Retrospect: Pace didn’t matter that much after all

I used to have a goal of running a 10-minute mile (to achieve a sub-30 minute 5K, which to be precise would require running a faster-than-10-minute mile pace). I’ve lost count of how many times I wrote about that goal, but here’s an example from 2010.

I had to set running aside for health reasons. It took me quite a while to make peace with that, but I’m getting there.

In honor of this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt (pace), combined with the Mama Kat prompt “list 10 things you love about the state you live in,” here are 10 places in Florida where I have run. In retrospect, although I’m sad about not ever achieving my goal, being able to spend more time on the road/trail may have helped me appreciate those areas more. Except for Tallahassee, which I left for last, they are roughly organized from south to north.

Miami Beach

When I went to Miami Beach for the Miami International Auto Show in 2015, I met up with @Koifla, a Twitter friend, for a run. That was my first trip to Miami Beach (hopefully not my last), and he brought me coffee he had roasted/brewed himself. What a great memory — both the company and the views along the beach.

pace didn't matter that much

Marco Island

Our family used to go to Marco Island when Wayne had to go to Environmental Permitting Summer School. Most of these trips took place before social media, but the last one was in 2009, so I do have a picture or two and a blog post. It was a gorgeous place to run (but so hot).

pace didn't matter that much

Clearwater/St. Petersburg

I have had several memorable runs in the St. Pete/Clearwater area, mostly involving my friend Diane. Our other friend, Amelia (from Gainesville) met us once in 2013 and the three of us shared a day of athletic activity. This particular day, we all ran to warm up, then Diane and Amelia went swimming while I ran some more.

pace didn't matter that much

Tampa

My social media memories have been serving up a very special walk down memory lane, the day Diane and I did the Lowry Park Zoo Run Run 5K in 2015. Technically, I was her guide (because she is visually impaired). That’s sort of an oxymoron, though, because Diane is a champion triathlete and if anything I held her back. We still had a blast.

pace didn't matter that much

Orlando

I have lots of great memories of running in Orlando. I had to go fairly frequently for work when I was with Healthy Kids, and also as Tenley was preparing for her Disney College Program. My biggest Orlando-based running memory isn’t very “Sunshine State” in nature.

When Tenley and I were there for her to audition once, I went for a run extremely early in the morning. It was also exceptionally cold for Orlando. Looking back on it, I see how deeply embedded in the running world I was to go out in that freezing weather. SO COLD. I like thinking back on that run, though, and reminding myself of the self-discipline I mustered.

pace didn't matter that much
PI can’t find the pic I took on the ridiculously freezing day, but here’s another fave from an on-property run. (Yes, I wore my Idiots Running Club shirt OFTEN, especially when traveling!)

Jacksonville

I have done a few races in Jacksonville, most memorably the Gate River Run. This 15K race winds through Jacksonville, with a memorable ending at the Jaguars Stadium … into which you descend after ascending the Hart Bridge. This 2013 memory, with so many great running friends, is a keeper.

pace didn't matter that much

Panama City

The only in-state half marathon I have done was in Panama City, The Biggest Loser half in 2014. Another race and location made memorable mostly because of the incredible company. (Pro-tip: Doing a half marathon with a min-pin makes your group the hit of the party.)

pace didn't matter that much

St. George Island

Our extended family used to vacation at St. George Island every summer. Each one is a treasured memory, especially now that Wayne’s parents are both deceased. There’s also an annual race at St. George, the “sizzler.” It is aptly named, let me just put it that way. But St. George is a beautiful place, and running there was always a treat.

pace didn't matter that much
I don’t love this picture. It’s shortly after I started running again and it doesn’t really showcase the beauty of St. George. But in full transparency, it does represent the fact that running is very much a journey and (cliche time) … every step and every mile count.

Prison

Our running club has had a relationship with Gadsden Correctional Facility since 2012. Even though I have to walk our races now, I try very hard not to miss a GCF event. They’re my favorites. The lack of scenery is made up for by the passion and the reminder that running is its own kind of freedom.

pace didn't matter that much

Tallahassee

I’m sorry I’ve ended up at 10 already, because there are quite a few things about running in Tallahassee I’d like to discuss. Since it has been on my mind as I’ve watched my running friends throughout the summer, though, I’ll note our incredible trails.

pace didn't matter that much
This pic doesn’t capture the difficulty of our trails, but it is a favorite! It’s at the end of a trail race. It became a key part of my efforts to raise money for Team in Training to run the New York City half marathon in 2015 in support of my friend Mary Jane.

I’m still disappointed I never achieved my goal of a sub-30-minute 5K. However, look at all the incredible people I met and places I went. All of it was time well spent.

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week [obviously I completely fudged the five minute part tonight]. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.) 

pace didn't matter that much