Just a few flakes… of gold, that is

Two weeks ago, my Waterloo Chronicle column discussed my husband’s obsession with TV shows like Gold Rush and his desire that we sell everything, move to the Yukon and live out the rest of our days trying our luck at mining gold.

In a bid to convince him to stay here in Waterloo with all the creature comforts I love – like having coffee shops and stores that sell chocolate in close proximity – I asked readers to help me convince him that there’s gold right here in the Grand River. I suggested that if they had any gold craft glitter lying around, maybe they could put a wee bit in the water to help me trick him.

Here’s the column: looking-for-that-pot-of-gold-a-little-closer-to-home-in-waterloo.

Yesterday, a package arrived in the mail containing a small vial of 24 carat gold flakes from the Royal Canadian Mint. Yup, I’m serious. No return address, so no idea who sent it, but thank you very much for the thoughtful gesture!

Vial of 24k gold flakes

Can’t begin to tell you how surprised I was to get THIS in the mail the other day! Should I write my next column about lottery tickets?

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Wet winter gear? Here’s an easy drying solution.

It’s here. Doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon, either.

At this time of year, I love waking up to gently falling snowflakes and a fresh layer of snow covering the ground. If only this picturesque world could last all day.

Inevitably, however, that picture perfect snow globe scene turns into a sloppy, slushy mess.

Now, I’m not one to let a little water get between me and some fun with my running pals or a great time on the slopes.

How do I keep my shoes and boots dry?

I don’t. I do, however, have a quick fix for getting the dampness out of  today’s wet winter gear in time for a new outdoor adventure tomorrow.

Behold the repurposed boot rack:

drying rack

This very inexpensive item is by far the best solution I’ve found for drying winter footwear, hats and gloves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#TeamAwesome #RunOttawa #HalfMarathon

I loved running the Ottawa Marathon in 2014. A very organized woman in my running group (definitely not me) arranged for 22 of us to bus down together to experience all that Ottawa Race Weekend has to offer. We nicknamed ourselves “22 from Waterloo” and even designed a logo for team shirts.

Ottawa sure knows how to put on a race!

Volunteers, spectators, fellow runners, hospitality industry employees – literally everyone I met that weekend seemed to go out of their way to make us feel welcome. That’s probably why I’m so thrilled to have been chosen as an ambassador for the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend. As a member of Team Awesome, I want to help ensure that others enjoy the experience as much as I do.

You can learn more about Ottawa Race Weekend and my fellow Team Awesome members here: http://www.runottawa.ca/teamawesome.

Here’s one of my favourite post-race pictures of some “22 from Waterloo” group members proudly displaying our medals back in 2014:

18 tired but happy ladies showing off their medals before a well-deserved meal.

18 tired but happy ladies showing off their medals before a well-deserved meal.

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Really? I gave up coffee?

“Sunday was the last time we hung out. I savoured every moment, but the tension in the air was palpable.”

Apparently, I tried to give up coffee back in May 2013.

Yeah, right.

Found an archived post, Ode to another lost friend, in which I claimed to be caffeine-free for five days. Seriously doubt I made it to day six. If I did, I hope I behaved. Caffeine-deprivation does not make me a happy gal.

 

 

 

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Will it be a snow day?

My girls are so convinced there will be a snow day tomorrow, they’re talking about not even setting their alarms. It’s only early evening right now, though, and anything can happen.

The forecast calls for a few more hours of snow tonight, followed by a heavy dose of freezing rain lasting well into the morning commute.

My take on the situation? I’m setting my alarm for sure. Why? For one thing, the weatherman is often wrong. More importantly, Mother Nature likes to play tricks on people just as much as my kids do.

Never assume a snow day, and whatever you do, DO NOT tell your kids if you think there will be one. I learned that lesson the hard way once before. Then I learned it again. 

Never again.

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First ultramarathon leaves this gal ultra… tired

Once again, that which once scared the heck out of me has become an obtained goal.

Like the marathon, the back-to-back marathon, and all the other running goals I’ve set for myself in recent years, the ultramarathon has landed a spot on my recreational running resume.

Run for the Toad 50km medal

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fast, but I got it done, running 50km at the 2015 Run for the Toad trail race in Paris, Ontario, on October 3.  I completed 4 laps of a challenging 12.5km course that wound through fields and forests with endless hills.

I learned quite a few things about myself during that 7 hour 41 minute run (the winner took just over 3 hours, that should give you some idea of my ability level).

For example, expecting to drive yourself home after a race of that magnitude is ludicrous. I’m very grateful to my driver.

And… as much as I like to run alone sometimes, it’s great to have friends willing to help when the going gets tough. I seriously doubt I would have made it without them.

 

 

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Took a picture, it’ll last longer…

I recently posted the image below on Twitter, together with a caption that read: “Behold the beloved empty laundry bin, soon to be but a fleeting memory. #nearlyextinctspecies”

empty laundry bin

Recognize this beauty? If not, you’re not alone. Apparently empty laundry bins are a very rare sighting indeed.

“What is that?” someone tweeted back. “I don’t understand the words empty laundry bin.”

“I’ve never seen one of those at my house either,” another follower piped up. “Arghhhh… kids.”

“It’s good you took a picture to remember the moment,” yet another follower chimed in.

“Agreed!” I replied. “Have you ever seen an empty one before? First time for me in about a decade. #raresighting”

Turns out one of my followers had seen this marvelous sight before.

“Once, about 3 years ago, I had all the laundry in the house clean,” she tweeted. “Then the  kids got home from school.”

Misery so loves company.

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Revisions needed (after my run)

Hmmm…

Apparently I used to write about stuff other than just running, and now I don’t. Guess I should consider revising this fact.

I’m finally back (I hope) from a lengthy bout of writer’s block, likely induced by training for and running two marathons in one week back in late April and early May.

And… there I go again on the subject of running. Not to mention going back on my word. Claiming on my home page that “I’m never Stuck4Words.” I’m only human, after all. Can’t revise this latter fact, so better change previous one.

Stick with me, I’ll get out of my rut, don’t worry.

No, of course you’re not. What was I thinking.

Need to clear my head, I think. Words are getting stuck. A lot of them, too.

Hate to say it, but I need to go for a run.

 

 

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The Flying Pig: Race wrap-up

Note: This post is the last in a series written for The Flying Pig Marathon. You’ll find my introductory blog about the race here, my thoughts on hill training and pig hats here, why I include coffee and ankle warmers in my training here, tips re: how to “Dress for Success” here, a look at the ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ shirts here, a Twitter interview with a solar-powered flying pig here, a heartfelt thank you to volunteers here, and some final pre-race thoughts here.

 

Greetings Flying Pig friends!

WKRPlogorev3Dec14The minor aches and pains have subsided, but certainly not my smile. The Flying Pig Marathon is by far the most fun I’ve had running 26.2 miles.

From the moment our group arrived in Cincinnati, I could tell this was going to be a special weekend. We were greeted by none other than Bob Platt, the first registrant for the first ever Flying Pig Marathon, honoured last year for running his 150th marathon at the Flying Pig.

groupwithDonPlatt

Showing off the pig beads generously given to us by Flying Pig royalty Bob Platt.

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Most of the WKRP crew was on hand for a group shot in the lobby of our hotel.

Bob made quite the fashion statement as he welcomed us to Cincinnati and presented us with pig necklaces.

We also met up with Lisa McDaniel Brown from Dress for Success Cincinnati to deliver the donated business clothes we’d brought with us to help disadvantaged women succeed in the workplace. I can’t say enough about the great work this organization does.

From the expo to the finish line and every mile in between, I can honestly say I’ve never been more impressed with the kindness and friendliness of everyone I encountered.

When all was said and done, I didn’t get to ring the PR Bell, but that’s just fine with me. I was having too much fun taking selfies and enjoying the great entertainment and snacks along the route to push myself to the limit. I didn’t want to miss anything!

I’m happy to report that several WKRP members did achieve a personal record, and they kept that bell ringing for some time!

Meeting up with some fellow WKRP members post-marathon.

Meeting up with some fellow WKRP members post-marathon.

If I had to pick the one thing that impressed me the most about The Flying Pig, I’d have to say it was the finish line.

Often when folks my pace cross the finish line of a marathon, tear-down is well underway and the area is almost deserted save for a few remaining volunteers.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to find hundreds and hundreds of people still lining those final yards to the finish line, waving posters and calling out words of encouragement. I felt like a rock star!

Thanks to everyone – participants, volunteers, spectators, expo employees, Bob Platt, Lisa McDaniel Brown, etc. – for making The Flying Pig such an unforgettable experience.

Couldn't resist popping by the Girls on the Run booth at the Flying Pig Expo to say hi. I'm in my second year as a volunteer coach for this amazing organization.

Couldn’t resist popping by the Girls on the Run booth at the Flying Pig Expo to say hi. I’m in my second year as a volunteer coach for this amazing organization.

Special thanks to Sandra Karl for organizing my group’s participation in the race, and to Jackie Reau of Game Day Communications for letting me share with you the adventures of WKRP in Cincinnati.

Discussions are already underway to come back to Cincinnati for the 20th anniversary of the Flying Pig in 2018. Hope to see you then!

~Penny~

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The Flying Pig: It’s finally time!

Note: You’ll find my introductory blog about running the Flying Pig here, my thoughts on hill training and THE BEST PIG HAT EVER here, some reasons to include coffee and ankle warmers in your training here, tips re: how to “Dress for Success” here, a first look at the ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ shirts here, an interview with a solar-powered flying pig who tweets here, and a heartfelt thank you to all volunteers, here.

 

Greetings Flying Pig friends both current and future!

The time has finally come, and I couldn’t be happier. 

PennyWaterlooMarathon

Showing off the unique clay medal given to finishers of the Waterloo Marathon on April 26, 2015. Notice I ran in my WKRP team shirt!

After weeks and weeks of training and anticipation, myself and the rest of the WKRP (Waterloo Kanucks Run Pig) team will soon make our way to Cincinnati to paint the town pink, spread some cheer, and of course, do a little running at The Flying Pig.

We’ll be hamming it up on the marathon and half marathon courses. If you spot us in our team shirts at the expo or during the race, be sure to say hello. We love meeting new running friends.

I’ve been keeping a little secret just in case things didn’t work out, but all is going according to plan so it’s time to spill the beans…

Several “WKRP in Cincinnati” members, myself included, are in the process of running marathons on back-to-back weekends. We began with the Waterloo Marathon on April 26, and will end with the Flying Pig on May 3. 

FlyingPigSign

Two members of “WKRP in Cincinnati”and one of the group’s key supporters wear their team shirts while cheering on runners at the Waterloo Marathon.

Recovery from last weekend’s marathon has gone well this week, are we’re raring to go!

I’d like to give a quick shout out to one of the bravest men I know, Rob Yendt. As the lone male in our group, he’s about to embark on an 8 hour bus ride with 23 women. 

When he signed up, Rob had no idea he’d be the only guy going. In her defense, neither did his wife.

Having travelled to races with some women from our group in the past, Sheila assumed that this adventure, like the others, would include men.

We’re happy to have Rob on board, and we know he’ll fit right in with the group. He has admitted to packing ear plugs just in case the bus conversation gets too girly, though.

Rob Yendt, the lone male member of WKRP in Cincinnati, with wife Sheila.

Rob Yendt, the lone male member of WKRP in Cincinnati, with wife Sheila.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jackie Reau and Game Day Communications for allowing me to share the training adventures of “WKRP in Cincinnati” as we prepare to run The Flying Pig, a race that’s been on many of our bucket lists for some time.

Thanks also to all of you reading this for your positive feedback and support online, and for being so welcoming to our group.

We’re happy to be able to give back to the Flying Pig community by donating to one of the official charities of the event, Dress for Success Cincinnati. We’re also happy to know that The Flying Pig offers ‘green’ initiatives to help volunteers, spectators and participants have fun in an environmentally responsible way. 

See you soon!

~Penny~

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