Posts Tagged ‘Scotiabank Half Marathon’

ScotiaHalf

My role as Scotiabank Digital Champion culminated in Sunday’s race – the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon AND my 25th half marathon or what I’m referring to as my ‘silver’ half!

With 24 half marathons under my belt and a few years of experience, you’d think I’d be ready for this significant race. And yet, race day arrived, and I felt almost as unprepared as I’ve ever felt before a half marathon.

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ScotiaHalf

Another year has passed, and the summer is fast approaching…and it’s hard to believe that in just three weeks I’ll be running another Scotiabank Half Marathon <– click on that link to sign up!

I’m excited about this year’s #ScotiaHalf for a few reason:

  1. I have the honour of representing the race as a Digital Champion
  2. My dad will be in town to see me finish the race (read more about my dad here)
  3. This will be my silver anniversary half marathon – yep, my 25th half marathon ever!

So, what have I been doing to prepare for my next half marathon? Well, probably not as much as I should be…but I’m doing my best!

At the beginning of May, I finished the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon – it wasn’t a PB, but it turned out to be in the TOP 3 of my half marathons, so that’s not too shabby.

Unfortunately, my ‘training’ was impacted by the very burdensome task of taking an overseas vacation…(in case you missed it, that statement is dripping with sarcasm…)

During my vacation, I continued with my runs – although I admit that they were not long or especially speedy, and involved a few stops along the way for scenic photos. (Read more about Running England, should you care to see a few pics from London and Yorkshire – in total, I ran about 42km in the UK!)

Back home in Vancouver, I started out running 17km with the Forerunners gang – in torrential rain. Seriously, we had perfect weather in England and Scotland, and this is what I came back to! Never been so wet in my life. It took three days for my shoes to dry out.

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A few days later, I happily joined my dear friend Debra and fellow Digital Champion, along with other Scotiabank Half supporters, for a Pizza Training Run sponsored by Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria! Numbers were down slightly due to the threat of rain, which we laughed off…only to be drenched during our 5km loop in East Van. (On the flip side, I got to #fanboi on one of my running heroes, Rob Watson!)

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This weekend, I ran the Ambleside Mile – part of the West Van Run family of races! I tacked on an extra 14.5km to make sure I was keeping up the distance because, you know, the Scotia Half is just three weeks away!

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I’m also very pleased to report that fundraising on behalf of BC Cancer Foundation is going well. At $2,664, I’m just over $300 shy of my $3,000 goal for 2016 in memory of my Mom. Should you be able to support this cause, please donate here.

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Mom & me – I’m running in her memory!

Look forward to seeing you at the Scotiabank Half Marathon on June 26!

I’m also going to jump back in and join the Weekly Wrap-Up with MissSippiPiddlin and HoHoRuns!

WeeklyWrap

Weekend Update

Vancouver is choking under skies that elude to the apocalypse…

But that’s not where I should be starting.

The big national holidays of North America – Canada Day and Independence Day – have come and gone. It’s a long stretch before the next long weekend. But I’ve committed to some solid training and this is what the past week looked like, following last Sunday’s Scotiabank Half Marathon:

Monday

Met up with Lisa for training at the YMCA. We were both suffering a bit from the previous day’s race, but since we had committed to each other to be there – there we were. She gave me a refresher on some of the exercises learned in our last training session, and I left with more confidence in what I was going to be doing at the gym.

I also convinced Lisa to sign up for next weekend’s Fort Langley Half Marathon!

Tuesday – 5.8km

Lana and I headed out for our Lost Lagoon loop, joined today by Diane. While very fit, Diane hasn’t done a lot of running, but she soldiered through and completed the whole 5.8km route, with just a few walking breaks. Very proud of her!

Wednesday– 3km

Canada Day! I took advantage of the mid-week holiday and slept in. We attended the festivities on Granville Island, and enjoyed lazing around for much of the day.

Canada flag

We still had choir practice, so I showed up for that. And since I had committed to #JulyRunStreak (3km per day), I got home from choir and headed out for 3km along English Bay at sunset.

Sunset

Honestly – I don’t think I’ve ever been so hot during a run. By the end of those excruciating 15 or so minutes, I was drenched in sweat. Practically melting. But I had started the month out right!

Thursday – 4km

Before all of the learning slipped from my sieve-like brain, I thought I’d better get to the gym. Squats and dead lifts, plus a bunch of arm exercises. I am going to build my strength! And then, in the spirit of July, I headed out the door for 4km along the Seawall. As I reached the end, I spotted Brie doing her stair workout! We chatted briefly and agreed to run the next day.

Friday – 6.8km

Lana and I had already planned a Friday run. So Brie joined us and one other coworker for our run around Lost Lagoon.

Lana, Brie and me

Nearly 7km later, Brie and I enjoyed Justin’s peanut butter & dark chocolate cups as our post-run ‘fuel’. I only just learned about them at our weekly #BibChat on Tuesday – and discovered that they’re available at Starbucks!

Justin's

And, for the first time in I’m not sure how many weeks, I went to Pilates! Great to be back in the painful swing of things, along with one of my best friends!

Finally – since Friday was the last day for earlybird registration (and I’m a sucker for earlybird registration…), I signed up for the Summerfast 10K – it will be held 2 weeks from  now in Stanley Park. Wish me luck!

Saturday – 16.5km

For the 2016 West Van Run, Kirill has invited me to be part of the promo team! I’ve very excited about this opportunity to talk more about one of my favourite races!

Kirill has also started a #WestVanRun team run on Saturday mornings. Forerunners was taking a break between clinics, so I was free to join in, requiring me to run nearly 10km through Stanley Park and over Lion’s Gate Bridge to reach the meeting spot! I did this, and then ran an additional 7km with Kirill and 8 others. We ended up running halfway back across Lion’s Gate! But for the views and the chance to meet new running friends, it was totally worth it!

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I took the bus home.

Sunday – 9.1km

Have I mentioned Van Race? It’s a new local race – both 15km and 30km distances – around False Creek and Stanley Park. It will be held on Sunday, September 6 (Labour Day long weekend). I’ve decided to run the 15km, in line with my ongoing half marathon training.

Anyway, last night Van Race tweeted:

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So I got up (a bit late) and stepped out onto the balcony. I was greeted with this sight:

Forest fire sky

Due to wildfires raging around the province, the skies were hazy and eerily orange. Nevertheless, I made a beeline for Third Beach, met up with some of the Van Race crew.

Alison and me

Happy to once again team up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for the Weekend Update linkup!

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How was your weekend?

How is your training going?

Have you signed up for any new races?

Scotiabank Half

I usually wait until the end of the post for the ‘big reveal’. But I’m really just so happy that this is going to be my opener. For the third year in a row, I have participated in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, raising funds on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation. I’m thrilled to announce this year’s total: $3,140!

This is a huge shout out to everyone who helped me in this journey, both financially and in the form of encouragement and moral support. I’m so pleased that the BC Cancer Foundation will have a bit of extra funding for their important research. It gladdens me that something positive has grown from the loss of my Mom 3 years ago.

And now we’re off to the race!

But first – a quick note that I’m linking up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for another Weekend Update!

This is my third Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, and my fifth half marathon of 2015 – squeaking in just before the middle of the year. In the week leading up to the race, the weather in BC has gotten progressively warmer. The prediction for Sunday was in the high 20s, very possibly a record breaker.

Before bed – with Sunday’s prediction

Package pickup

Canada Place is just two blocks from my office, so I took an afternoon coffee break and popped over to the expo, meeting up with Forerunners buddy Emily. Timing was good, I guess, because there was hardly a soul there. Bib and t-shirt pickup was quick and efficient, and then we chatted with friends at the Forerunners booth and the Timex booth.

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Wow, my head is shiny


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Canada Place reflected in the Vancouver Convention Centre

The biggest disappointment for me was the t-shirt. I actually love the design – whoever came up with this nifty Burrard Bridge word picture deserves kudos. The colour – bright lime green – isn’t my favourite, but I can handle it.

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But the size is ridiculous. At first, I thought I had the wrong size. But no, it’s a small. I asked if they had extra small. No. Just to confirm, I compared my 2013 (red) and 2014 (orange) shirts – and the same brand (Asics) has grown remarkably! In retrospect, I should have tried trading it in for a women’s shirt, but there it is. I ended up wearing the 2013 shirt for the race, and was complimented (by someone ‘in the know’) on how well it fit!

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Race Day

Because the Scotiabank is a point-to-point course, it’s necessary to make the one-way trek to UBC. Last year, I quickly found a car2go and zipped out. This year, I had promised Emily that I’d pick her up – but when I checked my app the closest car2go was nearly a kilometre away! No matter, after water, oatmeal and coffee I did a ‘warmup’ run to the car (and started sweating right away)!

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Burrard Bridge – to be crossed later today

Slowed down enough to pick up Emily en route, and when we arrived at UBC it seemed that everyone had had the same idea. There were car2gos everywhere! But we found parking and headed to the start line.

It was the place to be! We ran into my YMCA trainer Lisa, Debra (thanks for the photos!) and Bev. We went for our respective potty breaks – men’s urinal station at this race meant I could go twice – gabbed with a bunch of the Forerunners gang, and then headed to our corral to get the party started!

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The First Half

Emily and I started out together, and I was feeling pretty strong. We got to cheer the elites as they were headed back while we were still going out. It was pretty shady and there was lots of energy, but it was already getting warm. Soon enough, Emily pulled ahead and I lost sight of her.

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I was still feeling pretty strong by 5k, and focused as best I could on cutting the tangents as the road curved toward the Marine Drive downhill stretch. I tried to keep my pace pretty steady, rather than pounding down the hill. Then things flattened out, and the shade disappeared as we ran along the beach.

I crossed the halfway mat at 55:22 – and knew at that moment that the hardest was yet to come, and that this wouldn’t be a PB race!

The Second Half

I swear the second half of any race is when things get interesting. Anomalies aside, the first half is usually pretty uneventful. The second half is real.

Laurel was cheering from the sidelines – I haven’t seen her in ages – and that gave me a bit of an extra boost! But the heat was starting to get to me, and my pace flagged a bit. So hot. And sweaty. And a guy in front of me farted. And the sun continued to shine.

I was ready for Trimble Hill, and one of the volunteers was bellowing encouragement like a boot camp trainer. I saw Steven and Bob as I went by, and pushed hard to reach the top. Another downhill then, with Strawberry PowerGel being handed out. Left onto Alma, and it’s only 14k…2/3 of the race done, but still a long ways to go.

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The biggest shock of my running career to date happened on Point Grey Road. Trying my best to maintain a positive spirit, I saw a single runner headed towards us. Not part of the race, obviously, just out for her usual run. Jovially, I called out, “You’re going the wrong way!”

Her response: “F*** off!”

I’ve censored myself, but this was a full-on expletive. No smile or hint of irony in her voice.

I kind of laughed and I might have said a quiet, “Wow, sorry…” But this single event really affected me in unexpected ways. On the plus side, I was so distracted that I briefly forgot the heat and the pain. A lot of thoughts went through my mind.

Who does that? 

Probably like 50 other people had already said the same thing and she was tired of it. Was I the first one she cursed? Did she continue on down the line? You know I wasn’t the last one to say that!

Was she angry and bitter because she couldn’t run this race due to an injury?

Why didn’t she just move over one block to avoid everyone? How could she not realize there was a race today?

In the end, once the race was done, I tweeted this to the world (having had about 6km to think about it):

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This is going to stick with me for a while.

The last kick before the Burrard Bridge was the toughest. On Cornwall, I actually walked while downing some Gatorade. If I can help it, I don’t stop because it’s so hard to start again. But start again I did, albeit slowly. As we rounded the corner by the Molson plant, the digital clock told me it was 9:15, and 20 degrees. Uh uh, no way. Definitely hotter than that!

Up and over the Bridge – according to Strava, not one of my best efforts. Coach Carey was there to cheer us on.

Burrard Bridge

So far to go…

The end was not too far off. It was shadier here, with an ocean breeze that felt good but provided increased resistance in my weakened state. At 20km I increased my speed as best I could.

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The energy and crowds swelled, I did my best my best to not let anyone pass me, and finally reached the finish line with a whoop and a sigh. Done.

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Had a quick debrief with a few of my peeps, grabbed some sustenance – then found a car2go for a quick trip home, a shower, eggs and toast for breakfast, and a well-earned nap!

Final results
Chip time: 1:50:55
Average pace: 5:16 min/km
Overall: 693/3561
Age ranking: 56/172

*My slowest half marathon time in the past year – but don’t worry, there are more to come!

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RACE REPORT

Overall
One of Vancouver’s top races. I love the point-to-point with amazing views, excellent volunteers, a positive crowd, and fundraising component.

Packet Pickup/Expo
Quick and efficient. Bib, t-shirt, expo, bib confirmation. Timing was good, so no lineups – smooth sailing. The expo was a little ‘light’ – would like to have had a bit more excitement – but maybe that’s the tradeoff for arriving during a lull.

T-Shirt/Swag
T-shirt design is fantastic; size is awful. Compared to the small men’s Asics from 2 years ago, it’s like we all gained 30 pounds and grew two inches. One of the volunteers told me that men were declining the t-shirts altogether because they were too big. I’ll never wear mine, which is too bad. This was a major fail (not sure who’s at fault, but there it is) – and my only complaint for this race. Love the medal, especially the lanyard design.

Course
It’s a net downhill, but when you’re not running downhill, it’s like there’s a slight uphill the rest of the time. Painful late in the race, especially Trimble and Burrard Bridge. But scenic as heck, familiar routes. Solid Vancouver experience, especially for those from out of town.

Aid Stations
Excellent – I used every one. I wish they wouldn’t mix it up – Gatorade first, water second…but then water first, Gatorade second. Just keep it consistent. But the volunteers were great, told us what was coming, and had cups at the ready. With today’s heat, a sponge station wouldn’t have been out of line. But solid nonetheless.

Post-Race
Yogurt, PowerBar, bananas, cookies, Oasis juice, bagels – the usual fare. Nothing outstanding, everything required. Also, booths set up for all of the charities…except BC Cancer Foundation, which surprised me. I tried to find someone who could trade my gigantic shirt for a smaller women’s…but no one seemed to have a clue. I gave up and went home.

Race Management
As per usual, CRS West put on a fantastic race. Organizationally sound, from registration to communication (both email and social media), through package pickup to execution. Flawless, with the exception of the t-shirts, as noted above. Nicely done!

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How was your weekend? Any races?

Have you ever been cursed at while running? How did you feel? How did you react?

 

Goodbye May, Hello June!

I got this idea from my fellow Vancouverite & Bib Rave Pro, Brie (find her, follow her, and love everything about her at Brie ‘Like the Cheese’!). I enjoyed her April/May post so much, I asked if I could copy her for this month. The idea of the monthly update is to reflect back on the month that has just ended, but at the same time look forward to the month that’s on its way.

Also, in order to ensure giving credit where credit is due – this idea originally came from Jessica Lawlor – so make sure you visit her site, too! I’ll match her style of highlighting 3 things from May, and 3 for June.

Without further ado, let’s wrap up the last month, and excitedly anticipate the next!

In May, I…

1. Achieved my half marathon PB! I actually ran two half marathons in May – started out with the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, and three weeks later travelled to Ontario and ran the Ottawa Half Marathon. Both runs were great experiences, but it was Vancouver that took the cake. A perfect storm of weather, course, and luck – I was able to complete the race in under 1:45 – which was a true hurdle overcome!

2. Ran my third ever blog contest! This time, it was a giveaway for the Ambleside Mile – coming up very soon in June! I was thrilled with the response I got from interested runners, and excited that my running buddy, Emily G., won the giveaway…and will be joining me at the race! Looking forward to seeing some of my other Twitter & social media friends there, too!

3. Participated in Link-Ups! If you’re a blogger and you’ve never participated in a link-up, you should totally start. It’s a great way to meet new folks with common interests, and get some new ideas and motivation!

  • Weekend Update: Such an inspirational bunch of people sharing their achievements over the weekend (and previous week). Tara at Reading ‘n’ Running hosts this link-up – and today’s post is part of that! Drop by her page, visit other folks, and link up!!
Running 'N' Reading
  • Wednesday Giveaway Roundup: Every week, Erica at Erica Finds hosts a Wednesday Giveaway Roundup. I think this is fantastic – though for us poor schlubs in Canada it can be a bit frustrating, since a lot of the giveaways are limited to US entrants. Nevertheless, my blog contest gained a lot more exposure through this link-up, and Erica has something going on all the time – definitely worth a visit!
  • Thursday Triumph: This NEW link-up is hosted by Smitha (Running with SD Mom), Carlee (Carlee McDott) and Linzie (Sharp Endurance). It’s a great chance to share a success and learn about what other runners are up to!

In June, I will…

1. Run three races! At least, that’s how many I’ve signed up for so far…

  • Ambleside Mile: Next Saturday is the aforementioned one-mile race in West Vancouver. It’s a new route this year – looking forward to giving it a go again. Last year, my Dad was in town for the race, which was really special.
  • Longest Day 10k: Held at UBC, the Blueshore Financial Longest Day Race includes both 5km and 10km distances. I race the 5km back in 2010 and it look me nearly 29 minutes to finish. We’ll see if we can’t improve on that pace this year!
  • Scotiabank Half Marathon: Once again, I’m fundraising on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation – and the total so far is nearly $2,000! I appreciate all the support and I’m so happy the money will be going to this great cause. I’m also excited to run my 5th half marathon of 2015, continuing with my #yearofthehalf theme.

2. Get back to the gym! I completed three training session with Lisa at the YMCA a couple of months ago. They had another deal in May for a discount on a 3-pack of sessions, so I signed up again. Because I’m out of town this week – headed to Edmonton for work – I’ll probably get started in the 2nd week of June.

3. Sing! I belong to a local community choir called Simple Gifts. Next Sunday is our final concert before the summer. We sing a variety of music – classical, jazz, musical, African folk – and have a lot of fun doing it. We also sing at two seniors’ homes as part of our ‘outreach’, which I think is one of the most fulfilling things about it. For the summer, I join SummerChor, which each year rehearses and performs a single major classical work. This year, we are working on Faure’s Durufle’s Requiem, which we will perform at the end of August.

Tell me about what you achieved in May in the comments! What do you have planned for June?

May posts you might have missed:

 

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?