“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Key West Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
I really don’t know where to start with this one. If you have been reading along, you know that I was headed here…so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. I just had such a great time, I am not sure I can capture it all in this post. I could just copy/paste my friend Amy’s blog, but I am not moving soon….anyway here goes…grab some snacks and enjoy.
ROAD TRIP…yep a 25 hour, 1633 mile journey by car. (and yes I just got back from Tampa)
WEDNESDAY January 11, 2017
I grabbed my travel partner and we took off around 3:30pm. We had extra time to take the trip to Florida in 3 days. We stopped in Cadiz, KY for the night and met an interesting character upon check in to our hotel. Xilver…he told us all about his youtube channel.
THURSDAY January 12, 2017
We dined on the finest of hotel breakfasts…cereal…while we waited for the coffee to brew. Then out of no where this old lady comes in, hovers over the coffee pot and waits for the last drip, then fills her giant thermo-pot thing and leaves the empty carafe back on the hot burner. NO COFFEE FOR ME! Who does that?!?!? We spotted her outside when we left with a bag full of hotel ice too. UGH!
Today’s road trip plan was to make it to GA, where we would stay with family and catch the Iowa basketball game against Purdue. We stopped at a Waffle House and had to get through Atlanta, otherwise it was an eventful day.
FRIDAY January 13, 2017
We woke early to get back on the road. We had to make a stop in Miami Beach, to pick up Kate and Amy… you should remember them from the One City Marathon. They are always up for adventure.
The traffic in Miami was bad! We picked up the beach bums around 3:30pm, made a pit stop at McDonald’s and were on our way to Key West, where we would arrive around 9pm.
After checking in at The Inn at Key West, Kate, Amy and I went to find supper. We ended up at a place with karaoke. I ordered coconut shrimp, YUM! Then we topped the night off with our first slice of Key Lime pie. It was decent.
SATURDAY January 14, 2017
Amy and I woke up early to get a run in. Amy is training for a Texas Marathon, so I was like, sure I could go for a run. We ended up with 4.5 miles. It was nice to adapt to the weather too, it was humid!
Next we rented some cruising bikes from the hotel, we cruised on down to the race expo. It was held at a brewery. It was kind of crowded, so after getting our race packet, we walked next door to Turtle Kraals for lunch.
We dined al fresco, and watched the boats in the marina.The waiter, Zack was very energetic. I got the most delicious fish tacos and a strawberry mojito. Kate and I topped off our meal with key lime pie slice #2.
The day continued with some more cruising around the island. We stopped at the southern most point, the mile 0 marker, passed Hemingway’s house, and ended up on Higg’s Beach for some relaxation. Kate grabbed a coconut at the nearby vendor, complete with a straw. It was then time for the sunset.
After a play by play of the sunset…mostly commentary by Kate, we cruised by the giant Conch statue at the high school and made our way back to the hotel. I was kind of keeping track via my Garmin, but we biked a good 8 miles or so.
SUNDAY January 15, 2017
Later that evening, Kate, Amy and I walked to the nearby stone crab restaurant. We learned that stone crab is 100% sustainable, then ordered our meals. I ended up with a shrimp pasta, Amy had a ravioli dish, and Kate ordered her first steamer pot. Oh was that fun, I thought I was going to get crab leg juice squirted on me across the table. Of course, we capped off the night with key lime pie slice #3. It was not my fave, there was chocolate sauce under the slice.
It was race day! Please check out my review on bibrave.com for all the facts from the race.
Amy woke up early to run some extra miles before the race. I was like, you are on your own…see you at the starting line. I had a Nugo Dark Bar for breakfast, and brewed some crappy coffee in the hotel room. I caught the hotel shuttle to the race start with my road trip partner, she was running the 5k. The shuttle cost us $5 each, but there really wasn’t any parking options, and we didn’t want to bike there.
We made it to the start with plenty of time, but finding gear check consumed most of it. I saw Amy, but she had to potty, so I walked to the back of the starting pack. This is where I met Bibrave Pro Lex. We chatted for a bit, and then the race was on.
I really didn’t have a huge goal, just do better than the last race. I had been training at my gym to simulate the warmth, but I totally forgot about the humidity. I did fine, but it was sweaty. The course was cool too, lots of time along the water, even saw some chickens.
When I passed Amy in the out and back section, she had been struggling with some random hamstring pain… I worried if she would finish, but then thought better of that, she’s a BAMF… I knew I would see her at the finish.
My only issue really was the aid station people calling the electrolyte drink on the course Gatorade…it was not, it was Ultima, as published on the Key West facebook page. I also drink enough Gatorade that I could taste the difference. However, I didn’t have any food with me, so I needed the calories. By the last one, I was just not having it and the sweetener aftertaste.
I crossed the finish line in a time near 2:21, better than the Spring Hill half I ran 2 weeks prior, I’ll take it! I spotted my friend who ran the 5k, she was sporting an age group medal!!! Then we saw Amy, already drinking a beer, lol. This is when Amy told us to look at the long food line and to go grab ourselves a beer, so we could drink it while we waited in the food line. She’s a wise cookie!
The food line did go quick, or maybe it was because I was drinking. Once we got to the food, there was cantelope, oranges, bananas, pastries, cornbread and bagels. There were bottles of water in ice tubs nearby. As we were chatting, we spotted Lex, and talked about our races.
Our food trays were empty, as well as our beer glasses. We went to get more beer and they told us they were out of the IPA we were drinking. We opted for the pilsner…it wasn’t my favorite, but craft beer at the finish line, I am not going to complain.
We danced to the live band, they were great. They mixed up margaritas on stage with an outboard motor. Amy won a raffle prize as we partied, it was cool. We might have been overserved, every time there was no line to the beer, they told us to get another one. They had 35 kegs!! This post race party was a great time!
The sun was cooking us, and we were all hungry. We walked over to Turtle Kraals – I mentioned it above, and ordered french fries. We even saw waiter, Zack. Those fries were sooo good. After some shopping around, we thought maybe we should get a ride back to the hotel. Then out of no where, there was Kate…seriously we were walking towards the street and she turned the corner in the car.
Kate had plans…. we drove to Kermits and I hopped out of the car to get key lime pie slice #4. Then she google mapped us to Blue Heaven for key lime pie slice #5.
We made it back to the hotel pool and redeemed the free rum punch that was included with our stay. We also ate pie. Slice #4 was decent, and slice #5 had meringue, I did not care for it, it was like an egg white omelet on top of the pie. I was toast after this and needed a nap, so I went back to the room to crash.
After a much needed break (and a trip to Publix to grab some Waterfront beers to take home), we all convened in the hotel lobby and got back on our cruiser bikes.
We were on our way to Mallory Square. This is where they say you should watch the sunset. We were a little late, and it wasn’t too spectacular. However we had a good time, and found Kate, she went kayaking and was drinking from a pineapple.
Santa had given Amy a gift certificate to Kelly’s… as in Kelly McGillis, you know from the movie Top Gun. She has a restaurant in Key West.
I ordered the yellow tail snapper, with a coconut crust, it was really good!!!! The ladies also ordered something native to the area. The food was good until we got to key lime slice #6. It was advertised as black bottom pie, or something…well it had an Oreo crust, that should have been our first sign. IMO the crust is not the show on this pie….it also had some raspberry sauce on it too, it was the worst slice we tried.
After dinner, we cruised down Duval St, then made our way back to the hotel. We had to round up our things to get ready to make the trek back home the next day. It was the first time all trip we turned on the TV, we were introduced to Cook or Con on the Food Network, LOL.
MONDAY January 16, 2017
It was an early wake up, but we all manage some how. The plan was to drop off Kate and Amy back in Miami Beach, as their flights home weren’t until later. My travel partner and I wanted to see how far we could get, we were hoping for Atlanta.
We should have seen the plan unraveling when we stopped at the DD, the service was soooo slow, so we left. Eventually Amy and I got Starbucks, and we also stopped at a local Cuban coffee place on the way, grabbing pie slice #7. This was pie on a stick, dipped in chocolate. As much as I disliked the chocolate on the previous slices, this was pretty tasty.
Then the time got away from us as we stopped for pie slice #8. We were at the Midway Cafe, it is the midway point between mainland FL and Key West, 80 miles in each direction.
The line to order was long, and we couldn’t just budge to get a slice to go….so we waited and waited…and all I could think is we have to get on the road. The rush was because we needed to be back Tuesday night, as my travel partner needed to get to work at a decent time on Wednesday.
The wait was worth it! Best slice all trip! This slice had an actual pie crust, the pie was frozen, then topped with a thinner layer of meringue. Ahhh, pie…. ok back on the road.
We tossed Amy and Kate at the beach… really, we mapped to the beach, they got their things and we left… ok, it was sad, and I would miss my friends, but we were back on I-95.
The rest of the day wasn’t really that eventful. We started the book “My Life on The Run” by Bart Yasso, and we stopped to grab some fresh oranges. There was a pit stop in GA, and we finally checked into a hotel in Macon around 10pm. This hotel clerk didn’t give us any tips to watch youtube, but she did say she was familiar with my last name…which is rare.
TUESDAY January 17, 2017
We were up and ready to go, but first we dined on the hotel breakfast. It was decent, and there was coffee, and no old lady stole it all. In fact there were a lot of men, from some sort of construction crew, and we all ate breakfast in peace, lol.
We checked out and were on the road at 6:15 am, the good news is we would gain another hour going back to the central time zone. The trip through Atlanta was the biggest hangup, but that’s normal.
Once we got to Kentucky, we noticed something odd. A few of the overpasses were lined with utility trucks and people. Some of those trucks had giant flags raised in the air. We also came across some utility trucks with a police escort. After some googling, this is what I found.
Lunch was a stop at Subway. We finished the Bart Yasso book, and then found some tunes to keep us awake. There really wasn’t too much that happened on the return trip back. Saint Louis was a breeze, and the boring drive on 218 was boring.
We made it back to Iowa City around 7:48pm. Another successful road trip in the books. So that next time someone thinks you are crazy for driving 5 hours to a race, tell them about that one time I drove to Key West.
I can’t wait for my next adventure. Hope my friends will be up for it too.