Last week, I had to travel for business. Generally speaking, business travel entails too little sleep, and too much food, but I always make an effort to find someplace different to hit the pavement. I don’t really enjoy running on a treadmill, and mid-October is a good time to be out on the sand in Florida, since much of the heat has subsided, so this time, I went searching for a new route on Sanibel Island.
My October Sunset Run On Sanibel Island
The Fort Myers area is located on the Gulf side of southern Florida, about 2-hours south of Tampa. The islands of Sanibel and Captiva are out in the Gulf, and are world renowned for their shelling and beautiful sunsets. My job takes me to that area occasionally, and I’ve had the opportunity to hit the pavement (or sand) occasionally, but for some unknown reason, I’ve never written about it.
After arriving on Wednesday, I made up my mind I was going to find a new place to run this time around. I got checked into the hotel, and immediately changed into running gear and made the 30-minute drive to Sanibel. A bit of reading at USA Track & Field helped me ferret out a run on the beaches, starting from the Sanibel Lighthouse. I managed to get parked by 6:40, and with a 7:00 pm sunset, time was precious.
Making use of my new Nike+ GPS app on my iPhone, I started at the Historic Lighthouse parking lot, and headed south, turning west around the tip of Sanibel, and headed back toward the causeway. You can see the picture here, shot from the south-east tip of Sanibel, looking back over the bridge. That direction quickly led to private beaches, so I circled back and headed north, with ocean waves rolling in on my left side. I had the beaches to myself, so it was a very enjoyable run, with only the waves, birds, and occasional “no see-um” for company. The beach is relatively flat, with less of a slope toward the water than some other areas on the island, and the lighthouse still works at night, which is fun to watch. You can tell it was cloudy and approaching sunset from this pic of the lighthouse.
After heading about 1.2 miles north, I turned and headed back. This time of year is mating season for sea turtles, and law requires all the homes and condominiums to turn off any lights facing the beach, since they can confuse newborn turtles. This means once the sun goes down, it gets very dark, really fast, so I had to hustle back to the car. This left me without any time to dedicate to stretching, so I paid for it with the need for a good quadratus lumborum stretch the next day, but it was worth it.
It was an enjoyable run, and although I was hoping to slip in a sunrise run before I had to head back to the airport, it didn’t work out. I didn’t discover it until Thursday evening, but the Fort Myers Track Club had a 10K race scheduled around Sanibel Island on Saturday morning. If I had known about this early enough, it would have been nice to try to squeeze it in, but as it was, the race started too late for me to participate.
If you ever get a chance to enjoy an evening run on Sanibel, the Lighthouse make for a good starting point, and I’d recommend it as a way to enjoy a peaceful run on the beach.