Monday, July 11, 2016

Florida: The Runshine State

When Mark and I were planning our trip to Florida (with stops in Cincinnati and Atlanta), I had grand plans to take fancy boutique classes, make use of the reciprocal Y membership and get in amazing workouts.

Alas, I never walked into the Y or registered for OrangeTheory (even though I made a last-ditch effort to do so).

But amazing runs ... I did get those.

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Since the last time we visited, Mark's family moved to a new neighborhood – which happens to be conveniently located near a well-paved trail and just a few miles from a beautiful wilderness preserve.

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For my first run, I hit up the John Starkey Wilderness Preserve, which boasts a 6.7-mile loop. It would have been my MO to go the whole distance but since it was my first week of marathon training, I thought I'd stick to the plan.

I ran a 1.5-mile warmup, 1.5 miles at tempo and a 2-mile cool down. Just before I began the tempo section, I stopped to retie my shoes. I looked up from my Saucony Guides and saw the cutest, most fearless fawn.

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And then I began the push. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much as it was hot and humid but I nailed the pace – not running too fast and feeling like I couldn't go farther.

Now, the cool down was a bit of a slog. All of my southern runs were good up until the last mile when I was just sapped from the conditions.

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The next day, I opted for the Starkey Road trail to cut down on commute time as we had plans to go to the Florida Aquarium that morning. I wasn't expecting it to be as pretty as the preserve but there were pockets where the trees and brush seemed to glow in the morning light.

Unlike the previous day, when I saw mostly cyclists, I saw lots of runners out on the trail. I waved to the first passerby and didn't get much of a response, and I wondered if I was in for a grumpy group. But no! Most everyone was nice, and I was taken aback when a fellow runner said "Nice job!" It was a small phrase but it really did give me a boost.

I had been hoping to get in one more run on Friday morning but we altered our travel plans to avoid traffic in Atlanta (didn't work) but all-in-all, it was a successful week of running on vacation and seeing Florida in its glory beat the gym every second.

Do you run on vacation?

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