Running into 2022

Bridge Buster 5k

“I run so my goals in life will continue to get bigger instead of my belly”.

(teepublic.com)

Started my 2022 running program with the Bridge Buster 5k in Fort Pierce, Florida.

I ran this same 5k back in 2021 and decided it would be a great way to jump start my 2022 running odyssey and get me back to competing with other runners.

My 2022 run goals are slightly different from what I established for 2021.  The 2021 goal was to get in 1,110 training/running miles for the year.  I was able to exceed this goal but felt like I was always chasing the number.  Yes, I put the work in to get to that number but the closer I got to 1,110 miles the more I started pressing to ensure I got there.  Seems counterintuitive but chasing the number was not as fun as just going out to run.

My written 2022 run goal is simply to ensure I get in 3 quality runs each week.  I created an aggressive race calendar for 2022 by registering for 8 races on December 30, 2021, with an eye towards additional races.  The race dates range from January 8 to May 14 to go along with the 2022 Clearwater Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  Plan to add September, November, and December races to the schedule to provide a full year of races.  Still contemplating a full marathon this year but that will happen in the fall if I decide it is time to take on that challenge.

The Bridge Buster 5k is a smaller race but this was the 39th running of the race.  The race proceeds go to local educational programs so this was a great way to give back to the Fort Pierce community.

I did not have to get up super early since this was a hometown race and I live about 10 minutes away from the start/finish line.  I got up with plenty of time to prep with beet juice, drink water and get coffee to take on my drive over to the race starting point.  I added a new wrinkle to my preparation by leveraging a 10-minute yoga stretching YouTube session by Adrienne Mishler.  I discovered her free yoga classes through the Runner’s World magazine.  The session was short but very effective to get me ready to run my race.

Arrived at packet pickup to get my race bib, t-shirt, and instructions for the 5k.  Again, this is a small race, so packet pickup took a full 10-minutes start to finish.  Went back to my vehicle to attach my bib and complete my last-minute stretching routine.

Toed the line towards the middle of the start corral to ensure I did not go out to fast and to allow me to avoid runners who may not know how to control their initial race pace.  The start line can be dangerous when trying to avoid other runners—crashes do occur.

I did not have a specific finish time in mind when the race started—always like to get a feel for the course and then see how much I can push myself towards the start line.  This was the first race of the 2022 season so wanted to gauge my fitness levels during this race to see how much training work I need to put in.

Happy to report, I am not too far off with my fitness, and this should be a great running season. 😊

I covered the 5k distance in 28:36 which averages out to 9:12 per mile.  My splits were:  Mile 1 (8:38) / Mile 2 (9:37) / Mile 3 (9:29) / Mile .1 (.52). 

Mile 1 is completely flat as we made our way through downtown Fort Pierce.  This may be my favorite portion of this race because it is flat and there are no bridges in sight.  The Mile 1 marker sits at the beginning of the Seaway Drive Bridge.  The next half mile of the race is on an incline as we made our way over the bridge towards Hutchinson Island.  This half mile portion of the race is where most runners must decide how they want to complete the race.  I decided to slow my pace at this point to ensure I had enough gas in the tank to finish as strong as I wanted.  The bridge descent was welcomed by all runners as we made up time coming down off the bridge and continued towards Hutchinson Island and the turnaround point.

The course flattens once off the bridge, and we made our way to the turnaround point.  The turnaround was just short of the 2-mile point of the race, and I tried to make up some time here knowing the bridge was looming in the distance.  Yes, we had to get back over the same bridge to complete this 5k.  Therefore, the race is called the Bridge Buster 5K. 😊

The second bridge crossing was just as taxing as the first portion, but runners were spaced out more coming back towards downtown Fort Pierce.  I pressed myself to not give up too much time running up the bridge and pressed the gas coming down the other side for the descent.  I had to crank my music on this portion to keep me churning towards the finish line.

I picked off a few runners with my finishing kick and crossed the line with a smile on my face.  Turns out I finish second in my age group but did not hang around for the awards ceremony.

Why not you ask?  I have a lot of races scheduled for 2022 and leveraged the cool morning to get a 5-mile training run in.  Yes, I went for a 5-mile training run after I completed the Bridge Buster 5K.

Got my 5-miles in on Ocean Drive which is one of my normal routes close to the beach.  This allowed me to train and then get a few minutes to sit on the beach for a bit.

Bridge Buster 5k b

Not a bad way to start my 2022 running program. 😊

What are you excited for in 2022?

Irie!

“Running keeps me busy until it’ acceptable to drink wine”.

(Etsy.com)

Clearwater Beach…

“The beach…the only place where salt lowers your blood pressure”.

(Pinterest)

The new year has renewed my sense of adventure again.  Nothing too wild but decided to make a trek west over to Clearwater Beach.  I have friends who have been telling me how great Clearwater Beach is, but I never made the drive to see for myself.

That all changed this past weekend.  Decided to take a weekend flyer and just book a hotel and then drive over.  Seemed simple enough and it was! 😊

My day started with an impromptu 5k in Fort Pierce.  A colleague from work casually mentioned he belongs to the local Kiwanis organization and they were hosting a 5k the next day (Saturday).  I normally do my long runs on Saturdays but told him to send me the registration instructions so I can research the race.  He sent me everything I needed to research and register for the race.  Turns out the 5k course covers most of my normal Tuesday and Thursday training route so I was already familiar with the course.  Decided to register Friday afternoon for the race on Saturday morning—did not figure I needed to do much mental or physical preparation since I was running the area anyway.

Happy to report I was able to run a respectable (for me) 28:04 official time for the 5k.  I am especially happy with this time since we had to cross (over and back) the Seaway Drive bridge which has steep inclines.  First mile was 8:38, second mile 9:18 and third mile 9:20.  The second and third miles had bridge inclines so happy I was able to hold it together on both.  NOTE:  I felt good throughout and see faster times with a flatter course in my future.

I found out online I placed second in my age group.  I did not stick around for the awards presentation since I had to get on the road to drive over to Clearwater beach.

Left Fort Pierce heading for my destination soon after I completed the 5k.  Wanted to maximize much of the day to explore and walk on the famed beach.  I had already booked my hotel and completed early check-in using the Marriott Bonvoy application.

The drive over to the west coast of Florida was simple.  Just needed to follow directions provided by Google maps and I did not have issues with traffic.  Made good time without having to speed—enjoyed the route and seeing new scenery on the trip.

Arrived in Clearwater Beach early afternoon and made my way to my hotel.  Check-in was a breeze considering I did early check-in before arrival.  Got myself settled in my room and added another layer of clothing on because it turns out I picked the coldest day of 2021 to go to the beach—oh well, it was still a great experience. 😊

My hotel was one block away from the beach so made the short walk over and made my way onto the famed Clearwater Beach.  My plan was to walk the beach and take in the scenery while getting some pictures.  Mission accomplished.

Explored a few shops on the main drag, Mandalay Avenue.  Most of the shops catered to the tourists who pour onto Clearwater Beach daily.  There are plenty of restaurants, hotels, bars, and shopping options within walking distance to the beach.

Made my way to the Salt Cracker Fish Camp for a late lunch.  Nice little spot located in the marina district.  I was able to eat and watch the charter boats come in and out of the harbor.  The Salt Cracker Fish Camp has a great menu to select from, but I decided to go with the Jumbo Fried Shrimp dinner.  Will try the Shrimp and Grits on my next visit.  Recommend visiting this spot for the views and food.

The only Clearwater beach spot I found live music was the Salty Crab North Beach.  Small little place the locals prefer but the food options are unlimited.  There were only 10 people there when I visited so decided to grab a beer and check out the food menu.  They have a huge selection, but I decided to build my own pizza.  It was a great decision—the pizza was outstanding!  Visited the Salty Crab the following morning for breakfast.  Again, had a fantastic meal there and the coffee was amazing.  Will try a crab dish on my next visit to the Salty Crab North Beach.

Did a little more beach walking after breakfast prior to driving back to Fort Pierce.  This was a short weekend trip, but I was able to maximize my time on Clearwater beach.  I will make a point to get back over there so I can get more time to explore—may even take a dolphin sightseeing tour for a new adventure.

Great weekend trip! 😊

Where have you wanted to visit?  When will you make the trip?  Thanks!

Irie!

“Bucket list: #1 beach, #2 more beach”.

(Pinterest.co.uk)

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