One of my favorite things about Chicago (aside from Harold's Chicken) is Lake Michigan. They call it a "lake," but it's HUGE! It looks like an ocean (to me) because you can't see land in the other side. It seems to go on forever. When I was 6, I thought Europe was on the other side! Lol
Here's an aerial shot, but even this doesn't do it justice:
I have plenty good memories of Lake Michigan. One memory I have is my mother taking me for bike rides on the lake when I was about 4. She had an old bike with the baby seat on the back. I'd hold on for dear life, but it sure was fun! We'd have a little picnic and then ride back home. Good times!
We lived in an apartment where we could see the sunrise for about 15 years. I'd hang out at the beach with friends at night and when I got older, I'd ride my bike up and down the Lake on Saturday afternoons in the summer just like when she used to take me.
As I got older, I liked it more & more. The Lake was VERY relaxing for me. If I'm in a bad mood or stressed, I can go by the water and clear my mind just by looking at the waves and hearing the surf hit the shore.
So when I decided to move, 1 of the requirements was I had to live near water. Tampa was perfect!
A lot is going on this weekend: My race is next Sunday and I this was my last day for a "real" workout. I haven't ran outside in weeks, and I wasn't sure how my legs (or back) would handle the pounding.
It's also Mother's Day weekend. My mother died in 1997 of cancer, and I think about her EVERY DAY. Part of the reason I don't go back home much is cuz she isn't there and I miss her terribly. I've accepted her passing, but I still haven't gotten over it.
So I have all these things swirling around in my mind at the same time, and needed to do something productive about it. I gotta get my mind right, and a good way to do that was go for a run on the beach.
A beach run would be perfect in several ways; The sand would be Easier on my knees and back; I hadn't ran on the beach yet this year and it'd be a nice change of pace; and most importantly, I could relax and reminisce about my mother.
I went to my fav beach today (Sand Key.) It was a perfect day for a run, partly cloudy and breezy. Perfect combinations to help beat the summer heat:
People were out today doing everything from swimming to riding in kayaks:
I asked a couple to take a pic of me before I started my run today. Check out the bridge behind me. That's 1 of the bridges I train on:
My goal today was to run at an easy pace to get the kinks out and to test my back. I had no intention on trying to run fast, just a long, slow endurance run.
The cool thing about living here is there are literally dozens of beaches to choose from. Sand Key is perfect for me because it doesn't get as crowded as some of the others like Clearwater Beach (the Spring Breakbeach), which is 10 minutes away. Here is the starting point of my run:
After about 20 minutes of running I had the entire beach to myself practically:
I do a "spot check" and I feel pretty good. No knee or back pain. So I keep trudging along at my laid back pace. Twenty minutes pass by & I still feel good. No pain anywhere. I keep my same pace and keep going.
At this point I'm totally relaxed and just enjoying the day! I'm not thinking about the race or anything. I'm relaxed and taking in my surroundings. It's very calm & peaceful out. I like to run without heeadphones, so I just listen to the waves and birds.
After an hour I decide to turn around and head back. I came upon another public beach so I was able to fill up 1 of my water bottles. This Florida heat is NO JOKE. (I NEVER run without water, Gatorade, electrolyte tablets or Clif Bars!)
As I head back, I do another spotcheck, and to my surprise, I still have no pain! I want to think my back problems are behind me, but I don't want to jump to any conclusions, so I just keep running at my "home run trot."
I'm about 90 minutes into my run and I'm starting to get tired. I want to walk, but I focus on m yform and remind myself that after today, this is it for all the hard workouts, and to see if I can keep running just a little longer. The big condo's that I passed on the start of my run are starting to get closer:. Not much longer!
I kep running and made it back in 1:56 minutes. I actually had a negative split: The return trip was 4 minutes faster than the 1st part when I turned around to come back. That's very surprising to me because I wasn't even trying to run hard or pick up the pace. If I had to guess, I think I ran 10 miles today.Maybe more, maybe less, but that's not important to me. What is important is I ran 2 hours nonstop. So next week if I start to struggle, I can remind myself that I did have a good run prior to the race and can do it again!
Seeing how I haven't ran in a while I think that's a great run, and my lack of running didn't hurt me too too bad.
My biggest concern now is how will I feel coming off the bike? Will my back be so stiff that I have to walk? If so, that's fine because the #1 goal is to finish! I have no problems with walking. Walking doesn't hurt your knees anyway! lol
After my run today I felt really good & happy. I'm not worried about next week anymore. I think I'll be fine. Getting out on the beach also helped me clear my mind. Sometimes answers to questions or problems come to me when I workout. Today I reminded myself that death is part of life, and trying to figure out the "why's" or "how comes" is a useless waste of energy. If it's God's will then so be it. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed to anybody, even if it is your mother. Yes I miss her, but if I focus on the good times that'll make it a little easier. Tomorrow isn't promised toany of us, so the key is to take full advantage of the time you DO have. I think we did that and that's comforting.
When i finish a long workout Ilike to relax a bit before I head home and today was no exception! I found me a nice spot on the beach & put out my Chicago Bulls yoga mat several bottles of ice cold water and a Subway Sammich!
No yoga todaythough. I just wanted to chill! lol I sat/laid there & relaxed for about 45 minutes before heading home. Tonight we went out with the in-laws and others in the family for a Mother's Day dinner and had a good time.
So everything's done! Not much I can do now. I'll do some light swim & bike workouts till Wednesday then after that I'm shutting it down so I can rest. After that I'll start to get mentally prepared for race day and make my race day gameplan. I'm more excited than nervous at this point, because I want to see what I can do! No matter "what" I do, I'm gonna do it 100%!
Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!