a beautiful week

Week two at the beach has been altogether very different from week one.  Last week everyone was here on vacation – my husband, his sister and her husband, all the cousins.  The weather was HOT – most days 100 degrees or more – and the sun was shining as though it had something to prove.

This week has been much cooler, though still humid and in the 80s.  And it has been cloudy and raining off and on all week.  The ocean is rough and angry – we haven’t had a single “beach day” yet.  Robert is back at home and we miss him.  All the cousins are still here but the grown ups are all working during the day except for me and Robert’s mom, but of course we don’t feel like we’re not working with 5 kids to take care of!

On Monday I ran in the middle of the day through the park.  It was hot and the trails were the perfect place to get my miles in.  I ran through First Landing State Park (formerly known as Seashore State Park, which is the name I still use), a place I love more than I can possibly describe.  I counted 27 swallowtail butterflies on my run!  They must be migrating right now because I am seeing them everywhere I go.  At times on my run I literally had to dodge them – they were flying right at me!  It was so beautiful and exhilarating.  When I am in that park, I am happy.  I found a 50k trail race that runs two loops through this park in December.  I already talked to Robert and it is on my calendar for 2013.  If I could do it this year, I would, but we just have too much running related travel happening in the next few months (Hood to Coast, DC Ragnar, Annapolis half and then next spring, hopefully Boston!).  I really look forward to longer distances than the marathon some day, and to running on trails more than on the pavement.  The Seashore Nature Trail 50k will be my very first trail ultra.  I know it’s a year and half away, but I am already dreaming about it.  It is one of those races that I know I have to and WILL do.  I am meant for it.

swallowtail butterfly visiting me as i stretched

On Tuesday morning I took baby Gus out for what was supposed to be an 8 mile easy paced run.  It was cloudy and not too hot out, so I took advantage of the weather and brought him with me for the first time in a long time.

this is the life

I took the route along the boardwalk because it had rained so much and there were puddles everywhere in the park, not to mention all the tree roots and rocks along the trail.  Gus enjoyed seeing all the seagulls and pelicans, the people walking and biking, the dogs and of course the ocean.  He chatted and sang to me as we ran along together.  I am sure we were both smiling.  At about 4 miles into the run he stopped chatting and I noticed he had completely dozed off.  Two hours before his usual nap time.  I guess the sound of my footsteps and the salty ocean breezes were just too relaxing for my little guy.

I decided to run a few extra miles than planned so he could sleep longer, because this was probably the only nap he would take all day and unless I ran for three hours he would still be getting less sleep than he normally does.

sweet dreaming to mommy’s footfall lullaby

My 8 mile run became 11 miles before I knew it.  I was holding a very comfortable pace right under 9:00/mile.  It was supposed to be an “easy” run day (though pushing a stroller is never really easy) and Wednesday was planned for speed work so I really wanted to do my best to honor the purpose of the run.  But as I headed into the last mile, I looked up at the sky and saw very black clouds.  And then the rain started to fall.  At first just a drizzle.  Then a torrential downpour, loud thunder and yes, lightning.

And here I am a half mile from home with zero shelter and my little baby in a stroller.  Getting dumped on.

Needless to say, I picked up the pace.  I was sloshing through huge puddles, running as fast as I could.  I made it home in 7:42.  I think my pace for the second half of that last mile was under 7:00/mile – I was booking it.

Besides the fact that I was totally freaked out that we could get struck by lightning, it was actually really fun to run in the rain.  We made it home safely and I swooped Gus right out of the stroller and into my arms.  He had no idea what just happened and was still half asleep.

right as rain

Yesterday morning I went out for a solo run to pick up my speed a little.  Usually Wednesday is track day, but since I am here I decided to switch things up and make it a tempo run.  I warmed up for two easy miles and then kicked it into higher gear for three fast miles before cooling down with another two.  Last week I tried to do my track workout on the boardwalk and I was just in my head too much, trying to think about the intervals and the paces I wanted to hit.  This week I decided that maybe my track workouts are best left for the track and that there are lots of other ways to work on my speed while I’m at the beach.  A tempo run is GREAT speed work and as hard as I think tempo runs are, one thing I like about them is that I dial in my pace and I hang onto it for however many miles I commit to and I don’t have to stop and think about anything.  Just run.  It works my mental game too because hanging onto that pace is as hard mentally as it is physically.  It is good training.

Today is my rest day and I have two beach runs left before we head home on Saturday night.  I’ve loved every moment of being here and I know that I will miss it so much.  Even though we haven’t had a “beach day” all week, there is just something so soothing and relaxing about being NEAR the ocean.  Life simplifies and slows down for me.  I’m soaking it up and appreciating every last second of it.

2 thoughts on “a beautiful week

  1. Love your post and am so glad you are having a great time at the beach. The way you described the beach feeling soothing and relaxing is how I feel in the mountains. Peace! 🙂

    Great job with the run (scary about the lightning though) and that Gus could not be any cuter!!! Hugs!

  2. Good for you, trucking it through those last 3 miles. I hope to get to the point where I can run nearly a half marathon as easily as you put it. Really enjoyed reading about the experience, your dedication is inspirational. Keep it up.

    Greg at Dazadi.com

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