Run In The Sun: Day 19
Silver Springs to Astor
“Run in the sun…” more like run in the clouds! Yesterday we didn’t see the sun once, and today I think I saw my shadow for only a generous guess of 10 or 15 minutes. Kinda weird. But, again, since we expected inland Florida to be stiflingly hot, I don’t mind.
Because our camping days are finished for the journey, we were delighted to unload lots of our gear at the post office first thing this morning. It sprinkled rain for a while this morning, and then off and on throughout the day… always refreshing.
Not refreshing was the holiday weekend traffic on the 2-lane highway we were on. Thankfully, there was always a shoulder, but most of the day was non-stop whizzing of cars past us. And, the shoulder was nearly always painfully slanted.
In fact, it was slanted enough for long enough that I acquired some pretty debilitating pain toward the end of the day; I had to walk the last few miles because of what felt like a knife stabbing into my Achilles/heel area. All this on top of Achilles tendonitis that ranged from “very painful” to “excruciating” all day that had set in at the end of yesterday’s run.
But, I had gotten in a pretty good mindset to run through the pain, and it was pretty effective. I made a point of letting myself enjoying the many things there were to enjoy today, as follows:
We ran through Silver Springs State Park and Ocala National Forest for the duration of pretty much all the miles today. The public land areas really surprised us by being so very populated and commercialized! All the traffic added up to a lot of little frogs dead on the side of the road… so sad! (road kill count was 39 today!)
We expected to have no amenities as we made our way through, but instead there were more amenities than we’ve had on even longer stretches through Florida. I found exceptional humor in this particular sight as we rounded a bend (note the juxtaposition of the “protect and enjoy your national forest” and the billboards and town just beyond):
Civilization through the National Forest meant a necessary stop for whoopie pies! This place is famous for them, apparently, and we indulged in three, one of which was an ice-cream-filled one, of course.
We saw three alligators! Great (safe) views from atop a bridge of big’uns! Can you spy two in this picture?
We got to pet a cute, pink, piglet being held on the side of the road by someone selling piglets, and scratch behind its little ears. It grunted in delight.
We crossed paths with the Florida National Scenic Trail again – twice. Picturesque, really. And we are starting to wonder if we planned a parallel paved route without even knowing it…?
We had a good laugh at my ineptitude at drinking chocolate milk while walking. This is the second mishap of this nature in two days.
We saw a coyote or a fox cross the road (we couldn’t tell which one it was), but it was the only sign of this type of creature we have seen the whole trip – to the point that we had thought Florida just didn’t have coyotes or foxes. Also, we saw more bear crossing signs, but were again saddened that we saw no bear crossing the road. After all, there was at least a portion of today that felt like a true National Forest!
We laughed in bewilderment at how my blister bandages seem to have minds of their own. They slip right off and move to my toes no matter what I do. Always maneuvering out of place. We just don’t know how things will not stick to my feet when they stuck to Kevin’s just fine! It could be that I don’t really tie my shoes when I run… eek.
Kevin gave me a foot massage on the side of the highway, even though my feet were gross. He is so dreamy! And he told me that he’d give me another foot massage and roll my muscles out when we got to the hotel. I’m still wondering how I got so lucky.
He was true to his word. My legs are rolled, my feet are massaged, my Achilles tendon is iced, and my lower legs are swollen-ish! I noticed it days ago, but today I was able to capture something tangible. It was hard to see, because normally my ankles are disproportionately toothpick-like, but they’re starting to look normal. Most (normal) days, I can put a single hand around my ankle and touch my fingers together. These insane running days, not so much.
And, after a couple of failed attempts to find slushy cocktail to-go drinks on the road today, the local restaurant served me up two frozen margaritas to end my day. It was the most delicious and refreshing thing… and happened to be very light on the alcohol, which is perfect! I still have 35 miles to run, after all….
So grateful. For Kevin. For the things that make me laugh and smile along the way.