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Scenic 20-Miler - Geek Turned Athlete

Scenic 20-Miler


I woke up Monday actually ecstatic for my run ahead of me.  I was not tossing and turning with nervous energy and had slept a solid 7 hours the night before thanks to some melatonin.  Yay!

Since I forgot to bring my Clif Bloks from Germany with me, and I didn’t have time to stop off to get any here in Florida, I resorted to filling my camelback up with 1/3 Gatorade and 2/3 water and packing a hammergel that I had found in the bottom of my suitcase.  I had no idea of how old that thing was, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  I was so excited to run outside that I only put sunscreen on my face (I put that on everyday) and not anywhere else on my body.  I forgot about the UV index being about 8-10 in Florida while Germany is 0 or 1 for this time of year!  This came back to bite me on the a$$!

I took off down the residential street, then followed it to a major street.  I felt so good!  What a change from every other long run that I have gone on with little sleep due to my anxiety before long runs!  I thought to myself that I am definitely going to take some melatonin before my next long run!  It works!

At 1.5 miles in, warm salty sweat ran down my flushed cheeks and dripped into my mouth.  This is going to be a great runWhat a change from running in 20 degrees to 65!  This is going to be a sweaty run! My feet were quick, and I started to effortlessly dance over the cracks and uneven pavement.  I smiled.  I ignored the loud, fast traffic to my right, and just focused on remembering the street name that my mother-in-law had given me to turn on.

Making a left at the stoplight, I looked down at my garmin and noted my pace.  Whoops, going about a minute faster than I’m supposed to be.  Need to take it easier if I’m going to make it to the end! I was so excited to be out in the sun!  I passed some construction workers who looked up from their work to follow me with their eyes and heads. I made my way down another busy street to the residential/harbor area.   An elderly man caught up with me on his bike, and stayed along side of me for a couple of minutes.  He just looked forward, and I watched him out of the corner of my eye.  We hit another downhill (slight, come on, this is Florida :)), and he peddled off- my only workout partner for the day!   DSC06037

I finally made it to the water.  I took out my camera and stopped like a crazy tourist for pictures! DSC06040

I didn’t even notice that sign behind me.  I took a bunch of pics of me here, but this was the only nonblurry one.  I swear, I’m happy at least at this point. 😉DSC06044


My music was enough to keep me company on this run so far.  I was in awe of the tropical paradise that I was in.  DSC06047

BAM!  I ran into a palm tree!  I didn’t run into it face on, but I hit it with my arm.  Well, that is what I get for looking around. haha. I laughed to myself, and shook my head.  Welcome to my life.  Then, I looked around to see if anyone saw it.  Nobody around, all is good. 😉

DSC06049 I crossed a bridge that lead me over to a very affluent neighborhood.  More and more runners/walkers started coming out.  They were all dressed in sweatpants and jackets.  I was sweating buckets in my shorts and tanktop.  That is what living in a colder climate will do to you!  I was ready to strip down and lay out on the beach, and these people were bundled up!


I loved this house.  It was by far, my favorite!  DSC06052

After getting lost in the neighborhoods for a while, I turned back on the main stretch and headed for the pier.  I didn’t freak out over being lost like I usually do.  I figured that I had 15 miles at that point to burn.  You see the pier off in the distance?  DSC06053

The water looked so inviting.  More people started appearing with their bikes and power walking groups.  The elderly were sitting on the benches cuddling, enjoying the view and the sun warming their skin.  DSC06056


The running route took me around to a more traffic oriented area, and I passed the wedding reception venue for Saturday night!DSC06059

At mile 9, I ran past these gorgeous public restrooms.  I was surprised that I still did not have to use the restroom especially after this weekend’s incident, but I wasn’t complaining. DSC06060

I don’t know why, but I got a kick out of the fact that they called it a “comfort station.”  Of course, I was probably delirious at this point and slightly bored from having to talk to myself for the run.  This place looked like it should have been selling beers instead of being a public restroom!DSC06061

I saw tons of birds and started stalking them.  This one did NOT like it!  See what boredom does to you?DSC06062

At 10.5 miles, I ran down to the pier, and the security guard commented on how wonderful the weather was for a run!  I agreed with him and waved goodbye.  I felt like I was in some old 1940’s movie where people were dancing in the streets and singing their conversations back and forth to each other.  The birds were chirping, and it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood, would you… Okay, I’ll stop, but you get the point!DSC06064

Following the path back, at around 14.5, I changed my tune.  My quads started feeling like someone had them at both ends and were stretching them out!  They so tight.  My pace slowed considerably.  I had to concentrate extremely hard on picking my feet up because it felt better to just shuffle along the sidewalk.  My knees started killing me.  My feet started hurting.  In all of this pain, I was still thinking to myself how lucky I was to be outside and running.  I thanked my legs for being strong enough even taking me this far.

I passed a restaurant who was seating people outside and had a big colorful sign offering margaritas for buy one, get one half off.  I have ten bucks in my bag, I could stop and get one!  No, no.  You don’t want to puke, do you?  Or be too drunk to remember your way home, do you?  No, no.  Get home, get home, get home. I reached up at my forehead to scratch it, and felt a cakey layer of salt on my fingertips after scratching.  Eww!  (but really cool at the same time!).  Yes, I’m sick like that!

Finally, I turned on to the residential street that I know so well.  I concentrated on lifting one foot and putting it in front of the other.  My quads ached, but I was NOT going to walk.  If I started walking, I don’t think I would be able to start running again.  I neared the house and peeked at my garmin.  1/5 of a mile short.  Keep running.  You aren’t done yet. Trust me, I wanted nothing more than to stop at the house at 19.8 miles, but it would have eaten me up for the rest of the day because I didn’t technically run 20 miles.  I’m a psycho like that.

After I got home, I stretched, jumped in the shower because I was shaking from being cold from the sweat, then made a green monster. That run went so much better than the 18 miler from hell a week and a half ago.  I probably went at the same pace, but I was in a much better place mentally.  This time, I wasn’t struggling with my breathing, it was my legs that were the limiting factor.  That might also be jetlag related, but I will take it.

Answer from Sunday: No one guessed #1!  Yes, I used to be completely blond like Carrie from Sex in the City!  I appreciate these peeps picking #4 that I was a cheerleader and coordinated and limber enough to do the job though, but that was my sis!  She was a varsity cheerleader in h.s. (and a cheerleader in middle school), and I was in the marching band.  Kinda like that Taylor Swift song!  I’m not flexible at all, but I actually can move my hips and dance salsa pretty well.  I haven’t won any contests though.  Thanks for guessing everyone!

How is your week going on the workout front?

P.S. This is later that night after eating my weight in sushi with some family friends trying to forget about my dumb mistake with the sunscreen!IMG00276

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Natalie March 3, 2010, 4:16 pm

    nice job!! dang girl, can i count your workout as mine!? i’m tired just reading your entry 😛 stopping short of an even mile drives me nuts too. i’ve been known to run up and down our driveway to change the xx.9 to xx.0 🙂

    • Nicole March 3, 2010, 4:19 pm

      It is nice to know there are other crazy people out there like me! haha

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) March 3, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Awesome views for a run!!! I’m jealous 😉

  • Caitlin@TheTwentyFifthYear March 3, 2010, 4:37 pm

    WOW!! 20 miles???!?! That is just amazing!! You definitely should be thanking your legs and your body because running that long is AWESOME. I am currently training for my first half marathon and would love to be able to just run 20 miles (someday!) Thanks for the beautiful scenery again and the inspiration!!

  • LindsayRuns March 3, 2010, 4:50 pm

    So glad you had such a euphoric long run. Those are the best! And what a beautiful place to do it, I always feel like I do better on vacations with new places to explore.

  • Megan March 3, 2010, 6:23 pm

    good work, woman!

  • Emily Elizabeth March 3, 2010, 6:31 pm

    Looks like you are enjoying Florida! Wish I lived closer to St. Pete to join you on the runs (shorter ones anyway:))

  • Ash @ Good Taste. Healthy Me March 3, 2010, 6:42 pm

    What a great run! So scenic. I’m so jealous you’re in warm sunny Florida. I’m stuck in cold dreary New Hampshire! 🙁

  • Alison March 3, 2010, 6:49 pm

    I’m so jealous you had a warm run in Florida! My hubby and I flew from NY to Miami in January and it was COLD! We were bundled up in fleeces and hoodies! I can’t wait for summer running again.

  • Abby March 3, 2010, 7:13 pm

    Great run!!! and the palm tree thing…well, I would do that too. I do a lot of things like that. Even when I’m not running!

  • Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather March 3, 2010, 8:57 pm

    Way to go girl! 20 miles is more than impressive! I love how you describe your runs, I felt like I was there with you sweating away.

  • Allison (Eat Clean Live Green) March 3, 2010, 9:08 pm

    great run! I love that everyone else you saw was all bundled up, I would have been wearing shorts too 🙂

  • Amy March 3, 2010, 11:44 pm

    Wow! What a great run. I can’t wait to run in Florida again some day – maybe September when I go home for my dad’s 70th. 🙂
    You probably need to post a picture of you as a blond so your faithful readers believe you. 😉
    As a former band nerd, I’d like to state that marching band does take coordination. I played soccer all my life, but my worst sprained ankle came during marching band practice. DOH! What instrument did you play? I played trombone and baritone. Good times.

  • Spotty Prep March 4, 2010, 1:53 am

    I’m from the other side of the bay (Tampa), so I’m super jealous of you! Looks like a beautiful day!!

  • Marisa March 4, 2010, 9:12 am

    Great run! Pics look awesome. I felt the same way when I was in th states, the weather was so nice I decided to go for a run! Have fun in the states!

  • Ben March 4, 2010, 7:53 pm

    Nice scenic run! I know that route well. My wife ran the Women’s Running Magizine Half Marathon in St. Pete and it covered alot of the same territory. Check out the course map:

  • Holly March 4, 2010, 8:00 pm

    nicole…work it out girl! i had some MAYJUH catching up to do on your blog, but i made it. and i think my fave part was that you contemplated stopping for a margarita along the way – you are my kind of gal!

    congrats on the 20! honestly, if you made it through 20, a marathon is going to be a breeze! love all the pics taking us on the journey with you – and enjoy all the warmth of florida for me!

    lots of love to you!




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