Over (to) the Falls We Go! Niagara Women’s Half Marathon 2016 Here We Come

horseshoe-falls-aerialWhen I put it out there back on March 1 that I would love some company for the Niagara Women’s Half Marathon, I didn’t know if I’d have any takers. But I tempted people with the ultimate finishers’ medal, in honor of  Harriet Tubman, abolitionist and herself an escaped slave, who ferried hundreds of escaped slaves to safety in her work with the underground railroad through the 1850s.

So I’m excited to say there’s a crew of 5 of us heading to Niagara next weekend for the event.  And as we did last year with the Kincardine Women’s Triathlon, I’ve solicited some pre-race thoughts from everyone going. Their task? To write a couple of paragraphs responding to the following questions:

What attracted you to the event? Is this your first half marathon or your 50th? What do you hope to get out of it?


This will be my first half marathon; indeed it’s my first race longer than 5K! Honestly I have been asking myself almost daily why I am doing this. Running has been part of my fitness routine for several years, but always as a tertiary or quarternary activity, and I have always found it hard to stay motivated and interested when it comes to running. And honestly, one look at me is all it takes to be able to tell I am not cut out to be an amazing runner. I am basically the human equivalent of my pet Corgi. I am a stubby tube of muscle with short little legs.

But I love pushing myself, and competition motivates me enormously, and I never feel better conditioned than when I am running a lot. I couldn’t resist this race in particular because it seemed special in several ways: (1) It is all women (even though I generally prefer male dominated spaces, as I have discussed on this blog – but I don’t need dudes pushing past me as if I am invisible or just some sort of object in the way as I run); (2) I have friends to do it with (HUGE motivator!), and they are not friends that are aiming to break new speed records, so I will neither be left in the dust immediately nor feel like a burden on others; (3) the route past Niagara Falls sounds genuinely stunning and special; and (4) I admit it, even though it’s a trinket, I love the idea of the Harriet Tubman finisher’s medal. Also, amorphously, (5) I am 46 years old and want to die being able to say, yeah, I ran a half marathon.



12 weeks ago Tracy posted about the Niagara Women’s Half Marathon and the Harriet Tubman medal that would be handed out to all the finishers.  She ended her post by asking for others to join her.  Then she followed up by asking me personally.   I immediately thought it would be exciting and fun and that if I was ever going to do a half marathon, this would be a great one.  I liked that is was a women’s event; I liked the cool Tubman medal and I liked the thought of doing it with Tracy.

Then, I thought, “Seriously?!”  I had been running no more than 5k about twice a week around the time.  I looked it up, a half marathon is 21.1k.  No way!  Then I started with the reasons–I don’t have enough time to train; I’m going to injure myself; my body is not made to run long distances.  But there were reasons on the other side too–I love running; I’ve always wished I could run long distances; maybe this will help me commit to a more consistent training schedule.  So I decided to throw caution to the wind and sign up.  My biggest fear was an injury and I promised myself I would train carefully and listen to my body.

12 weeks ago I could only run 5k.  Today I know I can run 21.1—I know because I did it last week.  The race isn’t until next week and I’ve gotten a lot out of it already.  Mostly I’m proud of myself for making the commitment and getting out to do 3 short runs and 1 long run each week (no excuses) and I’m impressed with what my body can do.  Each week, I increased my long run by 1-2 kilometers and other than a minor piriformis issue (for which I’ve been going to physio) my body accepted the challenge in stride.  Being happy with myself and getting fit and healthy—I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Now I’m looking forward sharing this experience with the other women who have signed up.  Right now, my thought is that this will be my last half marathon, but who knows.  I might just have too much fun!


No blurb from Anita, but she did send me this pic of herself and she looks ready for race day!

Anita cartoon


Julie sent one sentence: “Oh Tracy it was endorphins the medal and peer pressure!!”


This is my third half marathon. I’ve also done the Around the Bay 30K and one marathon, both of which almost killed me. So I’ve decided that as far as longer distances go, the half marathon is for me. Anita and I had fun in Niagara last year. I hadn’t been planning to do it this year but then I saw the Harriet Tubman medal and that was enough for me!

I get a lot of joy doing these women’s only events with friends. It’s also exciting to me when friends who haven’t done the distance before get pumped to try something new. I’m in awe when I hear from Rebecca and Violetta about their training. They’re both kicking butt. And I know Julie, Anita, and I are ready to go.

What I hope to get out of the event?  A fun weekend with friends, a huge whack of steps for my GCC team, an energizing experience with thousands of other women of all ages, sizes, races, and abilities, and a Harriet Tubman finishers’ medal (from a fire fighter)!

If you’re at the Niagara Women’s Half and you see us, please say “hi.” We plan to get there early and we’re looking forward to a fun morning!





9 thoughts on “Over (to) the Falls We Go! Niagara Women’s Half Marathon 2016 Here We Come

  1. I am so jealous!! Have been toying with the idea is doing this run for a few years now… Have only done a 10k, and I do not train regularly currently, but when I do, I love how I feel. Adding Harriet Tubman to the equation is brilliant. I didn’t hear a about that til now, might have been what pushed me to go ahead and give it a try. I’ll have to keep a closer eye on the “prize” from now on 😜 enjoy and do us proud!!

  2. My suggestion? Focus on competing (with yourself) at shorter distances, like the 5 km. Focus on completing at longer distances, like the half marathon. But either way if its not fun, pick another strategy.

    1. I think you meant this as a comment on complete or compete. I’m not sure how much difference it makes. I know I can complete a half marathon. So why would I treat it differently than a 5K in terms of having a goal time. And the fact is I’m slow at every distance. That just seems Iike a somewhat arbitrary way distinction to me. I see the reasoning (I think) but it’s not clear that it would get at the core issue of feeling “too slow.”

      1. I think it’s meant as a strategy for getting faster, focus on speed first then distance. Hard to keep up the added speed for 20 + km! Run one km faster, then two and so on. But I also think it’s okay not to care about speed in these mass participation events. Triathlon I think is different. Much more clearly a race, even if that race is against yor past times.

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