Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Peaceful Easy Feeling.....

Hello from Port-aux-Basque!!!!  No, this is not a typo- I'm here...Well almost!  After a productive Monday (42kms) and Tuesday (46kms), how could one settle for a crack at anything less?  Well, today was a new personal best- 52 kms in 6.5 hrs, non-stop, with the exception of raising $80 on the roadside.  Thank you to those four supporters!
I was going to attempt 64kms, but the wet weather crept up and so I'll finish the last 35.5kms tomorrow.  For those not familiar with the island, I am about to enter "The Wreckhouse". This geographical phenomenon, a stretch of highway located on the southwestern tip of the island, is notorious for its winds.  Tractor trailers have been overturned by winds that have reached up to wind gusts of 200 kph (Category Two Hurricane Status). Quite an interesting read by googling it on the internet.

Off to bed.  Will fill you in on "The Wreckhouse" experience tomorrow....For some additional fun Kevin is out trying to locate a kite! 
Another special birthday mention to my brother Justin (the Big 18 today!!!) 

Monday, April 28, 2008

Finale Week on the Rock....

"You must dare to disassociate yourself from those who would delay your journey...Leave, depart, if not physically, then mentally.  Go your own way, quietly, undramatically, and venture toward trueness at last." -Vernon Howard (Thank you to Kevin Fraser for the quote of the week)
Just a quick update from the road.  The weather continues to be mainly sunny so I'll be on the road a lot, working on run form (always room for improvement) and building on the daily endurance capacity.

Time to hit the road.  We'll be staying in the Palace Inn, St. George's, NL and the Midway Motel (mid-way between Cornerbrook and Port-Aux-Basques).
Special birthday mention to Johnny Vidolovics and Kevin Fraser (April 29th) who will be celebrating their 25th back home in Mississauga!  Have a good one guys!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gros Morne National Park

Day of rest...or was it?

I decided that I had come way too close to one of the world's national treasures to not see it, so today was field trip day!
We began this beautiful Sunday off with a visit to the Humber Valley United Church in Pasadena, NL, after meeting Reverend Andy Wright earlier this week. The congregation welcomed Alex, Kevin and I in with open arms and even included us in their post worship moose soup luncheon. I wish to extend a sincere thank you to them all for their hospitality and generosity. 
Back in the car we ventured due north to explore Gros Morne National Park...from the comfort of the car. A warn down mountain range from 1.2 billion years ago, the amazing vistas were enough to keep the camera going non stop for the hour or so drive through the park. A favorite moment would definitely be passing two caribou on the side of the highway who were out for a leisurely Sunday afternoon stroll. We passed a beautiful golf course, however, I unfortunately forgot to pack my clubs, so we had to do a different kind of driving...
With two dinners in my belly, laundry washed, and bags packed, we move on to Stephenville tomorrow with five running days in Newfoundland and Labrador left. 

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wind at my back??.....

Past couple days have been full of surprises....including the light winds at my back....
Corner Brook, originally discovered and surveyed by James Cook (1767), is the second largest urban centre in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Yesterday, while running west along the Humber River, Marble Mountain (skiing), creeped up!  There is still snow on the slopes!  With distance still to be run the main challenge of the day was the 4 km hill on the outskirts of town.  It took about 25 minutes, but the view was amazing when I got to the top!
There are only four more exits and 175 kms left before Channel-Port Aux Basques (the ferry) after today's run!  I've learned now to expect the unexpected along this journey.  Today was no exception.  As I was running, and zoned into the road, a red pick-up truck slowed down and the driver yelled out "Howie!"  To my shocking amazement, there was Ian Jarvis, back from the McMaster University days!!  Ian used to live across the hall from Kevin Cassan, and I, in first year university (McKay Hall!).  Ian is now officer Ian Jarvis, RCMP, and has just started his4-year posting in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Way to go Ian!! 
Tomorrow is a day off so Kevin, Alex and I are off to Humber Valley United Church, Pasadena, to meet the congregation, then onto Gros Morne National Park, situated to the north of the running route.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Over The Hump....

Hello from Deer Lake!  Past few days have been full of interesting experiences...

Monday- Found the 500 km sign on the Trans-Canada Highway.  Had to wander a bit into the woods and climb a tree to get close to it.  Had a dinner invitation from a gentlemen named Ed Smith, his wife Marion, and grand-daughter Samantha, of Springdale.  We all went out to Marie's Restaurant, adjacent to Marie's Motel (special thanks for the two nights complimentary).  The chocolate eruption cheesecake was sooo good!

Tuesday- Ran the 35.5km's early in the morning.  Ed and Marion invited the team to their place for dinner.  Apparently, my eating habits are an amusement for everyone...Leftovers always get put on my plate.  How can I say no? Ed has written many books and I wasn't shy in asking for a copy of his autobiography "From The Ashes of My Dreams".  He and Marion are very humourous story tellers!  Also got invited to Springdale Town Council to make a presentation to Mayor Kevin Pollard and fellow councillors about Run The Dream Campaign.  Very warm reception!
Wednesday- Moving day to Deer Lake. High Temperature of 3 degrees. Walk:Run Km Pyramid was as follows- 2:2, 1:2, 1:2, 1:3, 1:3, 1:3, 1:4, 1:4, 1:5, plus 2km cool down= 40km in under 5 hours! The last 5km interval was tough, but just had to dig deep! 

Thursday- Peak of the running week.  Went out in the morning with Kevin and ran 30 kms. Came back to the hotel, ate, iced and slept...Woke up and went back out to run another 20.5kms. Ended in Pasadena with enough time to watch the sun set behind the mountains.

Friday (today)- Moving day to Cornerbrook.  Had a 5-minute interview at 7am with Dorthey King of CBC Radio, Cornerbrook.  The plan is 40 kms today, then 32 kms tomorrow.
Knock on wood- We have not seen rain in over 10 days!

Not too many more km's to run in Newfoundland and Labrador!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"It's Your Decisions, Not Your Conditions, That Determine Your Destiny"...

This week's weather forecast looks favourable. Temperatures are in the single digits, sunny and light winds! Cornerbrook, 200 kilometres away, is the goal by Saturday! 

This past Saturday I made quick work of the road (32 kms in 3hrs 30 mins, 21 running and 11 walking).  With the assistance of Alex and Kevin's coaching we used a pyramid run approach. In kilometres, here is how it looked: 2 walk, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 run, 1 walk, 3 run, 1 walk, 3 run, 1 walk, 4 run, 1 walk, 3 run, 1 walk, 3 run, 1 walk, 2 run, 2 walk. The running took 1 hr 40mins and the walking took 1 hr 50 mins. Felt as though I could have kept on going but wanted to leave some of that determination for today!

Been watching a lot of playoff hockey at night.  Did you know that their are three players from Newfoundland and Labrador in the NHL?  Can you guess who they are?  Well, the answer is Ryan Clowe (San Jose), Michael Ryder (Montreal) and Daniel Cleary (Detroit).
Another special acknowledgement to Elizabeth Sheppard, owner of the Three Rivers Country Inn, in Badger. Elizabeth has gone beyond the call of duty!  She has cooked the team breakfast and dinner everyday, for the past three days. Yesterday we ate breakfast while listening to the OZ FM Sunday morning show called "Jigs and Reels".  There is also a restaurant, in Badger, called Kellie's Restaurant, off the highway.  They make the best Chef's Salad and an amazing chocolate fudge sundae! 

Today is moving day.  While running, we'll be changing our base camp to Springdale for a couple days, before Deer Lake, then onto Corner Brook.  The pictures I've attached are scenes from last week's running between Grand-Falls Windsor and Badger. My shorts are at the top of my suitcase this week...just in case!  

Friday, April 18, 2008

Where did the week go?

My apologies to everyone who reads the blog- I can't believe it's Friday already!  Where did the week go?  There is a lot to report but first I would like to add to the list of  growing thank you's...

Thank you to:

Kimberly-Ann McDonald, ASNL South Central Chapter, for being a great host in Grand Falls-Windsor and assisting the team with access to accommodation and the pool at the YMCA;
Mayor Rex Barnes for welcoming Run The Dream into Grand 
Falls-Windsor at the town hall;
Suzanne Budgell, RMT for two complimentary massages;
Jason and Wendy Billard for their two complimentary physio sessions;
Ruth Wall, the-one-and-only, for taking care of my feet;
Gina and Wilson Robinson, at the Carriage House Inn, Grand Falls-Windsor for three nights accommodation;
Tara and Stephen Champion- Tara (my first native NL runner) ran 10km with me and her husband donated a box of power gels;
Constable Pete Cornick for the police escort into Grand Falls-Windsor; and
Elizabeth Sheppard, Three Rivers Country Inn, in Badger, for accommodation for the weekend.

What started as a week with rain, fog, wind, and sub-zero temperatures, ended at the opposite end of the spectrum.  Confirmed by the weatherman, today was 18 degrees celsius and calm!
A few highlights of the week included running, on Thursday, with Tara Champion, from Bishop's Falls, where we were then met by Constable Pete Cornick and his new clean police car.  Constable Cornick shared a little tale about how he escorted Rick Hanson, during his Man in Motion World Tour, in the eighties, from the same Exit 20, in Grand Falls-Windsor.  At the town hall, I met again with Mayor Rex Barnes who gave Run The Dream the honour of having the same privilege the lieutenant governor, premier, or royalty would have- A whole page in the Town Guest Book!
For those wondering about the running- reached 40 kms today and finished with a nice Friday sunset just north of Badger. Tomorrow we'll take an easy 25km run, then rest on Sunday.
Where one chapter ends, another one begins....Talk to you next week!

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Can't Never Could"....

A new feature of each Monday's blog will be a quote of the week.  This week's quote is a simple and powerful statement. Are you a glass half-full or glass half-empty person? Just always remember "Can't never could!" 

Today, I'd like to recognize Kevin Cassan for what many take weeks to prepare for.  I only gave Kevin 48 hours notice.  He accepted the challenge!  We ran 24kms! More than a half marathon! Kevin's comment after completing the distance.."my knee is a little sore".  Kevin will be taking a well deserved running break.

Rumour has it that the weather will be improving later in the week.  Snow and low single digit temperatures are around for a few more days, but sun and warm weather are coming soon!

For tomorrow, Alex has accepted the running challenge! Look out Trans-Canada Highway!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hello from Gander...

Special thank you to the Albatross Hotel, in Gander, for providing our team four complimentary nights. It is very much appreciated when receiving these offers. Also, special mention to those individuals I met at the Ultramar Gas Station, in Glovertown, who provided the road crew breakfast and a donation to the cause a few days ago.

Another successful week has been completed and a lot to let you know about:

Firstly, I finally saw a Moose on Friday morning!  Well, actually, Alex pointed it out as we were driving to our starting point in Gambo.  Hoping to see a few more before completing the island.

Second, but more importantly, a big thank you to Kimberly-Ann McDonald, President, Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, South and Central Chapter, for hosting a 'grand' event in Grand Falls-Windsor on April 11th.  Very impressed to meet the mayor (Rex Barnes), local MPP (Susan Sullivan) and Miss Teen Newfoundland and Labrador (Laura Woodworth).  There was great music, line dancing and media turnout for the event.  Thank you to 
Sprucewood Academy f
or the efforts from their penny drive! ($300!!)  I am glad to have accepted the cheque rather then the pennies!

Last night was also a special night in Springhill, Nova Scotia.  I'd like to congratulate, Tammy Chapman on hosting an Autism Awareness Fundraiser that raised about $2000 for the Run The Dream Campaign.  I am happy to hear that the event will become an annual fundraiser.   Tammy e-mailed me the night I left Mississauga and on my drive out to St. John's I wanted to personally thank her for the e-mail of support.  Her son Dakota was diagnosed with Autism one month ago.  In three short weeks she put the fundraiser together and great fun was had by all!  Congratulations Tammy!  Will be in Springhill very soon to personally thank you again!

This week, plan to put over 175 kms on the run odometer.  We will also be passing the halfway mark on the island!  For the rest of today I plan on keeping the legs elevated and  watching the final round of 'The Masters'.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Could It Be?....

Spring has sprung!?!?  Ah, I wouldn't hold my breath yet, but it was sure nice over the past couple days.  Two degrees (Monday), Four degrees (Tuesday), and now 10 degrees (today) as I write this. 

Have now travelled through the National Park and am headed to Gambo, then Gander.  Today I ran down my biggest hill and then Murphy's Law enacted itself because a few kilometres later I had to run up one just as big.  
For those wondering about my achilles- My new 'Chi' running technique is using a lot less energy and muscle.  Plus, thanks to Alex and Kevin I now have running partners and a few people who don't mind losing at Scrabble!
Until next next time....

Sunday, April 6, 2008

On The Road Again....

Tomorrow, at 12PM NST, Run The Dream continues....  As expected, my body is in an adaptation phase and the rest early on will pay dividends later.

Although I am far from home right now it is great to know that Run The Dream is making a difference.  Special thank you to the Honourable Senator, Jim Munson, for acknowledging this run, in the Senate, as part of the World Autism Awareness Day celebrations.  It gave me goosebumps being mentioned in the same sentence as Terry Fox.

For those wondering what has been happening over the last few days, well, where do I start?Kevin Cassan, high school friend and university roommate, has come aboard;  Joseph Wilson, my personal trainer, has voluntarily flown in for a few days to observe and re-work my run program;  and Alex has now taken over the role of 'left side of my brain'.  She has kept me on a regimented recovery schedule!  Eat, Sleep and Stretch!

Time for bed...25 kilometres through Terra Nova National Park tomorrow...Maybe I'll see my first Moose!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

World Autism Awareness Day....

Today marks the first ever World Autism Awareness Day, sponsored by the United Nations.  I am very honoured to be a guest on the John Moore Show (CFRB 1010 Toronto) at 4:30pm EST.

I am also excited that Run The Dream has launched what is a Canadian first, and we believe to be a worldwide first, internet enabled interview tool called "Their Stories" for parents, family members, caregivers, and persons with ASD to share their experiences.  This forum is where the most involved advocates can tell their story, first-hand, which is far more powerful than anyone else telling it.  At the conclusion of the run I will present all the contributions to the Premier of each province and territory, as well as the Prime Minister of Canada.  I invite your voice to join the chorus!

On a side note, my achilles tendons have acted up again after 225 kms of running.  With the winds, freezing rain and snow currently hindering roads on the island, my trainer, Joseph Wilson, the team, and I, have decided to take this opportunity to rest until Monday, April 7th.