Ottawa Marathon Weekend, also known as Ottawa Race weekend.
What everyone first needs to understand about this weekend is; It’s the City of Ottawa welcoming you in, as if you are family. Restaurants, stores and attractions all were offering deals and specials, to make this weekend memorable. Everyone was talking to everyone, and the most often heard question was “are you here running”, which always opened the door to more conervsations.
Everyone had a fan, a cheerleader and a random stranger congratulating you.
Now on to the other good stuff….
Team Awesome! When I was selected to be a part of this family of strangers (minus a couple of peple I knew from my Toronto running family) I was excited and nervous. I was thankful that Ottawa Marathon took the risk in selecting me as I am a back of the half runner to be part of this unit.
I loved engaging on all forms of Social Media with Team Awesome as well as with other runners who ran this weekend, I had many people reach out to me and seek advice and just chat about training and all things the love of running with the challenges.
When I went to Ottawa and met these amazing people I felt like I had known them for years, this weekend just built the foundation for friendships.
So thank you for allowing me the honour of being a part of this amazing run and team awesome.
This expo is in such an awesome building which you basically went from the bottom to the top to get your bib, shirt and visit the vendors and sponsors of the run. It was great seeing old faces, getting hugs and volunteering at the iRun booth as well as seeing my nuun family. I love and always will love engaging with other runners and their family. I love hearing the whys, the nerves and the emotions. We all have been there and each run is different to each of us.
Now…. Preparing for this half
I went into this half marathon feeling ready. I was coming off an amazing 10k a couple of weeks before and I just felt ready. I went and saw my lung specialist and received the news that my lungs hadn’t improved but to continue doing what I needed to do, be careful and understand my body. I always listen to my body and trust in myself. There just are times that with the weather etc the conditions just suck, but at no time does it every cross my mind to stop.
The day of the run, half marathoners start at 9am and depending on corral spot of the actual start, I was in Red… no this did not mean I was in the first corral off, I was in the last corral which was where I belong.
Koren chose to run with me because she wanted to see if I could push for a new time. Plus her training with everything that has happened in the last month was not where she wanted it to be. But you know…. life happens and this is allowed.
On my way back to the Red (best corral), I ran into Robin who is a member of team awesome, he was great with me, he gave me advice on the course, told me there was no hills (not sure if we both have the same idea of no hills), gave a good description, but mostly he relaxed me. Made me feel at ease and ready. So Robin if you read this, thank you.
While in our corral I started talking to a girl who had never run a half before. I basically told her that with the heat we would be going slow and steady but pushing ourselves when we could, I said she could woggle along with us and we would make sure she finished. I told her I wasn’t going to go for time but for the victory of just crossing the finish line. I was happy to forego anytime to help a first timer cross the finish. I was able to offer her advice as to water stations, electrolytes and when to push and not, how to save energy for the end of the run so you could push it home. I was happy to help her and mostly see her finish her first half marathon. I once was her, so I fully got it. Everyone needs to do a run where you take someone under your wing, guide them and be their wings when they need it. This wasn’t my first time nor will it be my last time in helping a random stranger out.
I did have 2 asthma attacks on course, the first one hit around km 18, where one of the xtra mile crew, helped me, walked with me as I got my wings back. The next time we had an xtra mile person help us was getting us to the finish line I think by this time with the sun beating down on us for 3 hours, little wind we were just running on fumes, I crossed the finish line and to be honest I don’t remember much after that, but the medics helped me and I got a free wheel chair ride until my puffer kicked in. I think at this point I felt bad for the girl we ran with, that she was running with a half broken runner, but she was happy.
We ran the streets of Ottawa, saw some pretty crazy and funny signs, had residents hose us down, stand out and offer us refills for hydration packs and bottles. I kept my sponge and kept getting it wet at each water station to help keep me cool. The misters were great. The cops, fire men and volunteers along the way were just awesome. It was amazing to see a city out supporting all of us.
The only two negatives I had to this whole run was the weather and water stations out of nuun. The hot sun beating down on you, and this course offers little shade. If I could of went off with the marathoner’s at 7:30am, I’d loved it. It would of been cooler, and the sun wouldn’t of been so hot. I’m in the back half of a run, we are out there longer then most and we feel the heat much longer. I was thankful I had my hydration pack on me, but others didn’t and I could see them suffering. It took us until the 3rd water station to have nuun and after that it was just hit and miss, if any had it. Even when we crossed the finish there was no nuun being offered only water. This is a very important part of recovery after a run.
I’ll be back Ottawa. I have a course time to beat. I have more friends to meet and I loved the city vibe for the weekend. It was a truly special weekend.
Thank you Ottawa and Team Awesome for the memories. I collected a lot! 💜