Saturday, March 29, 2008

Catching Up - Warning: This Is A Long Post

Oh my gosh! I just looked at my little countdown tickermadoodle and I only have 14 days remaining till the marathon! Two weeks folks! It'll be here before I know it. I get squirrely thinking about how close it is. I wish I were in better physical shape than I presently am for it, but I kinda have to take things as they are. I've been reflecting on my less than perfect physical condition for running this race in relation to Cassy, who I am running this marathon in honor of. I've been wondering if it wasn't meant to be this way as just a small taste of what she has had to endure her whole life and, she's in her mid-30's now. I don't want sound as though I am diminishing her condition to my mere 6 1/2 months of running and a 26.2 mile race with some leg pain or in any way thinking what I am doing is comparative to what she's endured at all. She's always amazed me with her joyful spirit despite her circumstances. I wish I could be more like her.

Anyway, I didn't run either Friday or today on the heels of that miserable 8+ miles I did on Thursday. I'm a bit damaged right now so, I want to heal up as best I can again for now. I'm supposed to have two additional longish runs left in my training plan, the first 12 miles this weekend, and the last an 8 miler next weekend, however, I am very much playing things my ear in terms of what I think my body is, or is not as is the case, to do. I hate to keep speaking of it, but my leg is pretty sore today, even two days after my last run and much icing. So, there may not be any more long runs in my future before this race.

Well, I had a friend (who shall remain nameless, Tami Sue) tell me the other evening that I needed to update my blog, to which I replied, I have updated it twice. To which she responded, "yea, but that was just running stuff... I don't wanna read about that." So, in the interest of my friendship with Tami Sue...

We had a great time on our vacation in Pompano Beach, FL last week. We went with our friends, the Johnstons, Frank and Dianna (one of my running heros), and their daughter, Kallie, and friend Aloiya, along with our girls, Chelsea and Lindsey. We stayed in a two bedroom, two bath hotel-style condo, with a kitchen, dining area, living room, and laundry at the Wyndham Palm-Aire Resort pictured here. It was fabulous. It had 4 pools, 4 hot tubs, mini golf, work out room, golf course (though none of us golfed), and more amenities that I probably don't even know of. The resort was located about 5 miles west of the beach however, Wyndham had several other condo properties along the oceanfront that, as guests, we were able to make use of as well for access to the beach and could also use any of their facilities as well. I did manage to get 28 miles in or so in 5 runs while down there as well.

We had a bit of a hiccup on our trip down (we drove, as did Johnstons) in that when we arrived at our overnight hotel destination in northern Florida after driving for about 16 hours, the transmission went out in Johnston's van. That got taken care of, I got Johnstons and Aloiya over to where the van was fixed on Friday, came back to the hotel area and picked up Tammy and the girls at a local shopping center and we headed on down the rest of the way.

Saturday and Sunday we spent at the beach doing a lot of this type of stuff:

And a little of this as well:

On Monday, our family headed across Alligator Alley to the other side of the state to visit with my Aunt Heidi and Grandma in Cape Coral. Grandma moved down from Michigan to live with Heidi last October and is just loving it down there.

We had a nice visit and lunch with Grandma and Heidi on her beautiful enclosed patio with screened pool enclosure and then on our way back met up with the Johnstons in the Everglades for an airboat ride/tour. We were fortunate enough to see an alligator in the wild during the day, and Lindsey made a new friend:

Monday and Tuesday it was 89 degrees and beautiful. We hung out at the local beaches again on Tuesday and then on Wednesday we headed down the coast about a half hour to Miami and Miami Beach.

Our family gets a kick out of the show Miami Ink on TLC so, we swung by the shop, which recently moved up the block a few store-fronts and were surprised to see Yoji hanging out outside the shop. He graciously allowed us to get a few pics with him. Tammy was going to get a tattoo there, but she asked inside how much a small one would run - she considered a small palm tree the size of a half-dollar - and they said it would cost $250 - $300. Um... no thanks. I'll tat her up with a Sharpee myself. I've got art skilz... Gosh! Am I a TOTAL tourist in that pic or what?!?

We had a couple more incidents while at Miami Beach. The first while we were on South Beach. Frank is a firefighter in Toledo and an avid t-shirt trader wherever he travels so, in his quest for a Miami Beach Ocean Rescue (a division of their fire department) shirt we found ourselves up at the Ocean Rescue headquarters early in the afternoon to snag a couple of t-shirts. After conversing with a lieutenant in the office for awhile and getting our shirts, we thought we should stop at the public restroom on the side of the headquarters building before returning to our families down on the beach and packing it in for the day. Frank was barefoot so, I went in first cause the floors were, um, lets just say wet, and then when I came out he borrowed my flip flops and went in.

While I was waiting outside on the sidewalk, I heard what I first thought was a gunshot around the corner of the building about 50 feet away from me toward the steet side of the building away from the beach. I second-guessed myself and thought it must have been a firecracker or a cap gun or something of the sort. Moments later, an older man with a backpack jumps the railing on the outside of the sidewalk just to my right and runs into the bathroom saying only, "firecracker" as he passes by me. I mentally pat myself on the back thinking, "See, you were right. It was just a firecracker."

Frank comes out of the bathroom, he gives me my flip flops back as I ask him if he heard what I thought first sounded like a gunshot and he said he hadn't heard anything. Then, suddenly the dude that rushed by me with the backpack on emerges from the bathroom, without the backpack, and pushes past Frank on the sidewalk to which Frank says, "Excuse me sir", being the polite dude that he is. We don't think anything of this and start heading back to the cut into the beach.

When we get to the beach side of the cut, we hear and see several squad cars and Ocean Rescue vehicles busting butt north up the beach towards us converging on where we had just come from at the headquarters public bathrooms. We look at each other, wonder to ourselves what's up and, being the curious boys that we are, head back to the headquarters building about 300 feet away. Police and rescue units close in on the area and a black officer with weapon drawn is now on the sidewalk by the bathroom where I was just standing not 3 minutes earlier!

Come to find out, there was an argument between 4 homeless men across the street from the Ocean Rescue headquarters and, the dude that ran past me into the bathroom and then brushed past Frank on the sidewalk had just shot another man in the head! Whoa! We head back down the beach to tell the story to our waiting families and as we do, 5 news helicopters converge on the area above not 10 minutes post shooting. Talk about flys on, well, you know. Here is one of the news stories on it with a picture of the dude that ran past me and then again by Frank and I. Here is also one of the tv newscasts on the incident as well. The black officer you see in the newscast is the one Frank and I saw outside the bathroom with his gun drawn. Such excitement!

The other excitement was that we drove to Key Biscayne and then were on our way back to Miami Beach all in Johnston's van, with the nice new 3 year warrantied transmission, when Frank notices the battery light is on and that the voltage is dropping on the gauge. We parked around the corner from Miami Ink, left the van running thinking we might have enough time to see the shop/people/get pictures and get back to the van and high-tail it to the nearest auto service shop when the van pukes. Alternator.

We find out from the guys outside Miami Ink where the closest auto service place is, Frank starts hoofing it there, we get our pictures, buy some jumper cables at a hardware store across the steet, I get a kind Cuban dude to jump the van for a while in an effort to get it to the shop Frank is headed to, we all jump in, I take off, get about a block away around a corner and it pukes again. We ended up getting it towed back to Pompano Beach, Frank and I going with the tow driver, and the wives staying behind in Miami Beach with the girls at a pizza shop for dinner. We drop the van at a Sears Auto Center in Pompano, the tow driver drops us at the condo, I grab our car and drive the 37 miles back down to Miami Beach to cram all the ladies into the car for a cramped ride back to Pompano. More excitement than should be allowed in one day!

Thursday we hung around the condo pools and spas, with one last evening visit to the beach, before heading out Friday morning, after much prayer over our vehicles, for the ride back to Michigan.

So, that was our glorious, eventful, exciting, but very relaxing, awesome week of vacation in Florida with our great friends, the Johnstons who, incidentally, now have a VERY well-running van! ;-)

p.s. - Tami Sue - you better have read and enjoyed this ENTIRE post. I will have a quiz prepared for you the next time I see you sister! ;-)


Zoomy said... much troubles, celebrity tattoo artists, shootings...sure is more thrilling than small town MI!

Your hotel sounds amazing. I would love to stay at a place like that. So jealous that you guys got to spend time in WARM weather, too. And you didn't bring any back. *pouts*

Rick said...

I tried on the warm weather, k, really! I tried! Y'all were kind enough to have us return to a spring snowstorm and 9" of new fallen snow however. Humph!

Anonymous said...

WOW! That was a fun blog! So much information! I will pass the quiz with flying colors because I had already heard the details from "Lucy"...
thanks was fun reliving your vacation with you!
tami sue

Sara McCarty said...

Cool vacation! I'm jealous of your beach time. I just spent a week in Florida and never got a chance to enjoy it. Oh well, Cabo San Lucas in two weeks! Yay!

Lindsey said...

Too Long dad it took me like infinity to read that... =]

Lindsey <3