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Worth the Drive Part II

by Meghann on February 15, 2014

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


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 roadย 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.


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.


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.

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.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Are you running this weekend?

1 Sara @ LovingOnTheRun February 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Wow those views look absolutely gorgeous! Glad you had a great run ๐Ÿ™‚
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2 Jenn@Mark My Mile! February 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

SO Jealous of that weather : )
Yes, I’ll be running this weekend, on the treadmill : (
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3 The Many Thoughts of a Reader February 15, 2014 at 3:36 pm

I am at the point in winter where that would be so freaking lovely. 41 days until spring break in Florida for me! I did run on the treadmill earlier. I did a walk/run and then stopped every 5 minutes to do some stair steps and jumping jacks.
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4 Molly February 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm

14 miles in 14 degrees. Half on snow

5 Cheri @ Overactive Blogger February 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I ran this morning on the treadmill, only two, and I’m finishing off the evening with 6 outside. It’s kind of crazy because of that snow we had earlier in the week, there are these huge unmelted drifts on the sidewalk so I’m praying for no slips on the six-miler today.
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6 Ali February 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm

It’s been raining in Sydney this weekend, but I still got out for a run yesterday. I enjoy running in the rain when it’s still warm like it is now–I’m sure I’ll change my tune when it’s winter! Glad you enjoyed your run with your group–group running does make it better. ๐Ÿ™‚
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7 sarah February 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm

i totally know what you mean! when i was in orlando, it was so worth it to drive 30 minutes out to clermont to train. i loved the hills and the scenery and the lack of tourists. ๐Ÿ™‚ send some warm weather up here! i ran a half-marathon today and it was approximately 1 degree..

8 Melissa @ Mel's Miles February 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Jealous that you got to run outside! It’s way too icy in Chicago so I’ve been running on the treadmill for a month ๐Ÿ™
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9 Laura February 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I got in my first run since NC was hit with the snow on Wednesday. The first mile was rough as there was still a lot of snow on the sidewalks where they didn’t get sunshine to melt the snow. After the first mile, the sidewalks cleared and I could go at a normal pace. It was super windy here too, brrrr!
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10 Army Amy February 15, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I’ve got 8 miles on the schedule this week. It was actually 75 today, which is lovely, but too hot for so close to my marathon. (It’s in one week!) I can’t really complain about the weather though when everyone else is snowed in.
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11 Angie February 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I am in Jax and it was freezing this morning. I ran an 8K race, and I was so cold waiting for it to start. I am glad the rain held off though.
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12 Crissy February 15, 2014 at 9:54 pm

We live in the subarbs near Tampa and the parks and running trails out here are pretty non existent. I love making the little drive to run bayshore with my jogging stroller. But I’m always looking for new spots. Any suggestions!? Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

13 Beth @ Running with the Sunrise February 15, 2014 at 10:01 pm

It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do. I live in the Chicago suburbs and I keep meaning to make time to drive into the city to run the path that runs along Lake Michigan, but the trail by my house is so much easier to get to. Your post has reminded me that I really do need to make an effort to try running in new places. I’m glad you had a great run, even if it was a bit windy!
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14 Kate February 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm

This is making me really excited for my trip to Florida next week! I’m running the Gasparilla half too!
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15 Elizabeth @ Positive Change February 16, 2014 at 8:13 am

Great job on the run! I love the beach on you on the beach! I wish my running backdrop was the beach and not 10 inches of snow!
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16 Rana @ Destination: 26.2 February 16, 2014 at 9:33 am

SO jealous of your weather and gorgeous views! I’d love to run there! You are totally right. Chamge of scenery can make a HUGE difference for running
Its just great ti look forward to something besides running the same old trails! You’ve inspired me to change it up more often and run trails I dont usually run!

17 Molly Rose February 16, 2014 at 9:58 am

I need to run some Florida hills!! Haha! That bridge on the causeway really does me in and I consider it a beast ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll be running BDR in Orlando, too woooop!
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18 Ashley February 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

I really wish that I could have done that run with you! I’m in Toronto and stuck to running on the treadmill. Happy Sunday!

Ashley, Married to the Game
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19 Megan February 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

I have a Sunday run group. Here inMissouri we ran in 20โ€ข weather on a snow packed trail last week, and this week it will be in the 50’s-60’s when it’s run time!

We are all training for a half marathon in May- it will be my 4th, most of the groups first though. I’m definitely one of the fastest (not a humblebrag as I don’t consider myself fast!) but it’s nice to have people to do my long runs with, even if it is a slower pace for me.

20 Runner Girl Eats February 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

We almost always drive somewhere to run since we don;t live in a very runner friendly area. It’s not always the most conveinent but does keep things interesting!
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21 Amanda Elizabeth February 16, 2014 at 5:23 pm

The Gasparilla half is one of my favorites to run plus they have the best medals right?
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22 Meg February 17, 2014 at 11:26 am

I seriously LOVE running over there. I run the bridges in Clearwater whenever I can so let me know next time you want a running buddy! Which running group did you meet? You can email me to tell me if that’s better!

I’m also doing the half this weekend! Let’s try to meet up. ๐Ÿ™‚

23 Michelle February 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I’m going to see you in Orlando for BDR, right??? Have fun at Gasparilla this weekend. I love that race!

24 Martina @ snapshotsandwhatnots February 17, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Running along the beach sounds amazing, although running in the wind and rain sounds a lot less amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ I did 6 miles as well this week but there is no way I would have been able to hold a conversation while doing it – well done!
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25 Stacey February 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I definitely love to drive a bit for the longer runs… mostly just 20-40 minutes away for some great locations near me. I always seem to wake up with a gut feeling on where I want/need to go that day! Enjoy those races!

26 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed February 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Stick your phone in a ziplock sandwich bag! Boom ๐Ÿ™‚

27 Jessica February 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I live in Palm Harbor and ran the Iron Girl 5K last year. Are you running the Iron Girl this year? I wanted to do the half but I have a half in DC a couple weeks after it this year so I can’t do it but am thinking of doing the 5k for speed work. I heard running the Sand Key Bridge is intense but would love to try it at some point when I get the guts to. The Clearwater Bridge is hard in itself.

28 Jessica February 20, 2014 at 3:36 pm

I live in Palm Harbor and ran the Iron Girl 5k last year over the Clearwater Bridge. I heard the Sand Key Bridge is intense and I hope to get the guts to run it at some point. I am training for a half in DC two weeks after the Iron Girl half this year so I can’t run the half this year (it was my original goal). Are you running it?

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