Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Boston Pizza Fundraiser Photos

We had an amazing night last Wednesday at our fundraiser dinner.  This race and this cause have become such an important part of our lives.  We were absolutely humbled that so many people came out to support Cooper's Troopers, and The Hospital For Sick Children.  We know that there are so many events like this out there.  There are so many organizations, with important and valuable causes.  It means so much to us when people choose to direct their charitable dollars to Sick Kids through The Great Canadian Run.  We love this run so much, and without your support none of this is possible.

100k day is only 3 sleeps away!  There is still time to donate!  You can find our fundraising page here!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

One Very Hard Thing

This week I have two very difficult things that I need to do...Now I only have one left...That being to run 100km on Saturday.  This morning I dropped the boys off at school.  Lucas is in grade 2, and is an old pro by now.  He wavered last night, full of worry and anxiety (he is my son after all).  This morning a friend arrived, still overwhelmed with anxiety.  Lucas reassuringly took his hand and off they went.  That boy makes me proud.  He is so kind, and so selfless, and so wonderful.
 Now the hard part...The hard part was dropping my baby off for his first day of SK.  You see, there's this funny this that happens with child number two.  You get the pleasure of having them all by themselves when they are actually people and not newborn blobs.  Cooper and I are buddies, he says  that I'm his best friend.  Now I don't have a buddy to hang out with all day.  This is a new season of my life.  For seven years I have thought of myself as a stay at home mom who works a couple of days a week.  Now I'm a mom of school aged kids, who works more.  I should be thrilled with my days off.  Days where I can run errands, and get things done at home, and mark papers without interruption should feel luxurious.  This morning the van and the house felt eerily empty.  This morning my heart felt a little empty.  

I have learned so much by being Cooper's mom.  He is an example of so many wonderful characteristics.  I like who he is, I am proud of his character, I am lucky to have him in my life.

Cooper cares about other people.  He has what seems to be an inborn sense of empathy, and sympathy.  A couple of months ago a big kid (maybe in 6th grade or so) fell off his bike a half block or so ahead of us.  Without a word Cooper took off ahead of me.  He stopped beside this big boy, resting his hand on his arm and asking if he was ok.  He is not afraid, or uneasy when someone is hurt or upset.  His instinct is to help, and to love.  Walking though a trail in the dark on the way back to our campsite one night this summer, Cooper heard me tell my pregnant sister where there was a root sticking up.  He recognized that I told her to keep her safe, to make sure she didn't trip.  He then found every rock, root, and pebble all the way through the trail.  He would shine his light on it, and warn her that it was there.  It was important to him that she be safe.
Cooper is fun!  People love to be around Cooper.  I mean let's be realistic, his antics, while often frustrating for parents, are quite entertaining.  When I drop him off at the program at the Y, children run over ready to play.  We dropped him off at his cousins' house last week...The squealing and pure unabashed joy that he was greeted with was incredible.  Cooper's littlest cousin ADORES him.  We can't quite figure out why her affection for him is so intense, but Cooper can turn around a potential meltdown with a single look.

 Cooper is determined.  Want to see a no quit attitude...Spend a day with Cooper.  Cooper knows what he wants, and he knows how to stick with things.
Cooper is smart.  He is a problem solver, and a critical thinker.  He makes connections with concepts I would never think he could understand.  He absolutely loves to learn.  School time with Cooper was always a pleasure.  We was always engaged, and always voracious is his love for learning.

Cooper is brave.  He has conquered significantly difficult things in his young life.  He knows that he is capable, he knows that he can persevere, and he knows that he can overcome.  The last little while he kept telling us that he was excited for school "but a little nervous."  I put my arm around him to say good bye and tell him I loved him...My voice cracking, and tears stinging my eyes.  He took a deep breath, and off he went.  He can do things that are hard for him, he is able to overcome and cope with his own anxiety.

I am so incredibly grateful that I have had the opportunity to be (mostly) at home with him.  Cooper came along and changed me to the very core.  He is a gift to our family, he teaches us so much.  Now it's time that we share him a little more.  My hope for him...
May you always know the truth, and see the light surrounding you.
May you always be courageous, stand upright, and be strong.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Done and Done!

Our 100k training started on December 29th, 2014.  That's 8 months.  I have grown complete human beings (ergh...well complete less a vital cardiac septum I guess) in just a little more time than that...Twice.  Eight months is a long time to train for anything.  We used the training plans from a book called Relentless Forward Progress:  A Guide to Running Ultramarathons .  First the 50k plan, and then converting to the 100k plan after we finished The Sulphur Springs Trail 50k.  We ran the lower mileage plan for our weekday runs to accommodate our children, jobs, lives, and sanity, and then ran the higher mileage plan for the back to back long runs on the weekends.  We have run many miles, sweated a lot, drank a lot of gatorade (Leigh), and Gu Brew (me), and eaten many many MAAAANNNY Nature's Bakery Fig Bars while on the move (ummm...Just noticed many delicious flavours that appear to be absent from the Costco boxes of fig bars.  Seriously, where can I get me some lemon, mango, or pumpkin spice bars!?!)

And now after 8 months, we have arrived at the taper.  The hard work is done, and now it's time to marinate.  Last week we ran our final pair of long runs (40k Thursday, followed by 20k Friday) of this training cycle.  We spent a few days staying in Blue Mountain with the Hannas, and had the unique opportunity to run parts of the actual course a couple of times.

Cooper on the Gondola.  Leigh and I hiked a sweaty hike up the mountain while Cooper and Auntie Kara rode up,  and then took the free ride down together.
Lucas after riding the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster with Auntie Devyn.
This view coming up to the village gave me butterflies in my stomach both at the end of our runs, and just walking around the village during the rest of our stay.  The finish line at The Sears Great Canadian Run is like nothing I have ever experienced.  It is just electric, and I get emotional just thinking about having the opportunity to cross it at the end of 100km.
We found some other reminders of this awesome event during our stay.  We spotted a lone Sears Great Canadian Run arrow sign zip tied to a stop sign on our 20k run, and 'this' on the upcoming events board!
 We are super excited for race day to arrive.  The excitement mounted this morning when my weather stalking uncovered this forecast this morning!  Hoping this sticks around!

Don't forget that you are ALL welcome to join us on race day.  The course information is available here.  Please join us to cheer, encourage, say hi, or run a few miles.  Can't commit to a whole day, come on out to the finish line, and for the post race dinner and celebration.  The finish line is incredible, and is followed by a banquet with a great free meal for all runners and supporters.  We'd love to have you there to celebrate with us.  Without you none of this would be possible! 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Vacation Ends...And So It Starts!

We seem to have a real problem in our family letting our vacations end.  We've been known to tack on a few extra days in Florida with some hospitable family who always seems to have room for us (I'm lookin' at you Bells).  This time, after a whirlwind trip to New York City, Maine, St. John, and Halifax, we decided we couldn't just drive right by Ottawa and not stop, so we extended by just one night...And now we head home.
9/11 Memorial

Staten Island Ferry

Central Park

Cooper like Donut Plant!


Mount Desert Island Maine

After Cooper saw Uncle Jeremy do this...

...He convinced Daddy to do this!


Tide Pools


Mountain climbing

Whale watching in St Andrew's NB

Visiting some of our favourite people!

Hopewell Rocks

Visiting more of our favourite people!

The Citadel

The Mint


As you can see, we've fit in a whole lot of fun and adventure in the past 2 1/2 weeks!!  Seems that early this morning my brain had already moved onto the next big thing...That thing being the 100km we are running in less than three weeks.  Woke up to run in our beautiful Nation's Capital with the remembrance of a horrifying race nightmare.  Turns out we had to bike portions of the run, but my bike went missing while I was doing a run portion.  Don't fear, some kind soul had just locked it up in a nearby shed to keep it safe.  Then much to my chagrin, I kept realizing that I was missing essential running items.  I was running in dress socks and Chucks, among other non-running appropriate and horribly unfashionable attire, and continuously sent people home to get what was missing, you know because in my dreams you send someone home for one shoe and one sock at a time (thanks Brooke, you made a number of trips home for me).  This my friends is a problem...We have not even started tapering yet, and I am clearly suffering from a mental breakdown.

Don't forget to RSVP for our Boston Pizza Fundraiser.  It's sneaking up fast on us here, and we will need to let them know our final numbers soon.  If you've forgotten...

Here are the details:

When: September 2nd, 2015-7pm-10pm
Where:  Guelph Boston Pizza, 35 Woodlawn Rd. W., N1H 1G8 
What:  Salad, Pasta, Pizza, Soft Drinks, Coffee, and Tea served BUFFET STYLE!!
How much:  $20/person