Niagara Race Weekend

Here it is: Part 2 of the half-marathon report from October 21st.  Between work, family and running, finding time to sit down at the computer to write has been a challenge.  I wish we could switch clocks back for one extra hour every day.

Niagara Half-Marathon

With three minutes before the start, I headed to the corrals, a little anxious that my 50 minute wait for a porta-potty would cost me a slow jog across the start line.  Luckily, though, they called the elite athletes to the start and asked runners to let them through.  Well, I am no elite athlete but I was wearing my Toronto Olympic Club singlet, which I still get embarrassed about wearing.  That Sunday morning, it was worth its weight in gold; when I said “Excuse me” so that I could get to the section where I wanted to start, I was let through.

The course is known as a fast, flat downhill course and that it certainly was.  And, it was beautiful.  Honestly, I never really pay much attention to the surroundings at a race but I did like having such a “green” course; there wasn’t any traffic to contend with and the spectators were there only to watch the race – not to complain about not being able to cross a street.  Everything seemed to be in place for a sub 1:35.

But I went out too fast.  Looking back, I think it was the rush to get to the start that simply messed me up.  I wasn’t tired at any point and, thanks to GU Gels, I never really ran out of fuel (but I would have been much happier if I also had some Gatorade or eLoad on route; cytomax just wasn’t going to work for me). 

By the time I went through the 10K mark, I had my pace where I wanted it to be and I seemed to be holding it.  Somewhere between 15 and 18K, I lost a minute – and that was the minute kept me from my time goal.   I figure it was a combination of the fast start and the constant wind that we headed into for most of the 21K.

I finished in 1:35:56.  While disappointed with the time, I am happy that I have run two 1:35 races within a month so I can honestly say that I’m a 1:35 half-marathoner.  Getting below should come in the next six months; it’s a doable goal.

Secondly, I finished with a First Place Age Group award – only because one of the overall winners was in my age group but I’ll take it. 

When I crossed the finish line, I expected to find Dave and the boys to be waiting for me but they were nowhere to be found.  They misjudged the length of the walk from the hotel to the finish area (by quite a bit).  We took a few pictures and headed back to the hotel for a swim before heading back home.

This race was a huge confidence boost for me.  Now I can look forward to the spring and pick my marathon, home or away.  Hmmm,,,,which one will it be?

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