Monthly Archives: May 2016

Love, Love, Love Being a Bunny!

It will take a while to write up a post about today’s Ottawa Marathon, but for now let’s just say being a pace bunny is the best job in the world!  Loved every minute and would do it again in a second.  I recommend all runners give it a try sometime – trust me you will feel like a rock star and you will love helping other runners.  Even more fun when you manage to cross the line only 3 seconds off your finish goal.  I have never looked at a watch (o.k., watches) so often in my life!

More to come soon.

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Last Thoughts of a Pace Bunny Before Ottawa Marathon and I Signed Up for WHAT?

The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2015

We are only days away from a very big weekend in Ottawa.  Starting Thursday evening with Expo – and I must say the best race Expo I have ever been to –  Race Weekend will take over this city.  Close to 50 000 people take part in one of the many distances, all running on a very scenic course.  Depending on your distance, you can pass the Rideau Canal, The National Gallery, The Parliament Buildings, Dow’s Lake and even cross over to the province of Quebec. This is a big race and a big deal in this city.  Ottawa is without a doubt a running town.

Being completely honest, I will always love small races.  I like the vibe of small races, the uncrowded streets and the easy parking.  But a couple of times a year I like to be part of the big race experience, and Ottawa Race Weekend fits the bill perfectly.  I just did a quick check and this is actually my 9th year participating in this event, and a few of those years I did two distances.

As I have mentioned in past posts, this year will be different in that I will be for the first time ever acting as a marathon pace bunny.  Because, you know, if you are going to try something new you might as well do it in a big way, right?  Training at a new pace and using the 10 and 1 method was not easy at first, but I have learned to love it.  I have logged so many kms without (knock on wood!) any injuries, and I haven’t felt exhausted or overwhelmed.  The fact is I have had a great time training in 2016.  I started in January preparing for Around the Bay and haven’t really looked back since.  Just to keep the momentum going, I may have done something a little crazy…

My goal this year is to complete a 50k race.  Note that I am not saying race it – just complete it.  So a while back I signed up for October’s Run for the Toad 50k trail race.  But a few weeks ago I had such a great 32k run through downtown Ottawa it got me thinking.  I loved exploring the city and taking in everything around me and thought, wouldn’t it be nice to do that somewhere new?  One thing led to another and suddenly I was signed up for the Niagara 50k Ultra, three weeks after the Ottawa Marathon.  There probably should be a rule that you should never sign up for a race while in the middle of a taper!  This now means that the marathon will also be a training run for me, my last long run before my first 50k!

Race Roster

As for this weekend, I am very excited and of course a little nervous.  I always run alone.  Other than my kids, I have never had anyone count on me to pace them to a finish line.  But I know I can do it, my training has told me I can.  If I can even get one person to the line in the time they wanted, I will be happy.

To all who are taking part this weekend – best of luck!  And if you are at Expo on Friday, come say hi – I’ll be at the pace bunny booth from 3:00 – 5:00.  I’ll also be at the Friendship Run on Saturday morning, hoping to meet some people who will join me on race day.

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Last Long Run Done for Ottawa Marathon Pace Bunny Duties

The tulips are coming!

The tulips are coming!

O.K., I think I might be really liking this slow-down-the-long-run thing!

Had to stop and take a picture of this beautiful tree.

Had to stop and take a picture of this beautiful tree.

In the past I have made an effort to slow down my long runs, but when you are not a particularly fast runner to begin with, it can be a struggle to slow things down even more.  But in training to be an Ottawa Marathon pace bunny, I have had no choice but to keep a slower pace.  I have now done two 32k runs and a 30k run around the pace I should be doing to lead my group to a 5 and 1/2 hour finish.  Here’s the amazing thing – those two 32k runs were two of the most enjoyable runs I have ever had.  I’m not saying they weren’t hard work – they were – but I truly felt happy during the runs.  In fact, the first one was only meant to be around 27k, but I just didn’t feel like stopping and so continued on.  These runs allowed me to do that thing that eludes so many of us – to simply be “in the moment”.  There were times when I was so busy enjoying what was going around me that I stopped thinking about how many kms there were to go and just enjoyed the ride.

This past Saturday I had to pick up race kits for the Sporting Life 10k that the kids and I were running on Sunday.  The kits were downtown so I decided to combine pick-up with a long run.  I really only run in downtown Ottawa during races, and while I always enjoy the routes, race day isn’t always the best time to take in the sights.  For this run though, doing my 10 and 1’s and my pace bunny pace, I happily took it all in.  The sun was out, it was somewhat warm and Ottawa was alive with runners, cyclists and tourists.  Even the first tulips were blooming a little ahead of the upcoming Tulip Festival.

"Maman" outside the National Gallery.

“Maman” outside the National Gallery.

And so I ran, but I ran as a tourist.  I stopped and took pictures and took in the sights.  Ottawa truly provides constant changing scenery for a long run.  I was never bored, not for a moment.  There is no shortage of waterways to follow; I traveled along the Rideau Canal, Dow’s Lake, Mooney’s Beach, the Rideau River and the Ottawa River.  I ran past Hog’s Back Falls and the Rideau Falls. I saw the historic buildings of Parliament Hill and the beautiful modern architecture of the Convention Centre and the National Gallery.  I stopped and looked at the bizarrely beautiful “Maman”, the giant spider sculpture outside the Gallery.  I crossed the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge and completed a loop in our neighbouring province, Quebec.  All this and more in one run.  Why don’t I do this more often?  Then again, maybe it would lose its charm, or rather I would lose an appreciation of what the city had to offer, if I headed downtown regularly.

The Rideau Falls

The Rideau Falls

The National Gallery of Canada.

The National Gallery of Canada.

As for my training, I find this almost scary to say, but I feel really good about pacing this marathon.  I have adapted to the 10 and 1’s, would even go so far as to say that I like them, and I feel like I have done a good amount of distance work.  Besides the 3 long runs mentioned around bunny pace, I also did the 30k at Around the Bay and there were of course all the runs leading to that race.  Last week I ran 70km, plus about 10k of orienteering and overall I am feeling pretty good.  I’m rather proud of myself that I ran 32.2k on Saturday and then on Sunday ran with my 10-year-old at the 10k race.  And yes, I did 32.2 specifically so I could say that on the weekend I ran a marathon…just not all at once!   (Just a note, I am even more proud of my kids.  It was Luke’s first 10k and he did it with no walk breaks, had a huge sprint in him at the end and finished in 1 hour and 24 seconds!  For Evan it was his second 10k and he took over 6 minutes off of last year’s time, finishing in 55 minutes!)

It is taper time now, though I admit I don’t really think of it as a taper until there are only two weeks left.  I’ll get a run in around 23km this weekend and then will start resting up in preparation for wearing those bunny ears.

Ottawa Race Weekend…I’m ready!

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I refrained from eating a Beaver Tail and poutine during the run!

I refrained from eating a Beaver Tail and poutine during the run!