I had an AWESOME run yesterday.
I met a local running group (RunVie) at the Safety Harbor marina to run part of the Best Damn Race course. When my alarm first went off at 5:30, I was not very happy with myself for agreeing to go. But, I mean, who doesn’t question their life decisions when their alarms goes off that early on a Saturday?
Safety Harbor is a beautiful little town on the other side of the bay. It’s a great running spot, but unfortunately it’s not close by any means. It took me a little over 30 minutes to drive from my house to the marina. It’s not something I could commit myself to every day, but it’s worth the rare drive over to enjoy this gorgeous view.
Sometimes I really, really love living in Florida. We had great running conditions yesterday. It was about 45 degrees at the start and we had picture perfect blue skies for the majority of our run. We even got to watch the sunrise over the water for the first part. Amazing.
So I’ve been lazy lately. Really lazy. Once upon a time I used to love exploring new areas of Tampa Bay for my long runs. Every weekend I would pick a new spot to run – Clearwater Beach, South Tampa, Flatwoods, St. Pete, Dunedin, etc. – and knock out my miles exploring that side of town. The new sights would keep me entertained and the miles went by so much faster when you didn’t have the route memorized like the back of your hand. For some reason I haven’t been as inspired to drive for my long runs lately. I’ve gotten so stuck in my ways of running the same routes over and over again in my neighborhood that I’m taking all the fun out of running.
Yesterday was a good reminder of why I used to make the extra effort to drive for my long runs – they’re just so much more fun that way. Especially when you’re by the water.
It was also great to run with a group of strangers. I showed up not knowing a single person in the group. After we warmed-up, the group’s coach broke everyone up by pace. I wandered over to the 9:00 -10:00 min/mi group (I could have lied to myself and gone with the faster group, but what’s the point in lying to myself when I know my current limits aren’t what they used to be) and introduced myself. Everyone was very friendly and outgoing. I liked them already.
Once we started – and the groups thinned out – I ended up running with a pack of 4 or 5 runners who were all very talkative. The great thing about running with other runners is all they really talk about is running so it’s really easy to jump into a conversation with total strangers. We talked about local races, goals, future races, traveling for races, and even Ironman training.
The miles flew by. I can’t even remember when a run went that fast. Man, I miss running with groups!
In the end, I ran 7 miles with the team and finished feeling amazing. Those 7 miles were so much easier and more entertaining than any of my long runs have been since training for Ironman Florida.
They weren’t my fastest 7 miles ever, but we kept the goal of keeping a conversational pace and I finished feeling great. Winning!
I hope to run with RunVie again soon. I also hope to find more running routes to explore in Tampa Bay. I was definitely inspired to stop being lazy and get out of running in my neighborhood. It’s great to keep it local for my weekday runs, but weekends are meant for exploring, right?