I spent the week in Florida, somewhere new.

I have been here for a work-related conference in the sunny, if somewhat sleepy resort of Marco Island.  I flew out from London on a cold Tuesday, 9 hours later landing in Miami.  As it was getting dark when we got here, we planned to stay in South Beach Miami, which is anything but sleepy.  Chock full of bars, restaurants, and Art Deco Style hotels, it is loud, brash and sexy.  The waitress in the bar we went to was wearing a pink leopard-print onesy that left very little to the imagination!

I was the model of restraint of course, and turned in after only a handful of drinks and some dinner, as the day after I was giving my talk at the conference.

We set off the next morning at 9, heading west on a 2 ½ hour drive to Marco Island , through the Florida Everglades, on a road called Alligator Alley.  After a while we got out of Miami and entered the National Park, which teemed with animal life, mainly birds with long legs of various kinds, and, of course, the gators, which were everywhere, generally sunning themselves by the water’s edge near the side of the road.  We even stopped at an observation point, and said ‘hello ‘ to this guy……


Apparently alligators are mostly harmless to humans, despite being huge and scary looking.  They are much less fierce than their cousins the crocodiles.  We didn’t test this, but got back in the car and headed for Marco.  After we arrived and checked in, the rest of the day was given over to preparing for, giving, and recovering from, my talk.

A bit of modest partying, then off to bed, for there was swimming to do in the morning.

The sea at Marco Island was as flat as any I have come across, and pretty warm at about 70F (20C).   I swam for a cheeky 2.5 km before heading in to the conference.  It felt pretty nice swimming, but I wasn’t really in any kind of zone.  Maybe it was the jet lag and the partying the night before, but it just wasn’t happening for me.

The next day was better though, and I got into the groove a little more, knocking out 3.27 miles in 1 hour 27 minutes, including a couple of short breaks.  The good news is that this pace is pretty much the same as my pace in the swimming pool (26 min 15 miles), so it looks like the lack of push-offs is compensated for by not needing to stop on the wall, and the increased buoyancy of the salt water.  It also felt pretty easy if I am honest with you.  I even threw in quite a lot of breathing drills in there, breathing every 3, 4, 2, 5 etc.


All in all, I was happy.  I got a few swims in when I might not have had anything, and a big zero in the mileage chart for the week.

One sad event to report though.  On my last swim in Marco Island today, my Speedo ‘Endurance’ jammers went in the seam in a somewhat embarrassing place, after only 10 months of use.  Even more annoying was the fact that they went without me noticing, and I only found out when an elderly gent in the lift pointed out that I was showing  a bit of ‘a moon’, and was I aware of this!

Oh well.  You win some you lose some.

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