Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Run to win: Radiant Run recap

I tend to be a planner. I research before I do. You know the type: has to check to every single store in the city before they choose a pair of socks. Asking questions like, "What if they're cheaper somewhere else?" "Maybe there's a better colour downtown?!" 

Unfortunately, this isn't always the best method for accomplishing real goals. Sometimes you just gotta close your eyes, forget what could go wrong, and do it. I struggle with this concept but I rarely regret my choice to embrace spontaneity. Giving in to the unknown works for me because I don't tend to be off the wall in my personality. I know this philosophy doesn't work for everyone nor is it always the right choice. Sometimes though, I need to go with an idea even though it seems crazy. my photo at the wall

Fighter pose at Radiant Run

One of my spontaneous moments was blogging my goal to run a 5k. Honestly, when I posted about the Radiant Run a while ago, I wasn't so sure whether I should or could run a 5k. I know, I know, it's only five kilometers. I told you...I think too much. 

As soon as I posted, I knew I needed a buddy to see me through to completion. (Otherwise I'd wimp out and fake an injury.) As I thought about Vancouver (the run's location), I immediately thought of my favourite Vancouver blog: Style on the Side. One blog comment later and I had an amazing running partner all lined up. (We also went shopping. Of course. You can read all about that on her blog.) 

Photo with Caroline of Style on the side dot com
The beautiful Caroline of Style on the Side

Training wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done. However, finding an organized schedule made the workout much more efficient and satisfying. I'd been exercising by dabbling with elliptical, doing some crunches, and maybe trying the chest press, but I was aimless. Having a goal really motivated me to succeed.

I talked to my brother about all of this and he liked the idea so much that he signed up to run with me!

Radiant Run fun pose in action running photo

Brother Sister at Radiant Run

The Radiant Run was worth all of my effort. It was one of the best times I've had and was made all the better by great company and an amazing race track. Lights were strung everywhere along the course with booming music motivating runners to run on. People donned neon clothes and glow sticks creating an otherworldly scene.

Santa made an appearance; jellyfish and robot men danced to music along the way. The sky darkened as we ran making the lights so magical. Onlookers shouted encouragement from the sidelines and offered high-fives to everyone. The Radiant Run vibe was incredible. I had such a great experience for my first official 5k!

Crowd beginning Radiant Run

Kristina at Radiant Run photo Kristina and Santa Claus runners competing

Radiant Run glow sticks brother sister brother sister victory

The night ended victoriously. Despite having the remnants of a cold, I successfully ran the course. I am beginning to understand the runner's high. It felt so amazing to have finished something I thought improbable. Prizes and dancing filled the evening after the run ended. I caught a pair of free socks so my night was doubly happy. Though I wouldn't have selected those socks myself, I was glad I chose to reach out and grab them. (Do you like what I did there?) mosh pit prize giveaway

Kristina with glowing men

Also, check out Caroline's blog. Style on the Side. She's well worth the read and is quite a nice person.

Question: What are some spontaneous things you've done?

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Musical Ride

What do you think of when you hear the word CANADA

Maple leaves?
Second largest country?
Most amazing country on earth?!
or maybe you think of the Mounties.

RCMP Musical Ride with Horse and Officer

My in-laws are visiting Justin and me this week. His mom is quite the horse appreciator so we rushed home from their Vancouver arrival to the RCMP Musical Ride.

The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, aka Mounties) are about as Canadian as you can get. Add skilled horses and you've got a-boot the best stereotype ever, eh? Where's the maple syrup?

RCMP Musical Ride commander

The musical ride is a party of thirty-two officers displaying intricate and stunning horsemanship in pre-arranged maneuvers to both awe crowds and retain a part of our national heritage.

According to the RCMP website, the musical ride began because a bunch of officers were bored. Nice. I'm sure lots of man-taunting and betting were involved. Apparently they must have entertained someone because the tradition lives on.

Accidentally arriving one and a half hours early gave ample time to visit the stables, horses, and riders before the main event. They were being kept clean and cozy at the exhibition grounds.

For you other horse appreciators out there, the horses are Hanovarian: bred for colour, temperment, and size. The maple leaf on the horse's rump is created using a stencil and brushing hair against the grain, or whatever, using a damp brush.

Rain didn't keep the crowds away. The Musical Ride travels throughout the country so you never know when it'll be coming around. The two day show was a lucky fluke for my town. A neighbouring city had to bail so we picked up the open spot. Wet coast weather wasn't going to hold us back. I'm glad it worked out for my mother-in-law to see the show.

Incredibly, a rider told us that 80% of officers chosen had never ridden a horse before applying. Being a member of the musical ride is quite the honour. Of five hundred applicants, only fifteen are chosen each year.
Be warned though: this is a three year post with no free time during the summer. Practise is twice a day while training the first year and who knows how much once you begin performing.
Of course, you must have two years of active RCMP officer duty before applying for position of rider.

I tell you all of this, you know, just in case you were considering a career change.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Build, Bail, and Sail

My Canadian summers can be tracked by three main holidays:
1.Victoria Day (May)
2. Canada Day (July)
3. BC Day (August)

I love my country quite a bit so I rapture in the excitement of donning my red and white, snatching a maple leaf tattoo from the dollar store, and waving my flag excitedly as parade floats pass by.

However, I must admit that my favourite celebration has to be BC day. The long weekend is jam packed with events, booths, and people as the celebration extends through the entire downtown in a Nautical Days extravaganza! 

Among the many events Nautical Days presents, my constant and true love is the Build, Bail, and Sail competition. 

What is this event? Teams of two or four gather early Monday morning to begin construction in their very own water vessel. Of course, they only have $85.88 worth of supplies, have 3 1/2 hrs to build, and can only use hand tools. When 1:30pm rolls around, sailors and boats gather by fours at the water's edge for the race of unequalled proportions. 

Racers must paddle their way to a buoy in the marina, swap positions in the water craft, then furiously make their way back to shore. More often than not, these poor vessels are not found to be sea worthy.

Costumes are encouraged and prizes are given for the best. Other prizes are given to the winner of the final heat (all the vessels that survive, basically) and first to sink.

These are the Skimpy Farmers

The Farmers didn't fare too well.

It's just like when I was a kid. Sunburns, laughter, and water abound during the fun. Totally worth it. Totally worth coming home for. If you happen to stop by the area next year, this event is worth your visit.