Category Archives: 2012

Random Cups of Kindness

Did you get one of these??

Did you get one of these??

Has it really been a month since I was wandering around surprising people with “Random Cups of Kindness” courtesy of Tim Hortons? What a week that was!! I got to do something that I had talked about doing for a long time. I got to surprise random people with a small gift to help brighten their day. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!!

For the past two years, a friend of mine, Jo and I had talked about doing exactly what Tim Hortons was doing for their customers. We had planned to go and buy a handful of gift cards with enough on each card to get a coffee and then proceed to hand them out to random people. We wanted to give back or as some say, “Pay it Forward”. Putting positive energy into the universe always seems to help. With everything that has happened in the world in 2012, we sure could use some positive energy, don’t you think??

Our friends at Tim Hortons contacted Jo and asked him to help them spread good cheer with an initiative called, #RandomCupsofKindness. Their initiative encompassed people in social media giving out gift cards, random people on Twitter being awarded a gift card and random people in their stores receiving their order “for free”. A perfect tie in for what Jo and I had been talking about.

By participating in this initiative, I was able to surprise many random people. There quite a few stories from the people I surprised.  Some of the highlights and memorable ones were:

– The Service Advisor at a garage I use. He was taking a lot of grief about an exhaust system from a customer on December 19. The guy was upset but also difficult and not pleasant. The Service Advisor stayed calm and positive and did his best to help the customer. I overheard it all and before I left I quietly slipped him a gift card.

– The person in line at Tim Hortons in Hamilton that was standing in front of me, consumed in their thoughts and frowning. When they stepped up to the cash, I stepped forward and offered them a gift card. The frown became a smile and they said, “It’s amazing how little things can brighten your day”. I later saw them with their spouse and children getting pictures with Santa. It felt good to help a young family at Christmas.

– The group of people who I surprised at Tim Hortons on Yonge St in Toronto, that I later saw in the Eaton Centre where they were still smiling, drinking their coffee and wishing me a, “Merry Christmas”!!

– The two police officers that I surprised, while they were working on a cold evening in Toronto, at the entrance to a construction site, directing vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

– The lady the was so startled by the kindness that she was sure I was up to no good. After a few reassurances, I convinced her that I was, in fact, simply being kind and the card was from legitimate sources.

There were many more instances and many more people who received a #RandomCupsofKindness. Even my friend, Julie, was inspired by all my tweets and posts on Facebook.  She surprised someone at a Tim Hortons in Grand Rapids, MI with a #RandomCupsofKindness!!

At a time when the news media was reporting on the #26Acts initiative taking place in memory of the victims in Newtown, CT, it felt good to be able to brighten a few days and help make the day a little easier at Christmas.

I was truly inspired to read about the Tim Hortons in Winnipeg, where over 3 hours, 228 people in a row treated the person behind them for a coffee!!  An amazing story that makes me smile even when I just think about it!!

I have to thank Tim Hortons, because with their help, I was able to do something I had wanted to do for a very long time. They also helped me see that even a small gift can make a big difference sometimes. It is something I will definitely do again. Probably before Christmas is here again.

Win a $100 Gift Card from Sport Chek for Christmas!!

Lately I have been inspired.  I recently read two articles that encouraged me and motivated me to get started at the gym again.  Both these stories started with small steps on a bigger journey to better health.  The key is that you can make a difference with some effort each day.  If you are looking for a story or two to motivate you and help you find your way back to the gym, check out this article from, The Hamilton Spectator, that featured my friend Shannon and her journey to better health that started in January 2009.

I was also inspired by someone I heard about through social media channels.  His name is Andy and his journey to better health started in December 2011.  He recently wrote on his blog about losing over 100 pounds and what a positive change it has made for his health and his life.  I invite you to read the post he wrote on the one year anniversary of his journey to better health.

It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it.  Hopefully we all have stories like these two, to share as 2013 draws to a close!!

With the help of my friends at Sport Chek, I would like to offer you the opportunity to win a $100 gift card for Sport Chek!!

Use this card to get yourself motivated or perhaps inspire someone you know (since it is the time of year for gifts)!! The contest will be open from December 15, 2012 to December 19, 2012 at 8pm (Eastern Time).  In order to be entered, you need to do the following:

1 – Follow @SportChek on Twitter

2 – Follow @Canadian88 on Twitter

3 – Tweet me the following:

@Canadian88 I am inspired & want to win a Gift Card from @SportChek to help me be #MyBetterMVPWin

Don’t forget the hashtag & be sure to tweet each day, to help improve your chances.  The winner will be selected randomly via Twitter Twitter Chicken Dinner on December 20, 2012.

Please feel free to share your stories in the comments here and good luck!!

Year End and a New Beginning…to Be a Better Me…

Time to get this blog caught up!!  I seem to have taken a break for about…seven months.  Not on purpose, things just happened.  What happened? Well, my mom passed away, a good friend passed away, I took a vacation to New York City, played summer slo-pitch, enjoyed the warm weather and basically took a break from blogging.  I apologize.

That said, I also took a break from my fitness efforts.  That is going to change.  It is the start of the most “dangerous” month on the calendar, December.  The month where there are endless parties, trays of cookies, baking and goodies.  Chocolate seems to fall from the sky!!  I am determined that I am going to get myself back to the gym and committed to a regular workout schedule.

New shoes, gear and a book on running!! Awesome!!

I have to thank my friends at SportChek for helping motivate me.  They heard about my Couch to 5K efforts and wanted to inspire me to continue my journey to better fitness and good health.  They were kind enough to send over an “Inspiration Kit” to help motivate me to get back to the gym, as part of their #MyBetterMVP initiative.  I can hardly wait to get back in the gym and give my new Nike Free Run 3 runners a try.  They feel awesome on my feet!!

How could presents in this paper not inspire you!?!

The good news for you is that they want to help inspire you too!! I will be talking about my adventure back to the gym over the next few weeks and I will also have some stuff for you to “win” to help inspire you to, “Be a Better You”!!  Keep your eyes open for an upcoming post which will have all the details, just in time for Christmas!!

Couch to 5K – Week #8 – Almost Race Day!!

It has been a while since I wrote a post about my efforts to run a 5K.  It’s hard to believe that so much could happen in 9 or 10 weeks, but it did.  I trained for a 5K.  I found out my Mom was sick; Really sick. My entire world changed.  It felt that anything that could happen did and all at once!!

My Mom, Beverley Anna Vollick, lost her battle with pancreatic cancer on March 29 at the age of 70 years old.  The period between March 11 when she went into the hospital and March 29 seemed to pass in the blink of an eye and I sort of lost my focus on training.  I plan to write more about my Mom in another post, so keep your eyes open for that.

When I started week #8, (the final week) of the Couch to 5K program, I figured I was in good shape, even though I had had a two week break between runs.  I ran day #1 and day #2 on the treadmill and actually felt pretty strong.  I was pumped and ready to face the challenge of getting to 5K and getting outdoors mid-April for the final few weeks of my training.  For day #3 of that week I decided to go for an outdoor run and see how that went.  It was tough.  Really tough.  It seemed that all the cardio training I had done to build up to that point was lost and I wondered what had happened.  I found out the next day when I woke up with a cold!! So much for a few weeks of outdoor running.  My cold stuck around for just over a week and that meant no real training outdoors.  Not the way I drew up the plans for my 1st race!!

I still stayed committed to my goal of running in the GoodLife Toronto Marathon 5K, on May 6 and to her credit, a friend of mine, Amanda committed to running the race with me.  This was probably a good thing, because with the cold and everything that happened, I likely would have said forget it and skipped the race.

My gut told me that I could do it and I believed I could to, even if it meant I had to walk part of the 5K due to the obstacles that I encountered in March and April.  I wasn’t going to let them stop me and I was going to get to race day and the finish line on my own two feet!!  Stay tuned later this week for my thoughts on my 1st 5K race and the race day experience!!

Couch to 5K – Week #8 – Stalled – Cancer Sucks…

This week has not been a good week. I ended up with a week off, which was not planned.

Six weeks ago, we found out that my Mom has cancer and two weeks ago she was admitted to the hospital. My mind is still comprehending how things deteriorated so quickly in the past six weeks. I can’t believe that it is my Mom lying there in a hospital bed. I don’t want it to be anyone’s Mom, especially not mine.

My Mom is a kind, gentle and caring person and this thing has knocked her on her ass…fast.  That’s the part that surprises me the most.  Six weeks ago she went to Curves and was shopping.  Today she is struggling with a minimal amount of activity.  I have had no up-close experience with this disease until now and this has been a real eye-opener.  For those of you that have lived through this in your own lives, my heart goes out to you.  I never realized how tough it was for you.

This week was filled with hospital visits and truthfully I just didn’t have the energy to head for the gym when I left the hospital. Family comes first and that won’t change. I had planned on at least getting a run in when I was out of town for work, staying in a hotel. That fell through too, since I my day ended up being quite long.

Sorry to be ranting here this week, but I really have nothing else that I can write about. Cancer sucks. The good news for this week, is I did register for my first 5K and like I mentioned in my last post, I am going to run that race on May 6.  I feel like I want to kick someones ass, so it may as well be my own, across the finish line!!

I have set up a page with the Canadian Cancer Society to help them raise funds for the fight against cancer.  I hope that I can raise my goal of $500 for the run and help do some good with this effort.  At least that has made me feel better.

I am going to get back to my training this week.  My work schedule is a little lighter this week and I will definitely find the time to get to the gym for a few runs.  Once the next three workouts are done, it will be time to head outside.  Sadly, the weather is turning more seasonal and it won’t be quite so comfortable to run.  I am sure I will get by, once I get rolling and warmed up.

I know that the workouts are helping me with the stress of everything happening and that is motivating me to get back to them too.  It will help with keeping me sane when everything around me seems to be going crazy.

I hope to have good news about my Mom and my running when I next update my blog.  Fingers crossed for that, for sure!!