The sun was shining brightly this morning when I woke. The birds were chirping and it was 70 degrees outside. With the rest of the family out of town and most of my chores for the weekend completed, I decided it was a great day to head to the beach for a run. I ignored the fact that my calves were very sore.
By the time I got out to Indian Rocks Beach (a sleepy little barrier island), the sky was quite overcast and it was even very foggy on the beach. I also realized that while packing many other things beach related, I had forgotten to pack my Garmin. So, I was running a new route with no mile markers and no timepiece. That sounds like a recipe for success.
I decided to head north because I knew the island ended about 4.5 miles north of where I parked the car. I also knew that Sand Key County park was about 3.5 miles away. With 7 easy miles on the docket, I just started running. About a quarter mile up the beach, I realized that I hadn’t really taken note of my surroundings as I started running. It then occurred to me that I wasn’t really going to know when I got back to where I had parked the car. I knew what street it was on, but I couldn’t see the streets from the beach. So, I just tucked that little nugget away for later.
The beach was basically empty. There were several stretches where I was the only person out there. The fog was so dense, i could only see about 100 yards in front of me and the humidity was thick. I was covered in sweat immediately. I plodded along at what I figured was my easy pace with no idea how far I’d run or how long I’d been at it. Eventually I made it to the park and ran over to the facilities for a quick pee break. The concrete sidewalks leading up to the bathroom felt great to run on compared to the beach.
On the way back, I still had no clue how far I’d run or how long I’d been running. With the dense fog, nothing along the beach really stood out. So, I didn’t have many landmarks to go with. Eventually, I started seeing Indian Rocks Beach access signs leading back to the road. I didn’t remember those on the way out, so I began to get concerned that I had passed my car. When I got to the next access point, I took it back to the road and discovered I still had 5 blocks to go back to the car. Back on the concrete, those 5 block were quite fast I think.
I mapped the run out at the USATF site when I got home and found that I actually ran close to 9 miles. I estimated my pace at about 9:10 min/mile, though it seemed like I was going much faster. I don’t know if that’s because I was losing energy to the sand or if I really just have no concept of what time it was when I started running. In any case, it was an easy run and that’s what I was supposed to do. I’m betting the calves aren’t going to be happy tomorrow. Here’s the route for those of you who are snowbound and would like to think about the beach:
So, to recap the week:
Monday: 6 miles (400m intervals)
Tuesday: 5 miles Easy on the treadmill + upper and core strength
Wednesday: 7 miles (threshold intervals)
Thursday: 5 miles Easy on the treadmill + upper and lower strength
Saturday: 6 miles (I pace intervals)
Sunday: 8.79 miles Easy (beach)
Total: 37.79 (36 planned)
After 3 weeks at 36(ish) miles per week, I’m going to pop up to 42 miles per week next week. Then, I’ll probably step back the following week since it’s a race week.