The title of this post is “Beach Run #1” because I definitely plan to make a trip back in the near future. It’s just too bad that it takes roughly 45 minutes for me to travel to the beach from home when 1 1/2 years ago we lived right across the road from the beach (seriously we did… and we also lived right across the street from our favorite Brewhouse). Back in those days, I would step out my door, cautiously cross Highway 1, cut through the marina parking lot and get right on to the coastal trail. Yep, that trail was awesome and I could easily get a 10-mile trip completed while running next to the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Swimmers, surfers and fishing boats were abundant when the weather was warm and clear.
Today was just slightly different from those experiences. First of all, I seemed to have moved all the way to the other side of the country and the ocean is a bit warmer over here. The grand Atlantic Ocean doesn’t offer too much in the way of scenery during the winter months, but just the ocean itself is enough scenery to make me content. The waves are much smaller on this side of the country so I didn’t happen to see any hardcore surfers that typically flock to the west coast during the winter (some of the best waves come and go during the winter months. Not that I know anything about surfing… I am a runner, remember?). And my sense of direction is a bit off because when you run south on the west coast the ocean is to your right while it is on the left over on this side. No more beach sunsets, but if you get up early enough you can observe a sunrise (kind of had to focus on the timing of the tide for this trip).
The road we took to get to the coast dumped us out on the southern end of Jacksonville Beach where towering mansions dominated the land. If you run closer to the city you tend to see tall hotels and condos lining the beachfront. So, I must say that it was pretty interesting inspecting these substantially large homes (who resides in these places anyway?). As soon as my super-human-fitness-instructor-guru running buddy and I stepped onto the beach (while hunkering down to retain heat in the freezing wind), we surveyed the beach to determine wind direction. You see, in our minds we knew that we needed to start running against the wind or else we might not make it back (not that I would mind knocking on somebody’s door to ask them if they could give us a ride in their Ferrari). Needless to say, it was a perilous plight. The wind versus us. The weather report was totally inaccurate to state that there would only be 9 mph winds today. What about the 30 mph gusts you lame weather people? Not only were we battling the wind, but every once in a while our feet would sink into the sand and our pace would suddenly slow.
At mile 3 we decided we had enough. It was time to turn around. I just prayed that the wind wouldn’t decide to turn around with us. Nope. The run back was a glorious redemption of our actual running ability. I even enjoyed myself. We pretty much ran in silence and I kept my ear buds packed so I only focused on the crashing waves and the occasional sound of seashells crunching under our feet. I even warmed up and could feel my face, fingers and toes again. As we finished and stopped to stretch, I realized that my glutes got quite a workout… a nice added bonus to burning well over 600 calories (my computer program didn’t know we were running on sand so I am sure that we burned more calories than just running on the street). Thanks to my running buddy, we did pretty well on the speed considering the crappy circumstances for the first half of the run. Thanks to her I was forced to run fast. Okay beach, I will be back… just please keep the winds calm. I don’t need to see so much spindrift coming off the waves (my coastie friends know all about spindrift 🙂 ).