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

Summer thoughts…

  We were hot and sweaty after covering various distances on Saturday. Regardless, I felt good – glad to be alive and fit enough to test myself in what was fairly extreme heat. I am at the age when I realize I won’t be able to do this forever and so each time is precious.

As always, one of the best things about the walk was the company and the chat. I am grateful for the opportunity to share some of the hard and happy things in life with willing listeners who contribute both wisdom and laughter in appropriate measure.

Next week is the Indie and we have chosen to avoid the ‘zoom-zoom’ by returning to the cemetery. Don’t forget we are starting at 8am, bring lots of water and slather on the sunscreen.

Hope to see many of you at our new website launch on Tuesday.

Welcome to Our New Website

It’s very exciting to be the first to post on our new communications site.  We’ll all be learning more about it on Tuesday, the 9th of July, so I won’t try to post a tutorial now.

If you missed me this week, it was because I started from my home instead of meeting you at High Park.  I intended to walk 19K and had a route that would bring me to High Park in time for breakfast with the group.   But physiology stepped in and my knees demanded that I stop at 10K.  The Biofreeze is working its magic so I’ll soon be back on track, training for a half-marathon at the end of July.

I was struck as I walked at how well our beautiful lake acts as the city’s air conditioner.  The air cooled noticeably when I crossed Lakeshore Blvd. to Coronation Park.

I’m hoping everyone has a fireworks display in their plans this weekend. My favourite is the kamuro, a dense burst of glittering silver or gold stars which leave a heavy glitter trail and shine bright in the night’s sky.  Happy Canada Day!

Signs of Aging

As a senior, I tend to closely monitor my performance to be sure I’m not “slipping.” In my middle years, if I forgot something, I’d put it down to being too busy or would reckon that the item was somewhat less important than whatever I was focused on. If I lost any physical strength or ability, I’d be sure that I could recover it with a little training. Now I worry about “signs” – signs of my worst fear: loss of self-reliance.

This week was a particular hell in that regard. I double-booked an entire weekend. Trying to board a bus over a snow bank with two bags of groceries, I slipped and fell into the arms of a very sweet young man. My new optometrist must wonder if I’m safe to be left alone after I inserted my new contact lenses without removing my old ones and then declared that the prescription was wrong.

But I’ve found the antidote to these fears. Nope, not walking, although it is one of my favourite activities. It’s babysitting two very active toddlers for two days. They remember every word that comes out of my mouth and so must I. My reaction time is tested moment by moment as one of them learns to climb out of the former safety of her crib, or nose-dives off the couch, or requires a toilet immediately, or reaches to wipe the finger paint from her hands on my shirt.

And I’m ok!

Walk, Talk – and Eat!

Saturday morning, I woke up and checked the weather forecast. Cold and windy. Hmm. To walk or not to walk? Knowing that a fearless and friendly group of Toronto Power Walkers would be waiting to greet me at the gates of Mount Pleasant Cemetery, was the motivation I needed to climb out of my cozy bed.

As I pulled on four layers of clothing, zipped up my down-filled parka, and laced up my winter walking shoes, my thoughts traveled 4000 km south to sunny Mexico, where my parents are spending the entire month of February. Every morning, they walk along the Malecon, or boardwalk, that runs along the north shore of Lake Chapala, the largest fresh water lake in Mexico. We may not have pelicans or palm trees, but we do have coyotes and towering oaks.

After our walk, we had the annual TPW brunch. What a spread! We ate and talked—about fees, community service, self-defence courses, and upcoming races. Two members head to London, England on March 24 for the Landmarks Half Marathon, while I head to Key West for the EverWalk + Habitat for Humanity Service Walk, March 31-April 6.

A big thank you to the members of the TPW co-ordinating committee for the great get-together.


It really is about the chat and the meals!

Yesterday my husband and I were pondering why we didn’t use grocery delivery systems. This morning, as I was getting ready to join the gang, he read out from an article in the morning paper that spoke to that very topic.
The article surmised that such services may be bad for many of us as they eliminate one small source of social interaction. The article quotes an expert as saying “Social isolation is the public health risk of our time”. It goes on to say there has been a study that found that, on the other hand, social integration is “at the top of a list of lifestyle factors that had a positive impact on longevity, beating out quitting smoking, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight”.
Wow. Who knew that our collective joke that ‘the real reason we walk is for the chat and the food’ is, in fact, a good thing!
So what is my point? There may be times, for all of us, when health or circumstances mean we can’t walk but let’s keep coming out and encouraging each other to do so. That does not mean we shouldn’t walk for as long as we can but it does mean our group is about much more than that.
Looking forward to seeing most of you next week for our annual winter meeting – and, of course, for chat and food.

Stranger Than Fiction

On Wednesday I visited my mother in Ottawa. The weather conditions -for someone like myself who had  lived on the coast of Labrador- were expected winter conditions.
The Ottawa train’s arrival time was a little bit late. Coming back from Ottawa, the Toronto arrival time stretched passed the expected evening time and dipped into the following morning.  
Slightly after midnight I emailed my boss to inform him that an announcement had just been made to say that the train would be arriving in Toronto at one thirty am. Of course, when I arrived in Toronto there was no subway access, so I took a taxi. On route going home the taxi driver’s  car got a flat tire .I got home around two thirty or so Thursday  morning.
That same Thursday (late) and the following day Friday I went to work. Saturday morning I got up at the usual time to take the streetcar to meet up with the TPWs. I went to the washroom. I then listened to my body that was begging for sleep and I returned to bed and slept.
There you have it. My reason for not walking with the TPWs on Saturday.
Sometimes truth is just so much stranger than fiction.