Archive | May 2013

Monday Morning Motivation #7

Take any bad situation and turn it into a positive.

It Was Bound to Happen

When you compete in any race, there will come a time that you will pull up short and DNF a race. Well, today was that day for me. Going into the 2013 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend Half Marathon I knew that one of two things was going to happen, either I was going to have a PR (personal record) or I would end up at the ER (emergency room). A few weeks back, while on a training run, I heard something pop in my right foot and then I felt it. I did go to see my doctor and he said that there did not appear to be anything broken. His advice was to take it easy and ice the foot. If all felt good, I could go ahead and run the half marathon.

Last night as I was preparing for the race, I had a long talk with myself. During that talk, I was reminded of the words of one of my running friends Joleen, she said , “if things are not going well, you can give yourself permission to not finish.” Knowing how my foot was feeling in the last couple of days, I gave myself that permission last night and I was ok with that decision.

race kit

This morning when I got up, all felt good and I had a positive attitude that the race was going to go well for me. It is amazing with 11,500 people that a large portion of our group managed to meet up and give each other those last few words of encouragement before the starting horn went off. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold and the cloud cover kept the sun from cooking us.

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Right on time, the starting horn for our wave went off at 9:15 and the mass of bodies starting moving down Elgin Street towards Dows Lake.  As with any mass start with the number of people in the Half Marathon you cannot expect the first kilometre to be the fastest of the day. I was pleasantly surprised that I hit 6:10 for the first KM and the foot seemed ok. From the one KM point out the course opens up and we are not running elbow to elbow anymore. Each race is a learning experience and I learned a couple of races back, not to spend so much time looking at my watch but to concentrate on my running form.

I got into my pace and I was really pleased with my form. The start to this race was most likely my best ever and that is thanks to great people I run with in the Running Room clinic. Moving right along, my legs and arms were in constant motion until the first water station where I slowed down just long enough to grab a cup of water before starting to run again. At the 5K point of the race I was feeling very good and had every confidence that I would finish the race with a PR. Keeping to my race plan, I ran water station to water station and walked through the water station.

Around the 7K point of the race I started to get that not so pleasant feeling in my right foot. The pain started with that little nagging pain but progressed to full on stabbing pain in less than 1K. So, at the 8K point, I moved over to the side-walk and loosen up the laces on my right shoe hoping that would relieve some of the pressure and pain. The foot felt good for the next 500m before the pain came back full force and I could see that it was really swelling up. It was time to make the decision to either push on or pull out. Pulling out was the right decision and I was not the least bit upset about it. As luck would have it, my sister in-law and her husband live just a few hundred metres from where I pulled out.  I walked over, knocked on the door and asked to use the phone so my wife could come and pick me up.

A few years ago, I would have been beating myself up and very upset that I could not finish the race but having given myself permission to pullout prior to the start of the race made the decision that much easier. It is much better to stop at that point than to have a bad memory of the race. Though I did not finish, I was extremely happy with what I was able to do prior to pulling out. My average pace was 6:30/k, the fastest average pace for any race that I have done and stuck to my race plan. Had my foot not been injured, there is no doubt that I would have had my best race yet.

One of the greatest benefits of training with a group is the support that they provide both physically and emotionally. Our training group arranged to meet at a pub later in the day to celebrate the accomplishments of the weekend. Being around the group, hearing how they all did and feeding off of their post race energy is just what I needed to keep my positive attitude towards running. So many in our group achieved PRs today and I am so happy for each and every one of them. It is their race stories, desire to do better and positive attitudes that make me want to become a better runner myself.

So, what is on the horizon for me? Depending on the outcome of the doctor examination I will see but I am still planning on completing the Rideau Lakes bike tour in just a couple of weeks, then a couple of weeks after that, to be part of the record-setting Kilt Run in Perth,ON.

Until next……..“Running should be a lifelong activity. Approach it patiently and intelligently, and it will reward you for a long, long time.” 
-Michael Sargent

Monday Morning Motivation #6

Sorry for the lateness of the post today, but my beloved Ottawa Senators went into double over time last night and it made for a very later night. Also, it is a holiday here in Canada so there was no need to get up at the crack of “dam it’s early!!”.

I see a lot of myself in this video. Have a great week everyone

Running Like a Kid!

This morning I had one of the most fun runs that I have ever had since I started running a few years ago. A few weeks ago my sister asked me to be the running partner for my nephew Hayward. To look at Hayward, you would think he is just another eight year old that loves to play video games, eat chicken nuggets and loves to go to school. The truth is, Hayward is Autistic.

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Hayward and I before the start of the ‘Goode Run

When I woke up this morning to the sound of rain hitting the window, I was worried that the weather would dampen the little runners spirits. Then I realized, these are kids and it would take a lot to dampen their spirits. The run we were racing was the 2013 ‘Goode Run, in support of the Osgoode Youth Association that consisted of a 10K, 5K and a 2K family run.  Hayward and a number of his classmates were taking part in the 2K family run.

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Awaiting the start of the race. All the kids in red t-shirts are Haywards classmates

The race took place on the old Osgoode to Leitrim railway line that has been converted to the multi use Osgoode Pathway. I have run on this trail a couple of times but I have ridden my bike on it more times than I can count. It is a great trail for running and having this race on the trail just exposes more people to this wonderful area of the city. Our portion of the race took place on the southern most end of the trail and the start line was at the Osgoode Youth Association building. It was great to see the Mayor Jim Watson come out and start the race.

hnm4Councillor Doug Thompson, Hayward and the Mayor Jim Watson

Hayward was so pumped up at the starting line I had to hold him back a few times from bolting off down the trail before the race officially started. When the horn went off, Hayward was off like a shot out of a gun! It was all I could do to keep up with him in the first couple of hundred metres but I got into my pace and kept up with him from that point on. Hayward has been training really hard for his first race and his father as well as his education assistant told me that he would most likely run for a bit then stop and walk some. Well, to my delight, Hayward ran the whole distance though he did need some encouragement. At one point, Hayward asked me to hold his hand so that he could keep going. At the 1K turn around point I told Hayward he was doing great and that if he wanted to walk a little it was ok but he said “no uncle Duane, I want to win so I need to run” and run we did.

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Not far from the finish line

As we got close to the finish, I told Hayward that I could see the tent at the finish line and that we should just give it our all to the finish line and he said “let’s go”!  Once Hayward could see the finish, as well as his parents, brother and grand father he found that extra gear and took off again.

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Pushing to the finish

At the finish line Hayward was super excited and he kept asking, “did I win?”, of course I told him he won. He is a winner to me for over coming what he has to get to the point where he can function at such a high level. On Thursday, I found out that the race organizers were not providing medals to the kids in the 2K race so I asked my good friends at the Running Room if they had any extra medals that I could give Hayward and his classmates. Sure enough they had enough for me to give to Haywards’ teacher so that she could present to them at the finish. Seeing the expression on the kids faces as they got their medals brought me a lot of joy but seeing the expression on Haywards’ face is something I will always remember.

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One Proud Little Man

Running with the kids today was such a blast, no watch, no pace and no cares in the world. Sometimes we should all run just like kids to feel the joy and excitement of being a kid again. If you want to learn to run fast, run with kids, I ran my fastest 2K ever at 9:09 (my sister kept track of our time) and I did not even feel like I was running that fast.

I am so proud of Hayward for running his first race. For a child with Autism that was not supposed to be able to communicate, interact with others or have much in the way of social skills, he has accomplished so much. The main reason he has come so far is due to the great support he receives from his parents and the other dedicated professionals working hard to improve the lives of those that have Autism. Let’s hope that the cause and a cure for Autism comes soon so these kids can enjoy a rich and fulfilling life.

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He is the Champion of the World

Until next time…….“Number one is to just gain a passion for running.  To love the morning, to love the trail, to love the pace on the track.  And if some kid gets really good at it, that’s cool too.”  –Pat Tyson

Going up the Gatineau Hills

We are so lucky in Ottawa to have such beautiful areas to enjoy nature and the great outdoors. One of the local gems is the Gatineau Park which is part of the National Capital Commission land holdings in the National Capital Region. The park is a beacon for locals and visitors from around the world looking to take part in one of the many activities that take place in the park (boating, camping, winter camping, cross-country skiing, cycling, hiking, fishing, geocaching, horse back riding, in-line skating, mountain biking, picnicking, rock climbing, ice climbing, snow shoeing, swimming). The park is also used by a large number of triathletes for training, using Meech Lake for swimming, the roads and trails for the running and biking.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day for the ride into the Gatineau Hills. A group of 10 met on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River to begin our push up the hills. Leaving the parking lot just off of the Sir John A. MacDonald parkway we turn right and cross over to the Quebec side via the Chaplain Bridge, which a is local landmark.

2911311023_041367929fChamplain Bridge

Once we were on the Quebec side of the river, it was a quick right hand turn to get on the path system that would get us to the main entrance of the park. Well it is spring and with spring comes the spring run off. Along the path that followed the river, we encountered a few sections where the river has over run its’ banks so we got a little wet. The water was the least of our worries as there were a few geese right on the path that did not seem to worried about our presence, that is until someone got a little too close and Gary the goose decide to take flight. Now picture this, 10 bikers on a tree line path on both sides and a goose taking flight. Well, as Gary took off, he decide to fly in the same direction as we were pedaling, flying low and honking loudly the whole way. I know he startled a few of us as we thought he would fly right into someone.

With Gary left in our dust we made our way to the Gatineua Park entrance to begin the climb up to our planned return point which was the intersection of Lac Fortune Dr and Champlain Dr. At the park entrance, the elevation is 64 metres (210ft) and over the next 10 km we would climb up to 211 metres (700ft) before going back down hill. This section of the route is a warm up for what is to come and gets your heart pumping. Now for a little fun as we head down hill from the 211 metre point down to 132 metres (430 ft) in just over 3km, a nice little thrill. On this first down hill, the bike started to shake pretty bad and I thought I had a front wheel problem that was causing a wheel wobble. I had to keep this in mind for the large down hills that were to come as I did not want my first ride up the Gats being my last for the year.

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After that little bit of excitement the next 5km was mostly rolling hills with a gradual climb that sets us up for the big climb. Now the hard work begins as we climb 160 metres (525 feet) in just under 5Km. Now this is only my third time out on Bonnie ( Cervelo S2) this year and my very first time climbing the Gatineau hills on her. There is no doubt that I will need to work on my gear management skills as I kept looking for gears that were just not there. My legs certainly got a workout as I kept pushing up that steep incline and it was nice having the more seasoned bikers in the group encourage me along as I was having difficulty making my way up the last little bit of the hill. Seeing that group at the intersection as I crested the hill was a great joy as I knew that was the last of the major climbs for the day.

944595_10201237234318120_1565584759_nThe group at the top of the climb

As the old saying goes, what goes up, must come down and come down we did. Though the steepness of the route back down the hill was not as much as going up, it is still a thrilling ride down. After my experience earlier in the ride I wanted to test Bonnie on the first down hill to see if I could recreate the vibration. To my great pleasure there was no vibration so I was looking forward to the rest of the down hill to see what speed I could get up to. The steepest decline was 100 metres (328 feet) in 1.5 km and to make it more exciting, there is a long sweeping curve in the road. It was on this section of the route that I hit my top speed of  67.1 km/h (42 mph) and I am not sure if this is a good thing or not but I did not feel scared at all. When you think about it, the only protection you have is a helmet and the rest of the body is only protected by a thin layer of lycra that is why it is so important to make sure your bike in tip-top condition before such a ride.

Well it certainly went a lot quicker coming down than it did going up and it was certainly more exciting. This was my second ride of the year with the group that is organized by a fellow runner out of the Running Room, Alastair Warwick. Alastair takes the time to plan the route so that we do not do too much too quick which is so important early in the season and leading up to our big ride, the Rideau Lakes Tour in June. I only wished that I did not have to work in the afternoon so that I could enjoy a meal with these fine people and hear some of their biking stories. I am looking forward to many more adventurous rides and seeing more of our wonderful area this summer with the group. Surely some of the rides this summer will make their way into future blog postings.

Until next time……Like dogs, bicycles are social catalysts that attract a superior category of people. – Chip Brown