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Clearwater Bridge Run

I'd been wanting to do a long run run out in Clearwater for some time now, partly because of its three bridges, and I finally did it last weekend. I say "wanting" with the caveat that I knew it would be good training for me; I did not think it would be particularly fun. And aside from the fact that I had good company and decent weather, I was right.

Because Clearwater is a foreign land to me (and a mere 25-minute drive from home), I contacted my friend Beth, who runs in the area frequently. She gave me very detailed directions for where to run--so detailed that I was afraid I wouldn't remember and printed them out on a piece of paper I carried with me on the run. Her route would have incorporated the three main bridges: Sand Key, Bellair, and Clearwater; but because that particular loop would have put us back at our parking spot with only 12 miles, which meant we could have been tempted to not run the four more miles we needed, we decided to just run an out-and-back, which actually mean more  bridge running, as we repeated the first two bridges twice. And that Bellair bridge is a BEAST.


The elevation chart doesn't look all that significant, but the overall elevation gain was 385 ft. and the loss was 403 ft. Also, while the weather started out nice and cool and cloudy, once the clouds disappeared and the sun rose higher, we could really feel the heat. It didn't make those bridge climbs any easier. But on the brighter side, it's a pretty scenic route, with water all around. And the bridges are good for mixing up my typically flat training runs. I was lucky to have two girlfriends who are also training for a (different) marathon with me, and also Tim, when he wasn't running ahead of us. Oh, and the one really good reason for doing this run is that it's actually going to be part of the Clearwater Marathon I'm doing in about one month. 

Finishing this run was difficult. I don't know if it was the bridges, the sun, or just the fatigue of trying to figure out a new route (yes, that fatigues me). But I was so, so happy to be done with it. And also glad I'd done it. We were all quite happy it was over:

There's a bridge in the background. It looks tiny, but I swear it was not.

I've got 18 on the books for this weekend's long run, and then 20 after. Then I taper down for two weekends, and then it's race time. It's all happening so fast. I just hope my body continues to feel as good as it (mostly) has, and that my stamina holds out.

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