Dedicated athletes takes their routine with them wherever they go. This holds true for runners. Most days I get up early, throw on my gear and start pounding the pavement, logging my requisite miles before the sun comes up.
I prefer to run alone. It’s my church – my chance to breathe, think and start my day. There’s something magical that tugs at a runner when you’re staying at the beach. Running at the water’s edge is not as easy at it appears in movies though
After a short jog from where I’m staying, I reach the sand beach and realize, you simply can’t run on this fluid white powdery surface. It takes a careful walk using a completely different motion to keep the sand out of my shoes and to make my way to the packed sand.
In the dark hours before the dawn, I feel the humid salt breeze blow through my hair and hear the waves washing against the gulf shore. I make sure to stay above the wet sand, so I can keep the rhythm of my stride even though I sense the slightest sinking feeling with each step. Every day distractions are soon swept away by the relaxing sound of the sea, the comedic sandpipers running in and out, as they try to catch breakfast among the tide’s foamy aftermath. As I start to perspire, I’m glad I’m out early….it won’t be long before the temperatures start to rise.
I’ve made some mental notes as to where to get on and off the sand and turn around. Fishing piers, be it Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach,
or Long Pier in Redington Beach,
or wooden ramps over protected sea oats, serve as my markers to measure time and distance.
While yesterday was a difficult run, less miles were covered. Today I don my gear and elect to run street-side. I’m amazed how much farther I can run with asphalt under my feet. This morning is met with the mundane side of beach life and it’s not as easy to free my mind – newspapers being delivered, equipment headed to the sand to begin beautifying the beach (who knew her looks didn’t come naturally!), the aroma of food wafting from restaurants make me think of breakfast, employees bicycling to work and fishermen readying to head out to sea.
Tomorrow, I think I’ll get back on the beach as it’s much more peaceful run. For those who like to run in a pack, dawn and dusk options are available around the county…see below.