2012 Beach Running Championships

A small field of 165 participants lined up under the floodlights by the Pier in Cocoa Beach on Sunday morning ready to race across the sand.  It was a pretty amazing sight, and worth getting up at 4:24 am to drive an hour over to the coast to run with them.

I like small running fields like this because you get the chance to talk to other runners and spy a familiar face or two in the crowd.  The RD had set up coffee, donuts, bagels, bananas, water and Gatorade for the pre-race get together and advised that water and sports drink would be availabe every other mile.

The sand was packed tight due to low tide, the beach wasn’t practically deserted as the count down started.  3…2..1 and we were off.  The runners quickly seperated into little clumps by pace.  For me, this was 1/2 marathon number 5 for the year.  With 7 more to go over the next nine weeks, I had to pace myself and couldn’t push… well, not too hard.

The sun started to inch up over the Atlantic turning the water purple and the sand gray.  Simply amazing.  The wind was at our backs and the race was incredible.  I was out and back in an hour and fifty minutes.  One of the women runners, a 20-something up from Ft. Lauderdale run barefoot in 1:23.  Watching her muscled form shift under her suit was reason enough for anyone to start running.  This woman was in shape, and looked amazing.  The men runner’s were no slouches either, these guys were serious about three things.  Being fit, having fun, and enjoying the company of like minded individuals.

They’ll have this run again next year, and I’ll try to be a little faster.  The awards were conch shells, and I wanted one!

Next up, I’m trying to decide if I want to do a 1/2 for Halloween down in Miami.  The medal is two zombies, and I kind of want it.  Do I drive 3 hours to run two then drive back?  Maybe I do.  Then run another 1/2 on Sunday for the Florida Halloween Half a thon.  Man, lined up like that, this runner sounds like he’s nucking futs.  Promise not to stop when I say when.

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A lopsided love affair

Brittney Spears may have said it best.  Oops, I did it again.  I signed up for another race.  This is by no means nothing new.  I’ve been racing for just over 2 years now, and have quite a collection of medals lined up on the towel rack in my guest bath.

Note to self: get some shadow boxes and put them up on the wall with bibs- sweat stained and creased.  Show off some of your accomplishments!

In my race to reach my 2012 goals of 12/12/12 (12 marathons, 12 Half’s and 12 5K’s) I had to enlist the help of virtual racing.  Have you heard of this?  It’s great if you can’t attend an event, or just don’t have the time to travel, or if you’re an expert procrastinator like me, wait until Oct to knock out 9 marathons of 26.2 miles each just because they don’t have any after April in Florida.  Too hot and wet.

I signed up to run for a charity around Halloween, and added another Run around Thanksgiving to do the same.  Here’s the thing: you register for this run, they send you a tee shirt, and a medal after you post your run results.

The thing I can’t find is a calendar that lists all the virtual runs across the country.  I’ve found a couple of links to some (San Francisco Women’s 1/2 Marathon, the Peachtree Run in Georgia) so I think I’m going to add a giant searchable internet calendar to my to do list.  If you know of a link, post it in your comments, or share this page on Facebook and tell your running buddies to send me links to so I can add them to the database.  I’ll let you know when it goes live.

My personal running calendar for the rest of the year:

10/21     Beach Running Championships 1/2 Marathon  – Cocoa Beach, FL

10/25     Harvest Hustle 5K (should I wear a costume?)

10/29     Halloween Half Marathon (virtual run) http://www.fortheloveofthekids.com/

10/30     Halloween 5K (virtual run)  http://www.fortheloveofthekids.com/

11/4       Wildhorse 1/2 Marathon – Tampa FL

11/10     Disney Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon – Orlando FL

11/11     Baldwin Park 1/2 Marathon – Orlando FL

11/18     St Augustine 1/2 Marathon   –  St Augustine FL

11/19     Turkey Gobbler 5K  (virtual run) http://www.fortheloveofthekids.com/

11/20     Turkey Gobbler 1/2 Marathon (virtual run)   http://www.fortheloveofthekids.com/

11/28     Space Coast Marathon  –  Cocoa Beach FL

I’ll probably post about each of these runs and the 9 other marathon’s I’ll end up adding.  As I looked up the Peachtree run, I saw a link to the Atlanta Marathon on Oct. 28.  Maybe I could sleep in my SUV and call it camping…

The beauty in a lost run

I was updating my race calendar and found a race in November that I forgot I signed up to run.  A big surprise to me!  The great thing about running across a race you signed up for 9 months ago, is the money you saved! I know what I must have been thinking way back when.  Signing up 6 months in advance can save almost half of the entry fee. And I thought that I could take a long weekend with someone I love and go over to the beach to spend some time in the sand after a run. Alas, finding someone to love on the beach has been a little more difficult then signing up for a race 6 months in advance.

It’s the little surprises like this that are going to help me make my 2012 goal of 12 half marathons. Finding the 12 marathons to run will be a bit more problematic. I am already 3 in for the year but to find 9 more around Florida or Georgia in short driving distance will be an adventure unto itself. Note to self,if you set a goal to run 12 marathon next year, start in January and run 1 per month for the year. 

I guess that’s part of my personality though, I am a procrastinator.  I waited until my forties to start running long distance races. I wrote novels, screenplays, and stories for years all the while waiting for someone to discover me and have published 2 novels so far in 2012 with 4 more almost ready to publish. The Mayan calendar says 2012 is the end of the world.  I think they could be right, it is the end of the world as we know it. Time for something better, like running, publishing, playing, travel and giving myself little gifts that I will rediscover 6 month from now.

One easy step to get started on running

Ultra-running, ultra-writing

It was a Thursday night and I was drunk again.  I’m not an alcoholic, but every Thursday night, and some Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, I would go out for a pitcher or two with my buddies Josh and Elicia.  We would grab some fried bar food, order a round or two and log in to do our MBA classes together.  After class we would hang out and tell war stories, business stories and just how easy it is to change the world.

During this particular boasting session, I announced one of my bucket list items; I was going to run a marathon at the age of 40.  It’s funny how this particular milestone is on everyone’s list.  I meet thousands of people every year and the vast majority of them say they want to run a full marathon.  26.2 miles of goal setting goodness. Josh laughed. Elicia said I could do it and I logged in and signed up the Disney Marathon in January.

It was August.  The furthest I’d run in years was 2 miles.  But I figure, if you’re going to go crazy, go full crazy.  Don’t half ass it.  That night, I started training.  I strapped on a pair of worn out Cross trainer’s and took off on a circle around my neighborhood.  I made it one mile.  Then I turned around and walked back.

The next day I did it again.  I ran out a mile and turned around to run a half mile back. I finished with walking the next half mile.   I did it on Saturday, though I went out two miles on this hot gorgeous August day, and walked back.  And again on Sunday. 

This was my formula.  I would keep the distance at 3 miles until I could run the entire route.  Then I upped to 5 miles, out and back.  I would run until I couldn’t run, and then walk back.  I drank lots of water, because let’s face it, August in Florida is hot!!!  But I just kept going.  I didn’t worry about time, or how I looked or what I wore or my shoes.

I just ran.  One step at a time.