Running And Sucking Up The Miami Heat In Oleta River State Park

Two weeks and two days ago I woke up feeling refreshed, even after an evening of calisthenics, yoga, and the likes (a bit of cross-training activities lately), and a run all over Oleta River State Park in North Miami Beach.   Oh man, I love that place!  Miami, a vibrant hub of Latin America.  Dazzling hot but tolerated well by the locals.  This, they tell me, readily distinguished the local from the tourist, visitors, and wanna-bees.

I’ve dreamed of living in MIA since my parents brought my siblings and I to the USA.  So, one day I just got tired of the seasons in Alabama (especially the winter),  jumped up and moved there.   Let me tell you, Miami is HOT (weather, and everything else…you know what I mean).  It’s a sexy city, fluent in the Arts.  There is a conglomerate of cultural mix with their music oozing through the airways making one feel spellbound. You may chose to listen to Latin, Reggae,  Haitian Creole (Zouk)  and other genre like country (yeah, you’ll find it here too), smooth rock, and that enchanting rhythm they call jazz.  It makes me feel voodoo vulnerable.  I especially like El Sol radio station.  I find that they play more of that intoxicating Salsa music I love than any other Latin station.   In Miami, many DJ’s have found their spot in the lime light and are doing their ting thing (you know what I mean MON?). But enough about the music.  As much as I love music, I have to remember that this blog is about running.  So, let me get down to it.

ENTRANCE TO OLETA RIVER STATE PARK, NORTH MIAMI BEACH

Before my run, I had a total body stretch (just kidding—but I did stretch some vital parts).  Really, I did some range of motion on my feet, and a bit of stretching on the calves.  Recent research on running suggests that stretching may be beneficial but not a necessity (especially for the rookie like me).  It may cause some or more damage to soft tissue instead.  Don’t you love how when it comes to exercise, health and these sort of things, research tends to change as frequently as the next best yo-yo diet?  Something may be good for you today, but the second you blink?  Change.  So I did a brief period of stretched to relieve my anxiety (old school-way) and did some range of motion because I was feeling slightly sore and my left ankle has been bothering me a tad bit

SURVEYING THE AREA
Just the place you’d like to remember later
CANOE RENTALS

After that warm up stretch, I surveyed a part of the 1,043 acres of land on Oleta River State Park, and decided to begin my run towards their 1200 feet sandy beach.  The terrain of the road I took was rocky/sandy.  Lots of medium size gravels which were a bit fastidious because I did start my run with my Vibrams (near barefoot) shoes.

LOTS OF GRAVEL ON  THE ROAD

It was hot as a cow’s urine, but I managed to make it to the little beach in good good timing and spirit.  The view was absolutely beautiful!  Lots of boaters, water sporting, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, biking, partying, and drinking-beer going on.  Pass one nah? just kidding.  I am one of those cant-hold-adrink-to-save-my-life RN.  As I mentioned earlier, I found there to be lots of gravels on dirt road to the beach, and I stepped on a big rock that had me worried.  Pain.  YEAH I SAID IT!  PAIN!!!   You see, it’s a bad idea running and boatgazing and sky-gazing (my head ripping a million miles above the clouds).  Prior to the pain, my run was effortless and I was taking in everything with all of my senses.  The space within my view was delicately beautiful.  The temperature? Well, not so good—about 90 something degrees, muggy, and not a breeze in the blessed sky. I mean, the tree limbs seemed to have had that medical condition called rigor mortis.  But I was doing my thing until that pain.  Then I stopped, removed the shoe (No bleeding. No swelling.  No discoloration), band aided that bugger,  and I was off to find the little strip of beach in that awesome park.

WHERE THE BAD-BOY BOATERS HANG/SWIM

Now there!  I arrived to the beach and found lots of young families out with their children chilling in the hot-Sun (I know…that last sentence was in-congruent).  One little girl was having it out with her daddy.  The situation appeared distressing for both parties.  She wanted it her way or no way.  I was trying to pay attention and take in the whole scene (feeling safe that there were no gravels and stones in my way).  Daddy’s bottom lip was longer than a dolphin’s beak.  You go baby-girl!  It’s a baby’s world.  No one wants to listen to a wailing child under the hot-as-sin Sun!  No way!  So baby diva got her way.

 
NECESSARY BEACH STUFF
 PLEASE COME FOR ME!!!
NAP TIME?

The only disappointing thing I found with the little beach,was that the sand was not as abundant and as white as I’d expected it to be.  But the ambiance was great, and it was not overpopulated.  Just a few young families with babies and small children spreaded out in the sea and basking in the hot Sun. I imagine it would have been a good place for a band playing Sesame Street music music.

Soon, I found myself as thirsty as a Pakistani camel, so I headed back on the trail in hopes of finding a water fountain on the way.  I kept running, and running, and running, and soon passed several folks out barbequing  and drinking.  Heavy alcohol and a blasting heat is a good recipe for a stoke, and I wasn’t trying to find me a patient, so I ran the opposite direction.  I found a few spots where if I had the company I’d invited, we could share a grilled veggie burger or something, but the heat was too much for this local, and he claimed he was so out of shape, that his belly would drag on the ground.  Joker!  Anyways, I have a soft and forgiving heart, and so I sucked it up and kept my mind focused on the road ahead in hopes of finding a water fountain to avoid plunging in the Oleta River like a mule out of control.

PASS THE BEACH AND BACK ON TRAIL

As you can guess, I followed the dry- wind-depleted- muggy- rock-laden- trail ahead, trying not to burn myself to a charcoal-crisp black, neither catch a heat stroke.  I was hoping to catch a glimpse of a few wild flowers along the way.   The park personnel at the entrance only handed out biking trail maps, and this trail was nowhere on the map so I kept running.  Running la ‘vida loca,’ barely alive, until I reached a T-junction in the road that leaded me to a paved road. I stopped with my tongue hanging down my neck and asked a local the quickest way back to the entrance, and I ran the direction he pointed me to.  By then the heat was pounding down on me, and I was drenched with sweat.  I was loosing a lot of water.  With my eyes, I imagined, protruding like that of a bumblebee, I scoped every inch of that park within my blurry sight,  and still I found no water fountain.  When I reached the parking lot, I slipped in that highly radiating car grabbed hold of that hot pineapple flavored coconut water I had earlier purchased and gulped half of it down.  It tasted like a bad potion made in an illegal vitamin lab. I looked to my left, then right, north, south, and the only water I could spot was a nearby biker washing off his beloved bike at a bike-wash station!  Man, did I covet that water falling on that bike.  I was trying to hold on to the last thread of class I had and did manage to hold my peace approaching the lady then with my tongue hanging down my breasts, “Any water fountains around here?” I asked.  She pointed to the building I earlier told you is just the place you’d like to remember later, and said I can purchase water there.  I dragged myself for what it seemed like another 2 miles up the stairways, and with my heart feeling like it’s in SVT (supraventricular tachycardia), I almost collapsed in front of the vending machine to purchase water and an electrolyte replacement drinks.


I quickly headed outside for some cool air (“You must be kidding!”) and jugged both beverages down without taking a breath (well, almost), then soon discovered two water fountain in the corner, at opposite side of the vending machine.  I was so blinded by thirst that I failed to spot these water fountains and needlessly spent a couple of hard earn dollars ($3.00 really) in this awful recession.  Just a nurse’s luck!  But, I did take advantage of the water fountains afterwards.  I had my fill of this precious substance that makes up 70% of our body weight, and headed out the door to meet my maker resume the one woman’s struggle.

A big Wild Grape tree

While resuming my run, I felt so tired and common sense depleted that I forgot to to ask the store clerk which would be the best route to take in order to finished my run. Instead, I ran to my car, changed my running shoes to my Nike Pegasus, looked to the right, left, north, south, and headed south.   The Sun felt like it was drawing angry graffiti on my skin  and I felt a few bad vibes coming my way when I looked up to the sky (“You Jackass!”), but I overrode those vibes and skippidy-do-da myway down the road feeling like all God’s children’s got shoes, and a battle to fight.  The view was bright and spectacular, but no sooner than a good mile down the road did I become blinded in sweat once again.  My desire was to run about 10 miles around and about this park, but I was groping…and gaspsing…and sweating…and sipping on that electrolyte replacement that then tasted like horse excrement gone real bad.

So, I stopped, surveyed the land and continued down the road with my heart pounding in my throat, water bottle empty…and .horse urine electrolyte drink?  Well, I had to take it easy on this stuff to avoid puking.  My five senses were screamin at me, begging me to turn back around, but a hard-core nurse is a sucker for punishment.

So I said a prayer and continued my course.  “THIS RUN IS FOR THE MAD FOLKS WHO HATE GIVING UP,” I said to myself.  The road was wide and sandy.  I passed a few camp out places like a youth park and a houses with a do not enter/no trespassing sign.  You guessed it.  I was tempted to knock on a door to see if these Southern folks would have any mercy and render some Southern hospitality on a dehydrated near dead nurse.  NO TRESPASSING means just that:  no soliciting, no begging, no bugging, no bumming.  So I stooped down low, caught a breath, said another prayer (well, they say you should get low when you are praying.  Not sure why.  But I know that stooping down low also help the blood return quicker to the heart and makes it made me catch my breath a bit better).

Seven miles later, after getting lost on a dangerous narrow biking trail which I failed to recognize (almost got wiped off the road by two avid bikers) while trying to find a short-cut back to the car in the parking lot by the building I said you would want to remember, I finally came to my wretched senses and  headed back the same
way I got there.  YEAH!  So much for a hard core nurse.  Living in San Jose, California for a year spoiled me quite well.  Oh how I longed for a good chilled air my way.  Most of the parks which I’ve run in San Jose had water fountains to spare and maybe to donate to beautiful hot MIA.  But I ripped my thoughts off the negative and brought in a Zen moment by concentrating on the bounties of the land.  This place may not have much water fountains to take a sip of that life saving substance H20 (well, I guess they figure, there is the Oleta River you may dip in) , but there are lots of wild grapes, Vitamin D (from the Sunshine–which many of us are very deficient in and which they say may help prevent many chronic diseases) and beautiful wild flowers to help distract one from keeling up or falling face down in the beautiful white sand.

So I took the last swig of that boiling hot electrolyte replacement tea and found my way at the outer perimeter of the park, followed another road back (not even sure which one it was) and luckily made it back to the car with all my members intact (so I thought).

OYE!!!  I remember this is why I took travel assignments away from the MIA during the months of July, August, and September.  They are the hottest months of the seasons.  Lesson learned once again.  So if you are a freak for the heat, this place is just what the doctor will prescribe to you. But it will come with about 20 pages of legal jargon and disclaimers!

 

OYE!  I have to come back to MIA.  This place would not make me rest!  The culture, the music, the food, the people.  A Latino Americano hub for things exotic,  nice, wild, and beautiful. Look for more on a crazy nurse running and sucking up the heat in MIAMI.