Monthly Archives: May 2014

And Here We Go Again


Two days off, one day with yoga and today back to running.  Another very brief training cycle begins in preparation for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon.  I wasn’t sure what running would feel like today after that awful day of running I had on Sunday.  But today’s run ended up being a comfortable 6k, 3 km of which were under a 5:52 pace. No pain, no stiffness, so it is time to do some work to make sure I am ready for Vancouver.

Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5k

The fun part about this race will be that there is no pressure.  I have promised myself that any destination races I do will purely be for fun.  Of course if I get out there on race day and feel awesome, I will go for it.  But if I am going to run in a beautiful city I am going to make sure I can enjoy the sites on the run and feel good enough after the run to continue playing tourist.   And who wouldn’t want to enjoy the views when running a course that looks like this:

Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5k

Ideally next week I will work my way back up to 12 or 14k.  The following week I will aim for an 18k run, then time for a mini taper and Vancouver…here I come!

A Last Look at Ottawa Race Weekend 2014

I admit I am still struggling a little with the outcome of yesterday’s marathon.  But the encouraging messages from family, friends and blog readers have been so helpful!  There have been so many kind words, many of them ending with, “You finished a marathon!!!”

One of the reasons I wanted to beat my first marathon time was so that I would not have to do another.  I am serious.  I really can’t see me running a marathon each year, or as I have just done, running 2 marthons in 7 months.  I am really looking forward to running faster half marathons and 10k races.  I can also see me heading to the Around the Bay 30k race each year as my distance run.  These goals interest me more than the marathon.  Of course now though, despite the fact that during the marathon I was telling myself over and over again – sometimes out loud – that I will never do one again… well you can guess what I am thinking.  At some point I am going to have to try another one because finishing up on this one will bother me forever.  But for now the third marathon can wait.

As for Ottawa Race Weekend, if this isn’t an event you have tried you need to put it on your list of races to do.  This is an event that seems to take over the city and I honestly think it must be one of the best races in the world for spectator support.  I am always amazed by the number of kids who line the streets to cheer on the runners.  My boys spent quite a bit of yesterday having a blast high fiving marathoners.  They were thrilled with how many runners would cross from the other side of the road just to get the high five.  I feel more than a little guilty that I was not in the right state of mind to truly appreciate the spectators who took time out of their day to cheer us all on.  Next time, I promise.

I also think it would be tough to beat the scenery, this is simply a gorgeous city in which to run.  The only unfortunate part was the amount of road construction, but as I heard one person say, there are two seasons in Ottawa; winter and construction.

As an aside, one amusing part of the weekend was the marathon bus tour.  I decided to go so I would have a picture of the course in mind and maybe learn a few things about the city.  I assumed that a runner or race volunteer would be giving the tour.  Instead it was a City of Ottawa Tour Guide who really had no idea that we were all there to see our course.  She was unsure of whether or not we were even following the course until the bus driver called out that we were.  About 3/4 of the way through she asked how far we would be running.  At one point several people were noting that there was no shade to be found on much of the first part of the route.  I think she must have looked at someone’s race map, noticed the tent symbol for the water station and then told us that there would be tents for us to rest and relax in!  She definitely wasn’t getting the whole marathon race thing.  She also told us that the Quebec area was hilly so that would be a fun area in which to run.  Uh huh.

Check out the size of the marathon medal!

Check out the size of the marathon medal!

The bling for the marathon was awesome.  The medal is massive and the shirt will make a perfect Canada Day shirt.  I admit that yesterday I questioned if I would even feel right wearing the shirt given how I felt about my race.  But today I have decided that the shirt will represent all of my training rather than the race itself.  I devoted a lot of time to running these last few months.  A lot more than say housework or cleaning up the yard and gardens.  I think all of that training is worth a cool shirt.

And finally some pictures from ORW 2014:

The boys at race pick up.

The boys at race pick up.

The canal before the rush of runners.

The canal before the rush of runners.

The sign I made for Luke.

The sign I made for Luke.

The sign I made for Evan.

The sign I made for Evan.

Signs made by the boys for me.

Signs made by the boys for me.

More signs for me.

More signs for me.

My 5k boys.

My 5k boys.




So Disappointing…

No point going into details on this one – it was awful.  All that training and when it came to the big day it just wasn’t going to happen.  I have no idea why but I battled nausea and lightheadedness from 8k on.  When I tried to refuel it just made things worse.  Normally this is how I react when over heated but the temperatures actually remained a little cooler than called for, or at least I didn’t feel overly hot most of the time.  I have no reason, no explanation.  I just know that by the time I hit the half way mark the race had just become about finishing.  I’m happy I finished, it would have been easy to quit.  I knew I did not want to send that message to my children who met me at several spots to cheer me on.  But I am sad of course too.  Not so much about adding more than 20 minutes to my first marathon time.  More so because I missed the rush, that amazing feeling of racing and crossing a well-earned finish line.  I was envious of the people around me who were just so pleased to finish the course.

Here’s the irony… when I trained for my first marathon I honestly felt that my running became worse.  I was slower and seemed more prone to injury.  This time around I feel I became a much stronger runner, yet the race itself was much worse.

As always, it is good to look at the bigger picture to try to feel better.  In my training I ran my fastest km, fastest mile, fastest 10k, fastest 10 miler and fastest 30k.  For the first time I hit 200 km or more of training in a month.  In fact I hit that 3 months in a row.  I put in 100 more km of training than I did last time.  I guess I will work on focusing on these achievements.

There were two highlights of the weekend.  Evan ran an amazing personal best, finishing the 5k in 25:22, putting him in the top 1000 of a race with more than 8500 participants.  Luke ran his very first 5k and finished in an incredible 32:02 I am sooooo proud of them both!!!

Ottawa Race Weekend Expo


Canada Ottawa Panorama.jpg

A view of Parliament Hill from Quebec. (Wikimedia Commons)

Ottawa Race Weekend (ORW), the biggest running event in this city, is finally here.  Over the two day event approximately 48 000 runners will take to the streets and participate in a world class road race.  An amazing six events are scheduled: the family 2k and the kids’ marathon, plus the 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon distances.  And to make the weekend even more exciting, it is the 40th anniversary of the marathon.  In 1975 a small group (by today’s standards) of 146 runners – three of them women – participated in Ottawa’s first marathon.  This Sunday there will be 7000 runners at the marathon start line.

A view of Ottawa, Gatineau and the Ottawa River

There are a number of reasons that ORW has become such a popular event.  The courses are beautiful and take in all the major sights of Canada’s capital city, including Parliament Hill, The Rideau Canal (a World Heritage Site), and the Ottawa River.  Marathoners and half marathoners get to run in two provinces, crossing the river from Ontario into Quebec and back again.  It is a race that is known for its organization but is perhaps even more known for its incredible support from the public.  No matter what distance you choose, you are guaranteed to see throngs of people cheering you on.

24 April 2011

The Ottawa Convention Centre, home of ORW Race Expo. (Wikimedia Commons)

Race Expo started last night, so the boys and I headed downtown after school to pick up kits and do some shopping.  Thursday evening is definitely the time to go – check out this picture of the “lines” at bib pick up:

No lines at an event that has 48 000 participants :)

No lines at an event that has 48 000 participants 🙂

I had seven bibs to get for three different races and it couldn’t have been easier!  After picking up the bibs, we headed upstairs to get the shirts.  After last year’s nice light blue shirts for the 5k and the half marathon, the white shirts were a little disappointing.  Do people actually like white tech shirts?  If it rains they are virtually see through and once you sweat in them they never come clean again.  Thankfully though the full marathon shirt is a winner:




Expo had all the stalls you would expect to see and the kids were excited to spin the discount wheel for Running Room.  We stopped by iRun and filled out “bibs” to pin on the wall:

My iRun because...

My iRun because…

Luke's iRun because...

Luke’s iRun because…

Evan's iRun because...

Evan’s iRun because…

I did a little souvenir shopping and picked up a comfy long sleeve t:



I am also bought for the first time a Columbia Omni Freeze shirt.  There are special tiny rings in the material that absorb your sweat and are supposed to cool you down.  Staff had sample pieces of material to put on your arm which they sprayed with water.  After a few minutes I could feel a slight tingling and cool sensation.  I’m hoping I can feel that when I am running in 20+ degrees Celsius.

Being at Expo definitely brought out my nerves/excitement (how do you tell the difference?) for my second marathon.  This week has been busy enough that I have’t been as hyper-focused on the upcoming race as I was the first time I ran this distance.  Actually, I think I may have even been in a state of denial for the past several days.  But last night I had a tough time getting to sleep and when I finally did my dreams were about running and the race.  There is no more denying that on Sunday I am running 42.2 km.

Next post, my goals and game plan… just have to figure them out first!

Reality Check

I spent the long weekend relaxing and obsessing.  Relaxing because I spent the time with my family at the lake.  Obsessing because of the ever increasing temperatures forecast for the marathon next Sunday.

I came home to find out that a friend’s husband had unexpectedly died.  While I worried about weather and pace times, her whole world was turned upside down.  She too is a runner and was training for the Ottawa half marathon.  We don’t see each other often in person but we were touching base through email to see how training was going.

My biggest challenge in the near future is to run/walk/stagger 42.2 km in the heat.  This is the major “difficulty” of my life right now.  How lucky am I that such an endeavor, and one might say a selfish one at that, is my only real challenge to deal with.  At the moment it seems like nothing.

D, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your children.

A Happy Mother’s Day

With 65 km of running completed last week, I decided to take this weekend off.  I am just at the beginning of the taper, the part where it feels like a bit of a relief to back off from training, though I suspect by next week I will have those taper jitters.

Instead of running today, I took the boys to a local conservation area to hike some trails.  When they were little I took them often to this network of trails by the Ottawa River.  It has always been important to me that they appreciate nature and her beauty.  Somehow, however, a couple of years have gone by since we last visited Morris Island.  I didn’t realize how long it had been until today.  The clue was the fact that in my head, the trails were much, much longer.  I remember getting on trails and it feeling like forever until we made our way back to the car.  It ends up the trails aren’t overly long, they just felt that way when walking with small boys who stopped and looked at everything and who needed regular breaks.  Now though, it is me trying to keep up with them.

I introduced the term “fartlek” to the boys today.  You can imagine the giggles at that one.  When one of us called fartlek we would do a dash or a jog on the rocky paths.  Eleven and eight year old boys are fearless; a 45 year old 2 weeks before a marathon – not so much.  I was way behind as I tried to carefully manoeuvre over and around the rocks and ruts.  Needless to say, I was the only one to fall.  Thankfully just a bit of a bruised knee was the end result.  The boys of course were far enough ahead that they didn’t even know I had hit the ground!

It was fun to just be outside and not be training.  Sometimes the running takes over your life a little (my husband might argue more than a little!).  How wonderful to be out on gorgeous trails with no goal other than to have fun.

In one area on the shore of the river we found inspiration in the rocks.  Someone, using stone on stone, had written brief messages, such as “Hope”, “Don’t Judge” and “Smile”.  My boys decided to add their own words of wisdom.  What a window into the minds of my children when I read their messages:

“Love and Be Loved”.  “Be Inspired”.  “Believe in Yourself”.  “Listen to Your Heart”.  “Don’t Lose Faith”.

Today our priest read Robert Munsch’s “Love You Forever” as part of his Mother’s Day homily.  You might know it – “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”   It seems my babies are growing up, a few steps ahead of me on the trails and carving wise words into stone.

morris4morris2morris 3mor5


Happy Again

After bailing on my last 32k run I set out today to just spend some time running without panicking about the distance.  My goal was to complete 2 hours of running, if and only if my body felt like it.  I’m happy to report that in the end I did 2 hours and 57 minutes of running, and a total of 28 km.  There was nothing spectacular about the run, I kept my pace slow and steady and I stopped my watch and took the time to stretch any time I felt like I was getting sore.  With just under 3 weeks until the marathon, I knew I had to make sure I did nothing to injure myself.  Mentally though, this was a good run.  I now feel like I have done all I can do to complete a marathon, and that is a good feeling.

I am not a marathon runner.  Well, I kind of am since I have done one and I was crazy enough to sign up for another.  What I mean is this is not my distance.  I don’t at all mean that in a negative way.  I love the half marathon, I think I have it in me to be a faster 10k runner, I discovered at my last race that 10 miles is an awesome race distance, and I can honestly say I enjoyed my first 30k race in March.  Marathons and 5k’s though, just not my distances.  That said I am proud of myself for taking on race distances that aren’t in my comfort zone (really, there is nothing comfortable about running a marathon, or for that matter trying to run a speedy 5k).  And I am thrilled that I worked my way through another round of marathon training.  I am a stronger runner for it and once again I have accomplished things I thought impossible.  Heck, I just ran 22 km, took a day off and ran another 28!  Really, I did that?!?

Here’s the best part of today’s run.  Once finished I headed to a store to buy my favourite post run drink, chocolate milk.  The very bored looking teenage cashier asked if I had just gone for a run.  I couldn’t resist a little bragging, she did ask after all!  I replied that I had finished a 3 hour run.  I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head, it was like I had said something that was nothing short of impossible 🙂  I admit it, it is fun to impress someone less than half my age!

Now it is officially taper time for me.  I am not even going to look at a training schedule.  My body is telling me it is taper time, it needs some rest.  So all of my runs are now going to be done by feel to make sure I am rested and ready to enjoy the marathon, regardless of how slow or fast I am come race day.