Ottawa Race Weekend

2017 Ottawa Marathon

Dear Ottawa Marathoners, You're here. You've made it. We are so happy to have you in town. We know it's a big year for Canada, and that's why this is one of the best years to run Canada's largest marathon weekend. By now you've taken a look at the route, you will see the many sites you'll pass on your 42.2K journey this Sunday.

7:00 am will come quickly and all of a sudden you'll be running up the start chute past the National War Memorial. After a few quick turns, you'll nestle into the first 5K by running along the Rideau Canal. Did you know it's the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America? In fact, in 2007, the Rideau Canal was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an Ottawa based runner, I've logged a few hundred kilometres along this stretch. It never gets old.

As you carry on along the Rideau Canal towards Dows Lake, you'll have cheers from the Glebe, Preston Street and then Wellington West and Westboro Village! We have the BEST community support. I had a chance to run with Jeff Leiper, the councillor for Kitchissippi Ward, along Wellington Street. It's safe to say they are excited to see you around 8-10K!

You will carry on from Wellington onto Richmond Road, where you will turn onto Athlone Street. This side street always has a great crew out cheering. An unconfirmed rumour is that there is a house who makes pancakes for the cheer squad that is out there bright and early for the marathoners. Regardless, you're likely feeling good at this portion of the race. With the crowds along Wellington, I hope you're on a high (that's why we do this after all).

You will then turn into Tunney's Pasture and head down to Sir John A. Parkway. You'll run a few kilometres out and back along this stretch. This is a good time to put your speed into cruise control. Take in the view of the Ottawa River as you come back towards the city and past Canada's War Museum. Sponge stations will be located at 16K, 25K  and 36K. H2O and nuun hydration stations are set up every 3K for the Marathon.

You will then travel over Chaudiere Bridge into Gatineau, Quebec. I always think it's cool that we get to run a race that crosses two provinces. Fun Canada 150 fact, Ontario and Quebec are two of the four provinces to first join Confederation in 1867. As you run through Gatineau, you will experience some of the best crowd support and catch a glimpse of Gatineau Park. You will also hit the HALFWAY mark.

For those of you from out of town, Gatineau was recently hit with some of the worst flooding in years, with many homes devastated. With 45% of Tamarack Race Weekend participants coming from Quebec, this tragedy is very close to home. We are grateful for all the community support during this time.

As you progress from the halfway point, I find something changes in the race. A sense that this is where the real race begins. You've hung on for 21+ kilometres, and now will begin to test yourself as you make your way through the final 21K. Don't let your mind get ahead of you. Run the kilometre you're in.

Just before the Alexandra Bridge, you will find yourself in the midst of one of the loudest cheering and aid stations. They're cheering for you. To your right will the Canada's Museum of History. Pro-tip: The best photo spot to have Parliament in your backdrop is behind the museum.

As you're crossing the Alexandra Bridge, take a moment to breathe it all in. You are running a marathon today, and OMG look at this view. It really doesn't get any better than this. When things get tough, smile. You're about to head into one of the wildest cheering stations in the entire race. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

You will pass through the screaming crows at the National Art Gallery and likely get chills. I remember running through this stretch last year and feeling overwhelmed with emotion. It was a hot day out there, but man was I happy to be running 42.2K that day. THANK YOU to every single person who comes out to cheer runners on. Your words of encouragement, your cowbells, your signs, your sticky high fives mean the world.

You will then run along Sussex pass the Royal Canadian Mint, run along the Trans Canada Trail, and past 24 Sussex and Rideau Hall. You will see portions of this stretch again one your way back, but let's not think about that for now. You have 28-36K to run. Put your head down and keep moving (ideally towards the finish). You will have entertainment, water and sponge stations to support you. If the voice in your head gets the best of you, holler at one of the members of the Extra Mile Crew to run with you for a bit. Before you know it, you will be running along Beechwood, back up towards Sussex.

As you head back to the finish, you will start to see the crowds lining the streets grow. Feed off their energy. This is what you've been training for. You will pass the Byward Market, the Shaw Centre and complete your last few kilometres along the Rideau Canal. Does this look familiar? It should. You can see the finish from across the Canal and hear the crowds cheering. In minutes you will be running along Queen Elizabeth towards the finish.

As for me, this year I will be out volunteering at the start and on the course (literally) all weekend. If you see me, please say hi! If you're running, HAVE A GREAT RACE.


Are you running Ottawa Race Weekend?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

Anniversary Giveaway!!

To celebrate one year of The Pacing Life, I wanted to do something to say THANK YOU. Whether our paths crossed on this blog, Instagram, Twitter, I'm inspired daily by your stories and so appreciative to have you following me along on mine. So with that, I am giving away two race entries to the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend!! That's right, whether it's the 5K or the Marathon, two winners will be entered to participate in the event of your choice! See the Rafflecoptor below for ways to enter.

You all know that Race Weekend is my favourite weekend of the year! In 2016, close to 47,000 people participated in six events over the weekend, including the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. To celebrate Canada's 150th Anniversary, you can expect that this year's event will be special. If there is any year to run Canada's biggest running weekend, 2017 is it!

Rules: Enter by tagging a friend @thepacinglife's instagram OR entering via the Rafflecoptor options below! 2 winners will receive race entries to the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend distance of your choice. Giveaway ends Monday August 29th, 2016, at midnight EST. Winner will be notified via Instagram or email. Winner has 14 days to claim prize before a backup winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


What race distance would you run at the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Ottawa Marathon 2016 Race Report

I ran my 13th marathon on Sunday. That seems a tiny crazy to type. Each marathon has provided me with different experiences. There was no question that the Ottawa Marathon was for a PR. With a solid half marathon recently on the books, and multiple successful long runs, I knew that my goal of "3:45 or better" was doable. In fact, I had little doubt in my mind that I would finally see a 3:4x. I was at peace with the training I had put into this race and knew that I was truly ready. Thursday was the start of a very exciting weekend. I left work early and went to Rogers TV to film an Ottawa Race Weekend segment with Mark Sutcliffe. Talking with Mark and the other runners about the race got me excited for what would unfold in the coming days. I knew that more than 45 thousand runners and their families were coming to the city to experience the best race weekend in Canada - how awesome to be a part of this, I thought.


From Rogers TV, I made a beeline to the Shaw Centre where the Expo was being held. As a Run Ottawa member, I was stationed in the Run Ottawa booth and spoke to many runners coming to pick up their race kit. While I had been watching the weather all week, this is where I started to hear whispers that Sunday could turn out to be hotter than planned. Keep your head, I thought. You can run in heat.



That evening I had the honour of picking up our Canadian Record Holders Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak at the airport. My two favourite Rio contenders in my car? Pinch me. They were coming in on a 1:00 am flight from Vancouver, after training there that day. We chatted on the car ride home and I dropped them off at their downtown hotel. They were ready to rock the 10k (which they eventually did).


Friday was low-key. My parents got into town in the afternoon. We moseyed over to the expo for a perusal, and then met G for dinner. I continued to drink lots of water and nuun. These pesky whispers of heat on race day continued. So much so, there started to be concern of runners safety in the heat. Wait a second, I'm ok to run in some heat, but where did this 33ºC come from? This was not part of my plan.

The day before the race I was really committed to hydrating and eating on regular intervals. I didn't leave the house much that day. The more I've run, the more I realize how important days before the race really are. Feet up. Water and nuun in hand. I glanced at the weather every so often, but I didn't obsess. I knew that the plans for the day had already been set in motion. My coach and I had planned that I would run a conservative race, listening to my body every step in the way. Whatever was in the cards, I was ready to run 42.2.


Race morning, I woke up around 4:15 am, before my alarm. The race started at 7:00 am, and as you can imagine, I had a few pre-race routines to tend to. Coffee, banana, nuun, picky bar, glide, and so on. My Mom, who was also running the marathon, and I were out the door by 6:10 am. As we were walking I was giddy looking at the sky. Could this really be? The sky was overcast and the scorching heat was far from our midst. My prayers have been answered. We met Ashley and walked to the start together. We said our goodbyes and just like that I was at the START of the Ottawa Marathon.

This is the moment I've pictured since January. The gun goes off.

Kilometres 1-5 flew by, as you would expect. I kept my headphones off and was focused on taking in the moment and keeping my pace. For the first 5K, the plan was to hover around 5:30 for the start then bring it down gradually to 5:25. I've become a much better pacer this past year and knew that this would be doable. There were a lot of people around me; I tried to keep weaving to a minimum.

1) 5:25 2) 5:33 3) 5:29 4) 5:26 5) 5:24

By 6K, I would work it down to 5:20 and 5:15 by 7K. I would plan to hold it at 5:15 until 30K. I truly did have the best laid plans! By 10K I had warmed right up. Due to the heat, I had decided to bring a frozen hand held along with me. The ice was long gone. I could tell it was getting hotter out, but I was comfortable and felt confident in my hydration and fuelling strategy. First gel at 8.5K.

6) 5:20 7) 5:14 8) 5:16 9) 5:22 10) 5:18

Running through Westboro and Island park was a blast. There were so many people out cheering, spraying water and handing out water. There were a few moments where I thought I was going to cry. This was everything I had been picturing for the past five months. I've done the work and I'm confident this is going to be my day. Keep it together, Jayme. You can't cry during a marathon. 

11) 5:15 12) 5:10 13) 5:15 14) 5:16 15) 5:15

Legs were still feeling very strong in the lead up the half. As I approached 15K, I flashed back to the 2013 Ottawa Marathon where I fell a part early on in the race. Normally I would quash that thought quickly, but I spent a bit of time thinking about how far I've come since 2013. I put my music on for a bit. At 19k I saw one of my sweetest friends at the War Museum. We both live nearby; she's come out to most, if not all, of my races to cheer. Second gel at 19K. I repeated to myself: Lock it in at 5:15. I would visually picture myself buckling a seat belt around this pace. The things I think when I am running.

16) 5:11 17) 5:13 18) 5:11 19) 5:18 20) 5:10

I crossed the half mark in 1:52:49. A tiny bit slower than planned, but I wasn't worried. I reminded myself this was my day. My legs were still feeling strong. As I ran through Gatineau I reflected a lot on my runs with Ashley in these parts. I knew Ashley was up ahead and spent a moment thinking about her. I knew she  had done the work and was going to have a strong race. Selfishly, I wished I spotted her in the crowd so I could run with her!

The crowds in Gatineau were phenomenal. So many residents had come out with hoses to cool down the runners. Throughout the race there were heat notification flags (as pictured above) along the route. They were green up until this point, indicating LOW RISK. I agreed with their assessment (obviously when you are running a marathon you are exercising the best judgement). I continued to hang onto 5:15. Legs still in the game.

21) 5:14 22) 5:13 23) 5:16 24) 5:09 25) 5:15

I crossed the Alexandria Bridge and made my way back into Ottawa. Is it just me, or is it getting hot out here? Let's not dwell on the heat. Let's just run. For the next 5k I am giving you permission to mentally box up the watch and put it aside. Legs are still very much in the game. I used a sponge at 25K and was hydrating like a champ. Third gel at 26K. Just get it down.


26) 5:15 27) 5:18 28) 5:21 29) 5:33 30) 5:28

I could feel the heat and the sun by this point. It felt warmer than the start (captain obvious statement of the day), but I really wasn't ready to accept the heat. By 30K the plan was to start working my paces down. Instead, I could feel my paces slowing down. Ugh. I hit a few tough moments between 31-37K. Understanding we are running a marathon here, I expected that, but I was fighting hard to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. STAY IN THIS. I was hearing crickets from the bottom half of my body.

31) 5:30 32) 5:28 33) 5:42 34) 5:53 35) 5:38

At 36K I passed a young gal handing out freezies. This was quite seriously one of the best moments in the race. The cold felt so good in my mouth and on my hands. I held onto the freezie until 37K. By this point I noticed the heat notification flags had turned red and indicated HIGH RISK. As I approached the stretch along the canal (a portion of the race that I have used repeatedly for mental training), I remembered that we would be merging with the half-marathoners. The course was thick with people, with lots of crowds lining the sides. Even though I was feeling burnt out, I was filled with so much joy in this moment. This is why I run marathons.

36) 5:51 37) 7:27 38) 5:57 39) 6:04 40) 5:57

I stopped to fill up my water bottle at 39-40K. The sun was beaming down on my face and my commitment to my watch had all but disappeared. Thankfully, mind over matter prevailed and I picked it up at tiny by 42K. I am PR'ing today, I told myself. I was doing the math in my head and knew I would shave a few minutes off from my 3:57 from Hamilton.

41) 6:45 42) 6:03

As I ran the last 200 metres, I wish I could say I had more emotion in me. I was empty by that point and just focused on the finishing line. Once I crossed the mat, I smiled. Despite that race getting hard, I ran a marathon today. 3:55:08.

.2) 6:03



Congratulations to everyone who ran this weekend!! A huge thank you to the Ottawa Marathon race organizers, volunteers, and to the communities of Ottawa and Gatineau!

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running MagazineHave a suggestion for a runner profileLet me know!

Insider guide: Ottawa Race Weekend

With Race Weekend upon us, I wanted to share a few local tips and recommendations to runners coming into town. I’ll leave the race information to the official race website, so if you're looking for start times or details on baggage check, you're in the wrong place (go here). However, if you're looking for some good local food joints, running stores, coffee shops, gluten free snacks, then you’ve coming the right place! FOOD

Let’s start with the basics. I know runners love their staples and would often rather make their own meals...

Whole Foods Landsdowne ParkSobey's at Metcalf and Lisgar 

Knowing runners are a finicky bunch, I wanted to let you know where to get your specific milk/nut butter/gluten free__. As you’d expect, both of these grocery stores also have great salad and hot food bars. Whole Foods is located at Lansdowne (short jont down Bank Street), and Sobey's is right downtown (practically at the Start Line).

If you're looking to eat out...

Fiazza Fresh Fired, 86 Murray Street (Byward Market)

We have eaten here a couple times and have really enjoyed the pizza and salads. It’s a chill atmosphere and accommodating to most dietary preferences. If you’re looking for somewhere to carb-load, this is a great place to do it. It’s also located in the Byward Market, which is a hot spot for local shops, bakeries and night life. If you prefer to lay low in your hotel room (I totally get it), Fiazza does deliver.


A+ Sushi, 202 Bank Street

With simple carbs, protein, sodium and minimal fiber, sushi can be a great pre-race meal. G and I discovered A+ Sushi a year ago and have had a number of good experiences here. It’s reasonably priced and offers a menu with lots of selection. It’s also located right downtown; likely walking distance from your hotel. Did I mention it was all you can eat?

Town, 296 Elgin street

As one of my favourite restaurants in Ottawa, I have to add Town to this list. Unfortunately, it might be impossible to get a reservation, but, hey! We’re runners. Nothing’s impossible. They have great lunch and dinner menus, with lots of locally sourced ingredients. The service and food never disappoints.



Bridgehead, multiple locations downtown 

For coffee, Bridgehead is your go to spot (seriously, Ottawa loves Bridgehead). Chances are you’re staying in a hotel downtown, which means there’s likely a Bridgehead a block away. This locally popular coffee shop really does offer it all: coffee, teas, cookies, cakes, gluten free/vegan/dairy free snacks, salad bowls and hearty sandwiches. They also have a rewards program that gives you a free coffee or specialty drink every 12 drinks.

My personal favourites from Bridgehead would have to be the Oolong Kombucha (Bridgehead’s own brew), the coconut macaroon (FOR THE LOVE), the fruit and seed bar, and the almond milk latte.


Menchies, 80 George Street (Byward Market)

Located in the Byward Market, this is a perfect destination for you to go for a stroll and stretch your legs. Menchie's frozen yogurt is gluten-free, vegan, and no high fructose corn syrup. Always a good option for a snack or dessert!


Sports 4, 149 Bank Street 

Sports 4 is one of the local favourite running watering holes. They carry a range of shoes, clothes, gels and accessories. I frequent Sports 4 often and always find myself chatting with the many knowledgeable employees. If you're in town on a Wednesday, the Negative Splits Run Club meets at Sports 4 for a group run.

Race weekend tip: Check your virtual race bag to save $15 on in store purchases at Sports 4! If you're a Run Ottawa member, save 10% off everything, always!

Running Room, 160 Slater Street 

Located right downtown, Running Room is a safe bet for all things running. This Canadian chain does a great job in carrying a full line of gels, shoes and acessories. Personally, I'm grateful that the 160 Slater Street store always has my Hammer Gels stocked! If you’re a Goodlife member, be sure to let them know for your 10% off (always).

Race weekend tip: Check your virtual race bag to save 10% off your purchase at the Running Room expo booth!

If you're from out of town, where are you visiting from?

If you're local, any suggestions to add to this list?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running MagazineHave a suggestion for a runner profileLet me know!

One Week

Well here we are: ONE WEEK out from the Marathon. With the hard work done, I’ve been reflecting on where I am today. As I line up at the start on May 29,  I’m confident I will be lining up with one of my strongest training cycles behind me. Recognizing that the marathon really is about the journey, I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made since January. Looking back on some of the highs and lows of training, I’ve been thinking more about what I’ve done differently this time around. While I didn’t realize it in the moment – the early mornings, the tired legs are not new things to me – there has been something different about this time around. 

I officially began training for the Ottawa Marathon 21 weeks ago (January 3). In reality, training for Ottawa began a year ago when I started with my coach, in the lead up to the Hamilton Marathon. I will be racing Ottawa with many thoughts in my head, but these are some of the ones that stand out.

 I have confidence. Fear, comparison, doubt. These demons have triumphed over me in days and races past. I have gained so much confidence and strength from running. The past six months have been yet another period of development in my life. There have been runs that have tested me, times where my mind told me to quit. I will remember these moments when I’m racing on May 29. Marathons are not for the faint of heart; being presented with reasons to quit are a constant in any runners life. The ability and confidence to say, NO, I GOT THIS, are what will inevitably define success. 

I am stronger. I’ve broken many personal barriers in the past six months. Whether this is mental or physical, I am stronger than I was in January (or a year ago, for that matter). I’ve seen faster times, PRs and endurance like I have not experience before. I don’t say this to imply that I’m invincible to what is presented on race day, I say this because there have been times in the past that I thought I could NEVER do some of the things I do now. I smile at this now. My speed work is now run at a minute+ faster than ever before. 32km+ runs, while still challenging, are very doable. I will bring all the lessons learned with me on race day. My “tool kit” has become more refined – my legs are stronger, my mind is clearer. I AM READY. 

I have faith. I am humbled by the marathon distance and know that there is bigger plans at play than just my actions of lacing up and arriving at the start line. I know that on May 29 I will not be given more than I can handle. I have a deep sense of comfort that running is a part of my story – that whatever happens during this race is a part of my journey. I used to be very anxious about race days. I put so much pressure on myself. It was all about what I could control. What would others think if I failed? Did I do enough to prepare? It’s funny how as I have matured as a runner, as a person, I’ve become less concerned with my ability to control the outcome.

For all those lacing up for their last weekend run before race day, LOVE EVERY MOMENT. Take a moment to reflect on what you have accomplished since starting your training. Whether it's a 5k or a marathon, we all run together next weekend. Our victory lap is 7 days away.


Are you racing next weekend? 

What will you be thinking about during the race? 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running MagazineHave a suggestion for a runner profile? Let me know!

Runner profile: Nina Ryan

For my next runner profile, I'm so happy to introduce you to Nina! I first met Nina through the Ottawa Race Weekend's Team Awesome. Nina is an Ottawa based runner who is currently training for the Ottawa 10km (May 28). She is relatively new to running and I'm sure you will enjoy reading her story. Personally, I can relate to what it feels like to be new to running and everything seeming so hard and impossible. Nina's story is a testimony that with dedication and perseverance anything is possible. I am so excited to cheer Nina on at the 10km! Without further ado, meet Nina

Name: Nina Ryan

Location: Orleans, Ontario

Years Running: Almost one year!

Why you run: There's something inspiring about watching the people who are dedicated to running each day in my neighbourhood throughout the year. And the more people around me got into running, the more I began to wonder whether this might be something I could do as well. And at first I could barely get down my own driveway without losing my breath! But the slow and steady improvements with continued practice is what fuelled me to keep going. I never knew what I was capable of achieving until I began running, and it totally blew my mind. It was only a matter of time before I was hooked and eager to start training for my next big challenge!

Race distance of choice: As a new runner I have always stuck to races that were 5k in distance. However, this Spring I started training in a 10k clinic. Movin' on up!

PRs: Now that I'm training for 10ks I have noticed a huge improvement in my 5k times. To date my best 5k has been 32:29.

Favourite Race: The Blackburn Fun Run, which is a 5k all through the community I grew up in. For this reason it will always hold a special place in my heart. This was my first race ever last year, and not only had I never run before, but I was also 2 weeks post-op and walked the whole thing! I was amazed by the people who crossed the finish line so quickly, and from that moment decided I wanted to learn how to run 5k myself so that I could come back stronger next year!

Favourite piece of running gear: I always wear a Garmin Forerunner on my runs - even if I'm just going out there for fun - as it's a great way to keep a log of my running times and distances.

Favourite running memory: I've always run on my own - training and races. So when I heard that one of my friends was doing the Army Run with a couple of her friends, I was excited to be able to join them. We travelled downtown together and took group photos while we waited at the starting line. It was a beautiful, scenic run which we finished up with a delicious cooked breakfast before heading home. It was such an amazing day!

Best running advice you’ve picked up along the way: The 10:1s run/walk technique that I've learned in my 10k clinic was just what I needed in my training regimen. It gives me the right amount of time to push myself and recover, allowing me to improve my speeds as well as endurance for greater distances!

Favourite quote or mantra: "I run to burn off the crazy!" It's funny and true; running helps me feel a lot more centred! ;)

Goals: I would love to be able to do the Army Run half marathon one day. I don't want to force myself to train too hard too quickly, so I am going to focus on improving the quality of my 5k and 10ks this year. I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility for September 2017, however..

Next race: I was picked to be part of Run Ottawa's Team Awesome for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in May. So the 10k that weekend on the 28th is the big race I've been working so hard to prepare for. (This is what kept me running through the long winter months, even when it was -40°C with the windchill!) However, I have always wanted to do the Run for Women too, as it is a cause very near and dear to my heart. So I will also be doing that 10k race on the 8th, which will mark a mere third time of me running this great distance! But, hey, I was going to be running 10k that Sunday anyway!

Favourite songs to run to: I love anything that causes me to spontaneously break into dance whenever I hear it! So I've got Morris Day & The Time playing Jungle Love, Ariana Grande's Focus, and Kesha's TiK ToK, for example.

Favourite podcasts and/or books: Currently listening to Jenny Lawson's book titled, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.

nina ryan

You guys! I'm having so much fun profiling runners and sharing their story. If you are joining us for the first time, be sure to check out my previous runner profiles (most recently: Dave, Kristi, Rebecca, Tracy).

If you have a suggestion for a future runner profile, I would love to hear from you!

Anything worth doing

We watched The Barkley Marathons yesterday on Netflix. I highly recommend this documentary for runners and non-runners alike. The movie is about one of the hardest ultra marathons that takes place each year in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee. Since 1986, just 14 people have managed to complete the 130 mile race. You have to watch it to understand what it's all about. One of the key messages of the movie was anything worth doing is not going to be easy. The message lingered with me. I was thinking about my own running journey and goals. Naturally, my mind went to my DREAM BIG goal of running Boston one day. I think about that often, actually. Not in a "I will be devastated each time I do not qualify," kind of way, but rather knowing how sweet it will feel when I run 42.2km from Hopkinton to Boston. I will get there one day.

For now, I'm in the peak of my Ottawa Marathon training. Getting up before the crack of dawn and pushing through each workout is about much more than just completing the race. I have so much fire in me to run a strong race. To know how hard I worked in the past 21 weeks will make the feeling (which I can't justly put into words) at the finish line worth it. To finish smiling, knowing that I laid it all out there. Marathons are always special to finish. But the more I give to my training and to running in general, the more I get back. Running is generous like that.

@OttawaMarathon tweeted this the other week. It captures the moment I play in my mind often. I get chills thinking about it. I've completed the race many times before, but each time I run the home stretch is different.

As I look ahead to the next 9 weeks, I'm going to focus on enjoying the process. I know that anything worth doing is going to take time. I'm not rushing to get to race day. I will find joy in the sweat, aching muscles and early mornings. This hard work, this dedication, this is what will make the 2016 Ottawa Marathon so special.

If you a training for a spring race, I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on what you've accomplished so far. The prize is in the process.

Have you watched a good running movie lately?

Have you run an ultra marathon? 

Mental strength on the treadmill

Ottawa has been covered in ice and snow for the past couple of weeks. For runners, this means risking it with the ice, or finding your nearest treadmill. Thankfully there’s one downstairs in my building’s gym. Even despite my efforts to get outdoors, I've ended up returning early with water logged shoes and having to get on the mill for final umpteen km of my long runs. Ugh. IMG_3180

Treadmill running can be a mental challenge. There’s no change in the scenery, and your staring at the same place in the wall/out the window for unimaginable amounts of time. Over the years, I’ve managed this by watching movies, listening to podcasts, playing with the speed/incline to keep things interesting.


I also do a lot of thinking on the mill. It’s hard to ignore yourself, when you’re running in the same spot for a while. My thoughts wonder from day-to-day things (what am I going to put in my post-run shake, what will I wear today), to deeper things depending on what’s going on at the time. It’s much harder to tune out and just run.

I’ve been using this time on the treadmill to work on my mental strength. One of my runs this past week was a 12k tempo, with 7km at 5:05/km. I knew this workout would be challenging, especially on the treadmill, but knew I had it in me. I told myself to envision running the Ottawa Marathon course. 

I warmed up for 4km then increased the pace to 5:05. I started by thinking of the section of the race through Gatineau. I pictured the government buildings and museums on my right, and knew there would be a water station just before getting onto the Alexandria Bridge. I thought of running across that bridge, and how that view of Parliament always makes me smile, and that in a few hundred meters I’d be back in Ottawa.


I pictured the last 17 km of the race, going through New Edinburgh and then back towards downtown. For the final 1.2 of my 7km tempo, I pictured the 41-42.2k of the marathon. I got chills. In my mind, I was running along the canal, with spectators on either side, knowing that I will have left everything on the course and finishing my 13th marathon.

Mental weakness has hurt me in the past. Without mental preparation, I’ve given into the hurt of the marathon. I also put too much pressure on myself, which is something I'm getting much better at, but is ultimately a work in progress.

What do you do to mentally "train"?

In other news, I’m planning to run the local Run for Reach Half Marathon on Sunday, April 10th. If you’re training for Ottawa, this is a perfect tune-up for race weekend!

If you're on Strava, I'd love to connect! You can follow my training here. There's also an Ottawa Marathon group!

Team Awesome 2016

RO_OM_16_Team-Awesome_Red-1-280x170 I'm thrilled to announce I've been selected to be a part of Team Awesome for Ottawa Race Weekend 2016! After the launch of Team Awesome in 2015, and seeing the passion and support the group brought to the race weekend last year, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. You can find my Team Awesome profile here and you can register for all race distances here. On social media, you can connect with the race using #RunOttawa2016.

Team Awesome is a group of enthusiastic runners who are participating in the 2016 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and want to share updates about their training and race weekend information, as well as support other runners along the way.

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As for my Ottawa Race Weekend plans, I'll be running the Ottawa Marathon and will be aiming for a PB in May (-3:57). I'll begin formally training in January; for now, I'm working on strength training and maintaining my base.

I plan to write a post next week regarding my base building progress. For a spring marathon, most of us will get down to business come January-February (depending on the race date). That means December-January is a great time to be laying the ground work before the real fun begins.

For those of you new to The Pacing Life, so happy you stopped by! I'd love to connect. You can find me on Twitter here and Instagram here. Say hi!

Are you training for a spring race? If so, which one?