It was 3pm on a Sunday, and we should have been in a cab headed to the airport. Instead we were sitting on Ocean Drive in South Beach drinking mojitos. I then realized that this was as good as life gets, or at least mine, anyway. The sun was shining, the drinks were strong and the girls were, well, not wearing very much clothing.
Our weekend getaway to the hottest part of Miami was the best weekend trip I've ever taken. The worst part of it was it having to come to an end. With ages ranging from 23 to 35ish, it could have been strange, but what resulted was an awesome couple days of fun in the sun.
Jen, Brennan and I arrived to sun and warmth around 2:30 on Friday afternoon, and met up with Ben and Justin at the Avalon Hotel on Ocean Drive, our home for the weekend. After lunch of empanadas and Coke we hit the beach for some late afternoon rays. It was awesome. More awesome than the beach was the plethora of volleyball courts situated directly across the street from the hotel, which provided more than its share of entertainment over the weekend.
My brother arrived a little while later and we hit the strip in search of food, entertainment and beverages. We were bombarded by ESL hostesses as we walked down the narrow and crowded sidewalk, until we came to a place that looked phenomenal. I won't lie - I was drawn in as much by the song that was playing (now I forget what it was) as the enticing half-priced 46 ounce beverages. After we had consumed our share of food and mojitos, we headed back to the hotel for a minute. Ben had prepared an appropriately themed "mix CD" which we listened to before hitting Mango's. While we were there we saw a lot. A LOT. At some point we had had enough, and Terence was late, but on his way, so we went somewhere else to meet him.
En route to our next destination we thought it would be a good idea to acquire straw hats. For some reason a store on Collins was still open, and thanks to some help from the Argentinian employees, we got our sweet hats. We met up with Terence and made our way to Delano's, which, besides from being completely out of our league, was awesome. And we got compliments on our hats.
We arrived back to the hotel vicinity around 2, and were lured by hunger into Johnny Rockets. It was the most delicious food I'd ever tasted in my life, and, satisfied, we all headed to sleep. Except for Ben, who had already passed out while we were waiting for our food at JRs.
Saturday was fairly uneventful, as planned. We woke up, hit the beach, ran to the Convention Center to get our stuff, and headed back. I went back to the beach for a little, and then we again went in search of dinner. This time we thought we'd avoid the drinking, so we went to Jerry's Famous Diner on Collins. We went back to the spot and went to sleep.
4am, Sunday. Actually, 3:59, one minute before the alarm. This was when I woke up. This is a time normally reserved for triathlons, but with a 6:15 race start (the earliest start time I've ever had) we had to get up early. Brennan again was saved by Johnny Rockets, who provided him with hot water for his oatmeal. Terence then came through by flagging down a van cab, so we all traveled the short trip to the start line together. We hopped out a few blocks away and made our way to gear check. One thing to keep in mind is that Terence booked a 7:30am flight. Our race starts at 6:15. You do the math. He was just planning on not making it.
Now we're in "downtown" Miami, I guess, and it left us wondering why anyone would go to Miami and not just stay in South Beach. The buildings are pretty awesome though.
And then it was race time. I forgot we had a race. Justin, Brennan, Ben and I got stuck with some pretty terrible start positioning, which meant we had to forceably push our way through to the front in the first half mile, and to make it worse it's pitch black. The four of us weaved with precision through the crowd and up the "beast" of a hill they have. We could see Terence in front of us. He had somehow managed to start on the front of the line. As we stormed down the bridge we had clocked a 5:58 mile. Not bad considering that start.
From there, Ben and Brennan took off while Justin and I stayed back a little. The trip east on the causeway was awesome. It was completely dark with the exception of the lights from the monster cruise ships alongside us. Totally cool. And totally fast, as we hit mile 2 in 5:37. I'm lucky half the time to hit that once during a race, so to run that at mile 2 was a little too ambitious. We consciously slowed down to 5:53 for mile 3, but then just before 4 I started to get gapped by Justin. Miles of 6:03 and 5:58 were to follow, putting me at 29:30 for 5.
Aerobically I was still comfortable, but my body seemed to be broken. My piriformis was hurting me worse than it has since fall of 2007, and both my feet were really hurting. It's weird. But it was cool to be running up Ocean Drive, passing our home for the weekend. And it was still dark! The sun wasn't even hitting the horizon as we cruised through miles 6 and finally by 7 it was starting to get light, but at this point we were headed back west. I was staying cool, despite the physical pain (and the tense hostage situation that was building) and hit miles of 6:04, 6:08 and 6:12. I was working out the math and thought if I could go 30:30 for my next 5 and hit 10 at 1:00:00, I could still go under 1:20.
Then I just couldn't do it. Or, rather, didn't do it. I no longer wished to kill myself for a subpar time, so I slowed my role. I ran 6:30, 6:40 and 6:41 for the next couple of miles. Terence had gone by and I cheered him on. We were running along the Venetian Causeway (built by John Collins, a farmer from NJ) and finally, at the 11 mile mark, the passing of me by some douchebag looking kids combined with the cheering spectators made me want to run again. I picked it up and quickly swept T back up. I was going to run 6's or better for the last 2 and 6:30 and still finishing that fast would have been good.
But Terence didn't look good, and I wasn't going to leave him. I ran it in with him, and the last two miles wound up being 6:32 (where I was catching him, then slowing back down) and 8:14 for the last 1.1. Shoot, 1:22:32 (on my watch), I definitely could have swept back 2 minutes in those last two miles to finish at 1:20:30. What was most important now was how do we get back to the beach??
Terence fell asleep in a port-o-potty. Then again on the sidewalk. He be sleep everywhere. Brennan also was not feeling great. Somehow this race had crushed our bodies. But not our spirits. We headed to the hotel, cleaned up, checked out and went to Johnny Rockets, where our waitresses appreciated our humor. And Lisa looked like Rihanna, except way hotter.
We then hit the beach for a few last bits of sunshine. Yesterday we had seen two dudes almost kiss in a desperate attempt to get these two girls to make out, as well as some teen Latinas posing on some beach furniture for their own private photo shoot. Oh, and a dude wearing a gross banana-hammock/thong. Sunday would provide us with our first glimpse of boobs - only they were about 100 years old. Each. Yuck.
After the beach we decided Wet Willie's was in order. Since it was only 1pm, it was pretty quiet, but you can see why Ludacris would shout it out. Ben had left us, and after leaving Wet Willie's, Justin and Brennan each made their way back to the hotel to TCOB. Meanwhile Terence was getting a 2nd wind and me, Jen and my brother weren't feeling bad to begin with, so we went back to Ocean's 10 for some mojitos. We spotted Miami Heat player Shawn Marion driving on Ocean Drive in a classic Cadillac convertible. We kept drinking until the absolute last possible minute, and then took a cab to Fort Lauderdale airport. Man was that far. Terence fell asleep in the van.
We arrived at the airport, where Terence managed to get on the plane. And yours truly managed to have to sit on a plastic bag cause his seat was wet. Not sure from what, and the flight attendants didn't really seem to care. Oh, and it wasn't supposed to be my seat in the first place, just some old dude and his wife were already sitting (he was supposed to be riding bitch) and I felt bad making them sit in it. So I then sat in the middle seat to boot.
When we landed at 8pm, the dream was over. The temperature hovered below 30 and I was wearing board shorts and a t-shirt. And my straw hat. I'll hold onto the dream a little longer.