Key West Half Marathon 2017: Planning Waaaaay Ahead

Rebecca’s RunKeeper half marathon training app sent an alert the other day that caught her, Anita, and me off guard: time to start training (apparently) for the Key West Half Marathon on January 17, 2017!

That’s planning way, way ahead. We all signed up for this race back in June, with the warm glow of the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon still fresh in our hearts. Of course, we’ll be blogging about it in January, but since we’re training, or thinking about training, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to post about what the January event means to each of us five months ahead of time.


My attitude towards this race – my second half-marathon – is really completely different than it was the first time around. I already know that Tracy, Anita and I make a great mutual-support-and-encouragement team. Last time I was worried about finishing and surviving, and I was excited but afraid. This time I am not afraid, and I have time goals rather than just survival goals. I won’t be crushed if I don’t make them and I am not trying to come anywhere close to winning or anything, but it’s just a very different perspective to be thinking about how to shave minutes rather than how to not be carted off by medics. Among other tweaks, this time I will try to avoid losing minutes in the middle to an embarrassing and annoying bathroom break, so maybe I won’t take the carbo-loading the night before quite so far. The only part I am dreading is all those long runs in the last few weeks of training, when I will have to choose between the treadmill and midwinter temperatures.

This time around I am using the race as an excuse for a vacation: I am bringing my sweetie, who will be running the 5K while we do the half, and I suffer from intense and debilitating seasonal affective disorder so the idea of a Florida getaway in January is very exciting. I am in this for the ocean and the sun and the seafood and the company as much as for the race (which won’t stop me from training obsessively, as I am wont to do!).


I’m very excited to be doing my first fly-in destination race with friends! Knowing that it’s in the books will motivate me through the fall. I might even have to buy a cute outfit or two to make me run faster.


I confess that one of my motives for signing up is that Renald will be in Florida for at least a month or two this winter, so the Key West Half Marathon presents an opportunity for me either to extend my Christmas break into mid-January or to fly back less than two weeks after I get home. Either way, it’s more time on the boat with Renald, who plans to sail down to Key West for the race.

I also get to see Rebecca, who is a great motivator and, living in D.C, a friend who I don’t get to see much. Key West is the furthest afield Anita and I have gone together. We’re racking up quite a travel history more locally — Toronto, Hamilton, twice to Kincardine, twice to Niagara — and we know we run well together since we train with each other almost weekly.

Finally, I’m a big believer in having something to train for. Winter is coming. And it’s easy to get complacent. With a half in January, that might get enough momentum going for me to commit, once again, to the Around the Bay 30K at the end of March.  I did it once before (it was kind of brutal but I’ve got more experience now…). And maybe I can talk Anita and Julie into doing it too.

Key West looks like a great race. It made the Runner’s World destination half marathon “bucket list,” (or at least the list of destination half marathons that’s limited to the US) where they have this to say about it:

More than half of the flat, out-and-back course runs on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, directly overlooking the aqua blue Atlantic Ocean. In pure Key West fashion, packet pickup and the race expo take place inside the Half Shell Raw Bar, one of the island’s most popular seafood spots. You’ll want to stop back in after the race–it’s within walking distance of the finish–to celebrate with a plate of chilled oysters and a cocktail (or two).

And who doesn’t love the buzz in the air when a race has around 4000 finishers? If you’re planning to do Key West or weren’t planning to but feel convinced, let us know!


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