Last week, I sent friends and relatives on my email contact list an announcement of my impending move, and a link to this new blog. That list includes several people I’ve known since childhood. A family friend I haven’t seen in at least 40 years responded almost immediately to invite me to stay in her basement bed- and bath-room suite in North Toronto while I am looking for a place to rent. I have now accepted her kind offer with deep gratitude. (Thank you again, Pat!)
I had intended that this week I would start to look for a furnished suite that I could rent for a few weeks while I was looking for a permanent address. I’d had a look at Craigslist and a few other on-line sites that advertise furnished suites that are available on a weekly or monthly basis. I was going to follow up on those more seriously, and put a notice onto a few of my on-line forums to see if anyone wanted to sublet for a month or so. However, to have now had that part of my to-do list eliminated before I even really started on it is simply wonderful, and the fact that Pat is centrally located and close to public transit is icing on the cake.
One of the first things I did after I accepted Pat’s invitation was to figure out how far she was from the Toronto Running Room stores and/or the Y. I was delighted to discover that there is a Running Room less than a kilometre from her house. The Running Room stores all have “run clubs” that go out on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, with different groups doing different paces. Everyone at every stage and speed is welcome. (Increasingly these stores now offer walking clubs as well for those who are not into running.) These and similar outlets are great resources for finding safe running trails in unfamiliar cities.
I am not an athlete. I’ve never been one—I skated in winter and swam in summer as a kid, but that was about it. Just after my second son was born I took an aerobics class, and ever since then I’ve been a recreational-level fitness fanatic (although admittedly an inconsistent and often inactive one. Sometimes my weekly exercise consists only of admiring people on television who are cycling or running). Running (or, more precisely, “jogging” in my case) is my favourite activity. Even my slow pace is enough to get the endorphins firing after twenty minutes or half an hour and the fresh air and small calorie burns are bonuses. Even at nearly 60, running is still a pretty good activity for me—especially when I do it.
One of the biggest drawbacks to living on the frozen prairie is that there always comes a point in the winter when running outside is not possible for an extended period—it is too cold and/or the roads and sidewalks are too slick. Getting downtown to the Y to find an alternate activity also seems to require too much courage in such weather. So inevitably, I stop. Getting started again when spring comes and the sidewalks are finally less treacherous is always hard. I worry that some year I will not start again at all, and so I had this thought: if I move to a place where I don’t have to stop running for more than a few days in a row, and if I keep on running all year round, then I’ll never have to start running again. This reasoning makes perfect sense to me: especially when I’m high on endorphins.
I finally have got myself back to the point where I’m running four days a week. I know that one key to my successful transition to Toronto is going to be to ensure that I continue to work out consistently. If I let that go during the move, it will be hard to get started again – there will always be something else I need to do more. In addition to boosting my spirits and my self-confidence, of course, exercise also builds my energy and strength. I’m going to need lots of those resources if I’m going to get all the packing done and do everything else I need to do in the next few weeks and months. I can’t afford to let the workouts slide.
So the Google map of Toronto with its little red balloons that showed the proximity of Pat’s house to a Running Room was a very welcome sight.