Plans for 2018

Now that I posted a recap of last year and we are a couple of weeks into the new year I thought it was time to write a post about my plans for this year.

In previous years I would have most of my year planned out by now. This year that is not the case. My only plans are to run the usual big local spring and fall events here, Ottawa Race Weekend and the Army Run.

Last year I broke my annual streak of running the Ottawa Marathon because it was only 6 weeks after the Boston Marathon. This year I am planning to get back to the marathon and start a new streak here at home while once again raising money for the Ottawa Hospital.

Following that in September I hope to be able continue my streak of being a pace bunny during the Army Run half-marathon. Like Race Weekend the Army Run is a big event that is fun to participate in and committing to it helps keep me motivated to train over the summer months.

Other than that I hope to be able to add in some shorter races, 5 and 10 km, that I can register for closer to race day if I am able to fit them into my schedule. I also hope to be able to fit in more mileage with my daughters to build on the success they had with road races last year.

Finally, once again this year I am fortunate to be acting as a social media ambassador for three products I use regularly:

2017 in Review

I am late in getting around to posting my recap from last year. Here is my look back at the year that was for me as far as running goes.

Overall I ran 2681.1 km (1666 miles) in 2017. That is less than the 3000 + km I was able to manage in previous years but I still managed to fit in a good year of running.

Of course the highlight for this year was finally getting the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon in April. The short version of the story is that it was well worth the wait  and is one event that certainly lives up to the hype. If you want the long version you can read my race recap here.

Just over a month later I managed to run the Ottawa Race Weekend half-marathon. I was pleased with being able to come close to running a sub 1:30 half just 6 weeks after running a marathon. Of course seeing my family at the finish line is always the biggest highlight of Race Weekend.

In September I resumed my annual pace bunny role in the Army Run half-marathon. This year the Army Race was more special for my family because my oldest daughter ran her first 5km before I ran the half. You can read more about that here

I closed out the year with a couple of shorter races that I had not thought of racing at the start of the year. Given the way my training slowed down in the second half of the year I was pleased with my results on both occasions.

The first was a 5 km effort with work colleagues. I managed to finish the race in under 20 minutes the previous two occasions I ran it. My goal was another sub 20 minute result and managed that and came closer to my times from the previous two occasions in the process. 

My final race of the year was a 10 km I found out about after travelling 5 hours to visit family on the west coast. Having not planned to run a race and feeling the effects of fatigue and jet lag I did not really have a goal for the race. As a result, I was quite pleased with a 6th place finish.

When I look back on it, despite the fact I ran less mileage and fewer races in 2017 it still ended up being a good year of running for me. Hopefully 2018 will be just as good!

Still Here

Although it might seem like it I have not given up on updating my blog. I am just going through a period where it has been difficult to maintain a regular running routine due to a busy schedule and sick kids at home.

According to Strava I have averaged 30 km per week over the last 4 weeks. I am still running home from work most nights of the week. However, my weekly mileage totals are about half the distance I would average in recent years.

The biggest change for me is that I have not managed a long run on Sunday in a while now. As a result, my motivation for blogging has suffered.

I am hoping that writing a new post today will help get me back into my regular routine. That my prove to be difficult. As you can see from the picture above we are experiencing a bit of a cold snap here right now.

Despite the cold weather I am looking to end the year on a high note both in terms of running in a regular basis and getting back to blogging.

Race Report: Miracle Beach 10 KM

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.

Race Report: Wellness Challenge 5 km

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.

Race Report: Army Run 2017

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. 

My New Training Partner

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 .

Saturday Stories


It’s time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week.

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.