To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello

[Insert obligatory "end of year" post here.]

This has been a pretty [insert adjective here] year. It's had some sucktastic moments. It's had some crazy fun moments. Huge things have happened, for the better and the worse. Shall we do a very quick (for me) recap of what's gone down? Let's go!

  • We bought a new house and moved in!
  • My new family pretty much all moved in two weeks later so we could spend some quality time together with my mother in law.
  • Sadly we had to say good bye to her two weeks after that.
  • I embraced the role of housewife for my afternoon hours, spending a lot of time experimentally making desserts and dirtying up my apron.
  • Man Friend and I got to run 200 miles from Los Angeles to San Diego with friends we temporarily lived with in a mini-van.
  • I gave in, after much debate with my ego, and bought a cane ~ nice and colorful because why be boring?
  • My Meniere's Disease seems to have spent a lot of time trying to kick my ass and sidelined me from a lot of the running and races I would have normally done.
  • We through an awesome pirate party ~ and it WILL be an annual event!!
  • For the first time ever, I got to be a bridesmaid! My Maid of Honor got married and it was an absolutely wonderful evening!
  • I got to visit Seattle twice, and stayed in a hotel room that probably had a bloody, dead body in the closet. I refused to open it to find out.
  • I learned that I pretty much need to be drugged if I'm going to ride in a car for any length of time ~ thank you Meniere's Disease, messed up depth perception and nerves!
  • A new best friend unexpectedly entered my life ... and helps keep me sane during my agitating road trips.
  • Even with minimal running I somehow channeled an inner strength that I had ignored for a while, and started enjoying it in a new way!
  • Life flipped upside down and an 18 year old boy lives in my house now. 
  • My patience level is pushed to the brink more than I'd like. I've learned pain killers (from clenching my jaw too much), and coloring books can be relaxing!
  • Not helping my stress level, I pretty much lived in a hospital with Man Friend for a week while he had a couple of unplanned surgeries.
  • I went to see Jimmy Buffett again. Fins up!!
  • The mother of all events happened .... I finally went to Canada!! I've wanted to for 35+ years, and a week before I hit 36 I finally crossed that imaginary line and had instant tears of joy!
  • Walt Disney World treated me well as I celebrated my birthday and capped off my runDisney must-do race list.
And now I can look back on the year and see I'm not crazy when I felt it was [adjective]!!

I am very ready to say hello to 2015! I have no idea what lies in store for me. 
  • I have vowed to return to the dermatologist for my check up and make sure I don't have any other spots to worry about. Seriously, my scar from last year's surgery still bugs me every day. 
  • I've procrastinated, but I will go back to the ENT for my annual hearing test I skipped, and to discuss the worsening battle of my little friend Meniere's Disease
  • I'm excited about visiting Alaska for the first time! I want to see a moose!!
  • The Rangar Trail Relay is on my radar and I'm so ready to be able to run again so I can start preparing to scale a mountain a few times!
  • I'm very excited about the vision of the day that it will only Man Friend and I finally living alone together in our house house. We haven't really had a chance to be the happy newlyweds, and I'm more than ready for that!
Who knows what else is going to be tossed at me without any warning, but I do know that I will get through it, as per usual, and be able to find a positive from it, now matter how shitty things might get! It's just what I do!

And also, I think I need to plan a trip to Las Vegas. My biological clock is screaming at me that I am overdue for a little indulgence in Sin City!!

So Cheers to 2014 ... you were [adjective] .... bring it on, 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Then & Now: 2006 to 2014

What happened in Vegas followed me home!
I found an old post I had done on myspace in early 2007. It was a 2006 year in review. It was 2006 that I got a divorce.  I believe it was 2007 that I met that guy we now affectionately refer to as Man Friend on this blog, or my husband in normal life. 

In this post I had “Quote of the Year”. There were many quotes (2006 was a crazy, fun, strange year). The one that jumped out at me was something that I said ….. “Next time I’ll just get married in Vegas!” You can’t say I’m not a woman of my word, since in 2013 I did in fact get married to Man Friend in Las Vegas! I certainly never expected it to be to that obnoxious guy I deliberately avoided for 4 years. 

I also noticed how there were the “Most Loyal Friends” of the year. One of those felt like a brother, but really changed in behavior toward me and that friendship sadly came to an end in 2008. The other is even more bizarre and ended in 2012 after my wedding – and I still have absolutely no idea why. Never anything said, just a simple unfriending and not coming to my wedding reception, even though we had talked about it and excitement to see each other just 2 days before. Funny how things change; a lifelong friendship just over and still no clue as to why. 

But when things leave, new things appear. Getting a divorce opened a door to new things, and now I am married to someone that I can stand, and can actually put up with me and doesn't complain when he has to take care of me. No freeloader here!  We are a great pair; it kind of freaks me out!

New life brings new friends. I always tell Man Friend that I’m subtly in the process of stealing his friends as my own. I’m nice and share mine with him, sometimes. Some I keep to myself. Like my best friend. Completely unexpected, yet completely awesome. I know the exact moment I knew that we would be friends too! Seems most of the time you gradually work into friendship and there’s not always an “aha” moment. We had the “aha” moment the day we met – and all it took was one quick “See ya later, Sunburn!” for me to know that this was a keeper! There’s hardly been a day we haven’t talked since that sunburn comment. Heck if we go an hour without talking I get twitchy and can’t handle it!

In 2006, on my 28th birthday, I pierced my nose. Well, that hasn't changed, except the actually jewelry. 

Also, in 2006, I was so happy to start living alone in my little cottage with my dog and my cat. Just us 3 girls in our tiny house in town. 2014 sure changed that! Now I have my two-story pirate lair with a pool in the county. The dog is still in charge, and my indoor cat has a ‘sister’ that joined our family when Man Friend came along. Outside, Davey Jones reigns supreme as the head honcho cat that was there when we moved in. And now Chaplin (named after Charlie) has come in search of a family to pet him accept his purrs. Plus we have an 18 year old college boy living in our basement and some might even say I’m a step-mom (monster?!) of 2 teenagers. WHAT?!?! I have two aprons. I enjoy fixing a cocktail and baking just for fun and experimenting with things. Who am I?!? I host parties now and obsess over menus and fun dessert creations. I don’t even know this girl!

In 2006 I was obsessed with Titanic. That will never change! But now I can look at my autographed photo of Kate and Leo every day and smile! I’ll never let go, Jack… I’ll never let go!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I Feel Good, I Feel Great, I Feel Wonderful... Running Edition

I was out for a run the other day and had a flashback to crying when seeing a 26 mile marker. It got me thinking of all the ups and downs that seem to come with running, at least for me. When I am struggling I try hard to all I have accomplished when I never figured I could even run a mile in the first place. So I decided to not just think about this during runs, but instead try to put it down in writing where I could look back any time I started to tell myself how much I suck!

Perhaps the first milestone that I think of was my first ever race. Having just recovered from H1N1 I was in no condition to run, but that didn’t stop me from navigating 3.1 cold, sometimes icy miles. It was 27ยบ yet my mom, step-dad and dog all came to cheer me on. Crossing that finish line was awesome and made me determined to better myself the next time.

I had a whim and decided I was ready for a very hilly 10K trail race with hip bursitis, having only done 1 trail before and having never run more than 3.1 miles. Ha, oh my did I have my ass handed to me! BUT I always use that race to remember how I was challenged so much, did want to just stop and call my mommy, and felt like sitting down to cry… but I didn't cry. I didn't call my mommy. The only sitting I did was for a quick bench photo on top of a scenic hill. I survived crazy terrain that to this day still seems scary … and I finished – all while running injured! It always tells me that when an easy run feels hard, I have done harder!

Once upon a cold, rainy Oregon morning I found myself at another 5K race, this time determined to place. When they handed me my bib I told them they’d see me getting an age group award later that day. I staked out all the women ahead of me at the start area and put myself as close to the line as I felt comfortable, i.e. behind all those speedy men. A girl seemed to be drafting off of me for half of it. I was dying, but not backing off for the first half. Finally I relinquished first place, or so I thought, and said I’d be happy with 2nd in my division. She passed me and I was determined not to let another woman near me. I flew through the finish line, not earning a PR, but confident that I finished ahead of people and could maybe be 3rd in my division. Imagine my shock and joy when they announced I was first! As it turns out I was racing and pushing myself against a girl over 10 years younger than I am! I should have thanked her for her unintentional help!

“Come on, what would Pre do?” “He’d run.” “Right! And what’s at the finish line?” “My mommy.” “Yes, so let’s run to your mommy!” (When extremely tired and whiny apparently my mom becomes my Mommy!) This was the conversation between Lesley and I as we were going up the hill to the overpass near the end of my first half marathon. I pretty much forgot to fuel, hit every single character stop from mile 3 to the end, had awesome photos, got a sunburn, and kicked ass!! That race got me addicted to 13.1! That feeling of “I can do this” that turns into “what the hell am I doing?” that turns into “I’ve got this” that turns into “this is never going to be over. I’m dying” that turns into “OMG I did it!!!!!!! I want to do it again!!!” Seriously, fellow Princess 2011 runners, can we all agree that race was disgustingly hot?!?

With so many half marathons under my belt, I had this whole new sense of confidence come over me nearly a year after my first one. I did the 5K Friday morning, followed by the WDW Half Marathon on Saturday. Fun memories made with friends … but it was the Sunday race that changed things for me. I was the second leg of my marathon relay team, Agony of d’Feet! Never had I run back to back half marathons before, and I had no idea what to expect. My partner started in the A corral and ran incredibly fast. I was in the first handful of relay people to take off for the second part of the course, sending me out to run with the FAST runners. I was terrified. My legs weren’t sure what was happening. I was too scared to walk for fear of getting run over. My ego wouldn’t let me either. Those fast runners don’t seem to do photo stops, so I had no lines and was able to hit every stop with no waits at all! I kept pushing my pace, knowing this wasn’t only MY race, but I was on a team. As I neared the Boardwalk I was feeling overcome with excitement. So many spectators were cheering us on and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I was giddy coming through World Showcase and by the time I hit Spaceship Earth I could feel it. Emotions were about to explode. I came around the corner and heard the gospel choir singing. I looked to my left and saw the 26 mile marker. Sure, I hadn’t done it all at once, but I had still done it over those two days. As I approached the finishers chute a huge group yelled my name and cheered me on! Complete strangers helped my partner cheer for me. That was it, tears started flowing! I was crossing the biggest finish line I had ever seen! I knew that moment that I would be doing Goofy the next year and running my first ever marathon!

I did, in fact, feel INCREDIBLE!

The next April I was at the Boston Marathon expo, registering for Goofy and feeling so giddy!! The day after registration I stood at the Boston 5K starting line on Boylston Street. What?!? Something about that city and the vibe – I ran as fast as I could given the crowd size. The sights were incredible. I loved every single step of that race. But as a girl that will never qualify for Boston, nothing can top how it felt to round the corner onto Boylston Street and see THE finish line. I was about to cross the finish line for the Boston Marathon! I got a PR that day and wore my medal proudly as I danced and sang on the Fenway Park jumbo-tron later that night!

I spent the year training for 2 marathons. I ran 18 miles around town, starting the run around 8:30pm! I did 20+ mile runs, finishing in 90 degree heat. I set many PRs. I ran a lot of races. I continually kept surprising myself. I look back at all that hard work and can’t believe that the slacker that I am did that! By the time October came I was ready for the Portland Marathon. At 13.1 miles I was running just shy of my half marathon PR pace and feeling awesome! My face was a permanent smile. It was like a party with a ton of strangers. All of that changed at mile 18 when both knees had freakishly buckled under me and I was in tears trying to run. My heart was broken. My finish time wasn’t that bad considering how much I had to walk. I deliberately ran through the Adidas campus, fighting the pain with each step. I crossed that race in tears from sheer pain, and also pride. I fought a hard battle and while some would have just quit, I wouldn’t let myself do that. I completed my first 26.2 mile attempt!

It was a hard recovery, and took many months before I could go without pain, but I kept pushing through to prepare for Goofy. A 5K Friday, the half marathon Saturday and then the mother of all races …. The Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday morning. Saturday’s race was awesome. We were Woody & Jessie and having a ridiculous amount of fun being silly and hamming it up for photos and the media! Sunday was different. Tired legs. Tired bodies. HOT weather. It was 6am. We were sweating and unsure of what was going to happen. I crossed the start line and couldn’t really feel my body. I was still but again too scared to not run. Soon I loosened up, and realized that walking hurt more than running. Still we hit every photo stop and ran into friends along the way. I loved it all! At mile 19 my tears started, wondering if I would finish it in time. (Of course I would, but at the moment in that heat, I was losing it!) The last 10K I found myself almost delirious from heat. Man Friend would run ahead to get water to use to cool my body off while I was drinking mine. **Don’t wear black cotton t-shirts with capes, even if it IS a super cute and easy costume!! Every sign I saw I “knew” was made for ME and they all made me cry. I grabbed my phone to let my mom know I had a couple miles left – and found she had been texting me words of encouragement. And cue more tears! In Italy I caught my friends and shouted that we were NEVER doing this again!! All through World Showcase, however, I did have a huge smile and got my 3rd or 4th wind. I blew through the countries! At the finish line it was tears all the way. I really did it. I ran a marathon! I did the Goofy Challenge! I accomplished more than I could ever have dreamed! All of us girls hugged and cried together in all our sweaty glory! The next day we would text about doing it again someday together…we runners have short term memories at times!

From then on no matter how hard it is, I always tell myself “I did Goofy. Everything is easy after that.” I still stand by it. I did over 42.4 miles in 3 days. *My marathon was 27.1 miles thanks to photo stops! Ragnar Relay was a blast, and knowing I did Goofy helped me have zero fear of all the running and lack of sleep. I’m so happy I did all the hard work. It gave me confidence I never expected to have. So now as I look at a busy race calendar for 2015 that I am still forming, I am happy to be able to look back and remember that even though I’ve had plenty of sucky races and training runs …. I’ve had some pretty awesome moments that formed me into the runner I am today!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon

If there's one thing I love, it's a night race. It felt fitting then that the last race on my "must-do" list for runDisney was the 5th anniversary of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, which starts at 10pm and was my 30th half marathon so far! The day began early with Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K, and I did allow myself a relaxing day and a brief nap before getting ready to swim 13.1 miles through Osceola Parkway, and 3 of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks. Since Disney is my chance to create costumes to run in, I couldn't miss up what be my last costumed race for a while. Seeing as it is Wine & Dine and we ended at Epcot, I wanted something fitting, but not in your face obvious. Seeing as I'm the German girl and World Showcase is my favorite part of Epcot, I settled on running as Pinocchio, with Man Friend as Gepetto. Cute and easy! (Maybe not as easy for Man Friend since he actually made our vests and my hat.)

These costumes were admittedly a bit more difficult to put on - due to the fact that I was a running safety pin by the end of it. But I loved it anyway! We got to the bus early and made it to the race start early enough to wait in one character photo line and hang out with Abby and friends. Disney races feel wrong without Abby there! As race time drew near, so did the change in the air.... hello precipitation, looks like you're here to stay! The entirety of the race we were noticing the non-stop sound of swishing from ponchos and garbage bags. We sucked it up and got wet, maybe that's the Oregonian in us.... rain and warm weather isn't really all that bad after all - kept me the perfect body temperature!

Our race began at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, which I enjoyed as a change of scenery. Waiting to start we were actually recognized by a fellow runner as Jack and Sally from the morning 5K! Already completely wet, I was happy when it was finally our turn to start. *Man Friend at this point hadn't run in months due to an unexpected surgery and doctor's orders of NO running!! At the start line did I back off and ask Man Friend if he was ready to run? No - I took off and he kept up with me the entire time! The running was actually awesome. I was in my element - night, rain, slightly cool yet slightly warm weather! We noticed right off the bat that characters would be minimal due to the rain, which told me this would be a "fast" Disney race.

Coming up to Animal Kingdom I was excited when I heard a song I listened to every day of my senior year of high school ... the Main Street Electrical Parade. My eyes were so excited to see this cheery float greeting us! The path as we approached DAK started to narrow, which I fully expected after having walked it every day for 3 years. But not gonna lie, I freaking loved it!! DAK at night is completely unique. Once we entered the actual park we had the coolest mood lighting ever. Check it out!

Inside the park we were able to actually get some photos (and I fully admit I JUST purchased all of my pictures since mother nature helped my camera not turn out as well as normal). Characters were under covers and I was so excited when I was able to get into Timon's line right before he was closed. Phew! I love that little guy!  The time in Disney's Animal Kingdom (DAK for those of you that got confused earlier) went by way too fast. I doddled as best as I could, but I was also in the zone and feeling too great to kill too much time.

As we hit backstage the puddles started. Volunteers were nice and shining flashlights on them - which turned into piles of runners diving to the side to try to maintain any bit of dryness in our shoes. Ha, good luck with that! The puddles would continue for the remainder of the race. And with each big puddle I could feel my toes noticing it more and more. By the end I was sure I was one big raisin and covered in blisters (didn't end up as bad as I thought, yay)!
Osceola Parkway is dreaded by many people; I personally don't mind it. It didn't feel like it took all that long before we were turning off and onto the path to take us toward Disney's Hollywood Studios. Around this point the road was uneven and MF, who had been doing great, jacked up his knee on a bad section of road. The last 3 miles became more difficult, trying to keep him moving and in as little pain as possible. Entering the Studios made it more bearable! Characters were out, we were in all new backstage areas that the WDW Marathon course didn't hit, and we got to enjoy the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. What an eerie calm that was. Everyone stopped running. Christmas music was playing, people were marveling at the lights and taking photos. It was really nice and probably the best moment on the entire course!

After winding our way through our second park it was a path I love. It goes along the water, behind the Boardwalk, through the Yacht and Beach Club and into the back part of World Showcase at Epcot. I always love doing this section, be it in a race or just during my tourist moments. We had to adjust for two things .... once along the narrow path by the water I had my mid-race Meniere's attack, which fortunately only lasted a short while. And then the Boardwalk - those boards were slick! Since MF had tweaked his knee and I was just starting to not be dizzy anymore, we did opt to just walk and not risk either of us falling down like Bambi did on the frozen pond!

Coming into Epcot was awesome. I loved seeing new backstage areas, and knowing that the end was near. Again we found very slippery terrain near Innoventions, so we chose to walk and save embarrassment (later we did learn of a guy that completely killed his leg and had to spend the rest of his vacation in a wheelchair because of the slippery conditions!). The end was suddenly before us, and that finish line was such a welcome sight! 13.1 miles in non-stop rain is quite a journey, let me tell ya!

We got our medals, space blankets, food, drinks and post-race photos with no trouble at all. After getting our gear bag back we had planned on hitting the after party. At security we saw swarms of people like us - soaked, big bags to search through, space blankets, tired.... I was going to Epcot the next day anyway - After Party officially Skipped, No regrets!!  Back at the hotel it was a fight for the shower to get scalding hot water and warm up! By 3:30 (almost 24 hours after I woke up that morning) I was finally getting into bed!  Such a day - and one that I would repeat again in a heart beat. This was quite possibly my favorite runDisney race course so far - rain and all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K

Laugh attack!!
Wow, what an event! This report might be more about the before and after than Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K itself! So let's start with what caused such a scene -- the costumes. I wanted something fun, themed, but not a total cliche. It struck me that the Nightmare Before Christmas was perfect! Halloween had just come and gone, Christmas is around the corner ... brilliant! So Man Friend was Jack Skellington while I was in his shadow as Sally. I thought it seemed like something easy to pack and do a 5K in, but I had NO idea the response it would get!

At 3:40 am my alarm went off. We were out of bed, easily putting on our costumes and then staring in the mirrors trying to figure out our make-up. Who does a race in full make-up?? We do! Our race attire was anything but conventional, heck I was in tights and Converse, but that didn't stop us! Just before 5am we were walking out to our bus... cue my laugh attack. No other runners were in costumes as far as we could see. I was laughing so hard tears were starting to form - which would ruin the make up!!!

Our bus was the very first to arrive at Disney's Animal Kingdom. We hurried over to get a photo in front of a backdrop and then waited to see Mickey and Minnie. Other runners seemed to love our costumes and we posed for countless photos. But the biggest shock was when the runDisney media guy pulled aside TWICE for mini-photo shoots. He had us get into character and everything, saying they might use them for upcoming promos. Crazy!! As it turns out, we were the very first post runDisney made on Twitter that day!! 

After all the photos we were just hanging out watching the "snow" and, quite honestly, getting close to other runners so I could try to get any body heat I could! We found ourselves with a lovely family from Alaska. The little girl was enamored with Man Friend. She couldn't stop looking at him, but wasn't too sure what to think. Of course MF just HAD to talk with her. Conversation was going great until the Cupid Shuffle came on. MF looked at his new friend and asked if she wanted to dance. She hardly said yes before the two took off together to the DJ's dance area. I quickly followed, joking I would be the babysitter and not to worry about their daughter. Look at us!! Would you let your kid just take off with us???

MF and his new dance partner
Here come the cameras!
They had hardly started moving to the left and the right when I noticed something. The runDisney cameras (video and still) and a man with a mic were swarming. I moved to stay out of the shot - pulling a paparazzi move on the runDisney paparazzi! Next thing I know, MF is being interviewed and filmed dancing! I really shouldn't have been surprised. 

The fun had to come to an end, and we made our way to the corrals. We watched the sun rise and soon were on our 3.1 mile adventure through Disney's Animal Kingdom and it's massive parking lot. I loved having new territory to "race" through, and it was great seeing some of my old backstage haunts I used to frequent back in my Kali days. The only challenged we faced during this race was NOT touching our faces, regardless of any sweat that was forming or hair trying to stick to my face. I was committed to the costume after all!

Oh, one thing of note, race wise -- this was the first time I've ever heard Barbra Streisand blasting over the loud speakers during a race! Yay Babs! In typical Disney fashion, there were character stops - but in my typical 5K fashion I skipped them. Everything was festival and Christmasy, which I loved. Certainly a cute race and fun course and one I'd happily do again -- not that I am completely 100% biased toward anything relating to Disney's Animal Kingdom!

The end was near. As per usual, we ran ourselves through the finish line. This time, however, we didn't exactly blend in. The announcers made a big deal out of our arrival, so of course we played it up,as we are prone to do. I thought it would end at the finish line. I was wrong.  I barely stopped my Garmin and was still in the way of photographers when that same media crew came and pulled us aside. And again MF was interviewed! WHAT?!? **I shouldn't be allowed to speak. Ugh.

Snipped from the runDisney video

This really was so much fun! The energy of all the participants was relaxed, happy, merry, jolly - all those festive words you can think of. We had so many conversations with strangers and really there wasn't a moment we weren't smiling! I loved it!!

So now I will leave you with the runDisney recap video -- you'll see Man Friend dancing near the beginning, and then at the end MF has a voice over while we are running through the finish line. Ignore my speaking part. Like I said, I shouldn't be allowed to speak!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vancouver Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon - Canada, Eh!

Oh Canada … I love you so much and I love seeing you via a race course! Before May I had no idea I would be finally checking Canada off my bucket list. But then the Portland Rock’n’Roll expo happened. The first thing I did after getting my bib was register for Seattle and Vancouver RnR. Well finally I can happily say I have been to Canada and I loved every single minute of my Rock’n’Roll race experience! 

The original plan was to train for this race and see how well I could run it. Well life happened. Man Friend spent nearly a week in 2 hospitals with 2 surgeries and body parts removed, so that put a major kink in the plans. I continued to run when I could but tossed aside any time goal. New plan: enjoy the beauty of Canada and meet MF after the race (he is on doctor’s orders NOT to run at all! He walked the entire 13.1- Yikes!!) So Friday morning we left for our drive to Canada and arrived at the expo within the first couple of hours of opening. Thank goodness we did – the next day the merchandise I did buy was completely sold out! As far as RnR expos go, this was very small and very quiet – but I enjoyed myself talking to Canadians and feeling tempted into signing up for a marathon again!

Olympic Cauldron
Sunday morning I was up and very excited to stop being a girl from southern Oregon and turn myself into a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police! I figured this is my first time in Canada, I’ve always wanted to be Canadian, why not get in the spirit and run as something that everybody loves?!? Man Friend and I were maybe 30 feet from our hotel door starting to walk to the start when …. Dun dun dunnnn… we were stopped by a Canadian police officer who at first really thought we were part of the RMCP. Best moment of my entire trip!!! Soon enough we were down at the start area looking at the Olympic cauldron and feeling the excitement of what was sure to be a fun race. So many people commented on our costumes and asked for photos, I guess my idea was a good one! Hearing Oh Canada gave me total goose bumps, and then I watched as MF took off in the first corral (they had an early start for people that might need more time, which was perfect for him considering!!). Waiting for my corral to start I lost feeling in my fingers. I was looking at people in shorts and t-shirts – and I was chilly in my long sleeves and pants. Hmm.

Namaste, from R0nda and Marvin!
When my corral got to the start they had us turn into one big dance party (which actually made it into the official RnR Instagram video!!). From the moment I crossed the start line I was shocked at how great I felt! I’d eaten virtually nothing for days and haven’t had serious training, but I was on fire! I pulled a Forrest Gump and just kept running. I walked through water stops to give my legs a little break, and then kept right back at it. A highlight for me was during an out and back and I got to high five a friend that I worked with at Kali River Rapids. Who knew it would take going to Vancouver, Canada to literally run into a friend from my Orlando, Florida days?!? Probably a mile later he caught up to and passed me after we did a little talking. Too cool!

The course was lovely. The people were lovely. Many times I was complimented on my Mountie costume! We ran through many different areas like Gastown, Chinatown, Granville Island area and Stanley Park. I did get in tourist mode and take tons of pictures. I decided since I had no goal I would pull over for a photo if I wanted to. Why not?!? I feel like I had a smile the entire time. I was just so happy and loving it all … until.

MF had guessed I would probably catch him around mile 6 or 7. At the 10K mark I kept looking, knowing I was running really well and if he was walking, I should find him. Maybe our math sucks!! As I was nearing Stanley Park I saw another out and back part, he was nowhere to be seen. Behind me, emergency vehicles were blaring and heading to a spot ahead on the course. Panic set in. I ran that next mile so fast just to get to the scene and make sure I didn’t see a Mountie down. By the time I got there the person was already in an ambulance. I tried to not worry but I couldn’t help it.

For the next 3 miles I was focused on relaxing and enjoying nature. It smelled so good! Clean, fresh, nature!! I did start giving myself a few walk breaks finally, mostly due to my picture taking! Such wonderful views were waiting for me, like Lions Gate Bridge, which I am glad we did NOT run across!! The closer I got to the end the more worried I was. Did MF actually end up running and was he at the end waiting for me?? Did he get taken away by the medics?? The last bit was a curvy section along the Seawall path and I looked up and caught a glimpse of my Mountie!! Hallelujah!! I kicked it into high gear and caught up with him. By then I knew I would have met my time goal and been very close to a PR – but to me finishing with him was more important. So we walked in that last mile together and crossed with a bang. Everybody was cheering for the RCMP!! We even got stopped by the RnR media people and had to a mini photo shoot at the finish area. Crazy!! Our finish made the official RnR video, too! I really didn’t expect that, but I am not complaining. I was proud to be a wannabe Canadian that day!!

Lions Gate Bridge
Got our medals and snacks and met up with my Kali friend again for some photos and conversation. The weather ended up perfect, too. Not a drop of rain to be felt! I seriously have no complaints (although I can say the course didn't feel like a typical RnR course due to the lack of many bands). I absolutely loved it! People at the expo were freaking out about the course being hilly. Um, no – compared to other courses and my own neighborhood, this literally was a walk in the park! Canada, I love you!!

Tew Legit finally running as a tew-some!