Posts Tagged ‘8k’

Modo 8K

I want to start this post with a special announcement! Recently, I had the honour – along with Debra Kato – of being selected as a Digital Champion for the upcoming Scotiabank Half Marathon on June 26! Debra and I, along with a group of talented pacers, will act as ambassadors for this awesome race, which puts great emphasis on raising funds for worthy charitable causes. More to follow! Thanks to Canada Running Series for hosting this event, and providing an entry to this year’s Modo 8K!

Modo 8K

Debra’s hair matched the Modo race shirts!

Officially the Modo Spring Run-Off 8K, this event is sponsored by local carshare Modo, of which I am a long-term member. Like all CRS races, the Modo 8K is always well-organized with great swag and awesome door prizes. Another bonus:  if you run all three CRS West races in 2016, you get the fabulous ‘three-peat’ medal. So, if you ran the Modo 8K and you like your bling – make sure you register for the Scotiabank Half (or 5K) and the Eastside 10K!

Modo 8K

Race Day

This year’s Modo 8K happened to coincide with my guy’s birthday – and partly because I got to run the Laughlin Half Marathon on my birthday in December, I encouraged him to sign up. Despite having returned from a two-week trip to Japan just days before, he gamely ventured out on the morning of March 20!

Modo 8K

Debra picked us up in the green monster – and fortunately the race didn’t start until 10am so we didn’t have to drag ourselves out of bed too ridiculously early. It was still raining lightly and a bit chilly when we arrived at Stanley Park. An internal debate raged – should I continue wearing a long-sleeved shirt, or could I manage with just a t-shirt? Standing inside the Stanley Park Pavilion, it was easy to convince myself that it was warm enough, so I stood outside in the rain for a few minutes and decided I could handle it in short sleeves.

Got a few pre-race photos in…

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Then we milled about and socialized with some local celebrities, including Gord Kurenoff – Vancouver Sun blogger extraordinaire. If you’d like to read a more professional review of the race than mine, see Gord’s article here.

My chiropractor had recommended that I not ‘race’ this race, to help with a bit of recovery (don’t worry, nothing serious) and prepare for the upcoming Platte River Half Marathon in Colorado on April 10. So I decided to act as a pacer, and keep the birthday boy company in his first race since November’s Fall Classic.

Modo 8K

Start Line selfie

On the Course

In previous years, the Spring Run-Off took us clockwise around Stanley Park – skirting Lost Lagoon, and following the Seawall to Lumberman’s Arch. However, the race always ended with a short but steep uphill and a fairly sharp turn just before the finish line. This year, the course reversed direction, allowing for a smooth and speedy decline at the start. Inevitably, there was still some uphill at the end, but it was straight and (to my mind, at least) not as steep.

Modo 8K

As the gun went off, the rain stopped and we had pretty much ideal race weather – cool, overcast and dry. The views over the ocean were breathtaking, as they tend to be on the Seawall. Lots of cheering and friendly faces on the course. Although we didn’t stop to take advantage of them, there were two well-stocked water stations with particularly enthusiastic volunteers on hand. The course was fast and flat – and then we were done!

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Lots of goodies – cookies, bananas, yoghurt, Oasis juice boxes – and a medal! The rain started to fall soon after we finished, so we headed inside to enjoy live music, socializing, and awards. There were also some pretty substantial door prizes, drawn from boxes into which we had dropped tickets with our bib numbers. And here is my only complaint – when someone didn’t claim their number, rather than drawing a new number they simply chose the closest number. I didn’t feel this was completely fair, but there you go.

We snapped a few more finisher with friends, including the Kirill from West Van Run!.

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Then we went for birthday brunch!

Modo 8K

A huge shout out to the race organizers, volunteers and sponsors who made the Modo 8K a success yet again this year! I have to say that I loved the colour of this year’s race t-shirt, as well as the totem pole medal design!

Modo 8K

You can read about previous Modo 8K races here: 2015 and 2014.

Final Results

Chip Time: 49:05
Average Pace: 6:08 min/km
Place Overall: 494/962
Age Category Place: 28/39


It’s been a few weeks, so I’m glad to link up again with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap!

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Not in recent memory have I not wanted to run a race. Sure, there have been races where I was nervous or anxious beforehand, but I always looked forward to the run. In this case, after a couple of days of ‘man-cold’ – followed by a nearly sleepless night – I was feeling just sorry enough for myself to consider skipping the event entirely. The race in question? The Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k.

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Have you ever seen the TV show Once Upon a Time? If so, you’ll recognize Steveston as Storybrooke, where most of the action occurs. It’s a small fishing village and historic salmon canning centre about 30 minutes south of Vancouver, and now a popular tourist destination.

And as you may have gleaned from the fact that I’m writing this race report, I heaved myself out of bed in time to catch the train to Richmond, where Lucy kindly met me at the station en route to Steveston.

It was Lucy – my Forerunners buddy – who encouraged me to sign up for the Ice-Breaker. In turn, I persuaded Susan (who did her first half marathon back in October!) to participate. And since I had picked up bibs for both of them on Friday night at the Running Room, I clearly had no excuse for not showing up. We arrived at the Steveston Community Centre, meeting up with Susan and a bunch of Forerunners folks, just as the rain started to fall.

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Susan & me

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Standing shivering and damp at the Start/Finish Line, I knew that my first race of 2016 was going to be a tough one.

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Heading Out

The Ice-Breaker is an out-and-back course along the Steveston riverfront and dyke. Arguably, it’s a fast and flat course. But to say that today’s weather was punishing could be considered an understatement. For the first kilometre, we zigzagged through some residential areas, and the rain started in earnest. Then we passed the historic Britannia Shipyards (well worth a visit in the summer months!) and headed onto the dyke.

Now we were fully exposed to the elements. I had been squinting into the rain, but the wind picked up and it felt as though tiny needles were being hurled at my face. Not exactly cold, but fighting the gusts off the water made moving forward a chore. The path turned to gravel, mud and puddles. My feet were soaked and aching. And although I was wearing a Buff, the buffeting wind in my right ear was a constant roar.

Because I could barely open my eyes, I couldn’t see much scenery beyond what was right in front of me. On the grey, rolling river I saw a couple of chip barges, with more grey sky in the background.

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

Then we turned around.

Heading Back

Maybe the rain let up a bit. Maybe it was because the return route was on the road, rather than the path. Maybe it was the wind at our backs. But heading back was so much easier. No more stinging needles on my skin. A bit more downhill.

And a negative split – the second four kilometres nearly 2 minutes faster than the first four!

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

I managed to pass a few people in the last few hundred metres, and crossed the Finish Line with a result that was better than I had expected, given my nasty, self-pitying man-cold and the miserable weather.

And I was thrilled to cheer Susan across the finish line!

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k


We all gathered back at the Community Centre, where we were supplied with hot soup, pizza, bagels, fruit and coffee. Age group awards were doled – including to a few speedsters from Forerunners. That was followed by a bevvy of door prizes, and once again some of our posse reaped the benefits. We all headed out for lunch in Richmond.

And then I went home to bed.

Unsurprisingly, my results were mediocre in comparison with what I’ve accomplished in the past. But I have no regrets about doing this race and plan to better my time next year!

Steveston Ice-Breaker 8k

See you in 2017!

**NOTE: Special thanks to Debra Kato (@debrakato) and Susan Kristiansen for kindly sharing their photos!**

Final Results

Chip Time: 40:12
Average Pace: 5:01 min/km
Place Overall: 117/273
Age Category Place: 10/16



Packet Pickup
A very low-key affair at the Running Room – a table and a volunteer with bibs and a list of names. Quick and painless.

Nothing – this is a minimalist event. Cheap and cheerful.

As described, a flat out-and-back course. On a sunny day, this would be an extremely scenic route along the South Arm of the Fraser River, past some local historic sites. On a rainy and windy day like today, it was just rainy and windy. The volunteers along the route were troopers, though – cheering and encouraging with their umbrellas and rain gear. There was one water stop at the turnaround point – but I think most of us had enough water falling on us that we didn’t need any more!

Muscle MLK at the Finish Line, followed by a good array of food back at the Steveston Community Centre (soup, pizza, fruit, bagels, coffee). It was nice to have a place to gather inside given what was going on outside. And although I didn’t win a door prize, there were some pretty awesome items to be won, including gift cards from the Running Room, MEC and local restaurants, and even free flights with Harbour Air. Not bad, considering there were only about 275 participants in total!

Would I Run It Again?
I’m committed to bettering my time next year! This is a great local race – and although it has none of the frills (like t-shirts and finisher medals) of larger races, it’s got a positive atmosphere with a lots of familiar faces. See you in 2017!


Since my week consisted of 1) being sick and 2) running a race, I’m going to link up again with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia at MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap! Join in by visiting either (or both!) of their pages!


On the almost literal heels of the 5 Peaks Trail Race – that is, the very next morning – I participated in the Vancouver Spirit Run. This race, just like the previous day, was unlike any race I had ever run before!

One of my West Van Run teammates – Karin – is a track star. Short distances and sprints are her thing (and not mine!). But when she offered us free registration for this race, how could I refuse? Also, it would be my chance to participate in my first ever cross country race! (By the way, Karin has been featured in the Miles Not Included podcast…which you can listen to here.)

I agreed to participate before I actually knew what a cross country run actually was. I’m a road racer. That’s what I know; it’s familiar. So if you, like me, don’t have a clue – here’s what you need to know:

Traditional cross-country is run primarily on grass in parks or across open countryside, involving multiple laps of a relatively short distance.
— BC Athletics

Armed with that knowledge, I was simply nervous – that, and the fact that I knew the field would be extremely fast, with oodles of incredibly fast short-distance runners in attendance.

I went to Forerunners for package pickup on Saturday afternoon. I had returned from Mount Seymour for a shower and a nap, and decided to venture out to get the goods. A simple bib – that’s all I needed!

Also, I popped over to Foot Solutions on Broadway. Why? Well, since the West Van Run is sponsored by Brooks – and because I’m a race ambassador – I got some new Brooks shoes! I was pretty excited to pick up my new Glycerin 12s!

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Race Day

Sunday morning dawned…windy. Seriously windy. Because the race didn’t start until 10am, I had lots of time for a leisurely breakfast, and a bit of lounging around with an extra cup of coffee.

Finally, I headed out with aim of arriving at Jericho Beach Park by 9:15am. I grabbed a car2go – which, if you’re unfamiliar, is a Smart Car – and nearly blew off the Burrard Bridge. Arriving at the event site, you could see the whitecaps on the ocean (though maybe not in these photos).

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I met up with Debra and Sam, and we showed off our West Van Run team spirit!

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We were joined by Kirill, Jin and Ben (although Ben had just run like 26km and wasn’t doing the race).

Too soon, it was gun time. Weirdly, we were lined up on the grass across a huge area…side-by-side instead of in corrals like a usual road race. No timing mat at the start, either – so it’s gun time or bust! Incidentally, men and women all started together, but the women were running 6km, while the men were running 8km. Lucky me!

The Course

I’ll describe the route, since I ran it 4 times! We headed out across the grass, facing some pretty intense headwinds. This would be challenging for me on each loop. We headed left, and back along the way we had come, with some grassy rolling hills along the way.

Then through some trees, onto a gravel path. One kilometre. A sharp left – and a short but steep hill. The friendly volunteers at the bottom and the top were so encouraging – every time!

The path changed to wood chips, and we were beneath a canopy of shady trees. With the wind blowing, leaves and small branches kept falling on our heads! We burst from the woods into a grassy downhill, and headed back towards the start, encountering runners on their next loop in the process.


Past the start line for Loop 2

Same as the first, a little bit windier, a little bit worse…

Loop 3 – the lead runners passed me, especially when I had to shop short because my shoelace came undone! Seriously!

And before I even started my 4th Loop, the lead runners were already done! The top 3 finishing times were between 26:07 and 27:23. I could hear them being interviewed as I still had another 2km to go…and most of the women had finished their 6km race by that time too! I also had navigate through a flock of Canada Geese who had decided to settle in the middle of the course!

Finally, the end was in sight! I sprinted past a few stragglers and greeted my team – all of whom had finished before me! Nevertheless, I had completed my first cross country race!


This may be the only time you see me in a running singlet!

Here are the winners of the women’s 6k and men’s 8k:

6k Winners

Marla Dalzot, Robyn Mildren, Erica Digby

8k Winners

Geoff Martinson, Kelly Wiebe, Theo Hunt

Other events of the morning included:

  • 2K Girls & Boys – Elementary 12 & Under
  • 3k Girls & Boys  – Junior High 15 & Under
  • 4K Girls & 5K Boys – Senior High 17 & Under
  • 1k – Family FUN RUN
  • 4 x 1k RELAY – Corporate, Club, & Family Divisions

I didn’t stay, however – I was exhausted from the back-to-back races. Proud to announce, though, that 4 members of the West Van Run Crew competed in the relay, and placed second overall!

Thank you to the organizers, sponsors and volunteers for putting on this fun and well-organized race!

Final Results

Chip Time: 41:53
Average Pace: 5:15 min/km
Place Overall: 31/46 (men only, since women ran a 6k)
Age Category Place: 13/17 (my division was ‘Masters’ – everyone over 35 years old!)

Have you ever run a cross country race?


January is traditionally the month of resolutions made.

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:


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!)


#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:


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:


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?


modo spring run-offFor this race report, I’m going to try something new – I’ll start by sharing my personal thoughts on the experience, and then provide a more ‘objective’ summary of the race (jump to it here). Please comment to let me know what you think of this format!

I started the morning by icing my right foot. Something about my run yesterday caused my foot to tweak a bit, and stepping off it felt a bit sore. One of the good things about the Modo 8K (which also has one drawback…please read on) is that it doesn’t start until 10am. As such, I was able to sleep in until 7:30, and still have time to laze around while eating my oatmeal and chilling my woes minor pains.

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Prepped & ready

I managed to swing a free race entry for one of my friends thanks to Elinor at Goodbye Clutter (follow her on Twitter @goodbyeclutter), and it was nice to have some company as we set off toward Stanley Park and arrived well in advance. Ah, spring in Vancouver…

Cherry Blossoms

Fortunately, because the Stanley Park Pavilion is race central, we were able to huddle inside and stay out of the ‘cold’. It wasn’t really cold at all, just a chill in the air when one is standing about, so we waited until the last minutes to check our bags and get ourselves into the corral.

The Canadian Running Series puts on really well-organized races, and the Modo 8K is no exception. Announcements were timely and clear, and everyone was ready to go when the elite runners arrived on scene. Countdown was prompt and the fun began!


I always find the first kilometre of this race challenging – it loops around the building, and adrenaline-rush speed combined with a sharp turn and fairly steep downhill makes for some risky business. Plus I started out too fast, a tendency of mine in the shorter distance races. Once we reached Lost Lagoon, it’s a flat course around the Seawall, typical of many Vancouver races, and I got myself into a pretty decent rhythm.

BUT! Because the race starts at 10am, tourist and runners and cyclist and dog walkers are out in full force. The Seawall is not closed for this event, so the racers are not the only ones there. And because much of the Seawall is basically a path between a rock cliff and the ocean, there’s really nowhere else to go. Fine, no problem, we can share the space.

Processed with Moldiv

What made me laugh for a few kilometres, though, was buddy running just ahead of me. He tended to veer left, to the ‘sea edge’ of the Seawall, right into oncoming traffic. Rather than simply dodging the pedestrians, however, he kind of groan/wailed at each of them, doing a weird jazz hands sort of thing to express his annoyance. I wish I could write the sound he made…something like, “Eeearrgh…!” but more guttural – you’ll just have to imagine it, or ask me the next time we meet. Personally, while I could understand his frustration, I thought it was a bit of a waste of his energy. I hope he ultimately enjoyed the race.

Processed with Moldiv Processed with Moldiv

I already knew (from last year’s race) that the final kilometre would be a killer. We disembarked the Seawall, and started up the small but killer slope. I really tried to eke out some more speed, but it wasn’t happening. At the final stretch, with the finish line clock in sight visible as a red blur because I’m getting old and can’t see as clearly without my glasses, I did my best imitation of a ‘sprint’. The guy who crossed the line just ahead of me was waving his arms in victory, so I had to pull back slightly to avoid a black eye. Despite the risks to my person, I still made a time I am proud of and a 30-second PB!

As with a lot of these local races, it was awesome to connect with folks from my Forerunners training clinic, and Twitter friends both new and old (including the ones I hadn’t met in person before). We even ran into an old college friend and her family, a wonderful blast from the past!

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And the foot didn’t bother me again!

Final Results:

Chip time: 37:36
Average pace: 4:42 min/km
Place overall: 167/1067
Age category place: 16/66


A consistently well-run event. This is my fourth year running this race, and I feel like it just keeps getting better. I like the fact that it’s ‘big enough’ to be really professional, but not too big to lose its local charm. Keep it up!

Packet Pickup/Expo
No expo, just pickup at the local Running Room store. And although they discourage it, you can also get bibs the morning of. Suggestion for improvement: option to pick up on Friday night. I understand it comes down to volunteer availability and likely other organization factors, so this is not a major issue.

The men’s shirt is baby blue, not my best colour, but I like the simplicity of the design. Very good quality technical shirt from ‘The Authentic T-Shirt Company’. I wish they had an ‘extra-small’ option, however, because the shirts fit a bit large and loose.

As noted above, tight and twisty downhill for the first kilometre, and then flat along the Seawall until 7km. Then it’s a not-too-steep but consistent uphill to the finish line.

Aid Stations
I didn’t use either of them, but there were aid stations with energetic volunteers at 3.5km and 7km.

Fantastic finisher medal – substantial and well-designed, with a very bright and attractive lanyard. Great addition to my bib board!

Food included: water/Gatorade, juice boxes, cookies, bananas, bagels, yogurt, granola. They were also selling breakfast wraps (both turkey & veggie) for $5, with proceeds going to the Take a Hike Foundation. And if you were so inclined, there was beer available.

We stayed around for the awards – they recognized the top 5 female and male winners, while age group winners could claim their medals themselves. It’s nice when they recognize all the winners, but I also appreciate it when they keep it short and sweet. There were also some great door prizes (be there to claim yours!).

Race Management
As mentioned, Canada Running Series does a phenomenal job (they also manage the Scotiabank Half and the Eastside 10K) – and Modo as the title sponsor for the second year did a great job with branding and involvement.


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!


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…

Processed with Moldiv

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!


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!

Well, on top of my tendonitis – which is healing quite nicely – I’m dealing with something of a strain. In my groin. Yep. Fine when I’m walking, really uncomfortable as soon as I pick up the pace. As a result, I continue on with my non-run healing plan.

I am therefore pleased to introduce my friend and running mate, Beverli Barnes, as this week’s guest blogger! I had really looked forward to running the Shaughnessy 8K Road Race again this year (I’ve run it twice before), but it was not in the cards. I had then hoped to cheer on my peeps, but my physio appointment conflicted. Two strikes against. Thankfully, Bev came to the rescue! So without further ado…



“Runners will be pleased to know they only have to run up the ‘HILL’ once at the beginning.  The upper part of the course is undulating with the last 1K being downhill and flat.”

“Hill”, “once”, “undulating” & “flat-lining” (as in my HR), are the immediate words that come to mind.

Warming up for the 8K race on the nearby track with my friend Darryl, I could see the “HILL”, as described in the race course. Not scary but definitely something one would want to prepare for and be warmed up before the race start. It was 300M into the start! I had done a fair bit of training on hills leading up to the BMO Marathon 3 weeks ago, so legs and lungs were feeling strong and intact. After all. How hard could it be?

It’s only 8K I told myself.

Yes I was prepared to go harder than marathon pace but I’d be done in 40 minutes as opposed to 4 hours!


“Once”, I got up the “HILL”; I cruised into the 1K mark at a 4:54 pace. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh” Looking forward to the downhill now which is my strength.

KM2 4:41, KM3 4:36  Swwwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeet! This downhill is a breeze and a gentle Spring rain cools my hot flashes. As a woman at the end of her 50-54 AG, there is no escape for hormonal interruptis. Nature is not on my side today but I have a strong will, so push on. I’m struggling with breath and leg speed coordination. For some reason everything feels out of whack and I feel like I’m out of my league and have forgotten how to run fast.

The 50+ year old man next to me is goading me and whenever I pick it up, so does he. It’s throwing me off my game. Why do some men feel the need to constantly compete? After several blocks of his tail-gating & gasping I decide to let him pass. This is MY race. I need to focus and allow my legs and feet catch up to my breathing.

Undulating is like beauty. It’s in the eye of the beholder. Going into the 4K stretch is a long, false flat hill that has no end. This is not undulating or rolling. It’s UPUP,UP,UP and then more UP.  I want to quit! There is the lone water station at the top of the hill, so I settle into a jog to catch my breath while gulping 2 cups of water.

“Why am I doing this?” At 30K into the marathon I wanted to quit but this is only 4K. What’s wrong with me?

My mind is playing “mind games” and I know this drill all too well. Pace is slowing to 4:59, 5:02. “STOP THE MADNESS! STOP THE DISTRACTION!!!!” My body is strong and I know I can do this. Time for the hammer to come down and stop making excuses.

Pace picks up as I approach the final 1KM. 4:48 and falling to a 3:34 but my HR feels like it’s going to flat-line.  NO! “Barnes – you suck it up”. The final downhill was not as easy as I had hoped and expected. Brakes are on uncontrollably and I’m petrified that I will crash to the pavement since my quads are burning and feet are scrambling beneath me.

As I turn the final corner into the last 300M, unlike the BMO Marathon, I have gas left in the tank and sprint to the finish!!!!!

Hallelujah!  39:15. Surpassed my goal and placed 4/14. Up against super fast women like Susan Gordon – I can’t complain. In fact…I’m ready for the next challenge. Bring it on!

Beverli Barnes
Avid Runner & Group Leader at Forerunners

Congrats on your awesome time, Bev! I wish I could have been there! Thank you for sharing your experience with my readers, too!! Looking forward to next year’s race!

Run Fatboy RunIt was during Christmas break – December 2008 – that it happened. We were lazing at home watching this awesome British comedy, and by the end of the movie I had made a decision. I was going to sign up for a race! Not a marathon (see trailer here, if you haven’t seen the movie) – I wasn’t that crazy – but a…let’s see, gotta do some research now (there may have been wine involved)…an 8k!


For those of you who’ve known me a long time – especially those who knew me through my school years and into university – I would bet that the word ‘athlete’ is not one you would have used to describe me. In fact, I was arguably the antithesis of an athlete. My forays into the world of sports included (and this may, in fact, be an exhaustive list):

  • 3-legged races and other related activities at school ‘fun days’
  • Trying out for the boys’ volleyball team in Grade 8; I showed up for every practice, and the coach sympathetically made me team ‘manager’ (I never actually played a game)
  • Hating every minute of Grade 9 Phys. Ed. class
  • Attending a handful of Major League Baseball games, and becoming oddly obsessed with the Boston Red Sox for a season (please don’t judge)
  • One disastrous skiing lesson
  • Riding my bike daily during my years of living in Japan – it was a mama-chari, one of those road bikes with a basket on the front, and a bell
  • Working out fairly regularly for about 6 months in 2001
  • Beginner yoga class in Wellington, New Zealand

So, since when am I a runner?

The First Steps

Having irrationally signed up for a race, I knew something had to be done. But what? I’ll be honest – my ‘training’ for my first race was hardly impressive. I think I did a couple of runs in preparation, but I could be wrong. I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy any new shoes. Winter of 2008-2009 was a snowy one in Vancouver, and I certainly had little appetite for running in ‘cold’ weather.

I remember going to a store on Robson and looking at sportswear – and I bought my first pair of Nike running pants. I had no idea what I should be wearing, and I didn’t want to bare my legs (and I suppose I was cold), so pants it was.

Once spring arrived, I have vague recollections of a few jaunts along the seawall in Yaletown. I’m pretty sure I was panting after just a few minutes. But I’m one of those people who will get things done if I know there’s a deadline, or if I’ve already committed to a specific event. So knowing that I had a race looming, I did something – not enough, and definitely not more – but something.

The Unexpected Sun Run

Early in April, one of my friends (who I’d done a couple of little training runs with) informed me that her coworker had had an injury, and dropped out of their company’s Sun Run team. I was offered her registration.

The Sun Run is a big event in Vancouver, with upwards of 40,000-50,000 people doing a 10km run through the downtown core. With an opportunity like this being offered – free of charge – how could I say no?

My first race ever, then, was not the 8k I had expected – but a much bigger, longer, and more exciting event. My only clear memories of the race are waiting for ages for gun time, marveling at how many people were there, and needing to stop at the very first porta-potty on the race route (i.e. immediately after the starting line). My first 10k was finished in 1 hour 17 minutes and 23 seconds (including the ‘pit stop’).

The 8k and after

I don’t remember exactly when it was – sometime in the weeks leading up to the race. A friend had heard that I was running, and said, “Oh, you’re doing the BMO! The half marathon?” (she was doing the half). “No,” said I, “the 8k.” Her response: “Oh, the 8k. That’s cute.”

As a new runner – and still very uncertain of my abilities (both as a runner and as an athlete in general) – this really affected me. Probably more than it should have. It shook my confidence, made me feel small. I know that wasn’t the intention of the off-hand remark, and I don’t think this individual ever knew how I felt. BMO 8k 2009

Years later, with a much longer roster of races under my belt, I’ve come to realize how important it is to recognize and celebrate everyone’s efforts – from the newbies doing their very first race to the elite ultra-marathoners. Everyone has their own challenges, struggles and doubts – and we, as a running community, should support one another.

Finally, the race came. It was a rainy morning. I’d never run in the rain before. About half a kilometre in, I ran through a puddle and felt that cold, damp seeping from the bottom of my foot, the squishing beginning…

I won’t go into all the gory details – this isn’t a race report, after all! Suffice to say, I finished the race. 56:24 was no record time – but, at that moment, it was. In fact, it was a PB – because I’d never run an 8k before! A success, an accomplishment – and, hell, maybe it was cute! Plus, my first ever finisher’s medal!


BMO 8KToday, I looked back through my old Facebook and blog posts, and stumbled across this (self-quote) from January 2009:

Another goal of mine is to complete an 8K run as part of the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Not much of a distance, but a significant aim for someone like me, who really isn’t much of an athlete at all!

2009 will be a year of accomplishment, of setting and reaching goals, of exceeding my own expectations, and of getting on the path to success in as many aspects of my life as possible!

Lofty words from 5-years-ago me.

2009 turned out to have a lot of accomplishments. I ran 4 races (2x10km; 1x8km; 1x5km), raised money for cancer awareness and ran in my underwear, and got engaged.

One month from now, I’m running my first marathon. But that’s another story.