runner profile

Runner Profile: Jill Pettit

For my next runner profile, I am so excited to introduce you to my #1 running hero, my Mom, Jill Pettit (@marathonmortal). If you've read my running story, you know my Mom played a huge role in me starting run. She's my number #1 fan and I'm hers. We've completed many races together and I know there will be many more! Her endurance and commitment to running inspires myself and others on a daily basis. She will be the first one to tell me that my (sometimes crazy) ideas are possible. So, without further ado, meet Jill!

Name: Jill Pettit

Location: Niagara On The Lake, Ontario, Canada

Years running: 11 years

Why I run: It's plain and simple. When I run I feel great mentally and physically. A long run outdoors is only beat by a race day.

Race distance of choice: Marathon (completed over 50)

PRs: Around the Bay 30K (3:13), Marathon (4:41), Ultra 100K (16:31), 50 miles (11:49)

Favourite Race:  My first marathon will always hold a special place in my heart. I did a charity marathon race for Canadian Diabetes in Hawaii. It changed my life forever.

Favourite running gear: My Garmin watch. I love checking the stats both on the run and off.

Favourite running memory: My most favourite running memory was the New York City Marathon with my two daughters and husband all snuggled together for five plus hours waiting for our starting coral time. We were so cold! Crossing the finish line in Central Park with my daughter, I cried.



Best running advice you’ve picked up along the way: Pace yourself and remember to enjoy the moment.

Favourite quote or mantra: I make the decisions. I run this race. I am AMAZING.

Goals: To complete the Disney Dopey Challenge.

Next race: I haven't decided yet. My last marathon was a couple of weeks ago (Niagara Falls International Marathon). I like to start the year with the Run4Kids Indoor Ultra in January. In March, I would really like to do a destination race in a warm climate. The Ottawa Marathon is definitely on my to do list for May 2017, especially given it is Canada's 150th Birthday. The best way I can think of celebrating is a marathon in the nation's capital. The Niagara Ultra 50 km in June and then I will plan the fall race line up.

Favourite running song: Moby - Bittersweet Symphony, Christine Aguilera - Stronger, Supermodel - Tell Me Why, Robyn - Indestructible, Madonna & Justin Timberlake - 4 Minutes, Lady Gaga - Pokerface, Glee - Don't Stop Believin', Madonna - Give It To Me, Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire, and there's more, I can't just pick one!

Favourite podcast/books: Rich Roll, Jane Austen, Pillers of the Earth



Are you a runner or do you have a runner you would like to see profiled? If so, I would love to hear from you! You can also find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava!

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!

Runner profile: Kristi Raz

For the next runner profile, I'm so pleased to introduce you to Kristi Raz! This Ottawa-based runner blogs and has completed a wide range of races (including the Prague Half Marathon!). On May 29th, you can find her wearing bunny ears pacing the Ottawa Marathon! Connect with Kristi on Twitter

Name: Kristi Raz

Location: Ottawa

Years Running: I have been running almost 5 years.  I was definitely a late starter to the sport, trying my first 5k race at the age of 42.  The advantage of starting late is you still get lots of PB’s in your 40’s!

Why you run: I am going to answer this one (in a rather lengthy way) by quoting a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago:

The obvious answer, to keep fit.  I am in better shape now than when I was in my thirties.

For "mental fitness".  When else do you get time to think uninterrupted, or for that matter have time to think about absolutely nothing uninterrupted?  I work with kids and I have kids, I can't even count the number of times I am interrupted in a day.  But not when I run.  Running is the ultimate "me time" while still accomplishing something.

To listen to music uninterrupted.  Once upon a time I spent a significant amount of time listening to music.  I even have vague memories of going to concerts on a regular basis.  Then we had kids.  It is now pretty much impossible to listen to a favourite song all the way through without being asked a question or having to calmly and wisely solve a sibling conflict.  OK, the reality is I can't hear the song over my yelling at the kids to solve the problem quickly or they will be in trouble.  But when I run I stick in my ear buds and enjoy my music.  Sometimes you will even catch me running and singing out loud.  Not such a bad thing when I am running in my rural area.  The cows and wild turkeys seem willing to tolerate my singing.  I have, however, caught myself running and singing out loud in suburbia.  It was the time that I was singing Ed Sheeran's "I'll Be Drunk Again" out loud that I realized I should be a little more careful!

To set an example for my kids.  Right now they think it is normal for mummy to go out for a run.  If it is normal for mummy, maybe running - or another physical activity - will become normal for them.  Both my boys now run in races. They have both already experienced the feeling of doing their personal best and the fun atmosphere of races.  I hope these memories will stick with them.

To get away from my kids.  Sorry but somebody has to say it.  If you look at any races, there are a large number of women participating, in fact the women often out-number the men.  I have no scientific proof, but it seems to me that once women have done the pregnancy thing, the nursing thing, the diapers and sleepless nights, the toddler music and gymnastic classes (need I go on?), they are ready for something that does not involve their children.  Something that can be done quickly and without a huge investment.  Of course nobody warns them (or nobody warned me anyways) that once you reach one goal, say a 5k race, you will be addicted and the only thing to do is to keep readjusting your goals.  Suddenly your long runs require more than 30 minutes.  You find yourself saying crazy things like, "I won't be long, should be back in about 2 hours."  You will go shopping for clothes for work and instead come home with piles of black spandex pants and neon shirts with reflective stripes.  You will know you have really gone over the edge when you want to start wearing these clothes at work.  But I digress...

To prove I can do something I thought I couldn't.  I am not a natural athlete.  Running requires work on my part, and regular work at that.  But I have proven to myself over the past years that I can set goals and reach them if I am willing to make the effort.

Finally, I love the simplicity of running.  Really, it all comes down to walking out the door and putting one foot in front of the other.  I know, there is more to it...the hills, the speed intervals, the long slow runs, the short tempo runs.  But ultimately, you put one foot in front of the other, week after week, and you end up accomplishing amazing things!

Race distance of choice: I have done all the standard race distances from the 5k to the marathon, but the half marathon remains my favourite race.  The distance is challenging but “doable” as I can fit the training in fairly easily.  It is also the perfect distance for a race vacation.  I have traveled to New York, Vancouver and Prague to complete half marathon races.  You can run a good race but still get to be a tourist in the days leading up to and after race day.


  • 5k – 25:19  
  • 10k – 53:05
  • 10 miler - 1:29:29
  • 1/2 marathon - 1:56:15
  • 30k – 3:00:56
  • Marathon – 4:34:28

Favourite Race: This is probably an impossible one for me to answer.  The races I have traveled to have given me wonderful memories.  I had never been to NYC or Vancouver so each was a hugely exciting city for me to run a race and both courses were fantastic.  Running the Prague Half Marathon (pictured below) allowed me to return to the Czech Republic and the city in which I spent time teaching more than 20 years ago.  Racing on cobblestones was also a fun (?) experience.  Running a midnight race in Philadelphia along the Schuylkill River was truly a one of a kind experience.  

Closer to home I love the energy of Ottawa Race Weekend.  Another favourite is Somersault’s Fall Colour Race, which has been a family Thanksgiving tradition for years now.

And finally, as a family we all love taking part in The Mad Trapper Trail Races and Snowshoe Races, held near Wakefield, Quebec.  These races provide hilly and challenging courses and a relaxed atmosphere – not to mention the best post-race food of any race.  Lasagne and brownies after a race, yes please!


Favourite piece of running gear: I am on my third pair of Saucony Zealots and can’t express how much I love these shoes!

Favourite running memory: So many to choose from but I do remember well the feeling at about 18k of the Vancouver Half when I realized that short of a having heart attack I was going to significantly beat my best time.  I ended up with a PB of almost 6 minutes.

Best running advice you’ve picked up along the wayRest is just as important as the workouts.

Favourite quote or mantra: The day will come when I can’t run.  Today is not that day.

Goals: Right now I spend all my time thinking about the 50k race I have registered for.  It is a trail race called Run for the Toad and it takes place in the fall.  I have looked at previous times and know I will be at the very back but my goal is to finish and be able to say I can run 50k.  

Next race: May is an interesting and somewhat unusual race month for me.  I am going to do the Diefenbooker 5k for fun, then the following weekend pace my 10 year old for his first 10k race.  And finally, at the end of the month, I will be the 5hr 30 minute pace bunny at the Ottawa Marathon.

Favourite songs to run toI have an eclectic mix on my running list.  Here are a few of my favourites:

Favourite podcasts and/or books: My favourite running related book is Girl Runner by Canadian author Carrie Snyder.  It is a wonderful mix of page turning fiction and running history.

Runner profile: David Bedard

I'm so excited to launch my new blog series! Each week I will bring you a profile of a runner, ranging  from marathoners to new runners alike. Some of my favourite articles to read are people's running stories, so I'm thrilled to use The Pacing Life as a platform to connect you with some of my favourite runners and their journey. This week I am profiling David (or Dave) Bedard, who also happens to be one of my best friends. He has completed marathons, half marathons and a range of shorter distances, and truly is one of the most positive and supportive people in my life. Without further ado, I'm pleased to introduce you to Dave as my FIRST runner profile!


Name: David Bedard

Location: Washington, D.C. (for now)

Years Running: 7

Why you run:  A variety of reasons, really. I think I started because I wanted to stay active and I’m not really into “team sports”. I continue because I appreciate the feeling of a good cardio workout and love to see how far I can push myself. Running consistently has been a challenge for these past couple of years, however. Life (and myself), have prevented me from getting out the door on a regular basis. That said, as the weather is starting to turn, I am beginning to feel the running itch again.

Race distance of choice: Officially, I fell in love with the half marathon distance the first time I ran one. Unofficially, there is something about hitting the 17km mark that I love. I feel like my legs are finally warmed up and I’ve really hit my stride by that point. Maybe it’s a psychological trick I play on myself to keep at it, but knowing that 17km is my sweet spot, keeps me in the game at least until that point. From there, 21.1km, is a hop, skip, and a jump away.

PRs: Montreal Rock & Roll Half Marathon: 1:48

Ottawa Marathon: 4:06.42

Favourite Race: I am much better at picking which races I liked the least. Singling out something as my favourite is always a challenge ‘cause I grow to appreciate races for all different kinds of reasons. I will say that the Ottawa Marathon holds a pretty special place in my heart. Maybe it’s a combination of the lively crowds, the beautiful course, or the fact that it was my first full marathon that earns it a top spot. Whatever the reason, I strongly recommend you put it on the top of your list if you haven’t yet run it.

Favourite piece of running gear: I’m not a huge gear person, though I will say that I’ve learned the lesson the hard way when it comes to skimping on body glide. I keep that stuff close by whenever I’m training for anything over 10k.

Favourite running memory: Probably running through Brooklyn when I ran the NYC Marathon. After the gun goes off and you’ve crossed over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the race winds up and down these narrow, residential streets through Brooklyn before eventually crossing the Williamsburg Bridge to take you over to Manhattan. It was an unseasonably warm November day so it felt like every person had come out to watch the runners go by. The sheer number of spectators was almost as thrilling as running the actual race. It really was a good reminder that spectators are the secret ingredient to an enjoyable race.

Best running advice you’ve picked up along the way: When I first started running, just before my first “official” race, the mother of a dear friend of mine, who is both an avid runner and an inspiration, emailed me to tell me to not worry about anyone else on the course. That I’ve come a long way and I only have to run for myself…It’s your race, and you run it how you want to”.

It sounds simple enough, but when you crawl out of your warm bed on race day and you’re standing there with a million butterflies in your stomach amongst *literally* a thousand other runners, it’s so easy to get distracted, excited, terrified by it all. And then once the gun goes off, you have all those other bodies to contend with and navigate around. This advice has always brought me back to the basics. It’s served as a reminder of why I run to begin with. It’s not performative or competitive (unless I’m gunning for a PR)…It’s my race and I run for me.

Favourite quote or mantra: When I was training through the sweltering D.C. summer for the Marine Corps. Marathon a couple years ago, whenever I found myself discouraged or dragging my heels, my husband would tell me to “run the mile you’re in”. It’s pretty simple, but it’s stuck with me ever since.

Goals: Right now, I’m aiming for a sub 3:50 for my next full (eventually), while also remembering to be patient and kind with myself.

Next race: Nothing on the books at the moment. Gotta fix that!

Favourite songs to run to: I LOVE pop music when I run. Right now I’m seriously into the entire Carly Rae Jepsen, E*MO*TION album. It’s perfect pop. Check it out!

Favourite podcasts and/or books (no need to be running related): I don’t listen to podcast when I run, but I’m currently subscribed to: Another Round, Serial, Planet Money, Hidden Brain, and Slate T.V. Club Insider – The Americans.

You can connect with Dave over at his blog and on Instagram!