Running 8 Miles in South Florida

Having two major half marathons coming right up, I knew I needed to run 8 miles when I was in South Florida, visiting my dad. Problem was, I wasn’t sure where to go!

I was staying at the Hampton Inn on Commercial Blvd near the Florida Turnpike, about 20 minutes away from my dad’s place in Kings Point, Tamarac. My two children were with me.

Why Don’t Your Run To…

“Why don’t you run from the hotel to Poppy’s house?” my daughter said. My son looked up the distance. It was a little more than 8 miles away. “You can do it mom,” he said.

The next day we were in town, I scoped out the path. If I go straight on Commercial Blvd to Hiatus and then make the turn toward my dad’s place, I could get this done. But was Commercial Blvd accessible for runners?

I went to bed early the night before the run. I was nervous. Can I do this?
“Yes, you can do this.” I told myself. “You’ve done 8 miles a ton of times. It’s just another time…”

Having that Internal Conflict

But then there’s always that internal conflict — can I really do this? My back was hurting me all week. I was tired. I didn’t feel like getting it done. I knew my running club had already run the 8 in the freezing cold weather in New York. This was a perfect opportunity to get it done in beautiful weather.

I got up at a reasonable time, went downstairs to the lobby and tried to eat something. I drank a cup of coffee. My stomach was bothering me a little, but I thought it was my nerves. It probably was my nerves.

I went to the front desk and asked about the overpass over the highway. “Do you know if there is a sidewalk over the highway?” I asked.

“You know, I’ve never seen anyone walk over the highway,” she said to me. “As a matter of fact, I never see anyone walking on Commercial. Why don’t you run around the Executive Airport that’s not far from here?”

“Thanks. I think I’ll try to figure it out,” I told her and walked out the door.

Leaving the Hotel

I left the hotel and walked toward the highway. I passed a fire house on the right and looked into the distance to see if there was a path over the highway. Across the street, I noticed there was a bridge that went over the highway. I’m in luck I thought.

I walked over to the bridge. It was my warm up and in the Jeff Galloway program, runners need to walk for at least five minutes to warm up. I walked up the bridge and over. It was a little scary looking down. All I could see where large trucks going 80 miles per hour. I decided not to look.

When I got to the end of the bridge, I had to cross the entry onto the highway. I was nervous because the cars were coming onto the highway fast and I didn’t want to get hit. I waited. When there was an opening I ran across the opening. Now, I was on the wrong side of the street, further away from where my dad lived.

Too Many Road Blocks…

I kept going. When suddenly I hit another roadblock, a golf course. There was no longer a sidewalk. I ran on the grass but it was uneven and I didn’t want to run in the bike lane. Commercial Blvd has four lanes in both directions and the cars speed by. Although I would be going against traffic, it made me nervous to be in the street running. (Many of these older people shouldn’t be driving so you have your life in your hands there.)

There was a man in a car that pulled up on the golf course. I asked him where was the sidewalk. He told me to cross the street and get to the other side. But the cars were coming… would they stop? Would there be a break? I waited. There was a break and I ran across the eight lanes. I was amazed. It was as if someone was looking over me…

Then My Son Called…

I ran passed the Bedding Barn and I got a call from my son, “you okay? Where are you?”

“I’m only about 3 miles in, 5 to go,” I told him.

“Okay, I’ll leave in an hour or so,” he said. My son was meeting me at my dad’s house with my change of clothes and stuff for the day. We didn’t want to come back to the hotel because of the time factor.

There are lots of little strip malls on Commercial Blvd and I found that every time I tried to run a bit, there was another obstacle that I faced. There were lots of major roads where I had to stop and wait for the light to change while strange people would pass by me.

Staying Focused…

Staying focused, I found a lovely spot to take a photo. I stopped and took one.

Then continued down to Hiatus. It took nearly 6 miles to get there and as soon as I did, I stopped at a gas station, got some water, poured some over my head to cool myself off and kept on going. I’m close. Two miles to go.

I ran down Hiatus. It was a long road passed many commercial buildings and City Furniture. There were gardeners there cutting the trees and the grass. I ran passed them, holding my nose.

My Son Called Again…

At the end of Hiatus I went a couple more blocks and ran to 80th Street. I knew I was at the home stretch now. Derek, my son, called again. “I’m on my way,” he said.

Soon thereafter, I saw him as I was turning into Exeter/Granville in Kings Point. He was driving alongside me. “You got this mom. It’s the home stretch.”

He continued to drive to my dad’s apartment and I ran. I felt good, strong, and I wasn’t tired.

I finally made it to my dad’s apartment, after run/walking 8.1 miles with a negative split. It made me feel so happy that I forced myself to do it and that I got it done.