Thoughts from Niagara & Canadian Running article

I spent the weekend at my parents in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The days were full of non-running related events, but that didn’t prevent me from getting my long run in on Saturday morning. Frankly, I wouldn’t miss a long run in Niagara for the world. I had 27km on the schedule. After last week’s 32km (half outside in the rain & slush, and half on the mill), I knew this run, on one of my favourite routes, was going to be a piece of cake. I got up early, had my coffee and was out the door around 7:30am. The temperature was ideal. I was wearing a long sleeve top, light vest, leggings, and I was set. I left the subdivision where my parents live, and made a beeline for the country roads. For those of you who are not familiar with Niagara-on-the-Lake, this is wine country. Vineyards for miles. I smile just thinking of it. I have a few places that are special to my heart, and this is one of them.


I listened to podcasts for the first 13.5k, which took me into Queenston, past the Brock Monument and the historical home of Laura Secord. I had a Hammer gel at 9km. At the turn around I switch to my music, which gave me an extra boost.

I knew that I was pacing steadily in the 5:40s for the first half of my run. With negative splits being an area I’m working on, I decided I’d try to pick it up for the last half, all the while remaining within my assigned pace range for the day (5:30-6:00).

As I ran back, the memory of me running the Niagara Ultra Trail Marathon on this route in 2013 flooded back to me. I got emotional for a second. I told myself to get it together, we were negative split-ing today. Despite my efforts, I revisited memories I haven't thought about in a while. That marathon was the race I ran six weeks after finishing the 2013 Ottawa Marathon in a {disappointing at the time4:02. I had placed a lot of pressure on myself for Ottawa and thought I could have done better; so I registered for Niagara (do what I say NOT WHAT I DO). I ended up finishing Niagara in {an even more disappointing at the time} 4:34.

I look back on this now and laugh. I was so impatient with myself. Running a fast-to-you marathon takes time. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but combining my overtraining and {lack of} training plan, I wasn’t exactly working with a recipe for success. Running has taught me to appreciate and ENJOY the process. Nothing worth having comes to fruition over night. 

With these thoughts in my head, I carried on. I was running directly into a head wind, and I kept being reminded of the head wind I ran into the first half of the Hamilton Marathon. I told myself to suck it up and get going. I had ten kilometres left and you never know what’ll greet you on race day.

17) 5:34 18) 5:34 19) 5:26 20) 5:32 21) 5:24 22) 5:34 23) 5:33 24) 5:34 25) 5:29 26) 5:49 27) 5:32

I finished strong. I stuck with the plan and the distance ticked off. That's the nice thing about country roads. You loose yourself in the landscape. It felt like I had just started, and here I was getting back home. Thank you Niagara for another successful long run. If it’s possible for a route to replenish the soul, this route would be it. 

What’s your favourite rural route?

In other news, my running story was published in Canadian Running Magazine, Canada's premier running publication. I was so thrilled to see this last night. Thank you Canadian Running and Noel Paine for selecting me for this honour! You can read the article here.

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Connect with Noel Paine on Twitter and check out more of his articles with Canadian Running Magazine here.