Running and cycling with Bill

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2011 running and cycling

OK, I am not cycling now. Taking four months off, December to March, and take the bus to work instead of the bike. Not all that bad; actually takes the same time as biking. Cannot get my head around the idea of biking in Ottawa winters, even though some stalwarts do. Had to pass on the Richmond 10k in mid-January, which is always a great race, that I have done for many years, due to the current crisis in Tunisia. I participated in several telecons about that issue on the race weekend due to my work at DFAIT. But I did manage to volunteer to hand out race kits and worked around the telecons, so at least I got my race shirt, always a favourite.

Getting out for as much running as possible, and some x-country skiing as well, along with some workouts with free weights and my rowing machine after work. Next race is likely to be the NC half-marathon in May, but since I missed Richmond I will be looking for some replacement before then. The photo is from Vietnam, where I was in April 2010, for work, and ran every day.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Army Run and then some

The Army Run was great, and then there was the Prince Edward County half marathon, on Sunday October 3, which was also Run for the Cure in Blackburn Hamlet. Made a tactical error and signed up for PEC and forgot about RftC. But the RftC gang came through; we got all the preps for RftC done ahead of time and went off to Picton for the race. Cool for sure, but a really pleasant weekend. Finished in 1:54, top third of my age group. Good to go with that. Then there was the Ottawa Hospital Rattle me Bones 10k, where I was a 55 minute pacer, and finished a little under that. The DFAIT 5k on Ocober 29 finished out the races for this year; wrapped that one up in 24:54. OK with that, as I was a major race organizer, and we raised over $40k for the Virtual Reality Laboratory at the Ottawa Hospital Rehab Centre.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Army Run half marathon

The Army Run was a great event, some 14,000 participants between the half and the 5k. Great weather, and superb organization. My daughter was very pleased with her 35:07 result for the 5k, and I was good with my 1:55 chip time for the half. Wife took part as well; walked the course but that was good for her. Within the top third of my age group; all good.

Now it's on to the Prince Edward County half on October 3.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Getting ready for the Army Runs

An incredibly fast growing Ottawa run weekend is coming up on September 19, with the Canadian Army half-marathon and 5k. There are already over 9000 runners; this event has galvanized the attention of area runners in support of our troops. It raises funds for disabled soldiers, and many who have suffered injuries in Afghanistan and elsewhere take part. This will be my first half with this Run, but friends who have done earlier versions say it is an incredibly emotional event.

I am very pleased that our younger daughter is taking part in her first race, the 5k. We have been running together quite a lot in the past few weeks, as she increases her running portion over walking. In her first full 5k distance, a few weeks ago, she was around 51 minutes total; that's now down to just over 40, and she will keep improving. It's so great to run with her, even if a slower than normal pace for me. Stay tuned for further reports.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hooray for long weekends

As we moved towards Ontario's Civic Holiday long weekend, it only made sense to take the Friday as vacation and make a real long weekend. We decided to have an urban vacation today, even if short. I went for a 5.6k run this morning with Nika, our daughter's Doberman, on what was a lovely cool morning. I plan to keep adding several ks to each of the four days of the weekend. Nika will be up for that.

Then we did the unthinkable: a trip to a Second Cup for delicious coffee and treats, and we actually sat and read the morning paper, an unheard of luxury. Then to the Full Cycle shop, to get a new Continental Contact tire on my bike, after having the old tire on the front replaced with a Contact a few weeks ago, following a flat due to old age of the previous tire. The Contact is a great tire, so replacing the old bald rear tire BEFORE if went flat seemed like a good preemptive idea.

Then it was off to the National Art Gallery, of which we are Friends of the Gallery members, and had not visited there since signing up a couple years ago. Where does the time go??

The Gallery is a word class spectacular visual tribute to art of all kinds, and the featured exhibit was Pop Live, an expansive tribute to the Andy Warhols of the world. While every piece may not have turned my crank, the overall effect was engaging, to say the least.

We then headed to Elgin Street, an eclectic collection of bistros and the like, and settled on Maxwell's Bistro, and enjoyed a table next to the sidewalk, with a couple of draughts and a delightful ciabatta bun sandwich and salad. Again, unheard of, to sit and take that much time, when there's always gardening, laundry, cleaning, maintenance etc. to take the days.

Although it was only a few hours, a few kilometres from our home, it seemed like a real break. We also restocked the wine supply, and picked up what promises to be a great South African Shiraz for dinner tonight.

I look forward to the next bike ride this weekend, to see the impact of two new Contact tires; should be noticeable.

Well, time to get back to the usual daily chores; Nika and friends Salome and Calvin are expecting their late afternoon walk.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Upcoming runs

It's a glorious Sunday afternoon in late July, and I am sitting in our gazebo by the pool, enjoying the new-found wi-fi connectivity here, after purchasing an additional antenna for my wireless router today. The wireless network was fine in the house and on the attached deck, but did not reach to the gazebo. A trip to Best Buy solved that problem, for not much money.

I had good runs this weekend with our daughter's doberman, Nika, of some 6k on Saturday and about 9k this morning. She loves to run, or more accurately walk very quickly, when I do my target pace of some 5:40 per km, or even a bit faster. We both run the last few hundred metres, as I ratchet up the pace.

After a very pleasant weekend in Prince Edward County a couple weekends ago, I discovered a half marathon in the Country in early October, and have signed up for it. This will follow two weeks after the Army half-marathon in late September here in Ottawa. So lots of training required to get ready for these two races.

Back to sipping on a Keith's and reading Invictus, the inspiring story of Nelson Mandela and how he united his beloved country after his release from prison by using rugby as an improbable device. Well worth a read, and of course it has been made into a movie, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Twenty Valley wine run

Tucked away in the beautiful Niagara region of southern Ontario is the Twenty Valley area, which this past weekend hosted the second Twenty Valley wine run. The feature event is the half marathon, starting from the grounds of the Peninsula Ridge winery, and ending up in the small village of Jordan. Since I like wine and I love running, this seemed a natural.

The weather was looking not too great for the race, which begins at the late hour of 3:15, as it started out very warm and muggy, but by race time the sun was obscured, the temperature dropped, and we had significant rain from about the 15k point to the end. Turned out almost ideal, actually.

There were 147 male and 197 female runners. The idea is to savour some of the many excellent Ontario wines produced in this fertile area, that has established a world-class reputation for good wine in recent decades. Seven or eight wineries had tables set up along the route, where runners could sample a small plastic cup of their wine. Much as the idea appeals as a marketing ploy, relatively few runners seemed to take advantage of this, and I opted to wait until the race was over before imbibing. I did have a very small glass of rosee at the start, where I found myself with well over an hour to kill.

The race was well-organized, and wound its way through rural and urban areas, all on paved roads, with some hills, including some significant ones at the 14 k and beyond stages. There were plenty of water stations with enthusiastic volunteers.

Perhaps the nicest feature is the end of race street party in Jordan village, where several tents were set up to provide a wide variety of wines and some great food. It's not free, but reasonably priced for the amount and quality. My wife and I had bison burgers, flank steak on a bun, and several four ounce glasses of wine. There were quiches as well. The Twenty Valley tourist promotion group also sold tuques and nice wine glasses, which we bought. There was a live jazz group entertaining us for much of the time, and the rain thankfully stopped for most of the party.

Oh, the results. The winning male time was about 1:11, and the female was 1:32 . I finished in 2:04, a bit slower than hoped, but the hills did slow me down, although I technically ran the entire course non-stop. I did come first in my age group, but hasten to add that the only other male in my group was far behind me, which suggests he was more of a walker than runner. However, it still garnered a bottle of Cave Spring 2007 Gamay VQA, whch I had no moral dilemma in accepting.

I must add that we stayed at the Atherton Bed and Breakfast in nearby Vineland, and Pat and Tom Atherton were excellent hosts. Aside from the beautiful accommodations, overlooking lush orchards, and great breakfasts they were incredibly helpful, in driving me to the race bus start point and then driving us home afterwards, so there were no issues with having to drive our car after several glases of wine. If you ever decide to do this race, check out Atherton House at and tell them Bill sent you. I am doing this blog early Sunday morning, looking out on the fruit orchards, and listening to the birds, the best alarm clock of all.

All in all, a great race, a fun environment, and it was also a fundraiser for a couple of charities. Well worth a weekend.

We will probably come back to do this event again next year.