I imagined I’d post a few times during my weeklong visit to Sunset Beach, but ya know…..there always seemed to be something a little better to do. :) Right now I’m sitting at a cute little bagel shop on my way out of town, and I don’t want to leave. It’ll be good to get home for a lot of reasons, but I don’t want to leave!

I scored a couple neverdones this week….I’ll go ahead and tell you about the first one.

Official neverdone status
I have a text document in a tiny little corner of my hard drive entitled “Lame Neverdones.” In it I’ve been saving a list of things I’ve never done, but which don’t seem significant enough to rate official neverdone status. It’ll eventually be a post, so you guys will be able to read them all. At the beginning of this week, I’d added “running on the beach” to this list.

I mean, enough about running already….right? You guys have GOT to be tired of reading about it. I know you rolled your eyes when you read the post title. Don’t deny it.

BUT during my second-ever beach run — on Monday, my second full day at Sunset Beach — I decided it was so beautiful, so enjoyable, so wonderful that it deserves a place of honor on mm. You see, my recent obsession with exercise is all about that feeling I get afterward — the kicky endorphins, the ohhhhh-so-gooooood physical exhaustion. While I’m running, there’s an occasional “I’m-a-machine” moment which feels good, but mostly I’m just sweating and gasping and praying that there’ll be an anomalous time warp so that 30 minutes will seem like one.

I realized on Monday, though, that I was actually enjoying the run itself. What a bejesus-inducing surprise!

A little history
Before this past year, the only time in my life that I actually enjoyed running was during recess in grade school. I accidentally discovered that I was pretty fast one day when an obnoxious, grubby little boy named Robert chased me across a field with a wet, ugly toad wriggling in his fat, dirty fingers. I left him in my proverbial dust. After that — left mostly to our own devices with an old, deserted baseball field in our play area — I’d convince a few young classmates to run impromptu races. I usually won….but only if we were racing to the dugout. If the distance were any shorter, I wouldn’t have enough time to make up for my slow start. Any further, and I’d run out of steam before the end. I loved to go fast!!

In ensuing years, though, I forgot that I enjoyed running. More than that — I learned to hate it. In high school when I was on the basketball team, our running mostly consisted of those evil wind sprints that hold your lungs hostage, and you were NOT allowed to quit in order to catch your breath. Then there were those days when you had to run five laps every time you missed a basket. Then occasionally we had to do twenty laps around the gym right after practice. No reason, really. Just because.

After I graduated from high school and stopped playing team sports, I never thought about running again…..until last year when I was looking for efficient ways to burn fat.

Back to 2008
Anyway…..back to Monday when I actually enjoyed myself.

It wasn’t the obligatory C25K workout. I’d done 30 minutes, per the program, the day before with one of my beach buds. On Monday, I decided to just get out there alone and do whatever I felt like doing, my happy little Shuffle clipped to my tank top. I wound up playing a heart rate game — first slow and easy, then speed up to a medium pace, then slow and easy, then sprint, then slow and easy again. Etcetera. It was fun, fun! The view was extraordinary, the breeze ensured I never dripped with sweat, and I felt like a member of an elite club as I smiled and waved to the occasional fellow runner. And the cute little gray birds — sandpipers, maybe? — made me laugh. They chased the tide in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, with tiny, superquick, determined legs, pecking at yummy bird-candy morsels in the shallow water.

As I neared Bird Island on the south end of the beach, the people became so scarce that it was easy to pretend there was no one else in the world. What a feeling! I decided to climb over the rocks at the end, and it was even MORE beautiful. Ahhhhhhhh! I went back with my camera the following day, but I don’t think I did the place justice. I’ll post more pictures later, but, for now, check out the photo above. That free-and-happy dude is approaching the tip of Bird Island.

I ran almost every day this week. Yesterday, I think, was better than Monday. I didn’t mess around with medium paces at all. I’d walk, then sprint….walk, sprint….walk, sprint…walk, sprint… I love to go fast!!

Bliss. We all should follow it. :)

Guess I should hit the road home now…..