Monday, February 2, 2009

Cruisin' - Take Two

Just finished watching The Bachelor...I'm sad about the girl he sent home, but I really never saw anything between them, so I expected her to be gone at some point. Not that I really see anything between him and any of the girls, but that's another story.

Back to the cruise!! Some more pictures to make you jealous:

This is the view of Grand Turk's "cruise town" from the ship. The pool there belong to "Margaritaville," of the famed Jimmy Buffet. I don't know if you can tell a different in the water here, but we went snorkeling again and it was a MILLION time better. The first snorkeling location in Grand Turk was at "the wall" where the ocean floor suddenly drops 7,000 feet. That was awesome to see, and the water was unbelievably could see forever! The fish were pretty too. The second location was much shallower, and we were able to see a nurse shark, so I can say I went swimming with the sharks!

The entrance to Margaritaville!! Had to snap a picture with the parrot.

Poolside margarita with the boy! I never did "spring break" per se (always travelled with the pep band for March Madness!), so this was the closest I could get.
Our last day on the cruise ship was spent at sea on our way back to Miami. Of course, that meant we had lots of time to eat! Naturally, we had to take a picture of the eating that occurred!

We had nearly twelve hours to kill between getting off the ship and catching our flights, so we decided to hit up the Miami Seaquarium. I thought it was going to be more aquarium-like, but it really was just a bunch of shows to go and see. Our first show featured Lolita, this killer whale...she was huge!

Being silly on the way to check out the crocodiles...

The dolphin jumped through the hoop...I was impressed, and I was only ten feet away!

That's the end of my mini-cruise recap. It was TONS of fun, especially since I've never been on a cruise before. It was so nice to just relax and all I had to worry about was making sure I put on enough sunscreen. Sounds like vacation to me! Some highlights also included:

1. Trying to figure out how to get to South Beach from our hotel in downtown Miami, we wandered into the Marriott because our hotel wasn't helpful at all. We got some directions from the limo driver and the concierge and were on our way. While walking to public transportation, some guy pulls up next to us and says "Hey guys! I'm the limo driver from the hotel...I just got off work and I live over towards South Beach so I'll give you a ride!" Sooo we got our own personal ride/tour on the way to South Beach, complete with tips on where to walk around and eat. Awesome.

2. Running into a couple at the airport who was on my post-Maryland graduation trip to Europe. They live near me here in Illinois, and they were flying back to Chicago from the Dominican Republic. I'd been looking for someone I knew all trip, and I found them on the way home!

3. Melting chocolate cake, a dessert that they had every night on the cruise. I don't even like chocolate cake (I know, I'm not female!), but this was AMAZING. It tasted like a brownie that was slightly undercooked and straight out of the oven. Served with vanilla ice cream, it was soooo good.

4. The sun. Enough said.

The cruise was a wonderful time, although I'm not sure I would go on one again. It was definitely a good thing to do once, but it was a little too much about the food, and I like to actually check out different places versus just going to "cruise towns" as I like to call them. That being said, I would definitely recommend it to people who want to relax and have pretty much everything planned for them.

Of course, marathon training doesn't stop just because you're cruising! We took our shoes with us like good marathoners do, and we got to run in the sun in Miami! The cruise ship had a gym with treadmills, so we used them for our runs on the ship. It was wayyyy too windy (for me!) to run on the ship's deck, plus weaving in and out of everyone didn't sound like much fun. I (barely) survived the treadmill, but boyfriend did part of his runs on deck.

Monday, January 26
3.11 miles in 24:51, avg pace of 8:00

We ran from our hotel in Miami to this little island which is pretty much filled with high rise condos. Garmin was NOT a fan of downtown Miami, and when it was looking for signal, it actually asked, "Are you hundreds of miles from the location of last use?" Why yes, I am.

Wednesday, January 28
6.0 miles in 48:40, avg pace of 8:07 (ish...I think that's what the numbers were!)

My first run EVER on a treadmill. I survived, but I stared at the distance the entire time...doesn't exactly help the time pass! I never spend time in a gym (obviously...I don't belong to one or anything), and it was funny to watch people...grandmas walking on the treadmill in sandals and people using the elliptical while reading...they couldn't possibly be working that hard!

Friday, January 30
3.0 miles in 23:40, avg pace of 7:53

Such a short distance seemed so long on the treadmill! I purposely increased the pace so I could get it over with, but it seems to me that the "treadmill pace" doesn't feel like the same pace when I run on the road...Is that how it is for other people? I felt like I was running faster than the treadmill was telling me.

Sunday, FEBRUARY 1 - woohoo, February means it won't be bitter cold!!
6.27 miles in 47:17, avg pace of 7:33

Back on dry land, and luckily it was a toasty 38 degrees in Chicago! This was supposed to be at "marathon pace," but I'm still deciding what that is. 7:30 miles are definitely going to be too fast, at least for this marathon. 7:50-ish will probably be much more likely.

Monday, February 2
8.05 miles in 1:04:25, avg pace of 8:00
Splits: 8.07, 8:24, 8:12, 8:20, 7:55, 7:50, 7:41, 7:28, 0:23 (7:18)

Long run on a cutback week. I'm feeling a bit under the weather, but my cold is "above the neck," which is what I've heard is the deciding factor on whether to run or not. (Note: This is not based on any medical evidence or could be, but I don't know about it.) The run actually helped clear my nose out a little, at least in the short term. It was really windy on the way out, and I could definitely feel a difference on the way back. If you check out my splits, it is really easy to see the difference the wind made:

First four miles: 33:05, avg pace of 8:16
Second four miles: 30:56, avg pace of 7:44

Back to reality now...Job hunting and studying for the NCLEX! (NCLEX = board exam for nursing) Hope you all enjoyed my vacation recap!

1 comment:

  1. hey Susan, thanks for stopping by!

    i'm also a new nurse (graduated from nursing school in May 2007) ... congratulations on your recent graduation and good luck studying for the NCLEX.

    you are speedy! i'm guessing i'll see you in Boston 2010, right? :)