grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

Now that I finally own my own snowshoes, it was time to run the Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run once again! As a Grouse Mountain Local Pass holder, I got a discount on race entry – and had the chance to run with my friends Sam and Harrison. This sort of thing is always better with people you know! And despite a grumpy start, we ended up having a fantastic time!

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We had the most perfect weather for the weekend. There was a record number of participants, including two kids’ races. There was a train. It was everything we could ask from West Van Run 2019!

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modo to the mountains

About a decade has passed since I last went to Cypress Mountain. But with a Monday vacation day and some spectacular weather, what could be better than booking a car and grabbing our snowshoes to Modo to the mountains!

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icebreaker 8k

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Icebreaker 8k as part of the West Van Run Team. Don’t forget to sign up for the 2019 West Van Run – and save with code ‘bradley’!

The day started out on a weird note, as I woke on race morning with a feeling of anxiety. My last race was the Fall Classic 10k back in November. Subsequently, I fell ill enough to miss nearly two months of running. Heading into 2019, I’ve laced up my sneakers again, but I’m nowhere near my optimal running condition. However, all that anxiety washed away as I reunited with my running family at this year’s Steveston Icebreaker 8k!

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One week into 2019. This is how it begins. With hope and enthusiasm. With expectations and a bit of trepidation. Plans have been made, some plans will change. I’m made a conscious decision to avoid articulating any notorious New Year’s Resolutions because – hey – isn’t not making them all the rage these days? Having said that, a few things have been happening…

Running & Cycling – but No Snowshoeing

Started 2019 right, with a run! Not a long one. But because 2018 ended on a low point, I had to get out on the first day of the year. Then it was my ‘triumphant’ return to RunVan! My Thursday morning crew was there, and I couldn’t believe how much I’d missed them! Never mind that it was the absolute worst weather ever – possibly the wettest run of my life (or, at least, in the top 5!)

This picture does not capture how utterly drenched I am

Later in the week, the West Van Run Crew held a fantastic social run from North Van’s Lonsdale Quay – it was so awesome to catch up with more of my running friends!

Snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain was on the calendar for today – but the mountain didn’t open until 11am because of the weather (which was fine down at sea level). Instead, I took my brand new bike out for a ride along the beautiful North Shore Spirit Trail.

My virgin snowshoes
My fabulous new bike!

Races for 2019

I’m trying to be a bit more fluid with my race schedule this year. Trying to ‘go with the flow’. Still, there are a few things already on the calendar:

January 20Icebreaker 8k in Steveston. Hoping desperately for better weather than last year’s wind tunnel! I don’t feel at all prepared for the first race of the 2019 season, but I’ll do what I can.

February 10First Half Half Marathon – organized this year by the Vancouver International Marathon Society (RunVan). Oh, and it’s their 30th anniversary! Eager to see what the race has in store, even if a half marathon distance is kind of freaking me out right now. (I felt more prepared last year)

February 24Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run at Grouse Mountain. I skipped this race last year because I was so worried about falling down and hurting myself in the lead up to Eugene Marathon. This year – I’m gonna just give ‘er (as they say in the Prairies)!

March 2 & 3West Van Run – as an Ambassador for this awesome event, I’ll be running bot the 5k and the 10k. Haven’t signed up yet? Save 10% at registration with discount code ‘BRADLEY’!!

March 24Cap Crusher. Ack! My first trail run in a few years. But it’s close to home here on the North Shore, and my buddy Jeannine told me it’s a great race, so I’m holding her accountable for whatever happens that day! Ha!

April 14Vancouver Sun Run – my 10th Runniversary! Yep – back in 2009, my first ever race was the Sun Run. It was terrifying and amazing – and then I was addicted.

On the Maybe List

  • Seek the Peak – a run from Ambleside to Grouse Mountain…should I do it?
  • 5 Peaks – not sure which race – or how many races – I’ll do in this series. My first trail race ever was the 5 Peak Seymour in 2015, and I’m ready to try again!
  • MEC Trail Series – one or more of these races might be happening…

nuun Ambassadorship

I’m totally honoured to have been accepted as an ambassador for nuun Hydration in 2019! I always have nuun in the cupboard and pick up tubes of this awesome product at running events. Expect to hear more from me about nuun in the coming months!

What does 2019 have in store for you?

I’d love to have some feedback from my readers on your plans – running or otherwise – for 2019? Please add a comment below!

May 2019 bring you lots of happiness and joy!

Coming up with fresh content for a blog post can often be a challenge. When running lots of races, sure, I have heaps of things to talk about. But as 2018 comes to a close, I realize that I’ve been pretty quiet the past few weeks. And that’s OK. Things start fresh again…tomorrow, right? For now, I’ll reflect on the past year with my ‘Best Of’ for 2018!

Stats for 2018

Total Kilometres Run: 1900km
Total Elevation: 26,646m (according to Strava)
Number of Races: 20
Longest Race: 42.2km (Eugene Marathon)
Shortest Race: 1.67km (Ambleside Mile)
Number of Destination Races: 3
Number of Medals: 12
Number of Weeks Sick when I didn’t run: 6

Favourite Race

Every race has its good points and some have their own challenges. Every race I did in 2018 was awesome. But I think the Around the Bay 30k in Hamilton, Ontario was my stand-out race of the year. In part, this is because it was combined with a family visit; also, it was a training run leading up to Eugene Marathon, and I executed the entire race as planned.

best of 2018

Biggest Change

Although not specifically running related, we moved! After nearly 14 years in the same wee condo in downtown Vancouver, we made the decision to sell and relocate to a slightly bigger space in beautiful North Vancouver. This has impacted our daily commutes, training location and running crew, proximity to the trails and overall lifestyle. All for the best, for sure, but a huge shift for us.

north van run
View from the North Shore

Biggest Disappointment

I got sick. Like, really sick. Nothing that a doctor could diagnose or do anything about, but a cough-turned-chest congestion knocked me on my ass and kept me from running for 6 weeks. The unfortunate consequence was not just one but two DNS (did-not-start) races for 2018 – the Gunner Shaw Cross Country (which I missed last year for the same reason) and the revived Moustache Miler. Fingers crossed I can try again for 2019!

Favourite Medal(s)

This is a tough one because every medal holds meaning. But I have to admit that I’m a bit of a sucker for the bling and a bit of heftiness in a medal. This one is a draw between:

The Hot Chocolate 15k medal from Seattle, which includes a Space Needle keychain and looks like a freakin’ chocolate bar!

hot chocolate 15k seattle

And the Vancouver Scotiabank Half Marathon medal, with its primary colours and slick, modern design.

Scotiabank Half Marathon

Favourite Race Shirt(s)

I’ve got three categories for this one, because I can’t choose just one!

Favourite tech shirt: the Eugene Marathon shirt made me so happy – comfortable fabric and fit by Nike, a snazzy design, and great memories of a successful race.

best of 2018

Favourite casual shirt: the SHLF Run found me a perfect medium-sized shirt – beautiful soft material, soothing colour and a simple logo.

best of 2018

Favourite long-sleeved: the Hot Chocolate 15k had these cozy quarter-zip shirts in a gorgeous teal – ideal for cold-weather running. I also like that it has a wee zip pocket beside the logo to hold keys and/or a bus pass!

hot chocolate 15k seattle

Unexpected Success

I participated the 2nd annual North Van Run 5k and somehow managed to come second in my age group (Male 40-49) with a chip time of 23:11. Running with so many amazing athletes, I am absolutely humbled by this result. Loved the extra medal, too!

best of 2018

Happiest Race Photo

At the start line of the Granville Island Turkey Trot, this little snap of my signature Japanese-style pose for the camera!

Granville Island Turkey Trot

Best ‘Face of Pain’ Race Photo

Thanks to ‘paparazzi’ extraordinaire, Seann Sheriland, for capturing the final, painful moments of the Ambleside Mile.

best of 2018

Proudest Moment

Hands down, Eugene Marathon 2018. With 3 marathons under my belt, I was determined to achieve my goal of breaking the 4-hour marathon in 2018. Thanks to the amazing support of my running buddies at Forerunners and Mile2Marathon – and the expert coaching of Tony Tomsich – I finished Eugene with a time of 3:55:45.

best of 2018

What about 2019?

Great question! I haven’t set any really specific goals for the year, but here are a few things I’d like to focus on:

  • Sun Run 2019 – this will be the 10th anniversary of my very first run! Obviously, can’t miss it!
  • North Shore Trails – now that I live in North Van, the trails are calling. I’ve done a couple of trail runs in the past (5 Peaks; MEC), but I’d like to get into this a bit more.
  • Grouse Mountain – I’ve got an annual pass, we have new snowshoes – I expect to spend more time on / climbing up Grouse!
  • Cycling – our place downtown didn’t have space to store a bike, and I had easy access to Mobi bike share when I wanted to cycle. Getting a bike and doing some riding is definitely on my list.

Thanks to all my readers for the support over the past year! Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2019!

Winter brings with it lots of seasonal activities and holiday celebrations, but it also brings its share of foul weather and – in my case – nasty health issues. Nearly three weeks of coughing has knocked me off my running feet. So while I have nothing new to report, having missed two races in two weeks, I’ve decided to talk about some festive fun – thanks to the wonders of car sharing!

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fall classic

Wrapping up the 2018 RunVan race series, the Fall Classic is incredibly popular with the Vancouver running community. Held on campus at the University of British Columbia, the Fall Classic tagline as ‘Vancouver’s last great run of the year‘ is evidenced by the fact that it sold out yet again this year. In addition, if you’ve run the BMO Vancouver Marathon (or Half or 8K) and the Granville Island Turkey Trot, the Fall Classic earns you the coveted Hat Trick!

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