When the alarm went off at 4:00 am all I wanted to do was stay snuggled deep in my covers. Although I had gone to bed fairly early, I felt tired and the thought of running in the dark and cold was depressing. But, I had a marathon to run! So I just hauled myself out of bed and got dressed, had breakfast and headed out the door. I made my usual Tim Horton’s stop where I got the usual small coffee and three timbits :) Once I got to the Arboretum and got out of the car I took a deep breath and said out loud: “alright – time to go” and off I went. I must admit that first half was very slow and cold. The paths had been cleared of all the snow that had fallen, they were nonetheless very icy and slippery.
shortly before 8:00 I arrived back at the arboretum and took a few moments to put on another pair of socks as my feet were still cold and to warm up a bit.
The core group of runners (Tom, Dennis, Rick, Liz, Karim) were all out and we headed off. The second half of the run was much better than the first mainly because I now had people to run with and it was getting nice and sunny and warming up.
As we were running along the canal I noticed that someone had built a snowman on the canal. The picture isn’t all that great (I do need to improve in this area), but it was just cool to see although at the same time, it was too bad that the canal shut down early this year.
Looking ahead the weather looks fantastic for Sunday…..sunny and mild!
Today’s marathon was an actual race. It was the Winterman Marathon. This is an 8 loop course that runs along the Western Parkway. We start at the Aviation Museum, and except for the first loop which has an added 2.2 km added to it, we run to Parkdale and then do a little out and back at Tunney’s Pasture. We had a great day for it…..running on ashpalt the whole time, it was a sunny day and temperature wise about -5. The only thing was that the wind really picked up around loop 4.
The course has two hills and because you get them both ways, that makes 4 per loop and 32 for the whole race. I certainly noticed them, especially as I haven’t really been doing much in the way of hill training. This is something I better start as the Two Oceans Marathon in South Africa is only 7 weeks away. This race has lots of really big hills so it will be quite a challenge. I am sure to feel those hills in every part of my legs over the next few days!
I haven’t raced in a marathon for over a year now and because all my long runs have been pretty slow, I wondered if I had it in me to pull of a race in my Boston Qualifying time which is 4:05. Even though I don’t necessarily want to go back to Boston, I do nonetheless like to see if I can qualify for it.
Once the canon went off, I felt really good. My pace was around 5:30, which I worried might be a little fast, especially at the outset. I have been running my marathon distance runs anywhere from 5 to 6 hours (although there are many breaks, the average pace is easily about 6:30 per km). I continued and with the exception of stopping for three minutes to have a bathroom break and taking a drink at all of the aid stations, I didn’t stop and just kept trying to hold onto the pace. My time at 21.2km was 1:56 which I was really pleased with. I did slowdown during the second half, primarily because the wind really picked up and made it difficult to get any speed at all. Overall, my average pace was 5:37 per km. I came across the finish line at 4:0058. I did note though that at the 42.2 km marker on my garmin, my time was 3:58 and that by the time I reached the finish, my garmin registered 42.7km. I’m not sure if the course was measured wrong or if it was my garmin.
At any rate, I am very, very pleased with the whole effort.
Next week, I’ll be back to running the slower paced marathon distance.
Today was another cold, cold day: - 17 and -27 with the wind when I started at 5:00 am this morning. Long range though looks like it will be quite mild next weekend. Actually the weather during the week is going in the plus range, which is actually not a good thing seeing as it is the last weekend of Winterlude. I do hope though that folks, especially all the visitors to Ottawa get a chance to enjoy the final weekend.
Even though it was a cold day, the sun was shining brilliantly which made the run just all that more enjoyable. We took a few pictures at Jacques Cartier Park and once I get my USB cable, I’ll upload them. The park looked great – lots of really cool snow sculptures and ice hills for the kids and adults too, to slide down on. While it looked like it would be fun to slide down, my glutes were really sore from the hike we did on Friday night from P16 to Herridge Cabin – lots of ups and downs which obviously I am not really used to
Next Sunday I am going to run the Winterman Marathon. This marathon begins at the War Museum and goes along the Western Parkway to Parkdale – we do 8 loops. I wasn’t planning on running a registered marathon this winter, but as I am going to be going to South Africa in April to run Two Oceans ( http://www.twooceansmarathon.org.za/) I needed to have a qualifying marathon as my Comrades and Beast of Burden races didn’t count.
Usually when the alarm goes off at 4:00 am on Sunday morning, I am already pretty much awake. Afterall, I’ve usually had a good 7 hours of sleep. But not this time…..
Saturday night, Mike and I went to the Sens – Leafs game. I’m not much of a hockey fan and as such don’t have a particular affinity to any one team. As Mike is a huge Leafs fan, I found myself cheering alongside him everytime they scored……it was though too bad the Sens couldn’t even get one goal in!
While we had a great time and it was a late night for me. By the time we got home it was after 11 which meant I’d be lucky to get about 5 hours of sleep. Which if it’s a good sleep is ok. But at 2:30 I heard my son come in with some friends. Although they were pretty quiet, they were in the kitchen which is right under my bedroom. Any noise seems to echo up into my room so of course I woke up…. Around 3:45 I fell asleep again only to be awakemed by the alarm at 4:00. I will admit that getting out of bed was tough! It was one of those times I would have just loved to roll over and sleep for a few more hours. Which I could have done, but then I’d only be finished my run in the afternoon and I did want to enjoy my Sunday afternoon. So it was one of those ‘don’t think about it and just get out of bed moments .
Of course once I was up, all was good and I was really glad to have been finished around 10:30.
This was the first weekend of Winterlude and Mother Nature didn’t disappoint. The temperature was super for both running and skating. It was great seeing so many folks out on the ice. An added bonus was the parkway being closed to traffic which meant we could run on the road….being mindful of course that buses did come along from time to time.
We made a stop at Confederation Park to take a look at the ice sculptures. The sculpters were just putting the finishing touches on their creations – what talent! I have some pictures but they will be added when my new USB cable arrives.
The weather certainly was much milder than it has been. As a result of the mild weather this past week we have had a lot of freezing rain instead of snow, so you can just imagine the state of the pathways! They were either extremely slippery in spots, one big mushy puddle or very bad footing (the kind where it’s easy to twsit an ankle). Most of my first 21km was run on the road because I couldn’t see what was ahead of me on the paths and after alsmost falling once, figured it would be much safer on the road.
Once I joined up with the group, the footing was getting a little better, but it was still pretty slow going in spots. Fortunately no one in the group had a tumble!
This weekend is “All Star Weekend” and among the many events being held, they have created a wall of Jersey’s enclosed in ice across from the Convention Centre. Here are a couple of pictures of the group:
Till next week.