Running into the sun

Sunday afternoon, we drove from Austin to Galveston to take B to shark camp. While we waited to check in, we chatted with another shark camp family, and it turns out, the kid recognized B from a 5K we ran this spring. B had placed second in is age group–this was the kid who beat him. What are the odds, 200 miles from home?

Once he was safely delivered to his dorm room, we headed over to our hotel–our home for the next five days. 

Monday morning, I woke up around 7:00 and decided to run along the seawall. Our hotel is at the southern end of the island–there’s only about a half-mile of seawall to the southwest of us. So I headed the other way–northeast–instead. What I did not consider, and what I quickly discovered, is at this time of morning, running that direction pretty much means running straight into the sun. 

 

I’m big on getting unpleasantness out of the way up front–running a little further before I turn around instead of having to tack on extra distance after I thought I’d finished, running hills on the way out instead of on the way back, that kind of thing–so if there’s any saving grace here, it’s that I ran into the sun for the first two miles, not the last two. 

I turned around after a little more than two miles, glad to have the sun at my back. I told myself to run to the next traffic light (there were only three my whole run) and when I got there, I kept going, promising myself a water break at the restaurant further down. 

Running in a straight line along the coast makes distance appear somewhat deceptive. “The next traffic light” was visible ahead, but it took a while to actually get there because it was actually a mile away. Same with the restaurant I used as my landmark–it was the only structure in the distance, distance being the key word. For a while, it felt like it really wasn’t getting any closer. 

When I finally reached it, I stopped briefly for water, then took off again knowing I had put the longest stretch behind me. Another half-mile to go. Up ahead I could see a guy I’d passed earlier who’d turned around before I had, and I made it my mission to catch him before I reached my hotel. 

I focused on the palm tree in the distance and sped up. He had gotten a good head start, but he didn’t know we were playing this game. He was 20 yards away when I approached that palm tree at the edge of the complex, and 10 away at the pedestrian entrance where I originally planned to stop. But I kept going and passed him just before I reached the driveway at the other end. Mission: Accomplished. 

Both the mileage map and the elevation graph are pretty boring: a straight line along the seawall, at sea level. And even though I hate running in the morning into the sun, it felt good to finish 4.3 miles before breakfast. 

We spent most of the day at Moody Gardens (walking!), and after my first Fitness Blender workout of the five-day challenge and some time in the hotel pool, we walked back to that restaurant for dinner. Fish, shrimp, and crab cakes. And you’d better believe I rewarded myself with ice cream too.  

The half-mile walk back to the hotel was far more pleasant 13 hours later. A breeze blew in off the water and the sun dropped behind the buildings. I think next time I’ll try running in the evening. 

  

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2 thoughts on “Running into the sun

  1. Food suggestions, if you run out of ideas – Shykatz (1528 Ave L), Farley Girls (801 Post Office), Mosquito Cafe (628 14th)…some of my favorites in Galveston. Stingaree’s is also good in Crystal Beach (have to take the ferry over to Bolivar). Enjoy your week! I love beach running, esp in the sand.

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