Tag Archives: pace bunny

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!

2016 in Review

With a new addition to our family due in late June 2016 was always going to be a quieter year for me in terms of races. That said I think I managed to have a decent year although it ended on a disappointing note with me being unable to run the last week of the year, more on that later.

You may recall that I finally qualified for Boston at the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon. However, since I only beat my cutoff time by 2:31 I would have to wait until this September to find out if I would actually get to go. As a result, I planned my usual preparation for May’s Ottawa Marathon with three 10 km races and a half-marathon as part of my marathon preparation. 

My shorter races went as expected with all of the 10 km times being under 42 minutes (41:06, 41:31 and 41:09). A 1:28 finish gave me my third straight sub 1:30 result in April’s Run for Reach half-marathon. Those times had me satisfied with my preparation for the marathon in May.

Since I was not guaranteed a spot in Boston with my Philadelphia time my plan for Ottawa was to try and improve my qualifying time (3:15). Unfortunately, a heat wave hit Ottawa in the week leading up to Race Weekend. While the conditions for the marathon were better than the conditions for the other races that weekend it was still hot and humid. I went out at a 3:15 pace but ended up backing off the pace during the second half and finished in 3:26. The best part of the race was getting to see my two oldest daughters cheering for me right before the finish line.

My final scheduled race of the year was the Army Run half-marathon. Once again I volunteered to be the 1:35 pace bunny for the event. It was a lot of fun helping other runners as they tried to meet their goals. I crossed the finish line in just over 1:36 this year…


The day after the Army Run was my opportunity to finally apply for entry to Boston. Just over a week later, on the day before my birthday,  finally received an email I had been waiting a long time t receive…


As for not being able to run this past week the short version of the story is that I was on pace for just over 3000 km in 2016 then came down with shingles and had to make an unexpected trip to get a prescription on Christmas Day. I am finally feeling better now and may go for a short run tomorrow to end the year. 

Despite the past week I have to be pleased with 2016 as far as running goes. I was healthy enough to run another marathon,  successfully paced a half-marathon and had my entry for Boston accepted.

I hope your 2016 was also a good one. All the best in 2017!

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.

Adjusting to a Newborn

I have not been running or posting much lately with the arrival of a newborn nearly two weeks ago. There has not been as much time for running as we adjust to the new arrival at home.

Fortunately I have been able to fit in some runs over that time to keep me active. Most of those runs have come late at night after the kids were asleep and before I shut down for the night.

Today I was fortunate enough to be able to get in a run during the day. It was a hot day, 30C (86F), but it was nice to get out during the day again. I also had a partner join me for the run…

10 km done w. My 3 yr old in the Chariot in the heat today #runningdad #running #instarunners #run613 #6run3

A post shared by Patrick Girard (@pat42.2) on

Eventually I will get back into a more regular running routine once things at home have settled down a bit. I will be pacing the Army Run half-marathon in September once again this year.

For now I am enjoying something more important, spending time at home with my family.

2015 in Review

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With one day left in 2015 I decided to take a look back at my year. It was a productive year for me, producing some results I am very pleased with.  You can read longer recaps of al of my races on here so I will try and keep the summaries short.

Before I get in to my review here is a quick summary of my 2015 in numbers:

  • Mileage: 3454 km (2146 miles)
  • Busiest Week: 118 km (73 miles)
  • Busiest Month: October – 424 km (263 miles)
  • Number of pairs of shoes used: 6 (of these 2 pairs were New Balance Fresh Foam Zante which is my current favourite shoe)
  • Number of races: 8 (2 marathons, 1 trail 30 km, 2 half marathons and 3 10 km)

My goal for the year, once again, was to run a Boston qualifying time. Once again I took two shots at it. Once here in Ottawa in the spring and once in the fall in Philadelphia.

My lead up to the Ottawa Marathon followed a similar pattern to previous years where I ran a couple of 10 km races and a half marathon in the months leading up to the marathon.

Coming off a two month layoff to end 2014 due to a ruptured appendix I was not sure what to expect with my training for the Ottawa Marathon. I surprised myself in April by shaving 1.5 minutes off my pb in the half-marathon with a 1:26 finish. The result gave me a needed boost a few weeks before my first marathon of the year.

2015-04-12 | 2015 Run for ReachGoing into the Ottawa Marathon in May I once again needed a sub 3:10 finish to meet the standard for the 2016 Boston Marathon. Unfortunately I ran out of gas in the later stages of the marathon and fell just short of that target.

However, it was still a solid result and my friend Greg did manage to get one of my favourite running pictures of me reaching the finish line with my family cheering in the background…

11334120_10155621672245311_4632173115371333696_oWith the Ottawa Marathon out of the way my focus turned to Philadelphia Marathon in the fall. Highlights during the lead up to Philadelphia were my busiest month and week in terms of mileage ever and of course my annual gig as a pace bunny during the Army Run half-marathon. This year I was a 1:35 pacer…

http://www.zoomphoto.ca/event/19744/

With that our of the way I was ready to tackle the Philadelphia Marathon in November. Since my time would count toward the 2017 Boston Marathon it meant that I now needed a sub 3:15 in order to qualify.

My plan was to aim for 3:10 again in order to give myself enough of a buffer to ensure I would be accepted. In the end a stop just before the half cost me valuable time but another 3:12 finish was good enough to meet the Boston standard with a buffer of 2:31.

imageOverall I’m pleased with my 2015. Time will tell if my marathon time will be good enough to be accepted for entry into Boston but I do have a shot at improving my time here in the spring and regardless of what happens I will be applying for entry into Boston for the first time when registration opens in September.

Week 9 of Training for the Philadelphia Marathon

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I’m late posting this update because it was a pretty busy weekend for me due to a music festival I had passes to and a race on Sunday morning. That race was the focus of my training last week. After a 100 km week two weeks ago I cut my mileage back to 56 km leading up to Sunday’s race.

Since I was scheduled to run a race week 9 of training involved a series of short easy runs. Leading up to Sunday my longest runs were a couple of 9 km efforts. I also added a couple of 6 km efforts to the total. I also ended up taking two rest days which is not usual for me.

Sunday’s race was the Canada Army Run. This was the 8th for the Army Run and I have participated in 6 so far, missing once because I had a wedding to attend and once because of a sprained ankle. This is an important one for me to take part in because my father was a member of the army for 41 years. It also benefits a great cause by raising money for injured soldiers and their families.

Out of the 6 times I have run the Army Run I have only done it once on my own as an actual race. The last 5 times have been as a pace bunny. Participating in the Army Run as a pace bunny has now become an annual event for me.

This year I was one of the 1:35 pacers for the half-marathon. This worked out well for me because a 1:35 half is the marathon pace I am training for. After quite a bit of rain here Saturday night we had great weather to run in Sunday morning. Since there were 2 other 1:35 pacers we decided once would start fast and fade, I would run an even pace and the third would start slow and pick up the pace.

http://www.zoomphoto.ca/event/19744/

I knew I was right on pace through 15 km and started to focus on encouraging others to keep up with or pass me. I crossed the finish line in 1:35:21 and was quite pleased with the result. In addition to running a solid training run I was able to help others reach their goal in the process.

http://www.zoomphoto.ca/event/19744/

The Army Run was my last planned race before the Philadelphia Marathon. Now it is back to regular training. I will be aiming to get my weekly mileage back up in the 90-100 km range. October will be another big month before I start to taper in November.

How was your week?

Planning the Second Half of the Year

Now that the Ottawa Marathon is out of the way and I have fully recovered I am on to planning out the rest of the year. I have started the process of putting together a schedule that will hopefully have me ready to run a fast time at the Philadelphia Marathon in November. 

So far I have two races already scheduled. As mentioned I have Philly pencilled in as my goal race for the second half of the year. On top of that I will also be reprising my roleas a pace bunny in the Army Run half-marathon in September. That one will likely be at or near my goal marathon pace.

On top of that I am trying to see if I can fit in one race per month between now and November. Although my plans for Canada Day will change because the usual downtown race I generally do has been pushed back to August I still plan to do a 10 km race. Fortunately there is another option available in another area of the city. 

Since the usual Canada Day Race I do has been pushed back to August that gives me another option to put on my calendar. It would also give me two opportunities to run a sub 40 minute 10 km this summer. I managed that once during a training run last year but have not yet managed it in a race. 

If I stick with those plans that just leaves me with an October race to find. I have not really looked at what is available around here at that time because it is still a long way off. At least I should be able to find another 10 km or a half-marathon to fit into my schedule.

It looks like the second half of my year is starting to come together. It is looking like i will not have any difficulty filling my schedule with races to get me ready for another marathon. I am hoping to build on a good first half of the year and possibly take down a couple of PBs along the way. 

What plans do you have for the rest of the year?

Week 15 of Training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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Race day is another week closer and another week of training is nearly behind me. STWM is exactly one month away now. It is hard to believe that race day is so close now but at the same time I am starting to get excited at the thought of another marathon.

In terms of training this week, it’s been a rather light week so far after a hard 30 km last Sunday with the first and last 6 km coming at marathon pace. So far I’ve managed to fit in 3 runs for a total of 26 km.

While 2 of my runs were easy runs home from work I fit in a good tempo workout Tuesday. This week’s workout involved 2 km @ 4:20/km, 2km @ 4:00/km and 2 km @ 3:40/km. With a warm up and and cool down the run was good for 9 km.

I have 2 more runs scheduled this weekend. Tomorrow will be a short and relatively easy effort. Sunday I will be doing the Army Run half-marathon. As I have done the past few years I will be a pace bunny in the half-marathon.

This year my pace will be 1:45 which works out to 5:00/km which will give me an easy paced long run. I am not sure if running a half-marathon at this point in my training is beneficial or not but this is an event that has been growing every year that I do not want to miss out on. I also find it fun focusing on helping someone hit their goal pace for once instead of being obsessed with my own goals.

As for the rest of my training, I have one more long run scheduled for next weekend before I start to taper for STWM which for me is always an uneasy oeriod of training. I know the taper is important but I get restless when I have to cut back on my mileage.

How did your week go?