The cruise was a blast. It went off pretty much as expected. We drank rum drinks, ate great food, took taxi tours, sat around the pool, shopped, drank rum drinks, ate great food, kayaked in a lagoon, snorkeled, enjoyed wine with great food, and great desserts, napped, sat in the sun, swam in the clear blue Caribbean Ocean, drank rum drinks, ate great food, watched some great entertainment, took formal portraits, shopped, rode a catamaran, rode a jeep, made a quick visit to the clothing optional beach, and don't forget, napped, drank a rum drink and ate some great food. No kids, no work, no TV, no cell phones, just the two of us enjoying our private time together and our public time with friends. Coming back to reality on Sunday night was not a pleasant experience.
We were on the Carnival Cruise ship, the Valor. Our ports of call were Nassau Bahamas, St Thomas US Virgin Islands and St Martin/St Maarten West Indies. We pretty much agreed that St Martin was our overall favorite island. The excursion on St Thomas was a lot of fun, kayaking and snorkeling, but the shopping was too contrived. We had far too little time on each island to really get a feel for them. The locals, at least those employed in the tourism trade, were all super friendly. I was surprised to see so many US and European citizens that had set up shop on the islands. We enjoyed near perfect weather in the 80's with reasonable humidity. Brief rain storms came through 3 or 4 times but only lasted 10 minutes or so and returned immediately to beautiful sunny skies.
The running didn't go quite as well as I might have hoped. The trip started out well with a 5.5 mile run in Miami on Sunday morning before we boarded the ship. I ran across the Venetian Causeway from the mainland over to Miami Beach. The temps were in the mid 70's and a light sprinkle was falling. I really enjoyed running across the causeway, island hopping as I went.
Once on board ship, I was pleased to find out that the track was actually 0.111 miles long; only 9 laps to a mile. Monday morning I got up a little early and headed up to the "jogging" track on Deck 11 and off I went. There were about a dozen other people up there but they were all walking. I was the lone runner. I tried to keep track of laps in my head but by the third mile I resorted to holding up fingers as I went around, 5 fingers on the left hand and 4 more on the right. During the 4th mile I was really losing focus. I struggled mentally but made it through 45 laps to meet my 5 mile goal.
The next day I decided to give the treadmill in the gym a try. Without headphones I watched a show about a girl boxer on the TV. I could occasionally lip read but mostly had no idea what was going on. I made it 3 miles and struggled just to make it to 4 before I called it quits. The numbers on the readout wreaked havoc with my brain. I could not compute mph into minutes/mile nor could I ignore the numbers and just run. I was drawn to watch each tenth of a mile tick slowly away, ugh! This was only my second treadmill experience and it just confirmed to me that I am not a treadmill kind of guy.
I had planned not to run on Wed. and Thurs. I slept in on Friday but headed back up to Deck 11 on Saturday. This was supposed to be the day I attempted the 13 miler. Sad to say I only made it 3 miles before I called it quits. I wasn't physically tired, I just did not have the mental stamina to go round and round, one finger, two fingers, three fingers.... nine fingers, repeat.
I appreciate all the more the joy of the open road or trail so much more. My routes are always out and back or the occasional loop. I almost never cut the out portion short or shortcut a loop so I'm forced to come back as far as I went out. There is no getting off early or just walking off the track. This also explains my struggle with speedwork at the track. It is far to easy to just walk away. Walking away from the middle of an 8 miler puts me 4 miles from the car or home and if I've got to get back there anyway I might as well run.
So not counting the Miami run (which really counts for the prior week) I ran a whopping 12 miles on board the Valor, something I sorely lacked when it came down to boldness and determination in getting the runs in. But running was not the focus of this trip; enjoying the vacation was and I'd have to say "Mission Accomplished".
I'd like to say its good to be back but catching up at work after a week away is crazy, especially with the pressure of a big presentation looming in two weeks that wasn't on the schedule when we planned the trip.
I have gotten two 5 milers in over at Bonelli on Monday and Tuesday and never once considered cutting either one of them short. It will take me another week or so before I get caught up with you. I hope your training and racing has gone well. I look forward to reading all about it.