Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bucket List - 40 Before 40

Several years ago, I wrote a short, "Bucket List".  Some of the items on it were goal and some were experiences I would  like to have.  I had a major health scare this summer, and I returned to my list to see what I'd checked off and expand on it. 

1. Run a Half Marathon   February 2015 Princess Half Marathon
2. Run a 10k February 2015 Enchanted 10k
3. Complete a runDisney challenge  February 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge
4. Visit Walt Disney World with my family  February 2015
5. Take a weekend get-away with my husband once a year  March 2014 & April 2015 Banff ,AB
6. Continue my education - I would like to complete my University degree using distance education  **I am working towards this goal and have completed one glass
7. Run a marathon
8. Run a race in Toronto's Scotiabank Waterfront race weekend
9. Take my sons to visit Dr. Greg Ryan with a donation for Mount Sinai's high-risk pregnancy program (the Doctor who performed the surgery that saved my sons life)
10. Attend a Toronto Blue Jays MLB game
11. Visit Prince Edward Island and Green Gables
12. Earn my runDisney Coast to Coast medal
13. Volunteer with a nation wide charity
14. Write more on my blog/continue to make online connections
15. Create and chair an event in my community to raise funds for a non-profit organization
16. Run a raise for a charity  February 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge for Chilren's Miracle Network
17. Visit Nashville
18. Host/create a 5k race in my community
19. Get a dog for my children
20. Visit the west coast of Canada (Vancouver or Victoria)
21. Travel to Hawaii (preferably Aulani :))
22. Visit the mountains  Banff, AB
23. Try skiing again
24. Take a family vacation in the summer - This is sort-of done because we did take a bit of a vacation this summer, but I'm not going to count it
25. Spend a day at a spa
26. Design/build a deck for my backyard
27. Connect with other bloggers from my province/surrounding provinces
28. Attend a blogging conference in Canada
29. Explore the idea of pubic speaking
30. Work on self-development
31. Show appreciation for friends and family around me each day
32. Coach my children's ball team/begin a ball team in my community Started a team and coached 2014 & 2015
33. Write a letter to each of my children to give them when they turn 18
34. Visit New York City
35. Run a race in New York City
36. Run a 5k with my daughter  CIBC Run for the Cure October 2014
37. Run a Disney 5k with my daughter
38. Run a Disney 5k with my husband and all three children
39. Run a Disney 5k with my husband while on a "adult-only" trip

I know I may not probably won't do all this things before I turn 40, but I would like to try.  I am 34 now, and have already crossed many items off the list (because I wrote it a few years ago).  I may not get all the items completed, but if I set a goal to do so, I will certainly come closer than otherwise.  For some reason, I can't come up with #40....I suppose that means it will stay blank until I find something else I would really like to see/do.  The other reason I would like to attempt to this all before 40; because we never really know how long we have.  I don't want to take my list of things I would like to see and constantly put them off.  My health scare taught me that we never know what will happen and we need to live for each day.  

Question of the Day: Do you have a bucket list?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness

In August I spent 10 days at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatchewan.  It felt like a really long time.  While there, I was so appreciate of the amazing, professional staff who helped treat me.  I switched rooms three times and was placed on two different wards and don't have a negative thing to say about anyone who cared for me.  But, that being said, there was one nurse who went above and beyond duty.  She was kind, compassionate, and advocated for me.  She made me laugh at the times when I needed it the most and did everything in her power to make my stay more comfortable.  When the Doctors hadn't stopped to see me with results from a test, she would call them.  She offered me support and comforting words at the most critical times.  I was truly grateful for her presence but wasn't sure how to properly say thank you. 

Yesterday, I was back at RUH to do tests and meet a lung specialist.  I had several hours of waiting and decided to do some Random Acts of Kindness, one in honour of each of my children.  I picked up three $10 gift cards to Starbucks (which is on the main level of the hospital).  I immediately remembered Dominique, and how amazing she was to me, so decided to deliver one gift card up to the Oncology ward where she worked.  I wrote on the other two cards and tried to decide how to give them out. 

Oddly, I was feeling a little shy and didn't want to walk up and hand them to people.  I am not sure why, but just didn't have it in me.  Instead, I stuck them in two random spots on the main "mall" area of the hospital where someone would be guaranteed to see them.  I hope they found their way to someone who was having a bad day and brightened it up even a little.  After spending time in the hospital, I found that it was very stressful and sometimes the smallest things comforted me.   

There's my most recent Random Act of Kindness.  I hope they brighten someone's day and in turn, I hope they pay it forward.  Happy Tuesday!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I am Strong

Today, I need a reminder that I am strong.  I am facing major surgery and am scared.  In fact, scared doesn't even begin to describe it, I am terrified beyond words.  I feel like I need to focus on the fact that my body and mind are strong and healthy and I can survive this.  (As dramatic as that sounds, it really is what I need to focus on)  So, today this post is for me, not you.  I'm putting it in words so I have a visual reminder. 
Source: http://thedailyquotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/strong-fearless-wise-quotes-life-sayings-pics.jpg

Reasons I Know I Am Strong:

1. Back in February, I ran a 10k on the Saturday and a Half Marathon on the Sunday.  And I toured Walt Disney World the days leading up to the races and the days after.  I was putting double digit miles on my legs everyday and I still successfully completed these races under my goal time.  In order to run 19.6 miles over two days, I needed a strong body, strong heart, and strong lungs. 
2015 Glass Slipper Challenge
2.  I am young and healthy.  With the exception of my current medical problems (which I'll discuss in a later post) and some pre-existing asthma, I am healthy.  I have no heart issues and compared to the average age of people facing this procedure (65-70), I am young and healthy.  I really need to focus on this.  For some reason, having this illness has made me feel sick and weak.  I need to remember that I am not weak, I am healthy and I can get through this. 
34 years young  :)

3. My body has already done strong and amazing things.  I carried my twins full-term through a high-risk pregnancy against all odds.  My body is stronger and healthier than even the Doctors thought possible.  At 20 weeks pregnant, I found out I was carrying identical twins and they were very sick with a disease called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.  The next morning, we were sent to Toronto (a 3 hour plane ride away) for emergency surgery to try to save the life of one of our sons (by this point they were sure we would the other one).  At Toronto, it was also determined that I had become sick with side effects from the disease and that without immediate surgery or abortion, all of our lives were in jeopardy.  I received surgery and waited.  Our Doctor in Toronto explained that our babies were still in distress and may not make it but the longer I could carry them, the better chance they would have.  He also explained that it was very uncommon for these babies to be carried over 30 weeks.  I circled a date on my calendar (36 weeks) and told myself that I would defy the odds and carry until then.  In the end, to everyone's amazement, I was induced at 38 weeks and delivered two full-term healthy babies.  They were followed up with heart specialists and have faced minor medical problems, but are overall healthy.  They are truly a medical miracle.  If I wasn't strong and healthy, there is no way my body could have produced these little miracles, and I need to focus on this.  I need to remember that our bodies can do amazing things. 
At Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto following surgery

One day old - two healthy baby boys
 4. My neighbor up the street, recently had a similar surgery but it was even more intense.  It lasted several hours longer and parts of several of his organs were removed.  Two months after surgery, he just drove by my house hauling trees.  And he is 72.  He has been a huge resource to me and came to talk to me shortly after my diagnosis.  It's given me a lot of comfort to talk to someone who has gone through something similar.  If he can go through surgery and recover so incredibly, there is no medical reason why I can't too.  I just need to believe that I can. 

5. I feel weak because I am so afraid.  I feel like my fear is a sign of weakness and I know that I need to stop this.  It isn't helping me and it's natural to be afraid.  Yesterday, I was on the operating room table when my surgery was postponed.  Before the Doctor came in to postpone it, I was shaking like a leaf and I asked the nurse if it was normal to be this afraid.  She said "you wouldn't be human if you weren't afraid."  I need to remember that fear is not a weakness, it's natural. 
Source: http://sfdivorcecoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Inspirational-Quotes-You-were-given-this-life.jpg

6. Everyone around me believes I am a strong person.  I keep getting messages and texts that literally say "You are strong, you can get through this."  I need to focus on the positive support I am receiving from the people around me.  If everyone else believes it, it must be true.  :)

Thanks for listening (or reading in this case).  I needed to get these feelings out and force myself to look at why I am strong.  I am usually a pretty positive person, but have been struggling lately with staying positive.  Fear has been consuming me and I need to take some kind of control and focus on the positives. 

Question of the day: Have you ever felt like fear is taking over and did you get a reign on it?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2015 runDisney Princess Weekend Expo

On our third day in Florida, I hopped a bus and headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports for the 2015 Princess Half Marathon weekend race expo.  We were staying at the Art of Animation resort (I'll review that resort later, but in short....awesome!!)  I had checked with the special runDisney resort weekend transportation earlier in the day and they said the buses ran every 15 minutes.  Unfortunately, I missed the previous bus and for some reason, another bus didn't run for 45 minutes.  It was the one and only time all weekend I waited for transportation more than 5 minutes.  I started to get a little nervous, as I had headed to the bus stop at 5:45 but by the time I got on the bus it was 6:30.  We made a quick stop at Pop Century resort and then headed to ESPN zone.  Fortunately, the Art of Animation is just up the road from ESPN and it was a quick bus trip.   I followed the crowd to the buildings where the expo was located and nervously made my way in for bib pick up.  I have to admit, the ESPN zone was pretty overwhelming!!  I was expecting one building, not an entire complex. 
Race Transportation Schedule

I found the Glass Slipper bib pick-up location and the Kids Races and grabbed my bib and my three children's.  I then headed over to pick up race shirts and get my picture taken for the Glass Slipper challenge.  (From what I have read on other blogs, you used to receive a bracelet to prove you completed the 10k, but this year they began taking your picture at the expo, after the 10k and then checking it before giving you your Glass Slipper Challenge medal. 

Children's Miracle Network Picture

Children's Miracle Network Booth

Once I had our bibs and shirts, I began exploring the expo.  I headed over to the Children's Miracle Network Hospital booth because I was also running this race for that charity.  I picked up my "package" from them (a tech shirt and runDisney poster) and stopped at the official runDisney booth.  There I picked up a Glass Slipper "I Did It" t-shirt and some runDisney Mickey Mouses for my kids.  From there, I stopped at the Raw Threads booth for new shirts....I know, I know....I broke the "don't wear anything new on race day" rule.  I thought it would be okay because I have worn there products before.  And it was ok, no chaffing, etc but the die did run on my half marathon shirt (I think the poor shirt couldn't handle that much sweating and water dumped over it for three hours).  :)  I also picked up a new Sparkle skirt to wear over my capris and then headed back to the resort for the evening.  My kids were participating in the Kid's Races the following morning. 

That's where I'll leave you off for today...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

2014 Tinkerbell Half Marathon Race Expo

   In January 2014, I finished my first-ever 5k. (Notice the use of the word “finish”.)  That would be because I don’t feel like I can say “ran” or “raced”.  I signed up to run the 5k and then let life get in the way of my training. I was doing great on training and running three to four days a week, and then a series of injuries and life got in the way (and I allowed it :/)  I ran once between October 15th and January 17th (the day of the race).  I was completely unprepared, but knew that it was a fun run and that I could walk the whole thing if I needed.  My family was visiting Disneyland anyway so I was so excited to visit my first runDisney event.  My three children also ran in the Kid’s Races and are total runDisney addicts as well now!  I thought I’d recap my experience with you (mainly because I love hearing about your Disney races!)

   My Run Disney experience began on Thursday when I went to the Race Expo to pick up our race bibs.  The details are all a little fuzzy now, so these posts might be a little picture heavy and not very detailed.  I *think* that packet pick-up was in the Disneyland Hotel underground parkade (I know they were at the Disneyland Hotel but I think it was the parkade).  We were directed to a side entrance and as we walked up, saw the Tinkerbell Half Marathon mat and welcome signs.




   I went at about 2:30 on Thursday and there were no line-ups for packet pick-up.  I breezed through and headed upstairs to the expo to grab our t-shirts and browse.


   When I walked into the expo area, it’s a little hard to explain how I felt.  It was overwhelming and inspiring to see so many race vendors and runner’s in one area.  I looked through the booths (with a big, silly grin plastered on my face) and eventually bought a headband and tank top from Raw Threads to wear the next day.  After 15 minutes at the Expo I KNEW I had to come back another year to compete in more events.  The atmosphere was infectious and I think if there had been sign-ups for the 10k available there, I would have signed up on the spot.

   Even though there were hundreds of people at the expo, I was shocked that I recognized people from the blogging world.  I saw Amy from Pumpkin to Princess at the Sparkle Skirts booth, but she was very busy so I didn’t say hello.  While at the Raw Threads booth, I actually waited in line behind Heather at Through Heather’s Looking Glass.  I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity….I’m afraid she may have thought I was strange.  I kept stealing glances at her, trying to work up the courage to say hello.  I’m not usually a shy person, but I was so nervous to talk to her….Heather is pretty much my blogging hero!  Through Heather’s Looking Glass was the first runDisney blog I started reading (it was actually Running With Sass at the time) and I have literally read every post since I found it.  Anyways, as you’ll read later on, it wasn’t the only time I saw her that weekend.  I wish I had worked up the nerve to say hello but I guess it’s for the next runDisney event I run into her at.  :)

   I can’t remember exactly how long I spent at the expo, but it was long enough to wet my palate and I knew I would be back some day.

I’ll be back tomorrow to recap the 5k for you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I'm Back!

Hello blogging world!  It's me....again.  Yes, I know I said I left.  And yet, here I am.  You know when I said I felt "pigeon-holed" by this blog, like I wanted a more clear cut goal and voice.  Well, I was wrong.  AGAIN.  Turns out, this is my voice.  I started another blog, wrote a few posts and then never followed through.  My mind always came back to Everyday Girl....how much I missed this blog and all the posts I wanted to write for it.  Apparently, I don't want a more defined blog, I want o jump all over the place!  :)

Guess what....this February I completed the 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World.  I did it!!!!  Seven months later and I'm still so excited that I have a big, goofy grin on my face just thinking about it.  You would think I would have wrote about it on my other blog, but for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to do it.  I kept thinking about this blog and wanted to share my story with all of you (yes, I'm aware that "all of you" is probably a pretty big statement for the three people who may be reading this). 
2015 Glass Slipper Challenge

So, I'm back.  Over the next few weeks, I plan on recapping my Glass Slipper Challenge races, the race expo and I'm going to take you waaaayy back to my first ever runDisney experience, the Neverland Family 5k in 2015.  (That blog post is for everyone who is like me, and just loves reading runDisney race recaps, no matter how old).  I'm also currently registered for the 2016 Star Wars Rebel Challenge and the 5k (along with my daughter, our first runDisney 5k event together!).  But, as you'll also read over the next few weeks, life has thrown me a bit of a curve ball and I may not be able to run these races.  I'm hoping for a positive outcome and that this medical issue will be nothing but a bump in my road.  I think that may be why else I have come back to this blog and sharing.  I loved writing regular blog posts and sharing with the world.  When I read comments, it made me smile and lately I have been realizing that life is short and anything that makes you smile should be part of your day to day life.  As much as I haven't been around, I've never really left.  Everyone who follows this blog (as well as so many others), I've never quit reading your blogs.  I haven't been commenting but I feel like I have been following along and a part of your online lives.  So as much as you haven't been hearing about me, I'm still here....and now it's time to catch you up.  

Welcome back!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2014 Neverland Family 5k


   The night before the 2014 Neverland Family 5k was my brother’s 30th birthday, so I didn’t get to bed quite as early as planned.  I woke up at 4:55 am (five minutes before my alarm was set to go off) and had butterflies in my stomach I was so excited.  I was also exhausted.  For one brief second, I considered shutting my alarm off and going back to sleep.  I knew this wouldn’t be a true run for me as I had fallen off the running wagon, but instantly threw the thought out of my head and got up.  I quickly dressed, took a selfie (no, I am not posting that selfie.  I do not take good selfies.  It was bad, really bad) and headed out the door.  We were staying at one of the Good Neighbor Hotels (plug for the Best Western Park Place Inn and Minisuites) across the street from Disneyland so I was about a five minute walk to the Disneyland main entrance.

   One of the things I loved about the Neverland Family Fun Run (by one, I mean one of the thousand things I loved!) was the course.  The 5k race started on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland Park.  Aahhhh, it was really, really amazing!  I got to the start line in decent time and started in the B corral.  I was pretty much right in front of the castle.

This is the map from the 2013 5k, but it's the same course so you get the idea!
   Soon, the double-decker bus lit up and the race announcers, Carissa and Rudy came out.  There was a whole story to go with the race, but I can’t remember exactly what it was.  Comment if you know, but I think it was that the Darling children (or maybe other children but the pirates thought they were the Darling children) were kidnapped by Captain Hook.  Carissa and Rudy were dressed up and kept the story up until the race started.
Race announcers, Rudy & Carissa
The castle lit up and the deejay playing music before the race start.  I was directly behind the deejay. 
Then the fireworks started.  I kid you not, fireworks.  (OK, if you’re reading this, you probably know something about the Disney races and already know that there were fireworks, but I thought it was amazing).  To top it off, Tinkerbell was flying around the castle (as in a real person on a wire) while the fireworks were going off.  I hadn’t started running yet, but I already knew I was VERY glad I got out of bed this morning!.
Fireworks before the race starts
The starting line right beside Pixie Hollow (to the right of the castle)
   And we were off!  I can’t remember exactly where we went anymore, but I know we went past It’s A Small World all lit up (which was beautiful!) and there was a character stop not far in (Pirates, I think). I didn’t stop and kept going.  Soon, we crossed over into the backstage.  These were some of the parts that I loved the most.  As a huge Disney fan, getting to see backstage is worth the entry fee all on it’s own.  There were floats set up as we ran by.  I really didn’t get any good pictures because they all turned out blurry.

   You’re probably wondering now if I ran the whole 5k?  Absolutely not.  I wouldn’t have ran the whole 5k even if I had been training…I’m more of a Galloway approach kind-of gal (run/walk).  Basically how this race went, I ran for as long as I could and when I got tired, I pulled to the right side and walked for a bit.  I found there were all types on the course: speedy runners, walkers, families, all different speeds, etc.

   Another one of the thousand things I loved about this experience was the attention to detail.  There were Neverland 5k logos projected onto the sides of buildings and marquees changed to congratulate the runners.  Disney cast members and custodial staff were out all over the course cheering on the runners.
Custodial staff cheering on the runners.  This picture doesn't show it, but they were also holding signs. 
5k logo projected onto a building backstage
The lost boys on the Rivers of America.  This had something to do with the story line and they had microphones and were talking to the runners as we went past.
   Eventually we left Disneyland Park and crossed through the plaza and entered into the Disney’s California Adventures through a backstage area by the Tower of Terror.  It was right around the time we entered DCA that my body started feeling warmed up and I really enjoyed the running.
Carthay Circle
   Lightning McQueen and Mater were out in Cars Land for pictures and I waited in line for a little bit and then ended up jumping out of line and kept running.  Shortly after that, there were pirates and I did snap a quick picture with them (but I’m not sure where it is???)
Running through Carsland

Once we entered Paradise Pier, Peter Pan & Wendy were out for pictures (I didn’t stop).  Something else I haven’t mentioned yet is the music.  It was incredible running through the parks hearing the Disney themed music in the background the whole time.

Paradise Pier

Rudy & Carissa
The medals
The finish line

"Official" Race Photo
And there you have it.  My first runDisney race experience.  I am sitting here with another huge, silly grin across my face just thinking about the race and anticipating the next time I get to do this....and it happened nearly two years ago.  Hope you enjoyed my recap and I hope you get the chance to experience this 5k.  It was awesome!  My hope is that I will be able to experience a runDisney 5k with my daughter this January.  :)