Tag Archives: ottawa race 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.

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…

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend


Race Weekend is here once again. Since I took up running it has become one of my favourite weekends of the year. It is certainly my favourite running event of the year.

In Ottawa we are fortunate to have a great event that is both the largest race weekend in Canada and largest marathon in terms of participation numbers. If you have never run one of the races I recommend doing so. It is a great experience.

Back in 2006 when I did the 5 km race it was the event that started to get me hooked on running. For the past 8 years running the marathon here has become an annual tradition.

Once again this year I am fortunate enough to be able to run the marathon. In addition, perhaps starting a new family tradition during Race Weekend, my daughters will be running the 2 km race with their grandparents.

Tomorrow afternoon I will make make my way to the finish line to watch the end of the 2 km race. Sunday morning I will be up at the crack of dawn to run the marathon.

Unfortunately this year our first heat wave of the year has coincided with Race Weekend. Hopefully we will get a break from the forecasted highs of over 30C (86F). If not my plan is to dial back on my pace and get myself to the finish line in the best shape possible.


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 beer for runners.

A post about the importance of setting our own goals and pace.

A study about whether exercise makes you more hungry.

Finally, for anyone interested in running an Ottawa Race Weekend event be sure to click here for your chance to win an entry.


Win a Race Entry

Hey everyone, as you know I am running the Ottawa Marathon and raising money for the neurology unit at the Ottawa Hospital this year.  For more detail on why I run for a reason you can read my full post here. 

This year my goal is to beat  last year’s fundraising total of $900. To help reach that goal I am offering to register one lucky donor for the Race Weekend event of their choice. Here is your chance to support a great cause and win free entry. Click here and  donate between now and next Monday for your chance to win!


Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

I am a little late on this post since I have actually completed my first two weeks of training for the Ottawa Marathon. As usual I will start posting a weekly update of my training on Sundays. Since I missed the first two weeks, mainly because I did my long runs in the evenings after the kids were in bed, I will use this post as my first update on my this training cycle.

This year will be the 8th year in a row that I have run the Ottawa Marathon. I ran my first one in 2009 thinking I would try the marathon distance once. Now it has become an automatic entry on my calendar every May.

Once again this year I will also be raising funds for the Ottawa Hospital as part of my participation in Ottawa Race Weekend. The funds I raise will be directed to the neurology unit at the hospital in memory of my father who passed away after suffering a stroke four years ago. To find out more, please visit my fundraising page here. 

In terms of my training I am back to running long runs of over 20 km – 22, 24 and 21 km the past three weeks. As a result my weekly mileage is back up in the 60-70 km range. I’ve also started going to the indoor track again for weekly interval sessions to add some speed work to my training early on.

My training will start to pick up toward the end of the month and into March when I add more mileage to my runs. Again this year I also have a couple of shorter races planned in the lead-up to Race Weekend, a 10 km in March and a half-marathon in April,

My Plans for 2016

In one of my previous posts I reviewed 2015. Now seems like a good time to write about my plans for 2016. While I don’t have the upcoming year fully planned out I do have a good idea of what I want to accomplish and how I would like to do it.

Once again my plans for 2016, or for the first half of 2016 at least, revolve around the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in May. For the 8th consecutive year I will run the Scotiabank Marathon here in Ottawa. In addition, I also plan to continue to combine fundraising for the Ottawa Hospital with my participation in the marathon.

In terms of my goal for Race Weekend, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, my goal in training will be to put myself in a position to beat my times from 2015. This time I have more motivation. Coming off a BQ in November I’m now motivated to add to my buffer of 2:31 under my qualifying time.

In order to do so I will be following a similar plan to previous years. To get ready for Race Weekend my plan will to run 2-3 10 km races between now and May and one half-marathon in April. I’ll use the 10 km races as tempo runs in a race setting.

The half-marathon will be an opportunity to test my training. With it being about 3-4 weeks before the marathon it gives me a good opportunity to push the pace and recover in time before my goal race. The past two years I have managed pb’s of 1:27 two years ago and then 1:26 last year.

I’m not sure how much farther I can go in the half while focused on training for a marathon but if I can get within a couple of minutes of my times from the past two years I will be pleased with my preparation for the marathon.

I don’t really know what to expect yet in the second half of the year. Once again I will plan to be a pace bunny in the Army Run half-marathon in September. Beyond that I will probably wait and make plans after Race Weekend.

What are your plans for 2016?

Team Awesome 2016

Last year you may recall that I was a member of Team Awesome, the first social media team assembled for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. It is official now that I will be a member of team awesome once again in 2016. 

Team Awesome was assembled last year in order to help encourage other runners and build excitement for race weekend. I think it made for a great addition to race weekend on both counts and am pleased that the organizers have decided to not only keep it going but make the team even bigger this year.

Personally, it was an opportunity to make new friends in the running community here in the National Capital Region and from other parts of the country. It was also a great opportunity to share with other runners why I think we have the best race weekend in Canada here in Ottawa. 

Once again this year you can follow my updates about race weekend here and on Twitter. I will be posting weekly updates on my training here and I will be sharing the latest updates on Twitter. Last year I made the list of top influencers for race weekend so I will have to be busy if I want to repeat that again this year!

While some members of the team have already been selected this year’s Team Awesome is still growing. If you are interested in joining us head over here and complete the application form. If you are on Twitter make sure to follow #RunOttawa2016 for the latest updates on race weekend.

Gold Label for the Ottawa Marathon

Yesterday the organizers of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend announced that the marathon had been awarded the IAAF gold label. The marathon is is the second race during Race Weekend to earn that label following the 10 km last year. 

The label makes the Ottawa Marathon the fifth marathon in North America to earn the label. In addition, Ottawa now joins Lisbon Portugal as the only cities with two gold label events as part of one weekend. The label will certainly be another boost to an event that has continued to grow in popularity and is arguably the best race weekend in Canada. 

In case you are wondering, the gold label means a race has met certain criteria – caliber of elite competitors, execution of the race and media coverage as well as anti-doping tests. You can read more about it here.

In other positive news, it was reported that Race Weekend brings in $34.4 million in economic activity of our province and $23.1 million in economic activity for the city.

I am certainly looking forward to participating in this great event once again in May. I’ll have more to say on it in another post but for the secon year in a row I will be a social media ambassador for Race Weekend. 

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. 

This week’s edition is dedicated to Ottaw Race Weekend recaps from my Team Awesome teammates.

Here are this week’s stories…

David Freake
James Koole
Jason Faber
Lisa Georges
Kristen Bobbitt
Pour les francophones voici quelques billets en français

Roch Courcy
Luc Levesque