Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Treading winter on a treadmill

I’ve been running long enough to remember when treadmills were an exotic species of gadget, used almost exclusively for tests administered by exercise physiologists.  I”m not sure when they started to become part of your standard gym equipment but thank goodness for that.

Over the past month I’ve done two 18 milers and both were done on the treadmill at my local YMCA due to very messy weather with treacherous footing. I’m an old hand at treadmilling but over those runs I learned a new trick. I can READ and RUN at the same time! If I set the font size on my Kobo reader to large, I can read without any difficulty. This is quite a discovery for someone who is trying to make it through the 1200+ pages of Les Miserables. I’m now 48% of the way through.

A cautionary note here. I think I can easily manage this feat as not many people have logged as many treadmill miles as I have. My theory is, that since running is second-nature for me and requires very little concentration, the door is open to multi-tasking. I think some of the findings presented in Thinking Fast and Slow by Nobel prize winner, Daniel Kahneman would support my view. Nonetheless, one should not get too cocky. Last fall I stumbled and fell on a treadmill and was hurled off. Thankfully I was not going very fast. I can’t imagine what would have happened otherwise. Wearing the safety catch while on a treadmill is a good idea.

Treadmill

A surprising development

For the latest 18 miler I did this. For the first hour, I listened to Thinking Fast and Slow, the audiobook. I own the hard copy of the book but had stalled at page 135 and knew that I needed the ease of the audiobook to get me back into it. I would like to have the “reader” option but three options for one book, seems excessive not to say, expensive. The book is a bit demanding so I knew that after the first hour, switching to Les Miserables would be in order. For the third hour, I listened to music. The week before I looked at all the “tags” I had collected on Shazaam, the music identifying app, and downloaded those from www.legalsounds.com for a pittance. It is always motivating to run with new music in hand.

No,it has not been easy getting geared up for winter marathon training, most of it on my own, but thank goodness for all these toys!

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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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Running in February, down by the boardwalk

Marilyn Bell Park on February 2, 2012

Never in the my personal history of thirty years of running in Toronto has there been such an astonishing weather. WooHoo! The photo above is from a run I did the day after returning from our trip to Arizona and New Mexico. Today my eight miler down by the lake was about as good as it gets in the winter. The wind gained force through the day but it was nicely in check in the morning.

Boardwalk near Sunnyside Pool, February 27, 2012

Yesterday I ran 1500 meters at a masters provincial track championship. With many years of racing under my belt, there are rarely surprises when it comes to racing times. However, the injection of speed work over the past month set the stage for a time 10 seconds faster than my stretch goal and a vast improvement on my mile time run a couple of weeks ago. Something akin to going from a 4:10 mile to a 3:58 mile in a couple of weeks.

According to the AGE-GRADED-CALCULATOR the bible of the masters runner my time was equivalent to an open time of 4:41.3. Very encouraging. One of my goals is to get fast enough so to avoid being lapped by my very speedy and younger teammates, one of whom won her age-category this year in the Fifth Avenue Mile. That is world-class running!

1500 meter race - a real high

On the heels of my NYC Marathon disappointment I registered for the Around the Bay 30K however I’m so enjoying the prospect of more track and doing a fast 5K that I’m going to pass on the 30K. As for my training, I’m going to err on the side of speed. Holding back on mileage in favour of good quality speedwork. Although for me, holding back on mileage means not going over 70 miles or 114K. Why do I run so many miles? I’ve always felt that I have more speed than endurance but I think I went over the top on that count and I’m really excited to change my focus.

I’m hoping to be running like a lion in March!


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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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How did I get so busy?

My husband is threatening to unsubscribe from my blog.  He tells me it has been a week since my last post and he teasingly says that he no longer knows what I am  up to.   One week to gala day.  We had our last pre-gala committee meeting at our house and had a nice time of it.  I estimate that I spent about 60 hours over the past two weeks on the eight page program booklet with Silent Auction catalogue.  Finally, this morning I sent it to print.

Is a picture worth a week of bloglessness?

Does this photo explain a week of blog-less-ness?

I took a day off from running yesterday. It is just not the time to push too hard but I did do 4 x 7 minutes hard today and had a good weekend of running with 13 miles on Saturday and 7 miles on Sunday. On Sunday I ran with a 19 year old from Namibia who told me that he doesn’t really run long distances. We ran through High Park up and down some of the steepest hills and his breathing never changed from that of someone walking. Well, he is after all 36 years younger than me but still. I expect more of myself and he certainly led me to expect less.

I look forward to having the time to blog and take photos.

Sweet dreams.


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Is my running mojo back?

The prolonged wintry weather has made getting out for my daily run a day-to-day struggle.  Once I decided to defer my marathon plans to the fall, I’ve found myself delaying my run and procrastinating daily.   As I’ve mentioned earlier,  part of this is the focus on the gala.  The other factor is that I love my new job, which means I’ve got two intensely great things happening and running, well it is in third place for the moment.

Plans for the usual Saturday run got thrown off-kilter as I have to work tomorrow morning.  This threw me into a bit of panic, relying as I do on meeting the guys most Saturdays for the longer run.  BUT a plan emerged, a second-wind of motivation jettisoned me to work earlier than ever, with the intention of leaving early (love those flexible hours) to do an afternoon long run.  This full scope of this plan was dependent on whether my legs were fresh enough from yesterdays workout to run at least 10 miles.

Running from work involves taking as few things as possible to work  and having outerwear that you won’t need the next day or two.  As my shoes are at work, I wear my runners to get there and today wore my running jacket under a down vest.  I take only the essentials, bank card, credit card, money, keys, camera & BlackBerry.

The only drawback to this plan was that I would miss lunch. Everyday a volunteer or staff person cooks lunch for everyone and today’s lunch, homemade pizza, looked very appetizing. But, leave I did, and I ran down to the lake and then ran east along the Harbourfront promenade where a helpful dog walker offered to take this photo of me by the Empire Sandy.

Empire Sandy has weathered the winter.

Uplifted by the brilliantly blue sky and the wind on my left shoulder, I ran on.  My legs felt okay and I found myself seizing on the idea of taking a photo of Cherry beach as if I did that, I’d be getting in 12 miles.  This photo assignment took me through the really gritty parts of the Martin Goodman Trail with scenes befitting the Rust Belt or the HBO series, The Wire.  I got my photo and thankfully the wind was not too bad going west.

Down by the Docks

I ended my run at Starbuck’s and a little chit chat with the two baristas, both of whom run.  Ah, triple-venti-whole milk-vanilla-latte and a cinnamon bun . . . satisfaction plus.

Cherry Beach has got me on the run.

CLICK HERE to see what the Urban Dictionary has to say about the meaning of mojo.


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The Long Way Home

Due to the promise of 6C in the afternoon I decided to skip my usual morning run, and run home from work.  I am now in the enviable position of living one mile from where I work and just loving the quality of life that comes with it.  But, it does mean that this run involved a 6 mile detour.  The direction of the detour was dictated by the wind from the southeast. 

Life on a Lake Ontario Ice Floe

Steps from work, is a path that is part of my route from home so it was south to the lake and then a right turn west with a bit of a tailwind. While not as warm as I had hoped, it felt great to end the workday running along the lake and then through High Park and home for a total of 7 miles. 

This winter reminds me of living in Ottawa where one inevitably lost memory of what spring is like by the end of it.  In spite of this taste of spring, I’m finding it hard to imagine running in shorts and a singlet.

Excerpt from . . . To Spring   Willam Blake

Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.