The Army Run is one of the two local events in Ottawa I look forward to every year, Ottawa Race Weekend in the spring being the other. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Army Run. I’ve participated every year except for two – one because I was out of town for a wedding and the other because I sprained my ankle one week before race day.
I look forward to the event every year because it is a major running event in Ottawa that draws large crowds. It also carries added meaning for me since my father served in the army for 41 years. It is fun to participate in an event that supports the Canadian Army and getting to check out the assortment of military vehicles at the race expo brings back memories of growing up on military bases.
As has been the case for all but the first year I ran it this year I was once again a pace bunny. I look forward to the challenge of trying to finish in an assigned time as much as I do running my own races for a personal best. Initially I was scheduled to be the 1:35 pace bunny for the half-marathon but I ended up dropping back to 1:55 closer to the date when another runner backed out.
As you can see from the picture above I was not the only member of my family running this year. My oldest daughter decided back in May when she saw other kids running the Ottawa Race Weekend 5 km that she was also going to run a 5 km. She reminded me about it a couple of times over the summer and after registering her for the race we started training together.
One of the best parts of this race is that the start line is close to my house and I can run over to the start line for a quick warm up before the race. Since the 5 km starts before the half-marathon and was still ongoing as I made my way to the start I headed over to the finishing stretch in the hopes of seeing my daughter as she headed to the finish line. Unfortunately it turns out that I missed her by a few minutes.
While I was disappointed to have missed my daughter’s finish she was able to make it over to see the start of my race. One of the benefits of being a pace bunny is that you are easy to spot when wearing bunny ears and holding a sign. She saw me as soon as I crossed the start line and I made my way over to see her briefly before I continued with my race, seeing her beaming with pride from having just completed a 5 km was a great way to start my own race.
Despite the fact it ended up being one of the hottest days of the year I felt good as I tried to maintain a steady pace for the group that was following me, 5:26-5:27/km was my target for the morning. Just after the halfway point of the race we entered the grounds of Rideau Hall, one of the best parts of the race since they added it to the course a few years ago. Once again this year I made sure to get a high five from the Governor General as I passed his residence.
Following that it was time to make our way back downtown for the final stretch to the finish line along the Rideau Canal. When pacing a half the goal is to try and come within 1 minute of your assigned time. Based on my splits on my Garmin and my overall time I sure I was right on pace until I reached the 18 km mark and I realized that I had run nearly 1 extra km due to trying to get around groups of slower runners and not running the tangents.
I finished with a chip time of 1:57:18. I guess that is still relatively close to my goal time. However, in previous years I managed to consistently finish closer to my goal time. To say I was disappointed with my result was an understatement. The fact that a few runners made a point of thanking me for pacing afterward made me a feel a little better about my run but i should have been closer to my goal time in this case. I guess it will serve as motivation the next time I serve as a pace bunny.