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 #5 – Run Half Marathons on Each Coast in the Same Year

Coast to Coast

The Pink Coast to Coast medal.

The Coast to Coast Challenge

Given I basically haven’t travelled in the past 20 years except to Saskatchewan, Vancouver, and Victoria, trying to organize and actually follow through with two trips to the US for something as frivolous as running was truly insane – and very much needed. I used to travel a lot. I backpacked around Britain and Ireland for two months after university, and then I moved back to Ireland for six months the following year. In university I travelled to Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Windsor, Toronto, and other places for exchanges or disabled sporting events when I worked for sport groups. After university I travelled to Niagara to fly with Air Combat Canada, kayaked and sailed in Haida Gwaii, and drove down the Oregon Coast working as a travel writer.

Lately, though, I’ve found myself in a travel rut and that rut has been getting narrower and narrower. This whole 50 Crazy Things started with me on Pinterest (drinking red wine – never a good combination) seeing costumes for RunDisney. Less than a year later I was in Florida, where I had never been before, running with Amanda Cowell. In August I just decided I would run for a charity, and ended up registered in the Pixie Dust Challenge in California the following May. It still blows me away that I just stepped out of my travel rut.

I’m now a seasoned pro again with baggage, flights, and US and Canadian Customs handled. On that first trip to Florida, Amanda breezed through US customs while I looked like a babbling idiot. Of course, she had a hunky guy who was flirting with her and I had a woman who looked like she might have prison guard figure prominently on her resume. I noticed going to and coming from California my customs luck had changed and I had hunky guys in each direction. Perhaps that was because I wasn’t travelling with Amanda. Food for thought.

The Coast to Coast medal is a free option from RunDisney and I didn’t know what a big deal it was until I’d already registered for the Pixie Dust Challenge. To earn a Coast to Coast medal you need to do one RunDisney Half Marathon on each coast in the same calendar year. To earn the much coveted pink Coast to Coast you need to specifically run the Disney Princess Half Marathon and the Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon in the same calendar year. Conveniently, I did just that. The regular Coast to Coast medal is blue. Maybe I need the set.

Why was this crazy?

I made myself leave the comfort of home, get out, move, do something unfamiliar. It’s been so long I forgot how to do it. I forgot how easy it was. And I remembered how hard it is. When you actually have a job and responsibilities it’s not always easy to just pick up and go somewhere, but for the most part, the rest of my world can adapt for a couple of days.

The Coast to Coast medal is more than a medal for running. To me it symbolizes travel that doesn’t really make sense – and that’s what makes it important.

Will I do it again?

Probably not the medal – but the travel…. ABSOLUTELY! There are places I want to go, places I want to take my mom. If I wait for the time to be right, it will probably never happen. The time is never right, and the time is always right.

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 – 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!

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

Registering for the Disney Princess Half Marathon (or 50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year)

After much stress and a ridiculous amount of trauma, my friend Amanda and I have registered for the Disney Princess Half Marathon which means we will be running through Epcot and Disney World on February 22, 2015 – two days before my 49th birthday.

forget the glass slipper

Now, much in that first sentence is significant. First, the trauma of registration. I’ll reveal our tips for surviving this unbelievably stressful activity at the bottom of this post. After the horrors of the registration process, however, running 21 Km (13.1 Miles) dressed as a Disney princess at 5:30 in the morning Florida time will be a piece of (birthday) cake!

What’s most remarkable about that sentence, though, is the phrase “Disney Princess” combined with “two days before my 49th birthday.”

Forty-nine is an age I’ve been backpedalling toward for the last couple of years because it is the day I start my 50th year, and I don’t feel nearly 50. I don’t feel, look, or act like an almost 50 year old would feel, look or act. I was dreading it and even cowering from it. It feels like I’m careening down a waterfall, bouncing off rocks along the sides, falling into a boiling pool with 50 painted on the bottom by some evil 25 year old. No matter how I cower or hide, it will still find me whether I admit it or not. My life doesn’t look like it should, or like any of us thinks it should at this point (ie relationships, established career, house, blah blah blah!).

So one night, while drinking wine and surfing Pinterest (bad combination! Nothing good can come of this!), I started to see Disney Princess running costumes. I thought these were hilarious so I started bombarding my friend Amanda with all of these running and Disney pins I was finding. She, a non-runner but Disneyholic, was completely baffled at why I was sending her these things. In my late night wine induced state I told her that I was going to run the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon two days before my 49th birthday – in Florida – in costume – and she was going to run it with me. After two days of radio silence I finally heard from her again.

Amanda: “You know I don’t run, don’t you?”

Me: “I run really slow, and you’ve got lots of time to train. Really we could walk it at a quick pace.”

Two more days of radio silence followed before she, much to my shock and surprise, jumped on board. Fast forward to months later, we are both obsessing about details and actually registered to run the Disney Princess half marathon.

Now, when anyone meets me, Disney and Princess are NOT the first things they think of. This is why it’s so great. I’m not just getting out of my comfort zone, I’m leaping out of it in full princess regalia and stomping on it with both feet! Working at the library, one of my favourite patrons came in and when I told her what I was planning to do and how I was dreading 50, she, who is in her sixties, declared, “You know what you need to do? You need to do 50 crazy things in your 50th year! Don’t cower from it, hurl yourself at it!” I picture myself like paint splatter being flung off a brush and onto a canvas that is my life. Hmmmm. She did get me thinking.

At that time I was also in the process of making a dress and some skirts from upcycled t-shirts (more on those in a future post). I realized at about this time that these pieces of clothing I was making had no labels. There were no sizes. They were fitted to me and that was the only label they would have – fitted to my size right now. I had an ‘aha’ moment then – 50 is a label. When I look at clothing, a 12 in some brands is not the 12 in other brands. Those are just labels that someone stuck on them. What if the same was true for me? What if 50 was a label I, and others, created years ago that has nothing to do with who I am now? What if I got rid of it like I do itchy and irritating clothing labels? It didn’t hurt that I saw shortly after that Sandra Bullock is turning 50 this summer. Suddenly it didn’t look tooooo bad! If she could do it, maybe I could too.

Thus, my plan to do 50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year was born and I will launch that year on February 22nd by running the Disney Princess Half Marathon, in costume, with Amanda and 26,000 other princesses. For the other 49 things I have a list, but it isn’t complete yet. My main rule is it will not involve jumping out of, off of, or onto anything (regardless of the paint splatter image)!

Amanda and I are now busy planning the details of our trip – good thing we both LOVE planning – I’m sure we’ll need a 12-step group when we get home and have nothing left to plan.

disney princess batman

Vesta and Amanda’s Tips for registering for a Run Disney run:

These events sell out fast and they are notorious for computer crashes and other terrifying obstacles to registration. Since the obstacles don’t seem to be going away, here are some tips for getting through the registration process with at least some of your sanity intact. Amanda and I were VERY prepared. We also took very helpful information from a number of blogs and postings from other runners.

  1.  Pee before the registration starts. Seriously! You’ll be stressed out, possibly over caffeinated, lacking in sleep and you could be sitting there for awhile!
  2. If you are running with someone else, swap registration information (Active.com log in info, name, address, birthdate, shirt size, name and contact info of next of kin, event that you’re signing up for, all credit card info including that number on the back, and also what commemorative souvenirs they want to purchase). Then if one can’t get through the other one might. ****This was EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR US! When we went to register I would get to the part where I submitted my credit card info and then the site would crash, I’d get an internal server error, and it would boot me out and lose all my info. It was happening to both of us but eventually it was Amanda who got me registered. It took 45 minutes but we were both in.
  3. If you have a previous race time you want to use get you into a better corral you could swap that info too but don’t worry about it if it’s going to slow down your registration. You can always send that info in after.
  4. Canadians (and other non-American residents) – don’t forget the exchange rate. The rate you see online will often be lower than the one the credit cards use so make sure you have enough available to cover all the costs. These are expensive races.
  5. Be prepared, we were ready with computers rebooted and the speakerphone on before registration started. Regarding the speaker phones, this leads me to another point. Wear a headset if the other person (ie me) is prone to swearing when they get stressed. Amanda needed that headset big time, and since I already accidentally taught her six year old son how to swear when he was visiting me in the library, she was well prepared for this possibly happening again… and it did! There were many f-bombs dropped in the name of Disney that morning!
  6. Limit distractions. Occupy the rest of your family so you won’t have any distractions. Again, this is her thing, I don’t have those kinds of distractions.
  7. Be patient! If the site crashes keep hitting refresh and trying again. I was watching the Run Disney Facebook page at the same time and people were giving up because they couldn’t get through. 30,000 other people were trying to get through as well! It took a little over six hours for the event to sell out.
  8. Try a different browser. I discovered part way through my nightmare that Google Chrome users were not crashing as much as those of us on Internet Explorer. One of the things that worked for me and Amanda was that we were in different towns, with different internet service providers, and she was on a Mac and I was on a PC. I had to humbly admit that her Mac kicked sand in the face of my admittedly cheap PC.
  9. Have an Active.com membership and remember your user name and password. Many of the problems seem to stem from Active.com, who Disney uses to process their registrations. I’ve heard other nightmares about the Chicago Marathon and other big events who use Active. Some people were able to bypass the Active membership by signing in as a guest, and a lot of people seemed to have good luck that way. I wouldn’t count on that though. It’s best if you have your account info and you can always sign in as a guest later if it doesn’t work.
  10. If you can, try a test run. The Disney Star Wars Half Marathon registration was about a month before ours. Now, we probably contributed to their problems because they were also crashing (sorry!) but we both tried registering for that event up to the point where we had to put our credit card info in, and then got out. This was just so we knew what the registration process looked like. Another way to do that is look at the events that haven’t sold out yet. I went through the process for registering for Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge during the Disney World Marathon weekend. I’m definitely not going to run a half marathon one day and a full the next, but neither are a lot of people so it hadn’t filled up yet. I got through the process AND discovered that Active.com charges a processing fee that Amanda and I didn’t know about, so we knew ahead of time to up our registration budget by about $20 (don’t even get me started on how they can charge that for a site that crashes like it does).
  11. Pay attention to social media. Part way through the registration process Run Disney posted a different link to try registering through on their Facebook page as it appeared Active was having ‘issues’ and they were trying to resolve them. This is a live feed of what people are experiencing and it’s very valuable. I didn’t look at the Twitter feed but I’m pretty sure it was similar.
  12. If you don’t get in, there are other ways to register. Amanda and I both had this in the back of our minds that it was an option. There are still spots available if you go through one of the Run Disney travel providers or if you raise money for one of the many great charities that participate and that’s a win-win for everyone.

After we registered Amanda (the extrovert) was energized and ready to rip through her day. I (the introvert) stared at the ceiling and waited for the world to stop spinning, which took most of the day.

 

Some of the many blogs we found helpful for the registration process:

http://www.glistenwhileyourun.com/2014/03/rundisney-registration-tips.html

http://www.werundisney.com/2013/04/tips-for-registering-for-major-race.html

http://makermothermarathonrunner.com/2014/04/15/tips-for-registering-for-the-2015-walt-disney-world-marathon-weekend/

 

Now I’m off to get my life handled before the race starts and before I turn 49!

eat my pixie dust