GRAYTON BEACH, Fla. — “I’m Still Standing,” the classic Elton John tune, came to mind as I sat down to write this post.
Lest some of you were beginning to wonder, fear not: I’m still running. The problem isn’t finding time to hit the road; it’s stealing a few minutes to write about my running adventures.
I’m posting today from this fun, quirky village along Scenic Highway 30A, a 20-mile stretch in Florida’s Panhandle that connects Destin and Panama City Beach. From west to east, it winds through the small, diverse beach communities of Dune Allen, Santa Rosa, Blue Mountain, WaterColor, Seaside, Seagrove, Seacrest, Rosemary, Inlet and Carillon.
And this cool little burg dubbed the place go if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten path, low-key, family friendly beach experience. Which the Beems were.
I was invited to speak to a group of nonprofit leaders Thursday in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Kate and I discovered in mid-December that the trip coincided with our kids’ spring break and decided to stretch my time here into a long family weekend.
It’s just what the doctor ordered. There’s not much of a college spring break crowd here, and the beach’s fine, white sand and clear, turquoise water are picturesque.
We found a great place to stay at www.vrbo.com, which I highly recommend to those searching for a home or apartment to rent in an area they’re visiting. We snagged a cool, two-story place right next to the block’s private pool — it’s maintained by and reserved for Cottage Street’s 10 homeowners and their guests — and 50 steps from the beach boardwalk.
The small business district is just two blocks away. There we’ve discovered such cool eateries as The Red Bar and Shorty’s and The Zoo Gallery, a funky gift shop.
Oh, yeah — the running here’s great, too. I did eight miles Wednesday heading east from Grayton Beach on the Scenic 30A Bike and Running Trail, which parallels the road its entire distance. Yesterday, Kate and I headed west on the trail for four miles. We hope to run between four and eight miles today, and I’ll log 20 miles on the trail early tomorrow morning.
I’ve missed a few weekday runs in recent weeks but — because I had a good base when I began marathon training — feel on top of my preparation for the long race. What I can’t sacrifice are the long weekend runs: I ran 18 miles last Sunday and will be sure to do 20 tomorrow.
I hope you’re having a good spring and enjoying this great time of year to run. It’s the perfect time to hit the road, so lace up your shoes and go.
Kansas City Runner