Since the finish line was right at our hotel, I decided I wanted to drop my bags off at our room, and actually SEE the hotel. I really wanted a cold non-alcoholic beverage and figured we could hit the vending machine. That didn't happen. I also thought that I would just drop my crap off and meet up with my team mates to celebrate our finish. That didn't happen either. Charlie and I got to the room, I laid my bags on the floor and we laid across the bed, heads resting on our hands, while I tried to convey anecdotes from the last day and a half. I felt like I was just rambling on and on, my eyelids getting heavier and heavier. I started talking with my eyes closed. All of a sudden I open my eyes and Charlie is staring at me. "Did I just fall asleep mid-sentence?!?" While laughing at me, Charlie confirmed I was that exhausted that I indeed fell asleep while speaking. So, I decided I just needed to call it a night. I peeled my clothes off, slid into the luxurious bedding and, I believe, fell into a coma.
|The bed was beckoning me...|
I have NEVER slept that soundly. On a good night, I wake up at least ONCE to go to the bathroom. I also toss and turn, propping up the four pillows around me, creating a nest like a gorilla, to get comfortable. The next time I looked at the clock it was 5:40 am. I slept from 10 pm until nearly 6 am without waking up or so much as turning a pillow. I guess I couldn't possibly pee seeing as we were all dehydrated from the relay.
Since we were up early and not meeting our teammates until 10 am for brunch, we had some time to ourselves to explore a little and get some coffee. Right across the street from the hotel was Ana's Cuban Cafe and we got some great Cuban coffee, sat out on the porch and people watched. I got a surprising view of an older man riding past on his bicycle with white MESH shorts on. Of course he didn't have any undies on! Thankfully I only saw him going, not coming! We did some souvenir shopping and I picked up a beautiful mug for myself so that every morning, while I'm drinking my coffee, I'll think of my new friends and the great times we had on this trip.
|I eat my oatmeal with the spoon!|
We lazed around on a hammock, enjoying the warm sun, just like we did 17+ years ago on the beaches of Maui. It's nice to know, all these years later, we still really enjoy each other's company and can have fun doing just about anything.
|I couldn't get the right angle no matter how many shots I took.|
|I think it should say "We run hard so you don't have to," like the Scrubbing Bubbles motto.|
|That's Meredith's husband, David, in the Angry Bird shirt, and Rik's wife Cynthia is taking the photo, so not everyone is represented!|
By the time we got back, it was time to head to Rick's Bar for the Ragnar award ceremony. No awards for our team. If there was a "Most Inspirational" team, we would've had that one in the bag, I think. We hung out and met other amazing teams there, as well. "The Tightans" was an ultra team from D.C. that won their category, and that was after having 3 of their 6 team members drop out 3 weeks before the race. They scrambled and managed to fill the empty slots in time. How do you find someone (let alone 3 people) willing to run 1/6th of a 200 mile relay on the fly? I'd say www.nutjob.com!
Charlie and I split off again and went over to Mallory Square since it was just a few blocks away. Unfortunately by the time we got there, after enjoying some conch fritters and a delicious Key Lime martini, it was too late to watch the sunset at the top of the Shipwreck Museum. We did have a chocolate dipped piece of Key Lime pie from Kermit's and on the walk back came across Mattheessen's and got the best, biggest chocolate chip cookie EVER!!
|They are literally the size of your head!|
We also stopped into the famous Captain Tony's Saloon. People leave their business cards stapled to the walls and ceilings, so we left one of Charlie's.
|Wait until you see the inside...|
|They don't just leave business cards!!!|
I wasn't willing to part with MY bra. We were still meeting everyone for one last drink at Bourbon St., so I didn't want to show up with my ta-tas hanging low. At the bar, we talked some more, took plenty of pictures and said our goodbyes. John and Meredith were leaving the next day as well. Rik, Katie, Lealah, Allison and Andrea were staying another day or two, the lucky ducks. From the pictures I've seen they had some really great times and I'm a bit jealous I wasn't able to stay and bond some more. I surely learned that coming in the day before and leaving the day after is NOT enough time to spend with all of these great people AND see the city. I will plan accordingly next time.
Charlie and I went back to the hotel and had one last beer by the pool and talked for a good long time. Had we known we weren't going to be tired, we would've stayed at the bar a little longer.
|The Pineapple Bar at the hotel and the pretty color-changing lights in the pool|
We finally got our asses up and back to the room to finish packing and get to bed. We had to start the day out at 4:30 am to get on the road for Miami. An 11:55 am flight to D.C. was waiting for us to bring us down on LI at 4:40 pm. It was an extremely long travel day and oh so depressing. The warmth and sunshine of Key West was quickly replaced by the gloomy steel gray sky and 30* temperatures. Snap! Back to reality...
Oh, yeah, even after feeling like death after my first leg, vowing I would never do a RR again, thinking I possibly wouldn't recover to finish the other 2 legs, we're all on board for another crazy ride, this time through Tennessee! November 2014 can't some soon enough.