Running in Sand is Not a Day at the Beach

I spent last weekend in Pismo Beach with the family and some good friends.   We take this trip 2 or 3 times a year – it’s  very relaxing fun mini-vacation.   The weather can be unpredictable, we’ve had 80 degree days in March and rain in September but we don’t care.  We layer, bundle up or slather on sunscreen and play, regardless.

Pismo Beach and it’s surrounding towns are situated upon miles of gorgeous, soft, white sand beaches.  The beach starts at the foot of the stairs at our resort (there are 80 steps, FYI).  You can go on the beach and run or walk as long as you like.

During our stay we gather the troops and walk downtown (.75 miles each way) and into town for lunch or freshly made Cinnamon Rolls.  (As a side note, these rolls would make a Cinnabon franchisee cry.  They are big and delicious and hot.  You can get them with or without thick cream cheese frosting and with glazed pecans or walnuts.  After eating one you just might slip into a Diabetic coma so be warned!)

Back to the story.  I always run when I go to Pismo, I look forward to getting up early and running anywhere from 4-8 miles, depending on my training plan.   I found a nice out and back that includes hills and gorgeous scenery along the streets of Pismo and the neighboring town.

This trip, however, I decided to tackle the beach.  I don’t normally like running on the beach.  It’s sandy and my shoes get wet and as lovely as the beach and waves can be, I get bored easily by seeing the same scenery for the entire run.  But I decided to mix it up a bit so I ran through downtown on the streets and down to Oceano Dunes at Grover Beach going at a nice clip of around 9 min miles.   At that point I turned off the road and entered the sand for my run back.

Rather, I stepped into the deepest, softest sand trap ever created and attempted to run.  Running in deep sand is not easy.  Your feet sink and you have to physically lift your leg up out of the sand pit each time.  It took me a few minutes to run from the road to the harder packed sand by the water and I was sweating like a dog and breathing very hard (adding insult to injury, I was at a 12 min pace according to my Garmin!)

Even in the ‘hard’ pack by the water the run was not easy.  I had, what felt like pounds of sand cemented to my shoes and I just tried to quick step as best I could.  I noticed (with glee) that everyone was running like I was so I just slogged along.  About a quarter mile from my end point the sand became much harder and I was able to quicken my pace and finish my run.

Unfortunately when I got to the end of the sand I was only at 4 1/2 miles (and I really wanted to do 5) so I turned tail and ran a half mile back towards the pier.  At the 5 mile mark I kicked off my shoes and socks, waded knee high into the Pacific Ocean and splashed back to the resort.  Triumphant!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

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