Ahh, the Florida Keys. Who doesn’t love em? Key West in particular, has always been a magnet to the funky-fresh folks.
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!!!
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!
I was so excited at the expo, because it meant we got our race shirts! They are so over-the-top amazesauce!!!
And if you’re so inclined, there are plenty of shops next door to load up on souvenirs.
From there, there were plenty of good joints on the island to get your carbo-load on.
And of course, there were good bevvies to wash it down with…
Anyway, on to the race! It started at 7am over by the boat docks. Very laid back – no formal corrals, no pre-race formalities…
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!
But 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!
The course took us down famous Duval St., past the Southernmost Point marker, then an out and back along the beach.
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).
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.
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)!!!
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!
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.
With everyone finished, it was time to party!!!
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.
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!!!
From there it was on to Duval St. where we could proudly display our medals and shirts.
The patio drinks led to even more selfies. Well, that and narcissism.
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 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…
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?