When I go to Bermuda I feel often like it's my way of recharging my batteries. This year it was especially important because I REALLY needed it. Imagine for a minute that you are a chemically imbalanced unhappy person. So, you take a "drug" to balance you, right? Let's say, for sanity sake, that the drug you take is RUNNING. The RUNNING keeps you level, sane, and happy, and then one day, you have to quit RUNNING, cold turkey, with no "ease off" time. You just one day are no longer on the medication that helps you. Imagine the withdrawal symptoms. Now, add winter (ie - not a ton of sunshine) to that scenario. Frankly, I think what I'm saying is that I realized when I was in Bermuda how terribly unhappy I've been for a lot of my December and January, because you don't know you're really missing something until you immerse yourself in it. I was missing SUNSHINE and RUNNING, all at the same time.
We arrived in Bermuda on Friday afternoon. Perhaps it would be best if I qualify it as a sunny gorgeous Friday afternoon. From the moment of our arrival T and I agreed, "this is the best trip that no one is on". Why was no one else on this trip with us? Leading up to the trip I kept thinking to myself, it's no big deal that no one else from the team could get away, because in January they're not likely to be missing much of anything... only, the weather cleared and it was the most beautiful day when we arrived. I think the weather even affected the customs officials because they were super nice and didn't even interrogate me. (ever traveled with one of those people who apparently always gets interrogated by immigration? Yea, well, I've seen the inside of Bermuda immigration "offices" twice)
After we'd grabbed a quick bite to eat at The Swizzle Inn, we decided it was too early to go over to our Hotel, and the best use of our afternoon would be to see something on the island. We went over to the Crystal Caves, which is an underground cavern with stalactites and stalagmites, a tidal pool and a hilarious tour guide named "Ron". After descending the 85 steps to the bottom of the cave, where C & I took about 20 photos, we were treated to an entertaining dissertation about the boys who discovered the cave, the volcano that created the islands of Bermuda, and Ron. No really, I think you could learn a lot about the tour guide from his portrayal of "patriotic prejudice" and why he obviously believes that Bermuda is "Better".
Once we were done with our cool tour, and had climbed the 85 steps back up to the top of the cave, we checked in at the Grotto Bay where we met a crazy looking rooster & a few cats, did some exploring and enjoyed the hotel beach as much as anyone who won't swim in freezing cold water can enjoy a beach. By 5:30 am on Saturday, I was really wondering why those cats hadn't taken the roosters out, or if we could arrange it some how....
Then stopped into the Race Expo for our LARGE T-Shirts, and after that, we went to Dinner at Cafe Gio in St. Georges. BEST value in Bermuda, along with the most amazing food. I hate it when someone talks about value and then something doesn't taste that great or something.
No, not the case, it was awesome. AWESOME. So, Friday ended kind of "late", even though it wasn't that late. Like 2 girls on a sleep over, T and I chatted for about an hour after lights out, and I had to chuckle to myself about that. Saturday didn't exactly go as planned, but that turned out OK. I wanted to sleep in, but I don't know if it was the hotel, the roosters, or the fresh air, but as far as my "sleep in" was concerned, FAIL. I just couldn't do it. I had a crazy dream about running and running and running and when I woke up my heart was pounding and my legs were twitching. So. I was WIDE awake. I wandered down into the hotel for some coffee and a quiet moment on the lawn. And the ROOSTER pictured left walked right up to me to BEG. hello, Rooster, when you wake someone up at O'dark thirty, don't bother to beg
After a small breakfast of a bagel and coffee, we got a ride over to the boat where we attempted a boat ride from St George's to Dockyard. This would have been fun, except that the Bridge didn't open for us, so we had to go "around" the island. Uh. It wasn't a smooth journey, and boats are NOT my strong suit. I guess T, C and I looked pretty lame all huddled up on the deck because at some point Mom looks at the Captain (my way awesome "stepfather" Ralph) and says, "let's turn ar
ound, I'll drive them to Dockyard instead". By the time we docked I didn't really want to get into a car and drive for an hour, so instead we went for a tour of the oldest house in Bermuda, followed by a walk on Coopers Island. That was pretty amazing.
First off, I've never been to Carter House OR Coopers Island before, so that was cool because frankly, once you've seen Bermuda 6 times, you don't expect any surprises on the 7th trip. And beyond that, the view. THE VIEW from Coopers Island... wow. About that. Again, I thought, "why didn't I manage to convince everyone to come on this trip?" We found a secluded beach at Coopers Island where T and I analyzed our running footprints in the sand. I'd like to mention here that my stride is SO much longer than I thought it was... super! After tooling around St Georges a bit we hit up the hot tub at the hotel and returned to the boat where The Captain treated us to a delicious spaghetti dinner. Gotta load up on the carbs for the big race.
After that we went back to the hotel, and fell into bed and an unmentionably early hour.
My head was sort of still spinning from the boat misadventure, so, I was happy to crash. At an unmentionably early hour in the morning, BEFORE the Rooster was even up, we woke and began dressing in our mad hot running skirts. Let me say this, IF I'd had ANY idea how much and what kind of attention I was going to receive for my skirt/sock combination, I might have reconsidered the socks. No not really. I packed my breakfast in my back pack and then we set off on our cab which we shared with 4 other runners.
In the pitch black morning, we arrived in the city at the race start. Uh. Right? Right here? I thought it must be closer to the Princess Hotel. We were 2 women alone on a street in a pitch black city, surely we were in the wrong place. But slowly other runners started to filter in and a crew of people showed up to set up the start/finish lines.
This is it, less than an hour before race start. No way was this race going to start on time.
They worked for about fifteen minutes on the inflatable start line...
and then... once they got it almost all the way up....
It was down again.
T and I passed the time cracking up over the people setting up the race, reuniting with some ladies we'd flown in with (Mary & her friend), and watching the sun rise over Harrington Sound. Beautiful doesn't even come close to describing the view, the sky was pink, T's socks were pink. Then we dropped our bag in the "bag check area". Uh. Also known as a room with a table to leave your bags on...
Then we made our way to the start line, where we were stopped by a news crew with Bermuda Sports Network and we gave an interview. Well, T gave the interview. I didn't really talk because I didn't want at any point to have to confess that I was only planning on running 1/2 mile out and 1 mile to finish. T gave a cute interview while I modeled the socks. Since the camera operator's free eye didn't stray from my top, I think I did my job well...
Then we got in the mob of runners and a guy walked by and says, "nice socks ladies" or something like that.. and T goes, "Wait, that was BART YASSO!" So I lifted the camera and...
Bart is the guy with the red and white top.
The next thing we knew it was time to start and RIGHT ON TIME, we took off.
And when I say took off I really mean we ambled out as a mesh of people at a 12 minute mile. Eventually though, we found our stride, and we ran down Front Street and just as we were leaving the city my knee indicated that the best thing would be to stop. It was mile .71. Yes, that's POINT 71. So. After that I stepped off the course, cheered for Mary and T, and all the runners who ran by and then, I proceeded to walk back through Hamilton Bermuda.
At 8am on a Sunday Morning.
Wearing something that was attention getting.
There were no spectators.
There were random workmen though...
After a cat call that made my skin crawl I cut down a street that took me past the police station to get where I was going next. I'm glad I know my way around a little, so I could make that detour.
I stopped in at the Start and talked to the Race Secretary, turned in my chip, got a quick tour via map, and after surveying my "cute socks", the Race Secretary thought I should take "this route, here" (i.e.- the most populated and safe route) on my way up to mile 12. I left her, dropped into the Princess to touch base (via phone) with Mom regarding our exit strategy, and then walked back through the course till the mile 12 marker.
I enjoyed seeing the Half Marathon winner and Marathon leader pass by my location, the women are down right beautiful to watch in motion. And then at some point I was so busy watching for T that I missed my new best bud Bart pass by me. I didn't want her to get too close without me snapping a few photos. I'm not the best race photographer, but we were dressed pretty cute, so she was easy to spot.
Then, I ran her in the last mile. Which was awesome, but I did have a bit of guilt taking the medal when I knew I hadn't finished the whole half. T PR'd! Which is awesome on that tough course!
After the race, the same news guys interviewed us again! I think we aired on local Bermuda news last night, but unfortunately, no one could see it! I keep checking back to see if we're on the BSN web site, but so far, no luck. Once our media attention was concluded we left town in a bit of a hurry, because frankly T didn't look like she felt that great. Since the course was all up hill and humid, I figured that was to be expected. To be honest, I didn't feel that great either, even though I'd only run/walked a total of 4 miles and then I realized, I'd forgotten to eat my breakfast. Yea, duh. 10:30am, no wonder I felt rotten.
After a refreshing dip in the hot tub, a shower and a nap (YAY for not having a 3 year old to chase after), we dropped back into Swizzle Inn, and then I called Mom and headed to the boat. A few hours later, we limped off the boat, both nauseous and motion sick, and collapsed into bed at an unmentionably early hour. It was SO early that at 1:50AM I woke up wide awake, thinking it was 7:50! And when the clock turned over to 2AM, I had to force myself to go back to sleep.
Then it was Monday, time to head home. Sad, but ready to return to normal, we arrived back in the US right on time, sore from running, refreshed, and batteries recharged... and with a new PLAN. Next time, we are NOT going to wander around saying, "why isn't everyone on this trip with us???" Consider this your advance notice ladies... Next time, we're all going in together. T & I did the reconnaissance mission... next time we send in the Cheetah Skirts...
Bermuda Triangle Challenge 2012
(January, traditionally on MLK holiday 3 day weekend)
A Mile. A 10K. A Half Marathon.
3 Races in 3 Days.