I am going to keep this blog post simple and cut to the chase.  We have been away from our home base for 47 days on this trip.  Not going to give a lot of details but simply give you the highlights.

I kind of feel bad because most of you reading this had to experience some pretty frigid temperatures whereas Catherine and I have bee enjoying 80’s during the day and 70’s at night.

The reason being is because we have not been north of Miami for the last 47 days. I must say as I get older I do enjoy the warmer temperatures.  As a runner, it is a bit harder to get out there in the mid-day sun but at the same time, I figure you don’t have to run/walk as fast or as far to get the same benefits.  We were able to get a race in during this time period in Key West.  A benefit is that there are plenty of opportunities to put the tired legs in either cold pool or ocean water.

This trip started on January 6th with a short stop in MIA where we met up with our old running buddies, Kim and Debra.  We were soon joined up with, Mike and Kay and set out on a Royal Caribbean short cruise out of MIA.  We all originally met on a running cruise with our dear friends John Bingham and Jenny Hatfield with, runningcruise.com.  You can read about our latest adventure with them in Hawaii, last year, here.

The Band

After the 5 day cruise we headed to Key West for a half marathon there.  Two more running cruise buddies, Pam and Tom met us there where we all participated in the infamous Key West Half Marathon.  This was a momentous occasion for me since I had been trying to break 2:30 minutes for over two years now.

As you get older your times usually get slower but for some reason I decided I wanted to run a pace I had not run in over 5 years and this seemed like the time to do it.  It is a very flat course and a front had just gone by so most of the race was in the high 60’s.  I passed up the 2:30 pacer about half way thru the race and was able to come in at 2:28.  Needless to say I was overjoyed.  I count that as a Personal Record (PR) for over 60.

There is always time for a drink at Captain Tony’s
Pam is sporting her rain hat

After Key West, The Band, as we called ourselves, went our separate ways. Catherine and I then headed to St. Kitts where I wrote about a prior trip called, Can we live here? My sister, Gwen was there with us for a few days but since work called her name we remained there for another 10 days.

Taking a break after replacing some of the rocks
St. Kitts
Dive bombing sunset
Watch out for their drink, Killer Bee, at Sunshine bar
Tony Parker meets Tony Parker

Presently we are on another 2 week Windstar Cruise of the Caribbean.  This will be the 15th week so far we have spent cruising with them with another 5 weeks booked this year.  They are, by far, our favorite cruise line.  Since the Windsurf is the largest sailing vessel in the world it is also small enough to go to out of the way ports.

The crew does a great job making the 300 passengers feel like family since there are 190 of them.  Today is a Sea day and we are presently cruising along on wind power alone.  We had some ship board credit to use so Cat got her nails and hair done only after she got her 10,000 steps on the open decks.

I thought we loved Windstar however we had conversations with a couple that is spending 8 straight weeks on board.  Gail is 75 and the Dan just turned 80 and they look like what I aspire to look like, let alone, still alive at their age.  Turns out the became our new best friends.

Total devastation
Virgin Gorda, The Baths
Tortola, Botanical Gardens
Maho Beach at the end of the runway in St. Maarten

Dan and Gail
Valentine’s dinner
On our way to the top of Terre-de-Haut
Turns out I am a Vista Junky
Headed to Cairo on Monday
Been everywhere else
Trafalgar Falls
Pigeon Island
Le Chameau, Fort

We did get in a bunch of training miles in while we were gone since Catherine decided that she now wants to do the last 5 states as full Marathons.  We just finished them up as half marathons last year.  Between now and June we have 5 half and 2 full Marathons on the schedule.

One highlight of our trip is that we got to meet the owner and his wife of Windstar.  Actually, they own the parent company Xanterra, which is a conglomeration of travel-related companies with the slant towards the adventurist type.  Phil asked me what I was going to do when I could not run anymore.  I told him that I would have to put Catherine down like they do horses when she can’t run anymore but I will probably just race walk.

He was suggesting that we do some of the tours that his companies do either on a bike or on foot.  They were a very interesting couple who use to run marathons and were very intrigued by our lifestyle.  So much so that he asked us to an advertising spot they were filming on board.  It might have been my description of how we live.

I told him that we stay in Marriott hotels, fly on Delta, rent Hertz cars and cruise on Windstar.

Nancy looked very familiar to me and turns out her picture is on board the Star Pride ship, as, she is the God Mother of that ship, which we have been on several times.

Like we need anymore ways to do so

They travel together all the time and mentioned they were envious of how we approach life.  They both work all the time as they manage their many endeavors and he still finds the time to exercise every-day, even though his marathon days are behind him.  I tried to convince him that his walking pace would bring him in well within the usual time cutoffs for most Marathons.

Another question Phil asked me was, how many times I have been around the earth. I do keep track off all my mileage but never thought of it like that.  Turns out I have made it once around the earth in the last 19 years of running, biking and swimming.  Nancy answers most of the questions asked of Phil unless it is about history.  It was really cool to be able to meet a couple that in many other circumstances have nothing in common with, but our love of travel and running was our common bond.

We are now headed back to Atlanta for a week of 50-degree weather before we head off to Cairo, Egypt to run our first of many spring season races.  I have always wanted to go there and since they are having a race during the same time period it was a no brainer.  There is some unrest there just, like the rest of the world, but at my age, that really does not seem to bother me much.

Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back. Harvey MacKay

St. Maarten, outside the Holland House Hotel on Front Street

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