The roommate, Chris, Kyle, Diane, Ryan, and myself piled into our rented mini van (aka “party van” which I am ashamed to admit was actually a pretty cool van… the Stow-and-Go feature allowed for extra storage of the “necessities” and luggage). On the way down to the Keys, we stopped off to visit my very awesome aunt and uncle in Jupiter. They provided us with a delicious lunch (blue cheese and bacon hamburgers, caesar salad, baked beans, and alcohol in the form of beer and wine for those of us who were not driving). They also provided two bottles of rum for celebrating after the race.
After filling up on delicious food, we finished the trek to the Keys, and made a stop at the 7 Mile Bridge to take some pictures. We continued south to Stock Island and checked into our condo where we met up with “the Lindsey’s” (two other girls who drove down separately). The condo was amazing!!! That night we all went out to dinner, bought some groceries, then proceeded to enjoy the evening back at the condo.
April 18, Friday
Friday morning I discovered a new-found dislike for roosters! Apparently they are all over the Keys (we saw plenty, with their wifely hens and little chick babies). After eating breakfast and enjoying mimosas, we headed to the beach (where believe it or not I wore a bikini without shorts, for the first time in my life. LOL). The water was too cold for me, but the scenery was nice. I collected a few shells, walked around to take pictures, and just relaxed on a beach towel.
Oh, and the Lindsey's went kayaking and took pictures of these creepy heads they found floating in the water!
After the beach, we headed thirty-five miles north to Marathon to pick up our race packets. We were stuck in traffic for what seemed like forever, due to an accident. After picking up our packets, we all met up for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. The food was good, but the service was extremely slow. We didn’t make it back to the condo until pretty late, then we went to bed.
April 19, Saturday
After approximately four hours of sleep, we woke up at 4 a.m. and headed back up to Marathon for the start of the race. We had to leave early in order to make it across the bridge before they closed it down for the race. With the exception of one of the Lindsey’s and my roommate, the rest of us are all Hashers. Ryan actually ran with a camel back of alcoholic cider. One of the girls wrote “On-On” on one of his arms and “BN” (Beer Near) on the other. Apparently there were several hashers at the race, because he said many of them called out to him while he was running. There was even a little get-together at the end where some of our group met up. During the race, Ryan ran back and took pictures of the rest of us running, which was really nice.
Since this was my first time running the 7 Mile Bridge, I did not have a previous PR; therefore, I decided to go easy and enjoy this run. At the start of the race, the bridge actually shook, and it felt as though the ground was falling out from under you! It was AMAZING! The sun rose at our backs, so we weren’t blinded. There were plenty of water stops where they also handed out wet sponges. There was even a stop where the fire department (and a very yummy fireman) sprayed water on the runners. There was a helicopter taking pictures and filming the race. I thought for sure the hill was going to kill me, but as I climbed it I was almost disappointed at how easy it was. I reached the 10K marker at approximately 1 hours and 15 seconds, and finished the race (actually 6.8 miles) at 1:04.30 (time calculated using Garmy… there wasn’t a chip for this race).
Now the rule is that the bridge is closed until 9 am. As the time approaches 9 am, the volunteers begin cleaning up and a bus starts making its way across the bridge. If you do not cross the bridge in time, you will be picked up by the bus. Diane had never run past 3.5 miles, and he goal (as well as my roommate’s goal) was to cross the bridge before the bus. I am very proud to say that everyone in our group crossed without being picked up by the bus!!! I was so excited!
After the race, we went back to the condo and cleaned up before walking around Key West to take pictures. We ate lunch at a fantastic restaurant called The Conch Republic, which served marvelous mojitos.
Then we went back to the condo and took naps before drinking our celebratory rum and heading to Duval Street. We had a blast!!!!!
April 20, Sunday
Sunday morning we had to check out 10 a.m. which meant waking up early to pack and straighten up the condo. We stopped in Ft. Lauderdale on the trip back to have lunch with Diane’s friends, and made it back to Orlando in time to turn in the rental van at 9 p.m. This was definitely a fun weekend, and I hope to run the race next year! Of course then I will have a new record to beat!
I apologize for the delayed race report, but I just got copies of all of the pictures. I spent the last couple of days coming up with a schedule to study for my proficiency exams over the summer. I am happy that I will be able to work more hours, but that made it necessary for me to come up with a summary of what I needed to study (I’m anal, I can’t help it.). My mom is coming into town next Wednesday. Next Thursday night I’m going to see the play Wicked! I’m psyched! (Oh, April 13th I saw RENT. My first Broadway play… it was FANTASTIC!!!! Now I really can’t wait to see Wicked!!). Graduation is next Friday. Everything has been and will be so busy!
I hope that you are all doing well! I miss you all! Have a great weekend!