After THREE 2-hour-to-the-dot half-marathons (which is a completely respectable time, I might add) I PR’d this morning with an AMAZING (if I do say so myself) 1:44!!!
I’ve been running faster and faster over the last year or so (thanks to Susy!), but bonked in my last two half-marathons, so I was anxious to redeem myself and earn the time I deserve. This morning was that morning!
We picked Katy up in Buffalo on our way across the border. In true Holly and Andrew fashion, we had the “Andrew-didn’t-get-out-of-bed-on-time-and-Holly-freaked-out-because-she-thought-we-were-going-to-be-late” fight, but made up by the time we hit Canada.
The full marathoners start at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in downtown Buffalo, then run over the Peace Bridge into Canada. The half-marathon starts 13.1 miles in, on a stretch of road in Fort Erie, 13.1 miles from the falls.
(We arrived in PLENTY of time; we sat in our warm car for more than an hour before heading to the start.) As usual, Andrew was right….
Emily gave me some GUs she wasn’t going to use; I chose to bring along the pineapple flavor, for obvious reasons. (It was almost sickeningly sweet–aren’t they all?–but it tasted pineapple-y!) Thanks Emily!
Pre-race static stretching…and a little warming up! It was in the low- to mid-forties this morning. A bit chilly, but we ended up with THE BEST day EVER. Seriously–bright blue, clear skies, full sun and mid-50s.
The race field wasn’t that big–5,000 total I think–but it was almost perfect. Not too big, but not small, either. And well-run. (Haha, I’m so punny.) They arranged busses to and from the half-marathon start, and I believe spectators could ride along, too.
This was our view for the whole way. There were houses and a walking/running trail along our left side…
…and the Niagara River along our right. Just gorgeous. And it was either flat or a gentle downhill the entire way. Does it get better than that?
Here we are! Andrew high-tailed it a couple miles down the course to catch us in the beginning. I love having my own personal photographer…
Here I am again, at mile 10. Katy and I stayed together until about half-way, then I pulled ahead–I had energy! We kept it at about an 8:20/mile pace until the 10k mark (there were both km and mile markers along the way…confusing! I knew knew quite where we were…). I sped up to closer to an 8:00/mile from there on out.
Andrew moved the car and hiked down to the finish at the falls.
The finish line was refreshingly NOT chaotic, since it wasn’t a giant race. I missed having a food tent–they handed out bags filled with water, apples, bananas and granola bars–but it cut down on space and craziness. After my sprint, I was a bit light-headed and needed some hand-holding. Good thing I didn’t have to wait too long for Andrew and Katy (he managed to find her first) to rescue me. He even brought his wallet along so I could get a Sprite on our way out–that is LOVE.
Katy finished in 1:50–fantastic! We paused to take a couple shots in front of the falls–why miss an opportunity?
Best race ever! I will definitely consider doing this one again. The only thing I would have changed would be the start time; 10 a.m. just seems SO LATE. But, since it’s a bit of a hike to get there, it was nice being able to wake up at my regular time and still get to the race. Here’s to next year’s fall half-marathons–there are so many good ones in this area! If they weren’t so darn expensive, I might do one every month…