Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Guess What!?!

This week is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness week!  This is an annual awareness week designed to educate people about Congenital Heart Defects.  Check out this fact sheet to learn more about CHDs.  Did you know that CHDs occur in nearly 1% of live births.  That makes CHDs as common as autism...But don't tell Jenny McCarthy that, she may go on a campaign against the consumption of apples by pregnant women or something.

CHD Awareness Week has had me thinking a lot about how grateful I am for this guy.  Even when he's crying because he asked for Mini Wheats and I gave him Mini Wheats, or because Lucas is eating Lucas' dinner, or because I am going to the washroom, or doing something as nervy as putting on my hat when we go outside.  Living the reality of CHD and open heart surgery sure does something for perspective, even when your kid belongs on Reasons My Son Is Crying at least once a day.

The Sick Kids foundation posted this graphic on facebook today.
Just in case you didn't know...We think Sick Kids is pretty great.  How blessed we are to live so close to a world class paediatric cardiac program.  

Speaking of hearts (see what I did there?), Friday is Valentine's Day.  With Valentine's Day comes the deadline to register for The Sears Great Canadian Run for the fantastically low price of $20.  After Friday the registration fee goes up to $50.  We currently have 11 awesome folks committed to running with Cooper's Troopers.  We could really use a few more people who want to come out and have one of the best days of their life with us on September 20, 2014.  

Looking for a great Valentine's Day gift?  How about you forgo the overpriced flowers and send a donation to Cooper's Troopers instead!  Our new fundraising link is here!  Let's make the battles that too many small children are fighting easier.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The One Where I Went Streaking

Hey Ya'll, It has been a while. I know our very few readers probably miss us, so we are going to try and get back on the blog train. I'm also happy to report that I'm back on the running train, and I am so happy about it, that I went streaking.

October and November were tough running months for me. It took quite a few weeks for my body to return to normal after our 50K, and when I did, I was having some knee issues that were persisting despite a huge drop in mileage. Then something magical happened, we found our treadmill on Kijiji. I was so excited. It was a great deal and it meant that Lexie and I could run simultaneously in the mornings. However, the day after I picked it up, I threw out my back. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It put me out for 7 days, which it turns out was exactly the amount of time I needed for my knee to start feeling better. Since I have returned, I have been feeling great and upping my mileage slowly to prepare myself for the next marathon training cycle (more on that to come in the coming weeks)

(Since I started writing this post and right now when I'm finishing it, I tweaked my back again. Doing what you ask? MOVING THE TREADMILL! The struggle is real)

As my back began to feel better, I was starting to crave a running challenge. I haven't raced or trained with a plan since September, and despite my mostly Type B personality, it was starting to bore me. So I joined the Runner's World Holiday Running Streak. Essentially it entails running everyday from American Thanksgiving to New Years Day. In order to keep the streak alive you must RUN (not bike, walk, hike, rollerblade, or hoverboard) at least 1 mile each day during the given time frame. I am happy to report I completed the streak and enjoyed it so much that I continued it on past the official ending date. I made it to 55 days (November 27-January 20), but decided to end it when my back started hurting again and I realized marathon training is about to kick off again (more on that later). I usually did two one-mile runs a week, sometimes 3. The other days were usually 3-5 miles with a 6-10 mile run thrown in on the weekends (including a 10 miler on a treadmill during the Ice Storm of the century, the decade 2013). It was a fun challenge, but I fear it has left me with a dependancy on running. I notice now more than ever that my mood is affected by the lack of a run. As a matter of fact, I ran for 4 days after I hurt my back for the second time because I convinced myself I was feeling better. I had planned to continue to streak for a while longer, at least until I got into really high mileage weeks in my marathon training plan, but I have a goal to reach, and I'm not risking it.

In my extensive 2-year running career, 2013 was by far my highest mileage year. According to my Garmin connect website, I ran 926 miles. I am often guilty of not charging my Garmin/forgetting my Garmin/running out of battery on my Garmin and using Lexie's. I also ran on the treadmill a lot, both at work and at home. So I am estimating my yearly total for 2013 to be about 1400-1600 miles. I'll take it. I think this year might be slightly higher as I plan on marathon training for most of the year and keeping the mileage high.

There are three major ways Lexie and I differ in our running. One, she is faster. Probably because she is obsessive about hitting her workouts properly, and I have issues with doing what I'm told. Two, she hates running on the treadmill and I somewhat enjoy it. Three, I LOVE to race, while she saves her racing dollars for races she can PR. So to finish off the official portion of the run streak I decided I would run the Running Room Resolution Run. This is a fairly popular run in Canada, it is done on either December 31st or January 1st, and comes with a "free" running jacket (it costs $50 to register), which if I look into the depths of my soul is probably the reason I wanted to run it.

The "Free" jacket

In case you live somewhere other than Ontario/Don't have Facebook/Were just born, we have a had a coooooooooooooold few weeks in Southern Ontario. December 31st was one of those days. Lexie, because she is the best running partner a husband could have, wanted to come along and cheer, so we bundled the kids up, I put on my warmest running gear and we headed off.

I was slightly disappointed with the organization of the run, I guess I expected it to be more of a race, when really it was more of an organized run. There was no starting line, or finish line, rather we just started in the parking lot of a church across from the Running Room store, and finished in the same parking lot.

The start was rough a it was 200 or so people all trying to run down the same sidewalk. I made the classic middle of the packer mistake and started too far back, meaning I had to walk/run this first few hundred metres when really I could have been running faster. Eventually I made my way around the walkers (not to be confused with zombies from The Walking Dead) and settled into a nice pace. I ran the 10km version of the race, which was two laps of the same same 5km loop. The course was nothing special, just around some residential streets in Guelph. Because of the the wintery weather we had, the sidewalks were covered is slush/ice/snow which made for a very slippery run. Only a few of us were doing the 10K so by the time I had hit my second lap, the sidewalks had opened up. The run finished on a nice downhill and I finished in about 53ish minutes  which is a pretty good 10K time for me. There was no official time, and my Garmin started acting up at the start, so that is an estimate.

Here is a picture of me after the race. I'm not surprised, my eyes are just frozen open.

This picture was taken on January 2nd, the coldest running day I have ever experienced. We did 5 miles and called it a day.

It was a great way to finish of a great year of running, and a great excuse to eat SO MUCH sushi for our fancy New Years Eve dinner. The run streak was fun, and I am hoping next year I can extend it to a solid 100 days.

Check back soon for information on our 2014 running goals! Here is a hint:


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Big News!!

Today this happened...
We have been looking forward to this day since about 6:15pm on September 21st, 2013.  Ok, it may have taken Leigh just a little bit longer to get excited about running again...
But we can't really blame him, because he had just moments before finished running 50K, and I had been marinating in all the lactic acid glory of running 50K for 6 hours while he was running.

In all seriousness the day of the Sears Great Canadian Run in 2013 will live on as one of our very favourite days ever.  You can read all about it herehere, and here.  It was truly a life changing day, and not something that you can understand until you participate in it yourself.

So, I guess you know what's coming next.  WE WANT YOU!!!!!!!!!!  50K was a long and tough journey.  We learned that it took a long time to fully recover from that effort.  At some point I would like to try it out again, possibly even a solo 100K effort some year, Leigh is not a glutton for punishment (or stupid) like me.  But this year is not the year.  This year we have other running goals that will not jive with a 50K effort.  So we are looking for teammates to join us.  We would like to put together as many Cooper's Troopers teams as we can.  If you are interested in joining the fun check out the website and let us know.  A few things to note:

-Until February 14th, 2014 registration is only $20!!!!!!!  This is an absolute steal.

-The fundraising requirement is $500/runner.  We are planning on doing some fundraising events this year so we can work together to bring in some big money for Sick Kids.

-You don't have to run far or run fast.  There were runners from all different levels of interest and experience.  There were lots of people who walked.  There are legs of varying distances.  We are hoping that we will have enough interest that we can accommodate everyone who wants to be a Cooper's trooper!

Please let us know (via a blog comment, Facebook, email, phone call, raceposal, CB radio, walkie talkie, or just tell us to our faces) by February 14, 2014 so we can all be cheap together and only have to pay $20 for registration.  Then we can all donate the $30 we save.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Done and Done

It's 11:27 on New Years Eve and I am fairly certain I will not be running any more miles in 2013.  In fact, I am fairly certain that I will be lucky if I drag myself up to bed rather then falling asleep on the couch before midnight, seeing as I am already up 2 hours past my bedtime.  So given that the totals are in, this is how running went in 2013...

I raced:
-Around The Bay 30K (3:02ish)
-Ottawa Marathon-42.2K (3:48:17)
-Sears Great Canadian Run-50K (5:14ish)

My total mileage for the year was 1805 miles!

Leigh will be on soon to tell you all about his 2013 in running, and how he went out in style.

Happy New Year!

Monday, 16 December 2013

You Got It

This commercial just came on the PVR'd Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer I was snuggled up watching with the boys.  Lucas immediately said, "Hey!  That's Sick Kids!" I tried to keep my tears as inconspicuous as possible, but the Daddy in the rocking chair with his baby sent me over the edge.  We sat with Cooper in one of those rockers for so many hours, his throbbing chest pressed up against us while he slept.

There are so many ways to give to Sick Kids, and what better time of year to do it.

This is the link to the Sick Kids Foundation website where you can find all the information you need to make a donation.

Get Better Gifts

Treasure Box Wish List

We will be going to Toronto for our annual Family Christmas date.  The boys will see Santa, we'll check out the Christmas windows at The Bay, and we'll go out for dinner like we do every year.  This year we will also make a stop at Sick Kids to drop off Treasure Box toy donations.  Lucas even used some of his own money to buy a cool Lego set for a kid who has to spend Christmas in the hospital.

I know that everyone's budgets are stretched this time of year, but I encourage you to give what you can.  If you would like to make a toy donation, but can't make it to Sick Kids we would be glad to add to the pile we will be bringing.  Just contact us so we can meet up (in Guelph, Georgetown, Brampton, and surrounding areas) to get your donations before we head to Sick Kids on Saturday.

Friday, 13 December 2013

What a difference a year makes!

A year ago life looked something like this for us inside the walls of Sick Kids.  Twelve days before Christmas, and Christmas couldn't have been farther from our minds.  As you know Cooper, and our family were very well cared for at Sick Kids.

This is our spunky little boy now, you would never guess how he spent this day a year ago.  His scar has faded so much that people don't stare at swimming lessons anymore, he has shot up to the top of the height growth chart, and finally found his way to the 50% from his old place falling off the bottom of the weight chart.  We have been so blessed.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Polar Express Love Continues

Had a stroller run planned this morning, and woke up having a hankering to do a longish run.  We learned on the way to school that the sidewalks were VERY slippery, so Coopy and I headed to the trail by our old house, thinking that the crushed gravel surface on the trail would be less slippery...It was not.  Much of the trail was icy, but we still managed to make it work.  Cooper didn't make a peep the whole 10 miles.  I bundled him up in the stroller, turned the audio book of The Polar Express on my phone on repeat and tucked it in the inside pocket of the stroller and then pulled the stroller cover down, creating some pretty good surround sound for him.  Everyone was happy, he got to listen to Liam Neeson read his favourite story, and I got to run without having to answer the question, "what's for dinner mommy?" for 10 miles.
I know he looks miserable in this picture, but really he was happy and cheerful the whole run.  When we were done and I wanted to take his picture...Another story.  Maybe it's because I needed my phone (his story) to take the picture.
 On the way home we were passing a Tim Horton's and I was reminded of the Gingerbread White Hot Chocolate I had seen a sign for yesterday.  So we made a quick hot chocolate detour, and headed home.

Be smart and make your own hot chocolate detour.  The gingerbread white hot chocolate was amazing!    Dare I say (without Leigh asking for a divorce) that I think it's better then the salted caramel Starbucks hot chocolate, and it doesn't cost your first born to get it.  Going to check out Bulk Barn to see if they have the mix there...Though it could be a problem for me to have this stuff in the house all the time.