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Exploring Captiva

The nice thing about running is that you can take it almost anywhere. All you need are some shorts, a shirt (sometimes) and some shoes (if you run with them). Okay, if you’re a woman you may need a sports bra too, but I digress. You can run in the sun, the rain or even through snow, and if the weather is simply unbearable you can hit the treadmill or do what the great Emil Zàtopek used to do. He would fill his tub with blankets and run in place for hours. The point is no matter where you are, if you have the time and are physically able, there is very little excuse for not running.

This past week my family and I spent our children’s school vacation on the island of Captiva, Florida. The weather did not exactly cooperate. The historical temperature for this past week has been in the mid-70’s. The past 7 days saw a high of 67° and averaged much closer 62°. Not exactly your “lounge by the pool/let’s jump in the ocean” type of weather. However, it was perfect for running.

Lucky for me, I am a runner! One of the things I love most about running is that you never have to take the same route twice if you don’t want to. From day one of our vacation, I looked forward to being able to explore the island of Captiva. I figured that over the course of a week, I would get to check out quite a bit of the island. The last time we were here (close to 3 years ago) I went out for a jog (I was not a runner then) and barely got out of the complex we were staying in. The resort is about 1.8 miles from end to end and that was about what I could run at the time. 3.6 and I was done. It was not the distance that made me a jogger, rather the frequency with which I ran (which was once in a while at best).

This time around I arrived as a runner. The idea of running 8, 10, 12 miles was not out of the question. Nor was running 4 or 5 of the 6 days we were there. I was going to explore every nook and cranny of Captiva. I was going to take every side street and loop and see everything there was to see. There was only one problem: after my first run of 8 miles, I had essentially seen the whole island outside of the resort. In fact, that particular run even took me to the neighboring island of Sanibel. The 10 miles the next day covered everything I had missed. Part of the issue is that the island is only a few hundred feet wide in some spots and not much wider in others. There is essentially one road that runs north and south with few side streets open to the public.

Despite that, it is a beautiful place to run and reminded me that running is not always about “per mile splits” and training. Sometimes running should just be about exploring and observing your world. Running up and down that 6 mile strip over the course of the week, I noticed different things with every run.

One day it was some of the over the top houses,

Is there enough room for your whole family dude? The owner's son built the same house 1/4 mile down the road

another day it was the beautiful surf

Notice nobody's in the ocean.  Was a cool 62ºF.

Notice nobody was in the ocean? It was a cool 62ºF.

and yet another I got to see some majestic ospreys putting together a nest.

I guess my point is that when training for a marathon, half, 10k or what have you, it is easy to get lost in the numbers. Yes, you want to strive to hit the marks in your training to achieve your goal, and don’t get me wrong, I derive great pleasure from those training runs and hitting those marks. But it has been a joy this past week just running for the sake of running.

Feeling the ground, slicing the wind, seeing the sights.

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Final stats:
Days Run – 4/6
Miles Run – 31.36

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