Monday, June 30, 2008

What a Weekend

Wow. Where did the weekend go? I don't know about you all, but my weekend flew by! I left work at 5:00 on Friday evening so that Wilson and I could make the drive to Hartford, CT for the first of two Pearl Jam shows we would attend over the weekend. We arrived in crap-tastic Hartford around 7:45, parked (for free!) and made our way to pick up our tickets. Since we had ordered them through Pearl Jam's fan club (Ten Club), we had to pick them up at will-call (I guess they don't want people scalping the "good seats"--so all Ten Club members have to pick their tickets up with a valid ID at the venue). We made our way over to the Ten Club will call area, and our jaws dropped as we realized the line was (literally) a half-mile long. We were beyond bummed, but what else could we do but get on line?

An hour and a half passed--about ten thousand obnoxious people with general ticketmaster tix walked past us snickering--and before we knew it Pearl Jam apparently took the stage. I say "apparently" because those of us on line for Ten Club tickets couldn't hear anything beyond some muffled noise out where we were waiting. It was just ridiculous--all of the real fans were helplessly stuck outside while Pearl Jam played one of their best sets ever! We all just kept wondering what went wrong--as nobody near us on the line had EVER encountered an issue with 10-Club ticket pick-up in the hundreds of combined shows we'd seen! Finally, after the first four or five songs had been played, the line started to move a bit. Apparently the Dodge Music Center folks got a little smarter and opened up FIVE windows to hand out tickets (as opposed to the TWO lines they had been using for the previous two hours).

FINALLY, Wilson and I got our tix and rushed in, just as Pearl Jam finished "In Hiding" (the 10th song of the main set). YEAH. It was THAT bad. I have to say, though, as much of a fiasco as it was, the fan club members stuck outside were pretty darn agreeable. I had visions of an all out riot breaking out. But people just kind of commiserated and laughed it off, figuring there was not much we could do. Once inside, the show was great . . . but it was a bit difficult to be quite as excited, knowing we'd missed almost half of it! When the concert ended, Hartford apparently decided it wasn't done attempting to ruin the night--apparently a flimsy fence outside the venue got knocked over as people made their way to the parking lot. The Hartford Police figured that was as good a reason as any to bust out the pepper spray. Wilson and I must have just barely missed the spray-action . . . thank goodness! But seriously, the city of Hartford? It's definitely on my sh*t-list. I'm going to have to go ahead and insist that you NEVER bother attending a concert at the Dodge Music Center in Hartford.

After the show, we had a bit of a drive to Wilson's mother's house in Westerly, Rhode Island. We got home super late (okay, it was only 2 a.m., but that IS super late for me!) and headed straight to bed. When we woke up, Wilson's mother whipped up some delicious blueberry pancakes for breakfast . . . yesssss!! We lounged around and chatted for WAY too long, and then finally attempted to head out for a long run of ten miles--unfortunately, it was already pushing 2 p.m. And it was HOT. Oh lawdy. It was only in the low-80s, but it felt SO much hotter. We ran near the beach, which was really nice . . . but seriously . . . did I mention it was HOT? We completed a 5.5-mile loop around the area, and felt find leg- and fitness-wise. But the sun beaming down on us was practically too much to handle. We debated quitting for a few minutes, and then finally decided to add on a 1.5-mile out-and-back along the beach to wrap up with 8.5 miles total at a 10:30/mile pace. We devoured some well-deserved ice cream afterwards (I had a delicious banana cone!), and then headed back to Wilson's mom's house where I proceeded to pass out for over an hour.

Wilson woke me up, I showered, we scarfed down some dinner with the fam, and then off we went to Mansfield, MA for yet another Pear Jam show! This one went off without a hitch . . . we literally walked right up to the 10-club ticket counter--there was NO LINE whatsoever. We got to see Ted Leo & the Pharmacists open while enjoying a nice big beer :) Then Pearl Jam was GREAT as always. I swear, even after having seen something like 7-8 of their concerts, I'm still in awe after every show I am lucky enough to witness. What an amazing band!!!

On Sunday, we woke up and grabbed breakfast with Wilson's mother before heading back into NYC for my soccer game. When I arrived at the fields, I was oh-so-pleased (or not) to learn that we would have NO SUBS at our game. Seriously? If I can run a long run on Saturday and make it to the game on Sunday, I'm pretty sure everyone should be able to show up . . . but whatever. We lost the game, thanks to our lack of troops, but I did score a goal--which is always exciting--especially in a co-ed league! After the game, Wilson and I stopped at Whole Foods before heading home to watch the Germany v. Spain game, which we'd tivo'd. We made dinner (lamb burgers and roasted potatoes--yum!), and headed to bed, exhausted as a result of our crazy weekend.

And there you have it, folks! I guess THAT is where my weekend went. Thank goodness for the upcoming 3-day weekend! I seriously need it! Until next time . . .

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Am a Runner . . . Part II

Well, tonight I got the chance to put my last post to work. I had a 3-mile tempo run (plus 1-mile warm-up & 1-mile cool-down) on the schedule. According to my Runners' World Smart Coach, I was supposed to run said tempo run at about a 9:16 pace. I warmed up for the first mile at about a 10:00 pace, and then it was time to tackle the meat (mmm, yummy) of the tempo run. As I was running on the treadmill in the nice, cool air-conditioned gym, I went for the 6.5 setting . . . or a 9:13 pace.

For the first 5 minutes or so, I actually thought the pace seemed easier and more natural than the 10:00 pace . . . yeah, I should lay off the crack, I guess. Luckily, the crack wore off somewhere around a half-mile, and it was back to feeling like my legs might buckle under me. Thank you, four soccer games in four days!! Ha. As I began to struggle, I figured it was as good a time as any to put my "real runner?" game into play. "Are you a real runner, Irish?! Are you seriously going to b*tch out on this?! Can you really not finish a 3-mile tempo run?!" And that was motivation enough to bring me to the end. Sure, I might have stared at the display for the entire last mile-and-a-half, but I did it, gosh darn it!

After a nice cool down, I hopped into the shower and quickly got myself ready for dinner out with my friend, Kate! We tried out Dos Caminos - SoHo, and it definitely hit the spot! I needed some good "girl time," so it was very fun to get together. And I definitely thought I deserved an extra "prickly pear cactus margarita" as a result of my efforts! Mmm . . . prickly pear cactus margaritas . . . yummy :) I also enjoyed Mahi Mahi tacos and more guacamole than you can possibly imagine. Oh how I love being in marathon training!!

I think tomorrow is officially a real "rest day." I haven't had one in over a week, so I think it might just be about time ;) Almost to the weekend, folks--hang in there! Until next time . . .

Stockholm Calling . . . Photo Edition

Okay, so I do realize that an entire month has passed since I got back from Stockholm . . . but I promised you photos, and that's what you're going to get!

First of all, I'm sure you're all dying to see the photos of Dan's mid-flight artwork on Dean's face. Yeah, it was THAT bad:

Up next, a few of my favorite "scenic" shots of Stockholm (ah, so pretty!):

And, a couple shots of the NYC team at the soccer tourney:

Finally, some shots of the banquet/out of control display of intoxication by my co-workers (I only put the tame photos in here--don't want to get anyone in trouble should one of our employers find his/her way onto this site). Note the sunburn at my hairline in all of these photos--ha!:

And there you have it! I'm pretty sure the Stockholm Visitors Board isn't going to be contacting me anytime soon as a result of my incredibly gorgeous and detailed portrayal of the city, but um . . . I WAS only there for 48 hours! Next time I'll stay longer and take more photos (thanks to co-workers, S---- & D--, who supplied these photos!)

TIART: You Are a Runner . . .

Today's Runners' Lounge topic for Take It and Run Thursdays is: 13 words or less: "You are a runner...." . Thus, in thirteen words or less, I will finish that statement, and attempt to describe when, how and why I first realized I was a runner . . .

You are a runner . . . when you find a way to tough it out through the bad runs.

I can still remember the first "bad run" I decided to take on. I had been running for almost two months, and in that time, I had never actually "toughed it out." When the going got tough, I stopped and walked. But not that day. I had decided to run six miles . . . the farthest I would run before my first road race ever, a 10K. I'd had a bad day at work, hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, hadn't hydrated well . . . I had a whole list of excuses for why I should allow myself to stop and walk. It was all I could do to shut out the negative voices in my head, as they shouted, "You can't do this! You're too unfit! You're so slow! You'll never finish a 10K race!" And somehow I knew I was at a turning point. Either I could listen to those voices (as I had in the past), or I could take control and finish the run. It was like something just clicked--I decided that I was going to finish that run, even if it killed me!

And you know what? I did. And when I finished? I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in what I'd just accomplished. It had nothing to do with the distance I'd run . . . or the pace I'd gone. It was about the fact that I'd kept running when I REALLY didn't want to. And that? Was HUGE for me. After I'd tackled that first big running obstacle, there was no doubt in my mind that I was officially a runner. To this day, when I start to struggle, I tend to taunt myself with the thought, "A real runner would finish this run, Irish. Are you a real runner?" More often than not, I find that I am a "real runner" . . . and on the days when I'm not? I just use my failure as motivation for the next run.

Happy running, everyone!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Well, project double-dip (as in dipping into the life expectancy of my legs) was a success, my friends. The first event? The run? It went just swimmingly. I had six miles on the schedule, so I walked the four blocks from work to Central Park, and took on a full loop. The schedule also demanded that this be an "easy run," so I decided to take things nice and . . . well, easy. I made my goal to run using consistent effort throughout the run. I ended up finishing 6.01 miles in 59:26 for a 9:53/mile overall pace. I really felt great . . . I'm not sure whether it was the change in scenery or what, but it really just felt . . . easy. My splits looked like this:

Mile 1: 10:00
Mile 2: 9:53
Mile 3: 9:38
Mile 4: 10:09
Mile 5: 9:55
Mile 6: 9:42

After finishing up the run, I glanced at my watch and realized it was 7:45 p.m. I had exactly 15 minutes to get back to the office, pack my stuff up, and head right back out again with several of my soccer teammates. We made it down to the fields (at Pier 40) with about 20 minutes to spare, and we actually ended up rounding up ONE SUB for our team, which was a pleasant surprise! It didn't really affect me . . . considering I ended up playing the entire game, but I'm pretty sure some of the unfit players on my team were pretty happy about it!

This particular league is an all-girls league, which I was kind of excited about. The team we played was WAY better than we were, and they had plenty of subs (unlike us!) . . . but we somehow eeked out a 4-4 draw! Not bad at all! I had three of our four goals (go me!), and actually set up the fourth. But let me tell you, my legs were SHAKING by the end of the game! Ha. I think I'm definitely going to have to start getting up and running in the a.m. There's just no way around it. Shoutout to my kick-ass little sister, Mo, who was brave enough to volunteer to play keeper for the second half. She pretty much saved the game for us on multiple occasions, and was seriously rockin' it back there in the goal! Oh, and random celebrity sighting--Heather Mattarazo was on the team we played. I would have had no idea it was her, but my teammate Eileen picked up on it right away!

Oh well . . . that's it for now. I'm pretty sure I deserve some sleep right about now!


Oh my gosh, y'all! Good news! I just found out I won a SpiBelt from the Runners Lounge (And yes, I do realize this happened 2 whole days ago--but what can I say? I'm a bit behind on my Google reader account!) Now, I'd love to say this fine reward was based on the content of my brilliant marathoning tips, submitted as part of the "Knowledge Drive," but in reality, it was the result of pure dumb luck! Amy's kids picked my name out of a hat containing the aliases of the many knowledgeable authors who had contributed articles to the drive. Actually, now that I think about it--I'm starting to like the dumb luck explanation even better than the "cutting edge blogger" one . . . You see, before June 22, 2008, I had somehow managed to never IN MY ENTIRE LIFE win anything through any type of raffle-esque situation. NEVER. So yay! If you've never checked out the Runners Lounge before, make sure you do so! It's a great community--full of wonderful resources and even better people. And who knows? Maybe you'll be the next lucky winner! :)

In other news, I am officially in training for the Chicago Marathon. Now, this would be fine and dandy . . . was I not on FOUR soccer teams! Yep. You read that right. I am currently playing on four different soccer teams in various NYC leagues. This means that four nights a week, I have some kind of soccer game--generally taking place somewhere REALLY far from my apartment. Ay. It seems like everyone is short-handed these days--and as I'm obviously the best player since Pelé (ha, riiiight), everyone is begging me to play for them. I'm still trying to come up with a system to make this work (perhaps learning the word "No" would be a good place to start). An obvious solution would be to actually get up early and run in the mornings--but thus far, I haven't quite conquered this practice. We'll see. After I run 6 miles this evening, and then immediately proceed to play 45 minutes of indoor soccer (on a team with no subs nonetheless), I might just have the motivation I need to get my butt up in the mornings! Oh well . . . I might as well take advantage of my youth while I still have it, no?

I did attempt a long run this past weekend . . . unfortunately, I did so at around 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning, and it was already HOT and HUMID and GROSS. As it wasn't a REAL long run (I was just practicing for when I start my REAL long runs this weekend), I was a little lacking in the motivation department . . . so much so, that at one point during the run, I actually crawled into a shady wooded area and SAT DOWN ON A ROCK! Ha, it was a new low point in my running career. At any rate, I forced myself to finish 7.02 miles before finally calling it quits. I think my biggest issue (besides the late start and resulting conditions) was that I could not, for the life of me, get myself to SLOW DOWN. I kept glancing down at my Garmin and noticing 9:00/mile pace. Now I'm not going to kid myself . . . I know that I didn't magically get faster as a result of my three week hiatus from running. I think I really just have to get myself used to the idea of long runs again. It's been a while since I've run a REAL long run that I couldn't kind of just coast through.

Oh well, wish me luck tonight. Let's hope I can still walk when it's all over!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Paradise Found - Part Uno

***Note: I was originally going to do this all in one shot, but it's taking FOREVER to compile! As I know a few of you are eager to live vicariously through my adventures in St. John, I figured I'd break it up into parts. Here it is, folks . . . Days 1-3 of my vacation (which already seems like such a distant memory!)

Let me start by saying . . . if you ever have the chance to go to St. John, USVI . . . PLEASE GO! It is seriously paradise on earth. It is the type of place that is so beautiful, you find yourself taking the same photographs over and over and over again . . . and by day 3 of your trip, your memory card is full! At any rate, I figured I'll treat this kind of like I would a race report, only I'll go day by day instead of mile by mile. Hope you enjoy!


We got up ass o'early to leave for my least favorite airport ever . . . Newark International--double ugh. Luckily, I was so giddy about leaving for vacay, I didn't sleep a wink, so it was quite easy to drag my butt out of bed! (I'm guessing the fact that it was a balmy 95 degrees in our apartment probably didn't help the no-sleep issue either, though). Anyway, everything went smoothly with our flight (there's a first for everything), and we even got in to St. Thomas a half-hour early! We got off the plane and immediately were greeted with free "samples" of various flavors of Cruzan rum . . . yes! This was a smart tactic as Wilson and I immediately proceeded to the duty-free shop to purchase a bottle of banana rum (my fave) and a bottle of tequila. From the airport, we had to take a cab to the ferry . . . and let me tell you, our driver, Freddie (with Dynamic Tours) was quite the entertainer! He got us to Red Hook in time to take the 3:00 ferry over to St. John. The ferry ride was short (maybe twenty minutes) but beautiful and very scenic.

Our ferry boat

Me on the ferry to St. John

Wilson on the ferry

Ah, the Caribbean!

As we got off the ferry in Cruz Bay, a kind fellow by the name of Matt was waiting to show us our villa--but not before helping us pick up our Jeep Wrangler, and showing us to the Starfish Market (which is about 1000 times nicer than my local supermarket) to do some grocery shopping. We definitely had a bit of sticker shock, as groceries are a lot more expensive in St. John . . . but I just kept using the "we're on vacation" excuse and looking past the money being spent!

The drive to the villa from Cruz Bay was only about 8 miles, but took about 40 minutes as a result of the crazy, curvy mountainous roads in St. John. It probably didn't help that driving on the left side of the road took some getting used to (thank goodness Matt was understanding of this--and drove slowly for us!) During the drive, we got our first dose of St. John wildlife as we passed both a cow and a donkey. Both were just chillin', grazing on some grass on the side of the road (but I was apparently too slow/clumsy to get the camera out in time).

When we finally got to our road, Calabash Boom, I about had a panic attack! It was a dirt road full of crazy dips and ruts, and it was STEEP, STEEP, STEEP! I'm not sure why I wasn't expecting this, considering our villa WAS on the side of a mountain! But it totally took me by surprise. Luckily, Wilson did a really nice job of taking it slowly . . . but I definitely still had a case of white knuckles!

Probably a good idea.

Matt showed us around the villa (Astral Ridge), and I really loved it. Now, as an aspiring interior designer, I tend to be REALLY picky about the places I stay in. This was actually the biggest issue we faced in choosing a villa--I just couldn't imagine staying in a place that was distastefully designed! That's not to say that Astral Ridge was designed exactly as I would have designed it . . . but it was tolerable, which is truly saying a lot! The best part of the villa had to be the view. It was TO DIE FOR.

What we saw as we approached the villa for the first time

The lush garden that greeted us each time we returned home

The patio and plunge pool area (AKA nap area 1)
Sun-room-ish area in the villa (AKA nap area 2)
Dining area in the villa

Kitchen and living area (AKA nap area 3)

Bedroom (in a separate hut from the main villa--AKA nap area 4)

Little path from the patio to the outdoor shower

Outdoor shower area . . . so cute!

The view

More views

View at sunset--not so shabby!

After giving us some last minute tips and info, Matt left us to enjoy the villa. Wilson and I couldn't help but immediately start exploring. We literally opened every cabinet and drawer in the place. It had EVERYTHING . . . DVDs, board games, books, every kitchen gadget/appliance you could ever need, first aid kits, coolers, snorkeling gear, beach chairs, extra linens and towels, a stereo . . . everything you could possibly imagine in a dream vacation home!

Once we ran out of things to explore, we decided to relax on the patio with a beer and some plantain chips. It was simply blissful! After we'd sat for a while, we changed into our swimsuits and checked out the pool. It was the PERFECT plunge pool--just an absolutely beautiful place to swim or cool off. I tried some pool running, while Wilson tested out the snorkel gear. It was a blast! Finally, we showered and threw some burgers on the grill, while sipping on some fruity drinks, mixed by our resident bartender (Wilson).

What is this? Some kind of girly crap?

Best friends forever

The burgers (and the drinks!) tasted absolutely devine! We quickly devoured them, cleaned up, and then went about testing out the hot tub . . . it was the perfect place to sit and relax while star-gazing. What a great first day in St. John!


We awoke as the sun rose around 5:30 a.m. Since our villa's bedroom faced directly East, we had a gorgeous, albeit early, view of the sunrise.

We made some (Dunkin Donuts cinnamon spice) coffee and we spent the morning sitting on the deck/porch reading and lounging.

Catching some morning rays

Enjoying a cup of coffee

Wilson made some delicious egg and swiss breakfast sandwiches, and then I allowed myself to do something I never get to do . . . NAP! It was short, but magical. After packing a picnic lunch for ourselves, Wilson and I decided to head out to find a beach to hang out at. We drove in the direction of the North Shore without much of a plan, and eventually ended up at a parking in the lot for Peace Hill. As Wilson had done quite a bit of research prior to the trip, he informed me that we could hike down to Denis Bay from there. It would take about a 15-minute hike on an unmaintained trail to get there--and we would have to do it in flip flops, as we hadn't planned on hiking! But we hoped it would be worth the effort, in that it would be relatively quiet. On our way to the beach, we stopped up on Peace Hill, which offered exquisite views and some cool ruins of a windmill . . . as I'm quite the photography-whore, I took about a million and a half photographs. Here are a few.

The view from Peace Hill

Wilson with what's left of the Jesus statue (the rest was destroyed in a hurricane)

Windmill ruins

Wilson hanging out inside the windmill ruins

We finished up on Peace Hill, and made our way to Denis Bay. When we got there, we were pleased to see that there were just a few other people along the entire stretch of beach.

Denis Bay

We planted ourselves under a nice shady tree and after working on my awful runner's tan for a bit, I quickly fell into another refreshing nap.

Working on the tan (with Perkins Cay in the background)

Around 2 p.m., we pulled out the cooler and enjoyed our picnic lunch of turkey sandwiches. After letting our food settle, we decided to set off on our first snorkeling adventure of the day. There were a lot of really cool fish (I'm not even going to pretend I know what they were--besides butterfly fish--I did a report on those in like 4th grade, so I recognized them right away!)

After maybe a half-hour of snorkeling, we headed back to shore to rest a bit . . . until we set out on our NEXT snorkeling adventure around Perkins Cay, which is a little island off the shore of Denis Bay. We saw even more amazing and colorful fish around this area--and I even saw an eel, which, of course, scared me crapless! As we made our way back around the cay to where we had started, I got a horrid cramp in my foot. I told Wilson about it and asked if we could go back to shore . . . he agreed, and attempted to lead me back in, but somehow instead led me straight into some shallow coral and rocks. As floating was no longer an option, I put my hand down with the thought that I'd attempt to stand up. Imagine my shock when I looked down and realized there was a sea urchin not two inches from my hand! Whoops! I was freaked. But I knew there was really no way out other than to continue over the coral and rocks to the shore, and pray I didn't step on an urchin on the way! Luckily, I made it out okay . . . and, of course, angrily tore my snorkel gear off and threw it to the ground. I checked myself out and realized I had a cut on my heel, as well as a decent-sized scrape on my thigh. Nothing too bad, though.
Wilson and I sat down, and waited for the sun to dry us off a bit, and then packed our stuff up and headed back to the jeep. Once home, we showered up and settled in for the night. We enjoyed frozen margaritas, brats and grilled asparagus, all of which were excellent. We spent the remainder of the night lounging around the villa and reading, until we turned in, anxious to see what the next day would bring!


What a crazy day! We spent our morning doing "the usual," bumming around and reading, drinking coffee, and napping. By 11:30 a.m., we were packed up and heading down the dirt road of terror, as I'd fondly named it. The plan was to hike the challenging but beautiful 2.8 mile Reef Bay Trail, with an additional half-mile excursion to check out the Petroglyphs . . . artwork of the Arawak tribe. We saw lots of neat stuff on our way out . . . ruins, various critters (mongoose, deer, hermit crabs, etc.), a ridiculously large and terrifying bee colony, and a tree whose trunk looked like an elephant!!

The stairway of doom . . . from the road down to the Reef Bay Trail

Reading all about the "elephant tree"

Close up of the "elephant tree"--if you look closely, you can spot an elephant's head in the tree trunk

Wilson and some ruins
Me and some ruins

When we got to the turn-off for the Petroglyph Trail (almost 2 miles in), things started to go down hill. While it had been raining ever so lightly for the majority of the hike, the rain really began to pick up as we arrived at the Petroglyphs.
I think this was supposed to be a waterfall

Also around this time, Wilson got the bright idea to try following an "unofficial" trail to get some better views and check out some waterfalls. Deep down inside, I could tell this was an awful idea, but I didn't want to be a big wuss! So, I followed him as he began up the "trail." It was ridiculous. It was SO steep, and there was very little to grab onto. This combined with the fact that a) Wilson too a "wrong turn"; b) there were huge, disgusting millipeds covering everything we might actually want to grab onto; and c) the rain was now torrential, and making everything a million times more slippery meant I was NOT a happy camper. I think the thought, "so this is how I go" actually entered my mind at one point in time! We somehow made it up without dying, only to discover that the waterfalls we'd scaled a cliff to see were DRIED UP, and the view wasn't even that great! Bummer.

The alleged "waterfalls." At least there's a cool-looking mist, thanks to the ridiculous rain

Cute, cuddly millipedes

So next came the hard part . . . the descent. I was convinced I was a goner. Somehow with a lot of screaming (and possibly tears) on my part, we made it down alive. I gave Wilson quite the tongue-lashing (and gave him another one after the fact when I read that very trail described as "dangerous" in one of our guide books--um, true!)

Hail Mary, Full of Grace . . .
I need a beer!

We took a moment to gather ourselved, and then headed back to the main Reef Bay Trail. By this time, we were soaked and absolutely demoralized, thanks to our near death experience! But considering we were 2 miles from the car, we figured it best to trudge on. We made it to the Reef Bay Sugar Estate Ruins, which were actually very interesting to see.
Plantation ruins
More plantation ruins
Still more
I would eventually lift this iron block . . . but the camera died and did not capture it. Honest, I did!

From there, we had to decide which beach we would head to . . . we chose the shorter path down to a small beach, Genti Bay, where we discovered a mess of gnat-like biting bugs. Ugh. We quickly packed up and headed back onto the trail for aobut a 15-minute walk to Parrot Bay. Sadly, this beach too was "buggy" (we think it had to do with the rain). We jumped in the water to cool off, and almost immediately, the skies opened up again. Our clothing was soaked and we hadn't yet eaten lunch (it was almost 3 p.m. by this point), but we just wanted to get out of there and head back to the villa! Thus, we we packed right back up and headed back in the opposite direction from which we'd just come. We were GRUMPY!

According to all the information we'd seen, the hike was supposed to take 2 hours to complete, but we were booking it out of there so quickly, we made it back to the starting point in just 40 minutes! It was largely an uphill hiked on the way back to the car, which makes it all the more impressive. Ha, let me tell you, I was VERY happy about being in half-marathon shape! There were plenty of times I wanted to slow down and catch my breath, but I was just so sick of being wet . . . we just kept on truckin'! I couldn't help but feel a bit of triumph once we reached the car . . . just like we'd been through a rough race!

We got back to the car, stripped out of our wet clothes and headed back to the villa, where I proceeded to eat everything in sight, and then pass out on the couch for a nice two-hour nap (just like after a nice long-run!). I awoke around 6:30 p.m., showered and got ready for dinner. Wilson and I had made reservations at a restaurant called
Miss Lucy's, and headed over there after relaxing on our porch with pre-dinner drinks.

We split two entrees there . . . the paella and the stuffed shrimp (they were stuffed with crab meat and goat cheese, and served with grilled veggies and a sweet potato mash). It was ALL absolutely delicious . . . and our server was so sweet! A very enjoyable dining experience indeed!

Almost cute . . . except, oh wait! I had to go and close my eyes. Typical . . .

Stuffed shrimp . . . yum!
How can you not love paella?
It's official . . . my belly loves Miss Lucy's! Too bad we had to miss Sunday Brunch!
After dinner, we walked around a little bit (Miss Lucy's is right on the water) . . . and finally, headed back to the villa where we relaxed and read for the rest of the night.
To be continued . . .