Posts Tagged ‘ontario’

Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon

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



Bradley on the Run has definitely been running more than writing so far this month! While I’ve got some blogs / race reports in the works, I thought I’d provide an update on what’s been happening in November!


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:


Ottawa Half Marathon

It feels like I’ve been gone for ages! Just got back from my trip to Ontario, including great times with family and friends. The original purpose of this trip, of course, was to continue with my theme – my #yearofthehalf. On Sunday, I ran my 4th half for 2015 – and my 13th half ever – the Ottawa Half Marathon. It was not, however, lucky number 13 for me.



As you know from last week’s Weekend Update, I spent several days in my hometown, Barrie. Last Thursday, we took the commuter train to Toronto, and spent a few sunny hours there.
CN TowerCathedral
Next, we boarded Via Rail and travelled 4 hours to Ottawa (faster than driving!). We were met at the station by friends who we hadn’t seen in over 2 years. It was so amazing to catch up with them again.

[Tweet “Not every race can be a PB. The Ottawa Half Marathon wasn’t. But it was a wonderful experience!”]

As the race weekend approached, and during the race itself, I encountered a number of challenges. Those 5 challenges are the theme of this race report…


Challenge #1 – Beer
There’s lots of great beer in Ottawa. Quebec has some great dIn the days leading up to the race, there was a good amount of socializing and more than one pint consumed along the way.


On Friday, I got up and did a short run around l’Île de Hull. We were staying in Gatineau, Québec, across the river from Ottawa. I couldn’t not enjoy the scenery while I was there!
Running Hull
After breakfast, we walked across the bridge and headed to package pickup. It rained.


But things were orderly, I got my bib and shirt in record time, and enjoyed the expo – including my first taste (and first purchase!) of Nuun – my next favourite energy drink!


Challenge #2 – Sightseeing
My better half had never been to Ottawa, and it had been 20 years since my last visit to the nation’s capital.
We toured Parliament and the Supreme Court. We wandered around Sparks St and the Byward Market. We joined an excellent walking tour (visit Ottawa Free Tours), which lasted about 2 hours. We were the consummate tourists – and all on foot. In the 2 days before the race, I probably walked 15-20 kilometres. No rest for the wicked.
Ottawa River East Block Parliament HillParliament Hill


Race Day


Challenge #3 – It’s Not Home
I slept poorly the night before – par for the course before a race. I had some oatmeal for breakfast, and a cup of instant coffee. But nothing else. I wasn’t well fuelled.


I walked to the start line and arrived well before the 9am half marathon start. The marathon was already under way, having a 7am gun time. I hung about and enjoyed the buzz of the crowd, and then decided to pop to the toilet just once more. I was in line for 30 minutes. (Why don’t more large races have men’s urinal stations? Seriously, it should be a given if a race has more than a few thousand runners.) Finally, as I made my way to the corral, I actually saw about half a dozen guys peeing behind bushes at the side of the road…

I had positioned myself in the Blue corral (1:44 and below), setting my sights high. I was still pumped from my PB at the BMO Half Marathon just 3 weeks earlier! Great energy, lots of excitement – and suddenly we were off!
StartStart selfie


The Course

We headed south along Elgin Street, lined with hundreds of cheering spectators. The route then followed the Rideau Canal, which eventually veers west, and into some local neighbourhoods, like Little Italy.
Little Italy
At one point, we turned a corner where a cathedral was ringing its bells in celebration – such an amazing moment! The crowds were out in force, along with bands and musical groups.


Challenge #4 – The Hill
In retrospect, it likely wasn’t a significant hill. But at 10k my energy was starting to flag, and it seemed to go on forever. And somewhere there, I lost my pace bunny. Up until then, the 1:45 pace bunny had been close, or at least in sight. And then he was gone.


We passed the Canadian War Museum, and crossed a bridge into Québec – because this race runs through two provinces! How cool is that?
Chaudiere Falls Hull
At 16k, we were within a block of my hotel…and for a fleeting moment I wanted to be there.


Challenge #5 – The Heat
The temperature had been steadily rising. I had been sipping water quite regularly at the aid stations, and taken advantage of the odd spray from a hose. I had skipped the first round of sponges, but was thankful for the next sponge opportunity. I doused my head, and stuck the sponge in my shirt at the back of my neck. SO. HOT.


The Alexandra Bridge took us back into Ottawa, and as we ran through downtown the streets were packed. For a few minutes, I didn’t care about the heat or my time or how tired I was – I had a rush of exhilaration and I’m sure I was grinning like a lunatic. One of my favourite moments in a race, ever. Bliss.
 1/2 sign

Shaw Centre

Then the crowds thinned. The final 3k ran along the canal, crossed it, and looped back. Across the water you could see the people ahead. They looked so far away…


And in a flurry of corners and cheers and crowds and sounds…it was over.
I had a picture with a Mountie, met up with friends…another half marathon in the books!


The Results


Not every race can be a PB. The Ottawa Half Marathon wasn’t. But it was a wonderful experience to run, and I don’t regret a moment of it. I even got the coveted medal with a spinny thing in the middle!
Final Results:
Chip time: 1:50:38
Average pace: 5:14 min/km
Place overall: 2552/14356
Age category place: 336/1104




The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend (#TORW) is a huge event. There are 5 races: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon and kids 2K. Over 48,000 people participated in these events. The city is alive with the festivities, and I was so impressed by how many people were out to cheer on the runners.


Packet Pickup/Expo
Probably the smoothest packet pickup ever, given the size of the race. You check you bib number on a printed list, pick up your bib, go upstairs and pick up your shirt, then activate your bib at the expo entrance. Done! Painless! Mind you, I went mid-morning on Friday, so I can’t speak for what chaos may have ensued on Saturday.
The expo was sizeable, with all the usual suspects – a bit more US presence than what I’ve seen in Vancouver, which means more variety. Great opportunity to sample Nuun products, as mentioned.


I really like the t-shirt design – it just looks good. The medal, as noted, has the spinny centre – maple leaf and parliament buildings. Great design. I like the lanyard as well – same design as the shirt.


Mostly flat, with that ‘killer’ hill around 10km. Great scenery for most of the route. And I loved being able to run over the bridge into Quebec, and back again into Ontario – the dual-province factor really appeals to me.


Aid Stations
Lots of them, and I took advantage of most of them. Consistently Gatorade first, followed by water. 3 sponge stations. One orange & banana station. Plus a PowerGel station. Excellent work by the volunteers.


Snaps with Mounties – very Canada. Bagels (really dry), yogurt, Muscle MLK, granola bars. Pretty standard fare.


Race Management
Honestly, my only complaint was about the toilet situation. Men’s urinal station = problem solved. Waiting for 30 minutes to pee just doesn’t make sense. Other than that – excellent! Volunteers were fabulous. Race info, social media, pamphlet – all executed professionally. Kudos all around!



Thursday Triumph

Although this race wasn’t a ‘triumph’ in the strictest sense, I still feel really good for having accomplished it. As such, I’m pleased to link up with Smitha, Carlee & Linzie for another Thursday Triumph! Please drop by to visit them, too!

What’s your Thursday Triumph? Run any good races lately? Or something else you’re proud of? Please share!

Weekend Update Barrie
It’s Victoria Day here in Canada – celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria, who was reigning when Canada became a country in 1867. It’s the ‘official’ start of summer in most of the country. And summer has definitely arrived in Ontario!

Yep, I’m back in Ontario for another visit – taking a bit more time than our 4 days back in April when I did two very short TravelRuns.

But before I get to the weekend – retracing steps and bringing back memories in Barrie – let’s recap the past week!


The weather was cool and a teeny bit rainy when Lana and I went out for our lunchtime run – the usual route including Stanley Park, Second Beach Pool and Lost Lagoon. Lana snapped a pic for me:
Second Beach

Jill and I conquered the gym – another kettlebell workout, baby! Here’s proof of the kettlebell in action  (sort of)! Plus, I’m wearing my Sun Run t-shirt!

Interval training! Lana wasn’t available, so I went out on my own. After a 2km warmup, I set my Garmin to do 10x 45 seconds, with 30 second rest breaks. The goose family was watching me running back and forth:

And when I finished I felt like this:
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Despite that face, I somehow managed the 2km return trip.

We did it again – Jill and I motivated each other back to the gym, and included a few deadlifts in the routine. Last workout before my holiday!

I had intended to go to Pilates, per my usual routine. However, being a long weekend, I had too much to do before leaving the office. Then we had to pack, and take the cat to our friends’ place.

On top of that, the scratchy feeling I had in my throat yesterday had blossomed into a nagging cough. And I honestly don’t find Pilates all that effective if I’m coughing through it.

Had a terrible sleep. Got up early and flew from Vancouver to Toronto, where my dad met us at the airport. The only exercise today was walking back and forth to the buffet that my dad treated us to. Plus, I was still not feeling 100%.

One week to Ottawa! And although I’m tapering a bit (does it count as tapering when I did a race 2 weeks ago?), I wanted to get a run in. Also, I thought it would be good to acclimatize to this weather – and take my brand new BibRave t-shirt on its inaugural run!
Barrie weatherFullSizeRender_4

I headed out and straight north (maybe slightly northwest) out of town. Beyond where the sidewalk ends (literally).

It’s a lonely stretch of road, out past the small local airport. Fields on either side. The last time I ran this route is firmly fixed in my mind.


It was just over 2 years ago. I was running to escape from my own thoughts and the reality of losing my mom. She had passed away 3 days before. I remember running this empty road, nothing but the fields and the sky and the sun and the occasional car, and bawling my eyes out. Just running and crying. Trying to come to terms with the reality of our lives at that point in time. It was an important moment – I hesitate to call it a pivotal one – but I think it was then that I realized then how essential running was to me. That it brought me some peace in the midst of anguish.

The road ends, and there is a trail just beyond. This time, I ran that trail. Not far, but just far enough

A lot of water under the bridge. I’m happy to be running here again. A bit nostalgic, to be sure, but not filled with sadness like I was that day 2 years ago.

On a lighter note, at the trail head this is this insane tree (yep – those are shoes nailed to the tree):

As I headed back into town, I was feeling happy and refreshed – at least emotionally (I was really, really hot).
Barrie sign

It’s springtime here in Barrie. The flowers growing wild in the park make me smile.
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Thanks to Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading, I’ve been inspired to do this weekend update – and join her weekly linkup! Join in, or drop by and see what other bloggers have been up to!

Running 'N' Reading


What route did you run this weekend? Do any of your running routes bring back memories? Have you ever experienced a moment when you realized what running meant to you?

Processed with MoldivMuch as I enjoy travelling, it often means I fall behind on other stuff, like updating my blog. With the preparation for going away, plus a couple of evening commitments, along with that full-time job…I’m way behind!

So I’ll get right to it!

Thursday night, we took the red-eye from Vancouver to Toronto. The flight only took about 4 hours, but because of the screaming toddler on board, it felt like a lot longer. Arrived in Ontario with actual red eyes, having not had a wink of sleep, and drove home to Barrie (about an hour due north of Toronto). Greeted my Dad warmly, and promptly took a 3-hour nap.


On Saturday, we drove 2+ hours to Hamilton, at the western end of Lake Ontario, where we attended my cousin’s wedding. It was a wonderful time, getting together with most of the extended family (including a couple of cousins I’d never met before!), dancing, and enjoying the open bar.

Yes, you read that right. Open bar.

Despite the open bar, I had mentally committed to running in Hamilton. I lived in the area during college – but as many of you know, I was not a runner then. As such, I was determined to make this a TravelRun. After breakfast and a few cups of coffee (but unfortunately not enough water), I headed out.

I had packed for Ontario with the assumption that it would be cold. It was not. I was dressed for cooler temperatures in a thermal long-sleeved top with a t-shirt over it, running tights & shorts, and my Icebreaker toque. I headed out from the hotel past Dundurn Castle and along Harvey Park, which overlooks Burlington Bay in Lake Ontario.

Burlington Bay

Burlington Skyway in the distance

About a kilometre in, I was already sweating.


I pulled up my sleeves.

My destination was Waterfront Trail, requiring me to clamber down a fairly imposing and twisty metal staircase.


I then headed back the way I had come, only now I was right on the lakeshore. The sun was beaming down, the geese were honking, and the fact that I hadn’t rehydrated properly to compensate for a couple of quite a few gin & tonics had set in.

I passed a dead racoon.

It then dawned on me that I was at the base of a small cliff, and that there were railway tracks in between me and said cliff. In order to get back to my destination, I had to do a full loop – which included a hill and a bridge. I briefly took off my toque to wipe my brow, but with the sun growing in intensity on my pale scalp I feared sunburn, and slapped that hat back on.

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Now don’t get me wrong – the Waterfront Trail is beautiful.

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But I was very happy when the hotel came back in sight. I freshened up, and we headed off for some waterfall sightseeing at the Spencer Gorge.

Webster's Falls Tew's Falls

Followed by a lovely lunch with the family and the newlyweds. Then we headed back to Barrie.


In order to ensure that the Ontario TravelRun was done right, I ventured out on Monday morning from my Dad’s place. I’ve run this route quite a few times. Most of it is pretty straightforward residential, all around the neighbourhood where I grew up: Letitia Street, Leacock Drive, Cundles Road, Livingstone Street, Lillian Crescent.

But then I get to run through Sunnidale Park. When I was a child, it seemed vast. Back in the 50s or 60s, it was a golf course. At one point, they wanted to pave it over, and my Mom fought tooth and nail to keep it as a park – and she succeeded. There’s a huge hill where I used to toboggan in the winter. But now I’m seeing it with fresh eyes (although it’s still a bit brown and bare).

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One of the coolest things – the path through the park is part of the Trans Canada Trail – a network of trails stretching 17,000km across Canada.

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As it turns out – the Waterfront Trail in Hamilton that I ran? It’s also part of the Trans Canada Trail!


Back to Vancouver on Monday night. This was a whirlwind trip, but totally worth it to spend the time with my family, who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like.

On Tuesday, I ran the Seawall in Coal Harbour with three of my coworkers. The Seawall is part of the Trans Canada Trail, too. This fact makes me very happy.

Have you ever run the Trans Canada Trail? Any good TravelRuns in your future?

Have you ever over (or under) dressed for a run?

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:


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.


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


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.


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!


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!


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


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!