Disclaimer: I received free entry to Key West Half Marathon race 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!
My initial post about this awesome race was promoting as a destination race, and it was totally on point. As a born and raised Floridian there isn’t much I don’t like about my state. I know there are plenty of things to not like about Florida, but you can’t deny that we’ve got some great scenery.
For this race I asked my mom to come with me for some fun mother-daughter time. She grabbed a hotel, I’m sorry motel for us in Marathon, which was still a drive for us on race morning, but worked out just fine.
We headed down early Saturday morning in hopes that we would have some time to explore Key West. It had been a while since either one of us visited! The drive was nice, though Florida traffic is an entity in itself so it obviously took us longer than expected.
Grabbing my bib was easy (besides a mistake on my part) and we were free to walk around and hang out. Luckily we’d been having some excellent “winter” weather and it wasn’t too hot. We had lunch at a little hole in the wall pub close to packet pick-up, drove around a bit, and then headed back to our motel. Again: traffic in Florida.
Back at our room I prepped my outfit, snacks, and myself. I was sorely under-trained for this race and it definitely showed on race day, but I was determined to make the best of it.
We arrived early to the race with plenty of time for coffee and breakfast, plus a couple of trips to the bathroom. The sun was just starting to come up as we began the race so I knew things were going to warm soon. I’d hydrated with Nuun the day before and was feeling pretty up to whatever the humidity might do.
I started off strong enough with some decent intervals. I knew I wasn’t going to push myself and didn’t really set a time goal for the race. I just wanted to not be the last person finished. Seemed like a decent goal right?
The city was beautiful as we ran down the streets and I tried to take in as many sites as possible. The buildings were all so cute and running through the neighborhoods was a great way to see all the chickens hanging out. (I mean it.)
Once we hit the beach the sun was out in full force and I was thankful I’d remembered to put on sunscreen. Water and electrolytes were available at nearly every mile along with Stinger gel for energy. I grabbed a couple, but only ate my Stinger chews while on the run.
This was a super easy and flat course and for that I was thankful. We ran on the road for the most part, but at the turnaround ended up on the sidewalk near the water. Everything seemed super organized and safe. There were a ton of volunteers directing runners and giving out water, too. For the most part I felt okay. I stopped thinking about my pace around mile six and just decided to do what my body could. By mile ten I was walking a lot and definitely struggling to finish.
I saw a friend who’d ran the 5K downtown just as I was coming into mile twelve. She’d messaged me and I managed a wave as I struggled by her. I was texting my running buddy, boyfriend, and mom at this point so I had plenty of encouragement. By that time I just ready to finish, though!
My mom was waiting at the finish line (and took a picture of half of me) coming around the corner. I grabbed my medal, a beer, and took a break before we began our touristy things. Since we’d checked out of our hotel at 4AM I found a nice little place for brunch (and to change my clothes in) and we settled in for a little drive around the island (and all other islands before heading home).
This was a tough race for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve got into a race completely unprepared and I was definitely disappointed with myself. In March, Michelle and I will be running the New York City Half Marathon, so I know I’ve got to get my butt in gear.
Despite my own mistakes, this was an amazing race. The course was great, the view was perfect. 10/10 would recommend. Okay, the drive kind of sucks, but the rest was amazing.