I know, I haven't posted all summer. To be honest, the summer didn't work out as planned. I didn't bike, swim or run as much as I had hoped. I gained too much weight. I basically stopped caring so much about meeting any goals.
As such, by the time the Niagara Falls Half Marathon rolled around, I had one goal: PB the course.
Despite ONE long run of 20k (in JUNE!) and a few long runs of 18k, I was sure that this goal would be reached. The course is a beauty, straight, flat and I know it having run the race twice before.
Then, we woke up to heavy wind with gusts up to 50kph.
I picked up Sam and quickly headed down the highway enroute to meet Emma, her husband and Ivanka, all of whom were running the half. When I say I quickly headed down the highway, I'm not lying. Coming down the Skyway bridge, I notice an OPP car pull onto the road and began chanting, "not me, not me, not me..." It didn't help. So, if nothing else, I got my very first speeding ticket on the way to the race.
The best part of the day happened when we got to the Cowne Plaza and met up with Emma, Ivanka and Steve in Emma and Steve's hotel room (private bathrooms!). They ended up with a room with a bit of a view (kinda).
Okay, enough crapping and viewing, time to get on the bus and to the start line. One of the few things I don't like about this race is that because it starts at the 21.1k mark of the full marathon, they bus you to the start and you get there super early. then you sit around on the damp grass and second guess your outfit before pulling on a long sleeved shirt under your tank. Oh well. Time to line up and go.
The four of us started together (Steve set out at a faster pace). I ran with music on from the beginning because my goal was to run 5:27/km until the last 3k and then PB the course. I knew that all three gals were in better shape than that and would end up ahead of me. Plus, I just wanted a nice, introspective run. Nothing was really riding on this one, you know?
So, I turn on my music and Sweet Caroline comes on. Perfect. We take off and I've got the crowds around us "Ba-ba-baing" with me. HAHA. Then It Takes Two is the next song. I rap the first bit because.... who doesn't rap the first bit of that song? Ladies Love Cool James, yo!
Before long, I'm telling the gals to go on ahead, I'm on pace and don't want to get caught up with them. I pause at a water station, even though I had a cool new hand-held thing
Things are going really, really well. Through 7k I held the pace or a bit faster: 5:27-5:12-5:11-5:28-5:18-5:33-5:27. SCREW you headwind! You're not getting the best of me today!
Then, things started to go down the toilet. I started to feel BLAH. I took a gel. Nope. I felt... not good. In the end, I stopped to use a portapotty in the 12th KM and from then on decided to have a good time with the run as there was no way I was getting a course PB in the relentless headwind that day. And so I did. I just had a good time. I enjoyed my diverse playlist. I sang along. I looked out over the Niagara River and enjoyed the view. I started doing 9s/1s run/walks because the wind was just relentless. It made it so much easier mentally to do that.
Of course, you know that means I hammed it up for all of the photographers! As the race used marathon photos, I decided not to pay for the photos (crazy high prices), so I'll just give you one:
In the end, I crossed the line in 2:02:31. Poop, headwind, great friends, great playlist. Its what its all about. It never hurts to see one of the wonders of the world either.
So, that's a wrap on an easy summer and half marathon 18. In the off season, I've taken on a new challenge, but I'll be back (promise). To discuss that.