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The Monday Night Run/Walk Club

Beverley Coburn - Friday Night Supper Speaker’s Series, May 8, 2009

Kona Run Dig Me
Beach 2005

“Walking is man’s best medicine.”
This is a quote by HIPPOCRATES, a Greek Physician born 460 BC and the Father of Western Medicine.

The Monday Night Run/Walk Club meets every Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. for an easy-paced trek through our neighbourhood. Running is one of my passions - and walking is the oldest exercise prescribed by doctors – such as Hippocrates.

Technically, the difference between WALKING and RUNNING is that when you’re WALKING, you always have one foot on the ground and when you’re RUNNING at some point both feet are off the ground. JOGGING is slow RUNNING and SPRINTING is fast RUNNING. Humans are the only primates and mammals who have perfected the ability to WALK on two feet. Our Gluteus Maximus – our BUTT – is the strongest muscle in our body - it is highly developed and is used in activities requiring significant effort – such as RUNNING, WALKING BRISKLY AND WALKING UPHILL. (and cycling) The gluteus maximus extends the hips and erects the torso. In our daily life, we may not even use this powerful muscle at all. The Quads are bullies (& hams). They take over during our regular activities. Our neighbourhood has a mixed terrain – lots of hills – that will require the use of our gluteus maximus.

Whatever your preference, walking and running are great ways to keep active.

The BEST REASONS for being physically active are that it can be fun, and a great way to relieve stress.

The Monday run follows the format of Olympian, Jeff Galloway. Galloway’s formula is well used in the running world – such as the Running Room. We run for 10 minutes and walk for 1 minute. This method keeps the spring in your step, allows you to build up your stamina and helps prevent injury.

The pace is ideal for beginners and a good recovery run for more advanced runners who may have done their long, slow distance run (LSD) on the weekend.

Many people, however, prefer to walk for exercise. Walkers should keep at least a moderate pace to reap the most benefits from the activity.

Before you know it, what once seemed difficult, becomes easier. Our bodies are adaptive machines!

The Monday Night group activity tries to satisfy more than just health and wellness. It is a way to get to know your neighbourhood and your neighbours. I find that areas with active walking and running groups seem safer and friendlier. As Jane Jacobs, the late urban activist, said, “To truly know a city, you’ve got to walk it.”

Another one of my passions, aside from running, is HISTORY. We live in a historically rich neighbourhood. For the Monday Group, every week there is a new route with maps provided. The highlight of each route is a small piece of historical information specific to the route. I like to call it “history-light.” By “history-light”, I mean just a little information to keep the walk interesting and give you something to talk about with your neighbours – very casual.

Since the inaugural run/walk on a cold, dark February 16th night, some of our Monday Night explorations include:

  • The old Indian path and shoreline of Lake Iroquois, Davenport Road, where we climbed north to Regal Road to see a statue of an Indian Chief on his horse on someone’s front lawn.
  • A cruise by the GH Johnson Furniture Company on Dupont Street that used to be the Hamilton Gears Factory also known as “The Greenhouse”.
  • A beautiful traffic-free route from Dupont St. down Perth and Sterling Ave. passing the old factories, that will be used by the Toronto Film Industry, finally looping around the old Brockton Village area where Irish Immigrants to Toronto first settled.
  • We had a run and walk through the beautiful Prospect Cemetery that is now open until 8 p.m. for the summer months and has some interesting sites –

- such as the grave of one of the founders of the Canadian landscape painters, the Group of Seven - J.E.H. Macdonald.

  • Last week, we made a trek to High Park to witness the Cherry Blossoms that only last a couple of weeks each Spring. It was spectacular. In 1959, Japan presented Toronto with early blooming cherry trees (Somei –Yoshino)
  • We have also run through Dufferin Grove Park – letting people know of the fantastic Organic Farmers Market every Thursday and the Friday Night Suppers.

These points of interest will take your mind off your glutes and quads.

Bit of Bio

I’ve lived in this neighbourhood since 1998 - a studio-loft on Lansdowne, a house on St.Claren’s and, at the Chelsea Lofts since 2006.

My background is in FITNESS and HISTORY – I used to work in the archives of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario,

I’m now working in the health and wellness industry. I am a certified Personal Trainer, a certified Older Adult Specialist as well as CPR certified. My business name is ACTIVE AGE FITNESS. I offer personal training services to meet my clients individual GOALS of HEALTH, FITNESS or PERFORMANCE.

What is a good GOAL? A good GOAL is one that you are 85% sure you can accomplish. Personally, I love a GOOD, LOFTY GOAL!

As I said, one of my passions is running. In 2001, I managed to achieve a Canadian Record in the 10,000m outdoor track. It was a hot, hot day in July and the 10,000m is the most grueling of all track events.

Ed Whitlock, Bob Moore and Bev Coburn

Here is a photo taken just after the race at York University – Ed Whitlock, Bob Moore and me. I’ve also raced 5 Ironman Triathlons including 2 in Hawaii. Ironman Triathlon is the premier of triathlon. The distances are:
a 4km Swim followed by
a 180km Bike, finishing with
a 42km Run (a marathon).

What is involved in training for an Ironman?
For my 1st Ironman, I kept a daily training journal – all my workout and how I felt. A couple of races later, I only kept track of the distances. For the 5 months leading up to the Hawaii Ironman 2001, I logged every single distance travelled. The distance covered while training was the distance to Hawaii – as the crow flies
I swam over 300km,
ran over 2000km and
biked over 5000km – the same distance to Hawaii 7,500km.

In 2005, I qualified at Ironman Canada in Penticton, British Columbia, by winning my age category to race in the World Championships in Hawaii 6 weeks later. Two races – so close together – ouch. If you get the ‘spot’ in Hawaii – you’ve ‘gotta’ go!

I consider myself an average athlete who has had great coaching and some LOFTY GOALS – I believe that Ironman is possible for anyone who wants to commit to the training.

At the races, I met so many people who really inspired me and everyone else there too.

Some of you may know Ed, on the photo above. Ed is a retired engineer who lives just outside of Toronto, in Milton.

Ed is a runner. He holds over 13 world records in many distances. He is most famous for running a marathon under 3 hours - a few times. He is the first person over 70 years to run a marathon under 3 hours. He is the fastest 78 year old in the world.

Sister Madonna Buder

Here is a person who is amazing. This is Sister Madonna Buder. Sister Madonna is a 79-year-old+ Catholic nun from Spokane Washington. She has a great retirement plan! Madonna races in international Ironman events, such as, Ironman Canada and the World Championships in Hawaii.

Sister Madonna inspires everyone at the races and often leads the prayer before the carbo-loading dinners. The dinner is two days before the race and the ‘carbo-loading’ is meant to top-off glycogen stores in the athletes muscle cells for more energy.

What I liked was to see a Catholic nun walking down the famous Alii Drive in Kona, Hawaii, fit and tanned in a 2-piece bathing suit. Last weekend, Sister Madonna raced for her first time in the St. Croix in the Bahamas. The feature of this Half-Ironman race is a hill called ‘the Beast’ It is a steep climb for 1.7 miles with an average grade of 14% - 21% at its’ steepest.

Sister Madonna Buder and Ed Whitlock are average people with exceptional passions. They are perfect ambassadors for life-long physical activity. Madonna and Ed have experienced successful aging. That’s the way I want to live when I’m 75 plus!!

But - You don’t have LOFTY GOALS to be active and healthy. With physical activity part of your daily life – you will de-stress and it can be fun! When I was setting up my business and researching the demographics of our neighbourhood, I found that, similar to the rest of Toronto, our neighbourhood has a large portion of its’ population with health problems directly related to the effects of physical inactivity. The late Dr. Sheela Basur, Medical Officer of Health in Toronto, said, in her report, “A CALL TO ACTION ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY”, 2003, “I am declaring physical activity a priority health issue for our city…The magnitude of health risks associated with physical inactivity has reached epidemic proportions.”

Something to think about!

My philosophy is to keep your activity short, consistent and fun -Something that can fit into your everyday life. The Monday Night Group Walk and Run is not a huge time commitment. Time-wise, it is very efficient!

Chelsea Lofts, 1375 Dupont Street

An activity you may be able to fit into your schedule. The average walk is 45 – 50 minutes for approximately 4 km. The average run is 40 – 45 minutes for around 5 km distance. The Group is ideal for walkers, beginner runners and a good recovery run for more advanced runners. You’ll really get to know this neighbourhood, - the history, the public spaces and streets, as well as having great company. I’ve met so many great people in the area. It has turned out to be my favourite run of the week! And, as Hippocrates said, “Walking IS man’s best medicine”.

Meet 6:30 p.m. every Monday in the lobby of the Chelsea Lofts, 1375 Dupont Street, at the SE corner of Lansdowne and Dupont across from the Coffee Time.

Thank you and I hope to see you on the next Walk!!

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