I had gotten back to running the streets, but not running races.
There were several reasons why wasn’t running races, one excuse was work, and the other was races I had entered before were no longer being held.
By the time I got sick of making excuses, it was summetime, and not many races are held in the summer (in Florida). But I did enough google searching to come across the St Pete Road Runners Group (SPRR), and discovered that they had a three race summer beach series.
On race day/evening I went to the beach and signed up to run the races, and found out that they actually run ON THE BEACH! Unlike the St Pete Beach Classic which is run on the streets. Oh well, what’s the worse that can happen? I was at the beach, I love the beach!
So I took up my usual spot in the back, just in front of a woman pushing a three-child jogger stroller.
The race starts, I put my headphones on, and about a hundred yards down the beach I start hearing things in the music that I had never heard before. So weird, it was a song I had listened to over & over, yet had never heard that backing vocal. Out of the corner of my eye, I realize something in the water next to me, I look over, and it is the woman with the triple jogger/stroller, and she is yelling at me to get out of her way!
It wasn’t the song I heard, it was her yelling at me. She was passing me, and pushing three kids through the water! God I’m slow.
There isn’t too much else to the race I remember. It seemed like I was passed by everyone. Running in the sand is hard. With each push-off your foot sinks a quarter-of-an-inch, there is a breeze that always seems to push you backwards, even though it is coming from behind 50% of the time. There were a few times I had to walk.
The start/finish line is in the same place, so you run down the beach and then back to the finish line. It’s exciting when you see competitors going in the opposite direction, you think “wow, the turnaround point must be right up here.” It’s not.
By the time the turnaround point comes into view, my spirit is broken. The lady with the three kids has long since passed me in the opposite direction, my legs are tired, and I still have to run back.
I do eventually finish, and people that had already finished were great and rooted for us late finishers. Afterwards was a little postrace beer & snacks, and post race awards were handed out. The SPRR group is a nice community and the folks all seem to know each other.
My time was in between my time for the St Pete Bowl and the St Pete Beach Classic. Ok, so maybe I’m not that slow. Heck there were times I had walked, and I had still run faster than my first 5k!
A few days later I would come down with strep throat, and it destroyed me. I wouldn’t be able to race the final two races of the beach series.