Sunday, October 30, 2011

Haunted Hill 5K - Last race of the year

On Friday I went to pick up mine and my daughters race kit for the Haunted Hill 5K.  This is a new race this year that is close to home which is a bonus.  I really wasn't expecting too much from this race kit but wow was I surprised.  I was truly surprised with the long sleeve tech shirt, so cute and comfortable!
I'll first say that this is my last race for the year and I was so happy to be running it with my daughter. 

The race said that they encourage everyone to wear a costume so I was ready to bring out the tutus again.  What better costume than our Minnie Mouse costume that we wore for the Disney Halloween 5K.  Here we are as super cute Minnies, oh I should say super cute COLD Minnies.

Yes it was cold.  We left the house while looking at the frost on the grass, it was a -3.5C up here in Caledon this morning, very cold!

Most of the race workers were also in costume which made for a very fun atmosphere:
I was very happy when teh race actually did start so we could get moving and warm up.  Here we go as the race starts:
There we to love tutu pictures:
The race is called Haunted Hill because this course starts off with a big downhill and then at teh 2K mark we have to run up a HUGE hill and it then turns onto another BIG hill that has a cemetery on it, hence the "haunted hill" name.  It then is pretty flat after the 3.5K mark.  I had informed my daughter on the course and told her she could walk up most of the hill, which we did.  I felt it was a really nice course, even with the hills and the volunteers were great!

Here we are crossing the finish line together:
My daughter did a fabulous job especially considering the hills, the cold and her runny nose.  The race was chipped but they didn't post chip time, just official time and we were back a bit since I knew we were going to be a bit slower.  So our official time was:


Pretty good considering I had Marina as my running partner.  I will run slow anytime to get the opportunity to run with such a great kid.  Here we are with our medals:

I will definately run this race again.  It was well organized, great race kit, great volunteers, close to home and we get to wear costumes, yup it will be a race we will run again!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Race That Didn't Happen

Sunday I was suppose to run the Niagara Falls Half Marathon.  Friday night I went to the expo and I was already feeling a bit under the weather.  I thought it was just the gloomy rainy day that was making me feel off.  Well Saturday was another rush rush busy day.  My daughter and I had to go to a school's open house, hoping to get her into that school for next year.  We went there in the morning and the we had to rush to get to dance.  I felt so tired annd my throat was hurting so bad.  After dance we stopped at the store for a few things including the Saturday newspaper since my daughter needed to find news articles for a homework assignment.  When we finally got home I sat on the sofa and starting thinking about my race the following day.  Was I well enough to run?  I then remembered a promise I made to myself after the Princess Half Marathon at Disney where I run so incredibly sick and got Trigeminal Neuralgia because of the fact that I did run so sick.  I then started thinking, "I'm not as sick as I was at the Princess race, I had a fever then and now its just a few body pains and a sore throat"!  I then opened the newspaper and read this article:

I remember hearing about this runner on the news the previous weekend.  I read the article and it then hit me.  I can't run this race.  I am not at 100%, I should not run.  Don't risk it.

Luckily I did take my advice.  I woke up in the middle of the night soaked.  I was sweating out a fever all night long.  I would not have run that race well at all and who knows how I would have ended up after the race.

This may sound strange but the hardest part was saying "I will not run this race" as opposed to not running the race.

I know there are other races but it was still hard since this would be my last half marathon this year and I really enjoyed the Niagara Falls Half Marathon last year and I was looking forward to running it again this year!

I will be lying if I say I was not disappointed but I guess we all have these moments!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Niagara Falls Marathon Expo

I was a solo parent this weekend since hubby was off on one of his many scuba diving adventures so when I picked up my daughter from school we headed down to Niagara Falls to the Niagara Falls Marathon Expo.

Now the drive from her school to Niagara Falls should only take 2 hours at the most, well it took me 3 hours.  The rush hour traffic heading that way was completely ridiculous.  I honestly was exhausted from the drive.  I am also feeling under the weather so I think that was a big factor in my tiredness, not to mention it started raining as I got closer to Niagara Falls and I hate driving in the rain when its dark.

Well we finally made it to the expo, I found last year this was a very poor expo, even the building that they hold it in is so old and dark and dingy.  It was the same this year and there weren't many people there.  Mind you the marathon runners can only pick up on Saturday because they need to go through customs since this race starts in the USA and finishes in Canada, again that is for the marathon race only.

My daughter saw the Brooks sign making sign and immediately wanted to make me a sign, she's so sweet!

 We then walked around which was very short but at the Running Room booth look who we saw:

Yup John Stanton and he recognized me right away which was nice and introduced himself to Marina and started to talk to her about her platform diving.  It was great to see him again.

After the expo we decided to leave Niagara Falls, it was dark, raining and we really needed dinner.  My daughgter loves Boston Pizza so we headed towards St Catharines and stopped there for dinner.  It was a great mommy and daughter dinner and we had some great conversations.  I love seeing how beautifully my daughter is growing up.  I can't believe she will be 9 in a few weeks.

Now as I mentioned before, I am feeling under the weather.  I'm not sure how this race will pan out, stay tuned to find out!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Meeting John Stanton

A new Running Room was having its grand opening yesterday and John Stanton was going to be there at 6:30pm to do a run.  Unfortunately Marina had platform diving at the same time so I knew I couldn't attend but I wanted to check out the new store since it will be the one that is closest to me.  So I went over just after lunch.  The store was pretty empty and they had some shoes on sale so I got my size (they were outside by the front door) and I walked inside and sat down to try them on.  As I sat down there was a man standing there looking at the shoe wall, he then turned around and said a quiet "hi" to me.  Well I recognized him right away and I said a few energized, "Oh hi John, so nice to meet you".  He then shock my hand and we started talking about everything and anything for over 30 minutes.  He is the nicest person ever.   I ofcourse had to get the sales clerk to take a picture of me and John!

We also talked about the race on Sunday, The Niagara Falls International Marathon, which I am running the half.

I was really not very excited for the race on Sunday, mainly because I haven't been training for the 2 weeks we were away and I just am not feeling very energetic and prepared.  But after speaking with John I am so excited for Sunday's race.  I am going to enjoy the fabulous scenery that the Niagara race gives us and I am going to cross that finsih line with a smile knowing that John will be calling out my name when I cross!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Last Batch Of Disney Pictures

Here are the last batch of Disney pictures and then back to training and running.....LOL

So as most of you have probably noticed, I am obsessed with picture taking as well as with dressing my daughter in Disney themed clothing.  I plan for months and months to what she will wear on what day of our trip and I decide that by who I think she will see.  Yes a bit obsessive but the pictures are priceless.  Just take a look at Marina with a custom made skirt with the Mad Hatter on, very hard to find and he loved it!

Then we met Alice and Rabbit and they gave her so much extra time and attention thanks to her skirt that also had them on it, yup I love it and so does she.  I got so many compliments regarding this skirt while at the parks!
 I love this picture of my daughter and I, thanks to a nice stranger who offered to take the picture!
 Here we are at Disney's Hollywood Studios the following day and meeting Mickey again!

Epcot was our destination the next day and we met Daisy right at the entrance, she is so sweet!
A hard to get picture is with the Beast from Beauty and The Beast.  Doesn't Marina look tiny next to him?
Our last day we spent at Animal Kingdom and we met the characters in safari wear!

Marina was all so excited to go on Kali Rapids and get soaking wet, must be great to be a kid!
Thank you all for putting up with all my Disney World pictures.  We had a fabulous time and made many memories that will stay with us forever.  Now back to reality and I am running a half marathon in a few days, argh, a bit unprepared for it seeing how I have been endulging while on vacation!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Disney World does a special ticket party for the Halloween season, its called Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party or MNSSHP for all the Disney experts.  We did this party 2 years ago and since we were there this year during this party I knew it was a must do this time around also.

The nights of this party Magic Kingdom closes for everyone who does not have this special ticket at 7:00pm and anyone with a ticket can get in as early as 4:00pm.  We headed over at 6:00pm and here is Marina all happy on the monorail dressed as Princess Tiana and holding her Halloween Minnie!

Entering Magic Kingdom Marina was all excited for the evening ahead of her! 
A must do for me is always a picture next to Cinderella's carriage which is only available for MNSSHP.
Another must is always to go see Mickey and Minnie in their costumes!
And this year a must do is seeing Princess Tiana since Marina was dressed like her and she had Prince Neevan with her tonight.
The Halloween fireworks are the best I have even seen.  Truly magical!
They also do a Villains show and a very short meet and greet right after.  Marina loved meeting some villains who are usually never around for pictures.

If anyone is at Disney World during this special ticket event, definately attend.  It is by far the best evening you will have at Disney World!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Swim With The Manatees

Thursday night after we left Disney's Hollywood Studios, Marina and I drove up to High Springs, FL where hubby was cave diving.  We had planned a great adventure for Marina the following day in Crystal River, FL.  Unfortunately we had to get up very early for this adventure but it was all worth it at the end of the day. 

We went swimming with the manatees!

Take a look at the first picture of Marina on the boat all ready in her wetsuit, it is still dark.  We were on the boat at 6:30am, way too early for me!  Luckily right when we were going into the water the sun was starting to shine through.  You can see Marina getting her mask ready to hit the water.

WOW is really all I have to saw about these gentle giants!  

They love to be touched and they will come right up to you and rub against you.  One came up and actually kissed Marina, she was on cloud 9.
We went to a few spots in the bay, but after the second spot Marina got cold so her and I stayed on the boat but we could still witness these amazing creatures since they would come right up to the boat, they love chewing on the rope of the anchor.
Here is hubby giving a manatee a big hug!
It was truly an amazing experience!  Marina loved it and she has now swam with manatees, dolphins and stingrays.  I asked what what next and she said Whale Sharks like daddy did last year......unfortunately she will need to have her scuba diving certificate to do that so it might be a few years!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Disney Magic & What To Do When It Rains

I am behind on posting about my Disney trip since we are now home.  We got back last night but I wanted to post what else we did last week so here is all the fun we had.

Thursday we headed to Disney's Hollywood Studios and we saw our favourite character again, yes we will never say no to taking pictures with him, STITCH:
The Incredibles were so much fun and they did a bunch of muscle flexing poses which are my daughters favourite pose:
 We ofcourse spent most of the day on rides and we saw the American Idol Experience show which was very good and Marina loved it.  But we also saw more characters, Marina always gets a kick out of meeting everyone:

I will post what a special day Friday was, that needs its own post all together.  All I can say is it involves amazing animals and we did something many will never do.  Look out for tomorrows post!

Saturday and Sunday were 2 full days of straight downpour of rain, yes it was terrible.  Saturday I had scheduled to spend the day shopping and Sunday was suppose to be a beach day.  We decided to hit the mall anyways on Saturday but so did everyone else that was in Florida.  I hate crowds so we stayed for a bit but I was feeling claustrophobic and we left to return to the condo and just chill the rest of the day.  Sunday we decided we needed to get out of the house so we headed to Downtown Disney to catch a movie.  After an amazing day on Friday with an amazing animal ( I know I am teasing you all ) we decided we had to go watch a movie about another amazing animal.  We went to watch Dolphin Tale.
Dolphin Tale is a true story about a dolphin named Winter that lost her tail and she got a prosthetic tail.  We were lucky to actually meet Winter a few years ago when we were vacationing in Clearwater, FL.  Little did we know she would be a movie star a few years later!  It was an amazing movie about an amazing animal.  I would definately recommend it to everyone!

When we entered the theatre it was pouring rain and it did not look like it was going to clear up but to our surprise it was sunny when we left the theatre, what a pleasant surprise.  So we decided to walk around Downtown Disney and enjoy the sunshine.  We also enjoyed all the Halloween decor that Disney sets up.

Marina even had a Halloween cookie to put her in teh Halloween mood.  She said it was delicious and best yet it was peanut free, which is always hard to find!
Okay can you all guess what we did that Friday?  Tune in tomorrow to find out!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Disney's Food & Wine Festival

On Wednesday we had planned that we'd spent the day at Epcot and instead of having a sit down lunch somewhere we would take advantage of the Food and Wine Festival and eat our way around the world.  If people aren't familiar with this, Disney World does this event every year and they have kiosk of different countries and they sell small samplings of their foods and drinks.  Believe it or not I am a foodie but I enjoy fresh, healthy food and I do enjoy trying different foods from different cultures and countries so I thought I should try this festival.  But first we had to made a pit stop at the Character Spot and see some characters.  Here is my Minnie Mouse ready for the day!

Marina had not seen Pluto yet so this was priority #1 for today.
We started eating around the world at about noon and finished at about 4:30pm, I wanted to spread it out a bit since I really am not a big eater but I had my daughter with me to also be a food critic and taste all the food.  It was actually really fun doing this with her, we rated all the foods with Mickey heads, a rate of 1 to 5.  So here are the items we tried and our ratings.

ITALY - Ravioli di formaggio (baked cheese ravioli with creamy beef bolognese)

I decided to try this because my daughter is a huge cheese and pasta fan so I was thinking this would be her favourite and she did eat most of it, I only had a few bites.

Marina's Rating - 5 Mickey heads
My Rating - 3 Mickey heads

While I found this creamy and the cheese was perfectly melted, it did lack a bit of taste.  It really could have done with some more seasoning  My daughter on the other hand loved it!

NEW ZEALAND - Seared Sea Scallops with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad

The sea scallop was cooked perfectly!

Marina's Rating - 3 Mickey heads
My Rating - 3 Mickey heads

Now we both rated it 3 but for different reasons.  My daughter is not a scallop fan or a spicy fan so all she ate was the apple radish salad and she enjoyed it and alone it was tasty.  Me, I ate it all together and while the scallop was delicious, the kumara-red curry puree had just enough spice, the apple radish salad did not taste good with the rest.  It seemed completely out of place.
PORTUGAL - this was the first year Portugal was included at the Food & Wine Festival so I was very excited to have some authentic Portuguese food, go back to my roots!
PORTUGAL - Linguica Sausage with Onions, Peppers and Olives

Marina's Rating - 4 Mickey heads
My Rating - 3 Mickey heads

Being of Portuguese decent, I know Portuguese food and that sausage was not a "linguica".  It was just a regular sausage, while my daughter ate all of except the one bite I tried.  She loved the sausage and the bread.  I ate the peppers, onions and olives and it was tasty but I was so disappointed that this was not an authentic Portuguese dish since the sausage was not the correct one.

PORTUGAL - Pastel de Nata
Marina's Rating - 4 Mickey heads
My Rathing - 3 Mickey heads

Okay the famous Portuguese dessert is the Pastel de Nata (custard tarts).  When she was taking out my tart I could see it wasn't an authentic Pastel de Nata and then she sprinkled what looked like sugar on top, what?????  This was a very sad looking immitation and its so sad that people will think that this is what a Pastel de Nata is suppose to be.  Mind you it did taste good and my daughter ate it all up but this was not was I was expecting.
HAWAII - Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chutney
Marina's Rating - 5 Mickey heads
My Rating - 4.5 Mickey heads

This was the most tender pork on a sweet bread (great touch) but the pineapple chutney was minimal.

BRAZIL - Frozen Caipirinha Cocktail
I definately needed a drink to wash down all this food and it definately needed to be alcohol!  Obviously Marina did not try this, but I give this 4.5 Mickey heads.  It was very delicious and I am a big Caipirinha fan and I had never tried a frozen one, but I think it should have had a slice or half of a lime to finish it off perfectly!
GREECE - Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Marina's Rating - 5 Mickey heads
My Rating - 5 Mickey heads

This was delicious, tender chicken in a warm pita with very tasty tzatziki, it could not be better, well it could have been a bigger serving!
BELGIUM - Belgium Waffle with Berry Compote
Marina's Rating - 5 Mickey heads
My Rating - 5 Mickey heads

This was very good, just look at it, it does look delicious but I did feel it was a very small waffle.  This was Marina's pick and she wanted another one because it was so good!

There were a few more items that I wanted to try and if we were staying longer I probably would have tried. Just for your info, the other countries that were there were: Australia (which had a delicious looking shrimp skewer but it was not served with anything so I passed), Argentina, Caribbean (which had a Frozen Dragon Berry Colada that I was very tempted to try but one was my limit since it was just me with my daughter), Mexico, Scandinavia, China, South Korea, South Africa, Cheese Kiosk (which looked so tempting but I passed since my daughter only likes one type of cheese), Germany, Poland, Singapore, Japan (which had sushi that was very popular), Morocco, France, Ireland, Canada (yes I know its so bad I didn't try something here) and lastly they had a dessert and champagne kiosk and beer kiosk.

I think its a great festival however seeing how the Portuguese food was not 100% authentic I wonder about the other countries as well.  But my daughter and I had a fun afternoon taste testing and I would definately do it again!