Stuart’s hills

15 miles. This was my first visit to the Stuart/Jensen Beach bridges on foot. I’ve been there many times on a bike, I know the hills are good for that training.

Kaitlyn met me at the Sailfish Cafe. The weather was great, barely a breeze and 55 degrees. We ran east and in less than a half mile, we were climbing the first bridge. The double bridges are 2 miles from one end to the other. We passed by a few runners, went by Benihana Restaurant, and past the south road that Treasure Coast Half Marathon uses for its route. We didn’t stop at the “Tiki Hut” for anything, we ran around the A1-A bend and stayed on the sidewalk heading north. That’s a piece I wish I could change about this route – it’s almost all hard white sidewalk concrete.

Our first stop was at approx 7 miles, at a beach park near the roundabout for the north bridge. It had a restaurant but it was closed for renovations. Still, the restrooms were well cared for, with deodorizing pucks in the urinals, plenty of TP and hand napkins. And it had water fountains outside. I took a gel here, the only one I brought. My mapping of the course showed it was just near 14 miles, this would prove to be wrong.

The north bridge is the steepest of all, this would be a good one to have closer to home. The sun was bright and temps still cool. We looked up the Indian River Lagoon to the nuclear plant and the high power wires that cross the waterway. Our plan had us run across and then north on the river road to Skyline Drive. I took the location from Rick Mongeau’s Strava results. I’ve heard much about people riding and running here, this was going to be the surprise on today’s run.

The road had no sidewalk so it was good we were still running early in the morning. There weren’t many cars contending for the same space. We came to Skyline drive and made the left – it’s a purely residential area, with a railroad crossing in the first 100m. It was apparent that this was going to be a fun road, the rise and hills began immediately. There were maybe four hills, with the final one, I believe dubbed “Church Hill” being the most aggressive. It was only a tenth of a mile according to Strava, but a healthy breathe deep and charge-up hill. We saw an older couple walking down towards that, I got a laugh out of hem when I said, “You two make that look easy!” on my way up. Skyline Dr ended, I erroneously led us down a road that ended at a new development under construction. We ran back on the river road to the gas station that sits at a fork in the road. It was a good spot to go in, get a drink in the men’s room, and continue running south. One more right turn back on the road we started with, over the final large bridge, and we ran back to the parking lot. 15 miles done for me, Kaitlyn visited her car for another gel then continued running. Her plan is to race A1A Marathon and she wants to add miles in the final 5-6 weeks before that event.

This was the first real workout in the Boston Marathon Hanson’s plan. I’ve done the 3-4 weeks of buildup since taking time off after Palm Beach full marathon. So far it’s working well, I understand the philosophy and have some tough weeks ahead to get me to A1A, the midpoint of the training for Boston in April.

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