The Roster Spring Run-Off

….following in her father’s footsteps

When my husband was in his twenties to thirties he was considered an elite runner. He specialized in long distances, anywhere from 10k to marathons. As he got older he decided that in order to continue to improve it would mean making more sacrifices that would negatively affect our family. He made the decision to quit running because the sacrifice wasn’t worth it.

We never pushed our children into running but our son seemed to have a natural gift and in his early teens he pursued running until he started to suffer pain and he had to make a decision between a music career and being a runner. He chose his cello over his running shoes.

Our oldest daughter took an interest in running in her 30s. Over the years she has participated in numerous races, anywhere from 5k to half a marathon. Every year she steadily gets better. Her wife also started running with her.

Today we attended a race that holds special memories for my husband. The Spring Run-off is held every year in High Park and some 35 years ago or more Kevin ran in this race as a member of the Brooks Racing Team. The race then was known as the Brook’s Spring Run-off.

Today Andrea and Josie joined some 2600 runners to take part in this challenging 8k race. The challenge is in the hills that this race covers. Andrea was aiming to complete the race in 40 minutes and did it in 39 minutes and change. Out of 900 women participating today she placed 8th in her age category. She was delighted with her accomplishment.

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As you can see the race attracts all ages. My daughter is the young lady on left in the above photo with the blue sunglasses. Here a few more of her throughout the race (one of Josie #1927)

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Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge – Ground II

….I enjoyed part I so much I decided to do a different twist on Cee’s challenge for ground

As I was searching for photos of the ground I discovered photos with different perspectives of this week’s theme. Here they are:

Flying Above the Ground (over Italy)

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Walking Under the Ground (tunnel under Humber College)

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Dug Up From the Ground (ruins outside Florence)

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Drawing on the Ground (drawing in Assisi)

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Running on the Ground  (Frances at the park)

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Eating from the Ground (Horse in Florence)

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Walking on the Ground/Grass (for the first time)

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Playing on the Ground  (Camp Kawartha)

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Jumping on the Ground  (Jump Rope for Heart)

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Sitting on the Ground (in Rome)

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Lying on the Ground (in Rome)

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Examining the Ground (Stuck in the mud in Assisi)

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Shadow on the Ground (in the park)

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The Best of 2016

…..despite the terrible events that took place in 2016 on a personal level it was a wonderful year

Most people would agree that 2016 had to be a terrible year for natural disasters, untimely deaths of beloved celebrities, horrendous terrorist attacks around the world, the Syrian refugee crisis, Brexit and a nasty election campaign in the U.S.

Even on a personal note, 2016 hasn’t been all sunshine and roses but there were many memorable and special moments.

In January our son ended up staying with us for an extra week before heading back to London, England. The circumstances of his extended stay aren’t exactly positive but we did have him with us and for me that was special. By the way, at the end of December of last year, he slipped on the ice and broke his upper arm and he required surgery. The surgery was successful and he was released from the hospital on January 1st. IMG_7188

In February my friend M celebrated her 64th birthday and my niece, S, her 26th.

The biggest event in February was our daughter’s wedding to her first love and partner of 10 years. They met on Feb. 10th so they decided on their 10th anniversary they would make it official and tie the knot. What a special day!

In March while we experienced snow, our future daughter-in-law was sitting in an outdoor caffe in Assisi planning her wedding.

In May we celebrated Mother’s Day with the family in the backyard (a little chilly) and at school we had our Forest of Reading celebration, Jump Rope for Heart and our annual Fun Fair. Winnie also had her first swimming lesson and her Daddy started Go Cart racing. Also A and J and their brother-in-law, G, ran the Sporting Life 10k.

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In June two of my colleagues retired from teaching, my very good friend, A, celebrated her 75th birthday and our son and his love were married in London at City Hall.

Our school choir also sang at a Blue Jays game and we put on our annual outdoor extravaganza at school.

July was the highlight month of the year for our family. We took a trip of a lifetime. My sister and her family from Calgary and my two daughters and their families and my husband and I travelled to Italy to celebrate the union of our son, B, and his beautiful Iranian bride, Az. We travelled for the first 11 days visiting places like Venice, Florence, Bologna and Lucca and then we all met in Assisi where the actual wedding took place. After three days in Assisi we made one more stop in Rome before flying back home.

In August  I was able to open up the cottage and spent about 5 weeks there off and on. My husband and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary and I had another birthday.

September brought a new school year and my last first day of school. My husband had  been coaching a small group of boys from our extended family to get them ready for this year’s cross country team and they were all entered into the Railpath Community Run. In fact there were 11 of us from the family that ran that day. I was happy to do 5k without stopping in 45 minutes. At least I wasn’t the slowest person on the course. The boys did really well and some of them walked away with some prizes.

October was another busy month with a lot of milestone birthdays. My husband turned 65, my dad 90, my son-in-law 40 and Winnie celebrated her 1st birthday. I also organized and ran my last book fair school. We raised the largest sum of money ever. I now I have the fun job of buying books and supplies for the library and classrooms.

In November my oldest daughter, A, celebrated her 37th birthday. Where has the time gone? My younger daughter, Winnie and I attended the Royal Winter Fair and I, along with five other teachers took 59 students on a three day overnight winter camp in the Kawarthas.

In December my Dad moved from his apartment to the retirement home across the road. We held our annual craft night at school, held a Christmas concert and had our staff party at a local restaurant. Christmas was a three day affair; one day in Hamilton, another in Toronto and the third in Oshawa. On the 30th of the month we celebrated the birthdays of our twins who are now 35. As my principal and friend M would say ‘Carol you’re old!’

So as you can see there were lots of bright moments in 2016 for me and the Cormier family. Wishing you all a bright, happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

Cheers!

A Great Day for a Race

….the conditions were perfect

Back in August I signed up for the Railpath Community Run. Initially I thought I would do the walk but every year for the last three years I end up running the course. I guess the term running is debatable in my case but once I start I don’t stop to walk. I’m not very fast, in fact I know people who can walk faster than I run.

On Thursday, my daughter and I made our way to the Henderson Brewery where the running packages could be picked up. This is the first year that the micro brewery, situated on the rail path hosted the event. We stayed and sampled some of the beer after picking up our numbers and t-shirts.

My husband has been coaching a group of boys, ages nine to thirteen, for the last four weeks to prepare them for this year’s cross country run at their school. We’ve known most of the boys for 10 years and we consider them family. Despite my husband’s current medical condition, going out two to three times a week to work with the boys has been a very uplifting experience for him. In his younger days my husband was considered a world class marathon runner.

This past week K has been flat on his back with debilitating pain in his knees and ankles. At the hospital they thought he was suffering from an onset of severe rheumatoid arthritis and they sent him home with a prescription for morphine and a phone number for a rheumatologist. To make a long story short, he was able to get dressed today and make his way to the race to watch his team run.

There were 13 of us from the ‘family’ running  and I was the only one who had signed up for the walk, which was after the run. Instead of making everyone wait for me to finish the Community Walk I decided to do the run section instead. I learned a new term today that applies to me. I’m a ‘snurtle’ which means I run slower than a turtle. My only goal today was not to be the last one on the course.

Well I reached my goal. There were four women slower than me and I ran a personal best. The run is 45 minutes long and I was about 200 metres shy of the 5k mark. I figured I would have hit the mark in about 47 minutes. In past races I’ve never run better than a 50 minute 5k.

The boys all ran 8K, some faster than others but in the end three of them took first, second and third place in the under 18 category. Pretty impressive. My daughter, A, ran 8K as well and my daughter-in-law, J, ran 7K. We were all happy with our results and after the race we hung around and had a drink at the brewery. We also stayed for the draw prizes and three of the boys walked away with a gift and I won a prize. Not a bad way to end an event.

Next year I’m going to aim to get to that 5K mark before the 45 minutes are up. It will probably mean losing some more weight and running more often but I’m confident that I can do it. Who would have thought at my age I would become a runner.

Cheers!

Share Your World 2016 – Week 13

….lucky week 13

Are you left or right handed?

I’m left handed but I’m able to do a lot of things with my right hand. I write and draw with my left hand. With my right hand I knit, play ukelele, bowl, bat, golf, throw a ball, play tennis and control the mouse and scroll bar on my computer. With both hands I can iron, use scissors, brush and blow dry my hair and use a saw.

If you had only one TV, would you prefer the TV in the living room or another room?

We only have one TV and it’s in our TV room in the basement. We didn’t want it in the living room because we didn’t want it to be a distraction when we have company. Too often we’ve seen people go straight for the TV instead of sitting down and having a conversation. They might as well stay home. I also don’t like having a TV in the bedroom. When we were younger, we’d fall asleep and wake up to the white noise of the test pattern on the TV. I guess I’m aging myself. Today’s generation doesn’t even know what a test pattern is.

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

When I was younger long distance walks for charity were all the rage. In high school I walked 32 miles around the city to raise money for a charity I don’t recall. I do remember collecting pledges for every mile walked and stopping at check points to verify that I’d walked that leg of the walk. We started early in the morning and I finished at city hall, and it was already dark. I remember there being hundreds of people waiting at the finish line and when I arrived the first thing my father did was hug me and step on feet. Ouch!

Four years ago I ran my first 5k run. I worked with a group of young girls at school and we participated in Girls on the Run. The first year I did this I had just started to lose weight and was down about 18 pounds but by the end of the run I thought I was going to die. I think I had a bit of a panic attack and couldn’t stop crying. The following year I did it again but this time I was down 30 pounds and I had been running more consistently. It felt great.

I’ve done one other running event after that, two years in a row. The Railpath Run in the Junction raises money for The Stop to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community, and challenges inequality. This particular run I’ve done with my oldest daughter who lives in the community. It’s a lot of fun and both times I’ve done the community walk/run portion. This year I was only going to walk the course but once I started I couldn’t stop running. I’m not very fast but I’m consistent.IMG_6303

Complete this sentence: Love is… 

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• flowers waiting for me when I arrive home from work for no special occasionIMG_6031

• when the whole family gets together

• the dog greeting me at the dog, her whole body gyrating… she’s so happy to see me

• my husband hugging me and playfully teasing me

• my husband’s home cooked meals

• my husband’s complete acceptance of all my flaws and imperfections

• my father’s weekly phone calls

• the pride I feel when I speak of my children’s accomplishments

• continuing to worry about your children’s well being even when they’re adults

• is get togethers with close cherished friends

• is supporting family and friends in good and bad times and in sickness and health

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I was grateful for a short work week and a very long weekend. I was grateful for two days of beautiful weather and being able to get out for a long hike with my husband through High Park.

Our dog, Frances, was very ill ten days ago so I’m very grateful that she’s on the mend and pretty much back to her old self. I know she getting better because she actually wants to go outside and walk but the vet told us to not exercise her too much. That’s a hard thing to convey to a dog, especially one as active as Frances.

I’m also very grateful for time together with the whole family (not including our son in London) during the Easter weekend. We had a wonderful dinner here and our granddaughter provided us with a lot of laughter as she fed herself sweet potatoes and cauliflower.

This week I’m looking forward to another short week at school (4 days) and more success on the scale. I’ve lost 6 1/2 pounds this past week and look forward to more healthy eating and walking. My husband is doing this with me so it makes it so much easier. I’m starting to look at clothes for the wedding this summer and I’m hoping to lose another 20 pounds. I think that’s pretty doable in the next 13 weeks.

For more Share Your World posts check out Cee’s blog.

Share Your World 2015- Week 38

….I don’t know how she does it but Cee keeps coming up with new questions each week

What do you do to make a living or during the day if you are retired. If you are a student what are you studying?

I’ve been a school teacher since 1976. I started out teaching Family Studies to middle school adolescents. I did that for about 15 years and then I did guidance for two years. I was toying with the thought of becoming a principal and I started taking a lot of leadership courses in the evenings. I successfully became a chairperson which is like being a principal’s assistant where you take on a few extra responsibilities while still teaching. For many people this is a stepping stone to becoming a vice-principal or principal. In the end I decided that this was enough responsibility for me and that I liked being in the classroom too much to give it up.

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When I became a chairperson I was transferred to a junior school where I taught grade 5 and sometimes a 4/5 split. Five years ago I took a library course and qualified to become a  teacher librarian. One year later the library position opened up at our school and I’ve been the librarian/art teacher ever since.

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

Three and a half years ago when I first started this blog I was determined to lose weight. At school I agreed to assist in a program called Girls on the Run and I started to walk/run with the girls twice a week for 10 weeks. At the end of the program there was a 5k run and at the age of 59 I participated in my first serious race. I did the whole thing and ran for most of it but I was so emotional at the end that a dread overcame me and I thought I was going to die. Of course I didn’t and I did the run again the next year. The second time around it was a little easier. Last fall I participated in the Railpath Community Run and I’m doing it again this weekend. This one I did with my daughter.

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What is usually your first thought when you wake up?

My first thought is usually to switch my Jawbone Up from sleep mode to wake mode and then check on my phone to see how well and how long I’ve slept.

Complete this sentence: Look out behind you, it’s a …

…it’s your son. I often fantasize that my son and his fiancé pay me a surprise visit. They both live in London, England and I only see them once a year. A few years ago my son did come to Toronto for a convention and I was truly surprised.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for a visit from my daughter who now lives in Hamilton. I was especially grateful because she was 38 weeks pregnant and I didn’t think that she would want to make the trip and be that far from home. We went to my older daughter’s house and my good friend L and her mom joined us. They weren’t able to make it to G’s shower in the summer so they anxious to see her and bring her the gifts that they had bought. It was also the first time that L’s mom had seen A’s and J’s house. IMG_6228

Years ago my daughter, A had volunteered to undergo testing and see if she was a good match for L’s dad who needed to be treated for C-dificile. It turned out that she was and her donation ended up saving his life. When L and her mom arrived on Saturday they bought her a gift as well. L’s dad is a very accomplished and renowned artist and they gifted my daughter one of his paintings. We were all very touched.

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Later in the afternoon my girls and I went for a walk in the neighbourhood along Dupont street and stopped for lunch at a small Vietnamese restaurant and checked out the interesting little businesses that have sprung up in the last few years.

I’m obviously looking forward to the birth of our first grandchild. We all took bets on when she would come into the world but we were a little surprised when our daughter went into false labour yesterday. She’s fine today and this baby may take her sweet time about making her official appearance. Her actual due date is October 4th.

I’m also looking forward to participating in the Railpath Community run on Saturday but I think this year I may do more walking than running. On Sunday some of my friends from high school are getting together again for another lunch. We’re hoping that CM from Thunder Bay will be able to join us this time.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. The first weekend of autumn looks like it’s going to be especially nice and warm in my neck of the woods.

Cheers!

Running to Stop Hunger

….well more like jogging

On Sunday, my oldest daughter and I took part in a community fun run to support an organization called The Stop Community Food Program.

The run took place along the West Toronto Railpath. It was a 45 minute run and the idea was to run or walk as far as you could in that space of time. It was unusually hot but I’m happy to say that I didn’t stop or walk. I managed to ‘run’ 4.5 k in 42 minutes. I couldn’t make it to the 5 k mark in three minutes so the organizers recommended that I stop. I felt remarkably good.

I’m particularly proud of my daughter. This was the first run she’s ever participated in and she’s been practising really hard. She managed to run 7k in 45 minutes.

At the end of the race a lot of draw prizes were given out. I won a $25.00 gift certificate from the Running Room. Both my daughters told me that it was a sign that I need to keep running. My youngest daughter said she would join us next year for the same race.

It was a great day. My husband and all my girls came out to support us.