Here are this week’s stories…
A post about mental health.
A great post about what the marathon is made of.
Last Sunday I ran a race I was not expecting to run. While out visitng family on the west coast I ran the Miracle Beach 10 km race that is organized by the River Runners Association in Campbell River BC. Their website is worth checking out if you are travelling to the area and looking for race to run.
I traveled to BC early the previous day. My trip was 3658 km (2272 miles) across three time zones. As usual, I brought running gear thinking I would be able to get in a few early morning runs while others slept.
Not long after I arrived my aunt let me know about the race. It was taking place the following morning just down the road from where I was staying staying. I managed to find the details online quickly.
Since the start time was early enough to not interfere with anything we had planned for Sunday I decided to head down early and register for the race.
The weather Sunday morning was typical for the west coast at this time of year – overcast, damp and cool. It rained overnight but had stopped before the race started. To me it seemed like ideal weather to run a race in.
The race starts off in the parking lot of Miracle Beach Provincial Park. The course involves an out and back through a residential area before coming back toward the start area and heading in the other direction for a loop of another residential area.
Due to the small size of the field and nature of the course I knew I was in 5th or 6th place the entire time. The first two runners were on their own and were going to finish in the lead unless they pulled out of the race.
At one point I managed to close the gap with the runner ahead of me and felt like I had a chance to catch him. However, despite not losing any ground to him from that point on, I was not able to make up the difference before crossing the finish line.
As I made my way around the final turn back in to the parking lot I could see the clock at the finish line and knew I would finish with a time between 40-41 minutes. That gave me the needed incentive to pick up the pace one last time.
My time of 41:08 was good enough for 6th place out of 98 runners. I am pleased with that. Running a race the day after travelling that far was the last thing I expected. Running this race was a great alternative to a run on my own.
Today I managed to get out of work at lunch time to run a 5 km race. The race is part of the Government of Canada’s charitable campaign this year the focus was on mental health and addictions. It was my third time participating in this race. The previous two occasions were where I ran my fastest 5 km times.
Unfortunately, due to a dental appointment that ran longer than expected, I did not get down to the start line until the last minute. I took a taxi down to the start area because I was running late and arrived with 2 minutes to drop my bag off at the baggage check and line up at the start.
Fortunately I was able to line up toward the front of the crowd before the race started which meant that there was not much 9f a delay before I crossed the start line and got going. The course for this race is an out and back starting from a complex of government offices and heading out along the Ottawa River Parkway. Other than a couple of rolling hills that you go up and down in both directions it is a pretty flat course.
The GPS on my Garmin did not kick in until after I had completed 3 km so I am not sure of my splits but I felt like I ran at a pretty steady pace. There were a couple of runners out at the front of the pack on their own followed by the group of runners I was part of.
As we headed around the last corner and the final stretch to the finish line I sensed behind me getting closer. That was enough to dig down and push ahead for a final sprint to the finish line to keep ahead of him. I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 19:09 which was good enough for 11th overall.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this race given that my mileage has been lower than I would have liked over the past couple of months. Finshing with a time that was close to my previous efforts in this race (19:01 and 18:28) was a nice surprise. It has me wanting to sign up for another 5 km to see if I can go faster.
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.
For the past week I have had a new training partner joining me for some of my Army Run training runs. In addition to getting myself ready to run the half-marathon this year I have to help my oldest daughter (7) train for the 5km.
Back in May when she saw other kids running the 5km and 10km races my daughter decided she was going to run a race longer than the 2km race she did that weekend. She reminded me of her desire to run a 5km a few times over the summer so I registered her for the Army Run 5 km.
We officially started our training for the race with a few training runs last week before work for me and school for her. Weather permitting we are planning to go for our longest run so far later today.
The early weekday morning runs have been beneficial for both of us so far. For my daughter getting outside and being active is better than screen time while the rest of the family sleeps.
In my case being woken up by my daughter to go for a run in the morning gets my day off to an earlier start which is important now that we have two kids back in school and I am trying to get both kids out the door in time to catch the school bus and so I can get myself to work on time.
Race day is now 13 days away. That gives us at least a couple more weeks of training runs together. Hopefully after that we will able to continue this new routine .
Here are this week’s stories…
A study on the pacing habits of the best distance runners.
A post about the relationship between running and charity.
A humourous look at one writer’s efforts to start running.
Recently I mentioned that I was still in the process of searching for a goal race for the fall. As of yesterday my plans for the fall are now set. I am know scheduled for a half-marathon in September and a marathon in October.
What will be different this year is that I am not planning to run either for a an attempt at a pb. I will be pacing both races. Pacing a half-marathon isn’t new to me, this will be my 5th consecutive year pacing one (it would be my 8th had I not sprained my ankle one week before my race in 2012).
If you have followed my blog at all it probably won’t be any surprise that my half-marathon of choice is the Army Run. I like doing this race because it is the biggest race here in the fall and it well organized. My father also served in the army for 41 years so participating in it has extra meaning for me.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Army Run. As mentioned above this will be my 5th consecutive year pacing the half-marathon. Overall I have only missed the race twice (the first one because I was away for a wedding that weekend and in 2012 because my sprained ankle).
Once again my goal time for the half-marathon will be 1:35. I enjoy this pace because it generally gives me a good training run for my marathon schedule.
Pacing a marathon will be a new experience for me. I was initially looking for a marathon to run at my own pace but the opportunity a new marathon that has already sold out sold me on pacing. In October I will be pacing the Marathon du P’tit train du nord.
If you have not heard of this race it is a point to point course on a path built over an old rail line close to Montreal. The course offers a gradual 220m drop (721 feet) that organizers are billing as the ”fastest course in North America”.
My goal time will be 3:35. With the course being described as it is I am sure many runners will be aiming for a BQ on race day. The pressure will be on me to stick close to my goal time!
I will likely add a 10 km race here to run at my own pace at some point but for now I have two goals for the fall.
What are your race plans for the fall?
My plan for today was to get in a 10-12 km run. However, my plan changed very early this morningand it worked for the better. What I ended up with was a long run and after three days of not running it was exactly what I needed.
At some point between 5:00-6:00 this morning my youngest daughter (1) decided that it was time to get up. Eventually it became apparent that there was not anything we could do to get her back to sleep.
My wife came up with the idea that I should take for a run. Initially I thought it was a silly idea but then realized that I was not going to get back to sleep soon either and that if I did not go this morning it would be tougher to go later in the day because I would be exhausted from the early wake up call.
I quickly got ready for a run and loaded my daughter into the Chariot and headed out. Since I had the day off from work today I had the benefit of not having to worry about being on a deadline. My goal quickly became an 18-20 km run and I ended up with an 18.8 km run.
While my day did not get off to an ideal start a change in plans it worked out for the better in this case. I managed more mileage than expected and my daughter managed to get back to sleep over the course of our run.
I have managed to continue a regular running routine since running a half-marathon here at the end of May. Unfortunately I have not managed to post on here regularly nor have I registered for or run any races since then. I have been busy otherwise and have not had much time to focus on either.
Eventually I will get back into a routine of posting on here more often and I will commit to a fall race (that decision will likely come this week). For now neither has been a big priority. After running a marathon in April and a half in May it has been nice running without without a specific goal or target in mind.
On the other hand my two oldest daughters (7 and 4) have been busy running races of their own. In May they both ran the Ottawa Race Weekend 2 km with their grandparents..
More recently, On Canada Day the oldest ran a 1 km race while her sister ran a 100m tot trot (it was only 100m despite her insistence that she ran 100 miles). The following weekend both ran a 1 km race..
Now clearly in addition to plotting out a race schedule for myself I have to find more races for my daughters. My oldest already has a 5 km as her next goal. I think that is totally a realistic goal in the near future and can’t wait to see the smile on her face when she finishes her first 5 km.