Calgary’s 10k Jugo Juice Race Report

I am on my sister’s Mac computer which I am not familiar with, thus I am having a difficult time figuring out how to do basic things like copy and upload pictures, so those will have to come later.

Prior to Sunday, Calgary experienced  unusual levels of rain which I think worked to my favour on my house purchase. On Sunday though the day started out at a cool 4 degrees celsius and lots of sunshine,  perfect for running a race.  The 10k race started at 7.30 am with the marathon and half marathon group starting at 7.00 am, I only wish more races did this to take advantage of the cooler weather in the morning.

I asked to be dropped off early (6.00 am) not knowing how things were going to go down and let’s just say everyone was so laid back that I had no issues going to the bathroom 3x beforehand with no lines.  The race started and finished on the Calgary Stampede grounds and a wave of nostalgia rose up from going to the summer event every year as a child from 3 to 12 years of age.  Again not knowing what to expect I went out to the start line area 1/2 hour beforehand and by 7.15 am the only people in the start chute were the elite runners or the wanna be elites warming up. The average runner like myself, which was 95% of the participants were milling around socializing. Totally not what I am used to. Finally at 7.20 and only after they made an announcement did people start to enter the starting chute and again unlike other races people weren’t clamouring to be at the front.

For some reason whenever I start a race I always hug one side or the other, rarely do I go in the middle of the crowd. This time was no different and as I look over to the side this well dressed man says hello to me and of course I say hello back and turn around thinking he was just being polite.  Before I know it, swarms of people are asking to take photos of him and lo and be hold, it was the Mayor of Calgary. I am secretly treating his hello as a big personal welcome to his great city, lol.

This race was just supposed to be a fun one given everything I have going on so my running target was simply to finish just under an hour.  Despite warming up and feeling good, I found the first 3k very difficult and I am chalking it up to the altitude difference as the elevation of the race was nominal. There is no question that my lungs were working harder and with that my heart rate was definitely higher than normal. As a result I took quite a few walk breaks along the way which is unusual for me on a 10k.

There weren’t that many spectators out along the route but there were enough pockets of enthusiastic people to put a smile on your face.  Despite the lack of spectators there is no question that this city embraces fitness and supports these types of running events. There was no evidence of impatient drivers that you get during a Toronto race.

The last km of the race is one long winding tease. Finally you turn a corner going right and run right into the Calgary Stampede Grandstand with a decent amount amount of supporters in the stand.  It was definitely a neat feeling in the end to run this event knowing that this is going to be my future city.

Overall this race was extremely well organized, you had a place to stay warm before and after your race in the Grandstand building, plenty of post race food and hydration, including a pancake and sausage breakfast.  They also did a great job in separating the half marathoners from the 10k group in the last 3 or so km. Essentially the half marathoners had their own lane way up to the final strides so they didn’t have to contend with the 10k volume of runners. This is not much of a concern for the average half marathon but I believe it would make a world of difference for the speedier racers.  I would give this race a 4.5 out of 5, the only missing factor would be to have more spectators.

Next year the marathon race component is 50 years old, according to the race officials it is the oldest marathon event in Canada ?? Anyways yesterday I was a visitor running the race but next year I will be a Calgarian – yee haw!

Oh and I finished in 58:50 – perfect for this race.

Today is a defining moment

On Thursday morning I arrived in Calgary with the objective to purchase a house that would meet our families needs which is no small order given the accessibility and price factor.  Back in January when we visited to confirm that we wanted to make this move we looked at a few homes and admittedly got a little discouraged at the high prices and number of changes we would have to make to each house in order to accommodate Reilly’s needs.  The inventory was very low back then given the time of year so we filed this experience away and hoped that when we were ready to embark on this step again we would have more options.

A lot of people have recommended for us to consider renting before we settle on a house and we don’t disagree that this would be a great idea.  The problem is that renting is cost prohibitive unless we are willing to rent a starter 1000 square foot apartment, which often still has a set of stairs or a run down house in a shady area.  Without exaggerating to find an ‘okay’ rental house we would be easily looking at $2500 – 3500 a month.  Plus we would then have to incur additional moving costs so it would almost be better to take a risk on a house and if it proves not to work out then the commission fees and moving expenses would actually be lower than one years renting fees.

So Thursday afternoon I met up with our Real Estate agent and started looking at properties. I should mention that it is just me out here, Mike is back at home with the kids.  Although Mike and I are on the same page with what we are looking for I do feel that there is an incredible weight on my shoulders with this responsibility.  Overall we looked at 12 houses on this day and in the middle I found ‘THE ONE’.  There were no close seconds and many of the houses were either over priced with tons of renovations required or okay priced with a lot of renovations required and not in the best location (i.e. right by a highway). Not to mention that most of the bungalows had lots of stairs, stairs up to the house (pathway), stairs to the door, stairs from the front entrance, up to the main floor (3-4 stairs), stairs to the backyard. So I included 2 stories that had straight staircases that could accommodate a lift but they too had stairs in other places. Needless to say it was a very depressing exercise.  Even “THE ONE” which is a wonderful bungalow has stairs to contend with but it meets the rest of our criteria.

The problem now is that we are again in a competitive situation (already lost out to two other houses) and the offers are going to be presented today.  This place is way above our preferred housing price and we will be mortgaged to the hilt but the intangibles that this house in its location will provide us will be priceless.  So at 10.30 MST our offer will be presented along with one other and truly our fate will be defined.  Every time I start to think about what if we don’t get it, I do my best to stop in my tracks for this path is dark and ugly and wouldn’t be productive at this point of time.  The stress and energy though has been immense but I have faith that the stars will align on this one.

So for the next few hours I need to keep myself extra busy.  The good thing is that I signed up for a 10k race tomorrow as part of Calgary’s Scotiabank race event and will pick up my race kit this morning. I definitely won’t be in the right state of mind tomorrow to strive for a PB and in fact might be forced to take it easy given what I have been through but regardless I am looking forward to it!!!!!

London’s Mothers Day Thoughts

We always have a good chuckle when reading London’s notes because of the spelling.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with what she is doing but it only highlights how silly the English language can be and how difficult it is to try to explain to her why in some cases it is one way and in other cases it is another way, without any logical way to figure it out. For example, the other day we were reading one of her science books and I was trying to teach her that when she comes across a word that starts with “ch” like children it sounds like “chah” but then we came across the word chemical and as everyone knows the “ch” becomes a “kah” sound. Thank goodness she has a memory like an elelphant for once you tell her how a word sounds she often always remembers it the next time.

In London’s SK class they were asked to write out something for their mom’s and this is what she wrote:

Scan_Pic0005

 

Translation:  I love it when we watch a movie together and it was so much fun. And when you read me a story at bedtime. And I like it when you make muffins.

This style of spelling totally reminds of what you see in the Winnie the Pooh books we often read Reilly.   I love the innocence and independence. How they grow up so fast. Sigh.

 

 

Reilly’s Birthday Present

We have always struggled with buying gifts for Reilly, whether it be her birthday or Christmas or other special occasions where you would normally get a little gift.  The struggle really comes down to the fact that Reilly has no fine motor skills and thus can not manipulate any toys and already has a surplus of Winnie the Pooh items (she loves anything Winnie and friends related) to open a museum, and clothes don’t count when you are a kid.

So for her 8th birthday this year we decided that her birthday gift would be going to stay overnight at one of the water park hotels in the Niagara region, given her love of water.  Initially it was going to be a family affair but then London got an invite to one of her best buddies birthdays and she pleaded to go to the party instead. At first I was adamant that she went with us since this is a family planned activity to celebrate Reilly’s birthday.  After some thinking though, Mike and I decided it would be extra special for Reilly to have our complete attention for this over-night excursion and made arrangements with the grandparents to look after London.

So off the three of us went to the water park hotel and as you can see from the pictures below it was a huge success.  We really think that Reilly not only enjoyed the water time with us but also the fact that the whole experience was just with us and she didn’t have to compete with her sister.  So what started as a potential source of friction turned out to be the best decision for everyone and the start of what just might be an annual tradition to have a special weekend away with just Reilly.

 

IMG_6971 IMG_6969

Sleeping Posture Support

Knock on wood but Reilly has been sleeping pretty darn good the last couple of months.  For us ‘darn good’ means 1-2 wake-ups a night but with a little cuddle she promptly goes back to sleep.

When Reilly was little the only way we could get her to sleep was on her stomach but in her toddler years upwards, she has always been a side sleeper.   The challenge recently is that signs of scoliosis have already started to emerge and in the last two years a considerable change in her back can be seen.  Ideally it would be best if she slept on her back but whenever we have tried putting her in this position, either at the start of the night or in the middle of it, it doesn’t work. In that, she can’t fall asleep or stay asleep. Whether it has to do with a comfort/preference thing like the rest of us or a sensory issue, we have resigned to the fact that she is a side sleeper and try to alternate back and forth.

Recently Reilly’s OT suggested that we take a look at a sleep system that would involve Reilly sleeping on her back. At first I said it wouldn’t work given her history and that she would hate it but something made me say sure why not give it a try.  The approved supplier brought over a SymmetriKit to show us what items might work with Reilly and in the demo session Reilly loved being on her back within this system.  A few weeks later, we were able to trial the pieces for a week.  To our surprise the first night, Reilly not only fell asleep on her back but stayed there for almost half the night.  When she awoke we simply moved her onto her to side and still used a couple of the pieces of the system to give her even better side positioning. After the week’s trial, Reilly slept on her back more than she has in her entire life.  I was sold on this system until I got the Quote – $3000 CDN!

The Quote included a thin velcro sheet, small pillow for the head, bolster for the knees, long pad for the heel area, side brackets and a think temperature controlled under mattress (mattress is not really the right word, almost like a blanket).

The manufacturer of this system is in the UK and works with resellers in other countries, in Ontario, Canada,  it is Motion Specialities. I swear the mark-up has got to be at least 50% on these products.   Unfortunately these products are not covered under any insurance plans or other funding options.   Regardless $3,000 CDN is too rich for my blood and wallet so I am determined to improvise and come up with a cheaper but just as effective of a solution.  Stay tuned.

IMG_7003 IMG_7002 IMG_6878 IMG_6875

One more bite please

In February Reilly came down with a terrible flu/cold bug that knocked her out for a couple of weeks.  Reilly has a strong immune system and rarely comes down with colds but this was one was not fun as I came down with it too.   It was not unexpected that she would lose her appetite during this illness but what was unexpected was that her normal appetite levels never returned.  Out of concern we contacted our neurologist’s nurse who has been our ‘go-to’ person for almost any issue as she has proved to be the most helpful resource around and consequently referred us to a Feeding Clinic at Holland Bloorview Kids Rebhab in Toronto.

Reilly’s appointment was just this past Monday. I prepared in advance a list of general comments, what she typically likes, what she doesn’t like – what she was like before and now with respect to eating habits, etc. along with a few typical eating diary entries.  Here is one from Sunday, the day before the appointment:

Sunday, May 5th

Breakfast 8.00 am

  • Approx. 1.5 cups of water (this is not normal but great!)
  • 1 slice of Raisin Bread with butter (not our preferred choice but it worked this moring)
  • ¼ cup of vanilla yogurt (with Reilly’s pills). In order for her to eat the yogurt we have to bribe her with vege chips.

Morning Snack

  •  hand full of Gluten free crackers

 Lunch – noon (Great given other meals but still not enough)

  • 1.5 cups of pasta with ham & peas
  • ½ cup of Water

 Snack

  • more water
  • mozeralla cheese string

 Dinner (she just wouldn’t eat)

  • 1 apple sauce cup (with medication)
  • 2 potato cubes (baked)

I expressed great concern that she is not eating enough let alone getting the right nutrients into her body.  They understood but felt she was still on the healthy spectrum (height 3% percentile and weight 50% percentile).  I agreed that we have some room to play with her weight but there is something  just not right with this new eating behaviour and I think it goes beyond simply a behaviour phase.   They asked a lot of questions and observed her eating her lunch at noon which she ate well (wouldn’t you if you last ate at 7.30 am and barely  had anything then and nothing the night before). They confirmed she has no problems biting and swallowing, which is sometimes a  huge issue with girls with Rett Syndrome.

They gave some great suggestions that maybe she needs some more intense flavour added into her diet as she tends to prefer salty things.  They even suggested adding Tabasco Sauce to Smoothies – crazy but who knows.  One issue that she could be experiencing is Acid Reflux but she has been on the appropriate medication since she was 4 and she is at the max dose for her weight.   Reilly like most Rett girls have a high tolerance to pain but I don’t sense that she is experiencing anything related to Acid Reflux, in fact I even commented that her breath does not smell in the morning, unlike her sister’s (bad breath can be a sign/symptom of acid reflux in combination with other stuff).

There is no question that we will continue to experiment with food choices but I would have thought the Feeding Clinic would have gone beyond the scope they covered and requested blood work to ensure that nutritionally she is sound and not deficient in key areas, especially since we have a known issue with her drop off in growth (height).  Besides her lack of eating and some additional napping time, Reilly is in good spirits.    I tried to ask the team at the Feeding Clinic what happens if their suggestions don’t work? and they really didn’t have answer except come back for another appointment.  I don’t want to subject her to a battery of tests especially when we have no idea what might be going on but I don’t see how she is getting enough food to do what is needed to allow her to grow and thrive?

So now what????