Saturday, February 1, 2014

13.1 Things I Learned at the Key West Half Marathon

On January 19 I ran the Key West Half Marathon, my 8th half. I had trained and was ready for it, and a few weeks before the race my husband (who was not trained or ready) decided to run it with me, god bless him. My 40th birthday was in December, so a trip to the Keys was the perfect bday getaway. Nothing makes me feel young and happy like tooling around Key West with no agenda (other than the race), good friends (who joined us for the trip), full belly laughs, and a cocktail-filled Tervis.
Along the way, I noticed 13.1 things that seemed share-worthy, so here goes . . .
  1. Distance runners are a work hard/play hard group. In 96 hours I saw 2,000 people take over this tiny island and drink, run, puke, hydrate, and repeat. I like this crowd.
  2. There should be a Race Course Cheering Code. If you're going to stand outside your home on race morning in comfy slippers, pajama pants and a streaming cup of coffee and just stare blankly as us as we run by--no clapping or words of encouragement--just go back inside. My pain is not for your enjoyment.
  3. Some women need the support of more than 2 jog bras at once. You know who you are. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
  4. Just as there is a Grumpy Cat, there are Grumpy Runners.
  5. You cannot go to Key West and not have a slice (or 3) of pie at the Key West Key Lime Pie Co.
  6. To the ladies who run half marathons in Kardashian-esque makeup--at 7:00 a.m.--I ask you:  Why? Good god, WHY? Who needs a smoky bedroom eye at Mile 13? Or Mile 1 for that matter? Just stop it!
  7. When at all possible, it's a brilliant idea to combine your race weekend with a food festival. Our race happened to be the same weekend as the Key West Seafood Festival. Pre-race meal of conch fritters, lobster bisque and frozen margaritas--SCORE!
  8. When I'm exhausted and dehydrated, I make bad choices. I might even growl at an elderly volunteer at the Mile 8 water station when he doesn’t pour water into the cup fast enough (because the course is too narrow to set up water tables). And in my frustration and thirsty state, I might slap the half-filled cup out of his hand but then pretend it was an accident... and feel very guilty about it later.
  9. Lycra athletic capri pants work well in races and in general when on vacation. Wearing them around town post-race can make you appear very sporty and athletic, even when engaging in gluttonous food/alcohol intake. BONUS: The stretchy material works with your gut, not against it, as you expand.
  10. Key West has some of the best restaurants in Florida. DO NOT MISS: Maple bourbon candied bacon donuts and an apple almond fritter at Glazed;

    Then get a $14.95 lobster roll at Eaton Street Seafood Market; the yellowtail snapper and “life chaning fois grois” at Pisces; lobster appetizer at Louie’s Backyard; ridiculous mahi mahi jalepeno soup and the BEST fresh squeezed lime margarita in town at Pepe’s; ANY breakfast with a bloody mary at Blue Heaven (the Loveless Cafe of Key West).

  11. I obviously don't do makeup on race days, but I desperately need to figure out a better running hairstyle. This look, while functional, just never looks flattering in race photos or otherwise. Suggestions welcome in the comments!
  12. You CAN gain 5 lbs in one weekend, even if you run a half marathon. (See #s 5, 7, 9 and 10)
  13. Chafing happens. Be proactive with your Glide. (No picture for this one. You’re welcome).
    13.1. It’s OK to break a few laws in Key West. In fact, it’s encouraged. 

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