Monday, 27 January 2014

My Olympic dream

I work with some of the brightest political minds in Canada and some of the best writers, sadly I am neither.  I am a proud Canadian, I am proud of my country and what it stands for.  I am proud that we treat people equally or at least try to.  We should not be judged by the colour of our skin, our economic position, our education level or who we love.  That last one is important to me, I have a great husband and so do many of my friends, we have wives and husbands, we are gay and straight, we love and we are loved and we are accepted.  I am outraged by the Russian governments stand on Gay rights and I am disappointed that Canadians do not seem to be.  Maybe I am wrong, that we are outraged but we are too Canadian to say too much.  We are polite, we don’t rock the boat, we are peacekeepers, or are we?    Canada has a strong history of standing up for other rights, and our own.

For the last seven years Russia has become more homophobic while the rest of the world has working at becoming less. Gay marriage acceptance is increasing, gay adoptions are more common and most countries consider violence against a gay person to be a hate crime. We were the 4th country in the world to legal same sex marriages in 2005 and have enshrined equal rights for all in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   While I agree with the governments position that a boycott is not an option, I do not think backroom discussions are the best way either. 

So this is me, doing something.  During the Olympics, February 7-23, I will replace my profile photo with this image and I encourage you to do the same. 

I will also be wearing a rainbow ribbon every day to show my support for the LGBT community and my outrage over the Russian anti-gay laws.  If we can get every Canadian to do this, maybe just maybe we will send a strong united message. 

While the International Olympic Committee has said athletes cannot comment about the anit-gay laws while on accredited areas, they are free to do so elsewhere.  I encourage our athletes to wear a rainbow ribbon where it is safe to do so to show their feelings about this anti-gay policy.  I would love to see the Canadian contingent walk into the Olympic stadium all wearing a rainbow ribbon next to the Maple Leaf on their jacket but I know that will not happen…but I can dream. 

If you feel the same, please consider changing your profile picture during the Olympics, it’s a small step but something we can do together.  

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Goofy Race Recap Part 2

Sorry for the delay, I got behind due to work and a bout of the flu but I think we were at marathon day. 

So I kind of put the marathon part of the Goofy fun in a back corner of my mind but here it was, big and scary and standing between me and my medal.  Luckily for us, a storm blew through Saturday night making ind cold (OK cool) when we headed out at 3:30am.  We got to the meeting point at 4am and waited for Lori and Barbara to arrive.  We waited and waited and my running mates did not arrive.  Finally we got a text from Barbara explaining they were stuck in traffic and they finally arrived around 5am.  We quickly headed for the start line, at least we did not have as long to wait. 
Ready to run

 We finally headed out and the first part of the course was a repeat of the half marathon course, it felt like groundhog day but it was nice to be running on familiar ground.  We each picked a character we were stopping for photos with on the run, mine was Tigger, Barbara's was Toy Story and Lori's was Monster University, we found 2 out of the 3 in the Magic Kingdom.  After the Magic Kingdom we headed to new parks, first up the Animal Kingdom.  On our way there we ran past a sewer treatment plant, not the nicest place to breath deeply.  Just after that we hit a water and banana stop.  Barbara went right, Lori and I went left and that was the last we saw of Barbara.  
We stuck around looking for her but we could not find her. Unsure what to do we decided to see if she ran ahead, all the while I was worrying.  I had promised I would run this with her and I did not want to let her down.  We ran through the Animal Kingdom and still no Barbara. We stopped for a few minutes to see if she would run by and still no Barbara.  My muscles were starting to cramp so we headed off to run our own race, one Minnie short and my brain in turmoil. Big thanks to Lori for putting up with me at this point, it went above the call of duty. We started to run on a highway and saw runners running the other way and thought maybe we would see her this way.  We did not but at least it kept my mind off the boring flat run.  Just as we turned the corner to run into the ESPN Sports Zone we ran up to Barbara.  She thought we were ahead of her and was running to catch up, she also took a few photo stops along the way.  The Minnie's were reunited and it felt so good to quote Peaches and Herb.  

I have to say, running through the ESPN zone was my least favorite part of the marathon course, it did nothing for me, it was crowded and it was starting to get hot.  Eventually we headed back out onto the highway, there was a lot of highway running, way more then parks but at least it was flat. It was fun to watch the other runners and their costumes, we saw Santa Claus running a marathon, I swear he looked just like Santa....fine don't believe me then.  We saw tons of Minnie's, lots of Mickey's and a few pirates and fairies. We came across a runner who was doing the Dopey and flying home to Ohio that night, right after the marathon.  We already though she was awesome and when she told us she had finished Chemo in March and signed up for the Dopey in part to say FU to her skin cancer.   Even though at this point we were tired and getting grumpy, she lifted our spirits and we kept on running.  

A funny thing happens in the last few miles of the marathon, you lose all reason and intelligent though is just not possible, at this point we just kept running, there was very little talking.  Finally we entered  Hollywood Studios and from the Wine and Dine in 2012, I knew the end was nearish.  We passed a chocolate and candy station, which I avoided, but we did make a quick pit stop so we would feel better for the final run.   By this time the parks were open so there were lots of people to cheer us on, it makes such a difference.  Epcot was the final destination and it was in sight.  We did not see any of the Monster University characters for Lori but we found something better, we found Dopey.  Of course a photo was necessary. 
Barbara and I promising Dopey we would be back to run his challenge too
We crossed the bridge into Epcot and the end was a few KM's away.  All I could think about was running, one foot in from of the other...don't stop because you wont be able to start again...suck it up buttercup...and all the other motivational quotes I know, anything to keep my mind busy and my feet moving. Finally we turned the last corner, the end was in sight and the finish line in front of me. Only one thing stood between me and the finish line... GOOFY!!!  So of course I stopped for a photo.  Coach, I promise not to do this at any other race, cross my heart. 

We crossed the finish line, hand in hand again, tears of joy mixing with the sweat and huge smiles on our faces.  We had done it, Lori had run 78.3km over 4 days and Barbara had run 68.3km over 3 days and I had run 63.3 over 2 days.  We hit the medical area and then collected our medals, 2 for Barbara and I, 3 for Lori. 

I wanted to see if Neale finished his run so we headed out to the meeting point to see.  There he was, grinning wearing his 2 medals and with our friend Susan who had run her first marathon.  I was so happy he finished, that they both finished together as planned.  Barbara had to head off to meet her family for lunch and Lori and Darryl had to meet family as well so we quickly headed for the bus back to the hotel for a shower and food.  I knew I need to walk around so we took the bus to Downtown Disney and met up with another Orleans runner Trevor.  

We eventually ended up on the patio of an Irish pub, eating and drinking, sharing stories and enjoying the sun and heat, it was the perfect way to end the day.  By 7:30, we were ready for bed and called it a day, what a great day it was.  Monday we went to the Animal Kingdom with Barbara and her family.
I had a chance to try Expedition Everest, twice and Dinosaur once.  We really enjoyed the African Safari and the wild animals there, it will have to do until I get to the real thing ( hello bucket list).

A few final thoughts on the marathon....for my second marathon it went well.  

-  I still got tired during the last 10k but I am not sure if that was a time issue or a training issue, something to work on I guess.  If anyone had told me I would be running for over 9 hour over 2 days, I would have said they were nuts, but I did it and enjoyed it.  

-  Running in Disney is crowded, we knew we would stop for photos and we did, we knew it would be crowded and it was and we knew it would be fun and it was...all in all it was a great experience. 

-  I had a great time running both days with Lori and Barbara, running buddies don't get any better then this.  I tried to say this to them during the run but Barbara told me to stop, I would make her cry and she needed the water and salt for the run.  So Barbara and Lori, I am saying it now, I could not have done all the training or the race without both of you wonderful ladies, you make running such a blessing and your friendship is the greatest gift.  

- Finally, this event capped off an amazing year for me.  I did things in 2013 I never thought I could, I grew as an athlete and a person and I surprised myself by what I accomplished.  I am so freaking proud of myself, I did it, I did things I never though possible and I survived.  The sign I saw on the run spoke to me, and it sums up my year. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Goofy race recap Part 1

Well I am back and to jump to the end...I DID IT!!!!!!  Since this is a 2 day race, I will do a 2 part race recap, so settle back for the start of the story.

So most of Canada was stuck in a polar vortex last week and flights were being cancelled everyday, we began to wonder if we would actually make it to Orlando.  Most of our friends suffered through delayed or cancelled flights but by the time we headed out Thursday afternoon it was smooth sailing...or rather flying. We arrived in Orlando on time and hopped on the Magical Express to out hotel, Caribbean Beach Resort.  It was nice to be in the heat again and Disney made the experience so easy.  Friday was kit pickup day and the Expo.  I love runDisney events, they are so well organized and there is no lineups and we had our bibs and t-shirts in less then 5 mins.  A quick stop for photos and we were off to the Expo.

Neale and I with flat Goofy
Runners shopping heaven
I did a bit of shopping and then we met up with my Mom for you guessed it...more shopping.  A trip to the Premiere Outlet Mall was a nice way to spend the day.  We headed back to the hotel early to get ready for the Half Marathon.  We needed to get up real early, middle of the night early...who thought this was a good idea. I got dressed and met Lori and Barbara for the run.  Lori was running the Dopey and Barbara the Goofy with me.  
0 dark stupid- a Goofy time to get up
Barbara, Lori and I ready to run
We ran as fairies for our half marathon, so many people ran in costume, we fit right in. It was hot and humid, you could see the humidity in the air as the sun rose.  We lost Barbara at the first photo op, foreshadowing maybe but we quickly re-grouped and ran into the Magic Kingdom. It was fun to run under Cinderella's castle and through the park.  Did I mention it was humid, it was like running in a sauna.  

Neale and I in front of Cinderella's castle
We had a great time running, it was really crowded in places and slow going but it was fun.  I enjoy people watching during races and there were lots of fun costumes to look at.  I had a great time running with Lori and Barbara, even after all the km we have run together, we never run out of things to say.   Finally we made it back to Epcot and the finish line was close.
Near the finish line at Epcot
 Lori, Barbara and I crossed the finish line together, hand in hand.  We were not doing this race for time but for fun and I had a blast. We took it slow and easy since we had to run a marathon the next day.  I felt great after the race, hot and sweaty but great.  
We finished!
We gathered out bling, our Goofy bracelet and our snacks and headed out to find Neale and Lori's husband Darryl.  Poor Neale was hurting after his run, he was not sure if he would be able to run the next day.  
Neale icing his Achilles
Lori and Darryl- 3 out of 4 races complete
We headed back to the hotel to rest and relax so we would be ready for the marathon the next day.  The weather channel said it would be cooler and I hoped it would be since running a marathon in that humidity would be awful.  Another early dreams filled with thoughts of Minnie, Mickey and Goofy. 

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Feeling a Little Goofy

So on New Years Eve I ran my final race of the year, a 10K in the cold.  This is the third year in a row we did this run, it is one of our favorites.  It was cold, really cold but I dressed appropriately and was nice and warm. I had the kilt from the Perth Kilt Run and since we have to miss that race again this year, I thought I would use it as an extra layer and have another chance to wear it.  The 5K and 10K runners started together so it was a bit crowded at the start but once the 5K runners turned around we were able to increase our speed.  I had hope to run this race under 60 mins but that did not happen, I did it in 62 mins which was a new PB for me at that distance and leaves me something to work for next year, to break 60 mins.

Thursday we leave for Orlando, weather permitting to run the Goofy Challenge.  When we registered for the race in March, I had never run a marathon and had only run 2 half marathons.  I thought maybe I could run half of each, run 5 mins, walk 5 mins and still finish before the time deadlines.  Well I now know I can run both if I want and I did the training.  I am running with 2 friends and we are planning on taking lots of breaks for photos and fun along the way.  Last year my second half marathon was the Disney Wine and Dine and I had a blast.  I have to say I am quite relaxed about this race, I am focusing on the fun part and less on the distance part.  I respect the distance, it is a long way but I know it will be better with friends along the way. 

Another friend is running her first marathon at Disney.  Susan has run lots of half marathons but this is her first marathon.  She was worried that she would not be able to finish, like we all are, and came up with a brilliant idea.  She asked her friends to sponsor her and make a donation to the charity of their choice if she finished her marathon.  Well everyone stepped up and she has raised almost $6300 so far and more is coming in daily.  We all struggle leading up to our first marathon, can I do it, have I trained enough, the what ifs are long and mess with our minds.  Susan has turned her worries into a positive and she will finish her marathon, she would have finished it before but now she has so much more to keep her going when things get tough. Neale is going to run with Susan which is fitting, Susan was one of Neale's sensei's when he was training in karate.  Now it is his turn to give back to her, the experienced marathoner, this is his 7th, helping another entered the marathon club.  I can't wait to see her at the finish line...and Neale.  Last year was the first year he has not completed a marathon since he started running, his injuries meant he lost 6 months of training.  This marathon will be extra special for him, it marks his comeback and I can't wait to do this challenge with him.  

I am planning on taking lots of photos and I will have a full race report next week...and hopefully a whole lot of new bling.
Goofy Challenge medals