Saturday, February 15, 2014

Worth the Drive Part II

by Meghann on February 15, 2014

Brrr… it’s a cold and windy day in Tampa Bay today.

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Well, not cold… let’s say “chilly.”

I know, I know, it’s been a cold and snowy week for the majority of the rest of the country, but that wind can be brutal if you’re not dressed for it! #FloridaGirlProblems

I met a running group in Sand Key Park this morning to run 6 miles of bridges (aka Florida hills). Remember when I wrote the other week that it’s worth the drive to change up the scenery for a good run? I totally reconfirmed that this morning. I live less than an hour from the beach, but I rarely, rarely take advantage of it. Even better, that beach I live semi-close to has great running trails and pretty challenging bridges to train on. Sigh. An hour drive seems long when you’re thinking about it, but once you do it, it really isn’t that bad. Especially when nobody is on the road at 6:00am on a Saturday!

I promise it wasn’t “chilly” when I left my house early this morning. I was up at 5:30 to let Maddie out and it actually felt really nice. So I left the house in a tank top and shorts and decided very last minute to throw a fleece on before I walked out the door.

Of course, it’s crazy what a difference an ocean breeze and rain can make. Thanks to the wind, it felt like the temp had dropped a few degrees by the time I arrived. I hung onto my fleece as long as I could, then threw it in the car right before we left the parking lot. I was definitely one of the eager ones to start running, being the only one in a tank top.

We started the run going over Sand Key Bridge, which is a LOT bigger than I remembered it, but the views of the sun rising were still fabulous.

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Our large group naturally divided on the run and I ended up pacing with a lady who’s in the middle of training for her fourth half marathon. I’m a talker, so it was nice to have someone to hold a conversation with (I’d left my headphones in the car).

We averaged 9:05ish min/mi for the first 3 miles (while running into the wind), and 8:45ish min/mi for the last 3 (with the wind at our backs). The wind was CRAZY, especially while running into it. The clouds started moving in during the first mile, then the rain came during the second. I was running with my cell in my hand (that’s the norm), so I was more concerned with my phone than anything else. I debated for a brief second turning around, but it wasn’t raining hard enough to make a difference. Luckily the rain only lasted for about 10 minutes and it was light enough that my phone was fine.

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We ran by the beach and to the turn around point. Seriously, why don’t I make the effort to run here more? Even with the rain and wind, it was gorgeous and the miles flew by. It was even nice to have the bridges. The incline and the decline were oddly enough a nice distraction.
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We finished the 6 miles in around 53:00. Unfortunately I forgot to press pause, so I don’t have an exact time. Overall I was very happy with my run, especially since I was still able to hold a conversation at that pace and didn’t finish feeling like death. I think the cool weather definitely helped, but also running with a group. I always run faster when someone is pushing me, maybe it’s my inner-competitiveness coming out? We were the first ones from the group to finish.. 😉

After the run, we hung out at the park, but I was definitely not dressed warm enough to enjoy it. I’ve been so ill prepared lately for our weather up and downs around here. I think I just need to stash an extra pair of pants and a heavy jacket in my car just in case. I could really have used those today!

Next week I’m running the Gasparilla Half Marathon and the week after that I’m running Best Damn Race in Orlando (for my double medal!). I’ll let those serve as my “worth the drive” for those weeks. After that though, you may see me in Clearwater again to run some bridges. 😉

Are you running this weekend?

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