Having a little more difficulty with the transfer of photos from the camera to the computer. Bear with me this week. I’m just impressed I’m updating or attempting to post photos this soon!
We’ve been done with the race for about 13 hours and I want to post about it while it’s still fresh in my mind.
We arrived at the packet pick-up last night and grabbed our sweatshirts and race numbers. I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t have timing chips, but they surprised me with those this morning. They gave us tickets for food and beer, and we were pretty psyched. We paid $40 for the race and for all of the perks, it seemed like a great deal!
Got to the race start around 7 a.m. The ultra marathoners were starting at that time, with the marathoners starting at 7:30 and the half marathoners beginning at 8:00. (The 10k then took off at 8:30.) The race was out and back. I figured it would be relatively flat. I checked the weather before we left the hotel and was a little bummed about the chance of precipitation being 100% of “heavy rain.” I thought it would hold out…..
Tim Horton’s was a major sponsor of this race, so there was plenty of coffee and donuts to go around. I tried to eat oatmeal at the hotel, and only got to eat about 1/4 of it (the milk was frozen and it went downhill from there.) I went ahead and tried a donut at 7 a.m. and figured I’d at least have food in me, and not make the same mistake I made in September, when I only ate 40 calories before the half marathon.
The “washrooms” were decent. Quite a walk from the start of the race, but at least they weren’t port-a-potties. We also had plenty of time to walk and get ready.
About half an hour before our start, I overheard one guy say to a girl, “so this is what you do on your weekends, eh?” and it made me laugh. I had to tell my husband about it, and that line popped into my head several times during my run.
So the half marathon actually started a few minutes early. I was a little thrown off, but glad I didn’t have time to feel that nervous feeling. Out of about 440 runners, 260 were signed up for the half. There wasn’t a good set up for how the runners would start (faster runners in the front, for example) and it was a little bit of a mess. A very slow start for me. Oh, and it started raining just before our start.
We ran through a field for about 1/4 mile until we reached a footpath. Then it was a footpath/sidewalk the rest of the way. The course is described as being 100% asphalt, and they were correct. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the 3k sign. I forgot that everything would be in kilometers. Not only that, but there was very little signage, making it difficult for me to pace myself. I take gels and sports jelly beans during my races and I wasn’t 100% sure when I should take them, so I just had to wing everything.
There was no support for the race. The water stops were few and far between and I had to rely on my iPod for the entire race. I saw my husband near the turn-around. He was about a mile (a little more) ahead of me. I finished 6.55 miles in 1 hour and 5 minutes, and that was about the time I thought I could get a personal best in this race. (My previous half marathon PR was 2:22.)
Just before a sign for the 5k, I told one woman that I was using her to pace myself. Turns out, she was using me to pace. I ended up passing her near the 5k mark (and passed several others) and was pretty alone for a couple of miles. In the last mile, I saw a girl in front of me who kept walking (and would run when I go close to her). I still wasn’t sure how much longer I had, so I just stuck with my pace and eventually passed her in the final half mile. I picked it up a little more, to keep her further behind me and ran into the finish….completely soaked.
The upside of the race was the friendly people. Canadians are really nice (Canadian runners are even nicer.) The downside was the lack of support on the course, lack of milemarkers and few water stops.
When we finished, we went into the small building to get drinks and food. We never made it through the food line, as it was so long and it wasn’t moving quickly. They were trying to quiet everyone to do awards at that time, too. I thought it was all a little ridiculous. They should have tried to do the awards a bit later, or out near the steps, rather than in the middle of the food. Donuts were an ok idea at the end, but definitely not in the beginning of the race. I never got a drink until we got back to our car.
There were no medals, but rather a keychain with an engraving on the back with my name and the race. I thought it was a cool idea, but the race site said there were finisher medals (and really, I run for the medals.) I don’t have a picture of the keychain yet, but will try to get that up this week.
And now, pictures from the race….
Before the race
After the race
(My husband overheard the half marathon winner complaining about the hills – this is one of the “hills”)
Niagara River – one of the views along the way
I ran so fast, I was a blur:
Us, after the race obviously:
I’m incredibly sore now – mostly my knees. And tired. I slept for about 2 hours late this afternoon, just before dinner. I think the exhaustion is from our 13 hour trip and the race combined.
Would I do this race again? Maybe. Do I recommend it? Totally. I’m interested in the Niagara Falls marathon in October, though. Starting in the United States and ending in Canada sounds very appealing to me….