Thursday, 25 August 2011

Race Number 8 - Niagara Falls Half Marathon

I contiunued with my training after the Highland Games 10k to prepare for the Niagara Falls Half Marathon.  This was a big race and a big weekend for me.  I went to Niagara Falls with most of the people who I had taken the clinic with.  We were all spending 2 nights in Niagara Falls.  We met up for the expo and dinner on the Saturday evening before the race and everyone responsibly turning in early for the evening.
We met up early the next morning to catch the bus to the start.  The half and the full marathons start at the same time, but from different locations.  The full marathon starts in Buffalo and finishes in front of the falls.  The half marathon starts in what feels like the middle of nowhere and also finishes in front of the falls.

My goal time for this race was under 2 hours.  My plan was to find the 2 hour pace bunny and stay ahead of them.  At the start I found the bunny. There was the usual crowded start line mayham and anxiety I normally feel.  I started out fast - too fast, and after 4k had to slow my pace down significantly.  By 10k I was hurting and that bunny was long gone.  I think around 16k I got passed my a walker, not just a walker - he had 'Deaf Walker' written on the back of his shirt.  Part of me was quite impressed with the guy - good for him.... but really really crappy for me.

I wallowed in self pity for a bit, but I kept running or perhaps it was shuffling.  The tricky thing about this race is the illusion of the falls.  The course is a good place to attempt a pb because there are very few turns and it is reletively flat.  The relitively flat aspect of the course makes the finish line seem much closer than they actually are.  It could be my mind playing tricks on me, but I think I remember seeing the falls for the last 3k.

At the 19k mark I saw I guy with two young girls about the age of my daughters waiting for his wife.  As I passed them they saw her behind me.  He jumped up and yelled "Girls there's mommy!" I have never missed my kids as much as I did at that point.  I was tired and I knew there was no way I was going to come in under 2 hours. 

At the 20k mark I saw Mike from the running store in the crowd.  I think he was actually on the course.  He was there with his wife, Linda.  They were both cheering for everyone from the clinic.  I remember having to fight back tears becuase I was so happy to see someone I knew and to know that this race was finally going to be over.  Finally, finally I saw the finish line.  I came in, but behind me I could hear this clomp, clomp.  I thought to myself - no freakin way is someone coming up behind me to pass me just before the finish line.  I picked it up but I could not get away from the clomp clomp.  As the person came up beside me, I looked - it was a 10 year old kid.  He wasn;t running the half.  I did let him go.  I'm not quite that pathetic.

I finished the race in 2:04 and change.  It took me a long time to find everyone in my group but we got some awesome shots in front of the falls.  I didn't feel too bad about my time... there was Around the Bay to train for next.

After the race in front of the falls
Tracey running the 5k race

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