Niagara Falls International Marathon – 1/2 marathon race report!

friday night I started my prep for the 1/2 writing out my pace tat:

in hind sight, I think I’ll just splurge for the actual pace tat as the permanent marker ink follows the creases in your skin and appears slightly blurry. the pink is the mile splits for a 1:56 1/2 marathon and the blue is the mile splits for a 2hr 1/2 marathon.

sunday was 1/2 marathon day in Niagara Falls! MC, his lady friend, me and ME travelled to Niagara on saturday to check out the expo and pick up racing kits. ME had decided not to race earlier in the week b/c he’s been since with a chest cold since turkey weekend. poor guy. it wasn’t an easy decision to make but he was smart and put his health first. so, he picked up his kit and turned in his chip right away so he wouldn’t be tempted to run.

the expo was small but good, lots of good deals. ME got a pair of shoes for $60 and I got a new skirt, long sleeve shirt, some gels, and a magnetic necklace. after, we had dinner at Boston Pizza and went to bed.

both of us slept terribly! there was a dripping tap and our curtains wouldn’t stay shut. by midnight we were both going a bit crazy so ME jimmied the tap and we clipped the curtains shut and finally got some shut eye.

at 6:30, my alarm went off so I got up to start the foot and toe lubbing rituals and to get dressed. ME made me coffee, hopped in the shower. I tried to eat a bit but was dawdling over getting dressed. 7:20 came too quickly and we were late meeting MC in the lobby. ME drove us to the bus meeting spot, snapped a picture and went back to the hotel to check us out.

MC and I waited for 5 mins before they started loading busses, both of us trying to down a bit more breakfast but neither of us were feeling like it with our pre-race distraction!
we rode the bus for, what felt like to me, an hour and finally disembarked at the start line (or the marathon half way point).

since we caught one of the first busses, we had some time to kill so we walked laps of the start area to keep warm and moving. it was pretty chilly and the wind started to pick up as we waited so staying warm became kinda tricky. my hands were definitely pretty cold by the time ME got to the start and lent me his mitts. my feet were also pretty cold. ME snapped another photo before we lined up:

I’m holding my fancy, hi-tech yellow raincoat (read: plastic garbage bag they give you on the maid of the mist) that I was wearing to protect me from the wind. at this point the line ups for the porta potties were ridiculously long and I kinda felt like I needed to pee but thought it was just my nerves and the feeling would go away once we started. I was wrong.

this is mean clapping at the start of the race to get ME’s attention. there’s such a mass (2100 of ’em) of runners going by, it’s hard to pick people out.

ME met us again just before 5 miles. I’d stopped to pee and lost about 2mins of time waiting for a pottie to open up. but, I was feeling WAY better having stopped. MC went by first looking all determined. then I came by later. look at me! all smiles still at this point. for the first half of the race, I was feeling like gold. I at my lemon-lime gu at 45mins in and got a much needed boost since I only ate half of my bagel breakfast pre-race. I took water and gatorade at a couple stations and until I pit stopped, just before mile 5, I was on pace for 1:56-1:58.

around mile 7, I was working on reeling in some of the people that I’d been running with prior to my pit stop. I ran a bit with a guy from Alberta who was ‘sucking wind’ because he’d had a cold all week. he found me at the end of the race to say hey and congratulations. eventually I pulled ahead, trying to catch the 2:00 pace bunny. she must have come in around 1:58 though because I didn’t catch her.

at 1:15 I took my second gel (expresso lovers yum!) and turned it up a bit. I ran for most of the last 3 miles with “my buddy” a guy who I didn’t talk to until very close to the finish. we just ran side by side, reeling people in. he was great, picking up the pace in the last 2 miles and powering up the little hills.

by the time we got to mile 12 I was in pain. I really really wanted a 2hr finish but I was exhausted and wanting to quit. I checked my watch for about the millionth time and my ‘pace tat’ and saw that it was going to be really close. it was time to buckle down. I picked it up in the last mile, likely running about an 8:50 mile. for some reason, I didn’t kick. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking but I didn’t kick. I passed ME but all I could think was FINISH!

ME got these last photos right near the finish:

see “my buddy” beside me to the left? tall guy with a mustache? I wouldn’t have hit 2hrs without him. I just kept running beside him starting at around mile 9. I thanked him at the end, he totally kept me on pace.

as I crossed the line I smiled and raised my arms so that I wouldn’t have a sucky finish photo like I normally do. in fact, I didn’t even stop my watch until I was getting my chip cut off. and that meant… I didn’t know if I’d got it! I didn’t know if I’d hit 2hrs or not!

luckily ME is tall and read that I’d got 2:00:27 on the results papers being posted. WOO HOO! mission accomplished! that time was good enough for 46/144 in my age group.

super congrats to MC who kicked ass and got 1:53:40 in his very first 1/2 marathon! you owe me a full marathon in the spring buddy!

and finally, the happy finishers!

3 thoughts on “Niagara Falls International Marathon – 1/2 marathon race report!

  1. I have felted that too, I used to pee every morning before the race starts but the porta-potties has very long lines so I skipped my morning routine. I have forgotten that I must pee then at the race, I felt like I was peeing, this time I said to my self, I must pee. The potty stop was just passed so I just peed on the trees, good thing I am a guy.


  2. Thanks so much for sharing your race story. Wow, good inspiration. Like the idea of the 'tat' of times. I didn't do that for my 1/2 and was way too slow. I am blaming the elevation in Calgary.


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