Monthly Archives: January 2013

I did not get this tattoo to promote my website…

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…but it does tie nicely into what I made my web address!

http://www.jemesouviens2004.com

A lot easier than the http://www.jemesouviens2004.wordpress.com. I registered the updated address through WordPress today. I figured since this is a year-long journey of running and reflecting, I might as well have a shorter web address.

The old address will still work, but send you automatically to the new and improved address!

I still plan on always updating a new post every Sunday. Periodically, I will write updated posts throughout the week.

What’s new? Check out the Race List link, as new races have been added! Spartan Race Red Deer on September 7th! Also, the dates for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2014 have been confirmed.

Check the Charities tab and follow the links the to American Heart Association and Heart & Stroke Foundation personal fundraiser pages. We are just short of $1000 total between both foundations! The US fundraising page is in the lead with $500, but the Canadian counterpart is close behind! Thank you to everyone who has donated-you have made a positive impact on heart disease research in North America!

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Fundraising Update-USA is in the lead!

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So, in keeping with my idea of seeing which country will reign supreme, I am going to periodically do updates of where my fundraising totals are at.

The USA is in the lead!!!! Come on Canada, get on ahead!

American Heart Association—-$500

 

Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada)—-$395

 

My current goal is $1000 for each charity, so $2000 in total for North American Heart Disease Research. I am already halfway for the American Heart Association, and getting close with Heart & Stroke Foundation! I plan on increasing my goals in the next month or so…You can donate now by clicking the CHARITIES tab on top of the webpage and select which organization you would like to make a contribution towards. It will take you to a secure webpage to complete the donation.

I am so appreciative of my family, friends and co-workers who have donated and/or expressed interest thus far!! I know some individuals have donated anonymously, but one who did not is my cousin Ed. He donated a generous $250 to the cause, and it meant so much to me when I got the email saying he had donated! I have not seen my cousin since about 1995. He is my oldest cousin, and lives down in San Diego, and it my Uncle Ed’s only son (Uncle Ed is my dad’s only sibling). Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you to everyone!

 

 

You have to take a look back in order to take a look forward…

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My dad was born on June 7th, 1952. That is according to his Quebec birth certificate. But according to Sister Janis Philip, my dad was born on June 8th, 1952. And his name was Luke.

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Handwritten letter for my grandparents from one of the Sisters at the orphanage

We can make a safe assumption that my dad was most likely born from an unwed Catholic girl. She was probably sent away from home after finding out she was with child, had my dad, and went back home like nothing happened. That seems to be the trend in this era and location. My dad spent his early years at La Creche St-Vincent de Paul. 680, Chemin Ste Foy, Quebec City, Quebec. It no longer exists, though I have found information regarding the orphanage online, through a museum located in Quebec City. http://museebonpasteur.com/Anglais/5_1_exhibitionandactivities.html

On May 24, 1954, my grandparents received a letter from the Catholic Home Bureau. “Dear Mr. And Mrs. Lammers: La Sauvegarde De L’Enfance has informed us by mail that they have selected a child for adoptive placement in your home. The child is a boy, born June 7, 1952….” My grandparents picked up my dad somewhere around the beginning of July 1954, as the next telling document I have in my possession is the “Application to File Petition for Naturalization in Behalf of Child.” This document was filed when my grandparents were able to legally have my dad become a naturalized US citizen.

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The “…seal of the court is hereunto affixed this 25th day of April in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-eight…”
My dad died 46 years to the date, on April 25th, 2004.

My grandpa says in the “Statement of Facts for Petition for Naturalization” (11) Said chid was lawfully admitted to the United States at Port Huron Michigan on July 4, 1954, on the automobile. (12) Said child is now and has been in my (our) legal custody for at least 2 years, since July 2, 1954 and has resided in the United States continuously immediately preceding the date of this application since July 4, 1954. It is very cool to see that my dad was not only taken from the orphanage shortly after turning 2 years old, but that he officially moved to the United States on the 4th of July!

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Images and articles from my dad’s naturalization ceremony in Beloit, Wisconsin.

I find all this history of my dad’s first 5 years hard to fully grasp. He never really remembered much of his early years, so he wasn’t ever one to have things to share with me. The newspapers, letters and photos we have were found at my Grandpa’s house after he passed away in 1995. My Uncle Ed, my dad’s brother, also had some important documents that have since been passed down to me. He is the only one who has the stories to tell, as he was there with my dad from the start. All of these priceless documents link together the young life of an orphan, whose life may have been very different if my grandparents had not adopted him.

I have dabbled with trying to find out information regarding my dad’s birth parents…it seems next to impossible. I have spoken to some people in Quebecpeople involved with the Church, government, workers at the Good Shepherd Museum...It seems that the adoption records in Quebec are under lock and key. I am a bit selfish, as I wish to find this information so badly now. My dad never wanted or cared to know about his birth family. With his heart disease being explained by doctors as simply ‘genetics’ I wish I could know about his family history. Maybe someday something will come to surface. Until then, I have these documents to cherish as they are an important piece of my dad’s past.

On a group run, you can’t avoid the hill…

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In my years of running, I will admit to not doing much, if any, hill runs. I hate hills. I try to avoid them. If I go out on a training run, I usually stay on as flat of a path as possible. Maybe once a year I get the wise idea to go do a steep hill. It usually ends up with me swearing out loud to myself during it. Grandad’s Bluff in La Crosse, Wisconsin…that was a hill I did maybe three times. It sucked every time. You get to the top, feel such a relief, then going down is almost as painful, since you feel like you are basically rolling down the bluff as you decline. Whoop-Up Drive in Lethbridge is comparable in pain, due to the fact EVERYONE driving sees you and thinks you are a complete idiot. It feels like that hill never ends!

My dad gives us his opinion of being on top of Grandad’s Bluff in LaCrosse, WI…this was his famous ‘finger pose’ when he didn’t want his picture taken.

Then, there is the trail from the river bottom up to Scenic Drive in Lethbridge. I always saw it when I’d drive down Scenic Drive, but since its on the south side, I never ran it. I live on the West side of town. Lethbridge is split into two pieces by the Oldman River, so anything on the South/North side is more of a pain to get to. I usually just do my runs in the neighborhoods and parks close to my house, so I don’t have to drive anywhere. This allows me to avoid this hill.

My first time up this hill was this past October, 2012, when I did the Bare Bones Half Marathon. I didn’t train for this run ahead of time, stupidly registering for it a few weeks prior after hearing about it from some teachers at school. The run was put on by Runner’s Soul and it benefited the Lethbridge SPCA. The race started in Softball Valley, heading south along the river, and at about mile 4 or 5 we hit the hill up to Scenic Drive.

Since I was at race pace, I really did not want to slow down. It was extra tough to keep moving since there were not many half marathon runners in this race to keep you pushing. You start with an incline that looks roughly 60 degrees, then it flattens out. You hit the last incline of about 45 degrees, then you are on Scenic Drive. Your legs burn like hell, but at least you’ve made it.

Today, with marathon club, we did this hill. I realized the hill was part of the run when looking at the Runners Soul webpage last night. http://www.runnersoul.com/admin/resources/4.5mile-7.2km.pdf  I almost missed the run today too, because I’m an idiot and set my alarm for 6:45 am…only to then realize at 7:35 am it was set for ‘weekdays only’. I bolted out of bed, got ready in ten minutes, and made it to Runners Soul on time for the run. If I had just stayed in bed and tried to tackle the 6.5 miles on my own today, I wouldn’t have gone and done that hill. This forced me to do some hill training.

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The sign greeting runners before descending down into the river bottom

It was my second meeting with this monster. For the training run today, we headed down 10th Ave to the top of the hill, descended into the river bottom, only to immediately turn around and head back up. I now know that this hill is 0.6 miles, at least according to my Nike+ SportWatch GPS.  Also, in looking at the elevation map after uploading my run, it looks like the river bottom elevation is 2742 feet above sea level, and Scenic Drive is 2962 feet ASL. That makes it a 220 foot climb in elevation in the 0.6 miles. And it burns the whole way.

The whole route today was 4.5 miles.  I needed to do 6.5 for my own training calendar, so after getting back to Runners Soul and having a water break, I made the lonley trek to Henderson Lake and did a 2-mile loop.  It was flat.  But it was boring.  I kind of wished I had been back at Grandad’s Bluff for revenge….kind of….

Training is 10% Talent, 90% Mental (these stats are made up by me at 10 PM on a Tuesday)

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I posted this week in regards to me joining a marathon club for the first time ever in my running ‘career’. I talked about my training style and how I hardly ever run with music. I also talked about how I usually always run alone. But I haven’t discussed how even after years of longer-distance road-running…getting going on a training calendar has its highs and lows.

I am the type of person who works better with a checklist, a calendar, a to-do. So as I prepped this craziness I have occurring the next year, I started making my first training calendar for my first half of the year, the Hypothermic Half in Lethbridge, Alberta. Planning out each day leading up to the race, I make sure my mileage increases appropriately, with proper rest days & long runs, and that I hit my peak distance at the opportune time. It gets me excited to run again! (Even if it is the death of winter!)

I get into a weird addiction cycle. Even though this ‘calendar’ is just a iPad created document with a stylus and Penultimate, I have to follow it. I get home from work at a decent time, get changed and done up for my run, and out I go. Before the training calendar comes into play, I find excuses to not run, stay at work longer and talk myself out of running…but the calendar gets me going! My long run this past week was Saturday-I ran 5.5 miles. I pumped it out in 50 minutes 17 seconds. i had a 9:08 pace. And I felt awesome. Then, Sunday, I got up at the ass-crack of dawn (at least as far as Sunday mornings go) and did my first Runner’s Soul Mararthon Club run. 4 miles-felt great! 39 minutes 12 seconds and 4.22 miles. Awesome pace for me on a training day!

Went into the work week feeling like the best athlete ever! Oh yeah-I felt like competing with my 18 year old self. But today, on my 4 miler, my legs felt like cinder blocks. It wasn’t windy, but I couldn’t get a good stride. I did exactly 4 miles, not a tenth more, in 38 minutes 24 seconds. And I was grumpy. I took a shower, put on pajamas, and have been sitting at the table marking papers, sitting on the couch watching “Parenthood” and crappily-wonderful HGTV shows, and sitting with my legs crossed. And they hurt even more. Point is…some training days are going to be incredible. They are going to make you even more excited for the insanity you are preparing for. Lets be honest… more often than not, you have these mediocre, blahhhhhhh training days. And those are the tough ones.

The ones that make you dread your run tomorrow in fear of it feeling even worse.

But that’s when you have to power through and focus on the reason WHY you are doing this. I am specifically doing these crazy runs this year in memory of my dad, and that keeps me going…but i also have to remember that i am doing these runs for me…to make me better, more complete, more disciplined. Not every day is going to be a record-breaker…more often than not, the days are disappointing, frustrating, cold, dreary and tough. The pain truly is temporary. Making it though the painful days makes the end even more rewarding.

Charity updates, webpage updates, etc…

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Just a quick update for everyone out there!

I have made some updates to my charity tab at the top of this page. You will now find all the information and links needed in order to donate to either the American Heart Association or the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT & Nunavut. I will let you know in advance that if you are someone who I have an email address for, you will be receving a general email from me in the next month or so as I attempt to make more family and friends aware of my fundraising activities!

I have also been working on updating graphics and images on each page. I am only able to do this when I am at work since my ipad is a lot more difficult to use when I want to upload images…so being a high school teacher during exam week is awesome, because I can work on this during lunch! Let me know what you think of the layout and if I have made any glaring mistake.

Again, thank you for viewing my page! Keep following and sharing!

-Andrea

I guess I've always been dad's little grouch!

I guess I’ve always been a little grouch!

Joined a marathon club…got up at 7:00 am on a Sunday…what am I thinking?!?

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I usually run, train, and race alone.   Is this the way to go?  Should I try something new?

I usually run, train, and race alone. Is this the way to go? Should I try something new?

Alright. I’m officially starting to fall off the crazy wagon of intensity. Not only did I register for the Millarville Race to the Farmer’s Market Half Marathon last night (err, this morning) at 12:30 am, but I set my alarm for 7:00 am on a Sunday. All so I could get up and head to Runner’s Soul on the south side of Lethbridge to participate in my first ever marathon club run.

A running club may not be for everyone. I don’t even know if it is for me. I’ve been running and training and racing alone since 2004. I haven’t trained with people since high school track & field. Oh, those were the days when we’d be sent on the two-mile loop and cut it short when Bollis wasn’t looking. Senior year we didn’t do such a thing with Thorpe, but sorry Bollio….we use to cut it short when we could!

So the marathon club…found out about it back in December when I went to Runner’s Soul to buy my new Nike Air Peagusus 29 shoes…Wrote down the kick-off date….went to the sign-up last Monday…and today I was running with a group of die-hards at 8:00 am, in 8 degree Fahrenheit weather. Age range seemed to be from 23-60ish. Men and women. Dogs too! (With owners, duh). Sean, the owner, went through the route for the day—those training for a half would be going 4 miles. The weekend runs are designed to be the “long runs” for a training calendar, with the goal to be able to complete a half or full marathon on May 26. (I will be doing the Calgary half that day). He also gave us a nutrition tip, training tip, and quote. The training tip was interesting, as it had to do with pacing on long runs. He suggested running 60-90 seconds slower that your goal race-pace on these long run days. I am proud to say I have been doing this unintentionally for quite some time, though some long days I sluf off.

I ran with a girl I met named Whitney-about my age, going to the University of Lethbridge, has run a half and a bunch of 10km races before-but she was probably about 5’11”. I’m 5’3″. I have been since 6th grade. So my stride length is ‘special’ to say the least. It was great talking with her during the run and it went by super fast. We stuck together the whole time and we did 4.22 miles in 39 minutes 12 seconds. If I had ran this alone on a freezing cold Sunday I probably would have been swearing and running a whole lot slower.

The camaraderie that is part of these clubs is what I am most interested in experiencing. As important as running is in my life, I really haven’t found people to share it with. It has always been a personal hobby or activity. Not saying I am going to be having a running buddy for every day I train (that is next to impossible given schedules, work, etc), but participating in these weekend runs will be good for me. It definitely can’t hurt!

To visit the Runner’s Soul website, click here:
Runner’s Soul

Running without music…the anti-playlist

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I know there are many people who run dependent on their iPods. I don’t hold anything against you for that, and I am not trying to say that if you do this, you are a bad, bad person. I am just reflecting on why I don’t run with music. Yes, I admit I have, but 92% of the time, I don’t. Why not? Well, for starters, I hate carrying my iPod or using a strap on my arm. It’s annoying, gets in the way, and I always am worried I’m going to ruin it somehow while outside. Secondly, and most important, is I’d rather use my runs as times where my mind wanders and reflects. Take in the scenery. Play out a scenario in my mind.

I daydream.  Often about an upcoming trip, things I have to get done that evening, a past event…Sometimes about nothing in particular.  Lots of times I daydream and think about my dad and past memories.  I reach that ‘runner’s high’ and fall into a trance where I don’t realize where I am, my body involuntarily moving and turning as needed on a route. I don’t need my iPod as my fuel, as my motivation tool.  I don’t need a playlist of my favorite music.   My personal playlist is my mind and memories. 

 

I may not use music when I run, but my dad chose to use a classy-looking headset!

I may not use music when I run, but my dad chose to use a classy-looking headset!

And the seed was planted….

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Today is the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon. My college roommate Kim actually ran the half marathon yesterday with her dad! They raised money for the Scleroderma Foundation, and have really outdone themselves! Their fundraising page is here: Scleroderma-Kim & Tom LaGuardia. To see everything they have done in regards to awareness for something important and personal to their family, it makes me even more excited for this coming year and raising funds for the American Heart Association and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT, and Nunavut. That being said, I figured today would be the perfect day to start explaining the importance of Walt Disney World to my family. So far, I really have only talked about the running aspect, with a mention about Disney. But they really do tie in together, I swear. It may take a few entries for it to start making sense…but without this first trip to WDW in October 1991, I wouldn’t be planning a culminating crazy race weekend down there for January 2014.

Disney World was always someplace I wanted to visit. Might seem hard to believe that a preschool-age child really would want to go someplace, and have their mind set on it, but I did. My cousins Kevin, Jennifer and Kyle had been to WDW a few times when we were little, and since they lived two blocks away and I was always over there as a kid, I clearly remember looking at photo albums with them of their trips. I wanted to go! I remember the photos of the pool of Caribbean Beach Resort…I wanted this trip! I also remember commercials during this time frame for the soon-to-open MGM Studios. My Mom tells me that the decision to take a family trip to WDW was set in stone due to the fact that 1.) Auntie Debbie and Uncle Chuck and the kids went before and loved it and 2.) My dad and her wanted us to go on a family vacation someplace other than road-tripping to Birmingham, Alabama, to Grandpa and Grandma Lammers’ house and going to Perdido Key, Florida.

I can joke with my mom now that she is the cheapskate and that my dad wanted to spend money and do things together, though he never could carry out a vacation plan himself. I can now recognize that it was this trip that forever changed my dad’s vacation attitudes. And it created a monster.

My dad wanted us to go on a trip together, and let my mom plan this one to WDW, but he was still very reluctant. You have to understand that my dad didn’t really understand the whole theme-park excitement. He didn’t understand Disney at all. my dad had an amazing childhood, getting to travel and live in Switzerland for much of his elementary and middle-school years…but he never saw “Wonderful World of Disney” or “Wonderful World of Color”. He didn’t watch the “Mickey Mouse Club”. He really was hesitant because he did not understand how an adult could enjoy WDW. He went along with this trip thinking that it would be a one-time thing, and they were doing this for me.

The best things from this first trip are the things my mom tells me now. We stayed at the Polynesian Resort on the Magic Kingdom Monorail. We had only been there half a day, and were waiting for the monorail that next morning…and my dad straight-forward asked her “when can we come back?” My dad was not a vocal person, but he was having a great time already and wasn’t afraid to admit it. He got the Disney “bug” and I am thankful for that, since he was a driving force in planning the future trips.

This trip had lots of time spent at EPCOT and at the pool at our resort. Funny thing is, I hate swimming now! I still love EPCOT, and this stayed true through all our family trips. But at my age of 7, I still loved swimming. My mom is telling me right now (she’s sitting next to me, as she is visiting me in Canada for a few weeks) my dad and I were pissing her off because we would be at a park for a few hours and then beg to go back to the pool. This partnership of my dad and I teaming up against my mom would continue every WDW trip. While i was ages 7-18, it was dad and I getting our way at WDW…what we wanted to do, see, ride, eat…so it’s funny that he was the one who didn’t want to go in the first place, but loved every second of it.

I could go on and on reminiscing about this trip. But that is not the point, nor is that what I want to do. Hopefully this helps shed the light on why Disney plays an important part in my life, and why even after my dad has passed away the significance keeps growing.

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This beautiful father/daughter photo was taken on the beach at the Polynesian Resort. Please enjoy my dad’s striking USMC t-shirt that is so large it covers his signature Speedo. Also, enjoy my ridiculous Afro and matching ridiculous bikini. So gorgeous. Love the 90s!

Registering for half marathons like it’s my job!

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I woke up this morning wondering what weekend the Calgary Half was….for some reason I thought it was the same as the Red Deer Half.

Well. It’s not. It’s the weekend after. So I was productive at the start of our staff meeting and registered for it!

That makes it 3 half marathons and a Spartan Sprint Race between March 2nd and May 26th! I have more to register for, just waiting for registration to open!

If you’re in the area during any of my races, you are encouraged to register too! Or be there cheering! All my planned races for this year are under the “race list” tab.

-Andrea