Friday, June 30, 2017

Other End of May Fun!

Lily was out of school, I was back from my Ragnar race and the big kids still had about 2 weeks of school, so we headed to the zoo! 
 Lily is a poser! 
 Samantha too! Thank heavens for the statues around the zoo for photo ops! 

 The water and play area was what they really wanted to play at and it did not disappoint, well they would have played longer but we had to get home. 

 If you look closely you will see an entire tube of chapstick smeared all over her forehead primarily. 

 A new member in our ward went into labor early upsetting all of their carefully laid out plans and so we 3 girls headed to the hospital to hang out with some kids while mom had her c-section a week early. We drew pictures and then took pictures of and with that picture. 

 And of course played with our new friends. 

Memorial Day swimming at the Ostermiller's did not disappoint! 
We love this tradition and hope it lasts a little longer! 

Niagara Falls Fun

Sunday, the day after the race we spent some time exploring Niagara. We had totally intended to go to church but when you are in a dark hotel room and have not slept much for 2 days and there are no kids and you forget to set an alarm, you might just wake up at 9 am and miss church. 
Anyhow, we got moving and headed out to see the sights.
Canadian geese and goslings
The falls are truly incredible, especially when you get up close to them,
or get to stand behind them.
You are looking at the US side or portion of the falls. They are not the horseshoe shaped falls that people often imagine when thinking of the falls. But I loved the rocks that they pounded down on. 
We rode the Hornblower (a boat that takes you up close to the falls). It was a rainy and misty day and then there is a lot of spray from the falls. We were soaked and cold and were wearing 2 ponchos. I stuck my phone out of the neck of my poncho to snap this one picture and then it really started to rain and the spray from the falls mixed with the wind was too wet for my phone. 
I loved the River Walk. The river that flows after the falls is unbelievable! The water is racing and is a class 6 which basically means it is impassable by kayak or canoe or boat. The waves were massive and as high as 12 or more feet! 

It was really hard to get a good picture but that was a massive wave!
We ate the yummiest soup and crepes for dinner that night at this little French Bistro. 
Monday we headed out to explore Buffalo a bit ad walked around some but a lot of the best tourist stuff is meant for summer or weekends so we consoled ourselves with more Tim Horton donuts. 
And since we had some time to kill, we headed back to Niagara and went to the Butterfly Conservatory. It was so amazing! I have been in several butterfly houses over the years but this was the best I have ever seen! There were so many butterflies! 

I saw a lady that had one on her hand and said well aren't you lucky.  She told me that someone had handed it to her and so she handed it to me. I took a picture and was in awe and then handed it to a worker. 

Why this is my last picture of my adventure, I am not sure but it is. This is poutine, a Canadian dish of fries with gravy and cheese curds. It was okay and maybe better depending on which restaurant you buy it from.  
I loved my adventure! We had some crazy flight delays on our way home but we made it home and I was so excited to plan the rest of our family's trip to Niagara and New York in just a few short weeks. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Niagara Falls Ragnar Race

I looked forward to this great adventure of running a race in a foreign country and it did not disappoint one bit! 
 My glimpse of New York City! 
 Toronto - one of the bumpiest landings I have ever had. It was really windy and it was a small plane - meaning there were no overhead compartments. 
 Toronto proper. 
 Corrine and I on our grand adventure! 
 The above cows are the mascots for the place we ate dinner at- it was yummy! 
 After dinner we headed to our motel in Croburg and next door there was a McDonald's and look at the lovely little Canadian maple leaf on it! 
Let the party begin! We were a party of 4 because one runner got stuck in Chicago and then made it to Montreal but was not going to make it in time for her first leg and so we split it up amongst 3 of us. And our final runner was a last minute addition to our team due to an injury of another member. Kurt lives just outside of Coburg so we picked him up outside of his neighborhood where the race actually passed right by. 

To say the scenery was beautiful, would be an understatement! There were orchards everywhere and a beautiful view of the lake along almost our entire first part of the race! 
I was so lucky to be stopped by what was probably the longest train I have ever seen in my life- and I have seen a ton of trains in my life!  

Loving my first run with an extra 2 miles was great and a total of 8.1 miles! 
My first exchange! My feet had gotten a little bit wet due to the dew and mist on the grass and so my wet feet lead to a blister on my foot- oh no! I survived it!  
Kurt finished like a rockstar and now our party van was up to 5! 
 Catching some rest between our legs.
 It was so crazy to see so many of these pillows/blow up bags/couches/whatchamacallits.
 A little more beauty!  
 Corrine rocked her 2nd leg and it had some serious hills. 
 My 2nd leg was through the industrial part of Toronto and was not well marked so I was a bit freaked out- it was dark. But I had an awesome 3.91 miles with a pace of 7:33- go me!!
Kurt being a local was lucky enough to have his friend (on the left) join him for his long 2nd leg through a not so industrial part of Toronto.  They were super fast- like a 5:30 mile at one point. 
 Gratefully, we were able to get some sleep and let the other van chase the moon.  We woke up and it was cold! 
 It was super windy and the waves on the lake were a bit crazy- they crashed up at one point and splashed a runner who was running on the road by the lake. A bit crazy but so is running at 200 ish mile long race! 
 I really wanted a good picture of a Canadian flag flapping in the wind - I got it! 
 Corrine added layers of clothes for her 3rd leg but it did not slow her down. 
 My last leg was really hard! It was 9.9 miles long and I ran into head on wind for most of it (like 95% of it). It was a steady 16 or so mph with gusts that were so strong I could hardly breath.  I did really well for about 8 miles and then I started to really struggle. I began to feel dizzy and nauseated but I perservered  and finished but it was not my best run ever. It was beautiful - orchards, tulips, farmland, the lake, etc. 
This was the best run recovery treat I  have ever had! We had to ask Kurt what a Timbit was but how delicious they are was hard to describe. Tim Horton's is a huge donut chain and a timbit is like a donut hole.  I am so excited to eat these again in a few weeks when we take the kids to Niagara Falls. 
I had to have a picture with the tulips! We were cheering Kurt on for our van's final leg of the race! 
Van #1: Julie, Me, Kurt, Sarah, Marissa, Corrine
Kurt had his dad come and pick him up so he did not join us at the finish line but we were so grateful for his strong, fast legs, and Canadian knowledge.  
 This is apparently a famous floral clock and we had fun eating and enjoying the sights along the way to the finish line. 
 There it is- Niagara Falls! 
 Just missing Kurt's foot from our team! 

The Canadian part of Niagara Falls- they were breathtaking. The American side was too.
I loved doing this race! I loved meeting new people and seeing new sights! It was a added bonus to be doing it running - something that I love doing.