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Friday, July 17, 2015

Ottawa Marathon 2015

A couple of months have passed since the Ottawa Marathon, but I often think back and take a moment to retrospect. This race was really fun for a number of reasons. Good friends of ours, Seb and Marilou travelled from Montreal and stayed with us for the race weekend making it somehow special. After Saturday evening pasta dinner, it was time to go for a short walk a couple of blocks to Colonel By Drive to see the Canadian championship 10K race and the only IAAF Gold designation event in Canada which happened to have apparently the best group of elite runners ever assembled on Canadian soil. You could appreciate how fast the first group of African runners was moving only by contrast when you saw a group of runners trailing behind and realized that this "slow" group was flying at 3min/km pace. Inspirational prelude for us "mortals" before the marathon on Sunday.

Following recommendations from an article in Runners World I decided to try something new (again breaking a rule to never try new things on a race day) and woke up at 2am to have a carbo-loading breakfast (bagel with a PB, greek yogourt, banana and power bar). Enough fuel not to feel hungry in the morning before the race. Somehow I managed to go back to bed and fall asleep only to wake up again at 5:30 am.

Seb and I biked on Sunday morning along the canal path enjoying fresh warm morning.  No problem with road closures and parking restrictions. We were able to lock our bikes right in front of the City Hall only a short walk from the baggage drop-off tent. Few minutes later, I was standing in my corral. Running Room founder, John Stanton was on the stage and gave a pep talk before the countdown. 7:00 AM.  Let the race begin.

This was my 14th marathon, but the first one when I started the race conservatively slowly and progressively increased my pace. Running initially with 3:30 pace bunny, by 10km mark I was able to catch up with 3:25 bunny, by 20km I was running side by side with 3:20 bunny, and by 35km I exchanged pleasantries with 3:15 pace bunny, a strong runner with a PB of 2:50. The weather on Sunday was perfect and attracted record number of spectators. Noisy crowds especially along Sussex Ave  helped to cope with the pain of the last 7km. My finish time of 3:13 was not the fastest but one of the most satisfying so far considering that I trained only 5 weeks and was dealing with torn meniscus.  

After the race I met with Seb and ran into my good friend Gerry who was pacing a 1:55 group in Half-Marathon and crossed the finish line
on the spot at 1:54:56, a perfect job Gerry!

My recovery is over. No running in June, doing mostly weight training, biking, walking and swimming. Started running again in July with a goal of doing Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October.  Will keep you posted.

Run Strong,

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