Summer Smiles and Vacation Miles

Gulfport Beach, FL

Summer Vacations can be a lot. A lot of fun, sun, family time, adventure, excitement and very low on exercise and healthy eating. But we try. It’s the heat and humidity that defines exercise on vacation for me. As it is right now, it’s melt-me hot in some parts. Now, you would think this Caribbean gal is accustomed to and even enjoys the sun and you would be right. As long as it doesn’t involve direct exposure like sunbathing and running, I can do sunshine. In fact, I love sunshine since I’m no fan of cold weather. But I’m also no fan of tanning or bearing my flesh to the toll of direct sunshine, so imagine that my family decided on a week’s vacay in Southern Florida to celebrate my birthday. I can recall going to Disney something like 10 years ago so forgive my poor memory in agreeing to that crazy plan. I don’t know if it gets any hotter anywhere else on God’s earth, maybe the desert, and if so rest assured I won’t be going. Ever.

The heat and humidity was wild y’all!  I mean we were on the Gulf so I knew the water would be warmer than what I was used to but no one told me it was going to be soup out there! Y’all, I’ve never felt anything like it and I practically grew up on the beach. But then that was the Caribbean Sea and not the Gulf of Mexico. Like wow! I’m still regrouping but I will say that I was able to brave the heat and get a couple of runs in – early a.m runs of course, which more than likely kept me alive. I’ll be honest, first I had to talk myself into getting up and then talk myself into lacing up my running shoes and stepping out the door. It didn’t matter what time it was, there was a blanket of heat awaiting me out that door. I seriously considered running in my bathing suit but figured I would only be able to stay on the beach so opted for clothes. Running on sand is no easy feat for any long distance.

The weather itself was quite startling with major mood swings. We would go from bright and sunny skies to thunderous clouds in a heartbeat with the prevailing threat of thunderstorms a daily thing and rain quite common. What remained quite consistent was the very warm ocean water. Whether we went swimming at night, out on a boat ride, or stayed in the ocean for sunset and through the threat of thunderstorms and drizzles, the water didn’t get any cooler. Even when we went jet skiing far out in deeper waters with dolphins about it stayed warm. Despite this we had a great deal of fun and I remain super pleased with myself for braving the heat, the late nights into early mornings with insufficient sleep, and the prevailing vacation mood to find the determination to run anyway. This is the same determination I embrace for every marathon – the surety that, as long as God wills it, I will finish what I start and no obstacle will stop me.

This perspective has served me well over the years both in everyday life and in running. I determine a course of action and follow though to the very end. No flaking for me. And that’s just the kind of attitude I need to take back to the city and back to my training plan. Because it’s still on friends. I’ve determined to run my best Chicago marathon this year and it’s going down by God’s grace. Ready, set, let’s run this summer!

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