St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run

Happy (almost) St. Patrick’s Day! On this grey Vancouver morning, the bestie and I set out to Stanley Park to take part in the St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run!

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Now, I’m obviously not Irish, and I’ve never really celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, but we thought it would be a fun opportunity to do a short run with 1600 other people.

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There definitely is a different atmosphere when you’re surrounded by so many others running alongside you – especially when the majority of them are decked out in cute green stuff! This was my fastest 5k run so far – official time of 32:13, so I’m quite pleased with that. I know there are others that can run a 5k in crazy times like 20 minutes, but I’m not there (yet), and that’s okay. If it weren’t for the hills, I probably could’ve gone faster and finished in 30 minutes, which is still my 5k goal.

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After the run, we were treated to some water, a beer glass, warm soup, granola bars, chips, yogurt, and everything else you could think of. Oh yeah, and the lead pace car was a Maserati.

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2 VPD officers on horseback were also on hand at the very back of the pack. Of course, one of them decided to take a big poop right past the finish line.

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Overall, a very fun morning – the rain even stopped just before we started running! – and very proud that I pushed myself harder during this run!

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Night Photography in Downtown Vancouver

It’s been a while since I’ve gone around downtown Vancouver and taken photos, but the bestie wanted to learn more about the features on her DSLR, so we headed out with another friend to capture some night scenery.

Gastown steam clock

Gastown steam clock

We started off in Gastown, where the steam clock is now back in business, shooting out steam and singing songs every quarter of the hour. (It was removed temporarily in October 2014 for some major repairs.) I do quite love Gastown – it reminds me a little bit of Brooklyn.

Cauldron

Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza

Next, we walked over to the Vancouver Convention Centre and Jack Poole Plaza area and strolled around there. Boy, was it cold. But that area is so nice and peaceful. Looking out onto Coal Harbour and its surrounding buildings, I learned from my friend how to take photos with everything blurred out! (Just set the lens to manual focus!)

Blurry Coal Harbour

Blurry Coal Harbour

I think it looks pretty neat. Having lived here my whole life, the city gets a little… boring, after a while – always the same buildings and the same sculptures in the same angles that everybody else has photos of – that you have to change it up, even if only slightly.

Non-blurry Coal Harbour

Non-blurry Coal Harbour

Here’s the non-blurry shot of what my lens was pointing at. Quite beautiful, I’ll say. After that, we made our way over to Robson Square. Nobody was around, so it was easy to snap a few quick photos of the skating rink.

Robson Square

Robson Square

I know, you’ve seen all of these types of photos a million times before, but I hope you still enjoyed the post! I’m hoping to get out a little bit more, and to some less photographed locations in and around Vancouver!

Valentine’s Day: Love2Run

Happy Valentine’s Day! This morning I woke up to this view of…

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Nothing. How foggy it was! But everywhere else that I was today didn’t seem to have much fog. So what did I do today? I ran! Each Running Room across Canada held their own Love2Run 5k, so the bestie and I went to the Denman Running Room to participate.

Denman Running Room

Denman Running Room

There were maybe 30-40 people that showed up – quite a decent turnout I would say – and with a lot of red! We all set out towards Stanley Park and did the usual 5k loop in that area, but going the opposite direction. It wasn’t my best run, mentally and physically speaking, but it was my best run, time-speaking! I just used the stopwatch on my iPhone, and had an unofficial time of 32:57! Slowly but surely getting faster.

Some runners after the run

Some runners after the run

I have to give kudos to Alex, the store manager of the Denman Running Room, who spoke at the 10k run clinic on Wednesday and taught us proper run form. We ran a 4k after his talk (with the usual 10:1 splits) and I felt amazing after. Thus why I didn’t feel today’s run was that great – legs felt super fatigued.

Treats after the run

Treats after the run

When we got back to the Running Room, there were some Valentine’s Day-type treats waiting for us! But good grief, I could’ve gone for a banana. Those damn cupcakes and cookies made me hungrier as I ate them!

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In any case, it was a nice, fun, early morning outing under the Vancouver clouds! I find Valentine’s Day to be a complete marketing holiday now, but I hope you enjoy whatever it is you might be doing today!

From her iPhone

From her iPhone

Vancouver 2010: Looking Back

I came across a FB post last night mentioning that the Olympic cauldron would be lit up tonight in honour of the 5 year anniversary of our 2010 Winter Olympics. When I read that, I almost lost it. Five years has passed already since our Olympics?! Wow.

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An old photo from one of my old cameras – or maybe an old iPhone

The 17 days that was the 2010 Winter Olympics is one of the highlights of my life so far – thinking about it brings back such great memories and pride for both Vancouver and Canada. I blogged every day about my Vancouver 2010 adventures – it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

So in my honouring of the 2010 Olympics, I will re-post one of my blog posts from 5 years ago of great Olympic quotes from international media. Take a read, and feel the nostalgia…

“You’re gorgeous, baby, you’re sophisticated, you live well… Vancouver is Manhattan with mountains…” – The New York Times

“Vancouver is a city unlike any other. Wherever I look, I see water or mountains – or both. And everyone looks so healthy.” – The Daily Telegraph

Another old photo

Another old photo

“Vancouver looked gorgeous on TV… NBC’s shots of Vancouver’s downtown and waterfront, and aerial views of Whistler ski areas, provided a media boost no marketing campaign could have delivered.” – The Seattle Times

“Thank you, Canada. For being such good hosts. For your unfailing courtesy… For reminding some of us we used to be a more civilized society. Mostly, for welcoming the world with such ease and making lasting friends with all of us.” – Brian Williams, NBC News

“The Olympics went into overtime Sunday. It was perfect. No one wanted the Warmest Games to end. Warmest weather. Warmest hosts.” – The Miami Herald

“Make no mistake, Canada’s people were the stars of these Games…” – Chicago Sun Times

“Why can’t we be more like Canada? They host the Olympics like they mean it. They smile… But most of all what they have is a kick-ass national anthem…” – The Huffington Post

“This is the nicest city I’ve ever been in.”The Los Angeles Times

“These were the best Winter Games ever.” – Salon.com

“You can’t stage a better Olympics… In the end, it’s the people that power the movement. The Canadian people pushed these games back from the brink of disaster and right off into history.”Yahoo.com

“Seoul’s citizens were wonderfully fanatical in 1988 and Sydneysiders were pretty hyped up in 2000 but the Vancouverites… set the standard for Londoners for 2012.” – The Daily London Telegraph

Like reporter Ted Chernecki said, “It’s amazing how 14 gold medals, 2 in hockey, could change the mood of the city.”

Old photo again

Old photo again

I had ended the post off with a hilarious story about Air Canada (published on thestar.com on March 9, 2010), which I’ll quote below:

VANCOUVER – Canada’s largest airline has learned it sometimes has to take a back seat to the country’s biggest sporting passion, ice hockey, the head of Air Canada said Tuesday.

The airline was forced to delay a flight from Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games because passengers watching the end of [the] gold medal final on airport televisions ignored repeated calls to board.

“We incurred a flight delay for a reason Air Canada had not yet encountered in over 72 years of existence,” chief executive Calin Rovinescu told a business gathering.

The Canadian fans were rewarded for their delay, as the nail-biting end to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics saw Canada beat arch-rival United States 3-2 in overtime.

And this:

Oh, is that a tear in your eye?

#NewYork Series: Nighttime Photography

I love taking photos, but I by no means consider myself a photographer. I own a fairly basic, entry level DSLR, a Nikon D3300, and have been taught the basic features of the camera. I’m not very interested in the technical aspects of photography – I prefer to experiment and learn that way. I like to think that I have an eye for knowing what makes a photo look good (heh).

Empire State Building "inside" Manhattan Bridge

Empire State Building “inside” Manhattan Bridge

I’m a big fan of nighttime photography. In New York, I spent many evenings out and about, looking for places to take some neat night shots. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Rita, who I met through Big Apple Greeter, a non-profit organization that matches visitors with New York locals who show and tell you about places that you never would’ve seen or known about otherwise. I spent a day in Brooklyn with Rita (and we walked everywhere – I was so exhausted) and she took me along the promenade area looking out to Manhattan. Because she had taken me to those areas, I then knew exactly where to go the following evening to capture some of my favourite night shots of New York.

Lower Manhattan from Brooklyn

Lower Manhattan from Brooklyn

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Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan Bridge and Empire State Building

Manhattan Bridge and Empire State Building

Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan

Brooklyn Bridge, Jane’s Carousel, and Manhattan

Brooklyn Bridge and 1 WTC

Brooklyn Bridge and 1 WTC

Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan

Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan

I’m also a big sucker for nighttime traffic. I love the varying effects that come out of nighttime traffic shots. One evening, I had my (friend’s) tripod set up with my camera facing traffic, and a guy came up to me and went, “You work for the city?” Me: *raise eyebrow* “No…” Him: “You just like taking photos of traffic?” Well, clearly, he has never seen what nighttime traffic photography looks like.

Empire State Building with night traffic

Empire State Building with night traffic

Chrysler Building with nighttime traffic and bustling crowd of people

Chrysler Building with nighttime traffic and bustling crowd of people

I also spent one evening trying to capture the Flatiron Building and traffic along that area as well.

Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building – a bus passed through

Well, I hope you enjoyed the brief glimpse into my nighttime photography experimentation in New York! And if you’ve been reading about my experiences in New York, I thank you for your time, and I hope you enjoyed those as well. I know I skipped out writing about a lot of places that I had been to – I chose to just blog about what I felt would be most interesting. Perhaps on other occasions, I’ll write some throwback posts about other places that I’ve visited. In the meantime, back to writing about regular life in Vancouver!

#NewYork Series: Central Park

Ah, Central Park. That famous, man-made park. It’s funny – I live by a Central Park, yet when I tell people that, they’re all, “What? New York? Where is there a Central Park in BC?”

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Back in 1853, 750 acres of land in central Manhattan was set aside to create America’s first major landscaped public park. It was initially called “the Central Park”. However, later on, management of the park crumbled and left it in a state of decay. Eventually though, things got resolved and now Central Park is the beautiful, green tourist attraction that you see today.

The park is actually divided into 49 geographical zones (for managerial purposes). I re-visited Central Park on two different days. One was to specifically visit the northernmost part of the park called North Woods. It is deemed as the most peaceful part of Central Park, and is the most natural – fallen trees, etc. are left where they are (unless hazardous or obstructing pathways), how they should be.

DSC_0551Now, I am quite poor with my NWSE if I don’t know where north is, so I had to rely on my Google Maps app on my phone quite a bit to know where on earth I was going inside the park.

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It was a lot of going uphill, but it definitely was very peaceful. And it was actually quite a warm day (like when I was at Tompkins Square Park, overheating in my Canada Goose jacket). Whenever I heard a sound, I knew it was a squirrel running around.

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I only made a small loop inside North Woods as I knew I was going to be walking quite a bit that day, but it was indeed scenic. On a separate day, I wanted to re-visit the more “famous” parts of Central Park , like Bethesda Fountain and Terrace, Bow Bridge, and the Mall.

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Bethesda Terrace is considered to be the heart of Central Park. When you walk down the stairs, you come upon Bethesda Fountain. Considering it was winter time when I was there, they didn’t have the fountain turned on.

Bethesda Fountain

Bethesda Fountain

What leads you to Bethesda Terrace is the Mall, which is a long and wide stretch of “sidewalk” and lined on each side with a quadruple row of American elms. It stretches for a quarter of a mile and is the only intentional straight pathway in the park.

The Mall

The Mall

Of course, nothing in New York was growing when I was there, so the American elms are just a bunch of long, scraggly tree branches. Cool nonetheless. I eventually made my way to Bow Bridge, which you might recognize from the many, many films it’s been featured in.

Bow Bridge

Bow Bridge

I remember the first time I found Bow Bridge, my first reaction was, Wow, it’s so much smaller than it looks on TV! It is the first cast-iron bridge in the park and the second oldest in America. It’s currently undergoing some restoration work though.

Bow Bridge

Bow Bridge

While wandering aimlessly in the park (and heading towards Strawberry Fields), I came across these chubby sparrows! Oh, the things you notice when you open your eyes and look up!

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Strawberry Fields, as you probably know, is a memorial in the park to John Lennon. The mosaic with the word “Imagine” that sits on the ground was given as a gift by the city of Naples, and that area of the park is actually a designated quiet spot (although when I was there, a guy was playing the guitar and singing Imagine, looking for spare change).

Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Fields

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about and seeing a little glimpse of Central Park! There is obviously much more to the park than the few areas that I went to, and I encourage further exploration the next time you’re in New York!

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