Tag Archives: half-marathon

In Search of a New Goal

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!

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…

Training For the Ottawa Race Weekend Half-Marathon

My goal since running the Boston Marathon last month has been to get in consistent mileage so I could run a half-marathon this weekend. After taking nearly a full off following Boston I have managed to get back into a consistent running routine.

In the 4.5 weeks since Boston I have managed to get in my usual 5-6 runs per week. I started out with 40 km in my first full week and topped out at 68 km two weeks ago. Most weeks I was successful in including some sort of tempo workout on Tuesday and a speed workout on Thursday.

While I never expected to be in shape to run a personal best time I do have a previously mentioned time goal, under 1;30, in mind. I’ve managed to come in under 1:30 the last 4 or 5 times I have run a half on my own so it would be nice to keep that streak going.

Despite the fact that ideally I would have liked to get in a bit more mileage overall I still think my goal is realistic based on my long runs and my tempo workouts.

My plan for Sunday is to head out with the 1:30 pace bunny for the the first half. If I am feeling good at the halfway point my goal is to take off ahead on my own to ensure I come in under 1:30.

Good luck to anyone else who is running one of the races here this weekend!

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.

Army Run 2016

As mentioned in a previous post, yesterday I participated in the Army Run  as a pace bunny for the 7th time, 6th in the half-marathon. Once again this year my task was to run a 1:35 half-marathon, a task I completed on two previous occasions.

Since this race is in September the weather is often decent for running. However, it can still get hot at this time of year and yesterday was an example of that, with a high of 26C on the day (79F). It was cool when I first stepped out of the house around 8:00 but at the start line just over an hour later at the start line it was already noticeably hotter.

My plan for the morning was to run a steady 4:30/km pace the whole way. Despite the fact the start can get congested at the start with a slight uphill followed by a left turn after crossing the start line I managed to find some holes and did not have much difficulty getting up to my intended pace. Just before I passed the 1km mark I passed The Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjin, who was also running the half.

Just before the half Kevin and Marc, a couple other members of Team Nuun, pulled up behind me. They noticed I was wearing a Nuun wristband, introduced themselves and we had a good discussion for a couple of km before they took off ahead of me.

Unfortunately construction prevented the race from going through the grounds of Rideau Hall, the residence of Canada’s Governor General, this year. However, the Governor General and his wife were still out along the course as we passed by their residence and I made sure to get a high five from Governor General as I went by. 

With about 5-6 km to go I realized I was about 1-2 minutes behind where I wanted to be. I picked up the pace a bit but made sure to to drop too much under my goal pace of 4:30/km because there were still many runners around me. With about 1 km to go as we ran down the final stretch of the race I encouraged the runners around me to take off ahead of me to go for a 1:35 finish. A few did just that and met their goal if they were aiming for 1:35.


As for myself, I crossed the finish line in 1:36:39. My initial reaction was to be disappointed with my time. Last year I finished in 1:35:20 and I was hoping to be even closer to my target this year. With other runners counting on my pace I take pacing as seriously as I do my own running goals. 

However, as I was walking through the finish chute one of the runners who took off ahead of me along the last stretch made a point of thanking me for encouraging them to take off ahead. Knowing that I was close enough to my target for people to go ahead and meet their goal time made me feel better about my run. That is why I enjoy pacing this race every year. 

 

Pacing the Army Run

On Sunday I will be running the Army Run half-marathon. Instead of racing it I will be running as a pace bunny. It has become an annual gig for, I’ve been a pace bunny 6 out of the last 7 years. I missed out in 2012 when I sprained my ankle playing soccer one week before the race. 

Even if I was not pacing I would make a point of running in the race. It is the second biggest race of the year here in Ottawa and the biggest option here in the fall. The fact that the race supports the Canadian Army also means something to me since my father was an a medic in the army for 41 years.

Since I generally find myself racing with a goal in mind at Ottawa Race Weekend in May I have taken a different approach to the Army Run over the last 7 years. Being a pace bunny allows me to have some fun with this race although I still face the challenge of meeting a set time goal. 

Once again this year I will be one of the 1:35 pacers. Last year the reason for the time assignment was because I was in the process of training for a November marathon with 3:10 as my goal. This year I am not running a fall marathon but I wanted to stay at the 1:35 pace because it gave me a goal to keep training for after Race Weekend this year. 

Finally, the last reason I enjoy pacing this event is that my girls always get a kick out of seeing me wearing a hat with pink ears..

Still Running


I have not been posting on here much lately. It has not been because I did not want to or because I was not running much. In fact I have been fortunate to be able to pick up my mileage and get back into a good routine. I’ve just been finding it harder to find time to post here. My goal now is to get back to regular posts on here.

In terms of running, as mentioned, I have settled back into a regular routine of running home from work 4-5 times per week. On the weekends I have returned to doing a longer run on Sundays, some with my 3 year old in the stroller. Over the last month or so I have been averaging 50-70 km per week. 

The best part to my current running routine is that I am back to running a couple of higher intensity workouts per week. I have done this with tempo runs and speed work on the way home from work and hill repeats during my lunch break at work. 

In terms of what comes next my next goal race is the Army Run in September. Once again this year I will be serving as a pace bunny for this race.  Like last year I will be a 1:35 pace bunny in the half-marathon. Getting ready for this race has been an incentive for me to ramp up my training again. 

That is it for my plans for the rest of the year for now. However, this year I do get an added bonus. The day after Army Run I get to submit my registration for the 2017 Boston Marathon. By no means is my acceptance guaranteed since my time in Philadelphia in November was only 2:31 under my qualifying time but it is exciting for me nonetheless since this is the first time I am able to apply for entry.

Week 11 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Today I ran my third race of the year. As a result, this week’s training was primarily focused on being ready for the race. The majority of this post will also focus on the race since that was the highlight of my week. Overall I had a 70 km week.

Other than this morning’s race my week consisted of easy paced runs. This week I upped the mileage of those runs with them ranging from 10-12 km.

This morning’s race was a race that I have done for 6 years in a row now. It is a half-marathon along the Rideau Canal. The best part for me is that it starts and finishes close to home so I can get a decent warm up by taking an easy run over there.

With it being a little over 1 month before Ottawa Race Weekend in the past I have gone in to this race with a time goal in mind. This year I tried not to obsess about it as much as I may have in the past. My only goal was to run a sub 1:30 time. Last year I ran 1:26 but was not convinced that beating that time was a realistic goal this year.

Unfortunately with temperature of -10C (14F) at the start this morning was the colder than the previous years I ran this race. By way of comparison last year I ran this race in shorts and short sleeves. Fortunately the fact that I live close to the start line meant that I did not have to leave too early.

The fact that this tends to be a small race means that you tend to see the same faces this year. I met a few friends before the start again this year. Once again this year I planned to head out with a friend I met through this blog. We did this for at least the last 2 years with good results. What was different this year is that instead of us being on our own once the crowd thins out after the start we had a group of 4 or 5 runners that stayed together for most of the race.

We crossed the half in about 42 minutes so based on that I was confident we would hit our target of a sub 1:30 finish. The pace started to feel tougher after about 16 km but I managed to hang on for the last 5 km. I finished in 1:28 which is my third fastest time in this race.

I’m pleased with the result. I met the goal I set for myself without taking much of a taper this week. With just over 1 month to go until the marathon this result was a good confidence boost. Now my sole focus will be on getting ready for the marathon and taking another shot at a 3:10 finish.

Week 10 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

I’m over the halfway point of my training for the Ottawa Marathon. For week 10 I managed 80 km for the week, down from the 90 I did last week. With the exception of a 6.5 km run Saturday night all my runs were at least 11 km.

After running in spring-like conditions to end week 9 week 10 saw the return of colder conditions. Although we did not get more snowI had to trade my shorts for pants and had to get my gloves and hat out again.

I kept the pace relatively easy last week since I am gearing up for another race this Sunday. That said I did make sure to do an interval session on Thursday. This time my workout consisted of a 3 km warmup followed by 6 x 400m/2:00 easy.

Yesterday since we were busy with other stuff I waited and did my long run in the evening after the kids went to bed. A long run in the evening is never my favourite option since I find it tougher to stay motivated when you wait. That said, when I do end up doing an evening long run it always feels like an accomplishment when I get home.

As mentioned week 11 will see me do another race. I will be running the Run for Reach half-marathon. Like the St Patrick’s day race it has been on my schedule since 2011. I’ve managed sub 1:30 finishes three of the times I have run it. I am not quite sure what to expect this year. My main goal is just to run a solid race at a much faster pace than I have been doing my long runs to date. That would give me a good boost a confidence just over a month before the marathon.

How was your week?