Race Report: Niagara Falls International (Half) Marathon

Little Ironman and me, after the half.

 Running the Niagara Falls Half-Marathon has been a monkey on my back.  A few years ago, I had registered for it but developed pneumonia in the weeks leading up to the race.  I had no choice but to pull out.  Then, to rub a little more salt into the wound, that was one of the best days weather-wise in the history of Niagara Falls half-marathon.

When I planned to run the half this year, I was ready for anything – rain, wind, or even a nasty cough.  I was not ready for what seemed to be near-perfect race conditions on Sunday morning.

Dave decided to drive me to the start of this point to point course so that “I wouldn’t have to wait on a cold bus.” I was glad to have his company since I didn’t know anyone else who was running; I was grateful for his company as I went through my pre-race routines.

The porta-potty situation, it turned out, was a disaster; I learned the next day that there was 1 unit for every 75 runners.  At 9:00, an hour before the race, I got into a line of what was already about 300 runners and waited and waited.  Dave joined me around 9:20 and held my spot while I started my warm-up.  I couldn’t help but notice other runners – mostly men – coming out of the woods and thought about going into them myself.  But, let’s face it, some things are just easier for guys.  I was worried about being noticed – not by another runner but by one of the residents who lived across from the treed areas.  It was simply easier (and more respectful) to let Dave keep holding my spot in line while I ran back and forth.

While warming up, I realized that there was a bit of a wind coming from the SW (which I later learned were 25-30 kph), the direction that we would running into for most of the 21K.  But the sun was coming out and the course was downhill and flat, so I put the wind out of my mind. 

At 9:57, three minutes before the start, I finally emerged from the porta-potty, rushed to the start and strategically placed myself behind the 1:30 pace bunny.  Phew!  Now, I was ready to race!

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