50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #44 – Ski a Half Marathon

20160220_132659On the same day I put a new hole in my head I decided to complete another crazy thing. I had been trying to schedule it for a while but it just never worked out. That Saturday afternoon I decided I had to make it work out.

The idea for this year long project, if you recall, came when I was drinking wine and surfing Pinterest. I started seeing Disney running costumes and suddenly came up with the idea of doing the Disney Princess Half Marathon, in costume, in Florida, two days before my 49th birthday. That was crazy thing #1. Since then I ran the Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon in California, I hiked 21K (the distance for a half marathon) out on the Berg Lake Trail wearing a heavy pack (and nearly died), and I ran a half marathon without training with Jody. I figured the only way to complete the set was to ski a half marathon.

In the past, the longest I’ve skied in one day was 17K (I think) with two friends a couple of years ago. I remember being completely dead after. I expected the same this time. I am a very slow skier. Senior citizens still kick snow in my face, politely of course… most of the time!


I don’t like skiing when the guys aren’t in the ticket booth – it just makes me feel a bit insecure, but I knew Lee would be there until about 4 pm and I knew my crazy thing would take me over three hours. Instead of heading out on a long trail and being far away from the ticket booth and a way to bail out if it wasn’t going well, I decided to do a shorter route near the parking area and just do laps. Lee and Leah were there for the first three laps and the last lap was a short one so I knew I’d be fine.


I didn’t take as many pictures as I usually do because I wanted to get this done before it got dark. I did four laps, two were longer and two were shorter, and it worked out almost exactly to 21K. I ended up helping some lost snowshoers get turned around… how they got lost in that area baffles me! I had to reassure them that I knew what I was talking about and they were not where they thought they were. I did lots of thinking about the year and everything I’d done. I even tried to put what I learned in my cross country ski lesson with Lisa into play – for the first three laps. For the last lap I was just going and not thinking too much. I’m proud to say that I finished, it was still light, and I had a great time. I now know I can do longer distances without completely collapsing. And as a bonus, I could still walk the next morning! How cool is that!


Note the bandaid on my nose – I didn’t want to get sweat in the new hole in my head!

Why was this crazy?

It was the longest I’d skied by quite a bit in one day. This year the longest I’ve done is 14K at once.

Would I do it again?

Now that I know I can do it – sure! There is something ultimately satisfying about setting a goal and reaching it.


50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #41 – Wing it for a half marathon with Jody

Since my year began with running a half marathon (21K) I figured it should end with one too. Because Jody is always up for an adventure, she agreed to do this one with me. Her husband, Gerry, shook his head in disbelief.

Not only were we going to run (actually more walk than run) a half marathon on our own with no crowds, medals, t-shirts, or any kind of fanfare, we were going to do it without any training.

I cross country ski a lot in the winter and Jody had done quite a bit this year as well, so it’s not like we’re not fit. Running is like any other activity. Muscles like to do things they’ve been practicing. Our muscles have been practicing gliding, or showshoeing with our legs in a different position than running. Neither of us had actually run at all since December 15th when we did our 5K virtual cupcake run. Really, though, how hard can it be?

We made plans to meet at 6:30 am on Valentine’s Day at my house. We could run on the rivers trail and use my house as a washroom stop / aid station. Tomena, much to our shock, decided to join us for the first 9K. So the three of us reminisced about the slush run of last year and training for half marathons we all did last year. We watched a brilliant sunrise, and had a great time.

Then we got back to my place, reloaded our water, etc. and said goodbye to Tomena. 12Km to go – no problem!… actually… problem!


Don’t be fooled – this is ice not water!

We agreed that we would walk the rest of the way because that would be easy… right? Wrong! By the time we got to 16K we were hurtin’ girls. My hips were sore but I think Jody was suffering a bit more than I was. It was a damp morning, which does nothing for either of us, and it was also icy. We didn’t discover that until Jody found what looked like a puddle and was actually polished ice. She went down backwards in slow motion and there was nothing I could do about it. After that we still had 5K to go. We managed to finish but I wouldn’t say it was our best run or walk. It took us four hours!

Of course, some of that time was spent doing what we do best – enjoying the scenery and taking pictures. Some of the highlights that distracted us from our pain were the awesome hearts strewn along the trail by artists wanting to brighten up Valentine’s day. We saw wildlife – a beaver underneath the Overlander’s Bridge and swans coming in to land. We met and interesting guy collecting cans and bottles, and we had lots of time for great conversation.

Looking forward to running season starting again, but not until I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second of ski season.

Why was this crazy?

We spend a ridiculous amount of time training for runs – what if we just did the runs?

Would I do it again?

Probably not… I think training and building gradually to a distance is a good thing! I was in serious pain the next day!


Finished! We got that sh#t done!


50 Crazy Things – Crazy Thing #1 – Run the Disney Princess Half Marathon

YKA Ready for takeoff!

With Amanda at the Kamloops Airport (YKA) ready to leave on our adventure!

Here it is. My 50 Crazy Things in My 50th year has begun. I, very much a non-Disney Princess, ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon at Disneyworld on February 22, 2014 – just two days before my 49th birthday. When I thought of it, it was the craziest thing I could think of doing. I was in a bit of a funk, annoyed that I was going to turn 50 next year and feeling like I’m not what I imagined 50 to look or feel like. I feel like I’m in my 30’s, in the prime of my life, like I have everything ahead of me. I needed to get out of the rut I was building around myself, the habits that were easy, making my life smaller

Oh yeah, Princess Vesta is real!

Oh yeah, Princess Vesta is real!

and smaller instead of growing bigger. When I told one of my library patrons, who is in her sixties, what I was doing she said I should do 50 Crazy Things in My 50th year to celebrate and hit that number head on instead of cowering from it. So, here I am. I am doing 50 crazy things that will help me get over fears and self-imposed limitations that keep me from living life 100 per cent. Some seem really easy and some are really hard, but all of them are designed to get me back in the game.

 It all started when…

Pinterest - Am I really going to run a marathon?

Amanda surprised me be decorating our window with images from the insane Pinterest board we used to plan the trip. I loved it!

All of this thinking started in the spring of 2014. I was drinking wine and surfing Pinterest, never a good combo, and I started coming across running costumes for races. I started randomly sending the Disney ones to my friend, Amanda, who loves Disney and had never run a step in her adult life. Long story short, she finally started talking to me again and then said, sure, let’s go for it.

We registered, a bit of a miracle there as it sold out in six hours, and then we started making plans that culminated in not only the run, but 5 days away from home, 3 days in Walt Disney World and one in Universal Orlando. I realized I hadn’t been to the United States in probably twenty years, and I hadn’t even been on a plan in six years. This trip was long overdue for me, even if it was to just shake things up a bit.

We had a great time staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, in an Ariel Room as a tribute to the fact that I was running as Ariel from the Little Mermaid. Amanda was running as Rapunzel.

Run wise – it sucked! I’ve felt much better during other half marathons – the time change, humidity, and crowds did me in, and the hip and foot injuries I had didn’t help. Aside from that, though, this was an extraordinary experience for me.

Why was this crazy?

Running out of the castle.

Ariel and Rapunzel coming out of Cinderella’s Castle – who gets to do that????

Although I used to travel when I was younger, I haven’t done anything different for a really long time. I hadn’t been on an airplane in about six years, and I hadn’t been to the states in about twenty years. This was the furthest east (in North America) and the furthest south I’ve ever been. I can’t remember the last time I did something that was just for me. The biggest thing was I said I wanted to do something… and I did it! This is me reclaiming my adventuresome spirit. I know my plans have inspired other people to try new things and step out of their comfort zones.

Huge thanks to Amanda Cowell for taking up the challenge, running her first half marathon, and planning the Disney part of our trip perfectly. I know it was an adventure for her too.

Check out our gallery for more pictures from our Disney adventure.

Oh yeah, we rocked it!

Oh yeah, we rocked it!