Tag Archives: team awesome

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.

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

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2015


Since this year’s Race Weekend involved more for me than just Sunday’s marathon I thought I would write another post to cover how the entire weekend went.

I started looking forward to race weekend back in November, just after returning home from spending five days in the hospital with a ruptured appendix. The organizers had decided to create a team of social media ambassadors and I was asked if I would be interested in being a member of the inaugural Team Awesome.

I already knew a few of the other members but most were new connections. It would be our role to share our journeys to Race Weekend and interact with other runners on social media. Needless to say this was a positive distraction and morale booster after spending time in the hospital.

This year Race Weekend got off to a good start on Friday. After picking up my race kit I decided to stop by city hall and check out the press conferences taking place with the elite runners. I managed to time my visit right and got to meet two of Canada’s fastest marathoners, both of whom will be aiming for their Olympic qualifying time in the fall.

Great way to kick off @ottawamarathon weekend got to meet @ericgillisericgillis and @lannimarchant #torw2015

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

Next up was the President’s Reception that evening. For me it was primarily an opportunity to connect with other members of Team Awesome.

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On Saturday I also spent much of the day downtown around the start and finish areas, not sure if that is the best way to spend the day before a marathon but I did try to stay off my feet as much as I could. My cousin was in town to run the half-marathon so I connected with him and gave him a tour of the that portion of the course.

Following that it was time for the Family 2 km race. Both of my daughters were doing this race with their aunt and grandparents so my wife and I made our way to the finish line to watch them finish. We managed to find a good spot right before the finish line and were able to watch them finish. Seeing us seemed to fire up our five year old who promptly charged ahead and finished ahead of the group.

Sunday was time for the marathon and possibly the best part of the weekend for my kids as they got to hang out in the VIP area at the finish line as they waited for me. I don’t think they knew exactly what it meant but they were excited by the VIP passes they got to wear and talked about it more than any other part of the weekend.

Busy @ottawamarathon weekend for my family and I #torw2015 #running #runottawa

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


As you can see it was a very busy weekend for me and my family. It was also a very enjoyable one. Race Weekend is a great event, one I look forward to every year and this year was no exception.

Finally, fundraising for the Ottawa Hospital has become an annual part of my participation in Race Weekend. Since my father passed away three years ago I have raised funds for the neurology unit at the hospital. I am pleased to say that I managed to surpass my previous fundraising totals by raising nearly $1000 this year.


Race Report: Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon 2015


Yesterday was marathon number 13 for me and my 7th consecutive one here at home. It was my latest effort and chasing a so far elusive Boston qualifying time.

Race Weekend here in Ottawa has become one of my favourite weekends of the year and this year’s experience did nothing to change that. It is a great event both in terms of organization and crowd support and something our city can really take pride in.


A surprise 1:30 pb in a half-marathon in April left no doubt in mind that I was ready to take a shot at a sub 3:10 marathon again.  Two weeks of just over 100 km in mileage before I started to taper certainly helped keep me confident as well.

The conditions to start the marathon yesterday were great with it being overcast and cool. Unfortunately with a forecasted high of 27 I knew I would likely have to deal with the heat at some point during the race.

If you have followed my training at all this year you will know that I tried running a few races at shorter distances without my Garmin. Since the results were positive I planned to do the same yesterday, although this time I did have it on my wrist as a back-up plan in case I lost track of the 3:10 pace bunny.

As planned I started with the 3:10 pace bunny who advised runners around him that he was aiming for a 3:08-3:09 finish to give a buffer to those  aiming for a Boston qualifying time. That fit right in with my plan and I planned to stick with the group.

For those not familiar with it here is what the course looks like…

The first 5 km sees you leave downtown and head down along the Rideau Canal after passing the War Memorial. The crowds are pretty big at the start but start to thin out as you head to the canal since it is still early. I was lucky to spot my family in the crowd a few hundred metres after we started. I crossed the mat at the 5 km mark in 22:16 which had me right on pace.

The next 5 km of the course takes runners away from the canal and back to a residential area. Once again this year we were greeted by a samba band and and a large crowd lining the street as soon as we turned on to Wellington at the 9 km mark. I find it hard not to get caught up in the moment and start running faster when I hit this part of the course. I crossed the 10 km mat in 43:57 which had me on pace for a 3:04 finish.

The next 5 km of the course was quieter as the crowds thinned out and  we headed toward the Ottawa River Parkway via a complex of government buildings. This portion of the course can be tough if you are struggling or the weather is bad. I was still feeling good at this point and was still with the 3:10 pace bunny. I crossed the 15 km mat in 1:06 which still had me slightly ahead of my goal time.

The next stretch, also along the parkway, went well. At this point we were once again greeted by large crowds in front of the War Museum as we headed across the Ottawa River into Quebec. This section of the course tends to be hillier and includes several turns. Fortunately for runners the organizers made slight changes this year to remove a hill and some of the turns. I was still going strong at this point and crossed the halfway point in 1:32:45 which still had me ahead of pace.

Following the halway point the course wound through downtown Gatineau and back the river where we crossed back into Ottawa. I hit the 25 km 1:49:27 mark just before crossing the river. It was just after this point last year that I started to suffer calf cramps that slowed me down the rest of the way. At this point yesterday I was still going strong with no signs of oncoming muscle cramps.

Once back in Ottawa we headed down Sussex Dr. past the residences of the Prime Minister and the Governor General. This stretch is an out and back stretch and as I was reaching the 27 mark I saw Canadian runner Rob Watson headed back downtown toward the finish. Shortly after the lead women went by me. Out and back stretches can be demoralizing but I was still feeling strong at this point. I hit the 30 km mat in 2:12:17. By this time I had lost a couple of minutes but I was still with the 3:10 group and was still ahead of schedule.

The 30-32 km stretch is another quiet one since it is once along along the river parkway. It can be another tough point of the race depending on how you feel or the weather. I was still going strong at this point despite the fact it was starting to get hot. After the 32 km mark the course heads back into another residential area where crowds are once again out to support the runners. Around the 35 km mark I fell back of the pace bunny but could still see him ahead of me. I crossed the mat in 2:35 which had me on pace for a 3:08 finish.

Unfortunately the next stretch is the one that broke me yesterday. I tried to keep pushing ahead but my quads started burning and were feeling heavier. I knew the water station at the 36 km mark would have a large and boisterous crowd and hoped that would help push me through. Since I was starting to stuggle I decided to walk through the water station as I grabbed a drink and water to dump over my head. If you’ve run a marathon before you’ll know it is very difficult to get going again when you stop this late. I struggled to get back into my rhythm from this point on.

Following that water station the next stretch involves heading back onto Sussex for the previously mentioned out and back portion. I stopped a couple more times along this stretch for water and sponges to cool off. Once I hit the 38 km mark I knew there would be big crowds lining the rest of the course and hoped to draw from that to make a final push to the finish line. I crossed the 40 km mat in 3:00:57 knowing I would still be close to a 3:10 finish but not quick enough to qualify for Boston.


I managed to push myself across the finish line in 3:12:17, once again close to my Boston qualifying time but not quite was I was aiming for. On a positive note it was a new personal best time, 8 seconds faster than my time here two years ago. That is certainly something to be happy about.

11009914_10155621673325311_2469373537877709963_oNext up will be the Philadelphia Marathon in November. One of the benefits of getting older is moving up in age categories. Starting in the fall I will gain an extra 5:00 to my Boston qualifying time. Hopefully I will be able to put that to use and get that elusive qualifying time. A repeat of yesterday’s run would confirm my presence in Boston in 2017.


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…

Tips for winter running from No Paine No Gain and iRunnerBlog.

A post about reviewing the current year and planning for next year.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I would be part of Team Awesome for Ottawa Race Weekend. Today I thought I would share posts from my teammates about it – here, here, and here.

Pour les francophones vous trouverez des articles en français au sujet de l’Équipe formidable – ici, ici et ici.

Ottawa Marathon 2015


Even though I won’t be back to running for another 4-5 weeks I am pleased to say that I will be running the Ottawa Marathon for the seventh consecutive year. As I have done in previous years I will also be raising money for the Ottawa Hospital in memory of my father who passed away as a result of a stroke in 2012.

With it being at home this race is my favourite one of the year and I did not want to miss out on it even if I do have to run it at a slower pace than I am used to depending on how my return to running goes.

photo 2

For something new this year I am pleased to say that this year I was chosen to be a part of Team Awesome. What this means is that in addition to running the marathon I will also be part of an enthusiastic and socially engaged group of runners who share ourr journey and support other runners as we train for Race Weekend.

2015_OM_TeamAwesome_Graphic_Red (no background)

The opportunity to join Team Awesome presented itself to me not long after I returned home from the hospital. Needless to say it provided me with a bit of a morale booster and got me back to thinking about running. I am excited to be a part of this group and engaging with other runners who are training for this great race.

If you are running one of the races during Ottawa Race Weekend be sure to follow my teammates and I online for regular updates and don’t forget to use #TORW2015 when tweeting about your training!