This race was AWESOME!!! It was one of my favorite races ever, and it was my first international half marathon to boot. The decision to run this race was made a day or two before online registration closed, and a few days before B and I headed to Toronto to visit my parents. I am so glad that I decided to go with my gut feeling and signing up for this race. Let's break it down...
Packet Pick Up
My mom, B and I drove down to Niagara Falls the day before the race and hit up the packet pick up at the Great Wolf Lodge. I thought little head would explode when she saw the resort, it broke my heart to tell B that we weren't staying there. Even with the resort being so busy, packet pickup was REALLY quick and easy. I picked up my number, checked to make sure my chip was working, got my tee and then came probably the BEST SWAG BAG EVER! It even included a bottle of wine (for the runners that are 19 years of age and older, the drinking age in the province of Ontario). Check out the swag bag contents... note the press on toe nails, I thought it was a HILARIOUS touch. Yes, this race won me over with wine and candy. What more could a girl ask for?!
I took a cab from our hotel to the start/finish area because my mom and B could not be bothered to wake up early to drive me. Seriously?! Sleeping in? What's that about? On the ride over I was getting really worried because it was chilly and rainy, I wore a tee and didn't bring anything to help keep me warm. I got there ridiculously early but thankfully there was a tent where I was able to wait and make some new friends. Guess what happened while I was in the tent? I started talking to a lady who said she liked my shirt, then we started talking and she said that she remembered seeing me at the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February (I wore the same shirt at both races).... SMALL WORLD! So, this race had some neat port-a-potties, they had quotes on the wall and flowers in the urinals, there were also products from a local lavender company as well. I went to the bathroom twice just so I could snap some pics because I didn't think to when I saw all the stuff in there.
The rain started to subside and we headed to the "start wine", the race was relatively small which had me a little worried because I am so SLOW. As it turned out, the race was beyond supportive of everyone out there, runner, run/walkers and walkers, it was so refreshing!
We were off, and I just settled in and decided that I wasn't going to try for a PR, just enjoy a morning run. How often do you get to run by Niagara Falls?! We ran by the falls pretty early in the race but not before running by a harpist, because it was fancy pants like that. The only down side of this race was that after you run by the Falls, there is a part of the route that just was less than scenic before we hit the beautiful town we ran through.
Along the way, I made friends with an KICK ASS chick who was doing her first half marathon. At first, I thought she was going to drive me crazy the whole race because she would pass me, I would pass her, and so it went until she and I started chatting. One thing lead to another and I made a new friend with whom I still keep in touch. She and I laughed, chatted and had a pretty incredible time. Oh did I mention that one of the water stops on the way back had orange slices and Timbits?! What are Timbits you ask? Well, they are donut holes, and so very tasty... they had me at Timbits.
Anyways, my new friend and I motored on and made it to the finish where Bella was waiting and ran with me across the finish. That in and of itself was well worth it because when else will I get to run with her across a half marathon finish line?! With that half marathon #7 was DONE and in the books.
Check out the BLING!