Monday, 3 October 2011

Ottawa River long run report

Its my third day in Ottawa, Canada. I'm out here on business and getting into the groove of the laid back style of Canadian life (pleasure and business - in that order).

Ottawa is a small city (especially for Capital standards). One million population and strangely it totally shuts down at night beyond 10pm! I arrived on Saturday afternoon picked up by my client and taken to my hotel (the room/suite is MASSIVE!!). I found myself wandering the streets downtown in search of food and it was eerily quiet. I needed to fuel the following morning's long run, and found a steak house. A huge pork back rib steak and chicken BBQ breast with fries later I was really hit the sack. Only 9pm local time but 2am in the UK so it was a long day and I was knackered.

I didn't sleep well and found myself wide awake at 3pm. So actually did a bit of work whilst I waited for the sun to rise so I could go for my run. Fuelled on coffee, banana and pop tarts I headed out the door at 7am. It was 6 degrees but having checked the weather the gloves were on and long sleeve compression top (from Aldi for a tenner) kept the chill at bay.

On Sunday's in downtown Ottawa they close the main Ottawa River Parkway which is the main road that runs alongside the river and North out of the City. This entails a full police road block so that cyclists, roller bladers and runners get free rein of the road. Amazing. Can you imagine that happening in London every Sunday. I think not....

The plan was to run along the Ottawa river which also has a smooth cycle/foot path along a 10m stretch beside the parkway. So an out and back would provide a nice 20 mile training run. I didn't take any photos but I've nicked a few from Google maps of the route I took below. It was a good run even despite the light rain. The first 10 miles were easy at run at an 8 mpm pace. As I came to the end of the footpath I decided to continue along the river along the roads and push out to 13 miles so I would run the full marathon distance. A crazy idea as I hadn't run long in a while but knew I needed to as SNOD is just 4 weeks away now.

My lack of long runs did show as my calves tighened on the return and slowed me down to a 8:30 mpm pace. I think the cold didn't help though and was perhaps the main reason for this tighening. It was a bit of a struggle but I battled on and knew that I needed this run and had to start posting some miles. The return leg was made that little bit easier when I struck up a conversation with two local runners Roger and Laura who I was slowly baring down on on a straight stretch on pathway.

They were lovely and we chatted for around 2 miles which made the time pass so much quicker. We talked about running naturally and also why I was out there on business and then back to racing, and training, and Dean Karnazes!! (Roger/Laura - The book I mentioned Ultra Marathon Man can be found here on Amazon). Its a must read! Nice to meet you both and happy running. I mentioned my blog so perhaps they are reading this!!??

We parted ways as Roger and Laura were out for a 14km run, and I continued into the city where I caught the tail end of a local 5km race for Breast Cancer. I saw them setting up on the way out 2hrs before the start and did consider racing it but I needed to get the miles in and knew I would be in no state to run 5km as part of a 20 miler. How right I was as my legs were shot!!!

Door to door the run was 25 miles. This was strange because I swear I turned around just before the 13 mile point, and on an out and back you don't expect the return leg to be 3/4 mile shorter!... weird! My theory here is that the Americans have fiddled with their satellites which purposely gives out false distance readings (just to Canadians). So if the two nations ever fall out their missiles miss the target! :-O ok ok so the 25 miles had effected my legs AND my brain!

Looking across to Parliament Hill - Photo by PACO PARRON (

Looking back to Ottawa - Photo by sandmonkee (

Amazing stone sculptures that stopped me in my tracks - Photo by GHISLAIN BONNEAU (

Sherleys Bay - Photo by Mike Alexander (

The turnaround point at Sherleys Bay - Photo by Viktor Terlaky (


  1. Nice running in new surroundings, Stu. I bet the heavy legs were due to the international travel rather than fitness.

  2. You know what Nick I didn't even think of that! Sitting in a plane for 7hrs straight the day before probably didn't help for sure. Went out with the club tonight and felt a lot better about myself. Just nice to be out running again after a weeks rest. Looking forward to SNOD!! will catch up on the phone at some point before then :-) how are you?

  3. Hey Stu

    Just wanted to wish you and yours a Happy New Year

    You had caught up to Laura and I and we ran a portion with you along the Ottawa River back in October when you had been in Canada . We had found your blog back in October but I was never able to post on the page. None the less looks as if it works now.

    Happy running

    Roger and Laura