Spring, sunshine and races…

Last week was the Toronto Marathon (congrats to M on his speedy time), this week is Sporting Life, June 18 is the Waterfront Race, there are a bunch more during the summer and fall, and Banff  on Sept. 24 (if you are interested in this last and haven’t been in touch with our fabulous organizer, B, please do so soon).

For those participating tomorrow, we will meet up in the last corral between 8:20 and 8:40. Remember that the TTC opens at 8 and that various bus routes will be affected so govern yourself accordingly! Also remember to  fill in your COVID questionnaire first thing.

The forecast is for sunshine and 7 degrees at 8am going up to about 13 (perfect racing weather but a bit chilly to start).  We will collect the gang at the finish line as each one comes through and, once we are together, we are planning to head to the Aroma Express Bar in Liberty Village for a well-deserved cuppa and a bite to eat. Please let someone know at the start of the race if you won’t be joining the group.

Can’t tell you how excited I am to be doing an in-person race again. I have always considered Sporting Life the real start of spring  and am looking forward to being part of that big happy crowd heading down Yonge Street. Hip, hip, hooray!

A bit of this, a bit of that and the importance of stretching…

It was a busy week for TPW starting with last Saturday’s  first in-person business/social meeting in 2 years (thanks P) and wrapping up with a walk under crisp sunny skies this Sat followed by another of our delightful out-door picnics (thanks B).

We are back in race season with 3 TPWs in London and others signed up for various local races (Toronto Marathon/May 1;  Sporting Life 10K/May 8: and the Toronto Waterfront 10K/June 18 as well as an ‘away’ race in Banff in Sept.

Conversations during Saturday’s walk (and my own aches and pains) prompt me to remind everyone of the importance of STRETCHING!  Several of the gang have experienced injuries (who knew Pickle Ball could be dangerous?) or have chronic issues. We tend to overuse our walking muscles and under use others. There is lots of stuff online (see example below) and, of course, the group is the source of knowledge on all things so let’s share what works.

The 3 Best Stretches for Walking

How about we restart doing stretches before we walk and add in some after – everyone invited to contribute! We did agree at our meeting that we would explore some expert training using our TPW reserves. We will start by asking about our regular coach’s availability but are open to other kinds of training suggestions too so bring it on!

Sanctuary, silliness and safety….

In a world beset with a pandemic and an escalating war, I increasing find that walking with the group is my sanctuary – a time for reflection with other thoughtful people and a time to share moments of hope and joy – and even welcomed silliness.

A while back we started a new tradition with the inaugural crowning of a member on their birthday with the TPW Official Birthday Hat. This Saturday saw the second bestowing of said hat – a very tasteful chapeau as you can see in the accompanying picture . I know you are all envious but never fear – your time will come (hard to tell if that is a promise or a threat, eh?).  I await my turn with great anticipation!

There was a robust turnout and it was great to welcome back some walkers we hadn’t seen for awhile. We collectively agreed to donate some of our TPW funds to the Red Cross for the Ukraine and to think about collecting needed items for those we hope will land safely on our shores in the not so distant future.

Please put March 26 in your calendar for our long delayed winter social/business meeting – one of our members has volunteered her place (huge thanks). Details will be shared by email.

Best laid plans and wishes for the New Year…

Let’s admit it – planning in the time of COVID is really just sort of hoping.

You may remember that, in my last blog a month ago, we were planning a TPW Resolution Run and breakfast on Jan. 8 and our winter business meeting and social on Jan. 29th. Well, given the rising infection rate, both of these are now on hold until the spring (and that, of course, is hoping vs planning so stay tuned).  Until we know more, we will continue our regular Saturday walking schedule at the cemetery with outdoor tea and coffee when the weather allows.

As we say goodbye to 2021, I want to acknowledge that the group has experienced personal loss and sorrow over the past year as well as the joy of new unions and new life.

I want to wish everyone the very best for 2022 and to offer thanks for all of you wonderful people – your support, kindness, sharing and occasional silliness have made this endless pandemic bearable.  I don’t make resolutions but will do my best to carry on the best of our traditions throughout the new year. Happy, healthy New Year!

The TPW Social Calendar…

We have had good turn-outs for the last while. I think it may be because other outdoor activities, like golf, are ending for the year but, whatever the reason, it is great to see people we haven’t seen for awhile.

And because we enjoy each other’s company so much (and because we all like eating!), we have a number of special events upcoming. Obviously, all are dependent on how the world turns between now and then but put them in your calendars and cross your fingers.

Dec. 18 – Holiday Goodies in the usual courtyard after our morning walk. Everyone is encouraged to bring a baked good of their choosing – and those who are known to be talented bakers/culinary creators (you know who you are) are particularly urged to bring their specialties.

Jan. 8 – TPW’s very own Resolution Run starting at our regular Saturday time of 8:30am. We plan to do a 5K walk in the ravine near the Brickworks with breakfast at Eggspectation at Greenwin Centre. The Sherbourne subway is nearby and there will be free parking at a members condo.

Jan. 29 – TPW Winter Business Meeting and Social – We have a new host this year (names will be named in emails to protect the privacy of all), her condo is central and she has a piano so those of you with talent, please start practicing. More details will be sent by email as we get closer.

In the meantime, we carry on with our Tues, Thurs and Saturday schedules. Thanks to all you wonderful TPWs for contributing your time and input to keep us going.

And a reminder to anyone reading this blog for the first time, we welcome new walkers – just turn up on a Sat morning at 8:30 and introduce yourself to the gang  just inside the gate of the cemetery.

Reporting back and planning ahead…

Awhile back we asked everyone if they wanted to volunteer to take over various roles in keeping TPW running. Several of you did respond (thank you very much) but, in chatting with others, it became apparent that most people were happy with the rather casual way we have been carrying on. So, the end result is we are going to continue to muddle through pretty much as we have been doing.

‘And how exactly is that?’ several people asked, so a little history and clarification.

TPW came into being  when a group of JeansMarines’ walkers decided they wanted to continue on after that organization became inactive. That original group loosely delegated various roles to those who agreed to take them on and TPW was born. It was never intended to be very formal – no hierachy, no titles, just things that needed doing and people who undertook to do them. Some took on more than others and now want to step back a bit – and that is fair (huge thanks, you know who you are!). Others are content to continue doing what they have been doing and we know that others will step forward as needed.

We have always had people initiate ‘passion projects’ and run with them and that will continue. It seems to be the TPW way so, as the sages say ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

So, announcing our first project for 2022, we are going to have our own Resolution Run on Sat, Jan. 8, a 5K route in the ravine around the BrickWorks (details to be revealed as we get closer), followed by a breakfast at Eggspectation (345 Bloor E).

And we will be planning to hold our winter social at Harbord House (our wonderful sponsor) sometime in February assuming it is safe to do so.

Isn’t it grand to have things to look forward to!

In praise of long, hot walks…

 

Okay, so my alternative would be to curse them but that wouldn’t be lady-like, would it! So following are some good things I can say:

 

  • They generally start off well. We are fresh, we are with friends, we all agree on the direction and it isn’t raining – hooray!
  • They are often in nice places (when they aren’t through industrial parks) with lots of greenery and bird tweets.
  • They provide an opportunity to cover many topics of conversation – or the same topic several times with different people.
  • By the end, you are covered in a coating of salt which makes an excellent exfoliant.
  • They do, finally, end and then you have really earned your treats at Starbucks, not to mention a delicious shower and a nap.

Oh, and one more thing, they do provide you with the confidence that you will be able to complete that 21K you are aiming for so I guess that means they are a good thing, eh! Next week 20K (sigh).

The extraordinary ordinary…

On Saturday, as we were all saying our good-byes after our post-walk coffee and tea, I was moved by what would have been, in the before-times, a very ordinary act. I will tell you more in a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

With the restrictions easing, we had one of the biggest turnouts in a long while. Over a dozen walkers from west, east and in-between came together for what turned out to be a lovely walk with the cemetery bright and shiny green from the recent rains. I started out grumpy from a restless night but, as always happens, was cheered up by the walking, the talking and sharing my mood with an equally grumpy soul-mate.

We congregated at our newly-found picnic area in the lane, chatted, sipped and snacked on someone’s generously shared Timbits.  We were rising and beginning our ‘ have a good weekends’ when two of the gang gave each other a big, warm,  spontaneous hug.  Nothing extraordinary, just fully-vaccinated friends hugging.  I almost wept.

We have kidded around about a full group hug when we are all in the clear but I am going to hold us to it! TPW Hug Day is a’coming.

Next week is another Pan Am Trail adventure. Check the website for details and come join us even if you aren’t training for Banff. It is in and out so can accommodate various distances.

Adventuring with caution…

 

Saturday was the beginning of training on the PanAm Trail in preparation for the Banff race (thank you P for coming up with the idea, mapping our routes and the above post-walk photo). It turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far and a little more of an adventure than we bargained  for. One of our group felt unwell towards the end (actually I think more than one of us felt the effects of the heat, me included). Fortunately, she was with someone but it reminded us all of the need to adhere to some safety precautions particularly for longer walks. Here is what we suggest:

  • Someone with a phone will volunteer to be the ‘sweep’ for each walk, making sure that everyone arrives at the end. The sweep will have the cell number of others in the group to call/text if there is need. If possible, everyone should carry a working phone, just in case.
  • Always try and walk with a buddy (although perhaps M can charge ahead as all the rest of us serve as his sweeps!).
  • Carry water – the heat can really do you in and there isn’t necessarily any water available on route, particularly with the pandemic.  Also, for long walks, take either electrolyte drinks or supplements or something appropriate to nibble on. In a pinch you can get back some of the salt you lose by licking the back of your hands or arms.
  • If you leave the route before meeting up with others at the end, please advise someone so the others don’t worry.

Most importantly, enjoy the experience of exploring new areas and seeing new sights – like this wonderful sign courtesy of S (please don’t all leap to respond at the same time!).

Spring and hope

Spring – I love this season. It is hope made visible.

Who could imagine there were so many shades of new leaf green – each sweeter and more tender than the next – and what can top the candy-floss blossoms of the magnolia and cherry trees?

It all fills me up with joy despite being mired in this pandemic. And that reminds me how resilient we humans are and that brings me back to hope.

We will get through this – and I am hoping we will be out of lockdown by May 29th so we can repeat the success of last year’s TPW Virtual Sporting Life Race. If you will remember, we met at the Starbucks at Hotel X down on the waterfront and set out in two groups, one going east and one west. Afterwards, we celebrated by sharing goodies brought by members of the gang .

I know this is dependent on the circumstances on the day but I love having something to look forward to so please put the date in your calendars…and hope for the best!