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!
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.
Saturday morning I ran my first race of the year. It is a race that I have run since 2011. It has become a bit of a tradition for my family due to the fact that the start and finish line is just down the street from my house. As a result, my family always comes to meet me at the finish and we go out for hot chocolate and coffee afterward.
The course involves an out and back along the Rideau Canal. It is a mainly flat course with a couple of small inclines. It is a course I am very familiar with since it is close to my house and I run along parts of it regularly.
Due to the time of year it occurs the weather is often a factor for this race. I am pretty sure I ran it in shorts one year but it often seems to happen around the time of what turns out to be our last bit of winter here as was the case this year with the temperature around -8C (17.6F) at the start.
My goal this year was just to give my excuse to run at a hard pace. I wasn’t looking for a 10 km PB but I was hoping to finish in around 40-41 minutes which would be similar to my times from the past few years.
Despite the fact that the GPS on my Garmin did not kick in before the start of the race and I do not have my splits to look at I think I ran a pretty consistent race. As with some of my previous 10 km results I think I lost time between 5-7 km but otherwise ran at a consistent pace with a strong finish. I do not run many 10 km races and still have not mastered my pacing for them.
I finished in 41:03, my second fastest time in this race since I started running it in 2011. The time was good enough for 23rd overall and 5th in my age category.
Tomorrow morning I will be running my second race of the year. It will also be my second 10 km race of the year. Since 2011 the St. Patrick’s Day 10 km race has been a part of my training for the Ottawa Marathon in May.
I know for some of you it may seem odd that I register for a race that I do not really have a goal for. For me it actually makes sense and fits in with my training approach. It is a way to judge where I am at with my training for the marathon at this point.
The best part about this race is that the start and finish line is just a few blocks away from my house. As a result, it does not really take much of a commitment and my family can come out to watch the end of the race.
In terms of a goal, I guess what I would really like to accomplish is a time close to what I did in my first 10 km race this year back in January (41:06) and my result in this race last year (40:56). As long as I am not too far off those results I will be pleased with my run.
The one wildcard with this race is the weather. I’ve run this race in the snow and cold an there also was at least one year where I ran in short sleeves. Judging by the forecast tomorrow is going to be a decent day for running despite the fact than it will be colder than it has been the rest of the week (a high of 0C, 32F in the forecast).
This year I got my race season off to an earlier start than usual. I ran a 10 km race about 20 minutes from home. The Richmond Road Races have been going on for 34 years now but it was my first time registering for one of the races (5 and 10 km).
Since I have not done much in the way of speed work and tempo runs since the Philadelphia Marathon back in November I did not have a time goal for this one. My plan was just to run based on how I felt.
It was cold at the start, -11 C (12F) and closer to -20 with the windchill. Fortunately the races start and finish at a high school and the gym was open to runners. The race course was a loop through town and along country roads.
Like I said at the start I went into this race without a time goal. I was surprised at how good I felt running a hard pace. By time time I reached the halfway point I figured I would be able to finish in around 40:00-41:00.
I managed to maintain my pace over the second half of the race. When the clock at the finish line came into view I still had a chance to slip in under 41:00. I didn’t quite have enough left in the tank for that and crossed the finish line in 41:06.
My result was about 30 seconds off my current pb for the 10 km. I’m quite pleased with the result. It was a good way to start off the year. This week I will be starting my training plan for May’s Ottawa Marathon so this was a great way to get started.