Tag Archives: pace bunny

Race Report: Army Run 2017

The Army Run is one of the two local events in Ottawa I look forward to every year, Ottawa Race Weekend in the spring being the other. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Army Run. I’ve participated every year except for two – one because I was out of town for a wedding and the other because I sprained my ankle one week before race day.

I look forward to the event every year because it is a major running event in Ottawa that draws large crowds. It also carries added meaning for me since my father served in the army for 41 years. It is fun to participate in an event that supports the Canadian Army and getting to check out the assortment of military vehicles at the race expo brings back memories of growing up on military bases. 

As has been the case for all but the first year I ran it this year I was once again a pace bunny. I look forward to the challenge of trying to finish in an assigned time as much as I do running my own races for a personal best. Initially I was scheduled to be the 1:35 pace bunny for the half-marathon but I ended up dropping back to 1:55 closer to the date when another runner backed out. 

As you can see from the picture above I was not the only member of my family running this year. My oldest daughter decided back in May when she saw other kids running the Ottawa Race Weekend 5 km that she was also going to run a 5 km. She reminded me about it a couple of times over the summer and after registering her for the race we started training together. 

One of the best parts of this race is that the start line is close to my house and I can run over to the start line for a quick warm up before the race. Since the 5 km starts before the half-marathon and was still ongoing as I made my way to the start I headed over to the finishing stretch in the hopes of seeing my daughter as she headed to the finish line. Unfortunately it turns out that I missed her by a few minutes.

While I was disappointed to have missed my daughter’s finish she was able to make it over to see the start of my race. One of the benefits of being a pace bunny is that you are easy to spot when wearing bunny ears and holding a sign. She saw me as soon as I crossed the start line and I made my way over to see her briefly before I continued with my race, seeing her beaming with pride from having just completed a 5 km was a great way to start my own race.


Despite the fact it ended up being one of the hottest days of the year I felt good as I tried to maintain a steady pace for the group that was following me, 5:26-5:27/km was my target for the morning. Just after the halfway point of the race we entered the grounds of Rideau Hall, one of the best parts of the race since they added it to the course a few years ago. Once again this year I made sure to get a high five from the Governor General as I passed his residence. 

Following that it was time to make our way back downtown for the final stretch to the finish line along the Rideau Canal. When pacing a half the goal is to try and come within 1 minute of your assigned time. Based on my splits on my Garmin and my overall time I sure I was right on pace until I reached the 18 km mark and I realized that I had run nearly 1 extra km due to trying to get around groups of slower runners and not running the tangents.

I finished with a chip time of 1:57:18. I guess that is still relatively close to my goal time. However, in previous years I managed to consistently finish closer to my goal time. To say I was disappointed with my result was an understatement. The fact that a few runners made a point of thanking me for pacing afterward made me a feel a little better about my run but i should have been closer to my goal time in this case. I guess it will serve as motivation the next time I serve as a pace bunny. 

Fall Race Plans

Recently I mentioned that I was still in the process of searching for a goal race for the fall. As of yesterday my plans for the fall are now set. I am know scheduled for a half-marathon in September and a marathon in October.

What will be different this year is that I am not planning to run either for a an attempt at a pb. I will be pacing both races. Pacing a half-marathon isn’t new to me, this will be my 5th consecutive year pacing one (it would be my 8th had I not sprained my ankle one week before my race in 2012).

If you have followed my blog at all it probably won’t be any surprise that my half-marathon of choice is the Army Run. I like doing this race because it is the biggest race here in the fall and it well organized. My father also served in the army for 41 years so participating in it has extra meaning for me.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Army Run. As mentioned above this will be my 5th consecutive year pacing the half-marathon. Overall I have only missed the race twice (the first one because I was away for a wedding that weekend and in 2012 because my sprained ankle).

Once again my goal time for the half-marathon will be 1:35. I enjoy this pace because it generally gives me a good training run for my marathon schedule.

Pacing a marathon will be a new experience for me. I was initially looking for a marathon to run at my own pace but the opportunity a new marathon that has already sold out sold me on pacing. In October I will be pacing the Marathon du P’tit train du nord.

If you have not heard of this race it is a point to point course on a path built over an old rail line close to Montreal. The course offers a gradual 220m drop (721 feet) that organizers are billing as the ”fastest course in North America”.

My goal time will be 3:35.  With the course being described as it is I am sure many runners will be aiming for a BQ on race day. The pressure will be on me to stick close to my goal time!

I will likely add a 10 km race here to run at my own pace at some point but for now I have two goals for the fall.

What are your race plans for the fall?

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

uIMG_20151230_082125

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

IMG_0075-3

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?