Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon (my first, their second)

I honestly am not sure where to begin with this race so I am going to focus on the race itself.

Now, the day before we had spent hours in the car and then I think I did like 50 flights of stairs going up to the water slides. We went to bed pretty early so that was good. I was awake a few times to check the clock and at 6:10am I was out of bed. I got ready and then everyone else's started to wake up. The littles were not happy with the early hour but there was really no choice since we only had one car with us.

Pink Picasso SparkleSkirt with Custom PbRC shirt and
Custom Princess Posse Bondi Band
We were in the car and heading out by 7am. After a quick pit stop for a potty break we turned into the area to park and it was almost a complete STOP! Traffic was backed up. It took us almost 15 minutes to get into the lot but it was OK, still early enough for me.

On the way towards the starting line I got a look at the large amounts of PoP they had advertised. Well, I think they needed a few more since the lines were really long, as in all the way across the parking area. I am so glad we had stopped on the way to the race. They had some really nice cloth covered tables set up for after the race and it was so pretty.

At about 7:45am it was time to head to the starting line. I said good bye to everyone and made my way to the 2:30-3:00 predicted finish time area. My plan was to try and pace with the 2:30 pace bunny as long as I could. On the way in, I got a high five from Kathrine Switzer. She did an amazing welcome about how far women have coming in running since just 46 years before she was making history and now we had a huge amount of women runners and growing every day. Then they welcomed the singer for the Canadian National Anthem  She invited everyone to sing with her and while I have heard that song many times in my life (how could I not as a Red Wings fan) I never appreciated how pretty it is. Then right at 8am the race began.

Again, Kathrine was there giving high fives as passed her! Great way to start the race. Now I was middle of the pack and this was a walker friendly race so I thought I would be OK with my pace and not go out super fast like I have done the last couple times. Well, that did not go exactly how I planned. I was feeling good and going with the pace and I was not following my intervals yet so when I checked I was at .75 miles and maintaining a 9:52 pace, oops. By the end of the 2nd mile I was at just over 20 minutes so I did two 10 minute miles, again oops. At this point, I settled into my pace.

Now the race was really nice. We went towards the falls. First we approached the Horseshoe Falls and then the American Falls. We turned around right before the bridge to the US and headed back by the falls again. At this point, the weather had held out BUT I was getting wet from the mist. I felt good but my bib was wet and my Bondi Band was holding moisture (those things are the best). This was the highlight of the race. I do wish we could have finished this way but I understand why we couldn't since I could not see closing the roads near the falls for that many hours. Another nice thing was we got to see the lead runners and others twice on the course as looped. I stopped three wonderful Princess Posse members (Kate, Susan and Linda) which was so cool.

Since the course was one big loop, I knew I would pass by the start/finish line after the return from the falls. My mom, Jeff and the kids were going to be there but we had not really talked about when I would be coming back by. I usually know my landmarks on a course but I will admit, I never really got my mind around this whole 21.1 km thing. Luckily, they were waiting for me as I came by. I was so happy to see them. It gave me a boost completely.

The next 2 miles or so were not my favorites since it was industrial and old motels but not bad. Right before we made our way over a small bridge to follow the water, Tim Hortons had a water station with orange slices. I grabbed one and it tasted great until some got stuck in my teeth and my hands got sticky. NOTE TO SELF: Skip the oranges!

From there the course just went along the water. Nice houses on one side and water on the other. There was a Sax player and Muscle Beach where they had bodybuilders out showing off (not bad I will admit). The hard thing was that I never knew where the water stops would be. I was fine since I have been practicing limiting what I drink on longer runs but it was still a focus point.

After the second turn around I know it was nearing the end. Under 3 miles to go and I was on pace to get my PR and beat my A Goal of a Sub 2:30 but I was also slowing down. I don't know if it was the odd eating the day before, the stairs, the fast beginning pace or just me being tired but I knew I had to move.

I did really good until the last 1/2 mile. At that point I was trying to calculate my end time and I was doing math in my head and I was just I was going to be over 2:30 and while even 2:35 would have been a PR I was mad at myself and I got into my own head. It was at this point when spectators were cheering and calling out our names (since they were big on the bibs which was awesome). So I picked it up, running into 20mph winds, AGAIN. Right before the finish I saw my amazing family again, with the signs and I made it across. The clock said 2:31 but I knew I had started in the middle. My watch said 2:30:28 but I wasn't sure if I had started it at the right point so it was not until Sunday night that I found out my official time:

Seriously, 2:29:57. I don't think I could have gotten any closer but I did it.

I got my medal from a firefighter, got some water (they only had sugar free PowerAde which I don't drink), my food box, chocolate milk. I found the family and I was so happy. They had a rough morning (potty training and PoP are not a good combo and neither is 2 kids, little sleep and 3 hours outside but Jeff and my mom are the best).


  • I want to do this race again next year but I will go alone and stay somewhere cheap
  • I hope they get more PoP
  • I wish they had a better water plan but I think since it is only the 2nd year they will get better
  • The medal is awesome!
  • So was the Swag Bag (yes, that is a full bottle of wine)!

Strange side note: There were a lot of pacers on bikes or around that were bringing things to runners, giving encouragement, going off again, coming back. I am new to racing so maybe this is common but I was surprised.

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