Life’s a beach: South Padre Island edition

Wednesday started under the early morning sky at my 5:30am Fit to Run class and ended 375 miles later on the beach, the moon rising above the Gulf of Mexico. 

FTR was outdoors on the middle school track and involved sets of core exercises mixed with laps around the track. Then S and I ran two miles after class for a total of 3.5 miles. By 8:15 B and I were on the road for points south, picking up my dad and niece along the way, and we rolled in to South Padre Island around 4:00. I think we spent twelve whole minutes in the condo before heading to the beach a half-block away. 

Three hours and one YouTube video (How to Collapse Pop-Up Beach Tent?) later, we sat, the only patrons at an Italian restaurant called Paulino’s. No idea why the place wasn’t jam-packed, because the food was amazing. Not one of us left a bite on our plates–and coming from founding members of Picky Eaters’ Society, that’s saying something. 

We took a walk on the beach after dinner, probably a mile or so. 

It had been a long day, and we all crashed early. 

I probably could have slept later, but I really wanted to see the sunrise over the beach. So when I sort of half-woke at about 6:30, I talked myself in to heading out for a short run. 

I started out running on the beach, but the tide was high so I either had to run in swampy sand or fluffy dry sand. So after a half-mile or so I detoured onto Gulf Boulevard, which runs parallel to the beach. The sunrise was beautiful, but there wasn’t much breeze and it was already hot. Switching to the road meant the high-rise condo buildings blocked the direct sun. Gulf is one lane each direction with parking on the southbound side and a bike/pedestrian lane going northbound. At least one of the beach access points had restrooms and water fountains, and a couple of condo complexes had sprinklers I could “accidentally” run through. Very runner-friendly. 

I’d seen a few runners on the beach during my foray there, but mostly it was casual walkers and a few families playing in the surf. One group broke the peaceful drone of waves with crappy, distorted music blaring from a tinny speaker, and a Coast Guard helicopter flew overhead briefly, but for the most part I just heard the waves and the birds.

I turned around after a mile and a half, finishing the rest of my run on the road. Just over three miles before the rest of my family was awake. 

This does not suck.