Today was my third consecutive Ottawa Marathon. First of all I must say that I enjoyed the new course. It really did bring out more crowd support, despite the risk of rain. Hats off the organizers for putting together an event Ottawa can really be proud of especially when you hear of the negative attitudes toward running events in Canada’s largest city.
The only negative thing I have to say about the crowds, and it really is minor because I did not notice many smokers, but if you are going to come out to watch a marathon leave the cigarettes at home or walk away from the course if you are really dying to have a smoke. I ran by 3-4 people smoking along the course and the last one was one of the first aid people!
In terms of my race, my plan was to take a shot at a BQ. For 2012 that would be a 3:15 for me and given the new registration rules I would have had to be even faster than that. As per my usual marathon routine now I was up at 3:30 for breakfast consisting of a bowl of oatmeal, a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and orange juice with protein powder. After that I went back to bed and tried to get a couple more hours of sleep.
Despite the concerns earlier in the week the weather was great for running although those who finished later than me will surely have different thoughts because it started raining harder just after I finished.
I got to the corrals a bit early and did a warmup. Following that I lined up with the 3:10 pace bunny. My plan went well for most of the race. We hit 10 km in 44:01 and the half in 1:34:44 and I felt fine.
I hit 30 km in 2:17:18 but as we got back downtown my right calf started cramping. I stopped to stretch it as we passed the Chateau Laurier before continuing on. Shortly thereafter, I passed my family for the first time which gave me an extra boost of energy. It was especially fun to see my 19 month old cheering for the runners passing by.
At this point I was still on pace for close to a 3:15 finish. However every time I tried to get back to my usual pace my right leg would send me a reminder that it was not going to happen today.
The 3:20 pace bunny passed me as we reached 37 km and after that point I was only focused on making sure I crossed the finish line comfortably and not in need of medical assistance.That idea was reinforced over the last 4-5 km as I passed a handful of runners receiving medical attention for leg cramps. Maybe it was more humid than I realized today.
Here is a shot of me as I passed my family again with about 1 km remaining.
In the end I crossed the line in 3:23:31, about 40 seconds slower than my current PB set at the Prince Edward County Marathon in October. It is,however, a new PB here at home in Ottawa.
An added bonus to the Ottawa Marathon is that they seem to give out some of the best medals around. Here is this year’s medal.
The funny thing about today’s result is that this last week leading up to the marathon I thought I would be really disappointed if I missed a BQ. I also imagined myself in a panic to find an early September marathon to take another shot at qualifying for 2012. Now that it happened I am not disappointed. I’m pleased with today’s result. I finished as quickly as I could today without injuring myself or requiring medical attention.
As for my fall marathon plans, I do want another shot at a BQ but I really don’t want to rush to get back at it in order to run an early September marathon. I would like to do the Army Run here in September, hopefully as a pace bunny again, and I would rather take more of a break from marathon training by running an October or November marathon even though it would be too late for a 2012 BQ by then.
I had been eyeing the Philadelphia Marathon as an option and that may still turn out to be what I decide.