November 24, 2020

5 Distractions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Hi everyone… it’s been a while hasn’t it? The COVID-19 pandemic kept us all shut in for many months and I ended up neglecting my blog. I hope you are all happy and healthy. With all the craziness happening in the world, it’s easy to go insane, especially if you’re two people and a cat living in a small space. Seems like a recipe for disaster! Thankfully, we survived being confined together but we definitely needed different outlets, just to keep our sanity. I wanted to share a few things that kept me sane during this stressful period.

Run virtual challenges

Let’s start with something running-related. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has become the year to go virtual. Virtual races are a good compromise that allows runners to participate in the event while complying with provincial health recommendations. We need only run solo and within the time frame the event says. Here are some of the events I’ve participated or am currently participating in:

West Van Run Virtual medal earned on Canada Day

West Van Run Virtual 

The last race before the lockdown was West Van Run and West Van Run Summer was eventually cancelled. The new West Van Run Virtual event was created and even attracted runners from around the world. Runners chose their preferred distance and received a beautiful medal in the mail as a nice reward for finishing. I loved seeing everybody’s posts on Instagram when they’ve completed the virtual race. I did my 5K on Canada Day wearing my Canada buff.

5 Peaks Virtual Races 

The 5 Peaks team made the entire race series virtual with new distance challenges every month from June until October. The Sport and Enduro categories are back but there’s a Grit challenge as well, for those who are more ambitious. You can still sign up for the remaining months you want and collect that month’s swag. June’s was a duffle bag and July’s was a pint glass. The rest are still a mystery but I’m sure it’s something good!

5 Peaks ambassadors got together for a socially distanced group run
Love these CMTR Scavenger Hunt badges

CMTR Summer Scavenger Hunt 

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you can see I’ve been having a lot of fun with these. The Coast Mountain Trail Running team created 30* challenges anyone can do anywhere. They range from timed challenges to quirky challenges… even ones involving food, which I am 100% in for. I did write an asterisk because there are bonus challenges to be unlocked as well. Your prize is a lanyard and pins of the badges you can earn. Gotta fill up that lanyard!

BMO Vancouver Marathon Virtual Race 

Everyone entered for BMO this year was given the option to run their distance virtually. As of posting this blog post, I still haven’t run my leg of the relay but I have until the end of the month to do so to finally earn my elusive purple medal.

Edit July 24, 2020: I finally did it! Not the best 12k but you know… I tried 😛 Team WestVanRun is done! Go cheer for my teammates too! BradleyKarinAnand

Posing with my newly earned BMO relay medal

Work from home

I’m fortunate that my employer eventually allowed us to work from home. Not having to take transit or walk to work, risking exposure, was a huge relief for me. In fact, I was more productive at home and even took on extra projects. It still came with some challenges, of course, but overall I think the setup works pretty well. My bank account also appreciated me not buying lunch several times a week. My cat though… I don’t think he liked the number of “cat breaks” I took during the day 😛 I’m sure that working from home will be the norm for lots of companies. I know I would love the flexibility of being able to work from home on days I need to.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments if you like working from home.

Working from home on my dining table

Patio makeover

I desperately needed to expand my living space. I should’ve taken a before photo but rest assured, my patio was not a place you wanted to hang out in. All my plants were dead, the flooring and BBQ were dirty, and the patio seats were not comfy at all. So I decided to splurge and buy patio tiles from Home Depot online. $200 later, I had a brand new patio floor, which instantly rejuvenated the space. I wiped down my BBQ so it’s clean. Wildflower and basil seeds were planted in several pots. I even started growing an avocado tree from a pit.

New floors, new cushions, new plants!

Extra cushions on my couch were moved to the patio, brightened up with new cushion covers from a Quebec Etsy seller. Months later, the patio is bursting with life and I find myself hanging out there more often. Even Hobbes loves being there and birds have started visiting. There will be lots of dinners al fresco for sure.

Even Hobbes enjoys being outside

I’ve been meaning to revamp the patio for a while. It seems all it took was the COVID-19 pandemic to get my butt in gear. I hope to not wait for the next epidemic to paint my apartment.

Rekindled my love for video games

As luck would have it, my pre-order of Final Fantasy 7 Remake arrived mid-lockdown. What better time to start a new game! I felt like a teenager again. The only difference is that the 40+ hours I spent finishing it was spread over many more days thanks to, you know… adulting. In high school, putting 80+ hours into a game was totally doable. Not so much when you work full time and want to stay active. Even Cuski started playing with the PS4, having only played PC before. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The good thing is that we found something new we can do together.

Produced cooking videos

The COVID-19 pandemic encouraged people to cook more. As it happened, I was assigned to work on a new segment called the CTV Morning Live Cook-Off. I really enjoyed editing the segments because it brought my love of food and cooking into my work. Seeing everyone cook inspired me to start making my own videos, too. It really sparked my creativity, trying different angles, working on my editing and shooting skills… it was a lot of work but tons of fun. Here are links to the videos I’ve created so far. It’s hard to choose a favourite and I really recommend you trying these out at home.

Tried my hand at making and decorating focaccia from scratch – it was good!

Spicy Shrimp in Coconut Cream | “Van Gogh-“ccia Focaccia

Meatballs and Tomato Sauce | Panzanella Salad with Salmon

How did the COVID-19 pandemic treat you? Did you discover something new? Make big changes? What came out of this ordeal for you? I hope you are all doing well and please continue to wear a mask and follow all of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recommendations so we can eradicate any sign of a curve in B.C.

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