Yes, to answer that question I know you must be thinking, I did make it to every country in the world before I made it to the Florida Keys. I also haven’t been to New Orleans, Austin, or New Mexico yet. These are things I definitely need to fix in the short run.
So my friend Jen who’s also an ultrarunner turned me onto the Keys 100 race, and I was determined to have my first go at 100 miles. Unfortunately, as it has done so often lately, work conspired against me, and there was no way I would be able to make the cutoff time despite pretty decent training. Fortunately, there was a 50 mile option that just ran from Marathon Key to Key West which had a super generous cutoff and I was planning to do.
Unfortunately, I got sick shortly before the race, and had to drop out, which turned out to be the right call given the heat and humidity I clearly wasn’t prepared for. That just means I can go back next year now prepared to run the full 100! Right, so you really want to hear about the trip…
Thanks to the 24 hour change policy I was able to bump my departure from 09:30 to around 13:00, which gave me just enough extra sleep that I felt human after two transatlantics in 10 days, and it was off to Florida.
I won’t bore you with the details of domestic flights on United, but they were predictably meh. More or less on time, however, and exactly what I expected, so overall I can’t complain.
Met my friend John who came down to support me for the race, and after waiting an unreasonable amount of time to pick up my car as an Avis President’s Club member, finally got this one which clearly had barely gone through the carwash. Gross.
Also took another 20 minutes to get out of the lot, but that was more a customer problem than an Avis problem. With that, we were off!
Driving 50+ miles when tired probably wasn’t a stellar call, but made it to Key Largo in one piece completely ready to crash. This was my first time in the Keys, and I was determined to make the most of it…and that combined with being jetlagged and time zone confused kept me up a bit later than I should have. So, as one does, we walked around outside a bit, got lost, and ended up with a few drinks at Skarkey’s Pub. Delicious craft beer selection…
Next morning the sun was shining, and the view from our room wasn’t bad at all…and there was a Starbucks less than 10 minutes walk away. Life was absolutely grand!
Few plans the day before the race, so we drove back up to Homestead to go to the Robert is Here Fruit Stand which John mentioned was definitely worth seeing. I had a delicious Jackfruit and coconut milkshake which was to die for, and the wildlife in the “petting zoo” was pretty cool too.
Next it was down to Marathon for lunch at M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom which had an absolutely delicious burger! Total dive (and was even on Diners, Dives, and Drive Ins) but absolutely delicious!
On the way back up to Key Largo, we couldn’t resist stopping at the Florida Keys Brewing Company for a set of tasters which was pretty delicious!
Back to the hotel in Key Largo the night before the race, nice sunset over the marina…
After dropping from the race I still figured I could support my friend Jen, but first decided we had to lunch in Marathon at the Island Fish Company and Tiki Bar…delicious conch fritters and deadly tropical frozen drinks.
Spent the rest of the afternoon following Jen…nearly 50 miles into the race and she was still looking amazing!
We got to Key West just before sunset, and in time to get a sunset pic at the southernmost point in the continental U.S.A….
We found an amazing little bar filled with kitch called Glitchcraft which was absolutely amazing. Great craft beer selection, and even better staff. John actually came back the next night where they were hosting a huge watch party for the final episode of Game of Thrones. Super cool place!
I’ve never met a cutout where I could take a corny pic that I didn’t like…
Brunch the next day at Blue Heaven… lethal bellinis and delicious lobster Benedict. Well worth the wait…plus they had a pony I could ride!
Plus, they had a cat who literally couldn’t be bothered. This is the life…
We decided to play tourist for a little bit, and stopped by the Little White House which was President Truman’s getaway from Washington, but was also used by several other presidents.
Of course, no trip to Key West would be complete without margaritas…
…and the iconic picture at Mile 0 of Route 1…which runs right up through home in Arlington Virginia as well, and I used to live on!
The question still needs to be answered: why did the chicken cross the road?
Last morning in paradise…picture on the beach at our hotel…the Casa Marina by Waldorf Astoria. Nice enough property, but I have to admit the rooms were sadly in need of renovation, especially given the prices. I can’t say I would choose it again all things considered. That said, the location was fantastic.
I wanted to buy this painting…unfortunately it was a little out of my price range at $12,000…even though they did offer to ship it for free….
Neat sign…had the store been open that morning I probably would have picked it up…
Driving up to Fort Lauderdale, we passed the first Starbucks from Key West…80 miles in. This sign is terrifying!
One final lunch in the keys at the Key Largo Conch House where I had some delicious conch tacos. A fitting end to an amazing rest between three hectic work trips. Anything else would have been too much, but it was just enough relaxation with an amazing friend that made it work.
So yeah, I’ll be back next year to run the full 100 Miles, wiser at what it will take to succeed. With that, we were at the Fort Lauderdale Airport, and it was time to catch my flight down to Brazil to get back to work!