Well, the Buzzard found one way to get away from the cold, ice and snow (not to mention the driveway that is finding a second life as a bobsled track). Fly south!!!
On the 3rd of January, the whole family headed to Miami and the Royal Carribean Cruise Lines for a week of warmth and relaxation. Turns out that there is no snow, ice or below freezing weather in Miami, the Bahamas or Key West. Imagine that!! I almost didn't know how to run on the streets without watching every foot plant, baby stepping around corners and slipping on the ice every other step. It was also a bit of a shock to the system to leave Spokane Saturday morning at -4 F and hit Miami that evening with temps in the 70's and high humidity.
Sunday morning in Miami is pretty busy from the running and biking perspective. Heading over the McArthur Causeway and out towards Key Biscayne, the road is filled with runners and bikers, especially bikers. There were groups of 10 to 50 at a time doing group rides. Some easy and relaxed, some pretty serious. A lot the runners seemed to be gearing up for the ING Miami marthon at the end of January (lot of "I'm in Training" gear being warn). It was fun to be back in an environment with lots of runners. I saw more people in 90 minutes than I'll probably see in 90 months in Plains!
One of the striking things about Miami (at least off the downtown area) is the ability to hit some serious hills. The bridges over some of the bays are long and steep (400 to 600 meter long hills at 4% to 6% grade). No shortage of ability to get in some solid hill work if you want to.
The next run was in Nassau, Bahamas. Runing is always a great way to see some of the "real" parts of towns and cities. In this case, I was able to see an old fort that guarded Nassau in the 1700's, the hospital where Anna Nicole Smith's son died and her baby was born, the living conditions of the locals (not good - not quite slum conditions; but, not too far off either) and some of the most hellacious traffic that I've ever encountered. Narrow roads, high speeds, seemingly random traffic control - it was a bit nerve racking.
The other location that I got to run in was Key West. It's a pretty funky little town that is clearly geared towards tourists. But, at the same time, it still seems to have retained some small town charm and a certain vibe that made feel it feel less like a tourist trap and more like a cool place to hang out (Margaritaville indeed!!!). But, it is flat, flat, flat. If you don't have a treadmill, forget about hill work.
At any rate, it was a great break for the cold and gray that we've had this winter in NW Montana. I think it will allow me to get through until spring without going completely crazy.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails
The Muddy Buzzard