Sunday, June 2, 2013

Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon

Well I did not do a sub 2:15 half, and I did not get a PB (personal best).  This was my worst time for a half marathon (I've only done two), and I'm okay with that!  I am disappointed, but not at my performance.  I'm really frustrated with my feet.  My toes in particular.  They cramped at the 11th kilometer despite the fact that I had my orthotics in.  Looks like I need ANOTHER adjustment.  I couldn't have been more prepared or better trained for this half.  There's nothing more frustrating when your body gives out before your mind does.

I was really pumped because I got to run this race with Carol.  Carol is my former running coach and mentor.  If it wasn't for Carol, I honestly wouldn't be running today.  She is the most encouraging person that I have ever had the pleasure to know.  Even when I had zero confidence in myself, Carol always cheered me on and told me I could reach my goals.  She is such a joy to be around and I'm blessed to have her in my life.  We keep in contact via email because she lives nine hours away in Illinois.  When I heard she was coming back to Ontario for a visit and to run this race, I registered right away.  I have never had the opportunity to run a race with Carol.

Pretty decent swag!

We arrived in Niagara Falls yesterday afternoon to pick up our race kits.  I was the driver as I felt it was the least I could do since I totally crashed someone else's hotel room!  I spent the weekend with a bunch of women I knew only as acquaintances and I had a fabulous time!  I was definitely a newbie as this was my first "away" race.  There's nothing like spending quality time with women who run!  I was definitely the "newest" runner because I believe I was the only one who has not run a marathon yet.  That will be remedied when I run my first full marathon this fall.

At the expo I had the pleasure of meeting (and hugging) Katherine Switzer.  Katherine was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967 before women were allowed to run it.  She was registered under her initials and was attacked by the race organizer in an attempt to forcibly remove her from the race.  See those pictures here.  She was lovely.  One of my room mates wanted to meet her and buy her book, so when she got to the front of the line, I took their picture and Katherine hugged me and said "thank you".  She also "high fived" me twice during the half marathon!  It certainly was a thrill to meet her!  She's a running pioneer.  Especially for women.

Clifton Hill.  Not even tourist season but still hoppin!

After picking up our race kits, we headed to the hotel.  The Days Inn on Victoria Avenue in Niagara Falls.  We settled in, drank some wine, then headed out for a late dinner.  We went to Ruby Tuesdays and I had shrimp skewers with lots of veggies as my side.  I also had their endless salad bar and lots of water.  We walked around Clifton Hill after dinner for a bit, then got caught in a couple of torrential down pours!  We finally made our way back to the hotel just after 10 pm to call it a night so we could be refreshed for the race the next day.

Not mine, but the running grand masters
tell me that this is the best way to "carb up".
Some of the weather we had to contend with.
That's our hotel in the distance...

Race day had us up and at em at 5:30 am.  Not much different than any other day for me, but for some reason, I slept like a log the night before.  I thought that strange since I don't usually sleep well away from home.  I was actually woken by an alarm.  We got ready pretty quickly and met in the breakfast room just after 7 am to make it over to the start line.  The start time was for 8 am, but due to excessive port-a-potty traffic, we didn't actually start the race till about 8:05 am. Everyone had left already and the corral was empty by the time we made it to the start line.  No matter though.  I had a chip timer on me!

The port-a-potty line.  There were flowers
in them.

So Carol and I sauntered to the start line because she was trying to get a signal for her Garmin. The plan was that we were going to run as a foursome (there were my two room mates as well), but they left before Carol could get a signal, so it was just Carol and I and she was going to be my pace bunny for a 2:15 half.  We stayed on pace for about 11 kilometers, then my toes cramped on my left foot.  As much as I tried to keep up with the pace, I started to limp which caused me to get pain in my hip and I told Carol that we were going to have to abort my 2:15 half and just try for the PB.  It just wasn't worth it for me to get injured.  I would have got the PB, but that flew out the window when we stopped for a photo op with a bunch of body builders.  By this point in the race, my toes on both feet were beyond sore and I needed a distraction!  I honestly never really looked at these guys and couldn't have picked them out of a line up.  It was a just a fun thing to do.

This was at about the 17K mark.

The last four kilometers or so was spent in easy conversation.  I asked Carol about some training advice and I filled her in on how the 10K clinic that I'm teaching is going.  Carol also told me stories of past races she's run.  I've already heard many of the stories, but it never gets old hearing them again.  And it was a welcome distraction so I didn't have to think about my sore feet.  Ah, my feet. I'm so very frustrated. I could have continued my 2:15 pace if my feet didn't give out!  It's beyond my control right now.  I have another follow-up appointment for my orthotics in a couple of weeks and I'll definitely need another adjustment.  I can't go on running like this.  It's a real confidence crusher.

Another half marathon under my belt.

So my official chip time was 2:22:35.  I came in 808 out of 1422 and 155 out of 284 for my age group.  I ran a 6:46 per kilometer pace.  Like I said, I know I could have done better, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  I just have to hope that my crampy toe issues will rectify itself sooner than later.  I start marathon training in a few weeks.  The most important thing is that I got to finally run a race with Carol.  Carol took me out on my first run and has seen my progress since I started running fifteen months ago.  I'm still a rookie runner.  I have lots to learn from Carol and the other wonderful women I got to spend the weekend with.  This was definitely a race to remember, for me anyway!

My recovery meal.  Extra chicken and I didn't tell them to take the
cheese off.  My first official Paleo cheat meal.  It hit the spot and
I needed lots of energy.  I'd just run off 1650 calories!