Ottawa Race Weekend Recap 2016

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend certainly had some extra publicity leading up to the races. Extreme heat was putting some of the races at risk. It’s not like we have not run in hotter conditions, most of the summer training runs are extremely hot, however, this was the first hot weekend of the year, so runners were not prepared for it. The Race Director, along with the Team, needed to be watching the weather very closely.  It was amazing how well the information was getting out to the runners. Through the website, emails, social media and of course the media – there was a lot of news circulating leading up to the start of the races. Also, I believe for the first time in Ottawa, the coloured flag system was put in place. To everyone’s surprise, the weather was actually fairly decent at the 7am start of the marathon. We started with the green flags, indicating good conditions, however somewhere along the route I realized we were now showing red flags, alerting us to watch for course changes.  Weather Update on Run Ottawa Site.

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Only some of Team Awesome Members – new friends!

13233063_10156973704745192_4909925577072335454_n Being involved with Team Awesome, a social media team to help inspire/encourage and connect with runners online, has allowed me to get to know some of the team at Run Ottawa.

Here is a clip that Rogers TV put together of Team Awesome this year.  Team Awesome

There were some tough decisions to be made, and they were not made easily but in the end I believe they made the best decisions for everyone involved. Of course, keeping the safety of the runners at the forefront of any decisions. There were some slight changes to the start times for the 10K and the half marathon races. The marathon course was also cut-off later in the race (for those running over 6+hrs.) when the heat, combined with the hours on the course, could prove to be problematic not only for the runners, but also for the volunteers.

X-Mile Crew 2016

X-Mile Crew after running the last runner in

New this year to race weekend was The X-Mile Crew. I was so excited by the idea of this I decided, last minute, that I wanted to participate. That meant running my own marathon first, and then changing shirts to go back out and run other runners in as part of the crew. I had no idea what to expect of my own run as race day can be unpredictable on it’s own but add to that hotter conditions, it was unclear how the day would go. In the end, it was a tough run. Due to my training for Grand to Grand Ultra, I did not taper as most runners would prior to their races, in fact I completed my first triple long run the weekend prior (3 long runs; 3 days in a row). I also had been dealing with a cold/chest congestion that just wasn’t going away, making breathing a challenge in the heat.

I was doing very well up to the first 16 km’s or so. Then over the next 16+ km’s I watched almost everyone I knew pass me. I knew it was not a race to attempt a personal best, however, I didn’t think it would be my worst time recorded 🙂 At some point in the last 10 km’s or so, I decided the goal was to just complete it and then get back out to help others run it in. I knew how they would be feeling, as I was in fact feeling it as well. Discouraged, tired, and wanting it to be over. Until you see the finish line, then there is a new sense of empowerment and the idea that you did not give up! You did it!

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After the sponge station

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Water misters along the route

IMG_1145I was so proud of Ottawa/Gatineau and how the cities came together to do whatever they could to help the runners out. The residents were out all along the route with hoses, sprinklers, freezies, even strangers holding up bags of ice for you to grab what you needed to cool off. I particularly liked the fire station along the route with the fire hose ready to open it up when given a simple head nod, confirming yes soak me! It was awesome!

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Just before the fire fighters let loose the hose on me 🙂

If all that wasn’t enough, heading back out to run with the runners still out there, making their way in after being on course for well over 5.5+ hours was so rewarding. I met some pretty amazing people, with some remarkable stories. Many first time marathoners who did not quit. I even met a women, 72 years young, who was running her 84th marathon! Many of those in the last few years….amazing!

Being involved with Ottawa Race Weekend, in a variety of capacities, has helped me discover the many wonderful aspects of this race. The team works year round to ensure we have the very best race to offer anyone who would like to experience it, including making it the biggest multi-distance race in Canada! It is also the only running event in North America to be given TWO Gold Label Standards from the International Amateurs Athletics Federation (IAAF). More interesting facts.

If you are a runner can I encourage you to register for one of Ottawa’s races next year. Guarantee you’ll love your experience! If you do not run, volunteering is one of the most amazing, rewarding experiences that allows you to make an impact in a runners life. As a runner, I cannot adequately express how much we appreciate and need the support and encouragements along the way! Volunteers give us the ability to keep going.

If you are on twitter, follow Ottawa Marathon (Race Weekend) to stay informed. Also, please connect with me as well so I can support you along your journey!

Have you run one of the race distances in Ottawa? Are you considering running Ottawa in 2017? I’d love to hear your experiences and your goal race for 2017.

Keep Chasing Dreams

Ottawa Race Weekend 2015

Well, I did it!  After previously attempting twice to run the Ottawa Marathon I was finally able to get it done. (Injuries took me out the previous two times, having me run two fall marathons instead).

The journey to race day was an experience I will cherish for a long time.  I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of Team Awesome for the race, which was basically a group of runners, running a variety of distances, committed to connecting and encouraging other runners online on the journey to race weekend.  It was fun and I met a lot of amazing people along the way who I hope to stay connected with as we all continue to chase goals and live life full of adventure.

The weekend started Friday night where I was able to connect with some members of Team Awesome at a casual event.  TeamAwesomeIt was great to see people in person who I’ve been chatting with online for months.  It was a wonderful evening, ending with my husband winning a great door prize, a Beau’s Brewery Gift Package.  beauwinnerHe’s been so amazing supporting me in all my adventures so I was thrilled when he won this.

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Beau’s Race Weekend Gift Package

What a beautiful gift.

Saturday I decided to take in the 5K/10K races as a spectator and supporter.  Being downtown on race day is electric to say the least.  The weather was perfect and the atmosphere was a true celebration of a great weekend that all came together perfectly.   The team at RunOttawa did an amazing job at making the weekend a lasting memory for so many people. Congratulations to all of you for the hard work and incredible success.

I was able to get up close to the finish line to see the elites come in and break many course records.   You can view video here:  Elite Runners Finish Line

Then witnessing the youngest and oldest runners complete their races.

dad carried this sweet angel the entire race

dad carried this sweet angel the entire race

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Every runner crossing the finish line has a story and a reason to celebrate.  Too often we look at the finish times, but honestly isn’t it the journey to get to the start line where the story really begins?  It was moving to witness firsthand, up close and personal, many people achieving personal goals and victories as they crossed the finish line.  It was motivational for me, as I was about to line up in the morning to accomplish one of my own personal goals of running the marathon in my home city, Ottawa.

I had not intended on being out so late on Saturday night, so getting the final things ready and off to bed was certainly later than my original plan.  The morning came early, 4:15am early!  I started my morning with oatmeal, my go to race morning breakfast.  Coffee and some final touches on getting my gear ready and I was in the car and off to the race before I knew it.  Of course, pre-race jitters required that I found a bathroom before starting.  This was also the intention of many other runners preparing to start.  I was still in line at 6:55, with a 7am start time for the race.  I managed to hop in to a corral just in time (4 hr. pace, not my group 😉 ), with less than a minute to spare to set things up (music/running app).

Pace bunny up ahead 4:00 (not my pace group)

Pace bunny up ahead 4:00 (not my pace group)

focussed on getting my music playlist going

focussed on getting my music playlist going

We were off!

I settled in to my own pace early and managed to connect with a friend very early on in the race and we ended up running the entire marathon together.  It was an experience I will never forget.  The first half of the marathon was pretty decent, with the weather starting to heat up for the second half.  By the time we hit 25K the sun was really beating down on us.  I was very thankful for the awesome water stations, especially sponges that were being handed out.  I have never soaked myself with water during a race before, but this time around I dumped water over myself a few times in an effort to stay cool.

The crowd was incredible throughout the race with so many people out cheering us on. crowds were incredible throughout the courseHome owners had sprinklers/hoses out so we could run through them to cool off.  Children were out handing out freezies, which certainly was appreciated by many.

Family and friends arranged to be out on the course around the 33K mark to cheer us on and provide extra treats and water if needed.  Always special to see people you know along the route.

Often we can head into a race with a time goal in mind, usually to get a personal best.  I had this in mind in the beginning as well, but along the way decided it was more about the experience and running with a friend that made the day memorable and one that I could be proud of.

Training continues for me as I am running the Women’s Nike Run in Toronto this coming weekend and my first Ultra Marathon the following weekend.  Life is an adventure, sharing the adventure with others makes it a beautiful journey.

Have you run a marathon before?  Have you ever ran one in your home town/city?  I think it is one of the most beautiful ways to experience a city, the people in it and of course the landscape.

Happy Running Friends.

 

 

Setbacks or Injuries – Do They Hold You Back?

When I’m training for something, I’m all in!  I am dedicated and focused and try my best to follow a plan.  My husband is always amazed at how committed and disciplined I can be.   That’s not to say it’s easy, however I try not to think too much and just do what is scheduled! 🙂

So when I’m injured, or taking things down a notch to allow for recovery, it’s hard for me.  It’s hard not to be “on” all the time.  I like structure and being focused.  Not being able to run drives me crazy!  I tend to fall back on nutrition, tweaking my “fuel” more and finding new ways to get good nutrition in.  I get on Pinterest more during this time!! (Are we following each other?)

Just before the marathon at the end of October I started getting a pain in my right ankle/arch area.  It became quite evident on marathon day that there was an issue there.  I took the appropriate time for recovery before getting back into my running but the arch pain has  lingered on.

I have a fantastic team around me and trust  them completely!  They have  been working on dealing with the soft tissue damage and I’ve scaled back the running to give time to heal while we figure things out.  In fact, I haven’t ran at all in the past 7 days!  Seriously, 7 days and it’s driving me crazy!  It’s such a minor issue, however being in the foot it is not one that I can ignore.  I am usually a very optimistic person, however, mentally this is a bit of a battle for me.  Having suffered from stress fractures in the past, this is now a new fear of mine, and it can kill confidence!

With such huge goals for 2015 I cannot start my year with this nagging issue going on.  I must get to the bottom of it.   We are 99% sure it is soft-tissue related and can be dealt with, but it’s funny how that 1% can over shadow things.

Today I am getting out for a run.  I will pay close attention to how I’m feeling and report back to my team.  I’m also having a scan that should confirm 100% if it is only the soft-tissue affected.

Throughout my years of running I have  been the one to make decisions about what, when and how I do things.  Choosing to trust others to make the decisions for me when it comes to my training schedule is hard but it is the decision I made when I enlisted their help!

piyoI’m not sitting around doing nothing though 🙂  I’ve started Basic Training with the TRX to build some core strength, I’m doing PiYo 2-3x/week, and I’m focusing on my diet with an emphasis on avoiding  inflammatory foods and more protein.

More than anything I need to get my head in the game, build my confidence again so I can go into January confident and strong.  Training is as much mental as it is physical.  So I am working hard to trust myself, to trust my body and believe that I will have a very successful running year in 2015!

Have you ever had to overcome fear, disappointment or a lack of confidence related to overcoming past injuries or setbacks?  Would love to hear your experience.

 

A Quick Look Back – Exciting Things For 2015

This time of the year excites me!  I love looking back and evaluating how the year went.  Often, the year didn’t go quite the way I plannedfoot. Through every experience, highs and lows, personal bests and setbacks or injuries, there is always an opportunity to learn and discover more about myself and, if I’m lucky, about others.  This year was no different and through my injury I was connected to my now running coach and a ton of other great people.

2014 Year in Review:

Around The Bay and Ottawa Marathon were misses due to injury.  My planned marathon for Calgary was downgraded to the 5K just so I could experience the race 🙂 My daughter and I volunteered and loved it, as usual, and I dressed up for the first time ever in a race to celebrate running through the decades.   I started training for the Toronto Marathon as soon as my boot came off, and had a PB on race day.  I ran my very first trail run, a 23K with the I2P run  in Gatineau, QC, dressed up for the Ghost Run and ran one of my favourites, in the pouring rain, the Army Run!

Some Highlights of 2014

Some Highlights of 2014

Ottawa Foam Fest

Ottawa Foam Fest

My husband and daughter participated in their very first races this year (Strides for Ethan and Ottawa Foam Fest), it was amazing to do these with them.  A few other smaller races and to top the year off I hired a running coach.  Lots of firsts this year!

Setting Goals for 2015

Dream Big

Dream Big

This is also a time that I am looking ahead.  I’m planning new race goals, distances, training schedules, and making arrangements for out of town events.  Some events are still under wraps but staying true to myself, I am setting goals that take me beyond my comfort zone.

One of my goal races this year is The Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon.  I originally planned on running my first marathon in Ottawa (and second) but due to injuries was side-lined from accomplishing this.  I ended up running my first and second out of town.  I am determined that 2015 is my year to run the Marathon in the city I call home.

I am so thrilled to have been invited to join The Ottawa Race Weekend’s Team Awesome. This is such an incredible honour for me.  To share my love for running, encourage others to set race goals and connect with other runners throughout our journey to race day is something I’m already so passionate about – being able to do all of this as part of Team Awesome is a forever memory in the making!!

You can follow the entire Team Awesome on a variety of social media sites.  We will be using #TORW2015 to connect and chat with all of you.   We all have different strengths, personalities, interests and experiences so you’ll likely relate to more than one of us.  Meet Team Awesome

If you’ve ran the Ottawa Race Weekend before then you know it’s a fantastic race and an incredible way to see the city.  If you have not experienced this race for yourself, it’s a must and you should seriously register.  Register Here 

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Night Race Kit Pickup

I also love volunteering for race kit pick up every year for Ottawa Race Weekend, as this is something my daughter and I do for numerous races in Ottawa.  We even convinced my son to come with us for one event.   This is such a great way for your kids to be inspired by others, share something with you that you love to do, and in their words, get cool free stuff!  You’ll see me at Race Pick Up again this year – say hi if you see me!