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Saturday, January 31, 2015

End of our Time in the Keys

Location: Marathon, FL (High 83, Low 63)

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This has been a wonderfully relaxing month. The best part about this place, by far, has been the paved walkway only a quarter mile from the campground.

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We’ve been sticking pretty close to home. In fact, we had one whole week where we didn’t drive anywhere at all. But we sure didn’t feel confined, as we were heading down that trail every day, sometimes twice a day.

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We did have a couple outings this week. On Tuesday we drove over to Key West one more time. The first thirty minutes we were there provided confirmation to our decision to rent the car for the race weekend.IMG_3317 That’s how long we spent driving the truck around the tight Key West streets before we were able to find a place to park.

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We walked around town a bit, but it was pretty crowded with a cruise ship in town.

At least we did make it back to the southernmost point!

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Yesterday we made a return trip to one of our favorite places here…the Cracked Conch Café.

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It’s not a fancy place, but we enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, and their conch chowder is worth the trip.

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And in honor of it being our last time eating out here in the Keys, we finished off our meal with a piece of their key lime pie. Yum.

 

Today we hung out around here. I picked up inside and Harry went through his “getting ready to go” routine. In the morning we’ll be heading north to Avon Park, FL.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Just Hangin’ and Exploring a New Website

Location: Marathon, FL (High 78, Low 75)

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It’s been a pretty quiet week around here in Marathon. The weather has been gorgeous, and we have been just hanging out and enjoying it.

 

I have spent some time this week doing a little cooking as well, using a new website I found recently. A few weeks ago, Dee from Tumbleweed did a blog where she talked about trying out a gourmet food delivery service, where the company would send ingredients to make two gourmet meals/week. I like to cook so I checked out the website, but the meals were too “fancy” for me, for lack of a better word. I like to make a more “normal” kind of meal. This got me thinking though about finding a service that would more suit my kind of cooking. So I did an online search and found an article that compared different food services and apps.

After looking at several of the companies and apps, I decided to try one called Plan to Eat. One thing I like about this website is that there is a 30 day free trial, so I’m still in the trial period, but right now I’m leaning towards continuing at the end of the month. And the cost is $39/year, so very affordable.

The main way that this website helps is with organization. You can add your own recipes to the recipe book by typing them in, or can import recipes from websites online. I would imagine that the first few months would be the most labor intensive, as it will take a while to add recipes and do searches for new ones. But once the recipes are in, it seems like it will really make coming up with meal plans much easier.

I have a planner in my account, and all I have to do is drag a recipe to a certain day. Then I can use my planner to create a shopping list. No more looking through each recipe to decide what I need to buy for the week. The website organizes all the ingredients into categories and then I just check off the foods that I already have. There is also a cooking view for each recipe that can be used while cooking. The jury’s out but so far I am really liking it.

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We have one week left here in Marathon. We don’t have much planned other than a trip to Key West on Tuesday. It’s been a nice relaxing month.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Key West Half Marathon

Location: Marathon, FL (High 79, Low 69)

Well, we did it! I didn’t really have any doubts that I could go the distance, but I did wonder how much of an effect only training for three weeks would have. In the end, I didn’t make my goal, which was to beat my Lake Placid time of 2 hr, 57 min, 54 sec. With an official time of 2:59:45, I missed it by less than two minutes, so I’m not too disappointed. It’s still my goal for my next half, which will be in May. As far as running, I was able to run for the first 9 3/4 miles before I had to start doing a run walk. I really walked most of the last three miles. Again, not too bad considering we didn’t run for our last two months at Amazon.

The day got off to a bit of a rocky start. We left the campground right on schedule at 5 am. We got to Key West around 10 after 6, and there was A LOT of traffic. We went into the parking garage we had located, only to encounter a stream of cars coming down. Yes, it was FULL. We had a few panicky moments while we looked for a place to turn around. After going up a couple levels, we did find a more open area and we were able to make a u-turn and head back down. But now where to park? The stream of cars ahead of us was making a left at the light, so we went straight and randomly turned off into a residential area. We were so lucky that we only had to go about three blocks before we found a parking spot. We were just thankful that we had rented the car. Parking spaces were at a premium.

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We ended up getting to the start line with about ten minutes to spare. Not really the way we wanted to start our morning, but we were taking an all’s well that ends well approach!

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The starting line is that yellow and blue arc off in the distance.

 

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We started off our run through the streets of Key West.

 

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The route then took us by the southernmost point. Some runners were stopping for pictures, but we had hit our stride at that point and didn’t want to stop. (We’ll go back for our photo op on our next time over to Key West.)

 

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From there the route wound over toward Roosevelt Blvd. where we were treated to some beautiful scenes for the next several miles of the run.

 

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I think it might have been one of the more scenic halves we will ever do. It was beautiful.

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And here we are with our finisher’s medals! Another run in the books.

 

We had intended to spend the rest of the day in Key West. But neither of us was feeling up to doing a lot of walking. So we’re going to go back for another day sometime in the next week and a half before it is time for us to leave here. Now that our half is over, it’s going to be time to move on before we know it!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Key West Weekend Day 1

Location: Marathon, FL (High 81, Low 63)

Well, it’s here – it’s RACE weekend! Our day started off with a quick trip down to Marathon to pick up a rental car. We noticed the Enterprise sign at the airport here a couple weeks ago and decided that it would be easier for traveling to Key West this weekend, as well as making it simpler to park in a crowded town with all the other race participants. After a short wait, Harry was leaving with the car and coming back to the campground to pick me up for the hour long ride over to Key West.

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After arriving and parking the car, we walked to Duval St, where the first order of business was lunch! We ate at Fogarty’s, which we had enjoyed a meal at several years ago when we were vacationing here, and it was just as good today as we had remembered.

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We had a great spot for people watching from our table.

 

 

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After lunch, we walked to the area for packet pickup.

 

 

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There seemed to be a good number of people standing in line, but we were only there for a few minutes before we were giving our names and receiving our race materials.

 

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These are going to be cool mile markers to be watching for tomorrow morning!

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Tomorrow morning at 5 am we’ll be heading back to Key West for our race which starts at 7 am!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Time is Flying By

Location: Marathon, FL (High 77, Low 69)

We are almost halfway through our month here in Marathon. So far, the focus IMAG1360of many of our days has been getting in our runs to prepare for the half and then taking it easy for the rest of the day. Our longest run so far has been nine miles. We are in what is known as the “taper” period right now, so we will only do a couple short runs over the next two days and then give our muscles a break in preparation for running the 13.1 mile distance on Sunday morning.

Yesterday we decided to do something different and go 10935417_10206230612271007_1652897104_oout for lunch. Harry had heard of this place called Lazydays from someone here at the campground so we went to check it out. There was a really nice covered open section – this was the view from our table.

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At one point Harry looked over toward the water and said I think there are manatees out there. He walked out on the dock and sure enough, there were.10927324_10206230703393285_80666269_o

 

Mother and baby…

 

 

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Our food was awesome. I had a chicken taco salad and Harry had the fresh catch sandwich. Yum.

 

Great food and a great view made for a really nice lunch out.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Enjoying Life in Marathon

Location: Marathon, FL (High 78, Low 61)

It’s been a great week here in Marathon. No big outings, just enjoying getting out there and being active, cooking on the grill, and relaxing.

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We enjoyed a little nostalgic moment on Monday afternoon when we stopped in at the Cracked Conch Café for a bowl of conch chowder. It was November 2008 when we last were there. 10886646_10206122557009693_545051206_oHarry and I were on our first vacation together and driving down from Pompano Beach to Key West when we stopped at this small diner for our first taste of conch chowder. And it was just as good this time as we had remembered.

We’ve been getting out there each day on the bike/walking trail getting ready for the half in Key West which is now only TEN days away. Tuesday we went for a six 10927382_10206141457042182_631091424_omile run. I’ve been pretty happy with how I’m doing after a two month hiatus from running.

This is me as a hot mess after our humid six mile run.

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Yesterday we decided to take a break from running and bike to the Old Seven Mile Bridge from the campground.

 

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It was just about 14 miles to the end of the bridge walkway. The highlight was stopping to look at the water and seeing stingrays. Harry got some awesome shots.

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10425452_10153029800069766_7377242650107671053_nAfter biking to the end of the bridge, we biked back to the parking area and then on a path which goes down to the water and a nice picnic area.

 

 

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I had packed a nice picnic lunch and we settled in for a relaxing break with a great view. You can see the bike saddle pack I got a few years ago from LL Bean. It has come in so handy for packing snacks, lunches etc when we go on a long bike ride.

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We couldn’t ask for a nicer view from our table.

 

 

From the picnic area looking back towards the old seven mile bridge walkway…

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10421174_10153029800119766_1610381574532707017_nThe entire trip was a little less than 29 miles. We were glad that there was a bike path, especially through the busy Marathon area. There were a lot of crossroads and lights and we had to be on the alert for turning cars and people driving out of parking lots. The ride was beautiful though, and we will probably do it at least one or two more times while we are here.

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