Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Big Elf Run as part of being a WestVanRun Ambassador. Don’t forget to register for the West Van Run (5k / 10k) on March 4 & 5, 2017. Use the code ‘bradley‘ for 15% off!

*Once again, special mention to Debra Kato (aka Toffeefruit Wintertree) for many of the photos in this post – despite the wacky weather, she kept taking pictures! And also to Misa Ko (Scarletfrost Greentea) for some of the scenery shots!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not really into costumes. Debra – who faithfully dresses in some of the wildest and most appropriately-themed race outfits – has consistently tried (and failed) to get me into something other than my usual gear. However, I made an exception for the Big Elf Run!

Big Elf Run


I have blogged about rain before. Running in the rain. I live in Vancouver, and that’s the reality of living in this fair city!


Rain was also a bit of a theme last year. In 2014, I ran my first marathon…followed up later in the year by my second! When I ran the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May, it rained. It was a cold, insistent rain – but I made it through to the finish. My second marathon – my #42for42 – was the Honolulu Marathon. It rained there, too, but it was a warm, tropical rain (although still just as wet!).

True to form, I went out for a run on Monday afternoon, in the rain. Here in BC, it was Family Day so I had a whole day to enjoy! I went for a run along the Seawall to Stanley Park and back, with some fantastic ocean views. Yes, it was wet – and it was beautiful!

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Fog is not exactly a challenge – but it makes for good photos! Over the past couple of weeks, Vancouver (and the Pacific Northwest as a whole) has been hit by a ‘Pineapple Express’ – warm tropical air that brings a lot of rain, and fog!

Last week, I ran the 4km to Forerunners to join my running group for our Saturday run. It was about 7:30am, and these are the photos I snapped along the way!


Foot of Burrard Bridge


Burrard Bridge mid-span


Kits Beach


If I had been blogging in January 2014, I would have proudly shared my experience of running in my Ontario hometown in minus 18 degree weather. The only way I could convince myself to get out was to join the local Running Room on their Sunday morning jaunt. Since their group is a bit smaller, they hand out maps of the route. At the top it said: LSD (long slow distance). Later that day I showed the map to one of my friends. He said, “You’d have to be on LSD to run in this cold!”

Last spring, I had a business trip to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and went for a bit of a run. Currently, as I write this, it’s minus 29 degrees in Yellowknife, but with the windchill it feels like minus 41. (For my American readers, that’s minus 20 Fahrenheit but feels like minus 42 Fahrenheit – yep, it’s when Fahrenheit goes below Celsius! It’s that cold!) To be fair, I visited when it was just slightly below zero!

And, of course, if you’ve visited my blog lately, you’ll have read about my TravelRun in Kamloops, BC. If you haven’t seen the lovely photos of that trip, here’s a teaser:


Kamloops – fresh snow

A few people have told me that I’m #hardcore for running in the rain. I hardly think so. The people who train in true weather extremes – whether hot or cold – they are the true #hardcore runners! However, I have to admit that somewhere along the way the weather has become less of a factor in my getting out for a run.

I just have to decide what to wear!

What are the most extreme weather conditions you’ve run in? Is there any weather that truly keeps you indoors? Share your stories!


When I was a kid, my parents used to take me to ‘travelogues’ at the local high school auditorium. These generally involved a couple (or, occasionally, a single guy) presenting home videos of their travels, and providing live commentary. Basically, you were paying to see what people normally used to show in their living rooms to unsuspecting dinner guests. Yet, my parents loved these shows, and I either got caught up in the story of whatever country we were visiting…or I sat on the steps and read a book.

Most of the time, my runs are predictable – they start and finish at home, at Forerunners, or at the office. The sights and routes are familiar. But once in awhile, when I’m out of town, I kind of what to make a ‘travelogue’ of my own – a TravelRun! It’s a great way to explore a new city, and I kind of enjoy having maps on my Garmin from faraway places.  It’s nice to mix things up once in a while!

This past weekend, four of us took a drive to Kamloops, a small-ish city about 4 hours from Vancouver. We were there to see a play written by a good friend of ours, and then we stayed the night. I had brought along my running gear with the intention of doing a run in a town I’d never visited before. I set my alarm and woke up before everyone else, stepped outside, and discovered this:

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There was no snow last night! It wasn’t even that cold! But it was 7am on a Sunday, the snow was still gently falling, and I felt like a kid at Christmastime.

My run took me through the quiet downtown streets (with a friendly “Mornin'” from a guy on his front porch having a smoke), to this curious bridge over the railway tracks:

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Evidently, the bridge was built to encourage exercise, since it’s easy enough to cross at ground level. But I crossed the bridge, reached the riverside park, and ran the path alongside the Thompson River.

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Once I reached the Overlander Bridge, I took a few more photos…

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Then I turned around and headed back to the hotel. As I retraced my route, I reached a point where my footprints were still the only ones…


Just short of 5km, but I felt that I had gained some appreciation for this town. As you can tell from all the photos, it wasn’t much of a run in terms of exercise…but I had a good time.

We drove home after breakfast.

The very next day, I was off to Edmonton on business. It was a full day of conducting interviews, and after dinner and drinks with a coworker, bedtime sans exercise.

I woke up to this:


That’s -17 degrees Fahrenheit!

And immediately decided that a run was not in the cards.

That night, as chance would have it, work took me back to Kamloops. But after a delayed flight…well, suffice it to say that my running shoes spent the entire trip in my suitcase.

Back in the office on Thursday, despite torrential rain in the morning, I steeled myself to finally get another run in. And at lunchtime – no rain! So I took advantage of the reprieve, did my seawall run, and felt happy to be home again.

A few of my favourite TravelRuns:

Do you pack your running shoes when you travel? What about business trips – do you keep running? What’s your favourite TravelRun?

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!

You know it won’t be a typical run when you wake up to snow falling in downtown Vancouver.

But let me back up a bit. Because this is my first official race report, and because I’m especially impressed with this young, up-and-coming 10k/5k (this was its 3rd year), I want to start from the beginning.

A lot of the running bloggers I follow, and who inspired me to start this blog, are somehow connected to the West Van Run. At some point, I connected with @WestVanRun and loved the energy behind the tweets – so I signed up!

Quick pre-race highlights:

  • Great website; engaging social media presence
  • Good communication around package pickup (including a couple of email reminders)
  • Friendly volunteers
  • Awesome West Van Run water bottle (I got the teal), and nice zippered running pack

By the end of yesterday’s 27k training run (yes, I’m working towards my first marathon, but that’s a future post), I knew that today’s 10k was still on the books, but had no expectations of making it a personal best (PB) – which, for a 10k, is 50 minutes on the nose. Some of my running buddies from Forerunners told me I was crazy for doing a race right after a long run…but I wasn’t going to miss out on this one!

Now, about this morning’s snow. When it’s snowing in the city, you know it’s snowing in the burbs. While huddled under a tent near the start line at Dundarave Park, you could feel that winter had reasserted itself yet again!

The Warm-Up

We most definitely needed to warm up! Because this is a small local run, I got myself close to the start line, and had no problem hearing what was going on. With a glitchy microphone, I’m not sure everyone at the back could hear. But when we got a wave going from front to back, there was lots of enthusiasm. We had to wait a few extra minutes for last-minute check-ins, so I learned that the lady next to me was doing her first West Van Run – the 5k. And since this was her typical running route, she was looking forward to the familiarity. I only wish I had paid attention to her bib number, and I would have looked up her results. I trust she had a great race!

The Route

And we were off! I wasn’t at all familiar with the West Van seawall, but the first couple of kilometres took us right along the water to 18th Ave, and then along Argyle Ave to Ambleside Park. By the 1k mark, the snow was coming down and, well, it hurt! Not especially cold, but something akin to hail, making it tough to see. Then there was the slush – oh, the slush. And the puddles. While I will not hold the weather accountable for my results, I certainly needed to shorten my stride while navigating those few kilometres.

The snow finally slackened, but then I started the mid-run reflections: Did I go out too fast, along with all those 5k runners? Um, probably. Was I starting to feel a bit worn out by the second switchback at the halfway mark? Yes. But was I delighted that I was still under 25 minutes at that time? Absolutely!

The second half of the race involved two more switchbacks. I went in feeling a bit uncertain due to my lack of familiarity with the route. But everything was well marked, the volunteers pointed the way, and I kept encountering all those people who were ahead of me on their return (**mentally cheers & shakes fist at the same time**) – so I didn’t get lost.

An interesting element of this run is that at the last 1k, you can see the finish line – and you know exactly what a kilometre looks like. And it’s scary. And far. And snowy.

But at the final turn, I could see the clock and knew it was going to happen. I was going to make a PB! And I did – 30 seconds faster than my 2013 Eastside 10k best…49 mins 29 secs!

West Van Run

Obligatory finish line pose (peace symbol in the mittens!)

Final Thoughts

Will I run 27k the day before my next race? Probably not. And yet I still managed to best my best!

If I could have had my way, here are the things I would have wished for at the West Van Run:

  • A couple of km markers (preferably at 1km and 5km) – I had my Nike+ app telling me where I was at, but it isn’t always accurate
  • A more detailed route map on the website, maybe with turn-by-turn instructions – especially because I didn’t really know where I was going!
  • And nothing else! Because this was a great race!

I think today’s snow just made the experience even better. Plus, I got to meet a couple of folks from Twitter, and I had an even better race than I expected. The West Van Run is definitely one of the most well-organized of the smaller races I’ve attended. I think I’m going to add this run to my regular rotation and look forward to seeing it grow over the next few years!