taking the exit to Hopkinton.  We had some fun checking out a few start line attractions that one might not see while while lining up for the race with a cast of 30,000.

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The town of Hopkinton’s motto is “It All Starts Here” and the motto is captured in a bronze life-size statue of George V. Brown the legendary starter of the Boston Marathon for over 30 years. We also enjoyed the newly erected statue of my heroes Dick and Rick Hoyt who I met at the Boston Marathon Race Expo last spring. While viewing the statue a woman walked by and told us that her last name was Hoyt but while she was not related to the famous Hoyts, she wished she were.  The Hoyts were mentioned in President Barack Obama’s speech at the Interfaith Service after the Boston Marathon tragedy.

“In the words of Dick Hoyt, who has pushed his disabled son Rick in 31 Boston marathons, we can’t let something like this stop us. This doesn’t stop us.  And that’s what you’ve taught us, Boston. That’s what you’ve reminded us, to push on, to persevere, to not grow weary, to not get faint even when it hurts.”

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I’ll be thinking about Dick and Rick Hoyt when I run up Heartbreak Hill in the spring.

Yes we can!

Plaque-Hoyt


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Running with the Ethiopians

Ambaye-Medal

P2P Board Member Ambaye Kidane ran his first 5K ever!

More than thirty runners of Ethiopian descent took part in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon races (STWM) on Sunday, October 20th as members of TEAM P2P.

P2P Champions – Messai Gessesee, Ambaye Kidane, Fassil Tessema and Amele Zegwe – placed high in the fundraising results for People to People Aid Organization Canada (P2P). Their motivation was not to further the legendary status of Ethiopian distance running but to champion the cause of children orphaned by AIDS in Ethiopia.

Fassil Tessema

P2P Board member, Fassil visits orphaned kids in Ethiopia

Former Canada Running Series Masters Champion (2002, 2003) Lynn Kobayashi has boldly laid claim to “getting the Toronto Ethiopian community running”.  A committed volunteer for P2P and Fundraising and Communications consultant, Lynn knew that the Scotiabank Charity Challenge at the STWM was a “perfect fundraising fit for P2P on so many levels”. The funds raised support P2P’s orphan sponsorship program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

STWM-P2P-Lynn

Running for Ethiopian children

Of the organization, Lynn remarks, “The dedicated Board members and volunteers of P2P are fundraising ultra-marathoners. They committed to their first year of participation in the STWM but felt it prudent to continue to hold their annual walkathon this summer. Despite the short time since their last very similiar fundraising effort, this very small but committed group met their dream goal of raising $20,000 at the STWM.  Bringing the total of the two walk-a-thon events to over $50,000.”

Deressa Chimsa

Participants were so very excited about the event itself.  And needless to say were thrilled that an Ethiopian, Deressa Chimsa set a record for the fastest marathon run on Canadian soil.  Already, plans are underway for 2014. Get your feet in motion for an important cause. It is not too early to sign up to run with the Ethiopians!

For info on joining TEAM P2P CLICK HERE

To sponsor Lynn CLICK HERE (deadline October 31, 2013)


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I was going to give up marathons for awhile but . . .

I’ve been accepted into the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Yes, I was there in 2013 and like many others feel a need to be there in 2014 to get a sense of closure.  I feel bad for those who worked really hard to get under the qualifying time, and just made their times. With the rolling registration dates, depending on how far under the qualification time you ran, it will be difficult to get in this year. The running world will be watching to see how quickly registration fills up for 2014.

Good luck to those who are waiting anxiously to find out whether they will get in.  I would be willing to give up my spot to someone who has been trying to qualify for five years or more. I guess in effect, I could do something along those lines by not registering. So much for altruism.

Lynn Kobayashi, Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi

Boston acceptance email


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Exactly three years ago . . .

I neglected to celebrate my third blog-o-versary earlier this month. It all started when I took a blogging course at OCAD with a great instructor Greg Smith. I went on to complete the OCAD Digital Media Certificate which has helped me on-the-job with website content management  and communications.  Hundreds of blog posts later, here I am, albeit struggling to get in a minimum of two posts a month. I feel that if I don’t keep that up, I’ll stop entirely. Which begs the question, why not stop . . . hmmm, the topic of my next post? Actually my problem is not lack of content but too many ideas and too much to say, which makes it hard to get started.

Anyhow, the following is post from August 31, 2010 and it was interesting (to me at least) to see that I was then contemplating joining the UTTC Masters. It took me awhile to finally sign up but ta da, I’ve been a card-carrying member for over 1 1/2 years and loving it.

First Stop Sacramento  (August 31, 2010)

For someone who is used to running high-mileage in marathon training.  Running 50 miles a week hardly takes a thought.  I run about an hour a day with a 2 hour plus run on the weekend – this is the default.   However, with 15 weeks until my pre-Boston, marathon outing in Sacramento, the moment has come to either train seriously, forget about it or suffer in the final miles of the race.

2007, Sacramento 30K

So, I’m formulating my plan and the mileage build will go like this 57 miles this week, 61 miles next week and 57 miles the following week (including a rare day off for travel).  I like to do 2-3 solid weeks of building miles and then take an easier week.  Fortunately, this easy week will coincide with a trip to Germany.  My long run will increase from 12-15 miles to 17, 18 and up to 22 miles.

In addition to the increased mileage I have to start speedwork.  I’ve committed to hitting the track with a group.  For the past two years I’ve been taking evening courses, this year I will go to track school.  I’m excited about running on the new Varsity stadium track.  The very scene of my first marathon finish.  The coach, Paul Osland is a former Olympian who is now whipping a group of motivated masters into tip top shape.  I’m apprehensive about the return to the intensity of speed work.  My fast running for the past two years has gone something like this . . . run fast when I feel like it for 30 – 120 seconds.  Take as much rest as I need.

From what I can tell, the plan for Thursday is to run 150 meters at a very fast pace, 18 times and the do it again for a total of 36 fast repeats.  Then we are to bound up stairs, 2 steps at a time, 5 times and then repeat.  I’ve never done circuit training, of which we are to do 4 laps.  Hmm . . .

This could be painful.  Given that most of these runners will be peaking in the early fall, and my timing of a December marathon is unusual, I hope to get some sort of just-starting-out dispensation. I’m reminded of how once, when in top form I remarked to another runner as we readied ourselves for a grueling session à la Zeba Crook that his workouts were effective because they helped us to increase our pain threshold.  The runner turned to me and said, “but that is not what I signed up for”. No doubt . . . I’ll soon have a tale to tell.

Gulp . . .


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Running to work, “The Better Way”

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GO trains to the south, Don Valley to the east & cranes & construction, everywhere else. Welcome to Corktown Commons.

August has been my month to build a base for a cross-country season. I stuck to my resolve NOT to run a fall marathon. Instead I’ll race 4K to 8K distances, with only one 5K on the road.

My coach has suggested that I run no more than 20K in one day, and even consider splitting a 20K day up into two runs. My peak weekly mileage will be about 100K if things go well.  My biggest week in August was 75K or 46 miles.

This is how I fit in my runs this week as well as plans for tomorrow and Sunday.

Monday: Cycle to work | Run home from work = 4 miles | 4 MILES

Tuesday: Run to work = 6 miles | Run home from work = 4 miles | 10 MILES

Wednesday: Run to work = 6 miles | Cycle home from work | 6 MILES

Thursday: Cycle to work | Cycle to team workout, run hill repeats | 3 MILES

Friday: Run 4 miles to work | 4 MILES

Saturday:  Get out the door at 6:30 a.m. to run 10 miles | 10 MILES

Sunday: 5 MILES Projected weekly mileage | 5 MILES | 42 MILES

Money saved on TTC fares = $30

Two things that faciliate all this energetic commuting are a) Availablity of a shower at workplace b) A place to store my bike indoors overnight.

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Playing around in Corktown, the merry-go-round, deconstructed

And how did I get home tonight? After a few failed attempts to find Corktown Commons, earlier this summer, I finally found it while running to work one morning. I first heard of this intriguing park via a Huffington Post story. The article begins . . . “If you want to see why cities are centers of energy, look at the remarkable transformation underway in Toronto (and avoid the sideshow involving the embattled current mayor).”  Since locating the park I’ve visited a few times with workmates, who were amazed with the discovery as it is about 7 minutes from work. It is at the bottom of Lower River Street and you pass by Underpass Park. On a visit this Wednesday, my friend saw a frog. Tonight my husband came by my workplace where we had a romantic dinner of leftovers in the office kitchen and then I took him for a walk to this unique and very urban park. Cost of taxi home = $20 (pre-tip)

Definitely think I’ve found the “better way” if not the best!


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Run, Shower, Bike, Work, Bike

Welcome to my daily routine. I’m not training for a duathlon but I’ve taken to cycling across town to work whenever possible.  The trip is about 4 miles each way. The trip is made easier because I can use two major roads with bike lanes, Harbord Street and Sherbourne Street.

I recall hearing about a new bike lane in the works for Sherbourne street but it didn’t have much meaning for me as I have always been a west-ender who rarely strayed east of Yonge street. But now I point myself in the direction of Queen and Sumach five days a week and get to use this barely-six-week old bike thoroughfare. The lane is well-marked and raised, with a curb in spots and a slope in others.  The ride south is a blast as there is a pronounced but gradual downhill grade. Whee!

Best bike lane in town!

Best bike lane in town!

I’m a big fan of Portland, Oregon which has great infrastructure for cycling and many artistic and design flourishes paying homage to the bike, however I’ve never seen a lot of people actually cycling there. Or at least not to the degree that we Torontonians bike.

Bike art at Burnside and 13th avenue, Portland OR

Bike art at Burnside & 13th avenue,Portland OR

Outside of Powell’s Books (my favourite bookstore in the whole world) is a book-themed bike rack. But can you imagine a bike rack outside a bookstore in Toronto with empty parking spots? Of course, Portland is about 20% the size of the GTA but still it seems surprising in such a bike-friendly city.

Bike rack outside Powell's books

Bike rack outside Powell’s books

My first day of cycling to work was the day of the flood. I had to make a three hour stopover at the Eaton Centre where I bought a rain poncho, had a very bad dinner of curried Pad Thai and waited out the storm.

But I am in the groove now and getting cycle-fit which is helping my running in that I feel looser than I have for awhile even though I am running more miles than I have in months. I hit 40 miles this past week.

I found out that there is a shower in our office down the street which will give me the option to rearrange my run, shower, bike, work, bike routine to bike, work, run, shower, work, bike.  When I get to my peak mileage I’ll have to cut out the bike part some days and to run, shower, work, run, shower. Ah, the joys of Making It All Work *. I can’t imagine what a triathlete’s day looks like, with an extra shower or two thrown into the mix, followed by a lot of laundry.

* This is on my top ten list of time management books.


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Running slower but getting faster

While on my run this morning, I ran into a former club-mate who told me that a record I had held while a member of the Longboat Roadrunners was nearly broken the other day. The record was for a track mile. I didn’t remember having set a record for this event. So I checked the Longboat website.

I sometimes check the Longboat website to see what times I once ran as my memory of that is getting fuzzy. So I looked at the records and saw that a road mile I once ran in Buffalo, NY was credited as being a track mile.  This race took place 12 years ago.That mile, as I remember, was run on a road and park paths and had a hairpin turnaround point.  I like to think that a track mile would have been faster, tangents and all and with the important advantage of being able to gauge one’s pace per each 400 meter.

Like many keen masters athletes, I am somewhat fixated on measuring my performance on the World Masters Association (WMA) Age-Graded tables. Having recently run a 1500 meter track race, I wondered how my metric mile compared to that road mile. Here is the result for my run at the Ontario Masters Track and Field Championships earlier this month. My time was a very respectable 85.87%.

W55 1500 Meter Run Sat 1:30pm
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Name Age Team Finals Age-Grading
=================================================================================
1 Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi W57 UTTC 5:53.60 4:30.72 85.87%

My mile time scores a 82.19% which is equivalent to a 5:06 miles.  At age 30 or so, I ran a 5:04 but in the 1500. My first race ever was a marathon and I’ve always had that as my main focus. Translating my current 1500 meter score to an open time gives me a 4:53 for the mile and an open time of 4:30.72 for the metric mile.  Hey, I broke 5 minutes for the mile. I’m getting slower but actually I am getting faster. This is how we aging runners cheer ourselves up!!

This is what I looked like when I was hypothetically breaking 5 minutes in the mile.

OMA Outdoors - Lynn 1500

Photo courtesy of Doug Smith

But my own personal reverie aside, I will contact my friend and tell her that whoever it was that nearly broke my record, actually has the record as my time is ineligible.  And congrats to her! I have a feeling that she did not look in quite as much pain as I was here.

Ps. And thanks to my coach Paul Osland, Olympian in the 800 meters. Now UTTC Masters coach and a driving force behind My Remote Coach. Check it out!