Ode to AbronxTurtle: The 59th Street Mount Sonofabitchs song, or Not Feeling so Groovy.

Today my friend abronxturtle ran his 12th marathon in a year in an effort to raise money for the Dream Team. A group of runners who raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. He posted this on his facebook page:577801_4993828286128_1137167856_n

22 in. And here’s Mount Sonofabitch. 59th street bridge. – J. Kolinsky

What is remarkable to me is not that fact that he ran well over 314.4 miles this year. It was way more than that this year because he trained, ran half marathons, 5 and 10ks, and did numerous fun runs. I am not amazed that he ran 3 marathons ALONE without help, support, fan cheering or anyone to meet him at the finish line (okay, that’s a lie I am COMPLETELY AMAZED!). What is remarkable to me is he just decided to to this incredible task and so he did it.

Lots of people make New Years Resolutions and peter out around January 2. They lose momentum. Joe didn’t. He kept going. During these past 12 races he lost a tooth, sprained an ankle, ran with the Elvis’, defeated by Hurricane Sandy, ran hills like a roller coaster, bled, was bruised and batter, yet he still did it. He ran all those marathons just like he said he would. He never quit and if anyone had the right to it was him. He kept going because he told his daughter he would and he doesn’t like to let her down.

I have learned a lot from him over the years I have known him. I have learned from his mistakes and his success.

So Joe, now that you have ran 12 marathons in 12 months, what are you going to do? Oh right…going to Walt Disney World to run the Goofy. Congratulations my friend, you deserve a vacation in Walt Disney World, a medal and all the best.

You deserve to feel groovy.


Question: How far is a marathon anyways? Answer: Not 3km

I had one of those moments today when I looked a the person and thought to myself “How come you aren’t dead? Surely your stupid actions and words should have killed you by now.” Then because I wanted to know how he survived so long, I said out loud, “What is your Super Power?”

Apparently dumb luck. Lots of people have this super power.

By now you are thinking – what the hell are you talking about Tourist?

I was standing by the photocopier (a school equivalent to a water cooler) and asked a fellow teacher (male) what his plans were for the weekend. I know it’s only TUESDAY, but seriously people – teachers are BONE TIRED and cannot wait to sleep for a week because YOUR children exhaust me are awesome.

Anyway Teacher Guy began to tell me his plans for the weekend.

TG- I am running a marathon his weekend!

Me- Wow congratulations! Training is brutal and so time consuming, I really admire marathon runners! So tell me, how many miles did you average a week? Where are you running? Did you fund raise?

TG- Naw, it’s not a big deal. I didn’t train. I am just going out there and giving it a shot.

Me- HOLY CRAP MAN, no training? You are a rock star!

TG- Naw…it’s only 3km.

Me- …..Picture a thought bubble (dude you have just insulted an entire culture of people and highlighted your stupidity)

Silence for several minutes while he stood there thinking he was a rock star.

Me – Dude, tell me what you think a marathon is.

TG- a fun run.

Me- It can be, but usually people can barely breathe by the end and their body hurts so much it isn’t very fun after a while.

TG- it’s only 3k!

Me- 3K is a fun run. A Marathon is 42k.

He looked at me like I was kidding him. Then I said,

Me- I am indignant on behalf of every person who has ever run MARATHON – the entire 42KILOMETER race. Those people deserve medals. I can appreciate 3k being a challenge, it is an amazing goal to be a short or long distant runner. But to say a marathon is just a 3k fun run is insulting!

TG- Whatever…. same thing.

Me- Not the same thing. I challenge you to run the ING in August. ALL 42 Freaking Kilometers and then tell me it’s the same.

TG – Not a problem. I’ll do it.

Me- And I will be there with a body bag to collect you.

TG – Challenge accepted.

TG is also a Maple Leaf fan, doesn’t that say it all? WOW! I was reading a blog entry today from my favorite marathoner. The Bronx Turtle had a similar conversation with on a telephone conference today. Read it, it is hilarious. He felt embarrassed that people think he is nuts. Well for starters, The Bronx Turtle is running a marathon a month, A MONTH PEOPLE! that is 12 marathons this year for WDW Radio’s Dream Team Project.  He is raising funds for the Make-A-Wish foundation. And he felt embarrassed? WHAT? I think it is amazing what he is doing. Especially the part where there is NO SCHEDULED marathon for June around his home in New York City – let’s all cry him a river. Poor guy lives in Manhattan with Central Park as his back yard….boo hooo… (Jeeze Tourist, jealous much?) So Turtle is going to run around Manhattan, by himself, with no support for water or energy junk, to help himself achieve this amazing feat of a marathon a month, 42 kilometers ON foot with no one cheering him on, handing him water, or placing a medal around his neck. All to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation. He isn’t the first person I know to do this. Another Goal Setter (that is her name) did this July 5th last year.

I feel sorry for them. Part of the fun of doing these races is bragging rights. Bragging rights need a medal. When you run that far on your own, no one gives you a medal. I have decided to take matters into my own hands. These people deserve to be recognized for there amazing actions and as a preschool teacher, I have the ability to do something about it. What you may ask? I am making them each a Macaroni Necklace Medal. The need to hang something on their wall when THAT GUY comes over and says “so what…no big deal”

The other part of this story that I find so amazing is fundraising for Make-A-Wish Foundation. Without thinking too hard (it is June people and my brain is fried) I can recall 4 children who were recipients of a precious wish.

One little girl I know received a hot tub and gazebo attached to her home. She needed water therapy to keep her limbs active. She is unable to stand on her own, so the water gives her a freedom from her chair.

Another little girl’s wish was to go to Walt Disney World. She needed supports in the form of oxygen and limited time in the parks because it would be so exhausting. But what little kid doesn’t want to be a princess for a day or 3? The Village down there had Oxygen hook ups in her room and Disney sent princess’ and mice over to the village where they wouldn’t have to fight crowds, just to spend time with her. Disney knows how to throw a party and 7 years later, she still lights up when she talks about it.

I had a student in my class one year who had cancer. He wanted to meet his hero Gizmo Williams, a CFL Edmonton Eskimo. Gizmo made it there 4 days before he died. They spent the day together and my little friend wore Gizmo’s jersey everyday. They buried him in it.

I know another little boy who was just granted a wish. He will get to go to Disneyland this summer to have his dream come true.

Make-A-Wish seems frivolous to some people, these people think the money could be better spent finding cures, or research. The bottom line is research wasn’t going to help my little friend who died. He was able to spend his last living days with a hero. His mom was granted happiness to see her little boy happy with stars in his eyes. What parent doesn’t want that for their child? I know I do.

I am heading over to the WDW Radio Dream Team Project and making a donation in support of The Bronx Turtle – his real name for the donation form? Joe Kolinsky – marathon man.

I think you should follow Joe because he is funny, does stupid things, and a great writer. I think you should support his cause and tell him he isn’t running for nothing.

Click here to have more information on the Dream Team Project

Click here to make a donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation to support Joe Kolinsky



Signs, Signs, Everywhere There’s Signs

I’ve started paying attention to signs. Not just road signs, but clues or meanings that trigger directions for me to follow or messages I am suppose to be aware of. Usually they are verbal but every now and then they are words I read. Over the past 7 days the message I have received loud and clear is, if you want something bad enough, say it out loud. Tell people you desire this.

It all started last week in my Qualitative and Quantitative Research class. My Professor gave me an article she found on LinkedIn. It is called,

Four Ways Women Stunt Their Careers Unintentionally  by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt, you can read the blog here.

Essentially, The article tells women to be proud of their accomplishments and say so. Don’t assume the people in power know what you are capable of, tell them. Be assertive. Men typically do this all the time. When women do it, they are looked at as bossy or pushy. Have you ever heard the old adage, the squeaky wheel gets the grease? Well, it’s true.

My mom and I had a sit down the other day talking about selling yourself. My mom is likely the best sales person on the planet. She can sell ice to Inuit. She maintains that if you can’t sell yourself to a company you want to work for, than how can you be expected to sell anything once you work for them?

Good point mom. I also know if I sell myself too hard, than I risk being shown the door. I’m okay with that. I am confident enough in my own ability that finding a new opportunity down the road is possible. The bottom line is, I know what I want, I can see it clearly. I am taking steps that put me in that direction. I have told people what I want and I am 3/4 of the way done in terms of furthering my education to get me that position. Today I had three separate conversations that pointed back to that sign.

The first conversation was with a person who just finished the very same degree that I am currently working on. We were chatting about the Master’s program, when she commented about my skill and mentioned that I may be a good candidate for a future endeavor. I replied, that’s the plan Stan! I told her I think it’s important to share your plans. She agreed, she said no one gets ahead by staying quiet about their intentions. EXACTLY!

The second conversation was with a new employee who has her eyes set on a brass ring. I can see the hunger in her eyes. She also is telling everyone who will listen her ambition. Good for her, I like her tenacity.

The third conversation was with a dear sweet friend. We were talking about personal goals, not work related ones. She had mentioned that she was interested in running the half marathon with me next August. I said it’s a date! Meanwhile, I mentioned that I had hoped to run the Donald Duck half marathon January 6, 2012. I was currently training for it and if all went well, I would be there because it is the 15th anniversary of the race. I was told there would be a bit of fan fare surrounding it! She asked me what was holding me back. I replied, CASH. School is expensive and that is my priority right now. She reached into her bag and gave me $5.00! She said if everyone who read my blog gave me $1 than I could go easily. She is right,and I would have money left over for a big donation to Make-A-Wish too. Before I left, another friend over heard our conversation. She gave me $5.00 too. So now I have $10.00 towards my flight! I have taken some Face Painting jobs this Christmas, so that will cover half my flight. This no longer sounds crazy! Okay, it sounds crazy, even to me.

I do however, come with a set of beliefs and values. I believe that no good deed goes undone. So… I am not going to ask you for a donation to send me to Walt Disney World in January. If you would like to contribute, THANK YOU!! But that sounds selfish. I am going to ask you to think about giving $1.00 to your charity of choice instead of me. I am not a charity – as much as I like to think I am – but I do believe in giving of yourself and money.

I will be optimistic and say WHEN you donate to a favorite charity because you read THIS blog, please tell me and I will write the amount on a piece of paper and put it in my fund. You can email me: edmtourist@gmail.com

you can tweet me: @edmontontourist

You can Facebook me: The Edmonton Tourist

AND of course you can comment below!

I want to see the generosity of people, of my readers. I want to know how much – I’m asking that you give $1, your morning coffee costs more…just saying, and where you give it.

As for my fund, If I don’t raise enough for 2012 marathon it’s okay, I KNOW I will raise enough for the 2013. Any extra will go to the charity I will run for, Make-A-Wish foundation. I will run for them, because I have been lucky enough to have my wish come true, Make-A-Wish gives kids a chance to have their wish come true. Dreams that come true are the second best feeling, making someone elses dream come true is the best feeling.

Thanks Laurie xoxo

There was a Celebration? Was I there?

The Celebration! What for you might ask? Mostly the event on Sunday afternoon was to celebrate the accomplishment of those foolish mortals who chose to participate and finish the Canadian Derby Marathon and Half marathon. The Marathon finishers were too dead to attend the celebration. Quite frankly, so was I.

As it stands, I am still exhausted. I feel like I have extreme jetlag. I can be talking to you one mine and then need a nap the next. This is the craziest I have ever felt. My muscles aren’t tired, nothing is sore – except my MCL injury and my stress fracture. BUT MAN, if I didn’t have to be places I would still be in bed sleeping. Clearly 4.5 hours of exercise was too much for my body to cope with. All I want to do is eat steak and sleep. It’s funny for those who know me, steak is not something I ever want. Beef is not a food that is anywhere near my list of favorites. I am a bean and lentil kind of girl. However, if there was a cow walking by my window right now, I would eat it. I have been invited to a steakhouse for dinner, and all I can say is YES! Bring it on, I want a steak starter, a steak dinner and for dessert, STEAK! And did I mention to say how thirsty I am? It is a constant need for water. I need a camelback to satisfy my thirst. Apparently this is normalish, or so my dietician warned me. So I have been alowing the sleep to come as needed and have taken out a loan to pay the water utility. I have gone to the gym twice this week, once to stretch out my tired muscles and once to swim. I shouldn’t have gone swimming. It made me MORE tired if that is even possible.

First of all I want to say thanks to everyone who came out to the celebration on Sunday afternoon. It was a fantastic time…I think. Was I there? Is there proof?I really don’t remember any of it. I remember kissing 2 babies, hobbling around on crutches, eating Granny’s marshmallow caramel rice crispy rolls – well call the crack crispies because they are an instant addiction. I remember lots of flowers – THANK YOU – and gift cards for coffee – THANK YOU – and drinking water. There was beer there, but I needed WATER thank you very much! A friend came all the way from Thailand for the party – well that isn’t strictly true, his mom said he was there to see her finish the half, but she may be delusional, I am SURE he was there for me.

But that is all I remember. I am horrified by this. I have a fantabulous memory. I can remember details that will amaze you. However, Sunday is pretty much blank. So if I agreed to do anything or said anything that is expecting results, please let me know. The last time I was this tired I had a newborn baby and a 2 year old. I don’t remember that year either.

I do have a few picture to prove I was there.

This is me and my Nurse Practitioner. She came! She is my angel. The unfailing support I receiver from her has changed my life. I was thrilled she came!

The finishers. We don’t look very tired. It’s called faking. Like the sandals? The feet needed a break.

I have a couple of great pictures of the friends and family who came, but I need to protect their privacy. The picture of my Yoga instructor is too hot to post ever.

Once again thank you for all the support and love shown to get me through. I appreciate it more than you will ever understand. Don’t worry, the next blog will go back to the regular scheduled programing.


Today is My Last Day as Old Me

Here I sit the day before the first major athletic goal I have ever set. I am about to accomplish it. After walking 20km several weeks ago, this doesn’t seem like such a big deal any more. Except 1 – I have to get up early and 2 – it’s going to be hot tomorrow.

Getting up early is a difficult task. For those of you who just spring out of bed when your alarm goes off, you have no idea what I am talking about. there is a fog that lives in my head until at least noon. I am not the chattiest people in the morning, nor do I enjoy food in the morning. I have been known to need copious amounts of coffee. I need to be at the start line about 7:30 AM. AM as in the MORNING! I know from training, I shouldn’t drink coffee. It makes me feel crappy while I am walking. I also know I need to eat about an hour before. Awesome. So I am packing an egg sandwich. First of GROSS, it will be cold, and secondly gross I have to eat it around 6:30. I am pretty excited about that! I am able to put these small annoyances aside so I may reach my goal. This isn’t a problem.

Hot will be a problem.

I am carrying 2 bottles of gator aide with me. I will drink water along the course route. I have trained mostly in torrential down pours and driving rain. So of course it will be hot tomorrow. I have my coolmax hat and will hydrate well before had, as well as today. I am drinking a ton of water today, all of this will help. I have my ipod shuffle charged and ready for action. I am using my iphone to take pics along the way. Strange, I know, but I want to live this moment and remember it. This is important to me.

Yesterday I went to the Expo Centre to pick up my race day package. I felt like part of the club. The exclusive club where only people with that crazy inner drive get to be apart of. It was a strange and new experience for me. Last year I could care less about being in the Canadian Derby Marathon. I didn’t get why people even wanted to do it. I get it now. I want to do this for lots of reasons.

  1. I worked hard this year and I want a medal for it – an award, some recognition and I will get one if I cross the finish line.
  2. Setting goals has helped me find focus and drive to move forward in my life. achieving goals has been more rewarding than I could ever fully understand. I expect I will be emotional as I cross the finish line.
  3. Walking has been a big part of my fitness plan. It’s working and has made me strong. It also makes me crave more. I like that feeling.
  4. I have had so much love and support come my way as I move towards this goal. People, friends, family and strangers have been more supportive than I ever hoped. By finishing, it shows them how thankful I am for their support and how much I appreciate it.
  5. I am looking forward to the big party afterwards. One of my goal setting mentors encouraged me to celebrate after the event. So I am. I am thankful the weather will be nice for it and curious to see who all comes for food and fun.

Time to set the next big athletic goal. I am going to run 5km without stopping. I have lost enough weight that my Doc is cool with it. The big concern is my knee injury. I have been looking after it, so starting next week, training begins. In someways 5k feels WAY easier than 21k. But walking is WAY easier than running. I know I can do it. It is the next step on my way to running the half marathon next year or the year after depending on the knee.

I look at today as the very last day as old me. Tomorrow at this time I will be apart of a group that does half marathons.  The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.

I Promised Mess I Wouldn’t Cry

Today I stood curbside at Floden Park to cheer on runners for the Canadian Derby Marathon in Edmonton. All I can say is, unbelievable!

In 2001, I sat curbside to watch the marathon for the World Track and Field Games in Edmonton. That was surreal. My kids were small, and I brought noise makers and face tattoos and fun things to play with that would support the athletes as they ran by.We were very excited! Suddenly, we could see the elite runners  in the distance! Then…. zooooooooooom… they ran past us at light speed. We saw them run by for maybe 45 seconds. HUGELY anticlimactic! But today was different. We stood curbside at the wall. From my understanding, the wall is where the runner reaches complete fatigue.

Wikipedia explains is like this:

Carbohydrates that a person eats are converted by the liver and muscles into glycogen for storage. Glycogen burns quickly to provide quick energy. Runners can store about 8 MJ or 2,000 kcal worth of glycogen in their bodies, enough for about 30 km/18–20 miles of running. Many runners report that running becomes noticeably more difficult at that point. When glycogen runs low, the body must then burn stored fat for energy, which does not burn as readily. When this happens, the runner will experience dramatic fatigue and is said to “hit the wall“.

We cheered and yelled! You could see the looks of determination on some faces and appreciation on others. Some runners thanked us as said they really appreciated our support and that it made a difference. We arrived after the elite runners had finished the race ( Brendan Lunty of Camrose, AB 2:33:17). We figured it was the middle of the pack and the back of the packers who needed our support the most. I saw people who could barely walk keep moving, people older than my father keep moving, (not that you are old DAD!) and people who just thought they would give it a “go” keep moving. What drives someone to run/walk or crawl 42km?

My dad is amazing. Everyday he runs 10km because:

A) he likes to

B) it keeps him fit

C) it feels good.

What the?!?!?! It feels good? My mom, is a walker/cycler. She will walk everywhere for HOURS because:

A) she likes to

B) it keeps her fit

C) it feels good.

I hear that a lot.  It feels so good.  I have NEVER experienced athletic euphoria. I use to cycle great long distances. I like the feeling of speed and wind in my face. But that was pretty much it. I takes major drive and commitment to be an athlete.

Drive and Commitment. I don’t think I have those. My sister does. Well, maybe it is more ambition then drive, or maybe you need one to achieve the other.

I am a huge hockey fan. During the 80’s the Edmonton Oiler’s were THE TEAM TO BEAT. The league even made a new rule to help the other teams try to beat the Edmonton Oiler’s. Together they won 5 Stanley Cups. A Dynasty to be reckoned with. There was a core group on that team that really had drive and commitment.  Others came and went. Mark Messier really lead team in spite of all you Wayne fans, it was always Messier’s leadership on and off the ice that led the team. This was evident when Wayne left, cried because he would never see another team so amazing in his career, and Mark led the team to yet another cup.  The man had a focus that you could see in his eyes. He willed the impossible to happen. I suspect, Mark Messier believed that you wanted something bad enough, you made it happen. Anything less was inadequate. I can just imagine what it was like to be Steve Smith. He scored on his own net during the playoffs and the Oil lost. Mess likely didn’t say a thing. Just let Smith wallow in it for the rest of the very long summer. He brought his “A” game the next season. I am sure Mess had a lot to do with that.

How do I get that kind of drive? I want that kind of focus. I want to see the brass ring and not just reach for it but grab on to it and hold it in my hands. I want to know what that feels like. I chose what I do for a living because it was easy. It is something I am good at and it comes easy to me. I was too afraid to reach for what I wanted so I chose the easy path. Thursday I register for University. This is not the easy path. The easy one is to stay in a position where I can assert myself and do more, but I am not able to move forward. I am held back by the constraints of my education even though I know I am capable of so much more. It frustrates me that I am capable of doing what is required of others, yet unable to step into that role. I refuse to be held back any longer. When I spoke to my adviser in regards to my class load, she suggested I start with one class. It will have 4 major projects, and 60 hours or so of class work/studying etc. My first thought was “I can handle a full class load easily!” But then I thought, well – hmm, It has been years since I have done this, I still need to be a parent and help out with homework etc ( although this angers me a woman, maybe a great topic for another blog) plus, my family still needs me to bring in a paycheck so I will need to continue my full-time job. Contrary to popular opinion, I am not independently wealthy! I still want to volunteer on the Parent Advisory Council at my children’s school. Then there is family stuff!! Wow, I am tired just looking at this.  But I am digging deep. If Messier could guarantee a win for the Rangers so they could go on to win the Cup, then I can do this. Who are we kidding, my goal is harder than Messier’s. He just had to win a game.

I guess I do have drive and focus.

Here we go, the next travel stop on my journey as a tourist and I promised Mess I wouldn’t cry.