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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:

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.

Final Thoughts on Ottawa Race Weekend

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.

 

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend Half-Marathon

Yesterday I participated in a Race Weekend event for the 12th time. Since I ran The Boston Marathon last month I decided to run the half -marathon yesterday. That was a bit of a change for me because I ran the marathon the previous 8 years.

My morning got off to an earlier than expected start when my youngest daughter decided 5:20 was a good time to wake up. Instead of getting an extra hour of sleep I got up and shared my breakfast consisting of a banana and a bowl of oatmeal with a happy 11 month old.

The fact that I live close to the start line meant that I did not have to rush to get ready. Before I left the house at 8:30 for the 9:00 start my daughters lent me their sunscreen…

The start line is about 2 km from my house so I was in my corral 10 minutes later. Getting there early meant I was able to line up toward the front of my corral and close to the 1:30 pace bunnies I planned to follow for the first half.

Although it did not get as hot as it did during last year’s Race Weekend it was still a warm day with a temperature of 23C (73F) at the start. The first half of the race went as planned and I hit the 10 km mark in 42:24, on pace for a 1:29 finish.

As I started the second half I pulled ahead of the 1:30 bunnies and maintained that lead for 7 or 8 km before the first of the two 1:30 pace bunnies pulled just ahead of me. Since I could still see the bunny ahead of me I knew I was on track for a 1:29-1:30 finish.

The final 3 km of the half-marathon course brings runners back through downtown and along a Rideau Canal that is lined with large crowds of spectators on both sides. This is also the point where the marathon and half-marathon courses merge.

At this point I was starting to feel the effects of the heat. As I crossed the Pretoria Bridge and headed back down the other side of the canal for the final 1-1.5 km I had the benefit of knowing exactly where my family was waiting to cheer me on. That gave me the boost I needed to keep pushing hard.

I passed my family with about 200m to go then crossed the finish line in 1:30:45. Coming 5 weeks after Boston and in hot conditions I am pleased with the result. I pushed as I hard as I could during the final 3 km stretch to get to the finish line and I had nothing left in me when I got to the finish.

I was even more pleased with it when I saw where I finished out of the 11,501 runners who participated in the half-marathon…

Once again Race Weekend did not disappoint for me. Now I have another great Race Weekend medal to add to my collection…

Ottawa Race Weekend

Now that I have recovered from Boston it is time to get ready for my next race. In one month from today I am scheduled to run the Ottawa Race Weekend half-marathon.

Ottawa Race Weekend is, in my opinion, the best race weekend in Canada with races spread out over 2 days and a variety of distances to appeal to as many runners as possible. It offers the only IAAF Gold Label 10 km race in Canada to go along with a Gold Label marathon.

Runners can also expect great crowd support along the courses. In particular, the final stretch down Queen Elizabeth drive draws large crowds for all of the races.

In my case it has become an event for the whole family to enjoy. My oldest daughters will be running the 2 km with their grandparents on Saturday afternoon again this year and I will be running Sunday morning.

I have participated in it 11 times and will be participating again this year. This year will mark a bit of a change of pace for me as I will be running the half-marathon instead of the marathon as I have done for the past 8 years.

I initially planned to do the marathon but since I was not sure how my long it would take for my legs to recover after Boston I decided to downgrade the the half to be on the safe side. Currently I am slowly ramping my mileage up again to get ready for the half.

In terms of my goals for race weekend while I don’t think I can expect to be in pb (1:26:27) shape for a half 6 weeks after Boston I would still like to come in under 1:30. Barring any setbacks as I ramp up my training over the next few weeks I think that is a realistic goal.

If you are running the marathon this year and are not familiar with the course have a look at this overview and strategy guide I posted a few years ago. There have been a few minor changes to the course since I posted this guide but it could be of interest to you.

Alternatively, you can also follow the Ottawa Marathon social media accounts on Thursday May 4th as Jayme from The Pacing Life runs the course to give runners a full preview. You can watch for that starting at 8:00.

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 post about being a running dad.

A post about one runner’s passion for running.

Finally, recaps from the Canadian men who ran the Olympic marathon – Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis.

Saturday Stories

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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…

Great story here about a runner with MS who also has a passion for craft beer. 

An interesting study about how much protein distance runners consume.

A good piece here on why Athletics Canada is wrong in their decision to not allow Lanni Marchant to participate in the Olympic Marathon.

Finally, an article on why runners make great employees.

Two Run Days

Now that I am in the busiest part of my training cycle it means I have to find more time to fit in more mileage to get me up to 90-100 km/week.

I am fortunate that I am often able to get out of work at lunch and add an extra run to my daily schedule.I did that twice this week to run 15.5 km on Wednesday and 19 km yesterday.

Without the option of a second run at lunch I’d have to get up at the crack of dawn or go out at night once the kids are in bed to fit in that mileage on a regular basis during the week.

It also helps that I work next to the Central Experimental Farm which happens to be one of the best spots in the city to run..

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I am not sure that this is the best way to train for a marathon but it is what works for me when I need to fit in more mileage.