Monthly Archives: December 2013

How Do I Sum Up 2013?

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There is that. That picture is worth a thousand words.

While this is a mix of finisher medals, placing medals, and challenge medals….they all share in common that they are some pieces of special bling I earned during 2013. I registered and competed in 21 unique races so far in 2013.…I say “so far” as I will be doing race 22 tomorrow when I run the Brita Resolution Run 5km with my good friend Kelly! The mix of races I ran this year weighted heavily on half marathons, along with some 10kms and unique distance 10-miler and 35 km trail races. I also got snatched into the whirlwind that are Spartan Races, where I completed 3 Sprints (5km), 1 Super (14km) and 1 Beast (21km) which earned me a coveted Trifecta Tribe medal!

Those aren’t the only important numbers of 2013.…I went into the year with a two year old half marathon PR of 1:54:19, from Woody’s RV Half in Red Deer 2011. I wanted to break that sometime during this year! While back in Wisconsin for Easter……First race out, I hit 1:52:53….holy crap.….I was hoping that wasn’t the peak! I went on to break this NEW PR three more times during 2013! My best ended up occurring up in high elevation-ville of Lethbridge, where I ran a 1:41:07 at the Bare Bones Half! I never thought I would now be setting my sights at sub 1:40!

More numbers…..1155 & 1621. These are the dollar amounts I have fundraised so far for the Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada) and the American Heart Association, respectively. I began this fundraising journey at the start of 2013, with the roll-out of this very website. My year would be devoted to running more races than my previous years, and all races would be ran in memory of my father, Andrew Lammers. This April 25th marked the 9th year since his passing. He was only 51.

While the medals are the tangible item I can now hold in my hand to reflect and remember the races of this year, there is much more that I have gained by competing in this ridiculous number of events. The personal bests…the fundraising goals being met and surpassed…the new race experiences….doing it all for Dad…….and now it’s one week until I leave for the culminating event of the year….the Dopey Challenge….2013 has been an amazing year. I can’t wait for the start of 2014!

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And So Begins the Taper….

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In a week from tomorrow, Dan and I will be sitting at the Calgary International Airport (most likely at Chili’s Too enjoying some beverages) waiting to board our red eye flight to Orlando. In the next week I will be writing up an overview on this year and everything I have done to prepare for this culminating event, but it is so crazy to even think that we will finally be heading down to Disney for the Dopey Challenge!

The last week has been a whirlwind of Christmas celebrations and holiday cheer. Dan and I headed to Red Deer, Alberta, last Saturday for a whopping six nights. In those days, we became Godparents for our niece Norah, met up with some dear friends who now live in Vancouver, went to the Pottage family Christmas in Edmonton, had 12 meatless Ukrainian dishes at my brother and sister-in-laws on Christmas Day, went shopping on Boxing Day, and slept 10-12 hours each night. In those days, I also spent next to no time looking at crap related to RunDisney. I have had that consuming my daily thoughts the last few months, and it was a good break to get away from being anxious for Dopey. But while we were away, I did manage to get some training runs in….some more successful than others….

Saturday, December 21st was miserable. Absolutely gross in Lethbridge (cold, brisk wind chill) and even more gross in Red Deer. I attempted to start my 20 mile run in the morning before we hit the road, but I ran a whopping 0.68 miles before I realized frostbite was a legit possibility. So we hit the road. Red Deer is three and a half hours north of Lethbridge, smack dab between Calgary and Edmonton, so you can imagine what December may feel like. I went to the Collicut Centre in Red Deer that night to attempt 20 miles indoors. While the track was more favorable than the one in Lethbridge (a 300 meter track vs. 200 meter) I just couldn’t do it. At mile 11 I just hit a wall and had to stop. I did 9 miles on the bicycle and called it a night.

Two days later I bundled up and hit the trail system in Red Deer, where I did manage to do 6 miles. It was a good confidence booster after my failed long run on Saturday. But I knew I had to get a long run in before I started my taper. 6 wasn’t enough.

I had planned on attempting a 20 miler on Saturday, December 28th, but when December 26th rolled around, I knew I had to go for it then. Weather in Red Deer was a few degrees above freezing and the sun was out. And there was not an ounce of wind. Dan and I went on our annual Boxing Day shopping spree with his Grandma, and then at 11:15 am I head out from Bower Mall to conquer 20 miles. I am familiar enough with Red Deer to not get lost, but as far as how their extensive trail system links from piece to piece…..I’m a novice. I have ran the Red Deer half marathon three times, so I am familiar with that route. Also, we did a Spartan Race in September up there, and this covered 8 miles over on the opposite end of town. So with these routes mashed in my mind, I went and winged my 20 miles.

I knew I needed to complete a successful 20 mile distance solely for my own state of mind. I have done a ridiculous amount of training all year, and while I know I could run a full 26 miles on the day of the race, I was psyching myself out. I haven’t ran more than 20 miles since the Coulee Cactus Crawl in Lethbridge this June when I did a painfully slow 21 miles in the dreaded coulees.

The nice thing about the trail system was that much of the snow was packed down, which made it easier to navigate and run on. I even went off to some smaller footpaths that offered absolutely breathtaking winter views underneath the evergreens. After running the trails by Kerrywood Nature Centre, I found my way down the Red Deer River over to Heritage Ranch, which was the site of the Spartan Race. I went down some gorgeous cross country ski trails and spilled out by Bower Pond, where TONS of families were ice skating. Music was piped in outside and the energy was fantastic. I looped back on the other side of the Red Deer River and extended my route a bit farther past my end point to reach my goal. After 3 hours 19 minutes and 21 seconds I had completed 20 miles.

Finishing that 20 was a huge weight off my shoulders. I can now officially start to taper and slow things down. It has also fired me up and gotten me even more anxiously excited for Dopey Challenge. Right now, all I can say is BRING IT!

In the Spirit of Christmas…I am Going to Talk About Santa…

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….but not that Santa…..
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While this site is dedicated to my dad, running and Disney, if I were to stray a bit on the family history side of things, I would hit other parts of family. And with that, I am letting myself stray for a moment and appreciate my Grandma Stengel. While Grandma Stengel may not have been around in my life as long as many other peoples’ grandparents (she passed away when I was 3 years old) she is someone who I treasure and recollect back at the moments I was able to spend with her.

Let’s start by noting my Grandma’s first name was Santa. For real. Santa. Middle name Maria. My grandma is Santa Maria Stengel. And before being married she was Santa Maria Basci. Her parents are both direct off the boat from Sicily and that is my direct, blatant connection to the Deep South of Europe. I have so much to learn family history-wise in regards to my dad, that the details of my maternal Grandmother could take me another lifetime…I know my Auntie Susie has already begun to collect family letters between my grandparents during WWII, and she longs for a visit to Sicily,…so hopefully in my future, I can head this way too.
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I have been a clinger and possessor of old photographs….much thanks to my mom inheriting all the old family photos. These were all in old cardboard boxes and albums deep in my parents’ basement, and I am glad I was a freak of a child who spent hours on end just sorting and staring through old photos from the 40s and on….if not, I would have never found these gems of Grandma:
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My Grandma Stengel was a strong woman—she raised my mom and her two younger sisters on her own after my Grandpa passed away from a heart attack when he was 50. My mom was 15 at the time, and her two younger sisters were 9 and 10, respectively. My mom helped out a lot and took over a maternal role in the house, helping raise her two younger sisters. My mom and her sisters are still incredibly close—I was fortunate enough to live most of my life only two blocks away from Auntie Debbie and my cousins, and got to visit Auntie Susie and her family tons.
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My Grandma passed away from lung cancer at age 67. She, like many people from her time, over-used and never quit smoking cigarettes. This was the cause of my Grandma Lammers’ death also, close to the same time too. I am glad I have photographic memories and stories to hold on to of time I was able to spend with Grandma Stengel.

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A Lot to Talk About From the Past Week!

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Wow. Just wow. One more week complete, one week of school left, Christmas vacation, and a Disney trip around the corner! But who’s counting? All that is on my mind lately is Disney World and this Dopey Challenge. When you invest almost a whole year into preparing for something, why wouldn’t it be? Sure, at the start of the year after registration for this race it was always in the back of my mind…but I had so many other sweet races to be preparing for and heading off to that it didn’t consume my every thought. My husband made a wise ass comment, as seen below, on my Facebook page last week….and he is spot on:
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This last week brought a lot of excitement for those in the RunDisney community heading down for WDW Marathon weekend—-corral placements were released! And colored course maps! And more stuff with be released daily, you can bet! Corral placements are a stressor for many people doing RunDisney and I was anxious to see where I would be placed. I was in Corral A during Wine & Dine half marathon, with my submitted time of 1:46:32, and for the Dopey Challenge I was able to submit a faster time of 1:41:07 from my Bare Bones Half. This earned me a spot in Corral B for the Dopey Challenge weekend. Below are the bib ranges for those of us doing the Dopey, and you can see how small some of the corrals are with just Dopey runners.

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Now each corral also has people doing the Goofy Challenge (half and full) and the half marathon or full marathon, dependent on the race day. A guy in one of my Dopey challenge Facebook groups made a document combining all the participants for each big race (half and full) to outline how many people are actually in each corral. And there’s tons of other diehards who have analyzed the corral breakdowns. In short, I am very happy with my placement, and I assume my corral will be starting at 5:32 am, two minutes after the official start of elites and corral A. This will allow me to fully enjoy the half marathon and stop at EVERY photo stop with little to no wait and ball my eyes out as I run down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. I am also still planning on giving it all I got on the day of the full, so I won’t have to worry about weaving between people and wasting time and energy at the start. I will be talking more about my “game plan” as I get closer đŸ™‚

On a different note, last week also brought on a 48 hour flu. Sunday and Monday night I slept like total crap???and when I woke up Monday my whole body ached. My gut instinct was to contribute this to my running 5-7-13-18 indoors on the track all weekend. But when I got home after work Monday I could tell it was not that. Woke up with a full body sweat and had to call in sick to work Tuesday. I took it easy Tuesday, did not run Wednesday, and changed this weeks mileage a tad. I am completing another Thursday-Sunday “Mock Dopey” but did 2.5-5-10 and will finish with 20 today. The weather is warmer (well above freezing) but we are having stupid Lethbridge winds today which will make it interesting. My husband keeps calling me crazy, but I am going to head out anyway to do this 20 by about 1:00 pm.

Lastly, my fundraising is still going well, and I have confidence I can break $1500 for both the American Heart Association and the Heart & Stroke Foundation before my completion of the Dopey Challenge. I am currently at $1471 for American Heart Association and $1155 for Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada). The reason I embarked on this craziness was to raise awareness of heart disease and how it can effect any of us, no matter how fit we are! My dad is cheering me on, and I know his presence will be felt my whole trip to Disney World—he’s going to be helping push me through! If you are able to, please help me reach my goal! Every little bit counts!

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That One Time When I Signed Up For a Gym Membership….

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Southern Alberta has been having some ridiculous weather for the last week. Blizzard on Monday and Tuesday, extreme cold conditions…for instance, each morning since the blizzard my car temperature would say at least -18 Fahrenheit. You go outside and your nose hurts when you breathe. Two days ago, it was apparently the coldest place on earth up near Ponoka, AB. In Calgary it was -40 C, which for you people who don’t know Celsius, this is where Fahrenheit and Celsius cross….-40 Fahrenheit.

What. The. Hell.

I have Dopey Challenge training to do, and even in the cold it has to be done. I ran 5 miles in the blizzard compacted snow on Tuesday, but then after my cross training on Wednesday, I knew I had to do the unthinkable—-buy a pass to the University of Lethbridge gym so I could use the indoor track.

I know there are people who access a gym all the time. If you a weightlifter, fine, I get that. If you like to go play open court basketball, more power to you. But I would rather be on the roads.

The track is 200 metres so 8 laps in lane 1 equal a mile. I soon realized that counting laps sucks, so on Saturday I paid 99 cents for the “Tap-A-Lap” app on my phone. I can enter how many total miles I am doing, how many laps equal one miles, and every lap I just hit a button and it counts for me. I can also play music or podcasts in the background, so I am now using this time to catch up on all my WDW Radio, WDWNT and WDW Today podcast (All Disney podcasts, obviously.). I have to say yesterday’s 9 miles in the track felt pretty great, especially given that I had done 4 outside already, and the temperature on the track is comfortable enough that I can be wearing a tank and shorts and be set.

But, that all being said….there has been some things in the last three visits that remind me why I hate going to a gym. In no particular order…..(drumroll please).

1.) Just getting there!-While the U of L is close to our house, and should take five minutes to drive to on a normal day, add the fact the roads are garbage and then when you get there everyone parks like an idiot. I waste about 15 minutes plus each way getting to the gym, parking, going in, getting a locker and starting my run. That would be a good 3 miles plus on the road that could be done during that time. Grr.

2.) The track is not always open to general public-There is a Lethbridge Track & Field team that generally practices Monday to Thursday from 5:30-7:30. Track is then closed. Damn high school kids. So I have to go use a treadmill (which up until Thursday I haven’t ran on a treadmill since I was 20). For the record, I obviously love and support these high school kids, especially since some of our own from work do Lethbridge Track Club. But I can’t even go anywhere on the Westside now without running into students! First world teacher problems, I tell ya!

3.) Guy who runs on treadmill like he’s 300 pounds, but really he’s 150-I was on the treadmill on Thursday and did my 5 miles, since the high schoolers kicked me out. Guy got next to me and was there about 30 minutes running and walking. And when he ran, he ran so heavy I thought his treadmill and mine would break. I looked like I weighed more than him too. Run lightly my friend, please.

4.) Girl at the gym to look cute and flirt-While mister heavy foot on the treadmill ran, I got to witness a girl flirt with the worker at the Ascent Climbing Wall. The glass windows allow you to see out across the hall and she was so shameless. She ended up coming into the gym and then getting on a treadmill a few down from me and then started yakking it up to the guy next to her too, and she kept waving and making faces to the guy at the climbing wall. I don’t want to see that shit.

5.) Girl who “forgot” a ponytail holder– Running on the track on Friday I got to witness a girl in black spandex and a pink short sleeve top run laps while her long brown flat-ironed hair hung down. If your hair is long enough for a ponytail holder, use it. You looked like an idiot.

6.) People who don’t know proper track etiquette-This track is 4 lanes. 200 metres. Not a lot of room. Even says on sign walkers in lanes 3 & 4, runners in 1 & 2. Thank you to the guy who was strolling in lane 1 and then stopped there on a straightaway to look over the railing and watch the basketball tournament going on below. You were totally not in anyone’s way….

7.) Girl who made bad decisions but didn’t cover it up-Yesterday a girl came up to the track and did a combination of laps, biking, stretching, etc. Fair enough. However. She must had been drunk the night before because on her ankle was a washed out, but not completely gone, black permanent marker drawing of a nazi swatstika and the letters KKK. Ok girl, if you can’t scrub that shit off the morning after, wear higher socks. You looked like a god damn idiot who may as well have had a Confederate Flag tattoo…and I almost said something to you.

Oh, there is more I could complain about. And some of you are probably thinking I just shouldn’t complain. Actually, a lot of it is really laughable after the fact, but now I just shake my head. Around noon today I am heading over there for my 18 mile run, which will be the farthest I have ran in one shot since 2009, when I was training for my last full marathon. I am sure that during the 3 hours I am there I will witness even more stupidity. Who knows, maybe people there are thinking I am an idiot too. I am ok with that.

Off to the gym!

I Had Good Intentions When I Signed Up For This–A Guest Post by Mom

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While Andrea is diligently training for her Dopey Challenge, I wish I could say the same was true for my first experience with a 5k. I had every intention of really working on a true 5k training program, but my orthopedic doctor put an end to that. Changed my approach to training at my health club with a walk 3 laps, run 1 lap plan. Twelve laps equal a mile. Tried that a few times, but my knee just wasn’t cooperating. Since I probably can walk faster than my slow jog was, I am now walking as many laps as I can in 45 minutes. My goal is do the 5k in 45 minutes or at least less than an hour. I’m going to try to do some “running” during the race, most likely at the start and again at the end. Since this is not only going to be my first 5k but also my last, I want to look good coming across the finish line!

You may wonder why I even decided to sign up for this 5k given my knee problems. The answer is simple. I’m doing it to support Andrea in her fund-raising efforts in memory of her dad. I’ve made yearly donations to the American Heart Association each year since Andy’s death, but what she’s doing goes much deeper. I am so proud of her efforts, both with her running and fund-raising thus far. Since she asked me to do another post, I’m also going to ask those of your who haven’t donated yet to do so. It doesn’t matter the amount. Even though she has surpassed the goals she set for both United States and Canadian donations, I know those amounts can get even higher with additional support from the followers of her blog. Not only will additional support help Andrea’s cause, it will give me the extra support I need. I’m freaking out about this little 5k! I am not nor have I ever been a runner. Andrea will attest to this!

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One Month of 2013 to Go!

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Happy December 1st everyone! The next couple weeks are going to be crucial training weeks in preparation for the Dopey Challenge, and a big push for any final fundraising I may be able to achieve. Here are some thoughts and things going in in my head right now….

Training Calendar
This weekend (Thursday-Sunday) was my first true semi- imitation of Dopey, in that I ran 5-7-13-15 miles four days in a row. If I hadn’t had been doing other races over the past month, this would have been happening sooner, but better late than never. I have to admit that right now, I feel pretty solid. My 13 and 15 milers were around a 9:25 min/mile pace, which I am very happy with considering that today I ran up both the Wendy’s hill from down at Fort Whoop Up and up Whoop Up Drive to the Westside. My mileage total was 45 miles this week, with 40 of it being accumulated in the past four days. The next weeks’ mileage totals go up to 48-51-52 and then drop to 37 and 28 before I head out to Disney.

Weather
I know a lot of people training for Dopey have much nicer temperatures to deal with, but I also know a lot of us have winterized crap. I have fortunately been lucky enough to have had a very balmy, uncharacteristically warm November. Today, on December 1st, it was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit at 3 pm. Now, that being said, tonight there is a blizzard warning in effect for basically all of Alberta and by Tuesday morning it’s going to be very different out. But I am lucky I have had such nice weather so far to train in. I am prepared, however, to maybe have to suck it up and go use the University of Lethbridge indoor track one day when I have a long run….can’t wait to see how many laps I will have to run in order to total 20 miles…..!

#whyirundisney
All of last week, ever since RunDisney announced their new contest, I had been trying to think of what to do. My husband and I brainstormed how to best fit what I needed to say into a 15-second Instagram video. My video submission was done today, and I am pretty pleased with it. I got the words in I needed to say and a few choice images. Who knows what RunDisney will think and if they will even give a second thought after seeing my video, but let’s hope! Below is the video link I shared under the #whyirundisney hashtag via Twitter.
Andrea’s #whyirundisney Submission

Andrea’s ‘Canniversary’
Tomorrow marks my 5 year anniversary of living in Canada. It’s crazy to think five years have already come and gone. So much has happened in the last 5 since being here, and even thinking about everything that has happened in the last year alone is crazy. I had no clue how things would play out five years ago when I crossed that border with Dan and gave up my life in Milwaukee…but things are going pretty solid if I do say so myself. Steady job for myself, Dan’s business is going great, our house is a home, our pets are great fur babies, and the running I have been able to do since being here has been second to none. This year has overall been pretty spot on!