Running Around the Gulf Coast
I would first like to start off by stating that I am neither a blogger or a runner. I am not here to give you advice on training or nutrition and if you are looking for a stimulating piece of literature, you may be in the wrong place.
What I am here to do is not only talk about my journey into the dark spiral that is running, and the great opportunities to participate in our community, see the sights, and stay active while on vacation at the Gulf Coast. I started working out after several years "off" in August of 2013. I never set out to run in any races (in fact, I have hated running since I was in elementary school) and I certainly never expected to be blogging about it.
I "ran" my first race at The Wharf in Orange Beach. The Wharf is one of the South East's largest entertainment districts and boasts a 10k seat amphitheater, convention center, a huge ferris wheel, movie theater, fishing tournaments, condos, shopping, dining, and more. Labor Day weekend the Color Run (apparently the happiest 5k on the planet, as it is billed) was at The Wharf and several friends and my parents decided to do it together. We had a lively jaunt down Main Street and Wharf Parkway being pelted with color bombs along the way. The turn out was fantastic and the weather was ideal. I skipped about half the race to go back to my car and get a beer and I have no idea what time I finished the race. It was an event for sure and had plenty of space, music, and fun for anyone looking to be involved.
Somehow, this got me started and I ran 5 more races during 2013, culminating with my final race of the year, the "Make it to the Line" 4 Mile run at the Flora-Bama. For those not aware, the "Bama" sits in between the Alabama and Florida state lines, on the beach, and is home to many events, live music daily, Sunday Worship on the Water and more.
4 Miles doesn't sound that long, but up to that point the longest I have done is a 5k or approximately 3.1 miles, so to ME, 4 miles sounded like a marathon. We lined up on the north side of Perdido Beach Blvd and headed West to the Perdido Pass Bridge by the Caribe condos. We traveled under the bridge and back to the Bama. I am pleased to say, I beat all of my "records" for 2013 and felt pretty good doing it. It was raining hard by the end and only 60 degrees (not normal winter weather here at the beach) and all in all pretty miserable. (as miserable as it was, I am ready to sign up again for next year)
We got to pass all of the Orange Beach condos on Perdido Key including Legacy Key, Vista Bella, Lei Lani, and Broadmoor and we ran right past the entrance to Ono Island which is one of the largest residential neighborhoods (which happens to also be on a private island) in the area. The run was pretty flat and water stations were located at each mile marker which was nice. If I didn't have to get off of Ono to do this run, I would probably do it on a regular basis. Traffic was minimal and the running/bike lanes are ample space for those interested in excercising while on vacation.
All in all, I got 2nd in my age group. I am not sure where I finished overall, but I was pleased. You can view my route here.
I promised my trainer that I would do a race a month in 2014 and I am currently looking for the right races for me. I know I will do the Shrimp Fest 5K (or maybe 10k if I train hard) and the "I Pink I Can" at the Bama in February, but the rest of the year is up in the air. Stay tuned for the races I choose to do (or not do) and for links to places to rent if you are going to be in town, things to do, where to eat and more.