Saturday, February 14, 2015

Caribbean Running Cruise Day 4 - St. Maarten Scenic Run

We met up in the Pyramid Lounge for our pre-race meeting and breakfast. Today we would run along the boardwalk in Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

There was a little chaos getting off the ship -- we always arrange to be the first off, but other passengers don't know that ... so when we go swanning by, well, we get some nasty looks.

But we all piled off, Wil being the first person off the ship in our line. However, something odd happened to the software -- the crew kept scanning the SeaPass cards and it wasn't working ... lots of WHOMP game-show fail sort of sounds, rather than PING success sounds. Eventually it worked, but the picture that came up on the screen was Wil. No matter who came through. We encouraged our fellow runners to acquire fake beards for when they came back on board...

We were met on the pier by a very nice Dutch expat who runs a triathlon store called Tri-Sport St. Maarten. (Really embarrassed that I didn't catch his name...) He and his crew had organized our run. We gathered not far from the weird "retail village" at the pier and stood around for a  little while (always with the peeing!) and then listened to the race talk.

yep, that's my camera lens steaming up in the muggy heat!

We would run from the start along the walkway into town, emerging on the boardwalk. The 5K runners would run along the boardwalk until it became hard-packed sand, then run to a turnaround by a green building. (Q: "Is it marked?" A: "It's a BIG building") Then run back past the finish arch to a turnaround, then back out along the boardwalk to the edge of the sand, then back to the finish. 10K runners would do the "long lap" to the green building 3x, then the short lap.

obligatory pre-race photo
marking the start line - photo by John Bingham
Eventually they sent us off running -- the first stretch was a little narrow as we were just running on a sidewalk, but it very quickly opened up. Our early exit from the ship meant that the boardwalk and shopping area wasn't too crowded, so we were able to quickly thread ourselves through.

and we're off! - photo by Jenny Hadfield

photo by Jenny Hadfield

big sale at the diamond store! run! - photo by Jenny Hadfield 
The restaurants and shops were just opening up, which meant we got a lot of attention for the shopkeepers. Wil was addressed as Moses and Santa, which was pretty amusing.

We ran out along the boardwalk, past the water taxi stop, along the very gorgeous beach, on to the sand ... the turnaround WAS marked and manned by a cheerful guy.
Team Wil-Sun - photo by Jenny Hadfield
The nice part about running back and forth all those time was that we could see all of the runners multiple times and cheer like mad.

Bud and Claudia - photo by Jenny Hadfield
At one point, one of the guys sitting in a restaurant called out to Wil: "Come and see me when you are done running... I have what you need." I said, "Put two in the fridge!" and Janet, running right near us, said, "Me too!" the guy shook his head and said, "Not that kind of thing, mon." Ha!

The weather? Hot. Stinking hot. But we got a little lucky since it was overcast AND we even got a little rain shower for a few minutes. But still -- SO HOT. So hot that at one point I saw BJ walking. WALKING. That hot. ;)

photos by John Bingham - he'll treasure this one forever :) 

We finished, gulped down some water, and then Wil went to buy us our first Caribe beers. We stood at the finish line, drinking beer and cheering people on. Best finish? Matt and Vickie Kim, who came in holding hands AND Matt did a nifty little heel kick.

Tony and Dawn post-race - photo by John Bingham

Joe finishing strong - photo by John Bingham

our two favorite ladies - photo by John Bingham, who first used his right hand, then his left hand...

And, how cool is this map of the run?

Once folks were all finished, we headed back to the ship to get cleaned up, eat a late breakfast (early lunch?) before walking back into town.

Since diamond shopping really wasn't our thing, we just wandered around the town, managing to be next to an elementary school as it let out, so that we were surrounded by kids in their school uniforms. Adorbs.

We did make a point of visiting the GuavaBerry store, where we tried the "local folk liqueur" Guavaberry, their rum, and their guavaberry daiquiri. We didn't feel the need to buy the rum or liqueur, but of course had to buy guavaberry daiquiris... in hot-pink cups.

We ended up back at the ship a little early -- which gave us time to enjoy today's happy hour at Boleros (2-for-1 mai tais), relax on the balcony, and take a nap before dinner.

maybe a little sun...
Dinner tonight was with Jenny (yay!), along with Matt and Vicky, Gary and Leshia, Joyce, and two other women I didn't manage to "meet".

(This trip, there were so many people that John and Jenny dined separately so they could maximize the number of folks who got to eat with one of them.)

After dinner drinks in Olive or Twist (of course), but we had an early night, relaxing in our room on the balcony. Oh, and my favorite towel animal of all time:

Tomorrow: our first hash run!

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