Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ottawa Fall Colours Marathon Review

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oops - I wrote this on the plane trip back from Ottawa and then forgot to post it.  In fact, it's been so long since I posted anything that I've almost forgotten how.

This marathon lives up to its name.  We lucked out with the weather too, cool and sunny all day, so the trees were at their most spectacular.  I got a few cell-phone shots.

I finished my 84th marathon since the diagnosis of myeloma, in 5 hours, 54 minutes, and 37 seconds, about 12 minutes faster than my 83rd marathon, last week.  I was first in my age group, but also alone in my age group.  I figure that I beat all of the old guys who sat in their easy chairs watching football, eating chips, and drinking beer.  Actually I drank beer too, afterward, but I earned it the old fashioned way.

This was my first race in Canada, and I was here in support of Nelson Wiebe, an Edmonton college student who is running marathons this year in honor of his aunt, diagnosed with myeloma in 2010, to increase awareness of myeloma in Canada and to raise money for Myeloma Canada (  We had met the day before, in a photo shoot for the Ottawa Sun newspaper, and he passed me twice in the race, once in each direction, and also greeted me at the finish.

Sixteen marathons remain in the quest for 100 marathons with myeloma.  Also, this was my first province.  There are ten, plus three territories.  Hmmm.  Travel to and from Canada is not quite as easy as within the U.S., with all of the immigration and customs, but what if we tried to collect a few more provinces?

The Marathon:

I can't recommend this one highly enough.  It's a very small marathon, just 75 finishers this year, but the half marathon is larger, and the whole race is organized as well as any of the big ones.  It's simply a no-hassle event:

  • The fall color was simply exquisite.  Scrumptious.  I stopped several times to take cell-phone photos.
  • The time limit is 5 hours, but they provided a timed 1-hour early start for runners like me.
  • Even though I took the early start, aid stations were manned when I got there, and there were plenty of them.
  • Organization of the race was flawless.
Canadians are known to be polite (mostly true, it seemed) but I was also impressed at how friendly and caring they were in this race.  In the USA it's fairly common for runners meeting each other to give a little encouragement, but here it was the rule.  The race was out-and-back, so we met every other runner at least once, and there was always a nod, or thumbs up, or salute, or grin, or "Doin' great," "Keep it up," "Nice job."

My Race:

I ran a marathon in Portland just a week ago, and that caught up to me in two ways in this race: (1) I experienced a lot of cramping in the last miles (kilometers), and (2) after about halfway, I began to feel a pain in the upper right tibia, slightly toward the medial side and perhaps an inch and a half down from the knee joint.

Cramps are a recurring problem.  This time I brought a magnesium capsule, 125 mg, and took that when the cramps started to slow me down, but that didn't help.  I took plenty of salt - maybe too much?  I was thirsty some of the time, despite the cool weather and an abundance of aid stations, so maybe there is such a thing as too much salt.

The bone pain may be shin splints, or less likely, something more serious.  I do have a cancer that attacks bones.  Shin splints often show up when an athlete increases stress on the legs significantly in a short time - I think two marathons in a week might qualify.  I need to find out, so I will start with my sports doctor and go from there.

Except for those little problems, I had a lovely time out there, cool throughout, starting with three shirts and ending up with just one short-sleeved shirt.  The others I left in the car at the halfway point.

Normally I would put my splits here, but the Canadian race was measured in KM rather than miles, making it 42 KM, and I forgot that my watch would only log 30 splits, so it didn't retain the last 12 KM or so.  Maybe I need a new watch.  (See the next post.)

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