Race date: March 29, 2015
I’ve never gone into a race with the mindset of treating it like a training run. Hell, I’m way too competitive for that. But here I am, training for the Ottawa Marathon with 29k on the schedule for ATB day so that’s exactly what I set out to do. I had to think of it as “just another Sunday LSD run”. I wasn’t sure how that would go since I really am competitive by nature but I had to give it my best shot. Luckily, my run buddy Julie had the same idea in mind so I thought, between the two of us, we had a good chance at keeping each other in check.
This race has THE best pre-race set up being inside an arena with lots of warm places to sit and plenty of bathrooms available. It also has the best finish line which is on the floor of the arena and spectators can sit in the stands, in comfort, as they wait for their friends and family to finish.
The forecast was for sunny but cold temperatures so we put on some warm sweaters that we could throw off at some point on the course once we warmed up. Based on the forecast, I thought I might be wearing that throw-away sweater for at least an hour into the race.
We headed out to the start a few minutes before race time and squeezed into the corral just as the gun went off. I was running with Julie and Stacey to start. I ended up beside Stacey and then noticed Julie running right behind me which was my reminder that Stacey was racing this race, I was not. So, I slowed down and met up with Julie. Within about 500 meters, Stacey had been swallowed up by the sea of runners and Julie and I were left to run our own run. It was a lot warmer than I thought it would be, with the sun shining so bright, and before the 2km marker I was throwing off that old sweatshirt.
The race itself was good. I ran comfortably not really looking at my Garmin to check my pace at all. I ran my regular 10 & 1s and walked through the water stations to grab a quick sip. Through the rolling hills in the middle third of the race we ran most, but did walk the top half of a couple of them. Due to construction, there was a course change this year and the big hill at around 25km was taken out. The new part of the course was a nice substitution after all the hills we’d run for the first 23km of the race. It was nice though, to see the man with his big boom box playing We Will Rock You on the new part of the course and Grim Reaper had a helper this year. As we ran by, Julie gave the Grim Reaper a high five and we carried on into the final 3km of the race.
At about 28k I was feeling really great and decided that I would run through the last walk break and try and pick up my pace a bit. As I approached the final intersection before the descent into the arena I saw Mike who took a few (dozen) pictures as I ran by.
Down the final stretch, turn into the arena, down the ramp, turn another corner, out onto the floor of the arena and cross the finish line. I walked for a minute taking stock of things. I felt pretty good. No, I felt great! Then I heard a loud cheer of my name. I looked into the stands and saw a group of my buddies. Some who had run the race, and others who had come out just to cheer us all on. I smiled and waved. I really love my running friends!
When I finally was able to see my official time I was pretty ecstatic. I was just off my 30k PB and I had run this race comfortably. Not pushing the pace at all. What this told me is that all the training I’ve been doing is paying off. At the end of the race, I felt like I could have kept going past 30k.
The weeks leading up to the race, I had started to feel tired, worn out, started to wonder what the hell I was doing training for another marathon. This run has boosted my confidence, renewed my commitment. And with eight weeks left of training, I’d say it couldn’t have been timed any better.
Official Time: 3:48:20.5