Happy Chinese Lunar New Year 恭喜發財

The Green Girl wants to wish everyone a happy and prosperous Chinese Lunar New Year.

According to Chinese astrology, our universe consists of five basic elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. It is said that everything in the universe, including humans, has a relationship with these five elements.

The Chinese believe the Dragon is a special zodiac sign because it is a mystical being rather than an earthly animal. The Dragon is karmic sign which means karma will play a big role in our lives this year.

Like last year's sign, the Rabbit 兔, the Dragon 龍 is said to be Wood. Wood rules the Eastern direction, and governs the season of Spring. Ruled by the planet Jupiter, the color of this element is Green.

2012 is a Water year. This means Water will nourish the Dragon's fixed element, Wood. This will bring good luck and make dreams come true.

It is said that more babies are born in Dragon years than any other zodiac sign.

According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, ever since 1996, the year element has been in a destructive relationship with the fixed element of the animal sign. This has been the longest unfavorable period in the 60 year cycle of Chinese Astrology. The year 2012 is considered lucky because it's blessed not only by the lucky Dragon but also the end of that destructive cycle.

This is a significant year for me because I was born in the year of the Dragon. I believe this will be the year that I learn to let go and allow myself to dream.


First Annual Unofficial Rose Parade Bandit Run

The Green Girl joined the Sole Runners for SoCalRunning.com's First Annual Unofficial Rose Parade Bandit Run.

The Rose Parade is an annual event held in Pasadena on New Year's Day but if New Year's Day falls on a Sunday like this year, it's held on Monday instead.

The 5.5 mile Rose Parade procession begins at South Orange Grove Boulevard and Green Street and then heads east on Colorado Boulevard. The parade ends by turning north on Sierra Madre Boulevard and stopping at Villa Street.

The Unofficial Pasadena Rose Parade Bandit Runners
Coach Steve extended an open invitation to all runners for the unofficial event.

The unofficial start for our Bandit Run was just east of the parade route. We seeded ourselves according to our anticipated float arrival times and headed west on Colorado Boulevard in our respective, informal pace groups.

Spectators camped out along Colorado Boulevard for the Pasadena Rose Parade
Since curbside viewing space for the Rose Parade is available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis, adventurous spectators camped out up along the route starting at noon the day before.

We received mixed reactions from the camped out spectators.

Spectators camped out for the Pasadena Rose Parade
Some of them enthusiastically cheered us on while others were incredulous.

Quite a few hopped out of their sleeping bags and happily joined us but when they discovered we were planning on running the entire parade route, they expressed their disbelief and then promptly dropped back.

Sole Runners with the Rose Parade floats
For me, the experience could best be described as running a race with lots of spectators and not a lot of runners. But a race with fire pits. Which makes it hard to breathe at times.

Celebratory giant marshmallows, tortillas, and silly string were splattered across the ground.

The Green Girl posing with the Trader Joe's Rose Parade Float
As I ran down the middle of Colorado Boulevard, I felt liberated. It was the perfect way for me to run in the New Year.

When we reached South Orange Grove Boulevard and Green Street, the floats, marching bands, and equestrian units were all lined up in preparation for start of the parade.

Xbox 360 + Kinect Rose Parade Float
I was thrilled to be able to view the elaborate flower-covered floats up close.

I couldn't resist posing for a picture with my beloved Trader Joe's Fearless Radio Flyer float.

Post-parade, I learned the floats are dismantled and the flowers are recycled as plant matter and potpourri.

Odd Fellows and Rebekahs 'Shining Knights Still Exist' Rose Parade Float
About a half hour before the start, we headed back down the parade route.

Colorado Boulevard was bustling with activity.

Street vendors were selling souvenirs, cotton candy, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

B-2 stealth bomber flying over The Rose Parade
The B-2 stealth bomber flew overhead as we were running back.

We all stopped to stare at the ominous aircraft in the bright blue morning sky.

It was the perfect ending to the First Annual Unofficial Rose Parade Bandit Run.

The Unofficial Pasadena Rose Parade Bandit Run Finish Line
The theme of this year's 123rd Rose Parade was 'Just Imagine'.

I was inspired by the theme because I tend to put limitations on myself because I'm so deeply rooted in facts. I struggle with the concept of dreams. I'm going to make an effort this year to allow myself to 'just imagine'.
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