Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

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Abby Hoffman
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Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

Postby purdy65 » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:43 am

OK, I wasn't originally going to write a race report - most notably because it wasn't a particularly great race for me. Good, but not great. And probably in line with my fitness as I have been doing too much easy running since Boston, and felt like I had a harder time moving my legs fast. Plus, despite the glorious sunshine, it was warm and a bit windy in spots.

The reason I decided to write a race report is to give the race itself a glowing review and encourage as many ladies (yes and even gents!) who possibly can to do this event. Since it's inaugural year in 2012, it has grown from 1000 to 2600 participants, and I think it will continue to grow.

Race day packet pickup is available (and was very quick and easy!) so we didn't head to the Falls until early Sunday morning. The plan, since the weather was nice, was for me to do the race and spend the rest of the day enjoying the Falls.

Traffic was great until the entrance to the parking. That was bad! I'm not sure what they can do about that, but at least there is ample parking even though it costs $10. We were there in plenty of time though. First stop was the porta potty! Oh yes - pink (some blue) and clean with flowers in the urinal and a sign that says - please do not water the flowers. :roll: :roll: Not your run of the mill race porta potty though! And there were plenty of them!

Finally the time had come to line up! I gave my DH a smooch and headed to the start. What fun it was! Katherine Switzer was meandering through the crowd wishing everyone luck, there was a really good high school marching band that marched right through the corals (they were fun!).

This race was so inclusive, I'm not sure I've ever seen such a broad range of participants from fast runners to slow walkers - everyone was welcome and could feel comfortable at this event.

Off we go!

The first 8K were an out and back past the falls. It had started to warm up quite a bit, so the mist from the Falls was SOOOOO welcome! Unfortunately after 8K it was paved road along the river, which was very pleasant, but warm and without shade. I loved the long out and back where you could see the people before you and after you. The stream of people was endless, and I saw the last participant at 8K when I was at 20K, so, as I said, all were welcome.

The course was also basically flat, with just a few ups and downs. On a good day, it could definitely be a fast one for sure! The last time I did this in 2012, I had a great race!

Crowd support was sparse in most areas, but good in some! And really there was some support all along the course. They also had some bands and DJ's as well. That was cool!

I ran the first half of the race in about 55:30 minutes, but maybe I went out a bit fast, and definitely the heat was becoming an issue by the second half. In any case, I slowed right down, and took an extended break at one of the water stations to make sure I was getting my fluids and a gel. I felt better after that, and even though I was slower, I was steady for the rest of the way, never stopping - going at about 5:25 pace. I could not mentally seem to push myself beyond this, and had a hard time figuring out why I needed too, so I just enjoyed the steady pace!

There was a good crowd down the finish chute, so the cheering was fantastic! You could see the finish from quite a distance though (not quite as far as Boston though), so those last few hundred meters seemed LONG! But I clearly heard my name announced and crossed the finish @ 1:53:23. I didn't have ANY time to be disappointed though! As soon as I crossed the finish, Katherine Switzer picked me up and twirled me around and said 'great job Lisa!' (names are on the bibs :) )

That will be a moment I'll never forget. She is an idol of mine, and one of the main reasons that events like this one take place! And definitely the reason everyday female runners like me are able to participate in the Boston marathon. I walked away feeling like I had just set a PB or qualified for Boston! I can only hope to have her energy and enthusiasm at 68 years old (BTW she looks nowhere near that!)

Now this 'picking me up and twirling me around thing' seems to be a common thing for me. It is how I am greeted by my nieces and a few others. I think people think this might just be someone I'm able to lift! In any case, this was not the first time it's happened to me :lol:

Anyway, after being presented with my medal by a fine firefighter specimen, I quickly found my husband and dog (who was hyperventilating with excitement to see me :lol: ) and got a bit welcome from them both. I needed food and particularly water quickly though so I went through the food tent and picked up my stash (all in a cute little box) and we sat in the shade for a while to eat. Perfect day to enjoy this!

Then we headed off to the Falls for lunch and a walk along the gorge. We pooped the poor pooch out for sure, but he was good, and popular with the tourists!

Just a fantastic day, and without a doubt I'm headed back next year.

Motto of the race - Attention to detail:

Fun start, with an hilarious MC and several guests.
Clear, well marked signs for water stations and toilets along the route.
Great volunteers, although if I had one criticism at all it would be that they could have used more.
Well organized race day pick up along with a fantastic swag bag!
Great course - pretty flat.
Awesome and well organized finish area. Funniest sign - Puke bucket - with arrow pointing down to 2 blue pails.

Now for the problem:

My chip registered me starting the race, but not finishing. I was desperately looking up my results on sportstats and couldn't find them. I went to the sportstats board and did not see my name at all. Ugh... what? A corner of my bib was blowing most of the time because the little hole was ripped and nothing was holding it down, so I don't know if that was the reason? In any case, I headed to the Sportstats tent, and the guy helped me out immediately. I saw that the start time on my garmin was identical to the start time he had for me, and that I had run 21.09 K, so he gave me the time as official. It was pretty easy, but hard to deny that I had run the race. I still had my bib on, and the garmin on my wrist. There were no intermediate mats so he couldn't check that.

I honestly ran the course though! (as evidenced by my garmin), and I suppose requiring any more proof for this particular race would have been unnecessary. I wonder if it is that easy if you are running a marathon for a BQ though? In any case, lessoned learned. Even if you don't look at it - wear a GPS in races. It's the only reason I have an official time for this one.

So that's it! If you get a chance, do this race! It's even a great destination race!

Thanks for reading!
It's not the size of the dog in the's the size of the fight in the dog! 11K Marker post - 2010 ATB.

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Re: Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

Postby alexk » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:08 am

Congrats, Lisa! Sounds like a really nice, fun race. I have a great image of you being picked up by KS - very cool :).
We train more joyfully and productively when we focus on the now, rather than on our future race day performance. It's a long road from here to there with many miles to go. We need to run each one. Accept where you are today and simply be thankful for the work you've accomplished. KA

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Lynn Williams
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Re: Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:37 am

congrats! a few ottawa friends went down for this as well and sounds like it was great!
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Bill Crothers
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Re: Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

Postby 5km » Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:27 pm

Sounds like you had a great day in spite of the temp. and chip issues.

I understand your pleasure at having that exchange with Katherine Switzer. I was thrilled to meet and talk with Bill Rodgers at an ATB spaghetti dinner once a long time ago. It's great when your idols live up to your expectations of them.

Congratulations on your race finish.

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Kevin Sullivan
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Re: Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

Postby Habs4ever » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:40 pm

Sounds like a great experience!
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Bill Crothers
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Re: Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

Postby grimskot » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:55 pm

Habs4ever wrote:Sounds like a great experience!

Yup, what she said :)
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Jerome Drayton
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Re: Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

Postby Robinandamelia » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:32 am

Congrats Lisa, sounds like a great event. Always a conflict for me with the Barrie Half but maybe one day!! you had a great result that's for sure. Love that you got the twirl from Kathrine too :)

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Re: Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

Postby chunkymonkeymelonhed » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:40 pm

Sounds like a great event! I'm glad that the chip issue was easy to take care of.

You are awesome!
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Re: Lisa P's Niagara Falls Women's Half.

Postby Ken B » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:37 pm

Congratulations! Great report and an excellent race. One thing that I have learned. Your best effort on any given day will produce different results. I think that your result in this race was excellent!! :)

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