I view vacation time as time to relax, read, enjoy being outside and spend quality time with Jason, but I also view it as time to RUN. I can run whenever I want, however long I want and I can recover as I need to from whatever I decided to do each day. So despite the fact that we spent our first day in Seaside, FL racing the half-marathon, I knew I wanted to take advantage of all those wide open vacation days along the shore.
After each run, I walked down to the ocean and stood in it. The first day I did this was warm and the seas were calm. Even though the water was cold, it felt great to stand in it. I walked in up to my knees, the waves occasionally hitting me even higher. It was cold but refreshing and felt great on my tired legs and feet. I stood in the crystal clear ocean looking out at the vastness of it and talked to God for a bit.
Here is the training schedule I followed. I ran whatever I felt each day, pushing the pace when I had energy to use, and just getting through the miles when I didn't. There is a wide path along the coast that is somewhere around 16 miles or so. I ran on this path each day, running over bridges, by bays, through lush grasses, enjoying the different scenery.
Sunday, March 6 - 13.1 miles, 1:44:17 - 7:56 average pace
Lots of walking around Seaside afterward and fish tacos at Bud and Alley's taco bar. Our plan had been to try out several restaurants in the area but...after our first day here, we returned every afternoon.
Monday, March 7 - 7 miles, 58:39 - 8:22 pace average pace
I felt surprisingly good on this run and tried to push. This was the day that was so gorgeous and the ocean was clear and calm. Lots of walking around afterward and, of course, fish tacos.
Tuesday, March 8 - 6 miles, 53:01 - 8:50 average pace
I was super tired on this day and all I wanted to do was get through the miles and get to my fish tacos. This was also Jason's 35th birthday, so he had gotten me up at 6:00 a.m. to go to the Donut Hole. That may have something to do with how I felt on my run. We followed up our fish tacos with a long walk on the beach.
Wednesday, March 9 - 8 miles, 1:08:10 - 8:31 average pace
A very windy run, although I felt pretty good. A storm was blowing in so we went quickly down to the ocean for one last soak and then into Destin for seafood and shopping. We sat eating shrimp overlooking the ocean as the storm blew in bringing thunder, lightning and even hail along with it. We got coffee and shared a piece of cake while we waited. Then we hit the shops.
Thursday, March 10 - 7 miles, 58:49 - 8:24 average pace
This was my last run on my coastal path. I felt pretty good, although the wind was still pretty strong. It was a gorgeous day, and so I visited the ocean one last time before we packed up and headed home.
Friday, March 11 - 6 miles, 1:02:45 - 10:27 average pace
I pulled myself out of bed at 5:00 to meet the girls for a morning run before work. It was a jolting 34 degrees, but I had their company and that was worth it. I was super tired and happy to get in 6 miles while catching up with my girls.
That brings me to this very moment - 8:36 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I have had coffee and cinnamon toast, and I am mentally preparing myself for an 18 miler. For some reason no matter how many times I've done this, these long runs always seem daunting. It is a gorgeous day outside and I have no real pace in mind. Something around 8:45 or less would do just fine. If I complete the full 18 miles, that will give me 64 miles for the week. That may be a weekly mileage PR for me...
It was a wonderful vacation. I am glad to be home, but I know I will miss those wide open days full of running, walking everywhere we went, the smell of the ocean and those amazing fish tacos.