Thanksgiving in Florida Pt. 2 – Exercising, Man

I’d like to start this with a gripe.

We spent Sunday at the house. Erin put up the Christmas stuff, I worked on photos and laundry. With no food in the house and no intention to leave the only real solution for dinner was to order pizza. I had a nice $10 off coupon waiting on me for our favorite delivery, Marco’s Pizza, so we chowed down on some lovely pizza pie. My intention was to drop 20 lbs before my half marathon at the first of April. That’s still possible but I’m not doing anything to help myself out. So instead of that goal, I’ve decided 5 lbs by Christmas would suffice. After I polished off the last of the pizza I declared that the pizza we just finished would be the last pizza until after Christmas.

That’s a pretty big deal because we are all about our pizza. It also doesn’t mean I think pizza is necessarily bad for you, within reason, I just have a problem with that “within reason” part. Leftover pizza is just not allowed. It’s easier for me to abstain than to exercise moderation when it comes to pizza so that’s what I intend to do.

Just now I saw a sponsored post on Instagram from Domino’s advertising their current special: 50% off everything ordered online.

Seriously? How are you going to do that to me, Domino’s?

Assholes.

But I digress. On to the meat (lean, obviously) of this post: exercising on vacation.

One of the main reasons I wanted to go to the beach in November was that I wanted to try running on the beach. I hate being hot, therefore I almost always hate the beach, but if I go late in the year it will be cooler, right? Totally. I’d done lots of research on the topic of beach running and found an almost 50/50 split between people saying you should run with bare feet and others saying you need to wear shoes. I wanted to run barefooted BADLY so on Monday that’s what I set out to do.

When I got to the beach on Monday morning it was actually pretty cold. Around 55 degrees, which really isn’t that cold for a guy from east Tennessee but it was definitely cool – and a lot colder considering the beach breeze. On top of that, the sand felt like ice. I’d never experienced this before. I stood on the beach at 7:30am with no shoes, short running shorts, and a tank top, ready to run. I already looked ridiculous since the population of Largo is mostly residents who were walking the beach in sweats and hoodies. I took a few deep breaths and started my Runtastic app. We were running. On the beach.

And that lasted for less than a quarter of a mile. My feet – especially that little bitch Plantar Fasciitis – told me barefoot running on the beach just wasn’t happening. It hurt. SO bad.

I didn’t think to bring my shoes (I wore sandals) because I had already decided it was going to be glorious; I was going to run barefooted on the beach, the sun would come up over the horizon and all the beautiful (and fit) women on the beach would break their necks following me as I ran down the shore. I would finish my run and reach down to scratch my stomach to find that I had magically developed a six pack.

Instead I admitted defeat and walked up to the dry sand in a patch that actually had a little sunlight. Not wanting to use this as an excuse to miss a workout, however, I did a few minutes of high knees, butt kickers, and faux-rope jumping, followed by a few short rounds of shadowboxing using my Boxing app made by Nate Bower (I have the free version and don’t necessarily recommend it. It’s a little buggy and is very limited – I may buy one of the cheap versions to see if it improves). I worked up a nice sweat in a brief 30 minutes and looked pretty dope doing so, if I may say so, myself.

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I finished off when I got back to the condo with a quick session using another new app – Runtastic’s “Six Pack” – an app that leads you through a quick ab workout session. I’m actually pretty happy with it thus far, even though I (obviously) get a better core workout at Title Boxing Club.

I wore my running shoes to the beach the next day and was able to get a nice 3 mile run in. It was actually great to run in a new location – on the beach, no less – with all the people to see, the beautiful ocean to see, and the lovely sounds that surround you when you’re near the crashing waves. As beautiful as it was, I was actually quite surprised to see how hard beach running actually is! My pace slowed down considerably and I felt my heels and calves start giving out on me and quickly. I ended up doing intervals for this run and the remaining runs of the week because of this. I ended the workout with another session with Runtastic’s “Six Pack” app.

Thursday marked the one year anniversary of my very first 5k – my first fitness goal that I set and achieved. I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be in Knoxville for the big day so I could run the Hot to Trot again but I still ran a 5k remotely from the beaches of Indian Rocks! Again, my legs grew very tired rather quickly and my pace was extremely slow but I still knocked it out and felt great about it afterward. Once again, I finished off with one more session with “Six Pack”.

I slept in on Friday and didn’t run but I decided I wasn’t going to go home having only had two successful beach runs so before we hit the road on Saturday I hit the sand again for a very short 2 mile run. Not surprisingly, it was also slower than normal and my legs were worn completely out when I was finished.

So I got in a little more than 8 miles on the beach, which I’m happy with. I also didn’t neglect my core, which is also very important to me. It was nice to be able to work out a bit at the beach, however, I thought it would make working out at home not such a big deal when I got back but my first day back at Title on Monday morning was a killer – I felt like I hadn’t exercised in two months. Weird how that works.

As for last week:

This Week’s Mileage: 8.57 Miles (13.71 km)
This Week’s Avg. Pace 12:34/mile (7:48/km)

And, as usual, my YTD looks like this:

2015 Running
Time Period Total Distance
Runtastic Runs (1/1-4/15) 56.51 Miles
5k-to-10k (4/15-6/21) 87.52 Miles
Runtastic Runs (6/23-Present) 161.64 Miles
Total Yearly Miles: 305.67

Miles Left Until 2015 Goal (350 Miles): 44.33

This week will include the first annual (as far as I know) Running Blogger 10k – brace yourself for action (and a obligatory sweaty selfie!).

Thanksgiving in Florida Pt. 1 – Photos, Man

When we left Florida on Saturday morning at 10:30am I expected traffic. I expected another long trip littered with rest stops every other hour and a return to the fast food diet that caters oh, so well to holiday travelers. What I didn’t expect, however, was to be standing still on the interstate not once, not twice, not three times, but four times in Florida, alone, then another time just south of Atlanta. A 10 hour road trip quickly turned into 13. When we came up the driveway at 11:30pm I was glad to be home in sweet Knoxville, even if it meant we were no longer in one of the coolest parts of Florida I’ve ever gotten to go.

It took me most of the day on Sunday to get my photos taken care of and I was still too exhausted to do a blog. Now that I’m writing it I’ve decided to break it up into several parts. Part 2 will be about exercising, part 3 will be about Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, part 4 will be Gibtown. That’s 4 parts and that’s weird but that’s how we’re going to do it. Part 1 will be everything that doesn’t fit into the above. Deal with it.

Our trip was to Largo, Florida, just a bit south of Clearwater on the Gulf coast. We had some lovely pizza at Mike’s Pizza and Pub, the best Cuban sandwich on the planet at The Kooky Coconut, and some ferociously delicious Italian fare from Da Sesto Italiano. A bit of shopping and a lot of museum-going, most of which will be covered in later posts.

Our first full day in Largo was very cold so instead of beach-going we headed north to Clearwater with the sole intention of shopping at the Hulk Hogan Beach Shop where I was overwhelmed with classic Hogan wrestling memorabilia and autographs, new Hogan merch, some based on classic designs, and even a few bits of Thunderlips references for the Rocky III fans passing through. Erin bought me a Hulkamania tee and a red tank to work out in. I guess you could say I was a bit excited about it…

Hulkamania is running WILD!

Hulkamania is running WILD!

After a quick lunch we went south of Largo to St. Petersburg to visit the Salvador Dali Museum that just happened to also have an M.C. Escher gallery. I’ve been to a lot of art museums, most with completely amazing artwork but I’ve never been face-to-face with actual artwork produced by some of my favorite artists. The work of Escher is unreal as it is but to be up-close and able to see pencil strokes and his notes regarding his most famous work was amazing. The Dali exhibit was also great – it was very nice to be able to see a lot of his early work, stuff I didn’t even know he did, before he got weird (read: surreal). I didn’t get many photos here as photos weren’t allowed in the Escher exhibit and I got in trouble for pointing over a distance wire in the Dali exhibit so I was in a bad mood about it. Lame, but true.

On Tuesday we spent the first half of the day bumming around on the beach (and getting sunburnt). A little bit of lounging later was followed by some strolling and dinner at John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, a strip of touristy sights and smells along Madeira Beach, which I had visited with my folks when I was in high school. John’s Pass wasn’t much to behold back then but there was a lot going on now! I snapped a lot of photos but I did only kept a few:

Wednesday took us to St. Augustine, a cool 3 hours away on the Atlantic side of the state. We visited another Ripley’s as part of our goal of reaching all of the Odditoriums in the world, which, again, I’ll make a separate post about. After visiting the museum we made our way over to a neat part of town that included lots of fun shops and restaurant options. We went with The Prince of Wales Restaurant serving British fare. This place was very cool and I had some lovely fish and chips that made me even more excited about the chance of getting to visit in the future.

Thanksgiving was pretty sweet for us, too. I had intended to just find a place that was serving dinner for the holiday but felt guilty for not cooking so I packed my cast iron skillet and intended to make dinner. Little did we know that the folks we bought our house in Knoxville from (who now reside in Palmetto, Florida, about 45 minutes south of us) noticed we were at the beach and invited us over for a nice Thanksgiving dinner without the stress and bother of family. We took them up on it and for the cost of a single bottle of wine were treated to more laughs than we could stand, lovely food, new friends, and a nice crash course in the Jews’ love of chopped liver.

Friday sent us to Gibtown, which will be a post on its own due to the number of photos, and Saturday brought us home. To sum it up, I’d say we did vacation the right way and I’m sort of wanting to maybe make this a new Thanksgiving tradition – a week in Largo, a town made up of old retired people who never drive over 40mph, running on the beach, museum-going, and a Thanksgiving that feels more like Thanksgiving than any family holiday we’ve ever had.

If you want to see all the photos, you can see them on my Flickr feed here.

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Posts 2, 3, and 4 are coming. Brace yourself for more photos (and a return to running!)