Tag Archives: road racing

Race Report: Wellness Challenge 5 km

Today I managed to get out of work at lunch time to run a 5 km race. The race is part of the Government of Canada’s charitable campaign this year the focus was on mental health and addictions. It was my third time participating in this race. The previous two occasions were where I ran my fastest 5 km times.

Unfortunately, due to a dental appointment that ran longer than expected, I did not get down to the start line until the last minute. I took a taxi down to the start area because I was running late and arrived with 2 minutes to drop my bag off at the baggage check and line up at the start.

Fortunately I was able to line up toward the front of the crowd before the race started which meant that there was not much 9f a delay before I crossed the start line and got going. The course for this race is an out and back starting from a complex of government offices and heading out along the Ottawa River Parkway. Other than a couple of rolling hills that you go up and down in both directions it is a pretty flat course.

The GPS on my Garmin did not kick in until after I had completed 3 km so I am not sure of my splits but I felt like I ran at a pretty steady pace. There were a couple of runners out at the front of the pack on their own followed by the group of runners I was part of. 

As we headed around the last corner and the final stretch to the finish line I sensed behind me getting closer. That was enough to dig down and push ahead for a final sprint to the finish line to keep ahead of him. I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 19:09 which was good enough for 11th overall.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this race given that my mileage has been lower than I would have liked over the past couple of months. Finshing with a time that was close to my previous efforts in this race (19:01 and 18:28) was a nice surprise. It has me wanting to sign up for another 5 km to see if I can go faster.

Race Report Richmond Road Races 2016

imageThis 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.

View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19838-110-26010773/1/

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.


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.
Here are this week’s stories…

Can embracing discomfort help you make gains?

A study on the benefits of strength training for runners.

Training tips here: Race to Learn.

Finally, here is an interview I did with Canadian Running Magazine about run commuting

Getting Back on Track

It has been nearly a month now since I ran the Ottawa Marathon. Following the marathon my usual approach to recovery had me back to running the following Friday. Since then I have been taking it easy, sticking to mainly easy paced runs and not being as disciplined about my diet as I am when I am in a training cycle. 

Tonight felt like a turning point. I planned my usual run home from work and because I felt good I decided to pick up the pace and run a little quicker than I have been. I ended up with a 9 km run around my marathon pace so it was not a particularly fast time. However, it was a change of pace from my routine has been lately. I feel like I am ready to get back into a training cycle. 

In terms of running it means I will start to add mileage again and get back to doing long runs on Sundays. I’ll also throw in a few races over the summer as I work my way back into marathon shape. In additionnto races it will also mean working in weekly speed and tempo sessions to go along with my easy paced runs. 

I will soon be getting back to strength training to build strength in my core and legs. I plan to follow a similar approach to the one I used for my last marathon since that seemed to work well. I also start regular rolling and stretching which I have been neglecting over the past few weeks. 

How soon do you like to return to full training after a big goal race?

A Lesson in How Not to Start a Race


Yesterday was the Sporting Life 10km, my third and final of my tune up races before the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in two weeks. This is a race that has been run in Toronto for a while now and with a Sporting Life store having opened here recently they decided to organize a second race.

I signed up for this one a while ago and was not sure how I was going to approach it in terms of pacing since it was only two weeks before my goal race. Saturday I finally decided that I would aim for a steady run somewhere between my half-marathon pace and my marathon pace.

Since the start line for this race was just over 2 km from my house I planned to run there for an easy warm up. Unfortunately I was a little late getting out of the house yesterday, partly a result of a late Saturday night taking care of a sick two year old. What was intended to be an easy warm up to the start line ended up being close to a tempo run to the start line.

I was close but did not quite make it in time for the start. I ended up having to run past the runners who were start, jump into a corral once I passed the start line and start running right away. My delay pushed back a couple of corrals from where I normally would have lined up. This meant that I was passing other runners for most of the race.

If you’ve read my posts about my other races this year you’ll know that I experimented racing without a Garmin. Since I was not going for a pb this time and wanted to stay disciplined I wore my Garmin in order to avoid having my competitive streak kick in and me running at a faster pace than I wanted to. I managed to settle into a steady pace between 4:16-4:20/km once I got going although it was tough at times due to congestion. 

Once I reached the half the crowd started to thin out a little and it was easier to maintain a steady pace. I managed to finish in 43:20 which was good enough for 69 out of 1790 runners. Most positive of all is that despite the heat and my less than ideal start I felt like I had more in the tank when I reached the finish line and I could have run a faster time had that been my goal.

I’m pleased with yesterday’s result. It gave me another run in a race setting and I managed to stick with the plan I set for myself. I feel like I have had a good training cycle for the upcoming marathon. My goal now is to stay in shape and avoid any last minute injuries so I can that positive energy intorace day.

Week 16 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

 My final big week of training is complete now and race day is just two weeks away. Coming of my two biggest weeks of training I am now ready to taper. At this point there is not anything else I can do to be ready for the marathon. 

Following last Sunday’s long run of just under 33 km I did not really let up coming into this week. I think one of the things that I like about the current training plan I am following is that it does not leave time for a let down after long runs on Sunday. I have been taking my rest days on Friday meaning my Tuesday and Thursday tempo and speed runs are done on legs already tired from a long run.

This week I did a tempo run on Tuesday and a speed workout on Thursday. Tuesday’s tempo run involved 30:00 @ 4:26/km following an easy warm up. Given that this pace is not far ahead of my goal marathon pace it was a positive sign to feel like i could have kept going when the 30:00 was up.
Thursday’s speed workout was another hard workout. This week my schedule called for  3.2 km warm up, 3 x (800 m @ 3:25/km, 200 m jog), 30:00 @ 4:26/km, 3 x (800 m @ 3:25/km, 200 m jog). I finished the run with an easy cool down of just over 3 km for a total of 20 km done. 

I mentioned in a previous post that one of the things I like about my current plan is that it has me doing my tempo and speed workouts with more mileage. This week was another example of that. I’ll know in a couple weeks if that was beneficial or not.

That’s it for my intense training now. The goal of the next two weeks will be to get in some maintenance mileage while avoiding injury and to be even more disciplined with my nutrition plan. It is probably the part I enjoy least about marathon training because I get restless when I cut back on my mileage.

Coming off a ruptured appendix that left me in the hospital for five days and unable to run for two months I was unsure how things would go when I got back to running. To my surprise this training cycle has gone better than I expected it would. I am really starting to get exciting for race day and an opportunity to test my trainng.

How did your week go?

Boston Marathon

Monday is one of the biggest days on the calendar for marathon runners. Of course I am talking about the 188th running of the Boston Marathon. Thousands of runners are currently on their way to Boston to take part in Monday’s race.

For some runners the Boston Marathon is just a dream because of the tough qualifying standards in place. For others qualifying for Boston is the sole focus of their training.

For me it has become the latter of the two. When I ran my first marathon I never thought I would stick with the distance and even if I did I certainly did not think I was fast enough to contemplate it. The very idea of qualifying for Boston seemed like a crazy thought.

As I began training more and improving my finish times because of it I suddenly began to think it might actually not be such a crazy idea. It has now become the focus of my training, maybe too of an obsession at times, but it is what I have be aiming for.

Since it became my training goal my qualifying time has been 3:10. I’ve come frustratingly close to reaching the goal on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately I have not yet been able to put it all together over the last 10 km of a marathon and by marathon pb is still 2:25 over that qualifying time.

Once again this year I will take two shots at it. Next month I can qualify if I get that elusive sub-3:10 result. Coming off a new half-marathon pb last weekend I am certainly motivated to take a shot at it again.

If not I will have my next opportunity in Philadelphia in November. On that occasion I will get an extra 5:00 added to my qualifying time because I would be in the next age group for the 2017 Boston Marathon.

Since I won’t be there Monday I plan to tune in to some of the coverage. I will do so in order to see who wins and to see how my running friends who are there fare.

If you are running the Boston Marathon Monday good luck!

Second Race of the Year: Run for Reach Half-Marathon

My next race is in a few days with the Run for Reach half-marathon coming up Sunday morning. This will be my fifth consecutive year doing this race. While not my goal race I find it is still an important part of my marathon training.

With it coming about a month and a half before Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend I find it to be well timed to judge where my fitness is at ahead of the marathon. It helps me judge what pace to aim for in the marathon based on my finish time.

It has been the only half-marathon I have raced in the time that I have been doing it Run for Reach is the site of my half-marathon pb. In the four years I have done it so far I have managed to bring my time down from 1:36 in 2011 to 1:27 last year.

This is me on my way to my first sub 1:30 half-marathon in 2012 when I finished in 1:29…

cropped-Run-for-Reach.jpgSince I have managed to finish this race in under 1:30 on two occasions my goal for Sunday is to do that for a third time. Ideally I would like to beat last year’s time but even if that does not happen I will be pleased with another sub 1:30 result.


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.

As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below. Here are this week’s stories…

An inspirational story here .

A post about returning to the Boston Marathon.

A post about the importance of recovery weeks.

Week 8 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

This week was another solid week of training. It was my third straight week of more than 80 km. it was also the week of my first race of the year meaning that most of my runs were done at a relatively easy pace in order to be ready for the race yesterday morning. Overall I am very pleased with how things went this week. I feel like I am getting right back to where I was before I got sick late last year.

I mentioned that most of this week’s runs were done at a relatively easy pace. In fact, other than Tuesday and Thursday all of my runs this week were done at what I would consider an. Easy pace. Tuesday and Thursday O ended up throwing some strides into my runs home to get in some running at a harder pace but the main goal for the week was staying fresh for yesterday’s race.

Yesterday’s race was the St Patrick’s Day 10 km race, a race that I have done for four consecutive years now. This year i decided to change my approach and run without a watch. The goal was to run based on how I felt. That approach seems to have worked for me. I managed to finish the race a little faster than I expected with a time of 40:56, good enough for 18th overall. I am quite pleased with that start to the my racing season for the year.

Today’s long run may have been the toughest run of the week. This was the scene as I headed out this morning…

With snow falling overnight and the temperature starting to warm up it the sidewalks were wet and slippery, making it more difficult to maintain a steady pace. Building on last Sunday’s 28 km run my plan was for 25-30 km today. Despite the conditions and wet feet an hour into my run I ended up with a. 27 km run.

Now my next scheduled race in almost exactly one month when I will do a half-marathon. Until then my plan is to continue to build up my weekly mileage and push the pace on my more intense runs. 

How did your week go?