Talking and Waiting

It was on Thursday that I (Susan) felt my feet urge, well really, beg me to go for a walk. When I met Dianne, Sue , Laurel, Susan , Ela , Sherry , Carron, Lynn, Barb, Mary and Lee in front of Mount Pleasant Cemetery at 8:30 on Saturday morning I became aware that the feeling in my feet had spread to my hips. They (hips and feet ) wanted to join in the power walk rhythm.

Knowing full well that the ‘want to join’ could soon override my knowing that my body needs a full two weeks plus of inactivity after the marathon, I told everyone I would meet them at the Golden Griddle (our prearranged breakfast spot) and left. When the 9 of us gathered at the Golden Griddle the conversation soon hummed with shared experiences, suggestions and personal information. Breakfast was enjoyed by all and that person who will only be identified as The Waiter was very well mannered.

Fiona and Klara have been busy walking with the Shore Things in the Beaches. Two Saturdays ago they completed 18K and last Saturday 16K . Fiona is planning to race next weekend in Hamilton. Go Fiona!

This Sunday, Phyllis, Rorie and Helen completed the Niagara Half marathon and to quote Helen ‘The route was spectacular with lots of fall colours to enjoy, steps from the Niagara river at all times. Bright blue skies and sunshine – the whole way. We had decided to walk the full route together. The conversation was good, the pace consistent which added to the fun of doing the event together. Sure we could have achieved better times by focusing on our pace but the goal was to enjoy each others company. Mission accomplished. At the finish we enjoyed the view of a rainbow over the falls and were met by Judy Strathdee, a former Jeans Marines coach. She told us that we walked in good form!’ We did her proud!

Needless to say after reading such a beautiful description, my feet, hips and arms are yearning to get out on the road. Tomorrow will be Monday and I look forward to starting my training sometime next week.

I look forward to moving feet, hips and arms with everyone next Saturday Mount Pleasant Cemetery at 8:30 am . The talk will then turn into the walk and the wait will be over.

A lovely Fall Walk

After training every week at High Park since the spring, it was nice to get back to Mt Pleasant Cemetery. We had a decent turn-out despite some of the regulars being out of town or unable to join us.

Sherri, Lynn, Susan, Deb, Diane, James, Carron and I walked briskly for one loop of the cemetery. No need to go too fast….or too far. What a pleasant change. We all had places to go and things to do afterwards, so we passed on our weekly communal breakfast. I understand that we are still seeking an affordable, hospitable, nearby venue for breakfast, so I am sure if you know of one, we will be willing to try it out. The season is just starting!

If you haven’t been out for a while on a Saturday…now is a good time to get out there…we’re walking shorter distances until at least January. For most of us, the next ‘race’ will be the 5k Resolution Run…. definitely do-able by all of you.

Good-luck next week to Rorie, Helen and Phyllis on their half marathon in Niagara on Sunday. Given Rorie and Helen’s busy schedules and inability to adequately train, I think it will be a ‘stroll-athon’ that ends at Niagara Falls. You still get the same medal – regardless of how long it takes you.

A few more weeks of Tues and Thurs walks.. come out if you can. We’re walking every Saturday at 8:30 from the Cemetery, come join us and walk the distance!

TPW’s have lots to be thankful for…

…the marathon season is over!

It was a Thanksgiving weekend of marathons for the 3 of the TPW with Phyllis in Baltimore, Ela and Susan in Chicago.

Baltimore, according to Phyllis was a great place for a marathon, or a half marathon. Great food, picturesque inner harbour with good shopping. Oh yes, the race was fun too. Definitely a possible destination for a TPW Fall excursion. Fewer than 4000 in the marathon and approx. 7500 in the half.

Chicago, needs no explanation other than the weather…it was freezing at the start line, and Susan and Ela shed clothing as they walked. What a difference from the scorching two previous years. I’m sure they had lots of water for participants this year! Congratulations to Ela for completing her first marathon, and in good style!

Congratulations to Susan and Phyllis too, veteran racers. Where to for 2010?

Some of us were thankful to be tapering off for the year and headed back to our beloved Mt Pleasant cemetery, our quiet winter walking location. Sue, Sherry, Carol, Deb, Rosemary, David and Diane walked the perimeter and soaked in the fall beauty. It was a perfect morning, cool and clear with the leaves flaunting their colours. There can’t be a more beautiful place on earth on such a fall day! A smaller group breakfasted at Chai on Bayview – a pleasant little spot for groups of up to about six.

We will be using the cemetery as our default Saturday location from here on in and we hope to see more of the gang (and any newbies who want to try us out) there next week. And don’t forget we are still at the pub on Tuesdays and the community centre on Thursdays. See the sidebar for details.

The season is waning but we are still going on!

We’re coming to the end of the racing season but we only slow down and change venues.

Two marathon events coming up – in Baltimore and Chicago. Good luck to Ela and Susan in Chicago on Sunday! I’ll be in Baltimore checking out the city and the course for all of you for next year!

Last Sat, there were many out walking at 7:00 and 7:30 – training, recovering or some just came out for breakfast! It was great to see everyone.

Next Saturday, we move back to Mt Pleasant Cemetery, to our winter home and winter hours, 8:30am start. We’ll continue walking on Tuesdays and Thursdays until the end of October when it gets too dark.

We have some training planned for November with Barb Gormley to help you weather the winter. Now is the time to check out other exercise options – near your home or work, and hopefully with someone else so that you ensure that you actually do it. Personally, I’m going to attend fitness classes at the North Toronto Community Centre on Tues and Thurs nights. They have classes all week for all levels of fitness, as well as a pool. Membership is quite inexpensive.

Save the date – Nov. 26th will be our annual ‘black and medals’ dinner where you get to show off all your medals, and socialize with all the TPWers. We can talk about plans for the winter and spring, and generally socialize and celebrate our terrific first year as Toronto Power Walkers!

We’ve come a long way. Keep walking the distance!


A day of races

Congrats to all who participated in this weekends races!

Personal bests were achieved, goals met and some amazing first efforts. Congratulations to Lorna and James for completing their first marathon at the ScotiaWaterfront.

Ela completed her first Scotia half and did it with a sub 3 hour time. She is ready for Chicago !! Sherry, Rorie, Leslie and Phyllis all did the half as well and their times were all sub 3 hours ..there may be a few PB’s in the group. After completing the half they joined Sue and Carol who had cheered them in, for brunch and planned their cheering strategy and location to bring in the marathoners!

Both Mary and James had sub 6 hour marathon times. WAY TO GO! It was great to see them out on the course, with great form and lots of smiles. Helen and David completed the marathon, making it their 3rd in 12months!!!

They say it takes a village to raise a child, on the course on Sunday I felt it also applied to marathoners. We got to the start line after months of training and support from our group TPW and our friends and families. On the course we had Rorie, Phyllis, and Ela walking the route with Mary,and Helen until Stadium road (approx 18k) where the marathoners turned south onto Queens Quay. On the way we saw Barbara and Janet cheering us on. It was great to see both of them out there.

Later on the marathon route as we looped, James, David, Mary, Helen and Lorna were able to cheer each other on. The far east section of the course had volunteers we all know, Wendy and Graham with the Stellar runners group. Graham always the coach asked Helen if she was on pace. Wendy walked 2K with Helen and then returned to her volunteer duties. A marathoner wearing a marathon maniacs t-shirt told Helen that the walkers were amazing. So true!

Phyllis and Rorie were out on the course around Parliament awaiting Lorna and Helen’s arrival so that they could walk with them to the finish! Rorie and Helen talked about this being a little like the Chicago finish .Lorna was happy to see Phyllis as she walked the last few kms. Coming up Bay street it was great to see Rosemarie out with her camera. It felt great to see the TPWer’s Carol and Sue at the finish , cheering enthusiastically and full of smiles. Family at the finish is great , whether it is traditional family or the one you have chosen for yourself- our walking family.

Linda and Kathrin represented TPW in Kitchener-Waterloo this weekend at the KW Walking Classic. I am sure they had a lot of fun and we hope to hear all about it soon. Susan B was out there training Saturday and had a PB on her training walk! Way to go Susan. Both you and Ela are going to Chicago well trained and ready to kick some asphalt!

Let us know what you were doing this weekend if you are not mentioned above …..we want to hear from you! Training as usual, see sidebar fordetails. Even if you’re not training for anything, come out and socialize. Some of us are still training and we need company. So much success this weekend ! and it truly would not have happened without the support of our group!

Congratulations to all TPWers!!!!

Toronto Power Walkers – on the streets!

Wow what an amazing weekend, and I don’t just mean the spectacular weather!

On Saturday morning shortly after 7am Helen, Ela, Susan, Mary and Marty (our pace dog), shivering, using sleeves for gloves, began walking their distances (16k and 32k). They missed not walking with the usual gang but kept up our tradition of going around the park and down to the Lakeshore. I wonder if the Ela and Susan saw the army of women accompanied by their friends and family going over to Toronto Island for the half marathon (more on them below). Helen and Mary were tapering for their marathon next weekend, so they ‘only’ walked 16k. According to Ela and Susan… Saturday was the best walking day ever! Blue sky, deep blue water, crisp air…

Eleven members of our group participated in the first Toronto Island Women’s Half Marathon an intimate, 2-circuit race of just over 250 women – and met our fellow walkers, Lorna, Shirley and Carron who were there as volunteers. It was a bit chilly as they sat in the sun on Centre Island and chatted, waiting for the start. Some of us (Diane, Laurel and Sue) had personal bests and Carol, intending to do 10k or less due to injury, finished as only Carol can. David was there as our official TPW photographer and cheerleader. TPW represented 25% of the walkers out there and we rocked!

On Sunday morning another group of walkers were out on the Lakeshore. Rorie and Phyllis started at 7am also with multiple layers of shirts, and gloves! They were joined by James and Leslie along the Lakeshore for the 2nd leg of Phyllis’ 32k walk. We spoke about many discussion topics including race strategy and pacing, what we eat for breakfast as well as the excitement of the Scotiabank as their first race – Leslie (half) and James (full).

If you are free next Sunday mid to late morning, come down to City Hall to cheer for Leslie, Rorie and Phyllis in the half (around 10:30am) and Helen, Mary, David, Lorna (first full marathon too) and James (from 1pm-2pm). We’re going for brunch at 11am at the Queen & Beaver Public House located at 35 Elm Street between Bay and Yonge Sts. If you plan on coming, please RSVP to our email.

One last note. Just because you’ve done your race – it doesn’t mean that we’re done…we need company walking for the next few weeks through to the Niagara Half near end of October. We have a few training sessions booked with Coach Barb in November to keep you going through the winter, as well as a year-end ‘black and medals’ dinner on November 26th. More on that to come soon!

Congratulations to all! Your training paid off!

A Colourful Saturday

A little past 6 am the sky was still pitch black as I walked past my car parked at the car dealership. Knowing my body’s resistance to waking up at 5 am instead of 5:30 am I had left my car ( for its’ semi annual check-up) at the dealership the night before. By the time I walked down Keele Street the pitch black sky moved slowly allowing a dark grey colour to walk over the sky. When I entered High Park a blue colour had walked quickly into various parts of the dark grey sky.

It was close to 7 am and Laurel, Ela, Debra, Carol, Sue, Mary,Leslie, James, Barb, Rosemary, Phyllis, Rorie , Sherry and myself ( Susan) all gathered in front of the Grenadier restaurant. We had a quick discussion about who was doing what distance and for what purpose. With the exception of those of us who were not taking part in a half or full marathon, we all chose our distance by whether we were doing the Women’s Toronto Island half, the Scotiabank half or full or the Baltimore/Chicago full.

Soon after the strike of 7 am our bodies started to glide together like the swans floating on the water. We glided in unison around High Park and deliberately moved forward down onto the boardwalk by the waterfront. Then our pace, like the colours in the sky, changed from slow to moderate and for some fast. Westward we moved in various groupings dependent on our pace. We walked by the two divers who emerged from the lake, by the swans, the couple doing Tai Chi on the waterfront, by the condos, around the inner part of the gazebo, by the lighthouse,

Those walking the longer distances continued eastward toward the city, into the crowd of Weekend to End Breast Cancer walkers with their “Breast Cancer is hard; Walking isn’t? T-shirts and finally by the Dragon Boat race. It was a beautiful day.

We chatted under the sky . Some of us wondered how Diane was doing in France and what famous person Helen would see, as she volunteered at the Film Festival. We chatted and walked and walked and chatted. After we had finished our walk most of us had breakfast at the Grenadier and saw Maggie and Shirley.

As I drove my car later that day out of the dealership into the thick of construction, I stopped at a stop light, looked up at the sky and I knew that soon the colours of the sky would change again. A thought came to me. Regardless of the change of colours, just as regardless of our individual paces, those of us who walk the distance resemble that sky. We resemble it because like the sky we will always be there . We, who walk the distance.

Heading into home stretch – new trials for some, and for others, new experiences.

The end of the season is fast approaching! How can one tell? It was the longest walk to date for the marathoners, and tapering time for most.

The full marathon walkers – Helen, Susan, Ela, Mary, Lorna, Phyllis and James walked 35km. The half marathoners – Laurel, Sue, Lee, Linda, Leslie, Barbara, Suzanne, Deb walked their 20km in record time, and provided encouragement along the Lakeshore stretch (much appreciated). Rorie walked her own distance (26+km), and Diane was doing her part by thinking of us while we walked, and she sipped wine in France!

Sorry if we missed mentioning you by name…it’s so hard to remember everyone when you’re bleary eyed at 7am. (Rumour has it that Rosemarie slept in…..while David ran). What did YOU do on Saturday morning??

The temperature started off rather cool in the morning but quickly warmed up as the km flew past. After once around the park it seemed that the half marathoners disappeared (see below). The marathoners walked west to the gazebo, took a group shot and then up past the lighthouse. We then continued east, all the way to Cherry Beach, and then back up the “little hill?, for the last push to High Park.

Sights of interest along the route for the marathoners: 1) Lorna who decided to take a dip in the lake to cool off at Cherry Beach. 2) at T&T free samples of fruit puddings and crackers were wolfed down by a ravenous pack after taking advantage of their lovely clean washrooms, and 3) the air show with the crowds, and the path clogged with strollers, and cyclists.

The half marathoners, after their initial 3km around High Park and a small break (whew!) while Laurel bought a muffin for breakfast, continued their walk to the east. It became one of the more whimsical in their repertoire as they “rode the wave”, mused about lying in the sand under the yellow umbrellas as they toured the beach at their turnaround point, and enjoyed the change of scenery and flowers on the south side of the Music Garden.

Spirits were high along as our intrepid walkers walked the walk and enjoyed themselves immensely (ok…maybe I’m exaggerating with ‘immensely’)

Upon completion, the usual culprits met up at the Grenadier Restaurant. A splendid conversation took place where those present shared there worst and best moments power walking. From Susan, completing first 16km walk which was both her worst and best time walking, to Lorna’s 20 Valley Niagara Marathon, her best. Phyllis recalled enjoying walking her first marathon in Columbus Ohio with Jean keeping her company from mile 13 to the wall at mile 20. We also looked forward to other races and talked of January 2011 – TPW @ Disney – a few have even agreed to go Goofy!

Finally, TPW provided marathon gift bags to Ela, Lorna and James for their first official 35km! Much appreciated!!!

If you’re doing the Toronto Island Women’s Half, or Scotiabank…you are now officially tapering. Baltimore/Chicago marathoners… you have one last 32km to go… so enjoy.

Enjoy the nice weather…come out for intervals on Tuesday and walking on Thursday. See the sidebar for details.

Divided we walked the distance anyway….

Saturday’s forecast was for rain and so the grand plan for a group trip to the Island was postponed until mid-October. The new plan was back to High Park unless there was thunder and lightening.

I awoke on Saturday to a downpour but listened in vain for any hint of thunder. ‘Darn,’ said my weaker self, as I dragged myself out of bed and off to the park, convinced that this was the time I would be all alone. I should have had greater faith in my stalwart fellow walkers. Sue, Lee, Laurel, Susan, Ela and I joined up to walk west and back for a little over 16K with Susan and Ela going on to complete 24K. And we only felt a drop or two of the threatened rain. Goes to show you.

Breakfast was inside this time. We all commented on how ‘upscale’ the Grenadier was becoming and speculated on whether there would come a time when they turned away our sweaty selves. However, on looking at the other morning customers, we realized that similar folk made up the majority so I think we are safe.

Now I have to confess that when our master planner Phyllis did not show, we muttered things like ‘fair-weather walker’ and ‘rain sissy’ under our breaths. We patted our own backs because we were obviously made of sterner stuff. Then we found out that she and James went to the island on Sunday to ‘scout it out’ for the rest of us. Our collective apologies for doubting you for even a moment. See James’ account below.

Later on Saturday I completed a fast 5K (40.46.1!!!), in a pair of my husband’s boxers, for the fundraising event The Underwear Affair which raised over $700,000 for research on cancers ‘below the waist’. A huge thanks for the support of my wonderful fellow Toronto Power Walkers. (Well done Diane – 16k in the morning AND a fast 5k in the afternoon)

I am off to France, so will see the gang next on the 15th and then it is the Island Half. How fast the summer has gone.

The Scouting Party – And That Time of Year (from James)

The scouting party, (Phyllis & James) went out to Toronto Island on Sunday. Overcast, with some dark clouds, and spitting rain. We watched the Island wake up from its slumber as we managed to squeeze in our 24 km by going twice around Centre Island, starting from Hanlon’s Point. This included a diversion off to Centerville Amusement Park for Phyllis and exploring the paths on Olympic Island.

By October, when the leaves have turned, the walk will be breathtaking!(and we’ll only walk half the distance!)

Reminder to those that wish it weren’t so: It is that time of year when we should move from thinking of fall clothing to actually wearing our fall uniforms (no more t-shirts, and shorts) by layering our clothing. (I think he’s saying that because he was cold while walking on the island! – says Phyllis who was more appropriately dressed!)

Walking this Week

It looks like perfect walking weather through the long weekend. We’re done with hills, so some of you can come out of hiding! Come out on Tuesday and/or Thursday. On Sat. of the long weekend some of us are going for the very long – 35k – walk….please come out and walk your distance with us, to help us keep going. The distance is always easier when you walk together.