Key West Half Marathon Recap

It's a two sided medal, it's a wine stopper, it's fun and functional.

It’s a two sided medal, it’s a wine stopper, it’s fun and functional.

Ahh, the Florida Keys. Who doesn’t love em? Key West in particular, has always been a magnet to the funky-fresh folks.

Closer to Havana than to Miami.

Closer to Havana than to Miami.

If you haven’t been, well, it’s kind of like a tropical and clean New Orleans. If you haven’t been to New Orleans, well, it’s kind of like an anything-goes sort of haven – full of good food, strong drink, history, openness, tolerance, and zero inhibitions. Both cities were home to pirates, poets, performers, and parties. Needless to say, I love it!!!

Two similar cities. Only separated by 600 miles.

Two similar cities. Only separated by 630 miles.

In case you get lost.

In case you get lost.

And I’m glad to report that the Key West Half Marathon & 5k had the same feel to it that the island has – laid back, scenic, inclusive & fun! Peeps could even register under a “walker division” – can’t get more inclusive than that.

The fun feel starts at the race expo, which was held at a seaside bar and oyster joint…DUH!

Ain't I purdy?

Ain’t I purdy?

I was so excited at the expo, because it meant we got our race shirts! They are so over-the-top amazesauce!!!

The shirts....I heart them!

The shirts….I heart them! And check out those bibs!

And if you’re so inclined, there are plenty of shops next door to load up on souvenirs.

Yeeeeah buoy!

Yeeeeah buoy!

From there, there were plenty of good joints on the island to get your carbo-load on.

Sushi grade raw tuna "nachos"

My sis with our sushi grade raw tuna “nachos”

The eggs in the restaurants were very fresh.

The eggs in the restaurants were very fresh.

The artwork in the eateries was very high brow, as my sis and her bae recognized.

The artwork in the eateries was very high brow, as my sis and her bae recognized.

My sis with some key lime pie, natch.

My sis with some key lime pie, natch.

The whole pie.

The whole pie.

And of course, there were good bevvies to wash it down with…

Key West beer, why not?

Key West beer, why not?

My sis and a Moscow Mule at Louie's Backyard.

My sis and a Moscow Mule at Louie’s Backyard.

Hog's breath is better than no breath at all. So they say.

Hog’s breath is better than no breath at all. So they say.

Anyway, on to the race! It started at 7am over by the boat docks. Very laid back – no formal corrals, no pre-race formalities…

Can you spot me?

Can you spot me? Hint – white Ohio University shirt. Photo courtesy of

I was a little worried going into the race. I was in good shape, but I’d been training in Dallas in 20-30 degree temps. Race morning it was in the 70’s with 90% humidity – 90%!!!!!!!!! OUCH!

IMG_2804But it was time to race, and hahaha, there wasn’t even a race starting horn – Someone must’ve said, “Go.” cause all the sudden, we were off!

I started my gps about a 1/4 mile into the race. My bad.

I started my gps about a 1/4 mile into the race. My bad.

The course took us down famous Duval St., past the Southernmost Point marker, then an out and back along the beach.

Our friend Carrie caught me on the course. Throwin Dueces!

Our friend Carrie caught me on the course. Throwin Dueces! Or maybe quotation marks cause I was feeling “great” in the humidity.

I crossed the 10k mark at 48:34, but it was all I could do to maintain that pace in that humidity. Shortly after, the wheels fell off. I was taking walk breaks to dump cold water on my head at each aid station.

Anyway, on the way back we went past the Hemingway house, the lighthouse, the A1A Mile Marker 0, and through Mallory Square (where everyone goes to watch the sunsets).

Photo I took of one of their famous sunsets.

Photo I took of one of their famous sunsets.

The race eventually ended at the boat docks. But I was really hurting in the humidity. However, I sucked it up the last couple miles to finish at 1:50:00. A full 5 minutes slower than the Dallas Half last month.

At the finish, smiling on the inside.

At the finish, smiling on the inside. Photo courtesy from video from

I was hoping to break 1:40 at this race, but with the humidity, it wasn’t meant to be. I really did push hard though – so much so that I was very sore the next day.

That said, it was the same for everybody out there, and so I was still able to finish 27th in my age group and 201st overall (out of 3-4000 runners)!!!

See, I told you the race ended at the boat docks.

See, I told you the race ended at the boat docks. Sweat much?

Even though I didn’t have the race I hoped for, I still had an absolute BLAST! It was so SCENIC! The volunteers were WONDERFUL! And the post race party was OFF THE CHAIN!

Before we could really get turnt up, I had some other friends and family finishing the race that I went back to root for!

Some friends.

Some friends.

Some family - my ma.

Some family – my ma.

Sister's bae.

Sister’s bae.

My dad's first half marathon!

My dad’s first half marathon!

My sis also ran, but I didn’t get a pic of her finishing. But we did get a selfie with the race announcer. This guy was THE.BEST.MC.EVAH! He was cracking us up with gems like, “This is the best day of our lives!” And I think he called me “dude” when I crossed the finish line.

Michael the Boston radio DJ. Solid dude.

Michael the Boston radio DJ. Solid dude. Perfect match for the Key West laid back attitude.

With everyone finished, it was time to party!!!

We had fun.

We had fun.

Da Key West crew.

Da Key West crew.

The post race concert was Howard Livingston & the Mile Marker 24 Band. I’ve heard him before on Jimmy Buffett’s Radio Margaritaville. Such a great performer!!! He even made us margaritas with a modified boat-motor-blender at one point.

Howard on stage.

Howard on stage.

Did I mention all the beer was FREE?!?! That probably led to us making some new friends. Like when I photobombed some stranger’s selfie because Howard had jumped off stage to be in it!!!

Selfie stick, Howard Livingston, Photobomb.

Selfie stick, Howard Livingston, PirateBobcat Photobomb. Love this pic! Thanks to Elizabeth T.F. for sending it my way.

Hahahaha, the race photog actually got a pic of us taking a pic of ourselves.

Hahahaha, the race photog actually got a pic of us taking a pic of ourselves.

From there it was on to Duval St. where we could proudly display our medals and shirts.

Da Key West Crew all cleaned up.

Da Key West Crew all cleaned up.

Yet another patio bar to celebrate on.

Yet another patio bar to celebrate on. I figured I’d wear loud shorts with my screaming shirt.

The patio drinks led to even more selfies. Well, that and narcissism.

Look, a coconut tree and a coconut head.

Look, a coconut tree and a coconut head.

And I even tried my best to copy RunColbyRun and her high angle, partially-obstructed-face selfies, but I couldn’t master the master.

So sexy.

So sexy.

So to sum up, it was a blasty blast!!! If you are ever thinking of running the Key West Half Marathon, I say DO IT!!!!

And besides, you can’t run all the miles until you run the first one…

Mile Marker 0. Yes, I was in Birkenstocks.

Mile Marker 0. Yes, I was in Birkenstocks.

Good times people, good times all around!

How bout you? Ever run Key West…or do you want to? What do you think of the swag? Ever go on a runcation?


Categories: Concerts, expo, fitfluetial, Fuel (food), Life Times, marathon, Race Recaps, run, Running, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 80 Comments

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80 thoughts on “Key West Half Marathon Recap

  1. Are you KIDDING me? You are a walking/running/drinking/photo taking ad for Key West! I’ve been wanting to go, and actually decided I’d rather go there instead of Hawaii (hello time zone hell), so it’s on my list fo sho! Great race in that humidity! Seriously, awesome job! And how fun!

  2. Awesome job considering the humidity! I’ve never run Key West or even been there (yet). If they keep the running shirts that cool I might have to do it!

  3. When does registration start back up? This looks so fun. And I love the wine stopper idea!

  4. Melissa

    I heart Key West! That race looks like so much fun!

  5. Looks like a blast! Fun pictures and way to go.

  6. Great job despite the humidity. I loved your report. Laid back and funky fresh just like Key West.

  7. That sounds like a fantastic race! I’m so jealous! Glad you had a good time and love all the pictures you took!

  8. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes

    This is awesome. I’ve never run there but I have been to Key West several times when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure I would enjoy it more now as an adult!! I had several friends down there running and was so jealous of you guys all weekend! Looks like a fun family event for you guys!! More partying than running!

    • Thank you!!! Oh yes, Key West will be much different to the adult version of you. Hahaha! I hope you’re friends had fun! And yes, it’s hard to balance the party/running line sometimes. πŸ˜‰

  9. I’ve been waiting for this recap! I’m glad you had a blast…how could you NOT in key West? I would love to do a race there and combine two of my favorite things!

    Also, I bought Birkenstocks for my honeymoon specifically for walking around Key West. I hate wearing shoes in the summer and flip flops have no support.

    • Thanks so much!!! Yes, racing + key west = awesome!!! I hope you get to run it some year!
      Yes, Birks are great. I’ve about worn this pair out. Very smart of you to wear them around KW. I bet you enjoyed it!!!

  10. This looks like so much fun! I’ll have to keep it in mind for a racecation someday. Also, I think it’s awesome that your mom, dad and sis ran too!

  11. Looks like you had a tone of fun!

  12. What a fun weekend! It looks like on big party. A shame that the humidity was so high – yikes. No beuno.

  13. Jen W.

    I ran the Key West half this year, too, and it was freaking awesome. I didn’t realize the humidity was at 90%!!!!! I did great the first 7 miles, but after that, it was a struggle in that heat/humidity. Still, an amazing experience–I’m going back to do it again next year!!!!!

  14. Listen. All I have is the partially obscured high angle selfie. You, my fierce friend, have mastered the Sexy Selfie. Which, I just ain’t got in me. Fun Fact: It’s partially obscured because of the ridiculous scar on my goddamn face from that time I bit it during my last 20-miler before the Vermont City Marathon. True Story. Plastic surgeon next week. Then BRING ON THE SEXY DUCK FACE SELFIE!!!!

    Despite the fact that if was a total Sufferfest, I do believe I am adding this little hot, humid half to my list. It looks like a total blast. Fo. Shizzle. πŸ™‚

    • Hahaha, so true – so sexy! And whaaaaa? Why are you hiding your Harry Potter scar??? Unleash it! PS, sorry about your biting it.
      Yes, do add it to your list. It was so much fun! Totes fo shizzle!!

  15. That shirt is LEGIT and so is that awesome medal! You just sold this race for me. I’ve never been to Key West, but this sounds like the most awesome racecation. Actually I think I’d just go for that pie.

  16. Might I recommend the Keys 100?

  17. Those are tough conditions, good for you for powering through. Looks like even the race itself hit up all the cool spots!

  18. Hello Scott

    Was great to see a fellow OU Alum finish the half marathon. There are few bobcats that have relocated to KW. There just seems to be a similar vibe to Key West and Athens.

    I was the one that shot the picture you saw in the video and here is a link to at it

    Take Care

    Conchtastic Key West

    • Hi there!!! So cool that you’re a Bobcat too! Many of the volunteers on the course told me they were alums too. Ha yes, KW and Athens do have a similar vibe!
      Thanks so much for the pic!!!

  19. Best recap ever. Love your posse. Dying for that medal (although who am I kidding…I never have need for a winestopper.) Loving the vibe of that race. You sold me!

    • Thanks M squared! Hahaha, i don’t think I need a stopper either, so the medal is on the wall with the others. Yay, I hope you get to run it!

  20. Sure looks fun! How cool you had friends and family to share it with πŸ™‚

  21. I LOVE Key West, and this has always been sort of a “bucket list” race for me… and your recap makes me want to to it even more (and recruit my family to join in)! But considering it was 4 degrees when I woke up at home this morning, I’m just not sure how I’d ever train for KW weather…

    • Yes!!! Key West is amazing. It was such a fun time. You should run it and bring all your peeps! Ha, just wear like 12 layers of clothes and go run!

  22. Great race. I’d be happy with a 1:50 anytime. And great photos. Looks like we will be adding this race to your ‘MUST DO’ list.

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  24. This quite possibly is the best, most fun, race recap ever! You look like you had a blast. The race looks like a blast. Key West looks like a blast. I’m sold!

  25. charissarunning

    Woohoo! Glad you had fun. Congrats to everyone on finishing! That medal is awesome!!! I don’t think I’d run a race in the Key West just because I really hate running in the heat and humidity. I prefer to pick cooler races πŸ™‚

    • Thank you!!!!!! Yes, I really wanted that medal and shirt! Yeah, I wasn’t used to the humidity, but they said it’s normally not that high. It’s worth it for the views and attitude tho!

  26. WalkToRio

    Good to know you had a great time!
    If only all races would hand out useful medals, I’d keep all medals or stick around for the award ceremony.
    Gotta love the tshirt too.
    A year ago I went from winter to summer in 12 hours, genius me jumped off the plane and straight to the beach for a 6miler. I walked 2 miles and almost died.
    Never raced in Key West but I’ve partied there.

    • Thanks, it was a blast! Ha, well besides the useful medal, there was free beer and a concert, so it makes it easy to stick around after the race.
      The shirts are epic. I can’t wait to wear it back in Dallas to see what looks I get.
      Haha, yeah, you gotta be careful with the weather changes. I did the same thing when I landed in Florida – went for a run and proceeded to sweat for hours after it was over.
      You partied in KW, eh? It’s a fun place for that!!!

  27. This all looks awesome (well, not the humidity). I’ve been to Key West a couple times, but just for the day. This makes me want to go back–scenery and seafood are two of my favorite things.

    • This was about the highest humidity we’ve seen in the last 17 years! Most of the time it’s 60-65 with about 20% humidity….

      • Yeah, there’s nothing you can do about the weather come race day. But you could do a lot worse – I ran a race 2 years ago in Dallas that was in the 30’s and pouring rain – that was miserable!

    • Thanks! It was pretty awesome! I was like you – had only been to KW one time for one day. So glad to have enjoyed almost a week there! You should go back!

  28. Funny I always say NoLA is Key West’s dirty drunk uncle πŸ™‚ Great recap!

  29. Helen Kwiat

    Enjoyed reading your recap of the race. I’m an official conch and returned to do this race again. Loved it even with the crazy weather hot, then windy, then rain, then cool, then warm up again! I took the Hindu out to enjoy the sunset after the race on Saturday and suggest that for you next time. Hope to meet you next year!!!

    • Thanks so much! Hahaha, yeah, the weather did fluctuate quite a bit that morning. Thanks so much for the offer!!!! I hope to make it back next year and to meet y’all!

  30. The way you write it, sounds like a party!! I guess that is Florida πŸ˜€ Glad you had a good time, I’m impressed with 1:50 in the humidity…I made it 3 miles once in Florida and that was enough for me! I just learned what “bae” was like 2 weeks ago, I thought it was still my “boo”…I feel so dated! Congrats on another half!!

    • Ha, it was a total party!!! Thanks so much! I went for a few runs in the days leading up to the race once we got in town – I definitely wasn’t used to the warmth coming from 20 degree temps in Dallas. Hahaha, glad I could edumacate you about the latest slang – I’m terribly hip. πŸ˜‰

  31. This was my third year in a row running Key West…coming from Boston (cold temps), I always use this as an easy training run (even though it never really feels super easy). I ran about 1:53…far from a pr…but it’s always a blast. When you look at the winning time of 1:22, it sort of put things into perspective – oh the humidity. I chafed in places I didn’t know possible ;P I had planned to run the remaining four days I was down there…but yeah, that didn’t happen (#marathontrainingfail). Glad you had a great time – it always takes me a few days to recover from my trip to Key West.

    • Very cool! And smart of you to use it as a training run. Yes, I looked at the leaders when they came back from the out and back – they seemed to be fighting it like the rest of us. Ahh well, you can’t control the weather. At least we can control having a good time! Ha, yeah, I also took a few days off after – I was pretty sore the day after – shows how hard we were working. But walking around the island the next few days helped me recover. But yeah, I totally needed a few days to recover from the vacation!!!

  32. I love that this was a family affair and while you didn’t hit your goal, you had a blast and that is really what it’s all about! I haven’t been to Key West yet, but key lime pie is my fav dessert, so I really need to get there!

    • Thank you! My bro was supposed to come too, but had to cancel – would’ve had the whole clan there! And you’re right, it’s all about having a good time! I think I told you that I thought of you as we ate the key lime pie – you need to go there and get some. It was delish – our fave was at Blue Heaven.

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  34. getgoing-getrunning

    Looks friggin’ awesome! Can’t wait to be there next week for Ragnar!

  35. Amazing recap! All the colors, food and fun. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  36. Wow – great job, especially considering that heat/humidity! Glad you were still able to have a fun time. It looks like it was a blast! And that’s so great that you ran with your family!!

  37. Sounds like a fun time! Although I’m suspecting that “fun” is your middle name.

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