Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Walks in the Parks in Florida

12 hours walking in the park, I told the family it's harder than running 50 miles! For me anyway. I feel the same about visiting museums. A few steps, stop, waiting in line, a few more steps, paying attention to the crowd not to bump in any kid running around, 20 stairs up here or down there, waiting in another line moving at 5 steps a minute... On Saturday, we spent 12 hours at Universal's Island of Adventure after getting to the hotel around 2 AM and a short night. Sounds like ultra amusement... Sunday was "rest day" so, after Palm Sunday's celebration at the nearby Shrine, I left the family at the swimming pool to run 26.4 miles.

Running in the heat felt difficult as I'm not acclimated to it yet. I had looked for a bike path to run on but couldn't find any nearby on I decided to stay in the neighborhood of our hotel, something which ended up being a perfect 5.5-mile loop for a few repeats. For those staying in Lake Buena Vista, here  is what the course look like (running against traffic to avoid road crossings): 1.4 miles on SR535 from the intersection with Vineland Avenue, left on World Center (run on grass after passing Caribe Royale), left on International Drive (keep running on grass until Patterson Club Drive), then left on Vineland Avenue (concrete).
This loop will work for anyone staying at the Marriott Village (Fairfield Inn, Spring Hill Suites, Courtyard), Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort, Sheraton Vistana Resort, Blue Heron Beach Resort, Grand Beach, Buena Vista Suites, Caribe Royale, Palazzo Del Lago and Hilton Grand Vacations (listing them all for Google's indexing).

On the second loop I ventured into the woods to get away from the traffic. Certainly got into a much quieter place although not the ideal running trails, my feet sinking into deep and fine white sand at each step. At least I was lucky not to encounter any ATV as it seemed to be their domain given the tracks in the sand. After this detour, I completed two other loops plus a 3-mile out and back to make it slightly longer than the marathon distance (1) as my last long run before this coming Saturday 100K (Ruth Anderson) and (2) thinking of all the participants to Monday's Boston Marathon.

Speaking of Boston, it must have been quite a perfect weather with such amazing times. I ran 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 and only got bad weather once, so odd years must be better (any Boston analytics guru out there to confirm or infirm?). I can't believe the best ever time on this distance happening on this course: 2:03:02, unbelievable! Records are supposed to happen on flat courses such as Chicago, Berlin, Rotterdam. I still remember Haile Gebrselassie claiming that it will be a long time before anyone else improves his record when he had just broken 2:04 by one second in Berlin. It was less than 3 year ago, September 2008... The duel between the Ethiopians and Kenyans at this distance is just amazing. Nevertheless, Ryan Hall taking fourth overall and first American while breaking 2:05 is no less amazing.

10 more hours at Universal Studios Florida on Tuesday, and Wednesday spent at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore, for more walking in the Parks but a steady and much more comfortable pace this time. And it was wonderful to swim in the Atlantic Ocean too! Great rest, long nights and some tapering before flying back on Friday night, just a few hours before the start of Ruth Anderson 100K. If I don't miss my 35-minute connection in Denver...

PS: we missed the ultimate launch of the Space Shuttle which was scheduled for this week but got postponed to the end of the month. However, it was a delight to see half a dozen of manatees as well as one huge alligator! Worth a long walk in the park! ;-)
Alligators crossing...


Anonymous said...

Merci pour ce petit ├ęcho d'Orlando.
Que veut dire AVT?

Jean Pommier said...

All-Terrain Vehicle, or "Quad" in French.

Unknown said...


I got your name from a friend. We are doing " The Relay” and need one more person to complete our team.
The relay race starts on Saturday of this week. Each person would run about 17 miles in three legs.
It is a Saturday and Sunday event that goes through the night. Please look over the site and see if you would like to join our team.
The relay is for a charity for Organ donation. You would be running Leg ,8 (6.2 miles), leg 20 ( 5.9miles), leg 32 (4.7 miles)
Please let me know if this is something you would be willing to do or one of your friends.


Unknown said...

the site is

Jean Pommier said...

Thanks for reaching out. I replied to you by email that, unfortunately, I'm already competing this weekend (QuickSilver 50K).
But I'm leaving your note on the blog in case a local reader can step up.
Hope this helps...