Tag Archives: Photos

The Best Medicine….

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News Flash—-I have been ridiculously busy since the start of this school year. Yeah, I realize most people in the work force are, but this school year has really been a busy one. Our school day runs 8-3 each day, however, I am usually there by 7:40 AM, and have been staying until 6:00 PM or later each night. Planning for my new classes and staying ahead has been a priority. As for running. I have been able to do three runs a week after school with the Cross Country kids, but other than that, I haven’t been doing anywhere near what I was doing last year. My long runs tend to now just be when I have an event (Lethbridge Police Half, Bare Bones Half) and I am not really sure I am liking this. While the rest on my body is much needed, the consistency I was used to and valued the last year and a half is not there currently.

Yesterday, we had parent teacher interviews from 6:00-9:00 PM. This was after a morning of teaching, and an afternoon of professional development. A few of us went to dinner beforehand, and a friend of ours (who is not teaching this year) met us. We made a comment on how tan she looked. She hadn’t been tanning, but made a comment on how she has been going on walks mid day while the sun is out. What a rare concept for us locked in a building all day-outside…..fresh air…the sun! Today, during round 2 of Parent Teacher Interviews, a colleague came and sat down by me to ask how my running has been going. I lamented on how I am not going “as crazy” as last year but have some good events coming up, and that cross country with the kiddos was awesome. We chatted about my upcoming half marathon back in Milwaukee and my Spartan Races in January. I even mentioned how I am contemplating some crazy winter races in February. My best friend Ali, who is now a glorified runner in her own right, sent me a text from the Rock n Roll 5km expo in Los Angeles—she found a head band to buy me and wanted to share it. And later today when I went to the wine & scotch tasting at Andrew Hilton, Max (the owner) randomly started talking to me about my running, asking me what distance it is I usually compete in. He had been well aware of my RunDisney events, but he wanted to know more about what I do in the local area.

All this talk of running made me feel guilty of not having a plan at the moment, calendar wise. All during my RunDisney, Calgary and Edmonton training, I had a meticulous calendar with my runs planned out, whether they were long or short, speed work or easy. I have been sort of half-ass been going forward through the motions. I have been so worn out from work that after my short runs with the cross country kids, all I want to do when I get home is shower and collapse on the couch. That was my plan for today too, as I was beat from the full day of work and interviews all night and morning. However, I decided that perhaps the best medicine for this case of the blues was to just go out there and do what everyone knows I do-Run.

I changed into my running gear, threw on my Fitletic belt, and went out with the mindset of running more than 4 miles. I knew I needed to go someplace different, to get me motivated. I decided to run out of our neighborhood over to Whoop-Up Drive, where I took a paved walking path to Bull Park Trail. I have been on this red shale path before, but not in the recent future. I did my first mile in a powerful 8:20, flying with the wind pushing my forward. I headed onto the shale path with the plan to head down to the river bottom and come back up. However, when I made it to the bottom, I decided to go off the beaten path.

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I was adjacent to the Oldman River, but on the opposite side of where I usually would run. Fort Whoop-Up and the paved trails were East, while all I had in front of my was a grey shale path. I followed this path for some time until I got to a fork in the road—stairs up, or a foot path towards the bridge.

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I decided to go for the foot path. And it rejuvenated me. If I had been walking this path I would have been having a mild case of vertigo, as this was narrow and dropped off to the river. But, I was feeling alive, running in the cool 50 Fahrenheit wind, with the fall leaves crunching at my feet. For a bit of time while on this path, I felt like a crazy-ass Ultra runner…one of the 50km participants in the yearly Lost Soul Ultra. And I was loving it. I was snapping photos every chance I could with my phone—the scenery was uplifting.

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I stopped right next to Lethbridge’s icon-The High Level Bridge. I have taken photos of the bridge before, but not from this spot. I didn’t even remember to stop my watch as I snapped photos and took in my surroundings. This was what I needed.

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At this point I was already over 4 miles into my run. I needed to turn back. Instead of doing the same route back, I opted to run through the tunnel under Whoop Up drive to the path that heads up to the University. I ran up to the university, weaved through the parking lot, and headed through Nicolas Sheran Park. By the time I reached home, I had clocked in 7.3 miles.

I hadn’t planned on running 7 miles today. All I had planned was to shower and collapse on the couch. But, I opted to head out there and muscle through to see what was possible. This run woke me up, made me realize I was in fact alive. While I have been running the past 11 years, and while I have been going crazy with races and training the last year and a half, this simple solo run was an morale and confidence booster that I very much needed. It reminded me why I love to run.

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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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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.

Disney Photo-Ops…It’s Tradition!

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There is always something new at WDW no matter how many times you go. It may be a ride, event, show, merchandise, restaurant or hotel. But there are always things you have to do each trip. This may be eat at a certain restaurant, see a certain show, go to a specific park first when arriving. It may also be taking the same photo as you do every year. In the same pose. In the same spot. With the same people.

Photo-op traditions have become more significant to me as the number of Disney trips I have gone in has increased. Family trips to Disney World with my mom and dad total 6, however, my overall total is much more. I went to Walt Disney World 3 times in high school with the Franklin High School Pom Pon Squad as part of the Badgerette All-Star Talent Tour. My mom and I have gone together 3 times since my dad passed away. And my friend Maureen and I have gone twice together. And this year I am getting an annual pass, since Maureen and I are going for a crazy 16 days in August of this year…my mom, husband, and I are going for the marathon weekend in January…and my mom and I will also go next July for a week. So yes, the current visits total 14 times, but after this year I will have been to my favorite place on Earth 17 times. Insanity!

Photo ops with my parents didn’t get that crazy until in later years when I started to feel nostalgic. I started making my mom take photos of me in the same pose as older photos probably in Spring 2003. That was the year I was in Photography class in High School and we could do whatever final project we wanted. I did a family trip to Walt Disney World scrapbook, where I used black and white film and captured moments from our final family trip to WDW. I put them in an old-timely scrapbook, wrote our captions, and decorated it appropriately. It was at the end of this album that I did a few “flashback photos.Below is one example I did, where you have a photo of me in October 1991 on our first trip, on the carousel, and a second photo of me in 2003, attempting to strike the same pose.

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Cute, right!?!? So now I make a point of doing photo-ops like these on trips I go on now. I love the nostalgic feeling and it reminds me of the great times we had on initial trips as a family. Another photo-op most people who visit WDW take part in is a photo with the wooden stockades as you enter Frontierland. I have a photo from every trip in this said stockade. And it all started with this solo photo in 1991:

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Please take note of my style and height. I am 7 years old and rockin’ a lavender and white tank top and corduroy short set. My fanny pack is gigantic, so I can fit my disposable camera and autograph book comfortably. I look to be in much pain, as I can barely reach the head hole. Go forward two years later, and it was a little better:

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October 1993. Again, matching tank tops and shorts must have been a thing, or at least it was for me. I upgraded my fanny pack to a gigantic pink one. Who the hell knows why? The only extra thing in there had to be my EPCOT “passport” that got stamped in every country. I didn’t do a good job of keeping it in there, though, as I left it in the United Kingdom bathroom. It did get recovered, thou. Phew! After 1993, it seemed like a good idea to add something to these annual trip photos. My dad:

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I am still a “style icon” with more patterned shorts and a coordinated tank top. However, the fanny pack has been ditched, since it is not cool anymore (Was it ever cool?). And I now do reach the stockade openings with no effort. But the addition of my dad in 1995 was glorious. He had his triple bypass surgery in June 1995, so this was a big trip for us three. In photos other than this one, you notice how thin he is, compared to his built-bulky-strong self we were use to. He never could fit his arms through those tiny openings, but he enjoyed posing with me anyway. May 1997 was the same old news

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Um, please…why didn’t someone tell me that my middle part in my hair was bad, that my ‘short-alls’ were ugly, and that I was a soccer player so I shouldn’t be wearing those Adidas shoes?. My dad was wearing his usual WDW garb-a muscle shirt, athletic shorts, sandals, and no sunscreen. Could it get any better?….

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Well, in June 2000 we messed up our positions, with me on the other side. But now I am back to what I was so good at back in the day-wearing patterned shorts and a matching tank top. Blue Hawaiian floral was so hot in the millennium…and I had a navy tank top to match. My dad coordinated with me well too, going for the American look of a red muscle shirt and navy blue shorts. Little did we realize his shirt coordinated so well with my unnecessarily massive red purse. Why do I always carry gigantic bags in WDW? In the heat nonetheless? I have to work on that.

So then there was one more family trip left. Spring break 2003. Little did we know this would be the last opportunity for a Dad-Daughter stockade photo. Even at 18 years old, I had to get this done. It was a tradition!:

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This one isn’t a total fashion disaster. Actually, we look pretty put together if I do say so myself. I now have jean shorts on and a crazy top, and dad has on his go-to athletic wear. I am hiding my gigantic purse somewhere, and we don’t look like idiots. We are happy to be in the stockade together.

Ever since this last trip I still always get a stockade photo taken, either by my mom or by Maureen. It has to be done! And this year maybe I can get Dan to start taking them with me, when we go down for the marathon. There are so many other photo-ops and traditions that occur on my WDW trips now, but this one is a personal favorite.

Below are three newer stockade photos, from August 2008, Spring Break 2010 (both trips with Maureen) and from August 2010 (with my mom). My mom has the photos from May 2004 and Spring Break 2006 at home, so I will need her to scan those for me…..hint hint Mom!

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and for one last final thought…lets take this full circle….Spring Break 2010…almost 20 years after the first carousel picture…

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