Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Runner’s Thoughts—Potty Training

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You get up to your alarm nice and early…eat breakfast, let your food settle, get ready and go out for a run…and even though you JUST went to the bathroom before locking the door…you have to go again.

Welcome to my demise.

I know, this may be a little TMI, and usually it just happens with nerves on race days. Anyone who has been to any race knows what it’s like at the porta-potties…lines longer than at Disney World. You have to get in line early so you have enough time before start time, but if you go too early, you have to go again. If you go too late, you might miss the start. If you don’t think you have to go, I guarantee by the time the gun goes and your timing chip starts timing, you will have to go.

And you men out there—-you all suck. Completely. I can’t tell you how many times, and I know any female long-distance runner will agree, I have seen men swerve off a marathon course, even at only 1/2 a mile in, into the bushes to let out their schlong.

Not. Even. Fair.

Where am I going with this? No where really, but just lamenting a common runner problem, and a deeper problem for women. Today I had a 10 mile training run to do, and I needed to do it early. See, I headed up to Calgary this afternoon to stay at a friend’s place, because my early morning flight to DISNEY WORLD is tomorrow! So yes, I have had excited jitters all day. All week really. And I think I actually went to the bathroom three times from when I woke up, to when I went on my run…all between 7:30 and 9:00 am. But, of course, I start running down my street and I got to pee. Maybe the two cups of coffee did something, or maybe all the red wine from last night did, but I digress…I refuse to turn around and go back home so I tailor my run through Copperwood neighborhood, over to The Crossings and the new high school and library—after three miles I arrive at my pit stop: the public library.

After this 3 mile stop, I was fine the final 7 miles, but I made sure to loop past public areas where restrooms were available—Tim Horton’s on the Westside and the public bathrooms at Nicholas Sheran Park. As I ran those first three miles, though, I remembered three races that bathroom stops and mental blocks absolutely ruined me-Calgary full 2009 and Edmonton Derby half 2011. When you gotta go, you gotta go. It just sucks when it happens at a race. And even most recently, at the Millarville half in June 2013, I got in the porta-potty line too late. There goes being able to focus on my run.

So, as I head off to the wonderful world of Disney tomorrow, I will be thinking lots about my upcoming RunDisney events—Wine & Dine Half Marathon and the Dopey Challenge. And I will be reminding myself how I don’t want to ruin the race experience for myself and that getting in line to go pee before the race, even more than once, is a key factor to having a magical race!

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16 Days of Disney Shenanigans are About to Occur…

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I have visited the Walt Disney Resort on 14 vacations – 6 of these vacations have been with my parents, 3 of them were with my high school dance team, 3 of them were just my mom and I together, and 2 of them have been with one of my best friends, Maureen. On August 1st, her and I will be heading on our third trip to WDW, but this time we aren’t messing around—we are going for 16 days!
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We knew about a year and a half ago we were going to be heading on a WDW trip together in August 2013, and originally we thought maybe a week. We are great travel partners and most importantly, the way we both want to tour the ‘world’ is the same—–early morning alarms, be first at every gate to enjoy a rope drop, cry tears of happiness at every possible moment, eat tons of food, and overall do every possible thing we can.
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So why are we going for 16 days? Simple answer—because we can. But, it really isn’t all that simple. Maureen and I are both teachers, her back in Wisconsin and myself up in Alberta. Summer trips work best for both of us. And historically, the WDW Resort has value rate pricing in mid August, so it makes hotels more affordable. The last two trips together, we stayed at Pop Century—we like to refer to it as Pop Century Resort & Spa…..but it’s anything but. I’m not going to knock it—it serves its purpose. It’s a Disney value resort on property, with a solid location and good bus service. You can get pretty low rates during value season, and if you get a AAA rate like we did the last two times, it makes it even better. Add on to it that we split the room cost and it makes it really affordable. We swore the last trip, though, we were staying moderate the next time. Maybe even a non-monorail deluxe resort! We just couldn’t handle the craziness of this resort again….
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…flash forward to our planning for this trip. Maureen has a friend who works part time at WDW and he offered to use one of his family and friend rates for us for our stay. Well, lets just say the discount is ridiculous. So, it was either we stay at a moderate for 7 days OR we go back to the Pop Century Resort & Spa for 16 days for basically the same price….

We chose to go back to the “spa.”
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So from August 1-16th, Maureen & I are moving in to Pop. We joke we need to do a change of address with the post office….we are going to be gone for a about 1/24 of a year….but this is a time in our life where we both still don’t have kids, so we can manage and afford to go away for this long. And since we are both Disney fanatics, there is no discussion ever of going anywhere else together.
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Expect random updates and entries the next few weeks, but they will probably all be Disney related. So if you read this just for running, you will have to wait until my Spartan Race 5km on August 18th in Calgary. Actually, there may be running segments in my posts, as I run after getting a fast pass after rope drop to meet Maureen across the park at a different ride! This trip is the first step to my RunDisney experiences, however. I have been so pumped for this trip, and then it gets me equally excited for my trip in November for Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon and my January trip-of-a-lifetime when I compete in the Dopey Challenge during Disney Marathon Weekend.
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An Inspiration on the ESPYs…America’s Team

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On Wednesday evening, the 20th annual ESPY Awards were televised on ESPN. I will admit—I never had watched these awards before. Maybe a quick flip-through, but never a beginning to end. My mom and I were visiting Calgary, Alberta, this evening and were out to dinner at Saltlik (a delicious steakhouse!) During the meal, we could see the ESPY’s being televised. After our meal was complete, we transitioned to the bar to split a bottle of wine. We had a straight on view of the ESPY’s from here and a few minutes after sitting down, they started discussing the recipients of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.

Since the TV didn’t even have closed captioning and no sound was being emitted, my mom and I watched the video segment in silence, but in awe. The recipients of this award were Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father son team from Boston, Massachusetts, who since the 1970s have been competing in any road race you can think of—-triathlons, marathons, half marathons, and even Ironman races. The thing is, Rick has cerebral palsy and must be pushed in a wheelchair during all these events.

I had heard of the Hoyt’s before, though I admit, I did not know many fine details about their race history, their bond to Boston, among other things. But what I find interesting and reflected on is that my mom had never heard of them. I don’t fault her, but, she isn’t a runner and doesn’t live in Boston…so how would she know? My husband had heard of them but knew very little. He is not a runner either—he plays basketball and may be the only Toronto Raptors diehard fan in the world. And I bet there are many other non-runners out there who had know idea who these two were until their video played on the ESPY stage.

It is a shame that our highly paid and highly celebrated pro football athletes, NBA athletes, NHL players and all other glorified professional team sport athletes are more well known and more looked up to than a team who is so powerful and has made such an impact in their sport. The Hoyt’s, according to their website, have run 1077 events, as of April 2012. Boston 2013 would have been added to that, but about four miles from the finish line, the horrible bombing occurred. Their times are ridiculous—Dick was never a runner before his son asked him to push him in a local race. After years of hard, dedicated training, he was making fantastic times in many road races. It says in their site their best half marathon time is 1:21:12!! That is crazy for any individual, but the fact Dick is pushing Rick for 13.1 miles makes it even more astounding.

I really wanted to reflect on the Hoyt’s today because after seeing their ESPY speech, I immediately found it online so I could actually hear the whole thing, not just watch it in silence at a bar. Thinking about all the struggles and hardships their family had to go through in the early years of Rick’s life, the early races the men did together, and the accomplishments they have made so far, is really motivational. I know people will always say “Never give up. Don’t say you can’t. Don’t quit.” Those are just words. When you see their story played out and think about how fortunate we are to have the ability to run on our own two legs, you realize that even on that hot 90 degree day there is no excuse to stop running. There is no excuse to quit. The Hoyt’s, in my eyes, are America’s Dream Team.

Below is the best links I could find to their ESPY presentation in full. The first link is the presentation in full, though not highest quality. Below are higher quality versions. The first is their video story, and the second is their acceptance of their award. If you haven’t seen it, please take 10 minutes and watch. Then, head to their website so you can read more about them, as the video only shows highlights.

This link is the whole presentation in full (try this first)
ESPY presentation-Team Hoyt

If that doesn’t work, try both of these in order:
Team Hoyt Video-ESPYs

Team Hoyt Award Acceptance-ESPY

Team Hoyt Personal Website

Mom, Can You Do Me A Favor?

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I have indirectly noted in my past few posts that my mom is here in town for the month. She got in on June 29th and is visiting basically all July. We are heading for a mini getaway to gorgeous Banff, Alberta, where tears may shed as we see Lake Louise! It’s been a great visit so far—lots of Disney talk and lots of talk about my Disney marathon weekend.

I asked my mom on Wednesday if she would be so inclined to write a blog entry for me this week. She could choose the topic. So, here is her contribution to the page! Enjoy!

Mom, can you do me a favor? When that comes from my daughter Andrea, I’m never too sure what to expect. In this case, she asked me to do a guest post for her blog this week. She said I could cover any or all of her topics–running, Disney World and her Dad. Except for the fact that I will be doing the 5K with Andrea and her husband Dan this January as part of the WDW Marathon, I have no input on running. Therefore, I will touch on Disney World and her Dad–my late husband Andy.

Andy passed away about one month before our 23rd wedding anniversary. Even though it was more than two years’ away, I had been thinking about how I wanted to celebrate our 25th. A lot of couples go to tropical islands, renew their wedding vows, or have a party. I knew I wanted none of those. So when Andy asked what I thought I’d like to do, I was ready with my answer. I wanted to go to Walt Disney World and stay at the Grand Floridian. It had been a dream of mine to stay in that gorgeous resort, and I figured 25 years of marriage would offer the perfect reason to fulfill that dream. That dream, along with countless others, was shattered when he passed away. For a time I thought I still wanted to stay there on one of my visits, but I realized I just couldn’t do it–at least not yet. I’ve eaten at two of their fine restaurants–Narcoossee’s with my dear friend Denise and Victoria & Albert’s with Andrea. Walking into the elegant lobby and exploring the grounds, along with dining at those restaurants, is enough for me now.

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Many new memories have been added with my four visits since 2004, but the memories of visits with Andy are still the most special. I’m not ready to add a very, very special one that was supposed to include him as of yet. Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind one day. Otherwise I’ll just take my dream “to infinity and beyond!”

180 Day Countdown!!!..Fundraising Update and more….

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Today was the 180 day away mark for my RunDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and the Dopey Challenge! I know this because you can make Disney dining reservations up to 180 days in advance of your resort arrival—-so guess what I did at 5 am Mountain time…?!??

After going back to sleep at 5:17 am, i woke up groggy at 10:30 am. Had my coffee, and did my morning ritual of going on Facebook, Twitter and Buzzfeed. Below is a link that @TheHSF put up on Twitter today. It is a great link of positive research findings and thoughts from the Heart & Stroke Foundation in Canada:

The Good News About “Bad Genes”

You can donate to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or to the American Heart Association by following the Charities tab up above. I have set up personal fundraisers with both organizations, so the money collected goes towards my fundraising total.

I am very close to my goals of $1000 to each organization!

American Heart Association: $885

Heart & Stroke Foundation: $805

I wanted to reach this goal by the time I run the Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World in January 2014, but I am positive I can reach this goal before summers’ end, and then shoot for possibly $1500 or more for each!

Thank you everyone! Have a magical day!

Disney Scrapbook 2003

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With my mom here in town, I have been lucky enough to have someone at my disposal who is willing to talk about Disney World pretty much non-stop. I have been addicted to watching any videos I can find to do with RunDisney events—official RunDisney videos and fan’s unofficial race recaps. I have made my mom watch the WDW Planning DVD in anticipation of my 16 day bonanza with one of my best friends, Maureen, which starts on August 1st. She is back in Wisconsin, and we talk daily about our craziness we have planned. She makes video clips like the ones below (full of our inside jokes that stem back from our first trip in 2008) which make me almost pee myself with laughter:
Disney Preview #16Days

Whenever my mom comes and visits me in Canada, I always get sentimental and reflect of past trips to WDW with her and my dad. Our last trip in Spring 2003 was one with so many great memories. I know I will touch on this trip lots over the course of this year, but what I wanted to talk about today is a scrapbook I made from this trip. My senior year in high school was 2002-2003, and I was fortunate enough to get into the highly sought-after photography class. It was not a digital photography class, but a “SLR camera then develop your own film in a darkroom” class. I am assuming that by now my alma mater has revamped this course and sadly made it in to just digital—-being able to develop black and white film in the dark room in the science hall was fantastic! Our final project for the course was anything we wanted it to be, and since my family was going to WDW during Spring Break, I got approval for my project to consist of a scrapbook of our trip. I purchased black and white film for my point-and-shoot camera, loaded it up, and off to WDW we went.

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Before the trip, I was lucky enough to find an unused scrapbook from the 1930s in my parents basement. It was with all the old Stengel family photos, and even had the little black corner pieces to hold the photos. I decided to make my theme of the project to be old-fashioned, and I ran with the whole black-and-white theme.

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The pages in the scrapbook consisted of things outside the parks (hotel, Downtown Disney) and details within each park. In looking through this scrapbook, I only have one photo with my parents, and the others are either landscape and surroundings, or myself in front of iconic pieces. Here is the intro picture of myself and my parents:

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Each section that focused on a Disney theme park had a header page with the icon for the park. I decorated the area around it in a white ink design.

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I also had pre-planned three photos to do as “flashbacks”, where I would reenact a pose in the Magic Kingdom from our first family trip in 1991. I put the colored photo from 1991 side-by-side with the black-and-white photo from 2003.

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That is the gist of the scrapbook! There are many more photos and entries in each section, but I thought I would just show the highlights and cover pages. I want to do a form of a scrapbook for my RunDisney Dopey Challenge in January 2014—-just not really sure what direction I plan on going with it! If you have suggestions or ideas for scrapbooks, let me know!

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RunDisney Costume Prep & My First Run Since Surgery

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I apologize for not having a post out yesterday like usual—-my mom came in from Wisconsin on Saturday night. We stayed up until 2 am, didn’t sleep in, went to the horse races, and were exhausted! She didn’t think it would be possible to fall asleep when it was still light out at 9:30 PM up here in Alberta, but she proved that wrong!

We were up until 2 am on Saturday night/Sunday morning 1.) because we were wide awake after getting back from the train station and 2.) I was making my mom watch RunDisney videos on YouTube. My husband was out of town golfing until later today, so I wanted to get all this Disney talk out before he came back—-he is a Disney beginner and doesn’t care to humor me when I want to show him pictures, talk about my races down there, show him other peoples’ videos, etc. Also, I was rather pumped because since my mom had just arrived and unpacked, she had “gifts” for me, and a few we’re RunDisney related!

My first RunDisney race is this November 9th when I run the Wine & Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. My friend Teresa and I are running it together, along with her boyfriend and her sister-in-law. Teresa and I already discussed we want to wear costumes. She said even if hers just amounts to a giant tutu and Mickey ears, she will be rocking something ridiculous. I decided already I want to have a character costume, and the character I set my eyes in is the under-advertised but awesomely important Mary Poppins. I love, love, love Mary Poppins—she is the one character I will always wait in a line for to get my picture with in WDW! Love the movie, love the songs……dislike the lack of merchandise….but I knew I had to be her for my half.

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I decided I would replicate Mary Poppins when she is dressed in her “nanny” clothes. I opted for this outfit versus the white dress in the Jolly Holiday scenes because I thought it would be most runner friendly. First thing I knew I needed was a sparkly blue skirt to wear over some spandex shorts. There is a demand for running skirts like these in the women’s running world, and yes, you can order them online. But that costs around $30 plus shipping—-and shipping to Canada is never cheap. That is where my mom came in! She found a $0.99 pattern, listened to my ideas, and made me a Mary Poppins approved skirt for about $7 total!

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Another costume piece that has been completed is the hat. Now, I didn’t really want to be wearing a full fledge hat for 13.1 miles, so I improvised. I went to Michaels and bought blue pipe cleaners, fake daisies and berries, and got to work. if you were wondering what I did for 2+ hours one of the days in my medical leave, this is the answer

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So far I have the skirt, a top, a bow tie and a hat. I am planning on getting some white compression socks so they can act as white tights, and I am also going to go a bit over the top and make a green parrot head over to it on the bottom of an umbrella! I figure if I buy a cheap black dollar store umbrella and make some tighter backpack-style arm holes to attach to it, I can carry it on my back. Mary Poppins needs an umbrella!

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I will be making other outfits for the races in the Dopey Challenge in January. I plan on being Mary Poppins for the half portion of that race also, but the 5km, 10km and full will have different pieces put together. As I train for these races and get myself pumped up, I now have my new RunDisney “In Training” hat to wear! I bought this online two months ago, had it sent to my mom’s house in the states, and she brought it up to me this trip. I wore this today as I set out on my first run since my septoplasty surgery!

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I was planning on doing a mile run very slow today. I have made a very slow and easy “get back into training” schedule for this month, as when I get back from my two-week WDW trip in August, official Dopey Challenge training will start. I hadn’t ran in two weeks and it was ridiculously hot even by 9 am. I set out on my route to the LDS church by Sunridge, but I am apparently an idiot because when I got there and my watch beeped for the mile, I didn’t realize I then had to turn around and run another mile back. I had only planned on doing a single mile today! Oops—must have just been anxious!

Thanks for reading today, and to all my Canadian readers—-Happy Canada Day! And to the American readers—-Happy early Independence Day!!