Saturday, 22 March 2014

Support the Heart and Stroke Foundation

Dear Family and Friends,

I need your help today. I’ve just registered for the Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and I’m raising money to help Canadians live longer fuller, lives.

Please help by making a donation today! It’s fast, secure and easy to make an online gift by clicking the donate button on my page. To support me in my ride, click here.

Any amount you can give will help, and if you can match my donation of $[enter the amount you donated to your own page], that would be amazing! Click here to donate now.

With your support, the Heart and Stroke Foundation can continue to:
  • Empower Canadians to make positive changes and prevent disease
  • Save lives at the moment a health emergency strikes
  • Promote recovery, where and when it’s needed

Did you know that if things don’t change, the average Canadian will spend their last 10 years in sickness due to heart disease, stroke and other chronic conditions? Together, we can change that.

Thank you so much for your support. Every little bit helps Canadians live longer, fuller lives.


Monday, 10 March 2014

Disney Princess Half -- Race Report

The drive to Florida was a nightmare.  Night fell as we entered Ohio.  It was all blowing snow and whiteouts. Kentucky was snow, with a slippery, slushy road.  Only one lane was manageable.  Some people passed us, but it was a bad idea.  We saw several cars off the road, and one that had a collision.  Someone spun out right in front of us, doing a 180 in the road.  Jen was in the trunk, and checked the rear window to see if she was about to be killed by the oncoming car.  Everyone stopped, and there was no damage to anyone.  By Tennessee it was mostly rain, with snow along the roadside and in the fields.  It was much thinner on the fields there.  By daybreak we had made it to Georgia.  No snow, and the rain let up, but it was overcast and cool.  Eventually we came to the Florida border where it was sunny, hurray!

The racers assemble before dawn
Half-marathon day was Sunday, and the alarm sounded at 3 am.  Saturday was the only rainy day of our trip.  We went to the beach.  At Cape Canaveral Seashore, it was an utter downpour when we arrived at the entry kiosk.  As if on cue, it changed to a light misting as we found parking, which quit entirely when we headed to the water.  It looks just like our own Lake Erie.  Water out as far as you can see, but here the other side is thousands of kilometers away.  The kids an I managed a few minutes in the water.  It was enough to get wet and know that you had swum in the ocean.  It felt like a typical cold summer day at Lake Erie.  No problem for the hardy Canadians.  Then as the sun came out, the kids collected shells for an hour.  Heading back to Orlando, the rain picked up again.  Not a problem;  Jen and I have raced the half in the rain before.  For once we made it to bed at a reasonable hour.  Every other night had been past midnight, even Thursday when we went to the Kennedy Space Center, which closed at 5.  We stayed until 9 to watch the rocket launch.  That's something you can't see every day.  On Sunday, we had to abandon the rental in the morning, so we left the car with the family and took a taxi to the race.  The rental condo had a full kitchen so we could feed ourselves.  You need to do your own cooking to prep for a race.

Captains Jack Sparrow and Barbosa brought a pirate ship (Captain Hook's?)
The runners were lined up as far back along the road as you could see. 25,000 people.  That's the largest group I've ever raced with. That day's starting line was a 20 minute walk past the parking lot.  The fireworks went off at 5:30 for first wave.  Disney knows how to put on an event.  They brought many of the Disney princesses out for photo ops.  The most impressive setup was the pirate ship for the Pirate's of the Caribbean group.  We stopped for a pic with them in the dark.  Next up was Princess Atta.  She was across the road on the return lane, so we ran over there for a pic since no one was on their way back yet.  No lineup.  Also made use of the porta-potty on that side of the course too.  

Misty morning on the way to the castle
The course goes from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom and back.  By the time we made it to Magic Kingdom it was daybreak, but with a misty fog hanging above everything.  We didn't wait in lines for photos here, but stopped for several poses.  

We ran through Cinderella's castle.  I yelled, "storm the castle".  Jen yelled, "sacre blue, invaders".  Trumpeters played a fanfare as we arrived at it. 
Storm the castle
Most everyone dressed in costume for the race.  There was no talk of PRs and times.  This day was for fun.  If we passed a character and knew their song, we sang it.  Others would always join in.  

Buzz Lightyear -- Best toy ever
Jen was welcomed as Princess Leia.  It's actually Episode II Amidala.  For an upcoming event, Jen could add tiger slashes to it.  That should make it more recognizable.  There were several Princess Leia's, including a couple of slave-girl Leia.  One Cinderella ball gown.  That's just who we saw.  With this many people, there's lots of variety in themed attire.

Thou shalt not pass
On the road back we stopped for official pics with Mrs. Incredible and Army Man. Get the pic and run off quickly to let the next ones in.  
Drop and give me three, he ordered
There's a couple cloverleafs at the end.  Never ran one of those before.  It's really slanted, which no one liked.  It made it great for staging the event, since the exit from the parking lot was available to traffic.  We ran across the bridge looking down on the cars of racers on their way past. Visitors were also entering the park by then.  My outfit was a brown Jedi robe.  It was much more popular than I expected.  Seeing the pictures, I think it looked poor when in motion, but lots of people recognized it and wished me well. 

Under the bridge, around the cloverleaf, over the bridge
A girl went by and asked for Advil.  Jen offered a Tums, shaking the container.  "You'll be minty fresh", Jen offered. "That won't help", she responded. 

Everyone dresses up
By the end we were both tired, but still good. Jen's cotton shirt and pants were soaked and clung tightly.  21 km is a long way, even so slowly with so many stops.  I suggested that we drop to the half distance in our May race.  Nope.  She wants to do the full.  

May the force be with you

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Cinderella 5k - Race Report

The challenge of Disney race weekend isn't in the races, it's the stress of getting up so early every day.  For the Cinderella 5k, the alarm went off at 5 am Friday.  Race start was 6:30.  

Just after dawn
My big concern was parking, but it was easy.  Everyone parked in the big lot at Epcot, with marshals directing us to fill all the spaces.  The security fencing of the starting area meant we had to take the long way around to get to the start, but for us there was plenty of time.  Runners arriving closer to the starting time should find it easy to make it in time, since the parking was so well arranged.  

There were five corrals, leaving at 8-minute intervals.  Jen and I were in the last, so the winners had arrived back by the time we headed out of the corral to the starting chute.  
Everyone dresses up
Most everyone was dressed up.  There were plenty of skirts, themed costumes, including ball gowns in the Cinderella style.  Jen was in her Miranda dress.  I wore the gray shirt provided for the half, with the pink sash that we got for racing the half as a team. The sky was cloudy, gloomy in the morning mist, as everyone got under way. 

Skirts, dresses
 The course is one lap of the international lake area of Epcot, and back to the parking lot.  They had a few Disney princesses on the course for photos.  Princess Atta was there.  We didn't stop for that.  There were line-ups at each of the characters for the photo ops.  The whole course is wonderful scenery.  You are racing around the world!  Better off to bring a camera and do it yourself. It was cold before dawn but warmed up nicely by the time the race started, making the weather fine for both skimpy outfits and full-coverage costumes.

Must stop for photo opportunities
The race expo was on Thursday.  I got a tube of liquid Body Glide which should work well with my wetsuit.  I also got some min Body Glide sticks to use on Sunday for the half. I bought Jen a shirt with glow-in-the-dark fairy wings.  It's lovely, but would likely work better with reflective paint instead.  Maybe it's good for both, I haven't seen it at night. The shirt for the 5k was only cotton, and a dark navy which I'm unlikely to wear. I didn't see anyone wear it for the race.  I wore it for the day at the park after the race on Friday.  It was okay that day.  Run 5k slow and easy, then walk the Magic Kingdom park for 10 hours.  Glad I'm not racing Saturday.  Jen is on her own for that one.  

Saturday, the alarm was 3:30am for a 5:30 start.  This after getting home at midnight.  Racing the 10k and the half gets Jen a fourth medal for the Glass Slipper Challenge.  She raced in the Miranda dress again.  The 10k goes from Epcot parking, out to the main road and back, then the same loop of the international area as the 5k.  I walked her to the corrals, then went out to the road with my cowbell.  You can always use more cowbell.  There was 5 waves again, with a couple thousand people each, so I couldn't find her in the crush of people at all.  She was an early wave, so after the last wave went by me, I was just in time to make it to the finish to see her come in.  

What a great set of races.  Everyone is there to have fun and is infectiously happy.  There's none of the usual race talk of times and PRs.  Dress up and smile.