Monthly Archives: August 2013

One of my All-Time Favorite Pictures….

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I am getting a little bit off on my Sunday entry schedule, and I apologize.. I have been writing more sports tidally each week and still try to manage a post each week, but I cannot always guarantee the day of week. For instance, I want to now do a race recap on my event from Sunday, but I would like to wait until I see all pictures from the course photographers and any my friends took. So that will wait until later. But until then, I will put out a short photo memory post.

The photo below is of my dad and I during Christmastime of 2002.. While my website strongly talks about my loves of running, Disney World, my dad, and how they all tie together, there are other moments I love to cherish from when my dad was alive. This moment is one of them.

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The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, is a hotel that can simply not be compared with many other hotels in the world. The main building used to house the immigrant workers for the Kohler Company (yes, the company that makes toilets and faucets!). It was converted to a historic hotel in the early 80s and has received much praise—it is a AAA five diamond hotel! And, after Walt Disney World, it is definitely my family’s favorite getaway.

My parents first went to American Club when I was in 8th grade, and they got hooked. They first brought me in 2001, during Christmas. It was our backup trip that year, as after 9/11 occurred, my mom wasn’t sure if our airline tickets for Jamaica would be holding true by December—it was hard telling what would be flying by then at that point in time. So a trip to the American Club occurred. We went back again that Easter for a night, and then the following Christmas, in 2002. That’s when this photo was taken. In the main building off of the front foyer and library is this little nook by a fireplace with a chess set. My dad taught me how to play chess when I was a little girl and it was a game we would always play. He had a carved set from the Philippines I learned to play on, and now I am the owner of my dad’s stone chess set from the Holy Lands.

This moment of us playing chess together freezes an important memory and moment forever in my mind. I will always cherish the times our family had up in Kohler at the American Club, and this simple act of playing chess before heading off to dinner is so special.

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Spartan Race Calgary-Race Recap

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Dan and I participated in our second Spartan Race on August 18, 2013. This race was held in Calgary, Alberta, and was classified the same as our first Spartan Race, which is a Spartan Sprint. And while the race had many similar obstacles and was undoubtedly a Spartan Race, there was some small differences we noticed in the race setup, feel, and overall experience. I am going to talk about that today.

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We live in Lethbridge, Alberta, which is approximately an hour and a half from the south end of Calgary. Dan and I set out on Sunday morning at 8 am to our Spartan Race, which was held at a BMX course in Calgary off of Glenmore Trail. It took us just about 2 hours to get there—a perfect day trip distance. Unlike when we did the Montana Spartan, we did package pickup on race morning. This went smoothly, however, we both realized how much we enjoyed doing the pickup the night before Montana, as it was set up at a sporting goods store, and there was live music, food trucks, beer, and practice spear-throwing for charity. This was just a standard pick up, but I guess that’s what we get for doing just a day trip.

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The Calgary Spartan was a two day event. Last year when they hosted the Spartan I believe it may have also been two days, but the numbers this year were twice as many. When I looked at the results, Saturday had 5186 registered participants and Sunday had 3668! Montana was one day. A Saturday, and had 3396 results posted. I wish I could have seen what the setup was like for Saturday, because Dan and I noticed a few things on Sunday that let us down. First, food—there were only two food trucks. One in the packet pickup area and one down near the course. And when we were done racing and hungry the one in packet pickup was closed already. In Montana there were about four food trucks lined up all day pumping out food for the athletes. This was a let down, as in Montana we hung around for a long time after and enjoyed food and drinks and took tons of photos. At least Calgary was just a day trip anyway, because when we were done there really wasn’t much to do.

Another thing that is more of a petty complaint is the beer gardens
. Now, this may be due to different laws in Alberta versus Montana. But, the beer gardens had one thing–coors light. I know Molson is a sponsor, so a Molson product is expected, but come on!! COORS LIGHT? We had our one free beer after the race, Dan could barely drink his, and we left. Montana had Tamarack Brewing Company and another local brew available and it was awesome. We spent money on more drinks after our one free because they offered quality beverages . This again may be due to location and laws involving alcohol consumption.

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So far it sounds like I am a complaining bitch and we didn’t enjoy ourselves. That is far from the truth! Our heat time was at 1:00, so at 12:30 Dan and I headed down near the start chute so we were ready to walk to the starting line when they allowed us. While we didn’t go into this being “competitive” we did want to be at the front of our heat so we could get to the first obstacle ahead of a backlog of people. We lined up and about 5 minutes before our start time the emcee did his Spartan spiel. Spartan Race Canada must use someone different than Spartan Race US, or the guy we had in Montana must have been at the Hawaii race that was occurring that same weekend, because this guy was weak. He was reading from his script to pump us up, and had this been our first race I am sure it would have. But the man we had in Montana—-oh boy. That guy was a pro. But, whatever—that is just a fine detail.

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At 1:00 our heat started and we barreled out the gates and down the first BMX hill of dirt. Dan told me to make sure I didn’t fall right away. Thanks. This course was completely different than Montana, which makes SpartanRace pretty sweet. In Montana we had the picturesque mountains that doubled as ridiculous obstacles to run up and down. Here we had the up and downs of a BMX course, with all the dusty moguls and poor footing. It posed as a different challenge!

I made it to the first obstacle, the cinder block pull, as Dan had just finished it. He was willing to wait for me, but I waved him to just go on alone. I knew I needed to be taking the race slow as 1) I had just gotten back from my 16 day Disney vacation on Friday and only sort of ran once while there and 2) I have a half marathon on Sunday in Edmonton and didn’t want to hurt myself. So I went solo on this race after about the first 8 minutes, and it made the race different. I didn’t have my husband to whine to was the first difference, but more noticeably I didn’t have him to help me over the 8 foot wall. The nice thing about Spartan Races is that even if you don’t know anyone and are doing it solo, people will help you out if you need it and that is great. A woman gave me a boost to get to the top of the 8 foot wall, and after I got over it, I came back around and helped her out. So if you are nervous about doing one of these races solo, don’t be, because people will help you if you need it! And if you are doing it for pure enjoyment and completion, I suggest taking your time and helping others along the way.

Many of the obstacles were similar to ones in Montana, but not exact replicas. There were monkey bars again this race, but the bars were closer together this time and the length of the challenge was shorter! Also, since we were a Sunday heat, and thousands of people had already done it, there was caked on mud EVERYWHERE! So one thing to think about when picking a heat time and day is how used the obstacles may be by the time you compete! Same with the traverse wall—which I was able to complete in Montana, but in Calgary I fell off immediately. In the picture below, you can see how caked with mud my husband is and how the bottom half of that wall looks! So even if you find success in an obstacle at one Spartan Race, it isn’t guaranteed at another, as circumstances are always going to be different!

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One different obstacle in Calgary was a balance beam. It was a zig-zag of boards where you had to walk on the approximately 2 inch thick side. I saw many guys fall off right away and have to do the 30 burpees as punishment. Dan told me later he was close to falling off on that, but focused on making it to each corner and pausing. I hope to see more balance obstacles at our next Spartan Race, though, if they are covered in mud I might not find success!

Dan finished in a really fast time of 37:12 and placed 162nd out of 3525 finishers from Sunday! Thing is, Dan didn’t train. So yes, we can hate him for that, but the 5 km distance was just right for someone who doesn’t run regularly, as it was short enough to get him through. His strength are the obstacles. He only failed at the spear throw, so he only had to do burpees once. He has the ability to do all upper body strength obstacles no problem—even the tricky rope climb over the mud pit. I guess all his lugging of landscaping materials all day doubles as strength training! Anyway, he is now actually motivated to start taking these races a little more serious! Case in point—yesterday I went on a 4 mile Dopey Challenge training run and at 3.5 miles, who do I run into but my husband! He said this is the most motivated he is ever going to be so he might as well take advantage of it.

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With his fast finish, he was able to see me suck terribly at the rope climb and the spear throw. It was great having him at the last four or five obstacles to cheer me on and give me hints! After finishing, my time was officially 54:04, which is 1371st place overall. I am hoping that when the results get posted over to the main Spartan Race site they have different category placings, but it seems like the Canadian races don’t do that. Dan and I got a picture together afterwards, and it does show how caked on with mud we were! While I know there are other “mud runs” out there, this one isn’t necessarily about just jumping in mud pits. This race has extremely challenging obstacles, and depending on the landscape of the course, you may get more muddy one race than another, and some races maybe not at all.

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Would we do this race again? Yes! Would we recommend this race to someone? Yes! And while I know I had my complaints about the Calgary setup, know that had this been our first Spartan Race experience we would have given it a 10 for sure. Dan and I just had a ridiculously amazing experience in Montana that is now what we have as our holy grail of Spartan Races, so any Spartan Race we do now will unfortunately be compared to that. Our next one is on September 7th in Dan’s home town of Red Deer, Alberta. And this will be interesting, as it is a Super Spartan, not a Sprint. This race is listed at being 15+ km, which means it will be well over 8 miles…a distance Dan has never ran. So his lack of running may catch up to him at this race, but with Super Spartans, you don’t just have a longer distance, but you have more obstacles. Dan will do this race solo, and has an earlier starting time than myself. I will be running with my friend Amie, who has never done a Spartan race at all! She is even shorter than me (I am 5’3″) so we will be hurling each other over tall obstacles! My 6’0+ sister in law is also doing this race with her friends, so I may need to use her heir to help me out!

If you don’t know what a Spartan Race is, head over to the Spartan Race site

Fundraising Update & Upcoming Events

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Hi everyone!

A quick post on this Sunday night! First, just wanted to encourage everyone to take a look at my race list link at the top of the page, as I have added a few new races for this latter part of 2013. I am now registered for SEVEN races (including the one I ran today!) up until my ultimate goal of the Dopey Challenge during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!. I plan on adding a few more shorter distance races, so keep an eye out!

Second—a fundraising update! My charities tab has been updated also! I am happy to announce that I have met and surpassed my initial fundraising goal for both the American Heart Association AND The Heart & Stroke Foundation!. With your help, I have raised $1,125 for AHA and $1,005 for HSF in memory of my late father, Andrew Lammers. Please visit this tab and my personal fundraising pages so you can help me raise even more for heart disease research!

Lastly, I ran my first race today since my septoplasty procedure on June 17th. It was my second ever Spartan Race and it was a blast! I hope to have a race recap done by next Sunday, but I am planning on waiting for the photos that were taken during the race to be posted. I also am officially starting my Dopey Challenge training tomorrow! I will be talking about how that goes as my miles build!

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Hope everyone has been having an awesome summer–especially to my teacher friends, co-workers and other educators out there!

My Disney “Beat the Bus” Challenge & Spartan Prep

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Today ends my 16 day extravaganza in Walt Disney World. Maureen and I are still friends, even after spending August 1-16 in a small Disney “value resort” room, so that’s what matters. We honestly never got sick of Disney World! Really! We just started to get really, really tired….and really, really wacko. Hence, our decision to have me do a “beat the bus” challenge on August 14th. A little background in this decision first….

The last year my mom, dad and I stayed at Yacht Club while in Disney World (2003) we had the luxury of being able to walk to both EPCOT and Disney Hollywood Studios from the resort. This was a great option instead of having to take the bus everywhere. We would usually walk back from the Studios, but if my mom had her way, we would take the alternate option of the boat. One morning, the boat was not there yet so my dad and I convinced my mom to walk with us, because we could “beat the boat.” She obliged, and since the boat wasn’t even at the Yacht Club dock yet, we felt solid. Well, we got past the hotel docks the boat stops at and the boat was behind us, in our sight. Dad and I couldn’t lose, so we started speed walking, and then to a jog, and then too pretty fast clip.

Mom was not pleased.

But, we did beat the boat. And my dad and I thought it was hysterical. My mom, however, did not.

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So now fast forward to August 2013. It’s hot as hell in Disney World. The humidity is through the roof. It’s your 14th day of vacation. So naturally, you decide to run 2+miles in the early afternoon heat, without a sidewalk, and without running shoes.

I don’t know how it came up, but one of the times we had to wait for a bus at the Studios it was taking longer than the advertised “every 20 minutes.” I must have told Maureen I could run back to Pop Century faster. On that bus ride “home”, we decided that on August 14th, during our “Four Parks, One Day” mess, I would run back to the resort while Maureen casually walked to the bus stop. We routed the distance the Studios main gate to our hotel room using Google Maps, and the distance was only 2.3 miles. I would run the same route as the bus, all in the attempt to beat Maureen and have the glory and recognition that goes with the title…Thus, the challenge was born.

So August 14th rolled around. Alarm went off at 5:30 am, as we had an early magic hour morning planned at Animal Kingdom. After Animal Kingdom, we headed to the Studios for a short while. We had already done a lot that morning when 10:30 am rolled around and we slowly started heading out of the park. 10:30 am is early…but in Florida, the heat is already kicked in. Note in the two photos below how “gung-ho” I am to begin this challenge

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As we left the main gate, I bid Maureen ‘Adieu!’ and started bolting out of the lot. Please note—I had not ran since the 10 miles I did on July 31st. Sure, we had been logging 10+ miles of walking each day while in Disney, but I was taking this vacation as the break I probably needed from my running. And because of that, I did not pack my tennis shoes. So, I ran in my Keen’s hiking sandals. Oh, this was going to be good….

I was going at a fast clip out of the lot, mainly because I felt like an idiot running from the park. At my first turn onto the main roadway (Buena Vista Drive) I came in contact with my first “obstacle”—no sidewalk. I was aware this would occur, as I knew what this route entailed, so I dug my Keen-wearing feet onto the soggy Orlando sod and trucked along. This was some resistance training! I came to find out later that Maureen lucked out and caught a bus immediately after going to the bus station, so she passed me at this point, but luckily got a photo of my efforts.

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I kept trucking down Buena Vista Drive and at my first mile, I clocked 7:58! I was racing! It was at this point the sweat poured into my eyes and my shoulders started to burn from the heat. I had no idea myself where Maureen was, so I kept booking it. I turned right at the ESPN Wide World of Sports sign, and then straight ahead I could see my final turn into the resort.
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I cut through the resort exit driveway, through a parking lot, ran to our building and up to our room on the 2nd floor. After digging my room key out of my shorts zipper, I entered the air conditioned room hoping to claim victory!….but Maureen was lying on the bed. Yes….she won this time. But her bus arrival was perfect timing! So I will defend myself and say I COULD have beaten her if the bus even was 8 minutes late, or if someone needing assistance with a wheelchair had needed to get on. The final distance from gate to room—2.3 miles. My time—19 minutes and 30 seconds. Not to shabby, if I do say so myself.

And running in those Keen’s……while i wouldn’t make this a normal occurrence, I had bought them before the Disney trip, and let me say….I recommend them for anyone wanting comfortable sandals who do a lot of walking. I didn’t buy the heavy-duty ones for all-terrain hiking, but these were perfect for trekking through Disney for miles upon miles a day. I even took the liberty of taking a creepy photo of a family wearing coordinating Keen’s while walking around EPCOT….no big deal!
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So now as my flight from Denver approaches Calgary, I reminisce abut the memories from the past 16 days…this “beat the bus challenge” was just one crazy idea we had, and if I were to list all of them here, you would never read my site again. I did joke that this challenge was good “Spartan Race” Preparation, as this Sunday, my husband and I will be participating in our SECOND Spartan Sprint! This one is just a 5 km race and is in Calgary at a bike park. So, the terrain isn’t mountainous like the one we did in Montana…and while I haven’t been running or doing Spartan Specific Workouts of the Day, I have been sweating my ass off daily in Disney world, running in ridiculous conditions, and dragging a backpack around the airport while in layover. I think my backpack did weigh about 30 pounds today, no lie, and I wandered for a good hour in Denver.

So how will I do in the Spartan Race Calgary? Who knows. My mom thinks it will be laughable given I was vacationing and living the good life for the past 16 days. We will see…and I will show her. Remember, I showed her when dad and I beat the boat back 10 years ago!

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Thoughts So Far….

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Yes, I am still in Walt Disney World. Today was day 10 of our 16 day extravaganza. We are now turning the corner on the weekend and heading into the home stretch! So far, Maureen and I haven’t wanted to kill the other person yet. And that is step one. We keep joking it is like we are back living in a college dorm, and that joke is even more of a real fact right now because as I type this, Maureen is out of the room roaming the balconies of Pop Century talking on her phone and looking for cell phone service. Oh man.

So many of you who read this are my friends and family, so you probably have seen a lot of my updates on Facebook or Twitter. So instead of posting a ton of photos and rehashing a bunch of stuff you may have already noticed along the way during my travels, I am going to touch on a few key Best & Worst Moments of this visit so far. Bear with me here—-I am working on adrenaline, magic and wine.

Worst Ride in Walt Disney World
Holy shit. I read all the blogs about it, but didn’t believe it could truly be that bad. If you have someone in your group that suggests trying this ride, shut them down, or please skip it yourself. Stitches Great Escape is so horrendous, I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Maureen did determine the small target audience is ages 4-6, because at that age you have some understanding of simple jokes and are amused by pointless humor and bad effects. Never again!

Best Ride Refurbishment
Test Track. While the ride system is the same as the original, the theming was redone by the new sponsors, Chevrolet. We were both hesitant, but were pleasantly surprised with the main feature of the ride—designing your own vehicle to “test” on the SimTrack. It is fun designing your vehicle in the reshot and we have a good time seeing how it performs on the course. Also, the post show area has lots to do.

Best Ride Surprise
Enchanted Tales with Belle! We did this on our first rope drop morning, as we had heard the lines really get long later in the day. While we don’t have kids, we do have an appreciation for the cuteness factor…and this show has it. It’s an interesting mix of live entertainment, meet and greet, and walk-through experience. Every time will be different, as audience members participate. Highly recommend it, especially if you have small children.

Best Crockpot of Butter
No contest—this category was designed for the French Onion Soup at Les Chefs de France that Maureen had for lunch today. Now, we are not making fun of or complaining about the amount of butter we saw used within the soup….it was delicious. But Maureen knew upon seeing it arrive in front of her it was going to be a rough go.

Best Castmember
Oh, and our server at Les Chefs de France was awesome—his name was Mehdi. He was adorable. Had only been in Florida since August 1st. Told us in advance he is still learning his English, and it was his first day on his own at the restaurant. So maybe we had a soft spot for him right away, but he did a very good job, was super sweet and even asked us questions about where we were from and wanted to know where it was located. We could tell he had been a server before because he knew how to carry out lots of plates with ease. Mehdi—your boyish charm will win your tables over.

Worst Counter-Service Meal
The “butter chicken” I had at Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavours. I have eaten butter chicken before from Indian restaurants back home, and other Indian foods also, and this was disgusting, it was almost laughable. Ew.

Best Child Meltdown
Actually haven’t seen a blown out chld meltdown yet. Those are saved for the adults this trip. But we have heard many kids saying some random-ass things. And one of the best was when it was 1 pm at EPCOT, pure sun, no clouds, 95 degree heat…and a set of parents were casually looking at the Yorkshire Fish Shoppe counter service menu, but they walked away. Their son, about 8 or 9, naturally exclaimed “Just pick one restaurant and stick with it, COME ON!” He had to be hungry.

Best Adult Meltdown
Hands down had to be while at Cinderella’s Royal Table for dinner. And this isn’t one adult, but a whole family that wins the award. Family came in for dinner and immediately started arguing—between the one teenaged daughter and the dad. Mom tried to calm it down telling them to just drop it, and to get over it (must have been from an existing argument earlier). Long story short, dad dramatically left (he was in a wheelchair so it was dramatic as he had to leave but then wait for the elevator), then the problem daughter started crying, mom started getting pissed, second daughter started standing up for her sister, and then mom told them to just wrap up the food and she left. And to top it off, the two daughters were on our bus ride back to the hotel later that night. Nicely done family. Way to waste approximately $250 on a dining experience.

Best Feature of Pop Century Resort
The white blanket on the bed. Wrote a note to the housekeeper to keep using the soft white blankets instead of the nasty pink ones (didn’t write nasty) . They are luxurious. And appreciated in this value resort dorm room.

Worst Feature of Pop Century
The cockroach Maureen found in the bathtub that I had to try to get out, but then disappeared down the drain. And currently, the alarm going off in a nearby room which is obviously unoccupied at the moment. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

Best Character Photo
Our Toy Story friends meet up, where I got to recreate my dad’s photo from April 2003. The picture says it all.

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Only five more full days in the park to go! So many more things to occur…..what will happen next?

My Family Saves a lot of Shit!

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Growing up, our family basement was “finished” in terms of the fact it had more than just a sub floor. It wasn’t necessarily a livable space, or somewhere where you would want your middle child to have their bedroom, but it had the flooring down and was framed and insulated. My friends and I could play down there, and it was fine. We had a lot of storage space in my parents house—it’s amazing my mom and dad did not become hoarders! I know as an only child, we have more photos of me growing up, more photos of our family at holiday events…I know I was spoiled growing up with gifts and other items….but with all that, comes years of random stuff being stowed in your parents’ basement. But then, over the last ten or more years, some of that “garbage” has been filtered out and thrown away.

Now, I know for a fact nothing precious has been tossed. I’ve been a guardian of that basement my whole life. I spent many of days when I was middle school aged or older looking through my moms’ family photos. I loved the idea of the past, and loved looking back at it. Photos like the ones below exemplified my grandparents and their families, and we have held on to those!
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But other than family photos, there was a bunch of my toys. The things piling in my parents’ basement were random Barbies, board games and hand-me-downs from my cousins. We also had a lot of my school work. The wooden walls in our old-school basement were a stapling ground for anything I did in art class. We also had an old-fashioned desk we got at a rummage sale, that my best friend Ali and I would use to play school. In the desk we stored old notebooks, folders and classroom supplies. From kindergarten and, on this desk was in my basement—and I added old notebooks into in. But later on, many got thrown away. However, me being the master of the basement, I made sure my early ones stayed.

When my family went to Walt Disney World for the first time in 1991, me; being the studious young kid, made sure to ask Mrs. Shrake if there was anything I needed to do. We use to do a single sentence journal entry every day in class, which included the date, and was usually about a topic on the board. She told me to write in my journal each day when in Disney World. Since I am currently on my 15th trip to Walt Disney World, I thought it would be fun to look at these pieces of history (ha!) Here are excerpts from my school journal in 1991, when I was on my first ever trip to Walt Disney World:

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I have, and always will, remember those first words: I am up in the airplane. I am up in the sky. And it is even crazier to think about these words I wrote back in 1991, while in Disney World with my family, and that I am here now in 2013, writing words about these words while on vacation with one of my best friends.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge-Expereince & Review

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I am the only person in my circle of family and friends in Canada who prefers Air Canada over other airlines available to me. No, really….I am. Everyone else bitches about lack of service they have received, rude employees, bad flights, and more. Well, maybe I am just lucky, but any flight I have flown with Air Canada has gone fairly well. The only time my luggage got “lost” was when my connection was too close and I did not have time to wait for it in Toronto to clear through customs. But since they had switched my flights that day and my connections got shorter due to delays, I talked to the right people and was persistent in emails, and I got a cash voucher valid for future travel. See—I was nice. And it paid off.

Anyway, I am flying Air Canada to Orlando for my Disney trip. Before you Canadians start saying “Fly Westjet!”, yes, I realize they fly to Orlando, but I found a better deal with Air Canada, and I am accruing miles by flying with them. I fly Air Canada also whenever I book a flight using my Air Miles reward card, so if I had to estimate how many times I have flown Air Canada since meeting Dan, it would have to be about 16+ times.

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This trip I decided to take advantage of a flight “enhancement.” While I can no way afford first class on an airline, I can afford $40 to have access to the first-class lounge. The lounge is designed for the passengers flying first class or executive, or are elite/super-elite mileage flyers. Air Canada has their Maple Leaf Lounges in major airports across Canada, a few hubs in the US, and also in a few international spots. After checking in for my flights in Calgary and going through security, I approached the tall double doors into the lounge. I just had to present the lady at the reception desk my ticket, which had the authorization code for access to the lounge. The lounge was larger than I expected—-it had a dedicated table and chairs area, a ton of comfy chairs with end tables in between, and many tall bar-height tables. I found a spot to set my stuff down and headed to the continental breakfast.

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There were all the typical continental items—-fruits, breads, muffins, cereal, oatmeal. There were juices and coffee and tea and espresso. I helped myself to a banana, a muffin, some seasonal fruit, orange juice and coffee. While this doesn’t make you see the $40 value, the fact I had a private seating area and restroom access, different wifi than the general public in the airport, and I would have access to Toronto’s lounge during my layover, made me feel real good about my purchase.

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So I made it through Toronto and through customs. The lounge is hidden just past security into the departures wing. You needed to take an elevator up to the third level, and you get let out to a reception desk. I had no idea whether to press up or down, so I pressed both, but a nice gentleman told me it was third floor. I gave the reception lady (who did not seem happy to be there, but not rude at least) my ticket, but it took longer than at Calgary. I got nervous for a split second that I did something wrong and I did not have access to the lounge in Toronto also. Imagine—being rejected to this would be worse than when Dan and I went to Costco with a possibly expired card from when he worked for another business, only to be denied at checkout with the three things we had. That was a low moment. Nonetheless, she scanned my ticket and I was in.

This lounge is about four times the size as Calgary’s, and they even have another one in the domestic flight area. There are two self-serve bar areas, fully stocked, and a serving station with quick bites. I helped myself to cream of mushroom soup, a salad loaded with olives, chips and salsa, and a glass of Chardonnay. (Or more…) Cheers!

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The thing I was concerned about, being out of place, isn’t an issue. I am not sure how many people in here are executive or elite flight members, or how many buy day passes, but there is a wide range of people and I don’t look like a fool. It is interesting being here on my own and overhearing all the “business” conversations…some to do with housing and construction, trailers, some stuff I don’t understand, some stuff with stocks. The one thing I had to do different in preparation for the airport is I am actually wearing a normal outfit of coral khaki shorts, a striped t-shirt, and Steve Madden sandals. I couldn’t come in here wearing garbage like I sometimes do when I fly! If we were to go back to the 50s and all get dressed up to fly, I would be all for it if everyone took part-that era seemed magical…

I still am going to be hanging out here for another 45 minutes, but I am concluding this entry now by saying YES I would do this again. But ONLY if I have the same flight gaps or greater. If you have tight connections, it would not be worth it. Also, if you do not drink alcohol, you would be laying for a more respectable area than general concourse junk, and food privileges. But at least you aren’t paying an exorbitant amount for a Coke. I was dropped off at Calgary this morning by a friend who lives 10 minutes from the airport, so I was able to enjoy my breakfast morning routine in full. And with a 3 hour layover from landing to takeoff, I had about an hour and a half to enjoy the lounge (even after taking customs into account.)

I do a lot of traveling on my own—-usually flying back to Milwaukee to see family, to Disney World with Maureen or for RunDisney events, California to see my friend Ali….and if I have a layover during a lunch time I sit solo at a airport sports bar and have an overpriced appetizer and a glass of wine or two. So the cost of the Maple Leaf Lounge is nothing. Treat yourself next time you fly on Air Canada…maybe you will have a better attitude about them-I recommend it.