My week started out with the news that I would be going to West Palm Beach, Florida for a week on a due diligence trip for work. Exciting!! I was thrilled at the prospect of running outside in the sunshine along the beach. And the trip couldn’t have come at a better time, weather-wise. Although the weekend weather in St. Louis was absolutely beautiful (70 degrees), it turned viciously cold on Monday and then dumped nearly 9 inches on snow on us within a few hours on Tuesday.
All flights in and out of St. Louis were canceled on Tuesday. With my flight Wednesday morning, I was spared the hassle of being canceled and rescheduled, but had to sacrifice precious hours of sleep to get up around 3:30 a.m. to catch the first flight out that morning. The roads on the way to the airport were a nightmare – I saw at least 15 cars that had run off the road and stuck in the ditch or median. The exit ramps were not plowed and dangerously icy. Fortunately, I made it to the airport safely, only to be shocked at the number of people in line for security! I got there at 5:30 am and had to wait in the line for nearly two hours, almost missing my flight! What a disaster.
After a two-hour delay in Tampa (for no apparent reason) I arrived in Palm Beach to the most gorgeous weather I’d seen in months. Palm trees, crisp breeze, and sunshine. All I wanted to do was lace up my sneakers and go for a run. Unfortunately, I had to go straight to work. I spent the next three days in a freezing cold (air conditioned) board room going through boxes and boxes of documents. Believe me, work related travel is not as glamorous as it sounds. However, my client’s CFO is a runner. A four-time marathoner, actually. We got along famously! With my long run coming up on Saturday, he suggested a few places for me to run and gave me directions and pointers.
I woke up early on Saturday to rain and clouds. At 5:30 a.m. I finished my breakfast and decided to just go back to bed for a while, hoping it would clear up. At 7:00 it was still raining. At 8:00 it was still raining. I decided to just get up and go anyway. While training for this marathon, I’ve run in sleet, through snow, over slick ice, in freezing cold temperatures with negative windchills. I could handle a little rain – it was still 65 degrees outside!
So I drove over to Palm Beach, parked the rental car and began my run. Palm Beach is an island; on one side of the island is an inter-coastal waterway and on the other side is the ocean. This picture is from the start of my run, at a little park, looking over the waterway towards West Palm Beach. I began my run along the inside of the island, running north along the Lake Trail, a paved pathway running in between the gorgeous mansions and their boat docks. Right away I knew this was going to be an amazing run – just the change in scenery was enough to distract me mile after mile. I figured that 18 miles in the rain wouldn’t be nearly as miserable as it sounded.
My first trip up the trail was adventurous. Nearly every house was completely hidden by high shrubs and fences. I peeked through as many as possible to try to see what I was missing. These places were amazing! There was one place (maybe an inn) that was completely open and had couches and lounge chairs sprawled out on the lawn. The place was so open and warm. The trail itself was also gorgeous. Lots of knotty palm trees, sprawling banyan trees, freshly mowed green grass and flowers everywhere. I ran "next to" an enormous beautiful sailboat cruising up the waterway. I was in heaven. I think I even saw Vanna White!! Seriously! At least I'm pretty sure it was her. Looking beautiful in jeans and a ball cap. She smiled as I did a double take. And then, to top it off, about 2 miles into my run – the rain stopped and the sun came out!!!
The trail went up the island for about 3.5 miles, where it ended around a yacht club. I then took to the streets, winding my way back and forth. I found Angler Avenue, which is where Ryan would insist we live, if we could afford a house on Palm Beach. I reached the top of the island and found a drinking fountain with very cold and tasty water. This place is not bad! I wound my way back down on the other side, trying to run along the outermost roads and taking in the scenery. I was eyeing a gorgeous two story yellow terra cotta home when I rounded a corner and saw the ocean! WOW!!! Bright white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water. I was in love. I almost started crying. I took my headphones off and ran quietly, listening to the sound of the waves. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it – I ran right into the middle of traffic...twice!
On my second loop I refueled with some Gatorade and grabbed the camera from my rental car. It was a little difficult carrying a camera, a water bottle and my Sport Beans for the rest of the run, but I had to get some pictures – in case I saw Vanna again. Stopping every few minutes to take a picture probably slowed me down a little, but the run felt great! I couldn’t believe how light and fast I felt without 27 layers of clothing on. I had to slow myself down multiple times because I was going too fast for a long run. At 18 miles I was still feeling pretty good, so I decided to tack on two more and call it 20. Why not? Might as well take advantage of the weather while I have it. :) Total time: 3:40:15.
Monday: 3.0 miles
Total: 34.8 miles