A Dark and Early TPW Morning…

I always find it the hardest getting up early Saturday mornings in the dark before the sun rises,  knowing it will be wintery cold outside.  This Saturday was definitely no exception but up I got and out the door I went to join the other intrepid souls in the cemetery (the living ones, anyway)  for our TPW morning walk.  It felt chilly, snowflakes were falling and there was a bit of a biting wind that struck our faces; there was no warming sunlight to alleviate the cold on this particularly Saturday, the last one of the year.
And so we come to the end of 2018 and I naturally think of endings and beginnings but also most importantly, of  continuing.  Continuing to walk of course but also continuing to grow and continuing to change.  Endings and beginnings are significant milestones but the commitment to continue is the real test.  Time is a very interesting construct; we break it into meaningful (to us, anyway) segments but it is really much more like a flowing river we are immersed in.  The writer, Jorge Luis Borges wrote:  
“Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which  sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.?
So ring in 2019 with these parting pearls of wisdom from me:  “Party On!” (my personal favourite), or in the words of that famous rock song:  “Keep on Keepin’ On”!  And I’ll see you next year, alive and well, in the cemetery.

And the Heat Goes On…..

It is only three weeks until the arrival of Thanksgiving  (I know this because it is my turn to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for my extended family) and yet there we were at 8 am on Saturday dressed for the heat and humidity.  
And it did not disappoint; a hot and sunny 24 degrees climbing to +26 degrees by late morning.  I strolled with the group (I wouldn’t want to get heatstroke, after all) enjoying the conversations with different walkers, completely avoiding the fact that in five weeks I will be partaking in a half marathon (what on earth was I thinking when I signed up?).  
I don’t think I have ever been less prepared for a race (though I did purchase a new pair of running shoes in anticipation, so that is something at least.  And what about Scottish country dancing – does that count?).  
I’ve had a busy summer, between wrapping up part-time jobs and doing a bit of travelling (I highly recommend Sardinia, by the way) and the ever present heat and humidity, which just leaves me helplessly couch ridden and unable to conceive of, let alone do, any exercise at all. And still the heat continues.  
But as woefully under prepared for the race as I am (upright and smiling will be my goal), I am grateful for these last bright and beautiful days of summer , for we do know what’s coming don’t we?

10k RACE DAY!

We were very lucky to have good weather on Saturday morning as the rumoured rainfall held off entirely (which is a very good thing because I had been caught outside – defenceless –  during that torrential rain storm on Wednesday afternoon and it was NOT a happy experience!).  And it was such a fun race with lots of entertainment as we strode along the downtown city streets and out along Lakeshore Blvd;  DJs were playing, drummers were drumming, cyclists were spinning, people were meditating (okay, those people were very silly – this was a race after all) and the occasional laugh out loud sign being held aloft.  There were even some cooling fans spraying water mist at us as we went by,  lovely against the hot sun.
A bunch of us began the race together and even though we powered through the race at our own individual speeds (congrats to the speedsters among us!) we all finished upright and smiling (well, grimacing at the very worst) and then joined together again afterwards for refreshments at the local coffee shop.  It was a fun day, in aid of some very worthy causes,  and after an afternoon nap – I found I wasn’t sore at all.  Bonus!
And one more thing:  we have a date of July 21 for Rorie’s pool party so please save the date.  More social engagements to come.

SPRINGING FORWARD!

I feel so fortunate to live in a country with such visible seasons. For me, they represent a colourful metaphor for my own change and growth.  
Here I find myself , at the tail end of (I hope) dark and cold winter and on the teasing verge of spring with all its hope of renewal and regeneration.  Therefore it made perfect sense for some of us to meet in High Park with Lee Scott on a cold but sunny Saturday morning, to learn how to improve our racing form for the coming season.  
Change is hard because we become so settled in our comfortable ways and yet change is necessary because it pushes us to grow.  But to make conscious change also requires the willingness to practice and that is the challenge.  To spend the time and commit to practice what we need or want to change is a hard choice to make.  
But hope springs eternal, especially in springtime, and so let’s commit to making the changes we need.  Just like the changing of the seasons.

Happy New Year!

I believe that my first resolution for 2018 began in 2017 when I signed up to participate in the Resolution Run for the very first time.  Never having done it before, I had to get advice on how to take transit to the start line (thank you, LP) as well as figure out what to wear for the cold in order to remain warm enough when standing around waiting (so as to not get chilled), while at the same time not over heating (and becoming slimy) during the race itself.  All very challenging requirements…

My transit foray turned out to be a difficult one (absolutely no fault of LP’s!) because the designated streetcar was diverted, the detour bus took a very long time to show up and then the grumpy driver put it out of service for a while as he argued with a customer.  I finally got myself to the Palais Royale at about 10 minutes to 9, just before the race was to begin.

Good turnout of TPW Walkers at Resolution Run

Then, while I found myself to be  adequately dressed for the most part, I neglected to bring a neck scarf, thinking that I would overheat if I wore one.  Overheating was not a problem.  What was a problem was the unpleasant cold draft that swooped down my neck while standing in line waiting.  Lesson learned!


And then we were off, racing through the cold bright air, churning through snow at times, eternally grateful to the organizers that it was only a 5k and rewarded by hot chocolate and pastries at the finish.  It was lovely!  And just (maybe) fun enough to do it again next year!

P.S. If anyone wants to trade a Small jacket for a Medium jacket, I would be interested!

Travelling…

I have just returned from a hiking trip to Machu Picchu in Peru (which might explain why I forgot to set my alarm on Friday night, over slept and missed Saturday morning’s walk!).  
It was a wonderfully memorable trip to a beautiful and spiritual part of that country.  I was with a group of experienced hikers which because the terrain of the Inca trails, in addition to the altitude difference, make for very challenging hikes.  I am not a regular hiker by any means and I was a bit concerned as to how I would manage on the trails but I was very happy to discover that all my walking hours with TPW have given me strength and endurance which more than make up for the intermittent hiking that I actually do.  
Yet another benefit to being a member of the Toronto Power Walkers!

A BEAUTIFUL DAY…

We met at the Ward’s Island ferry for our annual walk on the Islands but this year, as everyone knows, the Islands have been under siege by water and closed to the general public.  But because we had a reservation at the Rectory restaurant we had no trouble getting our tickets for the only ferry in operation and thanks to our ever resourceful TPW members,  even snuck in a family from France who had been previously turned away. The day was beautiful, warm and sunny (no rain!). There was no line-up for tickets and a very small group of people waiting for the 9:45 ferry so it was almost as if we were going to have the Islands to ourselves!  It felt so good to walk around the park and see what’s taken place; while the water is still extremely high in places and there were lots of drainage pipes still in place, there didn’t seem to be too much damage and the Islands remain such a beautiful treasure we are so fortunate to have.   


It was a perfect morning to sit outside on the restaurant patio, amongst the trees, beside the glittering lake, watching the sailboats gliding by, in the company of good friends.  It was a little piece of heaven. 

WALKING EACH OTHER HOME…

It wasn’t raining when some of us started walking at 7:30 in the morning and I was hopeful we might out walk the rain.  But I had 19 km to walk and knew that the weather gods were not on my side (even though Rorie was wearing her magic raincoat).  The sprinkling of rain began by the time we were on the second round and by the third round (for me), it was pouring.  By this time, I was on my own, splashing through the cemetery, getting my distance in.  
There is something very meditative about walking alone in the rain, and I found myself noticing the yellow daffodils here and there, the carpets of little blue flowers scattered amongst the grass, the robins looking for worms.  I stopped to look at the statue of the young girl sitting on a bench, reading a book.  And I saw the little grave stone with the words “Taken Home” on it, which reminded me of the phrase I had heard recently, I can’t remember where, that is a description of our lives unfolding in time and space;  that together we are walking each other home.   And I thought – that’s what we walking women are doing for each other – we are walking each other home.  Through rain and shine, sleet and snow.  And I am so grateful for it.

GOOD INTENTIONS!

I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” ?  
Well, I’m sorry to say that I was on that road Saturday morning.  I fully intended to walk at the cemetery that morning.   I had set my alarm for the necessary dark and early time.  I had checked the weather network for the potential weather and contemplated my clothing options.  I had even arranged to meet another walker on the way there.  
What could possibly go wrong?  Apparently lots…
I had gone to dinner at a friend’s the night before, stayed far too late, driven home in a snow storm and crawled into bed far later than my usual time.  Add to that a very busy week both at work and home,  not surprising since it was only two weeks before the Christmas holidays.  Suffice to say that when my alarm went off and I wearily slithered out of bed and looked out the window, I saw nothing but nasty weather (snow! freezing rain! ice!) and thought to myself, only a crazy person would go out in that!  And went back to bed.

So to all you hardy people who actually walked on Saturday morning, you have my undying respect.  My penance is that I spent Saturday morning clearing the snow from my front walk, my back yard walk and the front of my garage.

One extra slice of pie for each one of you!


It Was A Dark And Stormy Morning…

It was not without a lot of trepidation that I made my way to High Park on Saturday morning.  The weather forecast was dire and I had 21 km (hello Scotia half) to walk.  And there at 8 am, were three other stalwart souls.  It’s a busy time of year and our walkers are scattered all over the place so it wasn’t surprising that so few of us could make it there that morning.  And walk we did, through rain (not that much thankfully), wind (why is it always a head wind?) and fog (the city buildings were hardly visible, draped in mist) and walked our required distance with great fortitude, if I may say so myself!
And I thought about fortitude (definition: “courage in pain or adversity”); each of us is coping with difficult things, both physically and emotionally, as we live and I like to think about how we support each other through the days.
There is something called “quantum entanglement” in quantum physics and it means (and believe me, I am paraphrasing) that change in the particles of one substance effect change in the particles of another substance, no matter  how far away they are from each other. I believe we TPW’s are “entangled” in each others’ lives and we are so much the better for it.

It is Rosh Hashhanna – happy new year, everyone.