Everything’s Better at the Beach

This weekend the hubby and I made our 9th annual trip down to Long Beach Island, NJ, for a few nights of relaxation, seafood, claw games, and fun – and even though it rained for most of the time, we still had one of our best trips yet!

We arrived in the early afternoon on Friday to a brisk 59 degrees and a light on-and-off drizzle, but we made the best of things by hanging out at Ron Jon’s Surf Shop and heading out to one of our favorite low-key restaurants before taking over the arcade for shoot-em-up video games, skee-ball, Donkey Kong, and claw machines!

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I won little Grumpy Cat on the first try!

The next day I woke up and decided to go for a run. I tried something different and took a gel (peanut butter flavored, my new fave!) about 20 minutes before I hit the pavement instead of during the run, and I think I’ve finally cracked the fueling code! It made a huge positive difference in my run and I look forward to trying it out at the Oakley Mini 10K this weekend.

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It was a perfect 55-ish and still drizzly but not enough to stop me – I took off down one of the super-long, super-straight roads that go the entire length of the island and fell into a rhythm almost immediately. See the runner in the dark blue shirt and shorts in the distance on the left up there? I kept her about that far away from me for the first mile and found that her 11:15/mile pace was almost effortless for me! That was a huge shock, especially after all the wine (and ice cream!) I had the night before – hey, it’s vacation, I don’t deny myself the yummy stuff!

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I set out with the goal of doing 5 miles, so I planned on going out 2.5 then heading back. LBI is my favorite “destination running” spots because the roads are as flat as you can possibly get and the area is so runner/biker/fitness-friendly that you can’t help but want to get out there with your people as often as possible. Even in the miserable weather, the 2-3 other runners and bikers that passed by gave me big waves and hearty “Good morning!”‘s – I swear if it weren’t for our jobs, we’d move down there in a heartbeat!

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Everything’s alright down the shore – even a run in the rain 🙂

Suddenly around mile 1.5, the skies opened up and unleashed a full-on monsoon! My unwitting pacer slowed down slightly but I kept pace – I hate passing people then seeing them pass me when I inevitably slow down later! So for about 10 minutes we ran through the rain, me about 15 feet behind her and both of us wiping buckets of water away from our eyes every few feet. I was drenched in seconds, but I can’t lie – I felt pretty badass 😉

I briefly considered turning around at mile 2 and calling it at 4 miles, but persisted. After 10 minutes, the soaking rain started to taper and my pacer slowed to a walk. That’s when I decided to keep going for my 2.5 miles and passed her, thanking her for pacing me as I did, to which she smiled widely and said “No problem!” I love that island.

From there I stayed steady for the next half mile and finally turned around at around mile 2.5, seeing that my pacer had vanished. I briefly worried that I would slow down without her, but I did just fine! At mile 3.5 I stopped briefly to adjust my BioSkin (both the brace and my capris were completely soaked through so a little slippage was expected!), and  the wet weather did cause my ACL to ache in general. But other than that I felt great all the way through mile 5 as I stopped right at our hotel and discovered what an absolutely stunning time I had posted!

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Seriously, I haven’t seen consistent, effortless numbers like that since before my ACL surgery, so this was a serious breakthrough. I haven’t been logging as many pavement miles as I feel like I should be, but my knees need a break and the DeskCycle is evidently keeping my endurance up quite nicely! The only negative part about this run though? The completely solid, knotty rat’s nest that was my ponytail after an hour in the wind and rain:

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Ouch!

After 20 minutes of conditioner and painful combing, I managed to tame my mane and we headed out to the local Wine Festival, conveniently being held right down the road! I swear I didn’t plan it like that, it was just a happy coincidence!
IMG_6016The next day (yesterday), I woke up early and took off for a quick, watchless 2-miler to wake up and stretch out – the hotel bed was absolute murder on my back. I also wanted to keep up the momentum from Saturday’s run, and had a great time! While I don’t think I was as fast (I can’t be sure), the beautiful sunny weather and gorgeous scenery made it perfect. After we packed up the car, we ended our vacay with a walk on the beach and the most perfect ice bath ever:

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As I stood there letting the water freeze up my toes, I looked out at the waves and breathed in deeply a few times. Things have been a little hectic lately; and without getting into too much detail, I got a bit of a wake up call a few weeks ago and realized that I had to refocus and re-prioritize what’s really important to me.

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It’s a hard lesson to learn (especially when you’re a stubborn Polack like me) but this weekend was just what I needed, and those few moments of peace were the cherry on top. And as if I needed any more proof that was the case, a little waterlogged ladybug landed on my toe in the water as I stood there!

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Don’t worry – I saved him and left him on a wooden dune fence to finish drying out 🙂

So that was my weekend – how was yours? Did you have any running adventures, or do you have any planned in the future? How do you find a proper balance between life, work, and family? Have you ever experienced the ponytail from hell after a messy run like that? Tell me everything!

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5 thoughts on “Everything’s Better at the Beach

  1. I’m jealous of your beach time! My family isn’t doing our annual Cape Cod trip this year, so I’m not sure if I’ll get to see the ocean this year 😦

  2. What a wonderful little getaway with your mister! That run in the rain sounds incredible. Sometimes running in the rain and pushing through an obstacle like that is just the most soul cleansing! Your time makes me want to improve even more!!!

  3. I just love LBI! I’ll be down at the end of the month and will have to try and squeeze a run in! Jealous about that wine festival. I ran the Stomp the Monster 5K on Sunday and ran the entire thing, which was my goal for my first race. Time wasn’t too shabby either (34:25)! Thanks for all the inspiration to keep at it. 🙂

    • How cool, congrats on a great race!! Especially for your first, I’m glad you had a fun time 🙂 You’ll love running in LBI, it’s so flat you feel like you could keep going. Keep up the awesome work! 🙂

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