I'M BACK! How I Spent My Summer Vacation.
First, poor internet connection all week prevented me from updating my blog. While my daughter has wireless connection, every time I got a connection and tried to do ANYTHING on my blog, I got booted off. Or if I tried to respond to anyone else's for that matter. She, however, had continual coverage, but I didn't want to get on her system, since I had pictures on my laptop, etc. So sorry about any delay in living vicariously through me this week.
July 5: TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME! Tigers v. Indians. Tigers won 12-3 against Cleveland. Comerica Park is a very nice venue for a ballgame, right in the heart of downtown Detroit, no less! Not sure if I would feel safe at night though. We had great seats, and from what I could tell, there isn't a bad seat in the house. The day was HOT and sunny, but it started to rain toward the end of the game, just a few dark clouds, a few blowing drops, and it was over by the time we got out of the park. The traffic, however, left much to be desired, as it took us 1 hour to go 3 miles on the highway to the park exit off the highway. Unbelievable. We left at 9 am for a 1 pm game and got into our seats at 1:15. It takes less than 2.25 hours to get to the stadium, yet...
July 6: My last swim/bike day before the vacation turned out to be a bike only. It was extremely hot, I was tired from the day before AND the 4th of July 4ide, and my legs were DEAD! I rode 20 miles and called it good. I still had shopping and packing to do too.
July 7: Left for PA at 7:45 am. Arrived at 5:30 pm. The drive wasn't the best. Michigan and Ohio were okay, but PA SUCKED! It was the holiday weekend, so no construction to speak of, but they had construction signs about every 2 miles dropping the speed limit to 50 or lower because of construction projects, and even without the construction, you didn't know what speed to maintain. I'm pretty much a lead foot when it comes to trips--get in the left lane and stay there until you arrive! This time, however, I was content to cruise at the speed limit, which pretty much left us alone on the road. It is just such a LONG drive through PA, and the up and down of the speed limit made it frustrating. The kids were pretty good, and we had a great hotel, probably the best mid-priced hotel I've ever stayed in. I met up with my friend, and we had a few drinks before I headed back to the hotel to zonk out for the night. I wanted to get up and run before we left in the morning for NJ.
July 8: Ran 35 minutes in Mechanicsburg, PA. It is HILLY here. There was a great place to run outside the hotel, with the hotel situated off the main drag in Mechanicsburg, with a service road leading to businesses, condos, and apartment communities. When I first started out, my legs felt heavy, and the air was so humid it was hard to breathe, but I kept on and managed to run 35 minutes nonstop, half of it uphill, and I had no problems. I was starting to finally feel my strength from recent training.
We hit the road for NJ around 10 am, figuring on a 3-4 hour trip from there. Again, not much traffic, and once we crossed the Delaware River and got into NJ, things looked somewhat familiar again. We got to Renee's place about 2 pm, a condo unit right on the bay.
Looking out their kitchen sliders, you saw water, water, water. I loved it! It was amazing the huge expanse of water, and this was just a cove on the bay going into the Atlantic.
And if I thought it was hot the day before? This had it beat. By the time we got there, the temps had reached 95 and we found out their air conditioning wasn't working! It wasn't too bad inside though because of the breeze coming in off the water, but with 4 extra people in a small area, it wasn't long before it started getting uncomfortable. Because it was late in the day, they didn't want to hit the beach, but we did finally go to a park on the bay to get in a swim. I thought it would be perfect for me to get some open water swimming in because the water was warmer and more calm than the ocean. There was an area sectioned off by buoys that seemed perfect to swim between as laps. I started out and it felt great. The salt water doesn't bother me at all, but I couldn't help but notice almost as soon as I started swimming that my legs felt like there was razor burn on them, a stinging sensation. I figured it was the salt. Then I started feelilng stinging on my arm, my back, my chest, my face, my legs, and on and on. It never occurred to me there would be JELLYFISH in the water, but apparently it was that or sea grass, we didn't know which. Ed said it was too cold and early in the season for jellyfish, but the evidence was there--raised welts on my skin that itched and stung at the same time. After about 10 minutes of this, I'd had enough!
I know what the remedy is for jellyfish stings, but using an anti-itch spray worked just as well. After a shower and an overall spray, I felt better.
We went to dinner that night for Ed's birthday. His birthday had actually been the day before. He was born on 7-7-77. After dinner, my second "injury" of the day occurred--I got my finger shut in the car door! Fortunately, cars now days have lots of molding to prevent getting a finger cut off, because it caught me right on the knuckle of one finger, and at first I thought it was broken, but fortunately it was just badly cut and bruised.
ON THE BOARDWALK: After dinner, we went to the boardwalk for some fun with the kids. Its like a huge carnival. It gets dark out earlier than at home, so by the time we arrived, it was already approaching nightfall. (one pic with flash, one without, so you see the contrast,)
July 9: A day at the beach. Monday's weather promised to be hotter yet, so we planned to leave early for the beach. I managed to get in a run first, and it was probably one of the hottest times I have run in years. By the time I got back, after 31 minutes, which is all I could stand, I was soaked through with sweat, and without the air working yet, I couldn't stop sweating. In fact, I never really stopped sweating until we were sitting on the beach for a while and was cooled by the ocean breeze. Renee lives fairly close to the Jersey Shore, and this is Island Beach State Park. The water was cold, however, only 61 degrees, and with the current, cold water, and waves, and my fear of jellyfish again, I decided against trying to swim and instead lounged and enjoyed the scenery and the day. The kids kept busy either playing in the waves or digging for sand crabs.
July 10: Hot, hot, and hotter yet! This morning's run was by far the most humid I have ever done, other than one other time. It was all I could do to control my breathing. Living by the water has its advantages, but of course the disadvantage is the high humidity, especially in the early morning. We were planning on heading to New York City to tour the Museum of American History. By the time we got on the road at 9 am, it was already in the upper 80s.
Night (Day) at the Museum. This is the museum the movie was made from. We spent several hours there, until closing, and then headed to Times Square.
A little geography for you if you haven't been to NYC before: The Museum is on the upper East Side. The Upper East and West Sides are where Central Park is, many of the big hotels, and apartments of the rich and famous. Midtown is where Broadway and Times Square are, and Lower Manhattan is the Financial District, among others, Wall Street, Battery Park, Statue of Liberty ferries, and Ground Zero. Having Ed, a native Jersey boy, as a guide was wonderful, not only in terms of getting a guided tour wherever we were, but also having him do the driving! And if you think cab drivers are wild, it seems to be typical for anyone else living there. I went through several scary moments riding in and around Manhattan. It was basically "hold on to your seats!"
It was a hot evening, but you could almost feel a change in the air, knowing a storm might be brewing.
Its true what they say, about the City that never sleeps. And there are people everywhere, 24/7. The only time I have seen Times Square nearly deserted was after a blizzard two years ago; otherwise, wall to wall people all the time. We found a new store, M & M World, and spent time and money there! Mmm! Its right across from the Hershey Store, so it was nice to find something new to do.
We also decided to eat while there and went to Bubba Gumps. The waiters ask the customers trivia questions about the movie, which is one of my favorites, so they had a hard time stumping us!
After dinner, we walked around, souvenier shopping--as if I don't already have enough of everything they sell at those junk shops! After walking around until dark, we headed back to their home.
July 11: Atlantic City, The Tropicana Hotel, and Harry Potter! Wednesday was another ugly humidity day. I went for a short run, and came back once again dripping with sweat, after just 25 minutes. But it was overcast and felt a little cooler. Arriving in Atlantic City, you can see the fog had rolled in, practically obliterating everything, including the beach. You couldn't see past the first wave break!
We were there to see the newest Harry Potter movie, Order of the Phoenix, and we were looking forward to it. It was at the Imax in the Tropicana Hotel, which is also a casino. Its like a hotel, mall, movie theater, and casino and shops all rolled into one. We had a lot of fun strolling in and around the hotel until the movie started, since it was so sticky and hot outside you could hardly stand it. The movie had one part in 3D, so we got the funky glasses to wear. A fun experience! Then we headed back to the boardwalk for more souvenier shopping--again. There's always something to buy! The weather had cleared somewhat for a while, but then the fog started rolling back in and we decided it was time to leave.
It did rain that night, cooling things off immensely. We were leaving late morning on Thursday, so it was nice to be able to pack without sweat blinding your eyes!
I decided I had time for one last run before we left, and wanted to enjoy the cool morning, so finally headed out. I got a mile into the run when BAM! Down I went. Injury #3 for the trip: I stepped into a hole and twisted my ankle, enough so I wasn't sure if it was broken at first. I went down hard on both knees and also skidded with my hand, cutting that as well. When I finally was able to stand, I figured I hadn't broken anything, but it hurt like crazy and I still had to limp back. I could put weight on my foot, so that was a good sign, but by the time I got back to the condo, my left ankle looked like it had a baseball attached at the ankle bone! Both knees were bruised and bleeding as well. Just what I didn't need!
So right now, not sure how long this thing will take to heal. Its still swollen and sore, but no bruising. I had planned to run my last long run today, but that's not happening, and its raining hard enough I don't want to go out on my bike, so it remains to be seen how the rest of my training goes over the next couple of weeks. I have a sprint tri next week, so was planning on an easy week after a hard weekend. Now? Not so sure what to do.
The ride home was another nightmare in PA. We decided to not take the turnpike because of construction, and instead took I-80, something I won't do again! We had detours off into the Poconos, through valleys, down dirt roads, behind old men driving 35 in a 55 zone, etc. and had 3 construction projects to get through that set us back more than 2 hours of drive time. And if that wasn't enough, the trucks were a force to be dealt with. I actually got boxed in on a merge lane and ended up hitting two barrels before some ass truck driver would let me get over. It was partly my fault, because I was trying to get ahead of him, but he didn't have to force me into the barrels! I still shudder at that experience and my stupidity.
All in all, we had a great time! I would like to go out there again in the fall for a triathlon, but that drive just turns me off! I'm thinking I can only handle that once in a year!