Category Archives: Weather

Race Report: Ottawa Marathon 2016

Yesterday was my 8th consecutive Ottawa Marathon and 14th marathon overall. Initially my plan for it was to try and beat my time from November and in the process improve my Boston qualifying time. Once it became apparent that we were in for a hot and humid weekend I changed that plan and decided just to run based on how I felt.

After watching my daughters run the 2 km with their grandparents Saturday afternoon I went home and made my usual pasta meal for dinner. I managed to get to sleep early and was ready for my 3:30 wake up call for a breakfast consisting of orange juice, oatmeal, a banana and a bagel. Finally, I ate a handful of raisins before I headed out the door to top off my glycogen stores.

Since I live close to the start line (2km) I opted for an easy run down there to serve as a warm up. It was already 18C (64F) before the start although there was a cool breeze to help. I decided to start out at a 3:15 marathon pace (4:35/km) and adjust accordingly if needed.

Figuring it wouldn’t be long before I started to feel the heat and humidity I settled into a routine of dumping a cup of water over my head at every water station and made sure to run under every misting station set up along the course. I figured it was best to get started on making sure I took efforts to stay cool before it was too late.

In response to requests from the organizers many residents living along the course also set up sprinklers and hoses to provided more relief for runners. The crowds supporting marathoners are usually strong  along most of the course but this year the support seemed even stronger than usual. As mentioned people had sprinklers set up all along the course, there were several locations where people were handing out freezies and there were even a couple of locations in between water stations where people were handing out bottled water.

My 4:35 pace felt fine through the first half but as I passed that point I knew I was going to start losing time due to a combination of a stomach cramp and the heat. By the time I hit 25 km I was now on pace for a 3:23 finish. From that point on my goal was to maintain a steady pace to get myself back to the finish line. My right calf also felt tight at times throughout the second half. I expected to have to deal with a cramp at some point but was fortunate to avoid that.

Around 37 km the 3:25 pace bunny caught up to me so I knew if I held on at that pace I finish in around 3:25. That task became a little more difficult when we made it back downtown to the point where the marathon and half-marathon courses merge. Normally the half-marathon starts at 9:00 and by the time I reach this point only the fastest half-marathoners are coming through (last year the lead male runner passed me at this point). This year, due to the heat, the half-marathon started at 8:15 and there was a large crowd of half-marathoners merging with the marathon course.

I probably lost some time over the last 3 km as I tried to make my way through the crowd but by this point but it did not matter. My goal for the day was just to have the best run possible given the conditions and I had already accomplished that. In addition, this change was necessary in order to make the day as safe for as many runners as possible.

I had the advantage of knowing exactly where my family would be watching for me to come in. As I rounded the corner to take on the final 1 km stretch I worked my way over to the west side of the road to be in position to see them. I slowed right down to give my girls high fives and my friend Greg who has been at the finish line for at least 6 of my 8 Ottawa Marathons was there to capture the moment with this photo….

I crossed the line in 3:26:37, not quite the time I was hoping for when I started my training but I am pleased with it for reasons mentioned above. Marathons are not easy and many things have to  come together on race day to reach your goal. If my current Boston qualifying time is not sufficient when registration closes in September I’ll just have to go after that again next year.

I went home and celebrated with a beer…

And lunch from Five Guys…

In a way I am sad to see Race Weekend come to an end. It really is a great weekend to be in Ottawa and an event I think is the best race weekend in Canada. Hopefully I can continue my marathon streak here going next year…

Week 12 of Training for the Scotiabank Otawa Marathon

With 6 weeks to go this week was my biggest week of training so far. It was my first week of over 100 km with a total of 102 km done this week.

Coming off last weekend’s half-marathon most of this week’s runs were done at an easy pace. Thursday’s speed work was my only workout that did not come at an easy pace.

My speed workout involved a 3.2 km warm up, 6 x 200m/200m easy, 3.2 km @ 4:30/km, 6 x 200m/200m easy followed by a cool down. It was actually my second run of the day following an easy run at lunch, a necessity in some days in order for me to be able to run 90-100 km weeks.

The bigger news this week was that spring seems to finally be here. Last week ago I was still running in snow..

Meanwhile this week looked like this..

and this..

This week’s weather was much more appealing to run in. If it continues this way it will certainly help keep me motivated through a few more weeks of heavy mileage and tough workouts.

How was your week?


Saturday Stories




It is 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 sharing the gift of running.

Advice for new running dads.

Good winter running tips here.

I picked up Matt Fitzgerald’s book How Bad Do You Want It? after reading this post.

Saturday Stories

     It is 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…

Tips for running in the heat.

Tips for running when you are travelling.

Your inspirational story for the week.

20 reasons to run.

Week 5 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon


After a bit of a recovery week last week it was back to full training this week. In fact, since I felt good Monday I skipped my planned rest day and went for a run every day this week. This allowed me to add 16 km to last week’s total and finish the week with 76 km.

Overall I am pleased with the week I had. All of my runs with the exception of my intervals were done outside despite the fact that it was quite cold again for most of the week.

That said, it wasn’t the cold that had the biggest impact on my running this week. Fresh snow made for slushy and slippery conditions for most of my runs. I tried for my usual tempo run home from work Tuesday night but the slippery conditions forced me to slow down after 8 km and finish the last 2 km of my run at an easy pace. Here is an example of the conditions I ran in this week…


Once again my intervals Thursday night ended up being my best workout of the week. Having completed 5 x 800m last week I added an extra set this week. I managed to complete them in 3:14, 3:07, 3:04, 3:07, 3:02, 3:02. I am not sure why the first one was as slow as it was compared to the others but i am pleased the rest all came in under 3:10.

Unlike last week I did not go to the dome for my long run. Today was actually the warmest day of the week. Unfortunately due to a busy schedule today I had to leave my run for after the kids went to bed. In the end that was not so bad because I had pne of those runs that feels smooth and effortless from the start and I completed 23 km tonight at a quicker than expected pace.

I mentioned last week that I was aiming to hit 300 km for the month. After tonight’s run I have to get in another 74.5 km this week to hit that goal. It will take some work but I think it is definitely still within my range.

How did your week go?

Doing Long Runs at the Track


For the last few years i have benefitted from being able to do weekly interval sessions at an indoor track during the winter. This has allowed me to start intervals earlier in my training cycle for a spring marathon.

I enjoy doing intervals at the track because the winter conditions make it next to impossible to do intervals outside. Going around the track for intervals does not get monotonous because you are only generally doing 2-4 laps at a time.

The last two weeks now I have taken my long runs to the track as well because of the weather. I don’t mind running outside when it is cold and still prefer that to indoor running. However, this month has been particularly cold, primarily due to the wind and windchill effect. The last two Sundays I took my long runs, 20 and 21 km, to the track.

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with this option. On the one hand it is nice to have the option to go to the track for a long run when it is really miserable outside. On the other hand, 50-53 laps of the track can be pretty monotonous. This is particularly true now that the track I go to recently started enforcing their rule that runners had to run counter clockwise at all times.

Fortunately there is a field in the middle of the track that generally has 2-3 soccer games on the go that provide brief distractions as I am going around. For some reason I also find that the second half of my run always goes faster. i am not sure if this is because I am actually gradually picking up the pace or if it is just because mentally I know that I am closer to being finished.

Even though it is not my preferred environment for longer runs I will continue to make use of the track if the weather makes it a more appealing run.

Do you always do your long runs outdoor during the winter or do you also take them indoor at times?

Saturday Stories


It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.

Here are this week’s stories…

A great post about how running helped one runner overcome addiction.

A comment on a study released this week suggesting a glass of red wine per day was a viable substitute for exercise.

Here are 10 awesome things you can do on a winter run.

The story on the individual who cleared the Boston Marathon finish line after a big snowstorm this week.

End of Summer?

After the long and cold winter we had this year Inthink everyone was hoping for an equally long summer. Unfortunately that does not seem to be the case here, at least for now.

After a week of hot and nice days last week this week it has felt like fall was upon us. All my runs so far this week have been done in cool and rainy weather like this…


I have already pulled out long sleeve shorts for a couple of my evening runs this week, by far the earliest I can recall doing so. Judging by the forecast it looks like tomorrow will be more of the same.

I do enjoy running in the cooler fall weather as opposed to the extreme heat and humidity the summer can bring but I don’t quite feel ready for the fall like weather. At this point I actually wouldn’t mind one last heat wave to end the summer.

Saturday Stories


It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.

Here are this week’s stories…

Tips to beat the heat.

A post about taper madness that kind of sums up how my week went. Also some great tips for mental success.

A great video on the science of running a marathon.

I do most of my running on my own but here is a great post about group running.