Posts by Patrick:

    Race Report: Army Run 2017

    September 19th, 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. 

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    My New Training Partner

    September 4th, 2017

    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 .

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    Saturday Stories

    August 12th, 2017


    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. 

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    Saturday Stories

    August 5th, 2017


    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…

    An interesting study about sweat and dehydration. 

    Tips for running in the summer

    Tips for running longevity. 

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    Fall Race Plans

    July 27th, 2017

    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?

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    Unexpected Long Run

    July 25th, 2017

    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.

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    Becoming a Running Family

    July 17th, 2017

    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. 

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    Saturday Stories

    July 8th, 2017


    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 performance boosting cheers.

    Here are four ingredients for success .

    A great story about how running helped one runner carry on.

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    In Search of a New Goal

    June 6th, 2017

    For the first time in a while I currently find myself without a running goal. When I started this blog my goal was to qualify run Boston and I was able to accomplish that this year. Now I am searching for a new goal to focus on and to keep me running with a purpose.

    For the time being I only have one race on my calendar for the rest of the year, usual pacing gig at the Army Run half-marathon. Although pacing a specific time poses a challenge I also want to run a fall race at my own pace.

    As a result, I am currently contemplating marathon and half-marathon options within a reasonable distance (2-3 hours) from home. Something in October or early November would be ideal in terms of timing since the Army Run is in mid-September.

    I don’t really have a preference in terms of the distance. I think the main issue will come down to what I can find for races at either distance during the timeframe I am looking at.

    What are your goals for the fall? If you have any recommendations for me feel free to send them along!

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    Final Thoughts on Ottawa Race Weekend

    June 1st, 2017

    As mentioned in my half-marathon race report this year 12th year of participation in Race Weekend. It has become one of my favourite events of the year and in recent years my family’s involvement in the event has grown as my two oldest daughters have started to participate.

    Based on my own experience running marathons in Toronto, Philadelphia and Montreal I don’t hesitate to say that Ottawa Race Weekend is a great event and the best race weekend in Canada. The organization, volunteers and crowd support make it a great event every year.

    Race Weekend started off on Saturday afternoon for my family with my daughters running the 2 km with their grandparents. That went so well that my oldest (7) is now intent on doing a 5km or even 10km race. She also came home and placed her race bib with my collection of bibs, covering my Boston bib in the process…

    For the 10 km race later that evening I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and watch from the finish line. My role was to make sure the 3rd place male finisher made it to the media area and the podium for the award ceremony following the race.

    It was impressive to witness a 10km finish this vantage point. It went from being very quiet before the motorcycles and trucks came through the finish area to very hectic when the top finishers started coming in quickly afterward with some of them collapsing at the line due to exhaustion and cramps.

    Once the top three men had finished I along with an assigned doping control agent  followed Nicholas Bor of Kenya around as he recovered then made his way to the media area and eventually the stage for the award ceremony.

    The doping control agents were present because the Race Weekend 10km and marathon are IAAF Gold Label events.  For those who are not aware, Race Weekend in Ottawa is the only event in North America to host two IAAF Gold Label events. Lisbon Portugal is the only other city in the world to hold the same distinction.

    Once the awards were handed out I headed back to join my family nearby as they waited for my wife’s sister to finish the 10km. Once she finished I headed home to get some rest after a long day.

    My participation in the half-marathon Sunday morning ended our Race Weekend experience in the best possible way.  I must be one of the luckiest Race Weekend participants because I had the benefit of knowing exactly where my would be waiting for me as I approached the finish line of the half-marathon while a friend who is a professional photographer waited nearby.

     

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