Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bienvenidos a Miami

There are often times I run through Miami and think about how lucky I am. For all the bitching I do about this city and the weather (I do much more than you guys ever hear about, trust me), Miami has some pretty spectacular running routes. Filled with beautiful tropical foliage, ocean views, ginormous homes, incredible cityscapes and very interesting people watching, a run around this town is always an experience.

I have always thought it would be cool to document some of these runs, especially my favorite 20 mile route. So after getting inspired by creative posts from runners like Angie and Dori , I decided to grab my camera one day and drive the route so you can all see the areas I run every Saturday.

In the immortal words of William Smith, "Welcome to Miami!"

My favorite 20 mile run is an out and back from my house, past the University of Miami, through Coconut Grove, down Bayshore Blvd, across the Rickenbacker Bridge and then back. Since it's an out and back route, I'll show you what it looks like from mile 10 to mile 20.

This is the view from the turnaround at mile 10 on Key Biscayne just past the Miami Seaquarium. On weekends its flooded with bikers and runners and will keep you out of breath just from all the "Good mornings".
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The bridge looks daunting (and it's hard if you're not prepared), but the pain is pretty much worth the view.
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This is the view from the top overlooking back onto Key Biscayne.
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Here is the old fishing pier that runs along the underside of the bridge. No matter what time of the day or night, there will be a ton of people fishing off this thing. It's really pleasant on the old nostrils as you're breathing heavily after schlepping up the big-ass bridge. Mmmmmm...dead bait rotting in the rising sun! GOOD MORNING! Who needs coffee and bacon?
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At the foot of the bridge, we run along the causeway which gives an awesome sea-level view of the water on one side...
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...and a view of the city on the other.
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Downtown Miami is lined with giant office buildings and condos. The building in the middle of this shot is the Atlantis Condo, made famous in the opening sequence of Miami Vice.
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Once we exit off the causeway we're are done with Key Biscayne.
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Past the old Miami Seaquarium sign, there is a private pedestrian entrance to Brickell Avenue between the trees.
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This is my favorite street on the run. It is lined with huge trees, beautiful homes to gawk at and there are usually no cars!
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There is a great park on this road where early morning bikers meet up as well as pick-up basketball stars. There is also a water fountain and a potty! Woo-hoo!
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At the edge of Brickell Avenue is Sylvester Stallone's old house. Various running clubs usually set up a water stop in front of it. Apparently back in the day when he lived here and Madonna lived a few doors down, it was quite the happening street. Rumor has it, Will and Jada Smith live here now, but I have have never seen them, so who knows.
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Coming out of Brickell Ave, we pass by the Vizcaya Mansion and Gardens, then it is a long trek down Bayshore Blvd. This is the stretch of the run where you are most likely to get run over by drunken fools leaving the Grove early in the A.M.
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As we wind up Bayshore Blvd. we pass many markets, restaurants, condos and marinas before we get to Coconut Grove.
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Around mile 5/15 is the main pedestrian mall in Coconut Grove, called CocoWalk. This is another great bathroom stop because it is always open and clean. There is also water, which we looooove in Miami.
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Next we head out of the Grove past the shops and restaurants, down Old Main Highway.
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Old Main Highway is a beautiful stretch lined with old banyan trees that swoop over the road. The only downside is that people drive like maniacs down this road and if you're running it in the dark (which we always do in the morning) there is not a lot of light which makes it real easy to trip over the big banyan roots that jutt out of the ground. Its a good place to break and ankle and get hit by late night drunks. But it sure is pretty!
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Then there is a little church along this road that has a ton of peacocks that hang around outside. Awwww...
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Off of Main Highway we turn onto Douglas Rd. Seeing this condo is a sign we are leaving the grove and close to our last water stop. You can't tell by this picture, but whoever lives in the top-left-hand-side of this biulding has one hell of a view.
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Off of Douglas we turn onto Edgewater. This is my least favorite stretch of the run coming back. It is on a slight uphill and I know at the top there is a park with our water stop, therefore, this road always feels like it takes FOREVER.
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At the end of Edgewater is what is simply known to the runners and bikers in Miami as "The Circle". It is a park where our running group Footworks, puts out water and Accelerade on Saturday mornings, so it is always filled with people refueling for the rest of their journey. It sits on a canal on the edge of a huge roundabout surrounded by beautiful homes. Twice I have stood at this spot, drinking my water while stretching, and noticed families of Manatees swim by.
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After the break at the circle there is only 2.5 miles left to go. This street is hard at the end because the sun is usually up by now and blazing and there is little shade to cool you off. But that's ok, because usually by this time I am delerious and don't even notice!
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Next we have to cross US1 to get over to the University of Miami. Traffic on this road is insane so it a little scary, but surprisingly not hard to cross. Luckily after this the traffic dies down a bit since we are in smaller neighborhoods.
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Once we cross US 1 we head up to our last mile. As we turn onto the road that runs along campus (also part of my weekly 6 mile runs) we pass the UM baseball field and run along the meters that line the intramural fields and athletic center.
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See the little, yellow fire hydrant? That is a glorious sight to behold since it marks not only the start of our street, but also the end of our 20 mile run (or 18, 16. etc...). Woo-Hoo!
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Then it's a shuffle down our street to get home cause don't you know it, we live on the VERY LAST HOUSE on the block. It is usually a great way to cool down, but after 20 miles, who are we kidding? We just want someone to carry us home.
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There you have it folks! Hope you enjoyed your 20 mile run through Miami with me. Trust me, it's much nicer to sit in your air-conditioned offices/living rooms/bedrooms and look at it online than it is to actually try and run the thing through sweltering Miami summer mornings. But if you're ever in the area and want to experience it, let me know! We are always looking for more people to join us!

15 comments:

P.O.M. said...

I love the photo tour! And congrats on the 20. Isn't it funny/great/weird that people come to your town for a vacation? I know I did once. People come to my town for a vaca too. Damn tourists. ha ha

Taryn said...

Very fun! Thank you tour-guidess-Laurel!

You definitely have a lot to see on that 20 miler, some painful looking tree-less patches, and some gorgeous views!

(& I love Banyan trees too!)

Leah said...

Very cool! You have inspired me now to do a photo tour. Of course I feel like I should look for a more interesting route than I had originally planned :)

Sonia said...

Nice route! I'm so jealous of all those palm trees! It seems like such a great place to live =)

Tall Girl Running said...

Oh, Laurel... those pictures are breathtaking! From someone who's never spent a significant amount of time near an ocean, I was practically salivating. I think if I ever visited Miami, I'd torture myself on that bridge over and over again just to get the feeling of running near the ocean. Thanks for sharing those!

IrishBlue said...

Can I come live with you? I'm very neat and clean and I can cook.

Wow, that's some route. I love the pic of your favorite street, wouuld be my choice too.

FYI - Ohio might be a bit of a scenic downer...hee, hee. Luckily, you'll be going to fast to care.

Marcy said...

Ooooooooooooooo my fav. A photo tour!! Gosh, I don't know. I think I'd be willing to trade in the cooler temps and less humidity for those views. So nice.

See Zanne Run said...

those are great shots! i have been meaning to do this too - also inspired by angie. you've got some great views - thanks for sharing!

RunningCrazyAfter3 said...

What a beautiful place to run! 20 miles here would not be anything to post pictures about :P Oh, who am I kidding. Just reading about running 20 miles wears me out.

Jess said...

Lovely pics! You live in a great part of Miami.

Runner Gal Leana said...

Wow, I love the photo tour! All that scenery must help the miles fly by a bit better. That is a terrific idea, and one I'll have to try in the future.

ws said...

well, I'm late to the commenting game on this one - thanks for the picture tour of Miami. I recall some places from the marathon but at the beginning I was just hoping the ran would stop...

I hope your taper is going well.

Dori said...

Great pictures! I was in Miami once, but all I saw was South Beach. I didn't realize how much I had missed. Thanks for the shout out.

condo Philippines said...

What a stunning condo building in Downtown Miami.

Paula M

John C said...

Love the Pictures,Miami is my Hometown,brings back alot of memories.I used to cycle down the road next to Viscaya.You mentioned the old Sylvester Stallone house,well before it was his house it beloned to the heires of the Viscaya estate.When they donated Viscaya to Dade County they kept that portion of the property to build a house to live in. I also loved the ride over the bridge over to Key Biscayne,made it many times

 
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