This past week I’ve been doing some research on distances of my route. There is not a lot of information out there. A road does not run the whole length of the beach. Heading west, it ends in Gulf Shores. To get to Fort Morgan you need to backtrack and go north a mile, then take a road west along the bay around Little Lagoon lake. To be honest, I’m not completely sure my route will be 32 miles. Alabama tourism declares they have 32 miles of white sand beaches. I haven’t found any information other than that. Fort Morgan has a protected beach and marsh from the tip of the peninsula to the first public beach access. Talking to the locals and Fort Morgan employees a little known and less advertised beach access is where I will begin, Burgoyne Road.
The only way I will be able to find exact distances and rest spots will be doing short trips and scoping out the location myself. Matt and I went out to try the first section. We found there was a public beach access on Our Road but there is no parking. So we decided to park at Burgoyne Road and run to Our Road access and run back. My research showed it would be anywhere from 3 to 6 miles.
Saturday morning we went to Burgoyne Road and found the parking lot was a ¼ mile to the beach with very few parking spots. It was 45 degrees out. We bundled up and set off. The first few miles went well and we saw a bunch of wildlife- a few different jellyfish, blue heron, big group of seagulls, a little crab and huge pelicans. Around four miles in, a massive bait ball appeared. There were tons of birds and dolphins everywhere. We stopped and watched and just took in the awesome sight.
Our Road public beach is 4.5 miles from our start, beach to beach. We found Sassy Bass Amazing Grill near Our Road. We decided to reward our journey with a beer. I had a nice chat with the manager of the market. He had lost his sister to breast cancer a year and one day earlier. That chat reminded me of why I am on this run- to show hope. So many have been affected by cancer. I want to show others cancer can not control how I live my life. I decide how to choose happy- to push hopeless thoughts to the side. I decide how to live my life, not cancer.
The chicken wrap and fries from the grill were life changing (or we were just really hungry.) We found a nice little sunny spot and rested for a little while then headed back. I got to the beach and started to run and my knee had a stabbing pain. My legs tightened up on our break. I had to walk the last 4 miles back to the car. I was really defeated. What happens if this happens the day of the big run? What happens if my knee bothers me every time I run? I need to be better prepared.
It took the next two day for my legs to feel normal again. Running on sand and the slight incline was much more difficult then I anticipated. I learned a lot from our run. It ended up being close to 10 miles from start to finish. I learned I need to take better care of my body and what I put in it. I learned that my body can and will fail me. But I had a lot of fun.
Today I will be proud of getting one step closer to my goal. I will not let setbacks leave me feeling defeated. Today I will continue to work hard and make healthy decisions so I can be my best.