Posts Tagged ‘family’

Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon

I’ve been very fortunate to combine travel with racing over the past couple of years. Last year, I ran the Ottawa Half Marathon (which also runs through Quebec), and combined the trip with a visit with my Dad. Way back in April of this year – very likely in order to take advantage of the earlybird discount – I signed up for my second ever race in Ontario. I was able to meet up not only with Dad, but also with extended family and some friends I hadn’t seen in many years! And that race was the Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon!

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January is traditionally the month of resolutions made.Processed with Moldiv

By February, many are broken.

March, however, has been a milestone month for me. Maybe because I didn’t make any resolutions this year, and decided instead to focus on goals and overall improvements. And while there have been a couple of downs, the overall trajectory has been up!

Here are 5 reasons why March exceeded my expectations:

1) Blogiversary

Bradley on the Run celebrated one year online on March 1. With gratitude to my faithful and supportive readers, the number of visitors for the first 3 months of 2015 has nearly overtaken the number for all of 2014. This humbles me immensely.

March also saw Twitter followers (@bjcjapan) surpass 500! This was quite a psychological barrier to break. I remember hovering around 100 followers for what seemed like an eternity.

2) Cancer Sucks – so do something about it

Commemorating my mom’s birthday for the second time since she passed away in 2013, the BC Cancer Foundation is once again my charity of choice as fundraising for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, which will be held in June, commenced in earnest.

Pancreatic cancer is insidious – it grows deep inside, often undiscovered until advanced stages. It remains largely incurable. I’m doing what little I can to support research by raising funds and raising awareness. But it’s the support of a lot of people who truly make the difference.

My personal fundraising page is here:
http://donate.bccancerfoundation.com/goto/bradleyontherun

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A good friend was telling me recently about her friend, Scott, who is fighting cancer himself – and running to raise both awareness and funds. I’d like to draw attention to his blog as well:

Run Fast. Run Vegan.

Because March is tax season, a lot of people start thinking about charitable donations for the coming year. Focus on the charities that are closest to your heart, and support them as best you can. Everyone can make a difference.

3) 3 Races – 3 PBs

I shall brag a wee bit. I ran three races in March:

All three were personal bests, although the 7 Miler was a bit of a cheat since it was my first race of that distance (automatic PB!)

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#Modo8K dramatic pose

4) Miles Not Included Podcast!

Somehow, Brian and Joe – the awesome team at Miles Not Included – found me social media, and invited me to be a guest on their podcast. Such an honour! If you’re interested, you can listen to the episode here:

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5) Got me some new kicks!

I’m back to my tried and true Nike Lunarglides in their 6th iteration. I strayed from Nike for a while, running with some stylish Mizunos (my Honolulu Marathon shoes). But they were not right for my feet and started causing some pain. So yesterday I pick up these beauties:

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I had planned to break them in today, but it’s been pouring all day and I just couldn’t bring myself to sully the fantastic colour (plus I wanted to stay cozy in my pjs all day, and decided to focus on writing this post instead!)

 

Finally, here’s some food for thought for comments below:

What were your March highlights? Did your training suffer any setbacks?

Have you got any new running gear that you’re really excited about?

What charities are you passionate about and why?

 

I find posts like this one difficult to write. Not simply from an emotional perspective, but also because it’s hard to tell personal stories in a way that make sense for other people, and so they don’t come off as too self-centred. Some writers are very adept at this, and I don’t know if I’m one of them.

Today – March 8 – was my Mom’s birthday. She would have been 81. Unfortunately, she didn’t get to celebrate the milestone 80th birthday either. But now that her birthday has come around again, I can’t help but think back on who she was and why I miss her so much.

Memories

So I’m just going to tell you a few things about my mom.

  1. I love that her birthday coincides with International Women’s Day. Mom believed that everyone should have a voice, and stood up for people who didn’t – or couldn’t – speak up for themselves. She would never have considered herself a crusader, but she really looked out for others.
  2. She made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing fancy – just the simplest of comfort foods to fill you up. And she would always serve them with bread & butter pickles – no dill for Mom! She also made poached eggs on toast, but she’d cut the toast into little squares before putting the egg on top so it was bite-sized already.
  3. She always insisted on doing my laundry when I was home – and never put anything in the dryer. In the summer, she’d lug everything out to the clothesline in the backyard because it made the laundry smell better.
  4. When I was feeling sick, she’d sit on my bed and rub my back – or my belly if I had a tummy ache.
  5. Because she talked so much, she was always the last person to finish a meal. She didn’t care much for dessert, but would go back for first course if she could! She wouldn’t let servers take away her plate until she had finished every bite. Nothing went to waste!
  6. She was an extremely talented pianist. She could play any hymn or Christmas Carol by ear, changing keys if necessary – no sheet music required.
  7. She worried constantly – about me, my dad, friends and relatives. She was fiercely protective of the people she cared about.
  8. She didn’t take bulls**t from anyone. But she would never curse.
  9. She missed her own parents immensely and cried when she thought of them. She was an only child, like me. I sincerely wish I had known my grandparents, but I never had the opportunity.
  10. She (along with my dad) came to every band concert, play, musical, choir concert…never missed a single one from kindergarten through to university graduation. I’m sad she never got to see me run.

On her birthday in 2013, my mom ended up in hospital. She was sent home after a few days, but ended up getting readmitted. Some of her organs started to fail, and we were told that she had cancer. I flew home to spend time with her. We ended up having just 2 weeks together before moving her to hospice, where she spent just one – but one very peaceful – day.

We didn’t talk about anything specific during those 2 weeks. She worried about who was going to take care of getting sandwiches for church events, she made me promise to look after my dad, and she asked me if I was happy. That reassurance seemed to be enough for her.

Time has passed and I still miss her. My dad and I have grown closer – despite the distance – and we talk a lot. I’m very thankful for this.

And although my mom never saw me run a single race, I have dedicated the Scotiabank Half Marathon to her memory for the past two years, and will do so again this year. I fundraise for the BC Cancer Foundation because the pancreatic cancer that took a bright, caring and passionate woman from this world needs to be stopped.

So I run.

If you want to help me fight cancer, you can donate to my run on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation here: http://donate.bccancerfoundation.com/goto/bradleyontherun

What are your favourite memories of loved ones you’ve lost?

Today would have been my parents’ 56th anniversary. We lost Mom last year. However, they had over 54 beautiful years together – and we had a fabulous party for their 50th. Still, it’s a bittersweet kind of day, the tail end of one of those weeks that leaves you physically and emotional drained.wedding

And I couldn’t fall sleep last night. I climbed into bed and started to doze off. Then…my mind started to twist and turn; I started to rehash events of this past – very stressful – work week. I then moved on to overthink the conversations that I might need to have come Monday. On top of that, I kept thinking: “Tomorrow morning we have a 19km run. I’m so exhausted. How will I survive 19 km?” I finally googled ‘insomnia‘ and tried out some breathing techniques – covering my right nostril and just breathing through the left; breathe in – hold – breathe out; and spray some lavender scent around the room. It was 2:30am.

Something must have worked. The next thing I knew my alarm was going off and it was 6:45am. So I got up.

I was the first person at Forerunners – I felt the need to make up for arriving so late 2 weeks ago. Happily, it was also Mizuno day. I got to test run a pair of Mizuno Waves – and see how they compared to my Nikes.

As my pace group headed out, I was at the front chatting with the group leader. Per our usual etiquette, we call out whenever we encounter another runner (“Runner up!”) or if something is jutting out onto the sidewalk (“Bench!”). Today, we noticed something on the ground ahead. What IS that? Oh. “Vacuum cleaner!” Laughter from behind – never heard that one before!

Our route took us along Kits Beach, under Burrard Bridge, along Granville Island, until we reached the water stop at Cambie. The weather was absolutely glorious. Sunny, but not too hot – perfect for a long run.

We circled False Creek past Science World and targeted the second water stop at the entrance to Stanley Park (where I encountered the group back on Labour Day). At this point, those doing marathon training were continuing on to loop the park, and complete 36km. The rest of us were heading back to finish 19km.

Then Coach Carey reminded us – it’s 6km back to the store. We were already at 15km. We call these Carey kilometres. And with that, we were running a half marathon today!

I kept pace with two strong runners on the way back. We zipped back along English Bay and over Burrard Bridge, and then a straight shot along Cornwall. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but the last couple of kilometres were awfully hard work. When we hit the store I confirmed it – 21.6 km. A complete half marathon, in 2 hours and 1 minute (faster than all of my first three half marathon races). And the last kilometre was the fastest thanks to my fellow speedsters!

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The best part – I barely noticed my shoes. They were so comfortable and fit so well – I bought a pair! I think I’m a convert!

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I started out the day running on empty – and though there’s still a bit of melancholy in my heart, I’m again grateful for the sense of satisfaction and peace that running gives me. Also, I took a nap this afternoon.