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Surprise Anniversary with Tigers, Detoxing & a Marathon

We were in the Florida Keys for two weeks, from September 19th thru October 3rd. Which means Lindsay and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary while in the Keys (October 1st).  But I wanted to do something a little bit more. I figured that after we left the Keys we’d have an opportunity to make a pit-stop in Miami for a couple of nights. And I wanted to make this a surprise. Do you know how hard it is to surprise someone when you are connected at the hip like we are. We share computers, cell phones – pretty much anything that I had that was really mine (think email addresses) Lindsay had very easy access to. This wasn’t going to be easy, but I would try.

On our anniversary, a few days before the Keys trip was over, I began saying things like “we should enjoy a nice anniversary dinner in Cape Coral on Saturday night..” (that was the day we were leaving the Keys and supposed to head back to Cape Coral, FL.  She was diggity down for that. Good. I had it in her mind that we were skipping Miami. And this is an important piece because for a while leading up to the Keys we were talking about and agreed to stop in Miami on our way back. I had successfully convinced her we would just drive straight through.

That was the easy part. Next was finding a place to stay, researching things to do and booking all of this without her knowledge. Thankfully I am a bit of night person and she isn’t. This gave me plenty of alone time to get things done. Hotel, booked. Dinner reservations, check. A few touristy things to, yes sir. And a special little surprise for our last day, oh yeah.

I gave her parents a heads up. They were heading back to Cape Coral and would be expecting us to follow them. I told them it was a surprise and not to spill the beans. Lindsay went about her good-byes saying things like “Ok, see you soon!” and “See you in a couple of hours..” I felt a little bit bad since she wouldn’t be seeing them again for a month or so. While we were in the car I had a slight change of heart and told her I’d love to stop in Miami, South Beach specifically, for lunch since we weren’t in a rush and I had never been there. She liked the idea. And after driving around Beach Ave for a bit I pulled into the Sagamore, stopped the car and let her know that’d we be staying here for a few nights and that everything was planned out. She was genuinely surprised. Which surprised me. For some reason I thought she knew about everything and was just playing along to make me feel good. But no, turns out she had no clue. Now the fun begins!

Miami was a lot of fun

The beaches in Miami are gorgeous. Beautiful green and blue waters, white sand and they stretch for a long way. There is also a great boardwalk for joggers and walkers. I wasn’t expecting such crystal clear water for some reason.


The people watching in South Beach rivals the Wisconsin State Fair. This “lady-man” was performing on a sidewalk outside a restaurant.


That evening I planned us a dinner at a trendy Asian restaurant and drinks at Rose Bar in the Delano Hotel. This bar was recommended by people we had met in Miami and got rave reviews online. It’s cool and all, but I don’t get the hype.


So maybe you have heard how expensive stuff is in South Beach? Well this cocktail lived up to that reputation. This came from the Rose Bar in the Delano Hotel. The sidecar shot of Absinthe wasn’t even part of the deal, just happened to be a nice bartender and give me a shot of it. Total price of the cocktail, before tip and tax, I shit you not: $48. WTF…


Our best spend of the trip was the $25/pp duck tour of the islands near South Beach where all the celebrities have sick houses and boats. For a couple of hours they drive you around telling you about who lives where and how much their houses are worth. You also get a little bit of history about South Beach and it’s Art Deco style. Well worth the price of admission. The best views in my opinion.


This house is supposedly worth $90M. Whatever.


The winner of the best boat goes to Lenny Kravitz – the proud owner of this beauty. This picture did not do the boat justice.

The last surprise was a visit to the Miami Zoological Foundation for a “feline encounter”…

I kept this one a secret until we pulled into the parking lot 40 miles outside of downtown Miami. I had no idea what to expect. I bought us the feline encounter which was supposed to give us 1hr playing with baby tigers and other cats. Lindsay loves cats.

We played around with two 7-week old baby tiger cubs for 25 minutes. Brother and sister. They were out of control and very, very uncoordinated.

The container to my left is filled with ground horse meat. Imported, if I remember correctly, from Canada. The meat has just the right proportion of protein and fat for the cubs.

Close up of baby tiger.

We also got to play around with a baby black jaguar. He was probably my favorite.

And this little guy, a type of Lynx. He was the bigger (i.e. the oldest) and also the cuddliest. Loved being held like a baby.

Detox and Marathon

Eventually we made our way back to Cape Coral to lay low for a couple of weeks and detox our bodies. We had drank a ton since we began our road trip in late August. Two weeks in the Keys and a couple blow-out nights in Miami had us feeling like a complete pile. Plus we have been training for a marathon since Colombia and it was right around the corner.

Back in August we stopped into a running store in Cape Coral to get new shoes. We asked the owner of that store if she stops drinking alcohol before her races (she was doing triathlon type of races). She said something like “heck no I don’t!” (Lindsay and I were relieved to here this and looked at each other with a little smile). Then the woman continued, “You can have a glass a wine every so often. It’s no big deal. I cut booze out completely six weeks before the race.”  Eeeee….hmmm.  How about we detox for two weeks?

And that is what we did. A detox for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks was our first marathon.

Lindsay was inspired to run this marathon during our hike to Machu Picchu when she learned two others had completed several marathons. She was very casual about it. To the point where I wasn’t believing her. So I bet her that she couldn’t complete a marathon by the end of the year under a 4hr and 20min pace. Once I realized that she was serious I had no choice but to begin the training with her. There is no way I was going to let Lindsay run a marathon faster than I could. Just not going to happen.

Race day came. A brisk 55 degrees in Apalachacola, FL near St. Georges Island. The sun hadn’t risen when the gun went off just after 7am.  The longest we had run prior to the race was 20 miles. And that was hard. But we finished. I came in at 4hrs  0min and 17sec (about 9:11 mile pace) and Lindsay came in a 4hrs 24min and change (about a 10min mile). Did she win the bet —oooooh, so dang close. But that was far from the point by this time. We were so happy to just finish. I felt like an absolute terd after the race. Couldn’t move for 30 minutes. Not only could I not move but I was in pain. Everything from the waist down hurt like a mother.

This is the only pic we have from race day. Right before we took off. All smiles here. But if you would have flash forward to 11:30am this same day you would have seen a couple of grown ups in agony. But nothing that a handful of smooth margaritas couldn’t make feel better.

Thanks to Kendra, Doc & Finnley

In between Cape Coral and Apilachacola we made a pit-stop for a couple of nights to visit Lindsay’s cousin and her family in Gainesville, FL. We had a blast. Were they disappointed that we didn’t have a single beer with them? Yes – sorry about that. We got a great tour of the University of Florida, including their football stadium, had some great dinners and played dress-up with their 4yr old daughter, Finnley.

Lindsay and Finnley dressed up like….gosh…I have no clue what the heck they are. They asked for Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk” to be blasted throughout the house and came out in these outfits dancing like a couple of weirdos. It was a healthy mixture of funny, bizarre and concerning.

Pleased with their previous performance they attempted to one-up themselves with these mardi gras-esque masks. For anyone that has seen Lindsay in a club trying to dance to Usher’s “Yeah!” you will recognize the dance move I captured here…



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