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Monday, October 29, 2012

Life Without Limits Half

Life Without Limits Half Marathon in Florence, AL, was my 11th half for the year and the 2nd in the Birmingham Triple Crown Series that I'm participating in. Florence is only a little over an hour away so I drove over on Friday to pick up my packet and then drove back over on Saturday morning for the race. The drive was beautiful and it was all I could do to concentrate on the road and not look at all the leaves changing colors.

start and finish at the Marriott Conference Center




To say that Saturday morning was a less than ideal start would be a huge understatement. I was up sick all night long and felt like I had hardly slept when the alarm went off at 5:30. It was cold, dark, and rainy and the winds were gusting around 30 mph. Doesn't that sound like wonderful race conditions? Luckily by the time I got to Florence the rain had stopped.

running across a bridge in the wind is not the fun you might imagine it is
When the race started I was feeling much better and felt like racing so I decided I was going to try to PR. What was supposed to be the first 13 miles of a 17-18 mile training run turned into a race. I had a feeling after running in the cold and the wind the likelihood that I would run 4-5 miles once I drove home after the race was slim to none so I decided to shoot for a PR.

View from the first bridge
The first ten miles of the race were mostly flat and the course was nice and quiet. I had taken off my gloves but my arm warmers ended up staying on the entire race. I warmed up but the wind cut straight to the bone from start to finish. My 10 mile split time was 1:52:55 which is my fastest 10 mile run EVER!

The nature trails we ran on were so beautiful
By this time I was off the paved nature trails and onto the road again and that's when my time slowed down A LOT. Allow me to introduce Exhibit A below. The wind was horrible and I was freezing. I also hate heights so I was doing my best to keep my eyes forward instead of looking at the water below me on the right. I ran most of the bridge but I felt like I was using all of my energy and getting nowhere.

I am not even lying when I say this was an entire mile long
When I got off the bridge I only had 1.5 miles to go and I was thinking it would be mostly flat and I could still push myself and PR. I was wrong. The last 1.5 miles contained hill after hill all the way to the finish. The most cruel part of it all is the hill right before you cross the finish line. There was no sprint to the finish on this one and I missed a PR with a finish time of 2:30:13.

This shirt is the biggest medium I've ever seen!




I can't be upset since this was my third fastest half. Making excuses is something I won't do so I'm proud that I ran as fast as I did with the cold and wind and running off little sleep. It probably didn't help that I wasn't able to eat anything before the race. Would I run this one again? Possibly so but only if there isn't anything else I'd rather run that falls on the same day. With a price tag of $50 and the fact that it's within driving distance it will probably end up on my race calendar again in the future.

Are you afraid of heights?
What's the windiest race you've run in?

30 comments:

  1. You are knocking out these half marys this year! I'm not really afraid of heights, but I haven't had to run across any bridges like that. One of my dream races/runs would be the Mackinac Bridge run across the bridge that connects Michigan's upper and lower peninsula. It's 5 miles long and SOOOO high up.

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  2. You did awesome! Between the weather, the hills, and being sick - you did an amazing job!!! I can't even believe you were trying to PR with the wind. And I hate when races have a hill right at the end…..so mean. Congrats on an awesome race!!!

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  3. oh my gosh, considering the conditions, that sounds like a huge win!! congrats on your 11th half this year, you are amazing my dear!

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  4. Ugh! My race was windy too. Hate that! Nice job pushing through and way to get #11 in. Mine was only #6 and not sure if I will get another in this year.

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  5. Great job! I understand the kind of conditions you were probably running as we were getting pretty similar conditions down in Pascagoula, MS. And to answer your question on the windiest race it would have to be the 5k I ran on Saturday in Pascagoula. It was awful and the wind seemed to suck all my energy. Congrats on completing another half!!

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  6. Congratulations on half #11, that is awesome!

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  7. great job...well I must tell you---I've committed to running my first half---won't be until March and have joined a training team--many who are beginners just like me. Your blog inspired me and continues to do so---thanks

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  8. Great job. Love races that are low cost and close to home:)

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  9. That is cruel to have hills in the last 1.5 miles! Great job on the run and having a fast 10 miles!

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  10. Great job with your race! Under super challenging conditions, great job!!

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  11. Missing a PR is frustrating but don't underestimate how powerful wind can be! That can really push you down, it's not easy. It still sounds like you pushed hard and had a great race!

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  12. If you came this close to PRing in a race where you weren't 100%, I'd bet next time you'll blow it out of the water. Hills at the end of the race are so mean but they seem to be typical. The race I did this weekend did the same thing. Argh.

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  13. I love how positive you are! And I got my prize shirt yesterday, THANKS!!!

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  14. I'm afraid of height such as bridges like you encountered but I'm okay on a roller coaster. Which doesn't help if I were to race.

    I haven't run a race but I did run outside when it was pretty windy this weekend. Of course, thay was my choice. You had a race to run! Congrats!

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  15. Congratulations on your 11th half marathon this year!! You will get your PR, I just know it!

    I had to run across a bridge during Reach the Beach, in the wind, so I definitely understand what you mean! Great job considering the conditions and circumstances.

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  16. Awesome job! Sick, little sleep, hills, wind, heights AND you didn't give in! You kicked it's butt! Great job!

    That Marriot is something else! Also, the last two races I did the medium shirts were quite large as well. I'm wondering if the increasing size of our general population is causing an increase in the size of our sizes. I noticed when I was losing weight a few years back that my actual waist size was (and is) larger than the actual measurent of the pants I wear...and that the pants are measuring larger than the size they say they are...

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  17. between the wind, hills, and bridge I would say you did pretty awesome pushing through some crazy conditions! at the Northwest Passage Ragnar everyone was so pumped I got to run over Deception Pass...all I could think about was how excited I was for that part of my second leg...then it came and I couldn't wait for it to be over. I felt like if I looked to the side I would fall right off the bridge! haha! great job and congrats!

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  18. feeling sick, no breakfast, wind and the heights issue-i’d say you did really, really well! some heights bother me, some don’t. windiest was probably Big Sur this past year. I was literally crying from the wind-not just watery eyes-full on tears. i can’t believe you are already to 11!

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  19. I'm sorry you didn't get your PR, but after being sick and running in that wind and over the bridge ... which you are afraid of... I think you did fantastic. Solid effort and that's all that matters. Congratulations. I like the medal and the shirt is pretty....too bad it's so stinking big!

    Florence is where my best friend lives. You always have great memories for me when I pop over here :).

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  20. I'm sorry about the missed PR but great job on a fast 10 miler!! I have run a bridge run for two years now...it is actually a cool view of the harbor but I can see how it would be torture if you didn't like heights!! I ran Boston during a Nor'Easter...yeah no fun!!

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  21. Yes, I'm very afraid of heights and hate bridges that just have grates underfoot. Scary! My last race felt windy too, especially when we lost tree coverage. The wind can really suck energy out of your run.

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  22. I understand about running on the bridges! Didn't you just feel like you were in a cage on that last one? Oh, and those hills at the end... I had to walk up that one in that little neighborhood right before you got back onto the highway. I'm sorry you didn't PR, but keep thinking about that marathon you've got coming up! It'll be hard to top that one...PR or no PR. I wish we could've met in person! Try to enjoy the rest of your training. You don't have long!

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  23. I'm sorry I missed this! I can't keep up with you, girl! Congrats on a great race--especially being sick and not sleeping! I don't know how you do it!
    Amazing job!!
    Hope you got all the wallpaper taken off. ;) Hee!

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  24. Great job! 11 half marathons already!? Good for you! So you are totally going to have no problem with the 12 in 2012 goal!

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  25. I hate running on bridges. I have run one half that went across the huge river and I said never again!

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  26. hahaha! I love the last paragraph "making excuses is something I don't do" ;) you're awesome!!! and I HATE when race directors put at hill at the finish :P seems cruel to me :)

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  27. Congrats! Bummer when flat races end with lots of hills...

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  28. Congrats on another amazing half! I think the wind can be harder than I ever really think about - until it's happening right then. I don't mind running over bridges, but I don't like when you can SEE underneath - like through grates. That spooks me!

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  29. Hills in the last 1.5 miles is just all kind of wrong! Nice job on pushing through in tough conditions!

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