Tag Archives: running goals

One Year Later – 2013 Ottawa Race Weekend

20 May

This time last year I was in full training mode for the 2013 Ottawa Race Weekend – 10km. I was also in my absolute busiest time of work in my entire life so didn’t even have a chance to blog about one of the best running weekends I’ve ever had!


With the 2014 Ottawa Race Weekend fast approaching, I was reminiscing on that weekend and wanted to capture some of my favorite photos and memories from that weekend on this blog….even if it is a whole year later!

Saturday: 10km Race – Personal Best!

I ran the 10km race on the Saturday evening and had been raising funds for a charity as part of the True Sport Running Team. It was one of my 2013 Running Goals and I was happy to accomplish it and support a great cause in the process.

I remember the weather being a little chilly but ultimately great for running. I had to spend most of my day pre-race at the office working but the good news out of that was that I was able to find some old clothes there to use of my throw away clothes that were key to keeping me warm before the race started.



There were over 9000 runners in the 10km and the sight of that many people running together was just amazing!

I had what felt like the best long distance race of my life and finished with a personal best time of 47:30! I felt great the entire time and even managed negative splits throughout the entire 10km.


Of the 9000 runners, my husband some how managed to spot me running by and was able to snap a photo in the process.


Sunday: Marathon Finish Line Volunteer

On the Sunday of Race Weekend, I accomplished another one of my 2013 Running Goals – to volunteer at a race. I was a Marathon/Half-Marathon finish line volunteer, which meant helping out at the finish line distributing medals and race blankets and various other miscellaneous tasks.


I met some great people and had a really fun morning being involved on the other end of a race. One of the perks of working the finish line was that we got front row seats for the finish of the elites.


Those runners were incredible and inspirational. Definitely an exciting experience to be a part of. Throughout the morning, as the thousands of marathon and half marathoners streamed in, I gave away thousands of race blankets and was even more inspired by each of those runners than I could have imagined.


2014 Ottawa Race Weekend

This year’s edition of Ottawa Race Weekend I will be volunteering at the finish line of the Marathon/Half Marathon once again! If you are running, let me know and I will keep an eye out for you at the finish!



Running in Canada

3 May

Last summer I did a lot of traveling in Canada and took the opportunity to run in as many different Canadian communities as I could. I love running when I travel (hence the origins of this blog), and I hope to keep it up again this summer as I have a few more trips planned.

Last summer I didn’t have a chance to post a blog about every Canadian province and city/town I ran in, so I wanted to include a bit of a wrap up here:

Province: Quebec   –     Community: Sherbrooke

I was in Sherbrooke, Quebec in August 2013 visiting my husband who had been there for 3 weeks for the 2013 Canada Summer Games. I was training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon at the time and had a long run scheduled for when I was in Sherbrooke, so I set out early one morning to tackle the paths in Parc Jacques Cartier.


It was a beautiful August morning and not really knowing where I was going in Sherbrooke, I thought it was easiest to stick to the Parc and the pathways in it.


The scenery in the Parc was beautiful. I had to do a couple loops of the paths to get in the mileage but since it was around a gorgeous lake, I did not mind.


Province: British Columbia      –     Community: Whistler

After my short stay in Sherbrooke, my husband and I headed west to British Columbia. We had never been to Whistler so headed there are a few days and needless to say, loved it.


There are so many trail in Whistler that there was no shortage of places to run. I headed out on the trails as my husband set out on a mountain bike.


Before long, I was in the woods and greeted by gorgeous lakes and mountains – certainly not what I am used to see living in Eastern Canada.


I loved running in Whistler. I was lucky enough to have a perfect day and hope to get back there one day,


Province: British Columbia       –      Community: Vancouver

From Whistler, we headed to Vancouver for a few more days and I certainly did not want to miss my opportunity to run in that great city. I knew I wanted my first run there to be around Stanley Park and as we were staying right downtown this was not going to be a problem.


I started near the Olympic Cauldron and headed for the one and only Stanley Park.


I had been to Stanley Park a few times but never on the run. I would love to live in Vancouver for the simple fact that they can run outside year round without as much hassle as we have in Ottawa.


The path was as crowded with runners, cyclists, walkers and tourists as you would expect for a mid-August day but that didn’t take away from any of my enjoyment of the run.

I ended my run at English Bay and loved that there was a beach so close to the downtown. IMG_1815

I had a few other runs in Vancouver throughout various parts of the city but didn’t have a camera with me to document it. I think Vancouver and Whistler are certainly a runner or any outdoor enthusiasts’ dream.

Province: Prince Edward Island        –     Community: Lakeside

I also ran in Prince Edward Island this summer and blogged about it here. I’ve mentioned it on the blog before but this is probably one of my favorite places in Canada, Lakeside Beach, a place that I have run since I was a child and somewhere I hope to continue to run (or walk) until I am in my old age…..I never tire of this place….


So that recaps my cross Canada running adventures last summer. Stay tuned for this summer as I venture both east (to Newfoundland) and west (back to Vancouver).

I think it’s time I make a new running goal. I don’t have a time frame for this but I would like to make it my goal to run in every Canadian province – if I can make that a race in every province, even better. So, if you know of any awesome races in Canadian cities or can share any of your favorite running routes, please let me know so that I can reach this goal!


True Sport Running Team

15 Apr

To start 2013, I decided that one of my 2013 Running Goals would be to fundraise for a cause at a race.

When I heard the organization True Sport (a group I am very familiar with and supportive of) was putting together a running team for a large, upcoming local race to fundraise and generate awareness for their cause, I was immediately interested in being a part of it.


For those who don’t know, True Sport is a social movement that believes in transforming lives and communities through sport. The True Sport Foundation strives to instill character in our youth and strengthen Canadian communities by fostering a quality experience for those involved in ALL sport. They set out to accomplish this through a variety of sport and education programs that focus on values such as fairness, excellence, access, inclusion and fun!

For the first time, they have created a running team to take part in the 2013 Ottawa Race Weekend on May 25-26, 2013.

Race Weekend is the biggest running weekend of the year here in Ottawa. Members of the running team can take part in any of the races being held that weekend (races range from 2km to marathon). I will be running the 10km.


As part of this running team I have set a fundraising role and have been included on the True Sport Running Team Website along with other members of the team.

I began my fundraising efforts a few weeks ago by sending an email out to friends and family members looking for their support and donations.

For an added incentive to get more donations, I decided to hold a contest. For every $10 donated, the donor receive 1 entry into this contest. The contest is “Guess Mary’s 10km Finish Time” and the closest guess to my official (chip) finish time will receive a $50 Bon Appetit gift card (good for Kelsey’s, Milestones, Montana’s, Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s restaurants in Canada).

To date, I haven’t received many entries into my contest, but I still have 6 weeks to go, so am hoping the donations/contest entries pick up.

True Sport Running Team

If anyone is interested in donating, you can follow the following steps:

1. Donate as much or as little as you would like on my Giving Page
2. Email me at marycolleenmacdonald@hotmail.com to indicate you have donated and for every $10, you have one guess at what my 10km finish time will be (ensure you make your guess down to the second, for example 50:51 or 50 minutes, 51 seconds)
3. On May 25th stay tuned for my official finish (chip) time to see if you guessed the closest
4. In the event of a tie, whichever individual has made the largest donation will win
5. The $50 Bon Appetit gift card winning prize will then be sent to the winner (this card is only valid in Canada)

I am looking forward to being a part of a team for this event (with team t-shirts and all!) and most importantly raising awareness and funds for a cause and organization that I support.

As we are just over a quarter of the way through the year, I am happy to have this particular 2013 Running Goal well underway.

Stay tuned for additional updates as I work towards completing this goal, and all of my other 2013 Running Goals.


Running in Paris – Jardin du Luxembourg

12 Apr

On my third and final morning in Paris, I was certain I would wake up to more rain and although I was tired from a busy week, I was set on getting in that third run in Paris – this time at the Jardin du Luxembourg.


To my surprise, when I woke up, the rain hadn’t started, so I hustled to get myself up and out the door.

The Jardin du Luxembourg was about 400m from my hotel and I had saved it for my last few hours in Paris. I knew I could see and enjoy more of it if I did it on the run, and my last morning there was the perfect opportunity.

I had to leave for the airport around 10am, so didn’t have a chance to venture too far from my hotel for any more Paris sightseeing, so visiting the Jardin du Luxembourg then was perfect for me.

Once I got into the Jardin, I realized that this is where all the runners were – the place was fairly busy with early morning walkers and runners and I felt right at home.


The Jardin du Luxembourg was large; it had many sculptures and fountains like many of the other parks and gardens in Paris.


A former palace, now the French Senate, was also located within the Jardin and it was a beautiful, old building like most others in Paris.


I ran around the Jardin for probably about 5km with the rain holding off the entire time. It was shorter than my runs the previous two days, and my legs were happy about that (considering I had also walked for almost the entire last 2 days!)

I could just tell how beautiful this park would look in the spring or summer. Not everything had bloomed when I was there, yet it still had lush greenery and a sense of beauty.


I’d highly recommend a run through the Jardin du Luxembourg to anyone traveling to Paris.

I only wish I could have stayed longer – there was so much to see and do (and so many places to run!)


These 3 runs in Paris (Seine River Run, Jardins des Tuileries/Champs Elysees Run) also now allow me to cross off one of my 2013 running goals: Complete a destination run and expand my Running in Transit series of running in different cities around the world.

Stay tuned for an update on some of my other 2013 running goals to come within the next few days!


The Compelling Nature of Race Signups

5 Feb

I know I am not alone here when I say there is something compelling about signing up for races. I have read enough blogs to know that I am not the only one who gets excited at the possibility of signing up for new races.

sign up

It may be the goal-driven nature we have as runners where signing up for a race provides us with something new to work towards, to look forward to and to build a new training plan around.

As I mentioned in my 2013 Running Goals I am not working on any performance goals this year, but this still hasn’t limited that inner drive I have to sign up for races and to prepare training plans for them.

With one month of 2013 in the books already, I have been looking at some races that would help me complete some of  my 2013 running goals. Having only officially signed up for one of them so far, I am very close to signing up for a few more.


I signed up for Ottawa Race Weekend 10km (May 25) where I will be on the True Sport Running Team and will be knocking off my 2013 running goal of fundraising for a race.  I have some fundraising plans in the works, and hope to share them in the coming months as we get closer to May 25th.


As Race Weekend is just under 4 months away, I wanted to add some other races to the mix, both in preparation for it and because I can’t resist taking part in some of these fun spring races.

I decided against signing up for January or February races, which ended up being a good choice as I have been sick for the better part of the past two weeks, but still want to get some March and April races in if at all possible. Here are just a few of the ones I am considering:

  • St. Patrick’s Day Race (March 16th): Having taken part in this race last year, I really enjoyed it. People wear green and dress up for St. Patrick’s Day, making the run fun and festive. There’s even a prize for best costume. The race is really fast and run along a very scenic route in Ottawa (along the Rideau Canal). Last year, I knew several other people taking part which made it more exciting. The only downfall to the race was that the 10km course was actually longer than 10km, so hopefully that is corrected. This year, I have already prepared my green St. Patrick’s Day outfit so I have little choice but to sign up now!

    St. Patty's Day Run March 17, 2012

    2012 St. Patrick’s Day 10km Race

  • Alive to Strive (April 28th): I ran this race several years ago and loved everything about it. The race kit, the free pancake breakfast afterwards, the door prizes and the great race location. This year, it appears to have been re-located, but to what looks like another beautiful race location in Ottawa, and the pancake breakfast has been changed to a post-race stew. This is a popular tune-up race for the Ottawa Race Weekend making it usually very fast and exciting to be a part of.

alive to strive

After Ottawa Race Weekend at the end of May, I will be extremely busy with work and out of the country for a month on business so have completely written off races for those next few summer months.

Upon my return, I plan to run my most anticipated race of 2013 – the Color Run in Montreal. I haven’t yet officially signed up, but plan to do so while I can still get the early registration fee! The more I read race recaps about the Color Run, the more excited I am to be a part of it.  Anyone want to join me in Montreal on August 17th for the Color Run??


I don’t like getting too far ahead of myself these days, but as I have a self-proclaimed love for race sign-ups, I must admit that I have not limited myself to ONLY exploring races in the first half of 2013.

The second half of 2013 will be an extremely busy one for me, again with work and travel, and so I don’t want to commit to any other races just yet but the options out there for fun races, destination races, and fundraising races are endless….stay tuned for what races I settle on for the second half of 2013!


2013 Running Goals

11 Jan

After writing my 2012 Running Year in Review earlier this week, I have been given some serious thought to what I wanted out of my running in 2013.

With a really busy year ahead of me (mainly due to lot of business travel and long hours at work forecast for 2013), I have decided that marathons, half-marathons and intense training won’t be on tap for me this year.

I would, of course, like most other runners, love to PR in every distance and get a lot of races in like I did in 2012, but I’ve decided not to make that my focus this year.

Bay Breeze

Finishing my first of 13 races in 2012 (It was February and I hadn’t even decided on any 2012 running goals at that point)

In contemplating running goals for 2013, I was inspired by some other running bloggers out there and their unique running goals that did not have performance (time or distance) goals attached to them.

I have thus come up with a list of running goals that I am both proud of and really excited about working towards in 2013.

And so, here goes …my list of 2013 ‘Running in Transit’ Goals:

1) Volunteer at a race: I have never volunteered at a race, but have taken part in so many of them that I know the importance of volunteers at any race. I want to experience a race from the other side, as a volunteer, and contribute my time back to a sport that I have loved so much.

The biggest race in my city is the Ottawa Marathon in May 2013, so I have my eye on volunteering in some way for this great event.


2) Pace someone in a race: I am by no means the fastest runner out there, I certainly understand that, but I hope to be able to use whatever running competencies I do have to help someone else finish a race or finish in a particular goal time. I typically run alone, in races and in training runs, but in 2013, I want to try to run with someone else, helping them to the finish line, encouraging them along the way to meet their own goals.

3) Fundraise for a cause: I hear a lot about people fundraising for particular causes at various races and I think it’s a wonderful thing to do. I have the time and ability to fundraise, so I want to make it a priority this year to invest some energy into generating funds for important causes. In 2013, I have made it my goal to fundraise for two races:

  • Terry Fox Run: I have been running the Terry Fox Run since I was 4 years old and at times have fundraised for it, with funds going toward cancer research, but I have not invested as much time into it as I’d always wanted to.  In 2013, I want to fundraise for this important cause and proudly present my cheque on September 15, 2013 to my local race organizers.

terry fox run

  • True Sport Ottawa Race Weekend Fundraiser: True sport is a social movement that believes in transforming lives and communities through sport – something I very much believe in too. For the first time, they have created a running team for the 2013 Ottawa Race Weekend – a team that will fundraise and bring awareness to the cause. I have already registered for the 10km on Ottawa Race Weekend and want to become a True Sport running team member in 2013 on top of it.


4) Enjoy a fun race: Since having joined the “blogging world” I have had the opportunity to read race reviews for some really exciting sounding races. Each time I read about a fun-themed race, a race with an amazing race kit or fun race perks, I find myself really wanted to take part. I am making it a goal in 2013 to take part in a new, fun race and I have my eye on one in particular: the Montreal Color Run!


5) Complete destination race: I completed one destination race in 2012 and I loved the experience. In 2013, I want to take advantage of the numerous work trips I might have to complete another. I have not yet decided what that race will be as I await my work travel schedule to be firmed up, but there might be some interesting options out there for me.

Along those lines, I hope to expand on my Running in Transit series with as many different recaps of running in cities around the world as possible this year. The first of 2013 might be Paris as a side trip after a work trip to Russia is in the works for this April!


With what should be a busy 2013, these five goals will be top of mind for me. That said, I do hope to run a few races (some 5km and 10km), work for PRs as usual, but over and above that, I want these five goals to be the highlight of my running year when I do my 2013 Year in Review 12 months from now.

Stay tuned for updates in 2013 on each of these goals!


2012 Running Year in Review

7 Jan

With my final race of 2012 in the books on December 31st, I thought a recap of my year of running was due.

As I only started this blog in October of 2012, the majority of my running this year was not captured anywhere. Hopefully this recap does it justice.

St. Patty's Day Run March 17, 2012

A very foggy St. Patrick’s Day 10km race

2012 Goals

On this blog, I had two goals listed for 2012. I decided at the beginning of the year that training for any long distances was not in the cards for me in 2012, so I settled on shorter races and tried my best to work towards these two goals:

1. Average one race per month

2. PR in 5km and 10km

Having only really decided on these goals in February after my first race of the year, I missed out on running a January race so I had to make up for it at some other point throughout the year. I am happy to say I was successful in both of these goals! I ran a total of 13 races in 2012, one every month, and two in both September and October, and set new PR’s in the 5km, 8km, and 10km – every race distance I ran this year!

I had a third running goal that I had not put up on the blog – potentially for fear that I could not do it. I told a few people about it, but didn’t go fully public (i.e. on the blog) with it.

Not to leave you hanging, this third running goal of the year was to win my age group prize at a small, local running series called Somersault Run Series, in their Champions Challenge event.


I knew I had a shot at it if I ran my best and entered the correct number of races in 2012 – not many other runners in my age group even qualified for it (you had to enter a minimum number of races).

To my delight, I found in October after the Ottawa Fall Colours 10km that I had won my age group and was invited to an Awards Banquet the following month. The banquet itself was nice, but I was most pleased with the accomplishment of working at and completing this elusive third goal.

Stats from my 2012 running year:

  • Number of 5km races: 8 
  • Number of 8km races: 1
  • Number of 10km races: 4
  • New 5km PR: 22:32
  • New 8km PR: 37:09
  • New 10km PR: 48:06
  • Number of kilometers total: Over 1000

Running in Transit:

I didn’t do as much travel this year as I have in past years, but I was still fortunate enough to get some travel in. I was lucky to also be able to find time to run on the road whenever possible – here are some of the places I was able to “run in transit”.

  • San Francisco, California – A run along the water  from the Embarcadero, through Fisherman’s Wharf and on into the Marina (February).
  • Edmonton, Alberta – Snuck in a run on a business trip and took in some of the Edmonton sites (March).
  • Toronto, Ontario – Amazing 10km run along the city’s lakeshore (April).
  • Montreal, Quebec – A sunny, fall run through gorgeous Mount Royal (November).
  • London, Ontario – The 5km Resolution Run on New Years Eve in a foot of snow (December).

2012 Running Q&As:

A lot of other bloggers out there have recapped their year this way and so I thought I would join in as well by answering a few questions to show the highlights of my running year:

What was your favorite run of the year?

I had so many amazing runs this year that it was hard to choose. I have narrowed it down to two runs that I would have to name as my favorites:

1) While on vacation in San Francisco in February, I completed an amazing morning run through some picturesque parts of the city. My recap of that run is here. I loved the water front pathway, the amazing views of the city and the Golden Gate bridge and the perfect running weather!


2) Although I wasn’t training for any longer races this year, I still enjoyed getting out for some long runs on weekends. One late summer day, I had an 16km run scheduled and decided to drive to a spot along the scenic Ottawa River and hop on a trail by the water that would bring me all the way into downtown Ottawa. Along the way, I hit some construction and a small detour. The detour turned into a much bigger one that I expected but I was enjoying the gorgeous views so didn’t mind.

Once I looped back towards where my car was parked, I realized I would be doing more than 16km; it would actually be closer to 19-20km. With the wind at my back, I was feeling great so I decided right then and there that I was going to extend the run even further and officially make it a half marathon…what’s an extra kilometer or two once I have already done 19 or 20, right?!

And that is just what I did. I could not have been more pleased with my running that day. Even though I didn’t complete any half-marathons or marathons in 2012, I am proud I can still say I ran 21.1km once this year!


What was your favorite race of the year/best race experience?

My favorite race was the Bay Breeze 5km in San Leandro, California – it wasn’t my fastest 5km of the year, but it was my best race experience. It was a destination race for me, albeit only a short race. When my husband and I decided to go to San Francisco for a week’s vacation, I immediately looked up races in the general area and settled on this one.

It was put on by Brazen Racing, who did a fantastic job with everything. I hadn’t raced a 5km race in years so didn’t have any expectations of myself. The weather was perfect for running and for my first race of the year, and my first race since 2010, I gave it all I had.

To my surprise, I finished in 23:05, which was good enough for 2nd in my age group (and a nifty silver medal!)


Also, this race had by far the best looking participant’s medal!

What has been your biggest inspiration in 2012?

2012 is the year I really got into reading, following and eventually writing a running blog, and I would have to say that this has been my biggest inspiration. The virtual running community accessible through social media, be it blogs, twitter or Daily Mile motivates me each and every day to stay active and to push myself to be a better runner.

Best running advice I’ve received in 2012?

I can’t say I have received a lot of running advice this year, but one thing that has certainly stuck with me, sort of as a piece of advice, is Saucony’s slogan “Find Your Strong”. I used it more as a mantra in 2012, and I know it has helped me push through some tough runs this year.


My “Find Your Strong” reminder right in front of my treadmill

What was your favorite piece of new running gear in 2012?

Hands-down, my Garmin Forerunner 405CX is my favorite piece of new running gear this year. I got it in January 2012 and I have barely taken it off since.


I love being able to see my pace, time and distance as I run, all in one glance. It has helped me in training and during races, and the post-workout analysis that is available online is a great tool. I don’t know how I ever ran without it!

2012 Running Photos:


FEBRUARY – Bay Breeze 5km in San Leandro, California


MARCH – Decked out in green for St. Patrick’s Day 10km race

10km PR Race - The Bear Run (April 2012) - 48:06

APRIL – 10km PR Race – The Bear Run (48:06)


MAY – After the Mother’s Day 10km Race with some prize winnings


JUNE – Leading the pack (not really…there are still another 60 runners ahead of me in the Emilie’s Run 5km but this is my favorite photo of the year)

JULY - Canada Day 5km PR race (22:31) - my friend set a PR of her own too!

JULY – Canada Day 5km PR race (22:31) – my friend set a PR of her own too!

AUGUST - Hottest race of the year!

AUGUST – Hottest race of the year at the National Capital 5km!

The Canadians 8km Run September 2012

SEPTEMBER – My sprint to the finish at the Canadian 8km

OCTOBER - Rattle Me Bones 5km Race

OCTOBER – Rattle Me Bones 5km Race

NOVEMBER - The run that I got Girl Guide Cookies at the finish line!

NOVEMBER – The run that I got Girl Guide Cookies at the finish line!

DECEMBER - Last race of the year!

DECEMBER – Last race of the year – the Resolution Run!

Stay tuned for my 2013 Running Goals – to be revealed in my next post.