Posts Tagged ‘42for42’

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A HUGE welcome to new readers who are arriving at my blog on my ‘spotlight day’ via the awesome blog hop hosted by Kristy at Runaway Bridal Planner! I am extremely appreciative of Kristy, and her commitment to running the blog hop, which clearly takes a lot of time and energy. Due to my participation in Kristy’s blog hop back in February of this year, my blog and social media presence have grown more than I had ever imagined, and I’m really grateful!

To those of you who are regular readers – thank you for visiting again, and for your ongoing support!

Over the past few months, many most of my blog posts have been race recaps – it’s been quite a running season! Today, I’m just going to share a bit about Bradley on the Run!

Why is your Twitter handle @bjcjapan?

A legacy from the 6 years I spent in Japan, this was my original email address. It’s funny how a moment in time can be captured in 8 letters and stick around for so long! Japan holds a special place in my heart, and I was so excited to visit again last December and run in Kyoto for the very first time. I plan to hang onto that Twitter handle – you’ll always know where to find me!

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Running along the Kamo River in Kyoto

So, do you speak Japanese?

I do, in fact, know enough Japanese to hold my own in a conversation.

How/When/Why did you start running?

This is probably one of the most common questions I hear from folks when I mention running. I’ve written in some detail about my inspiration to start running, but here’s the short and sweet version:

In the early days of 2009, after some wine and a viewing of ‘Run Fatboy Run‘, I signed up for the BMO Vancouver 8K. I had never run a step in my life, considering myself ‘the antithesis of an athlete’. I always hated sports, and was extremely self-conscious about my lack of athletic skills.

But something about it clicked, and my passion for running has continued to grow! And living in beautiful Vancouver, BC – where year-round running is 100% doable – certainly doesn’t hurt!

What’s up with the #WestVanRun?

I participated in the 2014 West Van Run 10K and loved it. I achieved a PB – my first ever 10K run in under 50 minutes. This race was my inspiration to start blogging as Bradley on the Run – and the topic of my very first race report! When I ran the 2015 West Van Run, I achieved another PB which still stands at time of writing!

Earlier this year, I was invited by the West Van Run’s Race Director, Kirill, to become a #WestVanRun 2016 ambassador! It has been a heck of a lot of fun, and an honour, to represent the West Van Run – I’ve made some awesome new friends and enjoy the experience immensely. The West Van Run will be held on March 5 and 6, 2016 (5km on Saturday, 10km on Sunday) – use ‘bradley’ as your 15% discount code!

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Why is 2015 the #yearofthehalf?

Last year, I ran my first full marathon – the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Originally, the Honolulu Marathon was my target first marathon, but I somehow persuaded myself to do a ‘trial run’ earlier in the year. My theme for 2014 was #42for42 – running 42 kilometres (well, 42.2km, to be exact) in the year I turned 42. Achieved!

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Back in January of this year, I started working out my race calendar for 2015 and shared some of my race plans on Twitter. #yearofthehalf was actually coined by @THESFMARATHON in response, and I adopted it as my 2015 theme.

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By February, I had committed to running the San Francisco First Half – and by the end of this year will have completed 12 half marathons in 2015! The final one – the Laughlin/Bullhead Half Marathon in December – will be my birthday present!!

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Hey, I heard you did a podcast?

Yes! Back in March, I had the honour of being asked to record an episode of Miles Not Included. It was a great experience, and gave me a chance to talk a bit more about my running experiences. Should you be so inclined, you can hear the episode here. Regretfully, Miles Not Included is no longer producing their podcast, which is a shame – but life got in the way, as it sometimes does.

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You seem to wear a lot of orange – what’s that all about?

There was a bit of a ‘running joke’ (pun absolutely intended) about my orange cap, and that fact that people could easily spot me in the crowd during a race. That’s how @debrakato found me at this year’s First Half Half Marathon!

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Then, back in April, I applied to become an ambassador for BibRave – a website where you can review races online. As it happens, BibRave’s theme colour is orange – and I’m now a proud #BibRavePro! This has provided the opportunity to get some free running swag, to connect with other BibRavePros, and to get a free entry to the Platte River Half Marathon (10% discount code: ‘bibrave10’) next April in Denver, Colorado. I’ve just been accepted to represent BibRave for another year, and I’m really excited!

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Orange is my favourite colour!

What’s next for Bradley on the Run?

I’m going to continue working on my blog, doing my best to keep it fresh and authentic. I love sharing my running experiences, and reflecting back on what has happened over the past 2 years. I’ve got a few plans for 2016 – but I’ll save those for another day!

Hope you enjoyed learning a bit about me!
Anything I’ve missed? Or have I told you more than you want to know?

I’m getting into the swing of things with linkups, and decided to join another one this week!

Thursday Triumph!

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Hosted by three spectacular runners:

Smitha at Running with SD Mom – I’ve been ‘running’ with Smitha since we met during the February Grow Your Blog blog hop, and have enjoyed keeping in touch! Smitha inspired me to join her linkup!

Carlee at Carlee McDot – this girl has so much enthusiasm! Visit her blog and you’ll see what I mean!

Linzie at Sharp Endurance – very impressive endurance athlete. I think I can learn a lot from him!

[Tweet “We all have that potential in ourselves to become better. Believe in yourself! http://bit.ly/1ICDd3P”]

On to my Thursday Triumph – talking about my #yearofthehalf, and what it means.

Sometimes people ask how I started running. This is not where I tell that story (you can read it here, though – stay a while!). Suffice it to say that I was very much a non-athlete all of my life. I avoided exercise like the plague. I eschewed all sports.

But in 2009, I started running. It was not immediately a match made in heaven. It was not instant success. But there was something about it that drew me in. Slowly but surely, running became part of my life.

I tackled my first half marathon in 2011 – the BMO Vancouver Half. As it turns out, it was also the 40th anniversary of the race. Fun and festive! Absolutely terrifying.

When all was said and done, I made it to the end. It took me a respectable 2 hours 15 minutes and 36 seconds. I came in 296/366 in my age category (remember this number). I may have vowed that I’d never run another half marathon.
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2012 – I completed 2 half marathons. Improved my time and finished at 2:07:01

2013 – 3 half marathons. Broke the elusive 2 hour barrier with a time of 1:52:07

2014 – Yet again, 3 half marathons. Hit 1:48:12. Also decided to make this year my #42for42 and ran my first – and second – full marathons.

2015 – I decided early on to make this the #yearofthehalf and put full marathons to the side for the time being. We’re now a third of the way through the year. I’ve managed to squeeze in 3 half marathons so far. As of now, I have 5 more scheduled. Along with a few other, shorter distance races.

And now for my Thursday Triumph. Four years after running my first half, I ran the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon again. Here’s why I want to celebrate:

  • I broke the 1 hour 45 minute mental barrier, which I really wanted to do
  • With that PB race, I have officially improved my half marathon race time by 30 minutes
  • My age category place: 85/426 – not top 10, to be sure, but at least top 100!
  • I think I look a lot better at the finish line than I did in 2011!

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I’m excited to see what the rest of this year brings. I’m not going to hold my breath for more PBs in upcoming races, but I’ll keep pushing myself to succeed. Also, 3 of the 5 upcoming halfs are TravelRuns (Ottawa; San Francisco; Laughlin, NV) – so I’ll have lots of stories to tell!

Thank you for celebrating this little triumph with me! And although I may be bragging a bit – I can’t deny that I’m proud of my progress – I share this story to encourage and inspire. We all have that potential in ourselves to become better. Believe in yourself!

Now it’s your turn! What’s your latest triumph? Is there a race time improvement you’re especially proud of? Please share!

And be sure to join next week’s Triumph Thursday!

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blogiversaryWhen I signed up for my first 8km race a little over six years ago, I never dreamed I would end up calling myself a runner. And when I hit ‘Publish’ on my first blog post – exactly one year ago today – I had no idea how much ‘Bradley on the Run’ would become a part of my life.

March 1, 2015 – Many of you have been with me throughout this journey, while others have just joined the party. Please allow me the (slightly narcissistic) indulgence of reflecting back over the past 12 months. I also have to thank a bunch of people, too!

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I decided that 2014 would be my marathon year, and set my sights on Honolulu in December, just about a week after my 42nd birthday (42km marathon at 42 years old = #42for42). I figured this was as good a motivation as any to check the full marathon off of my bucket list. With a bit of encouragement, I ended up running the BMO Vancouver Marathon as my first (and best), with Honolulu my second. The question lingers whether or not another marathon is in the cards for me…

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Injuries and Excuses

During and after the BMO, I had some issues which I described at the time as ‘groin’-related. I took some time off, did some physio and – most significantly – started going to Pilates. Well, lo and behold, I was healed! Turns out that my problem was not, uh, where I thought it was. My problem was a weak core! Huge shout out to Christie at the YMCA who has helped to make a world of different in strengthening my flabby underdeveloped mid-section.

A Few PBs

I want to brag, just a little bit. In the past year, I achieved personal best (PB) results in 5 distances!

  • Full Marathon (42.2km) – the BMO Vancouver Marathon was the winner here. Much as I enjoyed Honolulu, it was not comparable time-wise to the BMO
  • Half Marathon (21.1km) – just a few weeks ago, I had a ‘perfect storm’-type race in the First Half Half Marathon – and loved every minute of it!
  • 10km – it was a cold and snowy day, but the 2014 West Van Run was a PB in this distance…that is, until today…(stay tuned for an upcoming race report on West Van Run 2015!)
  • 8km – the Modo 8K was a fun and unexpected success
  • 1 mile – this was a distance I had never tackled = automatic PB! We’ll see what this year’s Ambleside Mile has in store!

Huge Thanks!

Although I enjoy writing this blog – it’s one of the things that keeps me motivated in my running – it’s the people who have supported me that make the true impact. An enormous THANK YOU to:

  • Coach Carey and the amazing people of Forerunners – from Day One, I have been inspired and encouraged by this team of athletes.
  • My Twitter followers – for every ‘Like’ and every retweet, those I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and those I hope to meet someday!
  • All the folks on Facebook, including the many non-runners who visit my blog just because – it means a lot to me!
  • Everyone who follows me on Instagram, Pinterest (still figuring that one out) – and this blog!
  • Kristy (Runaway Bridal Planner) and the amazing new blog-mates I have met through the February Blog Hop, which pushed me to analyze and develop my social media skills over the past month!

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  • Last but not least – my friends and family, who come out to cheer me on, who put up with my endless running stories, and who wait for me to finish long training runs. You are truly amazing!

#YearoftheHalf

I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store. I’ve designated 2015 the ‘Year of the Half’, when I will focus primarily on the half marathon distance (or shorter). I look forward to sharing more race reports, hosting a few giveaways (look for one coming soon!), networking with a whole lot more bloggers, and making many new connections.

Thank you for celebrating YEAR 1 with me!

– Bradley

What do you enjoy about my blog? Is there anything I could do to improve it? I welcome feedback and suggestions!

Disclaimer: While I generally like to write my race reports immediately following, this race was the start of a 3-week vacation, including both Hawai’i and Japan. I’ve had no access to a computer until now, but that means the time has finally come!

It started on a whim – the thought that I should challenge myself to my first marathon (i.e. 42 kilometres) the year I turned 42. The Honolulu Marathon was to be held just a week after my 42nd birthday, and in January 2014 I got an earlybird notice and was able to sign up for just $50! How could I say no? I ended up completing the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May – a ‘practice’ run – but Honolulu was the true goal. #42for42

We arrived in Honolulu on a direct flight from Vancouver on Friday night. Saturday morning’s errand was race package pickup at the Convention Centre, just a block from our hotel. The expo was extremely organized and efficient – bib pickup in under 5 minutes, and multiple vendors with everything from crafts to pain relief to running gear. I kept my shopping to a minimum but enjoyed myself nonetheless. See for yourself!

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The Honolulu Marathon starts exhaustingly early at 5am. Part of our hotel plan was to be close to the start line in Ala Moana, and we had some stunning views from our hotel balcony. This was the pre-race day sunset:

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I had set my alarm for 3:30am, but awoke even before that. First I checked the weather…um, rain? And then I looked out the window. People were already gathering, lining up for the toilets, and doing their warmups. I made my instant oatmeal, drank some peppermint tea, and pulled myself together before heading out into the dark morning.

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Oh, the crowds! A total of 21,815 people finished the race, so I can only assume that a few more than that started. I found my spot, watched the crowds, squinted into the rain, and soon it was time to begin – with fireworks! Most exciting race start ever!

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Because this event is self-seeding, there were no corral restrictions. As such, while I seeded myself in the 3- to 4-hour corral, it was clear from guntime that many runners were not aiming to complete the race in 4 hours or less. Many people were running at a significantly slower pace, or even walking within the first kilometre or two. As such, I expended a good amount of energy over the first 5k dodging people (and puddles) to try to get up to a reasonable pace – I struggled to get below 6 minutes/km until the 4k mark.

The first 10k took us on a loop through Downtown Honolulu – which was fantastic due to all of the Christmas lights dotted through town – and then on to Waikiki. The main strip was remarkably crowded with spectators, given that it was only about 5:30am. There were a few drunken revellers who likely hadn’t been to bed yet (I got a very sloppy high 5 from one of them), but overall the crowd was simply there to cheer us on.

We rounded Kapiolani Park (where we would eventually complete the race) and then started the tough slog up and around Diamond Head – the ancient volcanic cone visible from Waikiki Beach (see photo below). This was probably my favourite moment of the race, and I hope I can describe it well enough to do it justice:  Diamond Head Road curves up and around the crater. All along this stretch were volunteers, mostly high school students, holding a long yellow police tape – one person every couple of metres. EVERY ONE of them was smiling, cheering, encouraging, high fiving – and creating the most positive, enthusiastic race energy I’ve ever experienced.

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Diamond Head from Waikiki during the day.

I chose to put #42fo42 and my Twitter account (@bjcjapan) on a bib on my back. Somewhere around 14km, a guy came up to me and asked if it was my 42nd marathon! I explained my philosophy of 42for42, and chatted with him about his marathon experience (he was from Oregon, currently living in Hawai’i, thought he’d give the race a go). Unfortunately, I never got his bib number, so I wasn’t able to see how he did in the end!

After a few twists and turns through residential neighbourhoods, we found ourselves at the 20km mark on Highway 1 heading east. And that’s when the real weather began – the rain started coming down in sheets, and the wind (from the east!) buffeted us. It was a tough slog. At one point, I thought I felt something really heavy in my left pocket (my iPhone was in my right pocket…), but then I realized it was just my soaking wet shorts slapping against my leg. THAT’s how wet it was!

Even before reaching the halfway point, the lead runners came towards us, on their way back from the out-and-back loop around Hawai’i Kai, a good 15km ahead of me and those around me. Though dripping wet, they looked like they were flying – simply amazing. I love it when a race route allows you to see what the true professionals look like when they’re doing what they do best!

The Hawai’i Kai loop (kms 25-29) took us through some more residential neighbourhoods, where the locals were out in full force, and offering up pretzels, snacks, oranges, and the like. The community spirit was amazing – and while the weather continued to be very damp, I couldn’t help but smile (or grimace? Hard to be sure).

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Hawai’i Kai – and rainy mountains all around

And then we were back on the freeway – and now we were seeing all the runners and walkers coming from behind. Costumes, great enthusiasm – even a couple who ballroom danced the entire route (it took them 11 hours!) – followed by one of the best rainbows I’ve ever seen! Turning towards the ocean, we ran by some beautiful homes and estates – at this point, a woman approached me about #42for42 – again assuming that this was my 42nd marathon! I guess the Americans can be forgiven, though, as they would see the marathon as 26.2 (miles, of course)!

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A ray of hope!

At 39k the return ascent over Diamond Head started, and I truly thought I wasn’t going to make it. My reserves were very low, despite having stopped at every water and gel stop along the way. I had long since given up on the idea of improving on my Vancouver Marathon time, but suddenly it occurred to me that I might not make it to the finish line at all. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to bursting into tears during a race, and probably the longest 2 kilometres of my life. At this moment, I determined I would never again run another marathon.

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And then I was there. Finish line. Cool shower. Puka shells. Sweet treats. Finisher T-shirt. Medal. So happy. Wearing my Honolulu Marathon finisher shirt around town and having total strangers congratulate me – and likewise congratulating others wearing their shirts! This is what it’s all about – and why #42for42 was an unequivocal success!

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And will I run another marathon? We’ll just have to wait and see…

Final results

Chip time: 4:14:24
Average pace: 6:01 min/km
Place overall: 2188/21815
Age category place: 259/1302

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Have you ever had one of those times when it’s the perfect storm of work, school, family all culminating in so much stuff going on that suddenly almost a month has gone by and you haven’t written a blog post?

Ya, that’s what happened.

2 weeks from today, I will run (or, by this time of day, have completed – I hope!) the Honolulu Marathon. And just to make sure I hadn’t forgotten, this arrived in the mail last week:

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But what’s been happening in the meantime?

The Long Run

I probably should have peaked last week, but I got my longest run in about 3 weeks ago. It also happened to be the longest solo run I’ve ever done. It started with an early jaunt to Forerunners, where I joined up with the clinic for the first part of their run. I then continued my loop around False Creek and on to Stanley Park, where I captured a bit of the local scenery.

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I’ll admit I also stopped along the way to vote in the municipal election!

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After circumnavigating Stanley Park, I finally reached Coal Harbour at 33km, where I stopped for a coffee. The barista said: “Lovely morning for a little jog.” I just smiled and nodded.

Running Barrie

I went back to Ontario for a week to help my dad out following a minor surgery. And for the first time, I took the opportunity to run the beautiful Barrie Waterfront – an out and back around Kempenfelt Bay.

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And had intended to get in a long run, but with some housework to manage, plus juggling working from home – I waited too long and woke up to this:

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Winter in Vancouver

I arrived back in BC just in time for…well, no snow yet, but a bit of below zero. Another False Creek/Stanley Park loop, and managed to reach a little more than a half marathon distance. I should have run further, but I ended up at Starbucks instead.

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But then yesterday, winter had truly arrived!

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I ended up taking a bit of a tumble en route, but thanks to the cold my glove took the brunt of my fall! I’ve got a bit of a sore hip, too, but no war wound to show off!

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So here’s what it looked like yesterday in all my key locales – including my upcoming vacation destinations!

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My #42for42 goal is fast approaching – the birthday (on Friday) arriving just over a week before the distance. We’ll then be off to Japan for 2 weeks, where (after some recovery) I hope to run some more!

Stay tuned!