Ottawa Half Marathon – Race Recap 2016

Happy Monday!

I don’t know about you – but I am TIRED. This weekend was tons of fun but now I am ready for a rest. But, I need to pack my bags as I am heading down to Windsor with the track team(s) (I am “the coach” for 4 schools) for OFSAA! I’m super excited – but not excited to spend 10 hours on the bus.

Anyways – back to race weekend!


I spent most of Friday afternoon at the race expo. The Ottawa race expo is one of my faves and as usual, I had a good time. I picked up my race kit, some Nuun (2 for $15!), some K-tape, lots of samples and a new Brooks tank top. It is the Ghost and seriously worth every penny. Yes, I do receive some Brooks products to test and review – but I seriously love their shirts. I will talk more about the Ghost tank below. I bumped into a few people including Kristi and Ben from iRun magazine. After the expo, members of Team Awesome were invited to the President’s Reception. Another fun event – turns out I knew a number of people there!


Saturday morning went by fast and before we knew it, it was time to head downtown for the 2K. Max and P were signed up and Max was sitting by the door yelling at us for 15 minutes telling us it was time to go. We parked at Ottawa U and made it to the start just in time. Max was all antsy to start. Apparently he ran the entire 2K non-stop. One of the amazing things about being on Team Awesome is that we were given passes to the VIP tent, which is located right at the finish. I was able to walk over to the tent and see Max finish! Max finished in 17:19, which is pretty good for a little guy.




We cooled off a bit, then made our way back to the tent to watch the 5K race. It was fun cheering on all the runners. The only person I was able to recognize was one of my track athletes. Max had fun getting high fives from everyone.


Next up was the Ottawa 10K! The Ottawa 10K also serves as the Canadian 10K championships, so a super exciting race. We ended up going to McD’s to get Max a Happy Meal and was right on Elgin Street to watch the elite women go by. Actually, you can totally see me on the race broadcast with my red Team Awesome shirt, taking photos of Lanni 🙂



After they went by, we made our way back to the VIP tent to watch the elites come in. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain by that time and everyone was squished in the tent. Once the rain let out, we moved to the bleachers to get a better view. They did not have the screens on in the tent, but there was a giant screen just before the last bend that we could see. We watched the top woman come in – and then watched her collapse. The men were so fast!

Then came Lanni!

In the one video, you can hear Max telling me he wanted to take a picture. He had a meltdown about taking pictures, so I gave him my phone. He then took about 100 photos. Most are of the fence, but he was trying really hard to get the runners as they went by. He got a few good photos, including a few of Catherine Watkins!


I watched the rest of the elites come in – then we went home!


Sunday started at 4:45am when I woke up to go and get the CW Water Crew on the bus – before they changed the time, I was originally going to hop out of bed at 5:30, be at the school for 5:40 and just come home and shower/change after. But, because my bus to downtown was scheduled for 6:30, I had less time – so I needed to get ready before going to the school. The water station was great – they had fun and looked like they were set up in good form. Apparently they had a fantastic time.


I went home briefly to drop my phone off and get a few things. Because I knew I was going to get wet, I opted to not bring my phone at all. Hence, the lack of photos in the rest of this post. I was downtown by 7:20 and managed to watch a bit of the marathon. I was lucky enough to spot Kristi and Leanne (Team Awesome) was able to spot me. I went up to the start, ate a Honey Stinger Waffle and drink my Nuun. My GI system wasn’t acting up like it has in the past. Things were “normal” in the morning (tmi…)and because I could feel my tummy getting nervous, I took some Imodium before I left downtown. I might have fist pumped in the porta potty when I just had to go “number one”. Lucky for me – this time, I had zero issues while running. My stomach was still a bit off after the race, but it looks like Imodium about two hours before will do the trick.

I lined up in the green corral, next to the 2:05 pace bunny. I knew that 2:05 was probably out of the question due to the heat, but my plan was to stick in the middle of the 2:05 bunny and the 2:10 one. I chatted with some people at the start, including a really nice man from Montreal who was thinking he would be at about the same pace as me. We also chatted as a group that we were feeling cold at the start. Most of us were wearing as little clothes as possible – some in their sports bras, but most in very loose tanks/short shorts. I wore my Brooks Ghost tank, Chaser 3″ shorts and Glycerin shoes. Perfect combo of clothes/shoes and quite possibly my new race outfit!


The gun went off and as usual, it took awhile to get to the start. Once we were off, it was crowded. About 200m in, we were almost at a dead stop. I’m not sure why spectators were lining up in the middle of the road, giving us only 1/2 of the road to run on, but that was a problem for about 500m. Once that let up, we had some more room. But again, typical for a larger race when you start in the middle of the pack is that it was very crowded for awhile and I did lots of weaving. One of my favorite parts of the Ottawa 1/2 route is the scream tunnel. About 1K in, you go under the highway and everyone yells, hoots and hollers. So much fun!

The race organizers provided additional water stations and sponges to keep us cool. We hit a water station 2K in, which was needed! I believe that is when I hit my first hose/sprinkle station and got as much water on me as I could. I wasn’t ‘hot’ at that point, but definitely breaking a sweat. For most of the race, I felt ok. My legs were a little tired from the previous night’s festivities (totally worth it) and the heat was probably more of a factor than I thought. My plan was to try and hit 2:10, but to slow down if I felt the heat get to me. I also planned on just walking the water stations – however there were a few more than planned! KM 1-5 were just regular ol’KM’s. Nothing special, nothing bad. I ended up seeing the runner from Montreal at KM 4. I kept my eyes on the 2:05 pace bunny for as long as I could. I think I lost him at around Carling Avenue.

KM 1 – 6:19

KM 2 – 5:48 (I saw this pop up and LOL’d and sloooooowed down)

KM 3 – 6:15

KM 4 – 6:02

KM 5 – 5:59

The section after Carling was amazing. So much crowd support! The streets were lined and there were sprinklers and hoses everyone. I was completely soaked from head to toe at this point and felt very cool. The water stations were doing their best – a few had both the marathon and half marathon runners to deal with and they were filling the cups as fast as they could. At one point, I totally stopped for a few seconds to grab some Nuun. I really liked the Ghost tank as it didn’t get heavy after getting soaked with water. It felt lightweight the entire time! I ended up seeing my VP at around KM 7 and I swear I heard another teacher from my school call my name. After that section we went through Hintonburg and Westboro. Not as much water action, but lots of crowds. Seriously, the crowds were the best I’ve ever seen!

KM 6 -6:36

KM 7 – 5:56

KM 8 – 6:05

KM 9 – 6:05

KM 10 – 6:08

Scott Street is pretty boring and I was glad you only have to run on it for a little bit. We then turned into the Tunney’s Pasture area, which had the 10K mat. I crossed the 10K mat in 61:00, which is probably the best 10K I’ve had in a half marathon (have to check that though). We came up to the food aid station and I grabbed an orange slice. I had my own GU Gels with me, so I didn’t take one there. We started to approach the parkway, aka the “hilly section”. They had a sponge station set up, which I believe was added when the temperatures rose above 30C. There is a slight hill before you drop down to the War Museum. According to my Garmin, there isn’t a hill there – but it is there! Of course, it is typical of me to attack the hill, and I ran up it at about 5:30 pace.

After you turn left at the War Museum, it is time to head into Quebec! Quebec has a number of small little hills, and then a bridge to head back into Ontario. I saw my co-coach from track (who was leading the water station) and stopped for 10 seconds to chat with her. I then went back running and tackled all those small annoying hills. This is when my right leg made itself known. Not I said the right – the left leg didn’t hurt one bit (go figure). There was a water station right before the bridge and I walked for about 30 seconds before going up the bridge. I ran up the bridge and boom, it was done!

KM 11 – 6:11

KM 12 –  6:10

KM 13 – 5:52

KM 14 – 6:12

KM 15 – 5:44

There is another small little hill before the rest of the race pretty much flattens out. After getting up that hill/bridge, I came to another water station and this time I took a full minute walking break as I didn’t feel so good. I took a full glass of Nuun, water and walked for a minute. Most of my walking breaks were under 30 seconds, but my last two water station breaks were a full minute. The last part of this section before you head onto Colonel By is downhill and filled to the max with spectators. At this point, we were joined again by the marathoners. In previous sections where we ‘shared the road’, we were with the slower time marathons, but the last section was with people running under 4:00. Normally this doesn’t happen, but because we started the race 45 minutes early, we ended up with the BQ level people for the last 3K. This was another section of the course that was super busy! By this point, the sun was out and I was slowing down. I made it to the last water station where I again, took a minute walking break. I knew by my watch that I would be either just under or at 2:10, so I seriously didn’t care.

KM 16 – 5:59

KM 17 – 6:21

KM 18 – 6:30

KM 19 – 5:58

KM 20 – 6:36

The last KM of the course is almost always a struggle-fest. Those who have run an Ottawa race before know that the last KM on Queen Elizabeth is the world’s longest KM. It just keeps going and going! I saw my good friend, Hose man! Now, there were obviously lots of hose people out on Sunday, but Hose Man is out there every single year, hosing down runners. Usually he does it from a chair, but this time – he was up and making sure everyone was getting some water action. I didn’t bring my cell phone with me because I knew I would be hitting all the sprinklers – but my headphones stopped working at 18K, whoops!

Finally – I hit 21.1KM on my watch – typically large race situation meant that I weaved too much and ran about 200m extra. I hit 21.1K at 2:09 on my watch, but 2:10:30 was my official time and a new Personal Best! YAY!

KM 21 – 5:55

Total Time – Official 2:10:30


Apparently my Garmin picked up someone else’s heart monitor, which was weird. I also had a moving time of 2:07 – with about 1:30 of stopped time. Not sure what I was doing, but I did fully stop twice. At least I did not waste time in the washroom! My average pace was 6:09 for the first half and 6:12 for the second. Not bad, and I would say, pretty steady!

This half marathon hurt a bit more. I am going to say that for almost the entire race, my legs were a bit achy. I didn’t feel fantastic, nor did I really feel bad. I didn’t have my usual super slow first KM, and it was hot, so that probably had something to do with it. I spent lots of time during the race high fiving people and having a good time. My breathing was pretty steady until the last couple of KM and today my legs are sore, but I’m already racing up the stairs. I know I am capable of going under 2:10, but that is probably best left for the fall when I run STWM again. STWM has some pretty sweet downhill sections which I will take full advantage of! To be honest, the heat didn’t bug me very much. I remember feeling hot right before getting to the first sprinkler and then feeling ok after that. I think it would have been different if the race was at its original time.

I had a great time at the Ottawa Race Weekend. Being on Team Awesome was an amazing experience. I cannot thank Run Ottawa/Ottawa Marathon for including me in this year’s team. I made lots of new running friends and enjoyed every minute of the experience. 

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  1. Eric

    Well done! Great achievement managing to get that PB on such a hot day!

    Now that you’ve got that out of the way, what are your goals for STWM? I’m thinking I’ll go for a PB in the half there myself 🙂
    Eric recently posted…Why We RunMy Profile

    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      Under 2:05 for sure – if my legs continue to cooperate I might go for the sub 2. I’m doing more 5K/track/speed training over the summer, so hopefully that will speed things up a bit. I’m not spending the summer marathon training this year, so I’m hoping that results into getting faster

  2. Marsden

    Super impressive on such a hot day. Congrats! You are going to kick butt in whatever you choose for a fall goal!

    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      That is the plan! I’m not attempting a Fall Marathon this year, so I’m hoping to spend more time with speed work

  3. Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    Congratulations on a new PR! That’s amazing especially in the heat. What a rockstar.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Weekend Recap – My Best Friends WeddingMy Profile

    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      Thank you!!!!

  4. Mike van Mil

    Congrats! Wish I got the chance to meet you!

    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      I will be at STWM if you are going again!

  5. Jesse

    congrats! great performance on a tough day!


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