i think i CAN, i think i CAN

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.

We’re excited!

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?

Great shots!

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…

13 thoughts on “i think i CAN, i think i CAN

  1. So proud of you Holly! I wish that I could have done it with you. Now remember how you promised to do a marathon with me?!!! Which one are we going to do together?

  2. Wow, the race setting is gorgeous! Nicely done for your PB. 🙂

    How do you find the GU gels btw? I’m currently in the midst of trying out different gel brands.

    1. Thanks! I had a great time, and we could not have had a better day–what a blessing! I think the GU gels are fine; they’re pretty much what most races hand out. They’re not the best tasting things, but they get the job done. I also like Honey Stingers and Shot Blox as well. The Sport Beans are OK, although Katy had trouble chewing them today. If you’re going for convenience, GUs are best. If you’re more concerned with taste, try the Honey Stingers–they are organic and made with honey and very tasty!

    1. Thanks so much! I’m so glad I did it, even if I’m in the midst of the busiest week of my LIFE coming up–THREE tests, an online quiz, moving into our rental house and I did NO WORK this weekend! AHHHH!

  3. you were awesome! i need to do some speedwork and catch up! maybe cut back on the sweets, too. 🙂 thank you so much for running with me and the lift there and back!

    1. thanks! i WILL email you those photos…just keep forgetting each time i sit down at the computer! and i wouldn’t cut back on the sweets if i were you…i have the biggest sweet tooth EVER! must be working! (that, or i just work out enough to counteract all the sugar and calories)

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