Monday, January 12, 2015

First Light Half Marathon Recap



Bienville Square

This is a favorite course.  I've run it several times now, at different events with slight variations.  I hope to return to Mobile in April for another half.  It's flat.  I'll even admit it's too flat, as you don't get any down hills to take advantage of. 

You get to run under huge oaks draped with Spanish moss.  The trees literally hang completely over the wide streets and form a beautiful canopy.  If you are looking for true Southern charm, this race delivers -- from the graceful antebellum homes and cottages to the Azalea Trail Maids in their hoop skirt dresses welcoming you to the finish line at historic Bienville Square.  In addition to the usual race fare, they served red beans and rice with cornbread!  (I ate as if I'd been locked in the attic for a week!) 

Last year, I ran 2:02:07.  I've had some not-so-good runs lately, so I was praying for a 2:05 or less.  Given my recent struggles, I knew this would not be easy but hopefully still attainable.  As luck would have it, I left the porta-potty facilities with only one minute to spare (did all the rest of you still in the line start late?).   I quickly scooted into the very back of the crowd at the start line, forgetting this was NOT a chip timed start.  Uh-oh.  That cost me precious time.  Being in the back, the first miles were crowded and I did nothing but dodge and weave until I decided to go with the flow.  By doing that, I was just adding distance and I needed to hang back for a while anyway.


My favorite spectators.  Look, they are holding hands!

I really felt good and strong the whole race. I could breathe!  Some of you know I don't do well in high humidity.  I did not get utterly wiped out as the humidity was only 66%, plus it was a perfect 42 degrees.  Yay for me!  At the half way point, I calculated I should come in under 2:07.  I worked hard to shave a little off in the last miles and I finished in 2:05:49.  No, not my best time -- but I'll take it! -- with whipped cream and a cherry on top.  It's the best half I've had in a while.  In addition, the last mile was my fastest.  I always feel good about a race when I can do that.  Some lady even accused me of drafting.  {What??}


Front
Back


I'd like to mention that this race benefits the L'Arche Mobile community.  Each wooden "medal" is hand crafted by adults with intellectual disabilities.  I think this adds a wonderful touch!






Bienville Square
What I didn't realize is that they awarded 5 deep in all master level categories.  Yep, I was 5th Female Grand Master and was not present to collect my award.   Ouch!  That really hurt...  However, I found out the race directors mail all uncollected awards.  How very nice!

I want to give a huge shout out to the police officers working that last mile, and their accompanying group of spectators.  Y'all were awesome with your over-the-top enthusiastic cheering and high fives!  It made a huge difference! 

This race gives me hope that if I work hard and smart, maybe I can return to lower finish times.  It was definitely motivating and a much needed confidence booster.  I may never get times I want, but I'm still out there.  I'm able.  I'm going.  I'm doing.  As long as I can feel good and can find the air in a race, I think I'll be OK.  





Running 'N' Reading


                           I'm linking up with Tara @ Running N Reading
                              for the Weekend Update (first time ever!)


                                Did anyone else race this weekend?


35 comments:

  1. Awesome job!! I know you needed this :) You did great, it's always rough when it isn't chip timed. Weaving around folks is always a pain, it will wear you out. Great job on picking it up that last mile. I love how happy you look in your pic :)

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    1. Thanks! I hope I'm on a downward trend...with my times, that is. :)

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  2. Oh wow, this sounds like a gorgeous area to run a race in! I've done a lot of marathons in the south and some of those area's down there are just amazing!
    Great job on the race, and outstanding time!!!! Sorry about the start, that would be rough to have to make your way through the crowd to get to the point where you could run the pace you wanted. But you still did great even with that, so inspiring!!!!
    FYI love the pic of that tree, so fun!!!

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    1. It's very pretty in Mobile. Actually, the race ended in their "French Quarter". Lots of wrought iron and personality.

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    2. So awesome, I need to visit mobile one day. I've really only been to Huntsville Alabama:) But I loved the gorgeous antebellum homes in the area!

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  3. Great job on the half and getting 5th in your age group. It is so nice when they mail the awards out! The handmade medals are a nice touch too.

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    1. Thanks. I like that they have the benefactors involved. Some of them were handing out drinks at the finish line too.

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  4. Congrats Grand Master! That is awesome! Reading about oaks and Spanish moss makes me wanna come down and run Savannah even more.

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    1. Yeah, Savannah would be like that too. That may possibly be on my list. I'll let you know for sure! It would be at a great time of year.

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  5. WOW! You did great, girl! That really was good running weather, right? I'm so glad that you didn't put huge expectations on yourself and enjoyed the race; I love all of these decorations and your medal looks really nice, too. Thanks so much for sharing your recap AND for linking up with the blog this week; I was so excited to "see" you! Hope you'll join us again and have a great week.

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    1. Thank you! I love to run when the temp is in the 40s. I'll try to be prepared for next week's link. I was a little late (really a lot) this time.

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  6. Great job! Congratulations! I am always amazed when I hear of people running the last mile as their half. I hope to have the strength and endurance to do that one day! The race itself sounds beautiful.

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    1. I appreciate it! I use that last mile as my gage...whether I went out too fast or not. If the last mile (or two) is the fastest, I feel I paced well.

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  7. I love, love, LOVE To finish with my last mile the fastest! That's a win no matter the overall time, congrats!

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    1. Absolutely!! It feels as if I did it right...no matter what the clock says.

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  8. Sounds like a beautiful place to run. I've heard of drafting on the bike but not on a run??

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    1. Very pretty. I hope it was a failed attempt at a joke, but she didn't act like she was kidding around. I passed her in the last few blocks. {Sorry?}

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  9. Congrats on your award and for running a great race. By the way, drafting is totally legal and that runner was being a jerk. I love the penguin spectators too and the race course sounded beautiful. Great way to start 2015!

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    1. Thanks very much. The drafting comment was just stupid, in my opinion. It's not like we were elite runners gunning for glory. Geez.

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  10. No chip time start? Who does that anymore?

    Great finish time in spite of that!

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    1. I know! I kept waiting to cross over the plate so I could start my Garmin. No plate. I once ran a half marathon with 30 people. It was chipped!

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  11. Haha. People are just sore losers. Drafting's fine. Why do you think all the elites stay in a pack? :) Great race recap!

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    1. Thanks. So true! I think I'll try it next time. On purpose!

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  12. This sounds like a fabulous race! I seriously considered doing it as part of the B2B with Mississippi Blues but decided not to make the drive down. I kinda wish I had now! Congrats on an awesome finish time sans chip!

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    1. I think we may do some of the same races this year! If I can ever make a decision, that is.

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  13. Way to go rocking that half! You pushed yourself and congrats on having your best half in awhile. I also think that's really nice that the medals are handmade by the special needs community. As you saw on my blog, I went for a nice hike with my friend and dog. I may do it again this weekend, so come to San Diego and let's go hiking :)

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    1. Thanks very much! We are contemplating a trip to CA this spring. I hope I can run a half marathon while I'm there!

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  14. nice job! weird that the runner fussed at you about drafting. that's so strange. but congrats on your AG award!!

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    1. Thanks. Yes, it was odd. I truly hope she was joking.

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  15. Great job on your half. I love those medals. I actually don't mind flat courses. So much better than hilly courses.

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    1. Thanks. I believe this is the flattest course I've ever run. I plan to do it again in the Spring.

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  16. Congrats! 5th in masters?! So cool! And congrats on getting so close to your 2:05 goal! I bet with a chip timed start, you would have been just on it or under it!

    Ha ha! Were you drafting?!?!?? LOL!!!!!!! Too funny!

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    1. In hindsight, I was right behind her...kinda zoned out in that last mile and not paying attention. And then I passed when I got the energy. I shouldn't have been that close. Hee hee.

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  17. Congrats to you, 5th Female Grand Master! Great job on speeding up! I just wanna know how you were able to calculate a possible 2:07 finish - you didn't even round off to 5's! I do get the zoning out in the last mile part, though!

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    1. Thanks! The math is difficult, for sure! LOL. It keeps my mind occupied sometimes. But the math before Garmin was truly exhausting!

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