50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year – Recap

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With Dawn Nelson at the Polar Bear Swim – blame her, she started all of this!

The dust is starting to settle after my birthday and the completion of 50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year. I’ve heard congratulations from many of my friends, and even people I don’t know. I’ve heard of how my adventures have inspired others to try new things, and even some people planning their own list of crazy things before a significant birthday. It’s amazing how we can have an affect on people just by being ourselves, and sharing our lives.

In the past year I faced some of my fears head on. Think dating… and trapeze school! I may not have conquered them, but I stared them down and made them just a little smaller, and a little less powerful. Each time I try something that fear monster will keep getting smaller – I definitely confirmed that in the past year.

The Scream

The Scream

I did things in the past year that were just silly, or spontaneous like driving to Kelowna to do an escape room, or getting my nose pierced with Krista, Monica, and Jody – I definitely didn’t see that coming. These are the things we hear about and think, “Gee, that sounds like fun…” but then we get to busy and never do them. I’m happy to say I did them… and more! What I discovered is looking at the world in a certain way becomes a habit. If I saw the opportunity for adventure I usually took it, and I put it out there for others to join me. The cool thing is, they often jumped at it, and then we were all a little more spontaneous or silly.

When I went back to Meadow Lake, SK, in the summer with my mom I went back to the place where I was born. It doesn’t sound like a big deal. It’s not like I was born somewhere exotic. But I’d thought about it for so many years and found all kinds of lazy reasons not to do it. We went, and it was a good thing for both of us, facing the past and the future. I’m so glad we took the time to go.

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I did some things alone, and they were magical. I hiked the Berg Lake Trail, having never done an overnight backpack before. I spent time with myself and discovered not only a beautiful outer landscape but a special inner one as well.

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On the Berg Lake Trail – my first glacier

Friends and family jumped at the chance to get crazy with me, and several jumped multiple times. I had enthusiastic bridesmaids for the Rock n’ Roll 10K, a group of crazy people did the Conair plane crash hike with me. Amanda flew to Florida with me, ran her first half marathon (actually ran her first anything), and rode rides with me while risking the fact that I could very well throw up on her. Krista, Monica, and Jody (all repeat Crazy Thing participants) even ate bugs with me… that is true friendship! And I can’t even count how many people generously supported me by helping me raise an insane amount of money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand while they enjoyed “dressing the fairy”. Dawn Nelson, the crazy woman who suggested my 50 Crazy Things in my 50th year, even did the Polar Bear Swim with me and together we encountered magic we truly weren’t expecting. There were also countless people who supported me in the best way they could – by cheering me on, reading the blog posts, and enjoying my frequent episodes of discomfort. Support comes in many forms and I recognize and appreciate all the support I have in my life.

I want to thank all of the people who helped me, participated with me, and cheered me on. I love all of you.

The biggest thing I learned, or maybe remembered, is that life rarely happens when you’re sitting on the couch looking out the window. It happens out there. Habits are meant to be broken, and rebuilt as new habits. Bars are meant to be raised. Fears are meant to be faced.

What next?

I plan to continue my crazy things – just not with a deadline. I plan to live a crazy life. There were a lot of things I couldn’t fit into my year. The list is still there and it is growing. I will keep blogging about it because people seem to enjoy reading about my discomfort.

My whole reason for starting this journey was to stop the trends I saw solidifying in my life. My life was getting smaller… I’m stopping that. I was saying no more than yes… I’m stopping that too. I want a life that is richer, and one that is filled with more great adventure and more great people. My next 50 years are going to be very busy!

Oh, and to answer that question AGAIN… I am still not jumping out of a perfectly good airplane or tying an elastic around my ankles and jumping off a cliff! Crazy… not stupid!

The list

So here it is, the complete list of my 50 Crazy Things with links to each of the blog posts. Thank you all for sharing this with me. It’s been a wild ride and I’m only getting started! Who’s in?

#1 – Run the Disney Princess Half Marathon
#2 – Ride a roller coaster without throwing up
#3 – Fund raise for a charity
#4 – Run a 10K and a Half Marathon back to back
#5 – Run half marathons on each coast in the same year
#6 – Join the circus (Trapeze School)
#7 – Embrace Obstacles (Foam Fest)
#8 – Walk above the water (Suspension bridge)
#9 – The Berg Lake Trail
#10 – Return to the place where I was born
#11 – 10X up the steps to the lighthouse in Cochin, SK
#12 – Let my cousin drag me around a lake while she tries to kill me
#13 – Hike to the Conair plane crash site
#14 – Go on a date
#15 – Beat the Blerch – Get out of control
#16 – Ride on a motorcycle
#17 – Wear a wedding dress
#18 – The Moustache Miler – spontaneous mingling
#19 – Drive home in my pajamas
#20 – Night skiing away from civilization
#21 – Do a virtual run
#22 – Follow intuition and rediscover magic
#23 – Go out for New Year’s
#24 – Polar Bear Swim
#25 – Make a snow angel
#26 – Give blood again
#27 – Eat a bug on purpose
#28 – Ski the hills without putting the brakes on
#29 – Learn to paint
#30 – Climb a tree
#31 – Go ice skating
#32 – Go rock climbing
#33 – Get passionate (Passion Party)
#34 – Snowshoe race
#35 – Improve at a sport (Cross Country Ski Lesson)
#36 – Downhill Skiing
#37 – Have headshots taken by a professional photographer
#38 – Let a photographer do a portrait
#39 – Get a tattoo
#40 – Visit an Escape Room
#41 – Run a half marathon without training – just because
#42 – Volunteer somewhere scary
#43 – Ladies’ choice (get my nose pierced)
#44 – Ski a half marathon
#45 – Write a screenplay
#46 – Street photography
#47 – Photograph star trails
#48 – Take a selfie every day
#49 – Self portrait
#50 – Turn 50 with a smile on my face

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50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year – Thing #4 – Run a 10K and a Half Marathon Back to Back

Pixie Dust Challenge shirt

3 medals / 3 shirts!

I have run seven half marathons in my past and have always kept to the rule that you don’t run back to back days. The rule, for me, has almost become a superstition and in my head if I run on back to back days very bad things would happen. My quadriceps may fall off, my hamstrings may decide to try macramé, or my Achilles Tendons would spontaneously shred and disappear completely – all of which would permanently cripple me. I have a very active imagination.

I started to notice a few years ago that some race organizers, and RunDisney in particular, were offering challenge races and everyone and their dog was clamoring for registration spots. These races are either on back to back days, or even on the same day. People also seem to want to register multiple years in a row which suggests that none of the above atrocities happened to them – they all seemed to have perfectly normal quads, hamstrings, and Achilles tendons. This intrigued me.

Challenge runs have been around since at least 2005 when RunDisney listened to people complaining about how they wanted to earn all the medals in an event weekend by participating in all the events. That year they offered the first Goofy Race and a Half Challenge as part of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. You could either choose to run the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon or Full Marathon, or you could choose to ‘do Goofy’ and run the Half Marathon and Full Marathon on back to back days for a total of 39.3 miles (62.88 Km). Now they even have the ‘Dopey’ challenge – which involves the running extremely ridiculous sequence of 5K / 10K / Half Marathon / Full Marathon on four consecutive days – truly a Dopey endeavour!

Challenges are seriously the latest craze and not only RunDisney is doing them. Most big races have this kind of option now and these challenges often sell out before the individual races do.

Why is this Crazy?

Pixie Dust Challenge medals

It’s all about the bling!

It wouldn’t be a crazy year if I wasn’t testing my boundaries of what I will and won’t do, and pushing myself past the places where I normally stop. Therefore, you guessed it, I had to do a challenge. I chose the Pixie Dust Challenge at the Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon, which involved running the 10K on Saturday, May 9th, and the Half Marathon on Sunday, May 10th . This would be for a total of 19.3 miles (30.1 Km). My biggest fear was that I would injure myself and not be able to run anymore.

Strategy

Running as part of Team Lemon with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, I was offered the services of an online coach – Coach Mary. She gave me some training tips that involved starting to run light back to back days and working my way up. This worked, but I still was doubtful, and actually really worried!

In talking to people who have done it many admit that they coast through one of the races and push themselves harder for the others. It’s all about the medals and by doing the Pixie Dust Challenge I would get three of the lovely beauties.

It worked!

I decided to go pretty easy on both runs. My only goal was to finish both while still vertical. I also had costume elements, heat, etc. to deal with and I wanted to have some fun, too.

I ran the 10K slower than I usually run a 10K and had a blast. I stopped to take lots of pictures, enjoy the sights, and I just ran to finish the race. Done!

 

Not Slow

OK, THIS is my favourite sign ever!

Still vertical!

Favourite sign EVER!

The next morning I wasn’t feeling sore at all and I ran the half marathon, also slower than I normally run, and also had a blast. I got the three medals, and the afternoon of half marathon day I noticed I was hardly sore at all. And the next day I was barely sore – not nearly as sore as I was after running the Victoria Half Marathon and the Rock n’ Roll Vancouver 10K within two weeks of each other last fall. In fact, I have never recovered so well from a running event as I did from the Pixie Dust Challenge. Consider my brain completely baffled… and thrilled!

Would I do it again?

Absolutely. The hardest part, in all seriousness, was getting up at 3:00 am for two mornings in a row. The running part was not too bad… and the medals… seriously worth it! Would I do Dopey?…. uh, probably not, but given the way this year is going I won’t rule anything out in the future!

Spread your wings

By slowing down and enjoying what was going on around me I actually noticed this sign – “Only two miles to go… Now spread your wings and let the fairy in you fly!”

 

50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year – Thing #3 – Fundraise for a Charity

Thank you!

Thank you!

This was a huge challenge for me because it involved putting myself out there, asking for help, and being a bit of a pest! I hate fundraising and I hate asking for help. I love helping other people when I can, though. My biggest risk here was that I would fail… very publicly.

Raising money for large runs has been going on for a lot of years and the system is a win-win-win for everyone. The event organizer, in this case RunDisney, gives select charities slots in different races. Often these races sell out fast so people who can’t register choose to run for a charity so they can get in. The charity then registers runners using these slots with the stipulation that they must raise a certain amount of money. The runner doesn’t have to pay the registration fee, the charity raises money, and it doesn’t cost RunDisney anything and they have a lot of good will to spread around. For the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend, runners from Team Lemon were raising different minimum amounts based on the events they were running. Since I was doing the Pixie Dust Challenge, which involved running the 10K and the Half Marathon back to back, my fundraising amount was the highest.

Why Alex’s Lemonade Stand?

Since I knew I wanted to run for a charity I looked ahead at which charities I could choose from. During the Half Marathon I saw people running for veterans, animals, disabilities, and various devastating diseases. They were all very worthy and deserved all the support they could get, but Alex’s Lemonade Stand gave research grants to Canadian researchers, which was important to me. In some way, the money I raised had to have a chance to help in Canada. As soon as I read more about them, I knew they were a good fit for me and I was hoping I could raise the money I needed to. In total I needed to raise $1,900 US in eight months.

I ran the Tinkerbell 10K dressed as a Lemonade Stand Fairy

I ran the Tinkerbell 10K dressed as a Lemonade Stand Fairy

Dress the Fairy

I decided I had to make this fun for my friends and family to participate in. Just asking for money wouldn’t do. Since most people running Run Disney races participate in costume, I decided to let my friends and family play Dress the Fairy. I created a costume template and set a point amount for each element of the costume. Points were directly related to dollars raised. Here’s how it broke down:

300         Wings

400         Tutu

200         Running Skirt

150         Sparkly Head Gear

130         Glitter Makeup

100         Nails

300         Sparkly Shoes

500         Head to toe in pink

Sparkly Nails

Thanks to Amanda Cowell for imprisoning my nails in sparkly pink nail polish – for the first time EVER!

When someone donated, they had to let me know where they wanted their points to go. They could put them toward the wings, or head to toe in pink, or any combination they wanted.

This worked because I’m not known as a wing/tutu wearing pink person who would be caught dead in a running skirt, glitter, and in particular… pink! Before this I owned nothing in pink. My mom says she dressed me in pink when I was a baby but that stopped when I got a voice and could dress myself. Using primarily word of mouth and Facebook I made regular posts with costume totals and had people encouraging others to ‘finish off the wings’, or ‘get pink handled’. If the costume elements weren’t finished by the time I left for California, the element wasn’t going to happen. My starting place was a black shirt and black capris. Gradually, it all came together and this fairy ended up a sparkled, winged, and tutued all in pink!

In total 60 people or groups (families / couples) contributed money toward my campaign, and countless others contributed cheering and support. It’s important to recognize that not everyone has money to spare, but it doesn’t mean they don’t support you. More often than not I’m the one who doesn’t have the money to donate. I am extremely grateful for those who supported me in all they ways they could, and some of those ways were financial.

Why it matters

Pink Fairy

The Pink Fairy is ready to run.

Along the way I met people associated with Team Lemon who had lost children. A young boy in Kamloops passed away from a very long fight with cancer the week before I left for California. I passed people on the running route who had signs thanking people for running for charities. Other runners thanked me when they saw I was running for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. One woman cheering on the course, at a part that was particularly difficult (around 17 Km when it was hot and agonizing), had a sign that said, “I’m a cancer survivor, thank you for running for me!” Me being a bit hot or a bit sore for a few hours was nothing compared to what these families were going through for months or even years. It matters.

The day before the run Team Lemon runners at the event got an email from our coordinator thanking us for raising the money. As a team we raised $34,000 which we were told is worth over four months of research time. It matters.

The Result

I raised $2,060 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. I was absolutely floored by this and I’m so grateful to everyone who helped me out. People I hadn’t talked to in ages jumped in to help. My family and friends really got behind it, which says a lot about the kind of people I choose to have in my life. I even had seniors in Logan Lake slipping me $20 dollar bills and whispering, “Put it on those wings, dear!”

Why is this crazy?

I had to put myself out there big time, I had to be in people’s faces trying to get them to donate money. I had to ask for help, and the risk of failure was very real.

What worked?

I made it fun. I made it something original that my friends and family would be able to have fun with. If I had chosen blue I wouldn’t have raised as much because I wear blue all the time. I had to risk public humiliation. I even added that if I raised even one dollar over my goal I would spend one day in the Logan Lake Library dressed as the pink fairy.

The Pink Fairy was at the Logan Lake Library on May 14th, 2015.

The Pink Fairy was at the Logan Lake Library on May 14th, 2015.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely! I hope to keep finding new ways to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand and other charities. It’s good for the soul and it can be fun if you let it.

 

 

 

50 Crazy Things #42 – Dress this Fairy!

My quest to do 50 Crazy Things in My 50th Year, starting intink2 February 2015, is already making me feel a little anxious, and excited at the same time. My reason for doing this, besides hitting a birthday I’m dreading head on, is to get out of a funk and get over some fears or limitations that stop me from completely enjoying life. I still need about 5 things to make my list complete but rest assured I will be jumping off things, putting myself in uncomfortable situations, and doing some things I’ve always wanted to do (and some I’ve always wanted to NEVER do!). I’ll be blogging and writing about it all along the way. Today I want to invite all my friends and family to help me with Crazy Things # 8, #49 and #42 (it’s a spreadsheet in random order): #8Run half marathons on both coasts within the calendar year. I’ll be doing the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February in Florida, and the Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon in California in May on Mother’s Day. #49 – Run a 10K on one day and a half marathon on the next – these back to back running challenges scare the crap out of me! At the Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend this is called the Pixie Dust Challenge. I’ll be running a 10K on Saturday morning and a half marathon on Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon I expect to be unable to walk! For the 10K I’ve decided to dress as a Lemonade Fairy in honour of the charity I’ll be fundraising for. #42 (really scary) – I want to raise A LOT of money for a charity. I HATE fundraising, or asking others for help. I love helping others but asking is a different story. So here I am… asking for help for a great cause!      Check out the document I’ve attached to this page. You can help choose my costume for the Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon. Without funding I will just wear regular running clothes. With your support (or malicious intent) I could be running in a tutu, wings, foreign fairy things on my feet, head, face, etc. For extra torture I could even be running in head to toe pink. I NEVER wear pink… EVER!!!!! This is your opportunity to watch me suffer. Such a deal! You’ll find more information on Alex’s Lemonade Stand, an awesome charity that raises funds for childhood cancer research in the document I’ve attached to this post. Of all the charities that were available to me for the run I wanted to make sure that my people, my community, could benefit from my fundraising efforts. Research organizations in Canada and the US are eligible to apply for funding through this organization – that was extremely important for me.

 Click here to see how you cantinkerbell 2

help / torture me:  Dress the Fairy 343