The Papa Look-Alikes Contest is a big draw for fans of Key West Hemingway Days, but that’s not all this annual festival offers.
Saturday afternoon, Old Town hosted a Caribbean Street Fair, designed to reflect the spirit of Key West during the original Hemingway’s era. A large section of Duval Street was closed to vehicles for local artisans and mom-and-pop food vendors to display their goods. People browsed the stands, many sipping ice cold lemonade in the tropical heat. There was wall art designed from sheet metal, touristy plaques made from recycled fence, Cuban sandwiches, and Bahamian-prepared sausages among other items. We bought little other than bottled water, focused on hydration.
At dusk, over six hundred people participated in the Hemingway 5K Sunset Run/Walk. My husband entered as a runner, and convinced me to participate as a walker. I ran recreationally for a number of years, but with children and other responsibilities, I’d become more of a treadmill kind of gal this past decade. More recently, I was injured in a fall and endured PT for many months. My knees continue to give me grief. On top of that, Key West’s weather was still like a steambath at race time. I had valid concerns about finishing.
I kissed my husband good luck and he flew ahead of us few walkers with the other runners. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other, stretching my gait as far as possible and pumping those arms. And I kept that pace. Eventually, I passed a number of other racers, some jogging slower than my walk. That’s okay, though, because we were all in it for fun. The race entry fees went toward a local children’s organization, and there was something special about race-walking from the famous Southernmost Point, down Whitehead Street where Hemingway’s Museum is located, onto the Truman Annex, down the Quay for a spectacular sunset view, looping through sidestreets and back down Whitehead to the finish line at Southernmost Point. Spectators cheered and encouraged everyone. I did it. We all did it. It felt good. I may just enter another 5K in the future, and next time I’ll run.
When was the last time you were coaxed into doing something outside your comfort zone? How did it turn out?