Thursday, January 18, 2018

Key West Half Marathon Recap

Hello from freezing cold Florida. Seriously, it was in the 20's when we woke up this morning. I am back from a recent girls trip to Key West. It was an amazing 5 days and we did not want to come home. During the girls trip, we ran the Key West Half Marathon. I will share all the other amazing activities we did while on the trip but first, let's talk about the race!

The girls trip included by best friend Keri and my former roomate Tara. We have been friends for over 20 years and know how to have a great time together. This was Tara's first half marathon since she had her daughter and being the 20th anniversary of the Key West Half Marathon fell on her birthday weekend, we decided to make a girls trip out of it.
My Outfit: 
Shirt: Help Me I'm Sober by Buy Me Brunch - Similar

FL has been hit with a few crazy cold fronts over the past month (including what I'm experiencing right now). While I realize it's nothing like my friends up north are experiencing, this is not weather Floridians are used to. On Sunday morning, we woke up with 20mph winds with temps in the 50's. I will take 50's all day for running but not the headwinds. We rode our bikes to the start line and we were freezing. 
We did not bring throw away clothes so Keri and I ran our first few miles of the course with our race finisher shirts on. I will NEVER again give anyone a look for wearing their race shirt before they finish a race. Being the first part of the race was on Duval St, we were luckily able to ditch our shirts at our hotel!

Keri and I were running the 13.1 miles for fun. We did a 1:1 and took a ton of pictures, enjoyed the beautiful scenery and had a great time together. We chose the 1:1 over other intervals because we've had success with it in the past with not being tired or sore following the race. Since we were on vacation, that was important to us. Tara came with another plan as she wanted to leave the island with a PR. 
The first few miles were on Duval Street and brought us out to A1A. We passed The Southernmost Point, South Beach, and other popular spots. Those headwinds decided to join the party and we had them until the turnaround point at mile 7.
Around our mile 5, we saw Tara who was with the 2 hour pace group. She needed to finish under 2:04 to PR and I knew at that point, she was going to do it!
Oh this shirt......we had an average of at least one person a minute commenting on our shirts. I will say, this shirt brought more attention than any other we've worn during a race.
Between miles 9-10, we got the text from Tara that she had finished with 2:03! She did it!! We ended up running down White Street Pier for mile 10, ran back to the Southernmost poinnt and found ourselves on Whitehead St. Keri wanted to grab our shirts from the house and made another detour. I told you we were in this for fun!
Before we knew it, we were at Mile 0 with a mile left to run. We ran into my Mom and Aunt who had located Tara. Tara crossed the finish line twice so we could get at least a few race pics together (which all came out god awful lol).
Overall, I have nothing but amazing things to say about the Key West Half Marathon. The course was gorgeous and flat. The course had a ton of entertainment on it and the volunteers were incredible. I would 100% come back and do this race again.
If this race is on your bucket list (which if it isn't, it needs to be), I suggest signing up for 2019 as they have a limited time race registration discount for only $73.99! Next years race day is Sunday, January 20th. Click here to head over to the 2019 Key West Half Marathon registration page.

Disclosure: I received a free entry into the Key West Half Marathon. As always, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Carnival Cruise Lines announces four new craft beers for Carnival Horizon

On Sunday my husband and I boarded the Carnival Vista for a few hours to check out four new beers that will debut exclusively on the brand new Carnival Horizon in April 2018.
photo rights: carnival.com
These beers were created by Caranival's Master Brewmaster Colin Presby (who has the coolest job of anyone I've ever met) and will be featured at a new concept restaurant, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse by Food Network Star Guy Fieri.
photo rights: carnival.com
The Carnival Horizon is Carnival Vista's sister ship and it will set sail in Europe on April 2, 2018. Ironically, I found myself back onboard the Vista exactly a year after I sailed her with my best friend Keri for our annual girls cruise. I was excited to show Gabe the Vista and it seemed like just yesterday that I was a passenger myself....I seriously did not want to get off that ship on Sunday.
photo rights: carnival.com
After a quick tour of the Vista, we headed over to Red Frog Pub where the beers would be unveiled in a traditional keg-tapping. When I sailed the Vista last year, the Red Frog Pub quickly became one of my favorite watering holes on the ship. Aside from being home to the first brewery at sea, this popular pub features popular pub games, table kegs and you can even go on a brewery tour. I laughed knowing if Gabe and I were to ever sail on the Vista, this would be where you would find him at all times.
Time for the beer! First a little about how and why the beers were developed. Colin Presby created these new four beers exclusively for Carnival Horizon’s Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse. This will be a new dining concept that combines the best of both worlds – an onboard brewery and a full-service restaurant featuring BBQ favorites and sides developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, who is a member of the American Royal National Barbecue Hall of Fame.
The beers names are a playful take on the line’s popular ThirstyFrog brews that debuted on Carnival Vista – are inspired by the varied barbecue offerings at Smokehouse|Brewhouse. The four new beers on Carnival Horizon include:

ParchedPig Smoked Porter brewed with in-house smoked malt, this robust, full-bodied beer offers big and bold flavors and notes of molasses and hickory smoke, providing the perfect complement to Smokehouse|Brewhouse’s BBQ favorites

ParchedPig Farmhouse Ale this lightly hopped beer is distinguished by its blond color, fruity and complex character with mild spice notes that balance the brew’s dry finish

ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale highlighted by its rich amber color and notes of toasted caramel and biscuit, this beer is well balanced, smooth and highly drinkable

ParchedPig West Coast IPA the embodiment of a traditional West Coast India Pale Ale, this hoppy, intense beer is loaded with bitterness with a bright flavor profile and distinctive aroma of citrus and pine

“Smokehouse|Brewhouse is a unique culinary concept and we’ve created four fantastic brewed-on-board craft beers that not only showcase different tastes and brewing styles but also serve as the ideal accompaniment to the venue’s delicious array of barbecue offerings,” said Presby.
The brewery takes center stage at Smokehouse|Brewhouse, which, in addition to delicious craft beers and custom cocktails, will offer a rustic, down-home d├ęcor as well as a variety of Fieri-designed favorites, all smoked “low and slow” using the chef’s signature rubs and spices. The offerings include smoked-on-board brisket, Memphis-style back ribs, dry-rubbed chicken, pulled pork, and cedar-smoked salmon, along with the chef’s own take on traditional sides and his signature sauces. Dinner menu items are offered on an a la carte basis with a free-of-charge self-service BBQ lunch buffet available on embarkation day and sea days.
Bonsai Teppanyaki - photo rights: carnival.com
A host of other dining venues aboard Carnival Horizon are also available, including the line’s first teppanyaki restaurant Bonsai Teppanyaki, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina eatery, the 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano, and the New England-inspired Seafood Shack.
Other features include the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, and the first Dr. Seuss-themed water park at sea.
Dr. Seuss Waterworks, photo rights: carnival.com
A wide range of accommodations – from spa cabins with exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor to tropics-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool – will also be offered.
Carnival Horizon Havana Stateroom, photo rights: carnival.com
Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018 (which happens to be sailing during our wedding anniversary....hmmmm). Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018. Click here to view the Carnival Horizon sailings.

I personally cannot wait for the Horizon to set sail and check her out personally!

Thanks to Carnival for hosting my husband and I in Miami. As always, all opinions are my own.