BMO Half Marathon 2016

Thank you everyone for all your encouragement and support these past few months!

I finished the half marathon with a time of 01:34:17. A personal best! It was such a beautiful day this past Sunday with clear skies and warm weather. Perfect running conditions!

I joined the half-marathon with World Vision to help raise money to fight against child trafficking around the world. As a team, World Vision has raised over $75,000!

Here’s a photo of me celebrating at the end of the race with an Apple Bacon Fritter from Lucky’s Donuts. It’s apple, bacon, topped with a maple glaze and even more bacon. It was exactly what I needed after running a half marathon!

Outlet Shopping & Tulip Town

Phebe and I drove down to the States for an overnight trip during spring break. We stopped by Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip for a little shopping. I found out that if you show your Canadian passport to the retailer you can get a discount from your purchases. I ended up getting some dress shirts and running shorts which were on sale. For dinner we sent to this Greek place near Marysville where we had delicious gyros. We then drove to Everett where we stayed overnight at a hotel. The next day, we explored the little down of Everett but there was not much to see. In the afternoon, we drove to Skagit Valley to visit Tulip Town. It was nice and relaxing to walk around the tulip fields and seeing all the different colored tulips. Later in the afternoon, we went to Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham where we did some more shopping and had a buffet dinner at the Old Country Buffet. After dinner we went back home and had the shortest border crossing ever. I think we waited for maybe two minutes and then we were back in Canada. Overall, great relaxing trip.

 

Needle Peak

My friend Steve and I had been planning to meet up for quite some time and do a hike together. He lives in Kelowna and I live in Vancouver and so we decided to meet halfway near the Coquihalla Recreation Summit Area which was both a two hour drive for us. Perfect!

After some online research, we decided on Needle Peak as it seemed to be the most difficult hike. Some of the posts said it would take around 7-13 hours of extreme hiking. The forecast for that day called for reasonable weather, about a 20% chance of rain. However, Steve and I were both unprepared to what we had in store that day. During the middle of the afternoon, it had actually snowed on us! Luckily I brought some pants, but I wished I brought a pair of gloves and a toque!

We left the trailhead around 9am and arrived at the top of the peak in about 2 hours. The elevation at the top was about 2000m. We were probably at the top for a good hour or so since we wanted to wait until the clouds cleared up to take our signature “Buddha” picture. So we had our lunch there and waited for the clouds to disappear. By then other people started to come to the top and it got a bit crowded.

Since we got to the top earlier than we had intended, we had the rest of the day to ourselves and decided to explore the area. We went to an area called Flat Irons and that’s when the weather turned on us. The fog and snow came in and the cold was almost unbearable.

We hiked about a total of 24kms in total that day. We wanted to celebrate with a big meal at the end of the hike but the only thing that we thought was open was an Indian food truck near the Coquihalla Recreation Summit parking lot but it was closed. So left our separate ways until our next conquering adventure!

Whitecaps vs. RSL

This was my very first Whitecaps game! I won these tickets earlier this year while attending a World Vision fundraiser for the BMO half-marathon. We had pretty good seats sitting right in the middle of the action. There was a section in the crowd that was loud almost the entire game. They kept chanting and playing the drums the whole game. It made for a good atmosphere. The Whitecaps dominated Real Salt Lake the entire game and won 4-0. The funniest parts of the evening was when the announcer would annouce the person who scored the goal by saying the player’s first name three times and allowing the crowd to say the players last name three times. At the end, the annoucer would say “Thank-you”, and the crowd would respond by saying “You’re welcome”.

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Stawamus Chief Hike

For pictures of the Stawamus Chief Hike click HERE

This hike was one of the things on my bucket list this year. Joining me on this hike was Phebe and her dad.

We arrived to the Shannon Falls parking lot around 9:30am and started the Stawamus Chief hike around 10:00am since we stayed around the falls to take pictures.

Our hike from the parking lot to the 3rd peak took us about three hours including our breaks. We stopped briefly on the 2nd peak for a quick break before eating lunch on the 3rd peak. We didn’t go to the 1st peak due to the huge crowds. The views on top of the 2nd peak were quite amazing. We took the back route for the hike down which took us a little over two hours. Stawamus Chief…conquered!

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Mexico Trip 2015

Mexico Trip – June 30 to July 12

For all pictures from our Mexico trip, please click HERE

Cancun

Our United Airlines flight arrived late in the evening in Cancun. We couldn’t find any buses from the airport to the city so we haggled a taxi to our hotel. We stayed in Cancun for only two nights. We found a great food stall place near our hotel that we kept coming back to as they had fresh delicious tacos.

Isla Mujeres

Our next destination was the beautiful island of Isla Mujeres. We booked a snorkelling tour that included seeing the underground museum of statues, lunch buffet on a private beach and open bar on the catamaran boat (aka party boat) that took us to the island. The most annoying part of the boat ride was the pumping loud music which I thought took away from the enjoyment of the nature around us but I guess all the other tourists didn’t seem to mind.

We stayed on the small island a few nights. We found a cool little restaurant for dinner called Ruben’s and tried their fish and it was amazing. The island has one of the best sandy beaches, Playa Norte. We also noticed great artistic abilities from a few unique murals on the island. (add picture?) Our time on the island was mainly spent relaxing on the beach and walking around the main centre of the island.

Playa Del Carmen

After Isla Mujeres, we went back to Cancun and took a collectivo bus to Playa Del Carmen. We arrived late in the evening and were hungry. We researched places to eat but they were a bit of a walk from our hotel. We walked for a bit and came across this local “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant. The people in the restaurant spoke no English and there were no English menus. We were relying heavily on our Spanish Lonely Planet phrase book which was quite the adventure. By this point, I was a bit tired of eating tacos so I wanted to try something different. I pointed to the waiter/cook (I think she was the same person) the item that I wanted to eat. It sounded good even though I didn’t really know what it was except it was something chicken. Phebe also did the same thing. The food came out and it was one of the best hearty meals we’ve ever eaten. They also served gigantic fruit smoothies.

The rest of the time spent in Playa Del Carmen was walking along the touristy 5th Ave, strolling along the beach, taking a dip in the swimming pool at our hotel, and a day trip to Xcaret theme park.

Xcaret

Xcaret is an eco-archaeological theme park where you can enjoy swimming in the underground rivers, take a snorkelling tour, and swim with the dolphins. We decided just to swim in the underground rivers as this was the most popular choice. The experience was incredible. It was so good that we did it twice. The water was super cold but also refreshing as the weather was so hot. The underground river from beginning to the end is about a 40 minute swim. After the second trip we were dead tired. We replenished our energy by having a seafood buffet lunch that included everything you could image.

After lunch, we explored the aquarium which included giant turtles, sting rays, lots of exotic fishes, and whale sharks among other things. Later on, we saw an equestrian horse show which was fun to watch as they did a lot of stunts with the horses.

In the evening, there was a presentation called “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular”, which is a celebration of light and colour with over 300 artists that takes you through the history of Mexico. The show was amazing and very well done. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. It was interesting to see the history of Mexico through song and dance.

Chichen Itza

Another highlight of our trip was exploring the ruins of Chichen Itza, now included as one of the 7 wonders of the new world. We booked a tour that included swimming in a Cenote, lunch buffet, and exploring the little town of Valladolid. One of the main drawbacks to seeing Chichen Itza is that you have to share it with thousands of other people. Another thing I noticed during this tour was that Mexicans will want to try and sell you anything at any time of day. For example, one of the stops along the tour was this jewellery stand. It was one of those typical jewellery stands – “once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all”. In addition to all the jewellery stand, another thing for purchase is a painting with your name on it with a history of each letter. Moreover, on the bus ride, we were offered to purchase a tequila bottle with our picture on it, biodegradable sunscreen, and other “junk”. Even on the grounds of Chichen Itza, choruses of local merchandisers (you mean merchants?) saying “one dollar, one dollar” never stops. One of the interesting parts of the tour was seeing the sacred cenote, aka “well of sacrifice”. This was where the Mayans would sacrifice objects and human beings in the cenote as a form of worship.

Tulum

Our last few days in Mexico were spent in Tulum. The hotel that we stayed at was within walking distance to the Tulum Ruins which was very convenient. What sets these ruins apart from other Mayan ruins is that it is well preserved and is situated along the beach coast. They forgot to mention that the ruins are home to a whole bunch of iguanas roaming around. No, I didn’t try to mount any!