Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jay's Peak Mountain Marathon: My next "race"

The next event that I signed up for is the Jay's Peak Mountain Marathon at Jay's Peak in the state of Vermont. Now this event provides an extremely challenging and ambitious goal. In fact the race website includes the following warning from the race director:

Racer Director's Warning: The Marathon, (33.0 miles), is considered by our own participants to be the hardest marathon ever put together for it’s distance; This is a trail marathon, and using the word trail is stretching it. One section is actually a bushwhack from flagging tape to flagging tape, and another section will take you on a deer trail leading to a mountain brook. You will run in the brook for about 3 miles. At mile 20 you will cross a 50-foot wide river in order to reach aid station # 6. Only the adventurous, experienced trail runners and fit athletes should sign up for this race. You will get wet and very muddy, and you are likely to end up with scratches on your legs.

I'm not crazy.

Really. I'm not.

Obviously this is not a race where you expect a PR, so I kinda of like a marathon where speed is not part of the equation - rather finishing is the main objective. Last year the winning times were well over 5 hours, and they tell people to double or even triple their marathon times to estimate expected finishing times. I want to run a marathon in every state and province, so this will knock Vermont off of the list. There is a group of runners going that Hubs and I know, so that should make it really fun. And of course, why not run it? :) Hubs is of course good to go!

Here is a video about Jay's Peak I found on You Tube:

This marathon is taking place on July 26th, in less than two months, so my plan is hit to the trails for my runs two or three times a week, including my LSD run on Sunday. I will also run 30K back to back in a few week to prepare as this event is more of an ultra than a marathon. I suppose I should also do some hill training :). I can't wait to knock this one off. I've heard the view at the top of the mountain is awesome! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Race Review: Ottawa Marathon

So the Ottawa Marathon is the final race review for Hubs 5 marathons in 5 weeks series. I have already posted some preamble about the Ottawa event (click here), and also about my own personal struggle with the 2008 marathon (click here), so for this review, I will focus just on how the race itself went, instead of my personal race experience.

Hubs and I took a coach bus with his fellow CAW members to Ottawa on Saturday morning. We were part of a group of runners and walkers called the Durham Racers, with a common mission of raising money and awareness for Cancer prevention. For his part, Hubs had agreed to run the Ottawa marathon in his work coveralls (Hubs works in the Paint Shop at General Motors).

As soon as the bus arrived in Ottawa we went straight to the race expo to pick up our race kits. In previous years, the race expo had been held at Carleton University but this year they relocated to the Aberdeen Pavilion, near downtown Ottawa. Although it is a beautiful building, I personally found this new venue to be step back from the previous expo location, as it was extremely crowded, and you literally had to push your way through the masses to get your race kit. The vendors were crammed close together and the building was extremely hot. We got our race kits and left right away.

We stayed at the Saint Paul's Residence Inn (university campus), which was located a short distance from downtown Ottawa. After checking in and taking a short nap we took a cab down to the Byward Market, an outdoor market which is a big tourist attraction in downtown Ottawa. Here are some pictures Hubs took of the area, including the lovely Italian restaurant, Vittoria Trattoria, where we had dinner. It was awesome, and I even held off having vino with my pasta (considering how the race went, I should have totally drank up!).

Race day morning started out a sunny 11 degrees and felt pretty cool. This years race was very well organized. There were ample porta-potties, the bag-drop was fast and easy, and they had racers organized into corals based on predicted start times. They even gave out Powerbars before the race started. On route there were ample aid and water stations. Half marathoners started two hours later, which is nice for marathoners, knowing the all of the fellow runners around you are running the full marathon distance.

In my opinion, the greatest highlights of the Ottawa marathon is a tossup between the awesome scenery and the fantastic spectators. Since is was such a nice day there were many spectators, both English and French speaking lining the streets. It was uniquely Canadian to hear people call out well wishes in both languages as you ran by. Awesome.

Hubs ran a great race and gained many positive comments about his coveralls. Here are some photos:

Hubs on the bridge that connect the provinces of Ontario and Quebec:

A disappointing result in my seventh marathon:

And Hubs finishes FIVE marathons in FIVE weeks!!! WooooHoooo!!!

BTW, Hubs ran the whole way in those coveralls, and the temperature when he finished was a balmy 24 degrees.

So my final verdict on the Ottawa race:
City and attractions: 10/10
Expo: 4/10
Course entertainment: 8/10
Medal: 9/10
Race T-shirt: 8/10
Spectators: 10/10
Course support: 8/10
Post race support: 7/10
Difficulty: 6/10 (10 being most difficult)

Despite my less than stellar race performance I am already itching for new races. It is the failures and the triumphs that keep me coming back! Look for more posts on what comes next. I can't wait! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

So I now know what it feels like to hit the wall

And it sucks. Instead of hitting the wall they should call it getting run over by a Mac truck!!

The first half of my marathon went more as less at planned, I came in just over 2 hours at the half-way point. Around 26kms I started having issues with food, I didn't want to eat anything, and I literally had to choke down Gatorade.
Anyway things got worse as the race went along, and I had to run -walk from 30K on. The Sun started beating down, and even the bands and cheering weren't helping. Around 38K I was feeling dizzy and I went off to side to stretch. I continued to walk and around the 39K mark I chucked my cookies. Nice. The poor spectators with their lawn chairs and umbrellas looked repulsed. Welcome to the marathon.

What caused it? I don't know. I think I didn't give myself enough taper time. I ran a full four weeks ago, and then a half two weeks ago, and then the full today. I felt recovered, and my first half was fine. My second half was dismal. When I was sick, they tried pull me off the course, but I refused and stumbled into the finish line. I strangely felt better afterwards. Anyway, I finished in a disappointing 4:48:and change.
I am not going to see this as a failure but as a learning experience. The marathon distance must always be respected - I know I can turn this disappointing result into a positive.

On the up side, I did finish my seventh marathon and it was the toughest personally for me yet. I had never experienced this "wall" thing before. I have always been tired on the home stretch, but never questioned if I could even walk it out. Also Hubs finished his 5th of 5 marathons in a row. He ran this marathon in his Paint Shop coveralls to raise money for cancer research. He completed his run in 4 hours, 17 minutes. I will post a full race review later. Thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Race Review: The Cleveland Marathon

The Cleveland Rocks and Runs Marathon was the fourth of Hubs 5 marathons in 5 weeks series, and it was a blast! It was Victoria Day weekend for us Canadians, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to take a road trip to Cleveland.

Cleveland, Ohio is best known as a manufacturing center, and ofcourse the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Cleveland Marathon is a relatively flat course that runs through downtown Cleveland and along the shore of Lake Erie. Course map is depicted below:

Running the Cleveland Marathon was a huge thrill for Hubs. He is a musician and one of his favourite movies of all time is a parody of an imaginary aging rock band called "Spinal Tap." He has watched this movie over 50 times! Here is a video clip from the movie. The band, Spinal Tap is lost backstage in at their concert in Cleveland. This video clip gave Hubs a bit of inspiration for his Marathon and how he wanted to run it:

Hubs got the idea that he wanted to run across the finishing line of the Cleveland Marathon with his white Fendar Strat guitar(the same guitar that is on the Marathon medal). I handed him his guitar at mile 25 and quickly took his picture:

Well Hubs ran in the marathon (his fourth in four weeks) with his beloved white Fendar Strat over his head shouting "Hello Cleveland!". The crowd cheers were awesome! Here is a picture of him crossing the finishing line.

Did you notice his time? Hubs ran this race in 4 hours 12 minutes, his fastest of his four marathons in four weeks (still 14 minutes slower than his PR), but still, it begs the question, what is the human body capable of? Hubs also ran without a watch, he just went solely on feel. It was a great accomplishment!

After the marathon, we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and strolled around before driving home. It was a great weekend.

So the final verdict on the Cleveland Marathon:

City and attractions: 10/10
Expo: 8/10
Course entertainment: 5/10
Medal: 10/10
Race T-shirt: 8/10
Spectators:5/10 (full)
Course support: 8/10
Post race support: 7/10
Difficulty: 4/10 (10 being most difficult)

Well that just leaves Ottawa. I am running this one as well and I am looking forward to it. Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Race Review: Mississauga Marathon

We were off to Mississauga for marathon three of Hub's five marathons in five weeks series. Mississauga, Ontario is a large suburb city of Toronto. It has the largest population growth in Canada, with a population closing in on 700000. Surprisingly, one of Mississauga more notable personalities is that of the mayor, Hazel McCallion. At 86 years of age, she is the oldest mayor in Canada. Hazel has been the mayor of Mississauga for 30 years, and is so popular, she doesn't even have to campaign to get re-elected. Hazel is always at the start line of the Mississauga Marathon, and a result, it can often take several minutes to cross the start line as she is a bit of a local celebrity.

Mayor McCallion is well known for her spirited no nonsense approach to politics, and as such is often called "Hurricane Hazel". Now enough with the politics.. lets talk about the marathon.

I was registered to run a the full Marathon, but I didn't feel like I had yet recovered from the Nashville race, so I decided to run this race as a half training race, opting to save myself for the Ottawa Marathon this weekend. This meant that I would run with Hubs (completing his third full in his five week mission), and we would run together until the 15k mark when the half splits off to the finish line.

The Mississauga course is virtually flat, with only two major elevations. The course has a mixture of scenery from very impressive large homes to winding waterfront trails along Lake Ontario. Here is a description of the course taken from the course Mississauga Marathon website:

A beautiful run that encompasses much of Mississauga’s beauty. This point to point course is a fast net downhill. The course starts at Mississauga’s City Hall, and makes its way west across the Credit River to Mississauga Road and then travels south for a beautiful stretch past the University of Toronto’s Mississauga Campus, Mississauga Golf Club, and continues through some of Mississauga’s most beautiful residential neighbourhoods, before winding along the scenic Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail and finishing on the edge of Lake Ontario at Lakefront Promenade Park.

Here is the course map:

The weather on race day was ideal, although there is always a strong headwind off of the lake. I had a good run. I felt strong, but I didn't want to overdo it, since my ultimate goal race is this weekend, and finished in 2 hours, 29 seconds. Hubs did amazing as this was his third marathon in three weeks, finishing in 4 hours 22 minutes, eight seconds.

So my final rating on the Mississauga Marathon:
City and attractions: 6/10
Expo: 6/10
Course entertainment: 4/10
Medal: 7/10
Race T-shirt: 8/10
Spectators: 6/10
Course support: 8/10
Post race support: 8/10
Difficulty: 5/10 (10 being most difficult)

Next up: The Cleveland Marathon. Hopefully you have seen the movie Spinal Tap. Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Race Review: The Sudbury Rocks Marathon

The Sudbury Rocks Marathon was the second marathon in Hubs 5 marathons in 5 weeks mission. Sudbury is a small city located in Northern Ontario, approximately 4 hours from Toronto. It is mainly known for its mining of nickel. Here is a picture of a giant nickel located in Sudbury, appropriately called "The Big Nickel".

The marathon medal is also a big nickel, which is really cool. The Sudbury Marathon is a 21.1 K double-loop course. It is the only race in Canada that is age and gender graded, meaning that racers start at a different times, depending on their age and sex. This means that a fit 50 year old female stands as much chance at winning the race as a 25 year old male. (This has yet to happen- the handicap is really small). Here is the course map and elevation chart:

We drove up to Sudbury on the Saturday before the race (we stayed at momma Hubs house on Friday night, which is about half-way to Sudbury). This race is a small hometown event with only about 55 full marathon participants. We decided to attend the pasta dinner as it was in the same hotel that we were staying at. We were glad we did because the key note speaker was Sudburian adventurer Megan McGrath. At age 30, she has quite an impressive resume and made a great motivational speaker. Here is an excerpt from her biography on her website.

Meagan McGrath was raised in Sudbury, Ontario. She enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1995, and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 2000, with a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry). Upon completion of her Aerospace Engineering training, Meagan McGrath was posted to Ottawa in 2001, where she worked as an Imaging Radar System Engineer, a sub-project of the Aurora Incremental Modernization Project. In August 2005, Meagan McGrath was posted to the Air Force Experimentation Centre, the Ottawa detachment of the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre.
Since 2002, Meagan McGrath has climbed many peaks throughout the world in an attempt to climb the “Seven Summits” the highest peak on each continent. At 0507hrs, on 21 May 2007, Meagan summitted Mount Everest, achieving her goal to climb the Seven Summits.
In addition to the Seven Summits, Megan has also completed the Marathon Des Sables, pretty much the toughest marathon in the world. (described below) She placed third I believe amoungst the women.
The Marathon Des Sables ("Marathon Of the Sands") is a challenging running/trekking event, that takes place annually in the Moroccan portion of the Sahara Desert. Meagan covered 245.3km (in 6 sections: 31.6km, 38km, 40.5km, 75.5km, 42.2km, 17.5km) during 7 days - equivalent to 5 1/2 regular marathons, through the Sahara desert.

Her enthusiastic positive personality and amazing accomplishments left Hubs and I feeling like anything is possible!

Race Day
Well I was sitting this one out, but planned on running with hubs for 5K or so, and then providing support along the course.
I met up with hubs at the 23K mark and he was in good spirits. He had found another runner to chat with (did I mention that Hubs loves to chat?). I was amazed at how strong he was, considering he had just ran a marathon a week before. When I left hubs at the 28K mark, he was starting to slow, but his spirits were good. I felt relieved.

Anyway, Hubs finished the marathon (his second of five marathons in five weeks) in a time of 4 hours 28 minutes. Pretty impressive when you considered that he was running the marathons back to back. Here are some race pics:

Way to go Hubs!

So my final rating on the Sudbury Rocks! Marathon:

City and attractions: 7/10
Expo: 2/10
Course entertainment: 1/10
Medal: 8/10
Race T-shirt: 8/10
Spectators: 2/10 (full)
Course support: 8/10
Post race support: 8/10
Difficulty: 6/10 (10 being most difficult)

Next up in the 5 marathon series is the Mississauga Marathon: stay tuned! Thanks for reading!

Race Review: Nashville Country Music Marathon

So the first marathon in hubs mission to five marathons in five weeks was the Nashville Country Music Marathon. I also ran this race as a full marathon. First off, let me preface by stating that I am no country music fan. In fact, out of all of the genres of music, country rates near the bottom, perhaps only bested by hard (not heavy) metal. So why the Nashville Marathon? Well my sister just recently moved there. In fact I had already planned my racing season when I signed up for the Nashville marathon. I was going to run the Mississauga full marathon, and then Ottawa as half. Then my sister announced that she was moving when her husband landed a fantastic new job, so hubs and I thought, why not Nashville?
So we were off to music city. My mom came with us and we flew into Nashville from Toronto due to limited time off of work. Nashville is a fun modern city. Here is a picture taken in the airport of hubs upon our arrival:

Too fun. It has a bit off a hick town reputation, but in reality, it is a modern city that fuses the southern states with the northern states, and of course it is home of the Grand Ole Opry.

Now the Nashville marathon is a large event with over 30000 participants. It is mostly a half marathon event with 25000 of those participants running the half marathon. I had read on the marathon guide website that the marathon course was lonely on the second half, but since I don't mind this, I signed up anyway. Besides, there was lots of support on the course with over 50 bands, and awesome spectators. Here is one picture of a random spectator clearly enjoying the spectacle of a marathon race..

Since the marathon was on the Saturday, we went to the race expo on Friday. It was a huge expo, but unfortunately it was super crowed, and since we were there with my two darling nephews (aged 12 months and 24 months), we made a quick exit from the expo, which was disappointing since there were so many good vendors to visit. I was in the mood for bargain shopping!

Now I also read tons of reviews which described the course as hilly, but being optimistic, I thought that the hills would probably be O.K, and I wanted to tackle the challenge. Here is the elevation map and course route:

The elevation map to me seemed OK, a little hilly, but manageable. Even people on our airplane flight on the way down warned us not to expect a PR since it was a very hilly course, and some said that they thought the elevation map was wrong. Meh.

Well unfortunately, it turned out that they were right. The day began with pouring rain, which subsided to a sticky humid sunny day. Not too hot, but sticky, and around 23 degrees. The first half of the marathon was hilly, but I felt strong, and came in at the halfway point around 2:00 hours, which was reasonable to obtain my goal of under 4:10. The course was a lot of fun and the scenery was great and the bands were awesome (mostly rock music). However, the second half of the course seemed hillier, and of course it was desolate when over 25000 of the half participants finished. None of the hills were huge, but they were constant. There were literally no flat stretches. I quickly lost steam, and the sun was really beating down on my back, and by the 20 mile mark, I knew that today was not my day, so I decided just to relax and enjoy the course.

It was great seeing family on the course, and it really raised my spirits. Here is a picture my sister took of me on the course.

Other highlights included the free beer at mile 24, and the great camaraderie that formed amongst fellow runners. People would cheer on downhills, it was quite funny.

So all said and done, I ended up completing the marathon in 4 hours, 32 minutes (16 minutes slower than my PR). Not the time I wanted, but it was a great experience and I am glad I did it. The marathon medal was awesome, one of the nicest I have in my collection of six. Here is a post race picture of hubs and I. He ran a 4 hour sixteen minute marathon (seventeen minutes slower than his PR).

Both my sister and my brother in law are very fast runners. In fact my sister was a professional athlete (currently busy with her two young boys), who has completed an Iron man and can run a half marathon in under an hour and twenty minutes. My brother in law is also a terrific runner, having completed the Chicago marathon in 2 hours thirty six minutes. He ran a leisurely 1 hour twenty seven minute half on little training. Pretty impressive.

So my final rating on the Nashville Marathon:

City and attractions: 9/10
Expo: 7/10
Course entertainment: 10/10
Medal: 10/10
Race T-shirt: 1/10 (a cotton t-shirt made for a mammoth!)
Spectators: 7/10 (full)
Course support: 9/10
Post race support: 9/10
Difficulty: So far this is the most difficult course I have run yet, so it gets a 8.5/10 (10 being most difficult)

Would I run it again. Yes, BUT I would set a goal for PR goal for this course, not an overall PR. Next up in the five marathons in five week series: The Sudbury Rocks marathon. Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

FIVE marathons in FIVE weeks

hYes. You read the title right. FIVE marathons in FIVE weeks. That is what loving Hubs is in progress of completing. Maybe I should re-title my blog "Ramblings of a running addict married to a running MANIAC!!". (In all seriousness though, hubs is my hero!). Right now I am blogging from our hotel in Cleveland as hubs prepares for marathon four in Cleveland.

I plan on posting race reports for all five of the marathons (3 of which I will have run-2 as a full and one as a half), but this blog entry is just preamble about who does such crazy things?!

Well apparently, it is not that uncommon to run back to back marathons as you may think. When hubs first mentioned his plan to me, I was a little worried. Some running experts don't recommend running more than one or at most two marathons per year due to the huge physical strain it can put on your body. But it can and has been done. Lets look at some examples.

1. Terry Fox
When I first expressed my concern to hubs, he mentioned that Terry Fox ran a marathon every day for over three months. He's right. Terry Fox is the most amazing Canadian runner ever. Rephrase. He is the most amazing runner ever. He is the very definition of hero. Here is an excerpt from The Terry Fox Foundation website in case you are not familiar with Terry's incredible story:

While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children, that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.
He would call his journey the Marathon of Hope.
After 18 months and running over 5,000 kilometres (3,107 miles) to prepare, Terry started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980 with little fanfare. Although it was difficult to garner attention in the beginning, enthusiasm soon grew, and the money collected along his route began to mount. He ran 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day through Canada's Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario.
It was a journey that Canadians never forgot.
However, on September 1st, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles), Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because cancer had appeared in his lungs. An entire nation was stunned and saddened. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at age 22.

I remember seeing Terry run right behind our farm house in Millbrook Ontario on highway 115 (near Peterborough, Ontario) when I was a child. Many Canadians celebrate Terry's memory with a walk/run event in the fall.

2. Ultras
People run distances further than marathons. These are referred to as ultramarathons or ultras for short. There are 50K, 100K and even 100 mile ultra events. In fact, I know a few runners that are completing a 100 mile race the same weekend I run the Ottawa marathon. They will likely be running for almost 20 hours or more!! Perhaps the most interesting story I have stumbled across regarding ultra marathon, was the story of a 13 year old girl who completed her first 50 miler with her mom, its very touching.

3. Other crazies
While researching if it would be safe for hubs to run multiple marathons, I came across an interesting site called marathon maniacs. Apparently there are other runners out there that are addicted just as addicted (even more so) to running marathons. In fact they even have criteria to be considered part of their maniac club:

1. Back to Back Marathons (two marathons in consecutive weekends, races can be run on either Saturday or Sunday).
2. 2 Marathons in 3 weeks (2 Marathons within a 16 day time frame).
3. 3 Marathons in 3 months (3 Marathons within a 90 day time frame).

1. 3 Marathons in 3 weeks ( 3 Marathons within a 16 day time frame ).
2. 6 Marathons in 6 months (6 marathons in 6 consecutive calendar months).
3. 8 - 11 Marathons within 1 calendar year.

1. 4 Marathons within a 6-week time span (or 37 days).
2. 12 - 18 Marathons within 1 calendar year.
3. 4 Marathons in 4 different US states, Countries or Canadian Provinces (any combination) within an 8-week time span (or 51 days).

1. 4 Marathons in 4 consecutive weeks (or 23 days).
2. 19 - 25 Marathons within 1 calendar year.
3. 2 Marathons in 2 days (or 48 hours) must finish both races!
4. 9 Marathons in 9 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in 1 calendar year.

1. 26 - 30 Marathons within 1 calendar year.
2. 4 Marathons on back to back weekends (within a 9 day window).
3. 3 Marathons in 3 separate US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) within a 9-day time span.
4. 13 Marathons in 13 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in one calendar year.

1. 31 - 37 Marathons in 1 calendar year.
2. 16 Marathon in 16 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in 1 calendar year.
3. 6 Marathons in 3 weeks (or 16 days). With proper planning and rest this can be done!

1. 38 - 44 Marathons in one calendar year.
2. 20 Marathons in 20 US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in 1 calendar year.
3. 13 Marathons in 12 weeks ( 79 days ).

1. 52 Marathons or more in one calendar year.
2. 30 Marathons in 30 US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in 1 calendar year.
3. 20 Countries in one calendar year.

There is also an award given to the male and female that runs the most number of marathons every year. Are you a candidate?

Stay tuned for the 5 marathon race reports. First up: Nashville Country Music Marathon. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My next marathon ....Ottawa

So I am running my seventh marathon on May 25th, the ING Ottawa marathon in less than two weeks. I just ran a marathon two weeks ago, the Nashville Country Music Marathon, but it didn't quite translate to the race I wanted in terms of a personal record (PR), so I am attempting my second marathon this spring in a four week span. I will post about the Nashville race experience later, but for now I will discuss the beast upon me, the Ottawa marathon.

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada is a beautiful city, and for you American readers, it is the capital of Canada. It is the epitome of a true Canadian marathon. I hold the Ottawa marathon near and dear to my heart as the Ottawa marathon was my very first marathon that I completed and I loved it so much that I came back last year to run it again (even though I hadn't trained AT ALL - not recommended!). So this will be the third time I have will have run the Ottawa marathon, and I have also ran Ottawa as a half marathon in 2005. The Ottawa course is simply beautiful. You run from the province of Ontario into the province of Quebec through the Gatineau area (Hull) before running back to Ottawa Ontario and running by Canadian landmarks such as the Parliment building and the famous Cateau Laurier hotel (I had the priviledge of attending a wedding there last year-nice!).

The race is a real hometown event with lots of spectators and entertainment along the course -even belly dancers! It makes you feel proud to be a Canadian. Last year while running, Hubs and I got to shake the former Canadian Prime Minister's (Jean Cretien) hand while running through the prestigious Rockcliffe area. How many American races can boast such things?

Although I love the Ottawa marathon, it has never been kind to me in terms of having a great race. First of all the race is always held the last week on May and it is notoriously hot. The course is not a hilly course, but there are flatter courses to run. The first time I ran Ottawa was as a half. I had trained really hard and I was sure that I would be able to run a sub 2 hour race and ended up running around 2:08 - I was disappointed even though it was a PR at the time. I also trained really hard for my first marathon, and I was fairly confident that I could run under 4:20, but alas the day was 34 degrees Celsius, and I ended up with a time of 4:37. Although I hadn't met my time goal I still cherished my first marathon experience -it was an amazing accomplishment! In 2006, I entered the race untrained and ended up finishing in an yucky 5 hour+ fashion, but I had a lot of fun during the race.

So needless to say, I want this year to be different. So far, my PB marathon time is a 4:16 (the Philadelphia marathon this past fall), and I know I can better my time. I do have a specific goal in mind, but I will keep that private for now, and I know I can accomplish it under the right conditions. Right now the weather for the 25th looks promising - a high of approximately 14 degrees Celsius - well below average - YES!!

So I am gearing up mentally for the big event. I hope that this will be the year I conquer the Ottawa course. Wish me luck and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Welcome to my Running Blog

As of late I have been enjoying reading many blogs - particularly blogs about my very favorite pastime - RUNNING. When I refer to running I really mean distance running, particularly the beast of the running distances - the marathon. I was so inspired by the great writings of so many other runners, I decided to start a record of my own running experiences. So I shall start by providing a brief history of my own resume as a runner.

I began running during the month of July in 2004. My then fiance (now an equally obsessed runner and whom I will lovingly refer to as "hubs") and I were having lunch at a restaurant next door to our local Whitby running room. After filling up on our usual healthy fare (chicken wings, red wine, and French fries), hubs and I sauntered over to Whitby Running Room. Truthfully - I dragged him with less resistance than usual due to the copious amount of beer he had recently consumed. I had one image in my mind when I signed up for the 5K learn to Run clinic - BUFF BRIDE!! I went home and polished off another glass of wine while I relished the image...

I quickly became addicted to the sport completing my very first 5K race - The Run for the Cure in the fall and then immediately signing up for the Half marathon clinic. By time I was married I had run my second half marathon and I definitely was in much better shape than before I started running. I also felt happier and more productive in many areas of my personal and work life (I am a high school science teacher). After I was married, I proceeded to train for and run three 4 half marathons before I tried my first full marathon in May of 2006 - The ING Ottawa Marathon. It was such an amazing experience that I knew that I would be a runner for life.
I hope this blog with be a way to continue sharing my running goals.

On May 25th, I am running my seventh full marathon, the Ottawa Marathon. I will share some goals and thoughts on this course tomorrow. I am trying to get to bed earlier to rest up for the big event.