Before talking about Ottawa Race Weekend itself, I need to note that on Sunday I finished my goal to raise money for the Boston One Fund. The week after the April 15 bombing I added the Ottawa Half Marathon to an already busy schedule. I was already registered for an 18k race and a half marathon in the four weeks prior to Race Weekend. Plus, I had already done the NYC Half Marathon in March. Considering I had only just started 21.1k races in the fall, I felt I had planned enough for my race schedule.
But Boston changed my mind. As I explained in an earlier post, Boston reminded me that I am blessed to be able to run. It also reminded me that people face far bigger challenges in their lives than running a race. So I quickly found a race bib up for transfer and asked friends if they would be willing to support me in my series of races by donating to Boston One Fund. My personal race series ended up looking like this: an 18k race, followed two weeks later by a half marathon, followed two weeks later by a 5k race and half marathon race in one weekend. I am very proud to say that not only did I finish the challenge, but I collected $670 in cash and cheques and a number of contributions were made directly online. So a very big thank you to those who contributed to such a worthy cause.
The Ottawa Half Marathon also marked my third half in ten weeks and my fifth half in seven months! This time last year I thought running 21.1k was flat out crazy. I still think it is crazy but now I get why people do it. What a mixture of pride and exhaustion when you cross that finish line! Actually, the exhaustion part kicks in long before the finish line – at this last race I think it hit me at about the 5k mark. And it never ceases to amaze me how you somehow go from thinking “Why the heck am I doing this?” on one side of the finish line, to thinking “What race should I do next? once you have had your post race snack.
So, Ottawa Race weekend was many things for me, in many ways more than just a race. Lots more to tell, but it will wait until the next post.
So, three half marathons in 10 weeks and everyone of them in the 2:03 range. Are there any special awards for consistent runners?
Ottawa Race Weekend was awesome…but right now a nap seems more important than a recap, so it will have to wait.
P.S By far the biggest highlight of the race? Running with my son Evan and seeing him push himself to finish the 5k in just under 30 minutes. Wait, change that. The true biggest highlight was his grin at the end of it and his request to sign up for the Army Run 5k. So proud of him 🙂
My son and I just came back from the Ottawa Race Expo. Visiting the expo, seeing so many runners and of course picking up new tech shirts (I get two!) has finally made me excited for this race. What I have discovered is that doing so many races in a relatively short period of time can kind of dull the senses. When I think back to March I was feeling like a kid at Christmas time as I prepared for the NYC Half. Up until tonight I just felt like someone who has done a lot of running. But once you are at an expo, you can’t help but feel the buzz of adrenaline in the air. It also helped that I bought a pair of running shoes for half price while there.
Perhaps what really helped me get that “kid at Christmas” feeling was being at the expo with my son. He was so excited to be downtown picking up his bib and very first race tech shirt (he has a drawer full of cotton race tees). He is planning his pace, and to his credit, thinking it through intelligently. Unlike what many of we adults do, he has no plans to start out too fast. His goal is to go easy the first 2.5k and then see if he can pick up the pace during the last 2.5k. His longest practice run was 4k, so we’ll see how he finds the distance. My goal is to just finish the 5k without killing myself chasing after him since I want to make sure I am ready for the half marathon the next morning 🙂
And as for my half, well, no concrete plans for that. I want to enjoy the course and the crowds. I want to thank the volunteers that make a race this size possible (44 000 runners involved in all the races combined). I want to high five kids at the side of the course. I want to finish feeling good and I want to still feel good the next day. I want to remember the victims of Boston. After that, it will be what it will be.
Happy Race Weekend Ottawa!
In six days I will be running another half marathon. According to any training schedule I’ve read, last week should have been a pretty busy week of running for me. Instead, I followed my own program for the second last week before a half. Time will tell if it is a schedule worth keeping. 😉
Saturday: run a half marathon at a 5:47 min/km pace
Monday: recovery day
Tuesday: run a 2k race with two ten yr old boys (sounds easy, but they run faster than me)
Wednesday: recover from the 2k
Thursday: seriously consider running. Put your running gear on, run 100 metres, decide that a half hour walk would be much more enjoyable
Friday: recover from the walk
Saturday: sit on a deck looking at a lake. Be sure to snack wisely, include the important food groups of potato chips and brownies
Sunday: sit in a cabin looking at a lake, continue with previous day’s nutrition program
Monday: spend three hours convincing yourself that you really should do something resembling a real run. Get out there and run 10k at race pace (yeah!) this will make you feel like you deserve a taper week!!
Final week…haven’t really figured out how to taper after a week like last week, but I am sure I can find a way.
This morning I finished my 4th half marathon!!! And, I have to add, it is my 4th in less than 7 months, not to mention an 18k race 2 weeks ago. So at the moment I am feeling a little proud of myself. As for time, I came in right around my previous best. This race used only gun time, no net or chip time, so officially I finished in 2:03:42, only 4 seconds slower than my best time of 2:03:38. My watch time puts me at 2:03:29. Not really sure whether I call this my fastest half or not but no matter, I am very pleased with the result. I ran a steady race with no walking breaks and for 17k I felt very good. The overpass after the 17k mark was a bit challenging at that stage of the race, and the last 2km I struggled fighting the wind. I think it was around then that I had a slight moment of panic when I thought about the fact that come October I am going to run a full marathon. I was struggling a little today to finish, I admit the thought of that being only my half way mark in my October race is a little intimidating! Needless to say a lot of training is going to have to happen between now and the fall.
But for now I am going to enjoy my success so far and take a couple of days to relax. Then, in only 2 weeks I have to do it all again when I run the half at Ottawa Race Weekend. I know a sub 2 hour half is just not in the cards for me this year, particularly since my focus is going to switch to training for a full marathon soon. But the funny thing is, I am ok with that. This time last year, actually at the same race I did today, I ran my first 10k. This time 2 years ago I was training for my first 5k race. I had no idea that those races would lead to the running journey I now find myself enjoying so much. Sometimes it feels good to sit back and enjoy how far you have come 🙂
P.S. A special shout out to my boys who ran their first races of the season. My seven year old finished his 1k in a speedy 5:15 and my 10 year old had a P.B of 16:20 in the 3k. I love that they went out there, gave it their best and had a great time. Way to go boys!!!
P.P.S My husband wants to be recognized too…he was after all the running buddy for our youngest, race kit collector, driver and chief supporter. We couldn’t do it without him!
Months of sub zero training can actually make you forget how irritating and downright nasty the bugs can be in rural Ottawa. I headed out for an evening run yesterday (way too hot to run in the day) and was bombarded by tiny gnat-like things. They were in my mouth, my nose, my eyes, my eyelashes, and I am sure there were more in my hair than I care to know about. Was I really complaining about the cold weather only a couple of weeks ago?
I guess each season has its advantage. In winter you keep running because you know if you stop you will freeze. In spring/summer you keep running because you know if you stop, thanks to the bugs, you will lose more blood than sweat or tears.
Bring on the Costco pack of Off!
Up until this evening’s run I was very worried about the half marathon I am running in less than a week. Now I am only moderately worried.
Last weekend I ran the 18k Manotick Road Race. Despite the great course and well organized race, I was not at my best. Actually I was at my best for about 10k, then it went downhill (though I seemed to be spending a lot of time going uphill) from there. On the surface it doesn’t look all that bad, after all a 5:49 pace for 18k is nothing to be ashamed of. But the fact is I ran it badly. I felt great for the first part and just couldn’t seem to slow myself down. Logically I knew I was going to run out of steam on my first hot weather run of the season but I chose to keep up a fast pace anyway. For the last half of the race I just got slower and slower and I had to take three walk breaks (one less than a km away from the finish line!!!) when I would normally not take any at that distance. Could it have been worse? Sure. But it could have been much better. Hopefully the lesson has now been driven into my brain, I need to take it easy during the first half of the run in order to run my best times.
So why the worry about the upcoming half? I read somewhere recently that if you are a runner over 40 years of age like me you are in the “masters” category. I would love to say that means I have mastered the sport but of course it really is just a nice way to say I am past the prime running stages of life or put more simply, I am on the old side. Apparently what this also means is I can’t expect to recover from races as quickly as the younger runners. I hate to admit it, but there is some truth to that. I am very lucky in that I am rarely stiff or sore after long runs, including the half marathon distance. I usually feel like I can run the next day but I always give myself a couple of days off after a race for recovery. So a few days after the 18k race I headed out for an evening run. I felt great, no pain or stiffness, mentally ready to run. I ran for a bit and thought I was probably running too fast, after all it should just be a recovery run. I glanced at my watch and was slightly horrified to see that my “fast pace” was 6:40. I wouldn’t have minded that pace if I knew and felt like I was doing a slow, easy run, but I honestly thought I was running at race pace or faster. I actually stopped my watch and restarted it, so convinced was I that I had to be running faster than 6:40. No matter how hard I tried, I never managed to see anything faster than an average pace of 6:20 that night. After a couple of km I realized that my head might have been ready for a faster run, but my legs were not going to cooperate.
The rest of my runs this week did not go much better, although each run seemed to get a little faster. But tonight, finally, I felt like my legs finally decided to step up (bad pun) and do their job. As a result I feel there is some hope for my half marathon, but since I am now into my taper week (it is a little tricky trying to go from a recovery week to a taper week but still somehow be prepared) I will have to wait until race day to see if I can run a better, smarter race than last week.