Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cruise to Run - Barbados

Today we had a 5k race on the island of Barbados, which was also open to school kids and other runners from the island. The weather was pretty good -- a high forecast of 81 degrees (although it was definitely warmer than that when the sun was beating down on you) and with a light wind. Fortunately there was a bit of cloud cover so the race wasn't done totally in the sun. Jerry had arranged to have a two-lane section of the road blocked off for the race and police managing traffic.

I was targeting a time of less than 22:30 but felt good enough at the start to see if I could pull out a time faster than that. I ended up finishing in 21:54.6 -- 5th out of 11, six seconds slower than the 3rd place finisher in my age group, 8 seconds slower than Dick Beardsley, so I was pretty happy with that time. Looking back at the GPS, my last 200 metres were at a 3:36/k pace (5:48 per mile), so I was pushing it at the end. I would have had to start my kick 30 or 40 seconds earlier to make up the 6 seconds -- and I don't know that I had it in me.

Jenny was 5th out of 18 in her age group with a time of 25:10 -- but because 2 of the 3 women's overall race winners were in her age group, she moved up to the bronze medal position in her age group. Jed had a very good run with a time of 23:34, and Cathy set a personal best 5k time of just under 30 minutes -- 29:57! Nobody was really targeting a personal best as this was our 7th run in 6 days so our muscles weren't exactly rested. So Cathy's PB was a definite bonus!

After a quick bite to eat, we boarded the buses for a beach located not far from the docks. In fact, it was so close that Mike (one of the organizers of the races we`d met on day 1) jogged there faster than the buses could navigate through the traffic. It was a bit of a weird setup as they weren`t exactly public beaches, but they weren`t exactly private, either. Cruise To Run had arranged our entry fees to the Boat Docks beach, including two free rum-punch drinks each and there was a bar at which one could buy a beer -- although it was relatively expensive. Today`s beer-of-the-day was Bank`s -- $4 at the bar. A bunch of runners went for a long swim about a km down the beach, and the Cruise-To-Run folks had arranged kayaks to escort them. The water was crystal clear -- amazing.

Back to the ship, we had just enough time to get cleaned up for supper and get to the theatre for Bart Yasso's presentation. Bart had been with Runner's World for over 23 years and is currently its Chief Running Officer (CRO). His presentation spanned a lot of the interesting places he'd run over his lifetime, including the arctic, the antarctic, the first Badwater Ultra marathon through Death Valley in the U.S., the Himalayas, India and his favourite, Africa where some of the worlds best runners now hail. In his earlier days, he was an ultra marathoner, having done a 50 miler at 7 minute miles. He wasn't that fast now, but he still loved to run and the stories and photos were fascinating.

We had a phenomenal meal that night -- including a couple of lobster tails and prawns that were cooked just perfectly for me, and Beef Wellington for Jenny. Jon and Emily Roe, with whom we had run that first day in San Juan, joined us. Jon is one of an elite group of pilots in the Stealth bomber program and is stationed outside of Kansas City. Emily is a physical therapist, although she is currently just working part time since they've just moved to Kansas from Louisiana recently. They were very pleasant dinner companions!

After dinner, I took part in Princess Idol karaoke contest. I did what I thought was a not bad rendition of Sweet Home Alabama, but didn't make it to the top 2 (out of 7) to compete in the final competition on Saturday night. We then went to a show in the theatre -- Piano Men. The singers and musicians were quite good, but I could have done without the dancers. After managing to lose $120 in about 15 minutes at blackjack, I headed back to the room.

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