Category Archives: fundraising

Quest in Quebec City, Part II

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The post below is a continuation from two days ago. It is my recap/reflection on the experiences I had while in Quebec City!

On Thursday, April 24th, we arrived at Musee Bon Pasteur. I was looking forward to this visit—the second floor was advertised to have an exhibit featuring the orphanage my dad was born at! When my husband and I walked through the doors, the receptionist did not know any English. Dan spoke with her to let her know I did not speak French; she then asked if we wanted an English-speaking guide. I am very appreciative that they had an English speaking guide in the facility, because visiting the museum would not have been the same without Sister Claudette’s guidance!

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Sister Claudette met us and gave us an overview of who the Sisters of Good Shepard are, and how they were formed. The story is quite incredible, and I encourage you to go to Musee Bon Pasteur and read about how this group of women found each other. She knew we were most interested in the items on the second floor, so after her 15 minute overview on the history on the first floor, we headed upstairs.

This is where everything came out. She first asked to see what information I had with me. After pulling out the envelope with the ominous “680 Chemin Ste Foy” address on it, she quickly told us why we were confused when we went their yesterday—-because it’s actually at 1210! The addresses had shifted over the years! She gave us a postcard with an old photo of La Crèche St Vincent de Paul so we could use it when we went back to find 1210 Chemin Ste Foy.

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We then looked at the handwritten letter together, and Sister Claudette then had a surprise for us. The sister who had signed the letter was a very prominent Sister at La Crèche, and there was a photo of her on that floor of the museum! Sister James Philip had signed that letter in 1954! Below is a picture of the letter next to her photo—these items are displayed on the original baptismal font that was used at the original St. Patricks! This font was used on my dad’s baptism on June 10th, 1952, three days after he was born (we know this because of the statement on his baptismal abstract which was produced in 1957; we can only assume, and Sister Claudette agreed, that this abstract was needed by my grandparents for when he went through his American Citizenship)

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Lots of other artifacts were on site for viewing in the museum. There are pictures, which reminded me of yearbook photos, of the doctors and sisters who were at La Crèche during certain time frames. There are also pictures of the children being looked after. Sister Claudette said these photos were taken in the 1950s

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Sister Claudette then explained to us more about the timeline of my dad’s adoption. He was born on June 7, 1952, and we knew from original paperwork that he was adopted and brought across into the US on July 4, 1954…this approximate two-year window is important. She explained to us that when a woman gave birth at La Crèche, the choice was to sign the child over for adoption right away, or wait a maximum of two years. In those two years if she felt fit to take care of the child on her own, or in some cases if she had then wed the father and came back, the child would be reunited.

My grandparents worked with the help of Catholic Charities in Illinois to set up an adoption. The Catholic Charities sent a letter in May 1954 that a boy had been selected for them. They drove up to La Crèche to meet my dad. I would love to know if photos of this occasion had existed somewhere in my grandparents hands, but they moved so much all over the world they may have been lost. One thing I should have assumed but was never certain was my dad’s birth name. We knew it was Luke, as written on the old envelope. But that was the English spelling. Sister Claudette confirmed that the name on the “Alien Registration” form that was used when moving to the US was his given name—Luc Parent. This was not chosen by the birth mother, though. We learned that the doctors and Sisters had a list of generic first names and last names they went through and gave to the children. So my dad was given Luc Parent!

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It was an amazing visit. Absolutely memorable. I will never forget it! We learned so much in that short time at the museum. Plus, there is still a chance to learn more. Later that day, Dan phoned a number given to us by Sister Claudette. It was for Centre Jeunesse-Centre for Adopted Youth. There’s an outside chance they will let me provide my dad’s information for the archives, in case anyone from his birth family has tried looking for him. This is something traditionally the adopted child must do, but we may as well try. Problem was, we called twice, and the person on the other line had horrific English, and Dan’s French was just as bad. An English speaking worker was supposed to call us back by yesterday but hasn’t. I will tackle this feat over the next few weeks.

And 1210 Chemin Ste Foy? Well, we went the following day. On April 25, 2014, we walked the two miles to La Crèche St Vincent de Paul. My dad had passed away exactly 10 years before on April 25, 2004. How did I feel?—rejuvenated.

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Photo Recaps on Dopey Challenge Events…Pros, Cons & Highlights…& a Teaser for the Next Chapter…

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Hi everyone! I know I posted a bit during the event, and I did my post about the full marathon, but now that I have access to the professional photos shot by the people at Marathon Foto, I thought I would do a mini-photo montage/review of each event that was part of the Dopey Challenge. For each event, I will list some pros (the volunteers were AMAZING every race!), cons, and my personal highlights I experienced. I will also include some of my favorite snapshots from the events!

Family 5km Fun Run-Thursday, January 9, 2014
This event began with the first of 5 corrals being let off at 6:30 am. The course went from the EPCOT parking lots, through a backstage area, into World Showcase, looped through Future World, and ended back out in the parking lot

Pros Fun short distance anyone could enjoy, no “sweepers” or “balloon ladies” to worry about on the course if you couldn’t keep the minimum pace, walker friendly

Cons Very crowded corrals, starting in last corral with my mom meant we had to wait about 40 minutes until we started, very crowded at times especially at narrow points, not as much entertainment or characters as I expected for a “family” fun run, found out I really didn’t need to keep the minimum 16 min/mi pace even though it was timed for us in the Dopey Challenge (would have stayed with my mom and husband)

Personal Highlights My mom ran her first 5km!

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Inaugural Minnie Mouse 10km-Friday, January 10, 2014
This event began with the first of 5 corrals being let off at 5:30 am. The course went from the EPCOT parking lots, out through the front gates out onto the roadway, then through a backstage area, into World Showcase, out onto the Boardwalk and past Yacht & Beach Club Resort, looped through Future World, and ended back out in the parking lot

Pros Longer route allowed for spreading out on the course, route past Boardwalk Resort area was awesome, more characters, started in Corral A with Dan so had no issues with crowding ourselves

Cons First two miles were uneventfully boring with little entertainment on the roads, corrals still crowded

Personal Highlights Running a 10km in Disney with my unsure-about-Disney husband, seeing him sweat his shirt off because he didn’t understand the power of Florida humidity (made me laugh!), running around the Boardwalk while it was still dark and all the hanging outdoor lights were on! AND got Dan to take a photo with a Disney character! Something he swore he would not do!

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Walt Disney World Half Marathon-Saturday, January 11, 2014
This event began with the first of 16 corrals being let off at 5:35 am. The course went from Epcot out onto the highway through the Magic Kingdom gates, past the Ticket & Transportation Center, into the Magic Kingdom and down Main Street USA. Headed through Cinderella’s castle, through Frontierland, back on service roads past Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts, and back on the roads to EPCOT.

Pros Short corral wait for me since I was in B, short to no lines for any characters too. The characters that were out were very rare too! Goofy in golfing gear, Darkwing Dark and Launchpad McQuack to name a few!

Cons HUMIDITY! (I know this was beyond anyone’s control), no Mary Poppins photo op at Grand Floridian like past years!

Personal HighlightsRunning down Main Street USA for the first time in a Disney race! (there were tears!), and also seeing my mom and husband twice in the Magic Kingdom for photos. Really took my time running in the humidity with a friend from our Facebook group (#wangnation) and we stopped at tons of photo stops!

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Walt Disney World Full Marathon-Sunday January 12, 2014
This course followed the same route as the half marathon for about the first 7 or 8 miles, then went down onto the Disney Speedway, on back roads to and through Animal Kingdom, down the highway to ESPN Wide World of Sports, back on the roads to Hollywood Studios, through the park, on the route to the Boardwalk Resort area, behind World Showcase, through Future World, and ending in the parking lot outside of the main gates.

Pros. Get to run through all four parks! Plentiful water and medical stops! Lots of characters in the parks. Fast and flat course. COOL FLORIDA BREEZE! (thank you weather God!).

Cons. Not much to see on the long stretches of roads between parks

Personal Highlights. Castle lights were lit up today and it was gorgeous in the dark morning! Getting a photo with Buzz Lightyear dressed as Buzz Lightyear! (Had to do this for Dad!), Running through Hollywood Studios right when the park was about to open to public was energizing, as were the crowds of people cheering near the Boardwalk resorts and in EPCOT. Ran a marathon personal best of 3:50:52, even after eating like junk, getting no sleep, and running three races the three days prior!

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The Dopey Challenge was an experience of a lifetime! I am so grateful I was able to take part! This years’ journey was about finding myself and running for Dad. But it is not going to stop now. Never! Stay tuned in the next couple days when I talk about what is next for me!

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More Than a Year’s Worth of Effort…It Is Here!

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The event I set as the goal of my running career so far is almost here-Dan, my mom, and I leave for the Dopey Challenge in less 40 hours! Dan and I have to get through one day of work tomorrow (January 6th) before we head up to Calgary to catch our red-eye flight to Toronto, where we will then catch a flight to Orlando. My mom leaves on Tuesday AM, and if all our flights are on time :::fingers crossed::: we arrive within one hour of each other!

At the start of this journey, I talked about how I was made for this race. I have had the picture below posted a couple times, and it’s currently both my cover photo on Facebook and background on Twitter:

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The year was 1988. I am almost four years old. I am sprinting up the driveway after running up the hill with my dad. I am sporting a Walt Disney World shirt, a gift from my Uncle Chuck & Auntie Debbie. I had not been to Walt Disney World yet. Little did I know, that after 1 trip in 1991, I would become an addict.

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Disney World became our family vacation destination. The three of us took six fantastic trips together as a family, the last being in Spring 2003.

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My dad suffered a fatal heart attack the following Spring, on April 25th, 2004. My life and my mom’s life were turned upside down. I turned my energy to running, and ran my first half marathon on May 1st, 2004. I haven’t stopped running road races since.

I needed to find a way, a suitable way, to honor my dad. It was time. I was finally able to handle the loss, and knew honoring him was my last step. Running and Disney….that had to be the combination. I set out on January 2013 ready to raise money for heart disease research…setting up fundraising accounts with American Heart Association and Heart & Stroke Foundation. I blogged about my running and races and Disney World and family memories. I signed up for more races in 2013 than I ever have done in my life—I ran 22 unique races over the course of this year! And most importantly, I signed up for the Dopey Challenge, which is to be held on January 9-12, 2014, during WDW Marathon Weekend.

I was meant for this race. My whole life. I never knew it until this past year. This week, when I step into the Walt Disney World Resort with my husband and my mom….I will be ready to run…more than ever….my dad will be with me too.

Je Me Souviens! To Infinity & Beyond!

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If you are interested in donating in memory of my father, Andrew A. Lammers, please click on the “Charities” tab at the top of the page, and follow the links to my personal fundraising pages with American Heart Association or Heart & Stroke Foundation. Every little bit helps and is appreciated more than you know!

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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Exciting Things in the Next 50 Days!

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So the school year is officially in full swing, and any teacher would agree with me that the days are crazy busy, and the nights just bring full-on exhaustion. I have been doing well with sticking to my training plans, and also staying busy during the week so I can go away on the weekends and run some ridiculous races!

This coming weekend on September 28th and 29th, I will be competing in the Spartan Beast and Sprint at Sun Peak Resort in British Columbia. Upon completion of the Beast on Saturday, which is a half marathon filled with obstacles on the ski hill, I will earn the coveted Trifecta Tribe Medal, as I will have completed one of each Spartan Race distances (Sprint, Super & Beast) in one calendar year, in one country. And since Erin and I will have driven all that way, we are doing the Sprint on Sunday!

During Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I will be participating in my first ever relay trail race, the Grizzly Ultra in Canmore, Alberta. The total race distance is 50km, but I am responsible for just Leg 1, which is 14 km. I stepped in as a late addition to a team due to someone dropping out. One of my Dopey Challenge Training Crew members on Facebook asked if I was interested in helping out! After checking out the website, I had to sign up!

And then in November, I have my first RunDisney event, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. It will be a quick three nights in Orlando, with Saturday night being the exciting night race of the half! We will end at EPCOT where an after party occurs until 4 am, with all the food and wine expo booths open, live entertainment, and select attractions open!

As a reminder, my fundraising efforts are still in full swing, and you can check out more by clicking the charities tab at the top of this page. I have raised $1,125 for the American Heart Association and $1,005 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation in Canada. All these funds are being raised in memory of my father, Andrew Lammers, who passed away from a heart attack at age 51 in 2004. If you are able to, please consider donating to heart disease research efforts in North America!

Keep checking back to this page over the next few months, as I will have more race recaps posted from not only the highlighted events above, but other small races I have planned. This will all lead up to my culminating event of a lifetime, the Dopey Challenge 2014 during the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend!

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!

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!

Race Recap & Fundraising Update-Calgary Half Marathon

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Today marked my sixth race out of eight weeks. Yes, I am sort of going crazy. But, this year is all about going big. All or nothing at all! I went into the Calgary Half Marathon riding high on my major personal best accomplishment in Red Deer last weekend (1:47:22) but this is the first time I have ever ran two marathons two weekends in a row-one week rest! I have now learned some of the limits of my own body!…but here is my experience (this will be short because frankly, I am about to fall asleep!…)

I first experienced RUN CALGARY in May 2009. I participated in the full marathon this year, and it was the worst race of my life.. I have yet to do a race reflection on this race, but lets just say my first experience racing in elevation proved to be trying to my stomach. I have always had this nervousness about trying to do a race in Calgary again. Last year even, when my husband and I did the Energizer Night Race in Calgary, my stomach hated me too. Third time had to be a charm, right?
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Package pickup was at Calgary Stampede grounds, the same location as the start and finish of the race. Well organized expo! Quick and easy package pickup, great shirts, good selection of vendors, and a great preview of the race medals! (I tried taking a photo of all five medals but since it was encased in glass, the 10km race medal got all funny looking. Sorry!

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Race morning my alarm went off at 5 am. I stayed at my friend’s place on the north end, so I was out of the house by 5:25, and made a quick stop at Tim Horton’s for my morning coffee. to the Tim’s on Centre Street down near the McKnight exit on Deerfoot….your coffee at 5:30 am should not taste like the burnt pot from the previous night at 9 pm! Day!. Anyway, made it down to Stampede grounds, parked, and killed some time. I anxiously walked around, toured the warmth of the grandstand where I found legit restrooms, and met up with my friend Krystal from marathon club.

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary started off the race at 7 am. The full and half began together, with the 10 km at 7:30, and the 5 km not until noon. I had my hopes set on beating my half time from the previous week, and for the first four miles this seemed possible. Running in an urban setting has its benefits—heavier crowds of people and groups cheering you on, a relatively flat and fast course, and lots to look at. Krystal and I stuck together for the first 7 miles or so, but it was back at mile 6 I started feeling both my quads start to tighten. This was the issue on mile 11 in Red Deer last week, but this week is happened much earlier. I tried to muster through, but by mile 8 I knew I couldn’t keep up with Krystal and for my own wellness I needed to slow down and not race this one as fast as I had hoped.

The last 5 km of the race was a steady decline and we ran through one of the best neighborhoods, as far as local support goes. Some crazy mid 20-early 30 year olds were all lined up blasting Gangham Style and dancing like nobodies business. It is in stretches like these that I feel no pain and I just go for it. I knew way back at mile 6 I probably wasn’t going to get close to my Red Deer time, and I then spent the next 7 miles telling myself it was OK. By the time I finished at 1:54:22 (exactly 7 minutes slower than last Sunday) I had come to terms with the fact I cannot simply PR every race I run. And I can honestly admit, I was happy. I had conquered Calgary, with little stomach pain…..just a little, but I will spare the details.

I managed to find my other friend Whitney, who ran Red Deer last week also. Her race experience this week was similar to mine time wise, and hers last week was also similar to mine. We both had felt the effects of doing a two-in-a-row. Myself, Whitney and Krystal did all manage to get a picture together before funneling through the masses and onto the freebies. It was an amazing race with excellent volunteers and event organizers, gorgeous day, beautiful course….basically the perfect race!

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I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tired.. I kind of want to just go to bed right now (it is 8:15 pm and sleep till Saturday. This is what I felt like at mile 8 of my half marathon during the 49th Calgary Marathon Weekend. I mustered on through, but for once in my running life, I listened to my body and played it safe, as I knew the wear I have been putting myself through during this journey has been harder than ever before. While I am slightly disappointed in my time, I am more happy than I would have normally been if it had been any other year.

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FUNDRAISING UPDATE! If this your first time reading my we page, welcome!You will want to read the PURPOSE link at the top of my page to better understand why the hell I am doing a web page. You will also want to look at the CHARITIES tab to find out more about the two heart disease research organizations I am fundraising for (American Heart Association and Heart & Stroke Foundation. CANADA has now taken the lead over the USA in fundraising! We have now raised $655 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation in Canada, just edging out the $635 for the American Heart Association! My close friends and family know that I am a born and raised Wisconsinite, and lived there for 24 years until moving north to Alberta, Canada. This is part if the reason why I decided to issue this friendly competition as I fundraise and run in memory of my father, Andrew A. Lammers! He was the reverse, however, being born in Quebec, Canada, and then living most of his life in Wisconsin! Thanks to all the generous donations from my family, friends and co-workers!

I May Be a Runner, but Maybe I Always Have Been a Fish Out of Water?…

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I am the first to admit—I am not a swimmer. Not even close. I can swim to save my life, but if I swim a length of a pool now, I feel like an athletic pile of crap. So triathlons are sadly not in my near future. But growing up, I was often oddly enough around water. The very first trip my family ever went on was to Perdido Key, Florida, in the Gulf Coast. I was a beach baby at a young age! (my mom also thinks my ridiculous accent comes from the fact that I learned to speak when we would be down in Alabama during this time at Grandpa and Grandma Lammers’ house. I have the weirdest Milwaukee accent ever—must have a bit of ‘Bama twang in it!)

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If there was a hotel pool on our family getaways, my dad and I loved to dork around in it. We never swam, per say (he would do some laps), but he would throw me in the air, let me ride on his back like he was a dolphin, and we would play games where I would dive for various random found objects at the bottom of the pool. My enjoyment of “pool-foolery” also may have stemmed from the fact that Wisconsin happens to have this gem we call Wisconsin Dells. This ridiculous tourist stop two hours from Milwaukee has every tourist junket you could possibly imagine, but has boasted having America’s Largest Waterpark, Noah’s Ark. Any real Wisconsin family has spent numerous weekend getaways up in the Dells, playing mini golf, going go-karting, buying crappy souvenirs, and going to the water parks.

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When our family started going to Disney World in 1991, having a hotel with a proper pool was a necessity. My mom often says in the early years of our Disney vacations she would often get ticked off at my dad and I because we would want to leave the parks rather early in the morning and go back to the pool. My mom is even less than a swimmer than me…she just sits on a chair poolside or floats in a tube! At our first WDW resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, we had what I thought to be (at the time) one of the coolest water areas ever!

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The next two trips to WDW brought us to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. This resort is now formally referred to as the French Quarter section of Port Orleans. It was brand new in 1993 when we first stayed here, and I loved the Mardi Gras theme of the pool!

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In our early WDW trips, we also would frequent the Disney Waterparks. These were not like Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells at all! The theming was impeccable and the slides were a bit more tame—-my dad could enjoy most of them with me! (He was a thrill seeker wuss). We use to go to only Typhoon Lagoon, but once Blizzard Brach was built, we would visit both.

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Our last family WDW trips brought us to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Resort. We first fell in love with this resort because of the pool area, Stormalong Bay. In 1995, we had gone to Beach Club for a character breakfast—-when my dad saw the “pool” he immediately knew we had to stay here. Use this term pool loosely, as Stormalong Bay is over an acre of winding waterways, complete with a sand bottom!

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This resort had the perfect pool combination for our family, because as I got older, the playing in the water started to slow. I became the poolside lounger like my mom, and we opted to stay in the parks longer than come back for pool time. We came back for pool time more so because my dad still longed for it. I now rarely play in the water like I use to, and when I am at a pool, I am usually in a lounge chair with a margarita. But, whenever I see a waterfall at a resort pool, I think of my dad, and I remember all the years I spent being a non-swimmer with him on vacation.

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Race Recap-Rattler Run 10km…Medicine Hat, Macklemore and my Personal Best

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On Saturday, April 27th, I made the two hour trek out to Medicine Hat, Alberta. The Hat is in the southeast corner of the province and is the sixth largest city in Alberta. I registered for this race only two weeks ago, shortly after running the Lethbridge 10 Mile Road Race. After determining my very pregnant friend Nicole would be around to meet up for lunch afterwards, I decided to register and make the drive.

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The Rattler Run is an annual race organized by Medicine Hat College. They have a “I Run 4 Me” campaign that encourages healthy, active lifestyles for everyone, and encourages people to get out there and be active no matter their skill level. They offer a 3km, 5km and 10km race. This year they capped the races at 1000 participants, and they reached their limit in runners just before race day. The 5 km was the most popular race, the 3 km had the most children (lots of kids from a local soccer club) but I chose to do the 10 km.

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One major selling point when registering for this race was the 11 am start time. It allowed me to get up at 7, have my coffee and oatmeal, and head out of Lethbridge by 8. The packet pick up in the college foyer was easy and quick, but I was surprised to see my age grouping—26-35 year olds! Usually racing categories go 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, and so on. Maybe even every 5 years if its an enormous race! At 28, I was immediately intimidated by the potential of being with some experienced 30-something’s! I tried to not think about it while I got ready. I. wandered outside into the ridiculous wind to check out the start area (wind speeds were between 45-55 mph today) to realize one problem-country music! Ok, I get it, a lot of people love country music. And when you live in the ‘Texas of Canada’, country music is very prevalent. Since one of the major sponsors was the local country music station, I had to do something drastic……

….One of my first posts in here was about how I don’t listen to music when running. Part of the issue is I don’t want to carry my phone. But, a few weeks ago I bought a hydration belt to wear, and the back pocket actually fits my iPhone 5 perfectly. So I decided to mess with normalcy and attempt to listen to music. I actually tried making a playlist that I was going to attempt to use while running. I realized, though, if it got to the end of the playlist it would not restart back to the beginning. And I didn’t want to putz with it when running. So, since my song of the moment is “Can’t Hold Us” By Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, I did what any sane person would do—I put that song on repeat.

If you don’t know that song or think I am totally damn ass crazy, take 4:18 of your life and listen to it.
Can’t Hold Us-Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
For this tempo of a run and for the purpose of zoning you out and pumping you up, this song does it. I don’t know what genre of music i listen to most, but this style isn’t one I would normally be obsessed with. Maybe it is because Dan and I saw Macklemore on SNL a few months ago and I just thought he was so fun. Maybe it was because I still have a soft spot for him because we first heard his song “Thrift Shop” inappropriately on Christmas Eve when my brother in law was playing it in the van while his kids were sleeping. Either way, I would like to thank you Macklemore, for your unique styling, as I think you caused me to run my personal best 10 km. You should feel honored.

Back to the race…184 racers in the 10 km. I positioned myself at the front ready to rock. The wind was going to be a major mental issue and physical problem, so I needed to start strong. I also was not familiar with the paths we were going on, but the volunteers I talked to assured me we had it better than the 5 km, hill wise at least. I busted out of the gate and ran my first mile in around 7:05. I knew this could pose issues, but was hoping to stay under 8:00 for the first 3 miles. The wind in mile 2 hit me, and everyone else, hard. My legs were working so hard but felt like they weren’t going anywhere. The little hills everywhere weren’t even the issue—use to those in Lethbridge—but between the crazy wind and the unseasonably warm 70s weather, it was going to be a fight.

As I was taking in the surroundings and the other runners near me, I got my mind thinking about where I was placed age-group wise. It really hard to distinguish anyone’s age over 20 when you are racing. By over-judging the ladies’ ages, I figured I was at least in top 3 for my age group. That kept me pushing, as I really wanted a medal-I love the bling! The course was out and back, so reaching that halfway point was another good push, and as the trail system we were on allowed you to be able to view other portions of the course in the coulees, you could see the end in sight (even if it was three miles away).

The air was even drier than Lethbridge and thankfully I did have my Gatorade on my belt, because I needed it about three times. The last mile I really started to push, as we had to run over the highway overpass, and once you got to the top of it, it was all downhill. It actually wasn’t a true out and back, because after getting down the overpass, you went straight towards the entrance of the college, not to the back way like the start. Knowing how little of a distance I had left to go made me kick in everything I had left. I finished with chapped lips, a dry cough, extremely exhausted, and with Macklemore singing still…but I made my personal record! I listened to Macklemore for 48 minutes 38 seconds! I demolished my old 10km of 50:05! I was so excited because that was my major goal of this race.

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Awards were at 12:30 pm in the gym and I was amazed to find out I placed 1st in my age group! There were 27 participants in the 26-35 group, so not too many but still a decent number. The girl I beat out for 1st place was only about 20 seconds behind me. She told me during awards she was really trying to chase me down at the end but just couldn’t. For about two miles in the middle of the race, she had passed me and was ahead, so me being able to push by her then was the key moment.

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I am really starting to think that this whole process I am going through this year with my training is allowing me to get times I never have been able to before. Between this website, the fundraising, the self-reflection, the extra races, and the motivation of honoring my dad, I am really starting to think I can keep surprising myself this year. I have this indescribable driving force when I race now—something I haven’t had in quite some time. I hope this power stays with me all year, as the next month is going to be a rough one. I have this next weekend off, but then I have three weekends in a row of races. The Spartan Sprint is first, then two half marathons; one in Red Deer and one in Calgary. The Spartan race is for challenging myself and for having fun. I have never done an obstacle course run! I do hope to make a best time at one of the two half marathons.

Please show your support for my running in memory of my father Andrew Lammers by donating to one of the two charities found at the link at the top of the page. Both support heart disease research in North America, as the first is American Heart Association and the second is Heart & Stroke Foundation. I am hoping to raise $1000 for each before the Dopey Challenge in 2014—but I really think I can shoot for $1500 each! Take the time to read my “Purpose” up above also, and feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Andrea