Loving The Lake

I love walking by the lake , you never know what is going on from week to week, and whether they will close off part of our route, heading east what excitement is along the Lakeshore. I also love the peace and quiet, and green.

Saturday was no exception. So nice to be welcomed back to High Park by the unnamed ‘green goddess’.

   


A CHALLENGE IS AS GOOD AS A REST, SOME SAY

  And boy, were we challenged; four senior Canadian women who decided it would be so much fun(???) to hike around Mont Blanc in the Alps. To be fair, the Tour de Mont Blanc is absolutely staggeringly beautiful with snow capped mountains, glaciers, mountain meadows full of wild flowers and scattered with cows whose bells were ringing as they wandered, beautiful alpine villages nestled amongst the valleys, waterfalls gushing down mountain sides, spectacular viewpoints everywhere you looked. At any moment we expected Julie Andrews to appear before us singing…(and I haven’t even mentioned the wonderful Swiss/French/Italian food, wine, pastries that we enjoyed every day)
To be brutally honest, the hikes were 6-8 hours long a day, 16km-20km in length a day, hiking up steep inclines and down steep descents, along dirt trails, switchbacks, over rocks, boulders, scree, tree roots, balcony ledges (you know the type, mountain to one side, 2,000 foot drop to the other) and occasionally inching across rock faces and up/down ladders screwed into rock faces and, oh yes, carrying heavy packs on our backs. Ten (10!) days of it with no break. I consider it a miracle that I survived intact to return home. I’m not sure my legs or knees will ever forgive me.
But all of that said, it was a fantastic trip that I will never do again (my new motto is: if you’ve seen one mountain you’ve seen them all), a challenge that I would never have been able to accomplish without all the wisdom, training and endurance I have gained by being a Power Walker and a reminder to us all that we are capable of what seems to be impossible.

CHITTERING AND CHATTERING

As we walk, we chitter and chatter in the beautiful surroundings.

We chitter and chatter with friends

while we walk.

.

We chitter and

chatter

at

a poolside gathering.

I love this chitter and

chatter.

           

I have questions

Did anyone turn up at Sunnyside Beach to walk this Saturday morning?  If so, which way did you go?  How wet did you get?  What did you wear?

I’m always dithering on a rainy Saturday.  Should I go or get back into bed? What does “light rain” feel like?   Can I stand to perspire in a raincoat or is it better to just get wet from the rain?  You’d think, after all these years, I’d have decided where I stand!

Three of us arrived in the rain at the door of the café at 8 this morning.  One of us remembered we were to meet at Sunnyside so we headed down the hill, hoping to catch others.  Half-way down the hill, the rain intensified and it thundered so we returned to the café and had breakfast and a great conversation, sparked, of course, by some tough questions.

Yet another beautiful weekend …

Yes, it’s turning out to be a good summer for weekends. But we’re really only a little over halfway through official summer, June 21st to September 21st. Although I think of summer as late May to early September – maybe I’ll start a movement to have a Daylight Savings Season, where we all turn the seasons back a month.

It started out cool at 7am Saturday morning, and some were wearing jackets. Those didn’t last too long as the temp, and we, started to warm up. That cool temperature reminded me that we’re seeing our first signs of Fall. I told a younger friend that I was volunteering at TIFF, and he said that TIFF was his signal that Fall was getting close. I replied that it was always the CNE that got me thinking of Autumn. And of course the signs are up, and the CNE starts next weekend.

But hold on, even though the mornings have been cool (almost brisk), the sun has come out this weekend and given us wonderfully warm weather. Even though we are making plans for September, let’s keep ourselves firmly grounded, some might even say well-mindful, in the summer that is here and now. Savour each day for the rest of the summer.

Let’s hear it for our legs and feet…

MG and I took a structural figure drawing class earlier in the week that used anatomy and basic shapes (circles, squares, cylinders, etc ) to help us better visualize how the body works. Focusing on legs and feet got me thinking about how wonderful the simple act of walking really is.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine says it can be considered a full body exercise. It involves all the joints of the lower limbs and has been proven to improve posture, balance, flexibility and core and muscular strength throughout the body. Our joints are meant to move. Looking at a skeleton shows you the marvels of our hip ball and socket joints and our hinged knees and ankles – not so easy to draw but so easy to move that we rarely even think about them (until, of course, they begin to ache but that is a whole other blog!).

On this lovely long weekend, take a moment from enjoying whatever you are doing, and give your legs and feet some loving attention – they will thank you for it.

THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE SAID

There is something to be said about obtaining a massage before a race and another massage after the race.

There is something to be said about being in a 10K race of runners and as a walker (back of the pack) being greeted by friendly staff along the route, having easy to read signs regarding directions and water stations staying open for those of us at the back of the pack.

The food (yes, I said food) was fresh and nutritious.

There is something to be said about getting individualized race results on my email within an hour of finishing the race.

What is to be said? This is what I have to say. Well done Toronto Carnival Run. I felt welcomed, and I enjoyed walking the distance with you.  I recommend this race.

 

The end of an era (sort of)

I’m a big fan of Quirks and Quarks (a CBC science show) and this week they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 1969.  As I listened I was struck with awe at the bravery of those men, realizing more now than I did when I was 21, how really primitive the technology of that event was, and frankly, how much luck was required!  Despite the fact that it was an event inspired by the Cold War, we saw it as an achievement by the inhabitants of earth.  We were a hopeful lot back then, thinking we could stop wars with sit-ins and songs.  Sometime in the half century that followed, I lost that shiny view.

I’m sorry to say that I’m giving up again.  Finishing a half-marathon is being removed from my list of annual goals.  For many years, training for my annual 21k race was the motivation to keep me on the walking trails, piling on the kilometres.  I got to know the city really well!  I had trained to walk the Beaches Jazz Festival 21k next weekend, when a family difficulty arose that made it impossible.  The relief I felt when I realized I would have to drop out was astonishing!  I guess I didn’t really want to run that race but could not admit it to myself.  So, from now on my races will be 10k’s.  Don’t despise me; don’t pity me as I accept the limits of my knees.  It’s part of admitting that I’m seventy-one.  (And don’t send me pictures of octagenarians skipping rope!)

Another beautiful weekend …

My it was lovely. I’m sitting here on my balcony (again) soaking up the last rays of sunshine, thinking of what a marvellous weekend it’s been.

We relocated this weeks walk back to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery due to the Toronto Indy that is running all weekend. I must say that although I’m only 4km away, I can only hear a slight buzz of the race, and the occasional loud motor – but that is pretty normal when you live close to the Gardiner.

So back to the cemetery. I needed to do 19km and it didn’t look like I’d have company for that distance, so I started out from home and walked up there. The streets of Toronto have a very different vibe in the wee hours of the morning. Traffic is lighter, shop keepers are just starting to open for the day, a few stepping out front to see what the world is bringing. The sun creeps up from the east – thank goodness there are plenty of trees along Toronto streets to give some shade to my eyes.

I had 13km under my belt when I met the gang at 8 for a loop of the cemetery. I started to walk with the group for a few minutes, but then I learned a lesson – it’s tough to slow down when you’ve set a pace you’re already comfortable with. So I left the gang behind and set off at my own pace. And that’s one of the nice things about TPW.. I knew that no one would be upset that I bolted ahead because we all know that we’re going at our own paces and with our own goals. The important part is just to show up.

Just as the streets of Toronto are different in the morning, the cemetery in summer is a completely different animal. All the trees are in full leaf, with more shades of green than steps on a Fitbit. A hawk swooped down not 10 meters in front of me! I didn’t see any coyotes, and I didn’t see any rabbits (I wonder if the hawks and the coyotes account for the lack of rabbit sightings?)

And if you’re still with me and this winding narrative, you’ve experienced the winding nature of walking that all gets us to …

The End