Monday, May 9, 2011

"The Time Has Come...

..." the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:

Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--

Of cabbages--and kings--

And why the sea is boiling hot--

And whether pigs have wings."

It's funny the things that come to mind sometimes.  I told myself, enough is enough, you have to update that blog, and oh course what comes into my mind? Why Disney's Alice in Wonderland Carroll Lewis of course!! (Because I'm a student now and have to think in an intellectual way now ;) ) 

BMO Half Marathon

In the build up to my race a lot of people made the comment about how being called a "Half Marathon" doesn't give the run justice, as 21.1km, or 13 miles, isn't 'just a run,' it's a bit of a trek!!  I tried to play it cool before the race, but when I was done I was proud - it's a long way to go! Especially as I only really started running in January with a few jaunts last fall.  
The day started with my (amazing) Mum and I rising around 530am and making our way over the Lion's Gate Bridge to just before Rogers Arena where Mum dropped me off.  There was a huge wave of runners pouring into the area and I was excited/anxious.  I did probably the most important pre-run ritual (based on the huge amount of people in the line ups) and visited the ladies outdoor port-a-loo before joining the huge mass forming at the starting line for the Half Marathon.  The race officially started at 7, so they did a bit of talking, played the national anthem, and then shot off the gun! It took a few minutes for me to actually reach the starting line, but things started off pretty well! I got into a rhyme and kept telling myself that it was okay I was being passed, as I was also passing others.  In the beginning people are all over the place and it takes the first couple of kilometres to get into your right pace group.  
It was a really neat feeling to be amongst so many people, running along as the sun rose through the streets of Vancouver.  There were bands along the route at a few places and some water/Gatorade and Gel stations.  I tried my first gel (I know, I know, don't try something new during a race) but I think it did help give me energy part way through the race.  I got pretty good at snagging water off the tables without really stopping after the first one.  I didn't drink any gatorade because I don't like the taste it leaves in my mouth...yuck! 
I ran past the half way mark (which fell in Stanley Park) and to the bottom of Prospect Point.  It's a 200 foot elevation change over about half a km and as many people started walking I power walked my way up the hill, then started running again from the top.  I felt like I was doing alright down through Stanley Park until I reached English Bay. Then I thought I was going to die. 
To be perfectly honest, I had only ran one 11km run in the past month, and maybe three 5 kms? It was really poor training, and I might have had a bunch of fries, beers, and other treats on that road trip of mine.  Needless to say, I could have prepared better, and the last 4.5km I really felt it.  
It was really frustrating and I had a big inward battle of mind over body over mind. I wanted to run but my body was tired and I wanted to just walk.  I walked far more than I had wanted to in the last stretch and it was clearly conditioning and endurance.  I did run the last 2km though to finish strong (don't want to be seen walking by all those people cheering!) Plus I saw a sign that said "It's not sweat, it's your fat crying" which made me feel bad.  There were a TON of really nice positive signs though, and people wanting to High-five and cheer me on.
There was one girl in particular who I saw right at the beginning of the race who had "Just Keep Running.." written on duct tape on the back of her shirt.  I thought "Yah! I'm going to keep running!" and throughout the race I would pass her, and then twenty minutes later she'd pass me again, and then twenty minutes later I'd notice myself passing her again.  Then I didn't see her for a while.  Near the end I was walking (like a big tired out lazy!) and I saw her jog past me.  I starting running again, passed her, and ran my way over the finish line (ahead of her :) ).  It wasn't the beating her part that matter, it was just seeing that encouragement from someone else going through the same thing.  
I unfortunately was only focused on crossing the finish line and didn't hear or see my Mum calling out my name and cheering me on near the finish line.  I had scanned the crowd a bit for her but near the end I just had to be done.  She did see me though and took some photos for proof! :D I am so appreciative of my Mum coming to watch me, it meant so much to have her there representing all the love and support from my family.  
When I did cross the line I thought I was going to die.  It was super sunny and I was pretty light headed to be honest.  I walked about fora bit then sat in the shade with some water and semi-stretched my legs.  Eventually I got up and went into the runner's food area for some grub (bagels with no cream cheese? gross.  Fruit Source bars, mini-muffins, hard boiled eggs and chips? Yum!).  Then started the search for my Mum.  She had lost track of me after I crossed the line and I didn't have a clue where she was.  I even got to relive my youth by going up to the Lost and Found and telling them that I am a bit old for it I know, but I've lost my Mum, I don't have a cell phone, and could I borrow one to make a call? hehehe. Oh dear.  We were eventually reunited thanks to Gareth and were on our way back to West Vancouver :)
Best Part of the Half Marathon: The buzz. The feel.  Finishing.
Worst Part of the Half Marathon: The last 4 km. Ugg.
What I will do differently Next Time: Complete my training!! I didn't train in the last month and even though my 11km felt great the week before, that's still 10km afterwards! 
Will there be a "Next Time"?:  As soon as I finished the race I said...NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!
About 45 minutes later (when I could breath and function normally, and had had some yummy food) I was already WAY toooo excited about my next race, which I have already registered for!!
I shall be running a half marathon October 1st, 2011.  The Walt Disney World Wine & Dine Half Marathon!!!  I had said before that I wanted to run it, but now I am officially registered!! I will most likely still be on podium at Le Cellier at this time, so it shouldn't be too difficult getting the shift off, as it doesn't start until 10pm!! However, I'm just going to hope hope hope really hard, as you never know with Disney schedules!
I have already started pouring over training schedules and am pretty sure I have a pretty great plan in place.  This past half I just wanted to finish, this half I'm hoping to get a better time, as it is a key stepping stone in my quest for the full marathon in January 2012!! (That's not even far away! Ahh!) 
I will have to acclimatize to running in crazy heat though, as summer in Orlando is HOT! May in Orlando is already 35/88 degrees! 
This time last year if you asked me if I was a runner I would have laughed. Just laughed.  
Now if you ask me if I'm a runner, I would say yes.  I'm not a hardcore runner, I'm not aiming to win any races or qualify for Boston or anything like that, but I think it's safe to say, yes, I'm a runner. I love running :)

May the 4th Be With You!

Cheesy? Yes. Will it make you always remember my birth date? Also Yes!
On May 4th, 22 years ago, at 0848, Anne and Chris Armstrong welcomed ME into this world at Grace Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
I love birthdays. I love MY birthday.  Yes I am 22 this year, and I know that as you get older you aren't suppose to love your birthday as much, but I still do.  Yes it freaks me out most years and I can't believe that I'm already twenty two and I have so much to accomplish still, but if it's going to come, we should at least celebrate it and love it!  I spent my birthday with great friends and family and it was really nice.  People were all way too generous! I had a 3 day multi-friend/family/friends celebration as well as a few amazing phone calls from my Carebear and a nice weekend visit from Kimmy, Gar and Clodagh! (and Lily of course!).  
Twenty One was a really trying age for me.  I started it out in a far away location mourning the end of Disney, the end of a relationship, a crappy new job and my only friend within 100 miles was working.  I spent four months trying to make a horrible work environment better, then decided it wasn't worth it and moved in with my sister and her fiance - who then sprang on the family she was pregnant!! I never thought at 21 (or at any age really) I'd be living with a pregnant lady :)  Kim and I hadn't lived together since I was 12 and she graduated high school, so it took some adjustment but ended up incredible.  I ended my twenty first year with my first ever road trip, with many amazing stops through the states, and by running a half marathon!  Along the way I also wrote my SATs and got accepted to the University of Central Florida (Rosen College of Hospitality Management), learned a ton about working environments and my limits, learned to love running, and learned to love myself and started along the path to being who I truly want to be.  It was a trying, hard, dirty year.  The highs were high and the lows were low, but I thank everyone along the way for helping me become who I am today.

Today, today I'm 22 years old.  And although if you had asked me four years ago what would be happening when I was 22 years old, I would have told you (completely certain) something completely different to how things actually are.  I have always been the master of life plans, and although I have one now as well, the difference is I know it will change, because there is no way I can know the incredible opportunities that will arise in the future.   It does feel a bit scary being 22 and just going back to school.  I feel as though, like all the people I started at Queen's with, and some of my high school friends as well, I should be graduating with a degree this year.  Instead I am flying to Orlando bright and early Tuesday morning and after orientation this week as well as moving in, I'm starting at the University of Central Florida on Monday May 16th towards a Bachelor Of Science Degree In Hospitality Management.  Some of my credits will transfer over from Queen's (hopefully most!) but I'm pretty much starting from the beginning.  I am doing the summer semester of school to get a head start before coming back to Vancouver Island for a few weeks for my sister Kimmy's wedding!! and then going back down to Orlando August 15th (red eye!) to start working at Walt Disney World August 16th!! Then I'm running a half marathon October 1st, my friend Emma who I haven't seen since November 2008 is coming to visit November 2011, I'm running a full marathon January 8th, 2012, and my dear husband Craig is coming to visit in February 2012! And that is only the planned out things! This 22nd year is going to be so full of new adventures, of discovery and learning.  I am so excited about everything that it holds and am so ready to reach out and grab 22 by the horns and own it.  

Mother's Day Weekend!

Friday night Kim and Gareth came over with Clodagh and Lily for the weekend!  They arrived pretty late but it's always so nice when they visit.  This visit was very special though because on Saturday Grandma and Grandpa came over and got to hold and meet Clodagh for the first time! Her Great-Grandparents!! It was so incredible seeing them hold little Clodagh in their arms, they've definitely had practise with babies! Thinking about how they had rocked my Mum and her siblings back and forth, and rocked me and my sisters back and forth and were now rocking my niece back and forth the same way - it's just so moving and so breathtaking. I am so in awe of my Grandma and Grandpa. They are the most loving, interesting, magnificent people.  They tell the best stories and my Grandpa has this uncanny ability to remember each and every date anything ever happened on! He even remembers what people wore and how everything went!
We had a nice Mother's Day dinner Saturday night all together because Sunday Kim, Gar and I were leaving for Vancouver.  We have had many family dinners over the years (we even had one last Wednesday for my bday) but this one was an especially great one.  Everyone was in great spirits (until the hockey game) and I got the chance to have a really special chat with my Grandma before I travelled away.
Sunday we had a nice brunch cooked mainly by Dad ( I had a tofu scramble..which I've never made before and needed a lot of ketchup for! haha) and I helped a little with the eggs...which I couldn't eat any of...because...I've gone vegan again!!!

I just feel healthier and I made better decisions when my brain isn't bogged down with cheese.  Even though I love love love cheese, I think it's best we have a little separation until July.  I will preface this vegan thing with this: If the opportunity arises before July for me to have Dole Whip, I will. I will have Dole Whip and I will love each and every bite. Dole Whip is the reason I can never be a full on forever vegan.  It just is too much heaven on earth. I don't want a wedding cake - I want a Dole Whip machine ;)

This post has been very random and very little Disney so I am going to leave you with these...Some links to some GREAT Disney Updates!!!!
Also sorry for the lack of photos..and can you believe I'm a cast member in less than 100 days!!! Ahhhh Double Digits!!

This picture is absolutely breath-taking!

Minus the tomato and you've got yourself a deal!

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