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Thursday, May 26, 2016

If You're Going to San Fran-CYST-o...

A  few years ago, at a dermatology appointment, I pointed out to the doctor that I had a weird bump on my chest. They deemed it normal, and nothing else was said about it. 

Fast forward to June 3, 2015.

I woke up and felt more than saw that the weird bump was bigger. It was tender to the touch, but there were no outward signs of any issue. Just in case I needed to go to the doctor, I decided to take a photo of it - I even circled it with eyeliner (all I had in the bathroom!) so I could show the doctor where the issue was. You know, just in case it was cancer or something.

All the cysty ladies... all the cysty ladies

I kept an eye on it, and over the next week, it got a bit bigger. By June 10, there was a large red, angry area, but the actual bump was smaller than a quarter.

What's red and smaller than a quarter?

Boob cyst!
When I woke up on June 11, it was slightly bigger than that quarter. I hadn't been doing anything to it, because I wasn't quite sure what was going on. By now, however, I assumed that it was some sort of cyst. I've had cysts before (including a wonderful one on my tailbone!), and I knew that they were painful and nasty. 

Also at this point, it was EXTREMELY noticeable at all times, so I covered it up with a bandage while at work (I was getting tired of questions).

Is that a cyst in your pocket or are you happy to see me?
On June 12, I woke up to ONE ANGRY bump! It was so distended, the skin was shiny and it hurt SO much! I needed to take some pain relievers to deal with it.  Sleeping was hard, too, because putting any pressure on a cyst causes some horrid pains. 

Either it's a cyst, or there's one angry alien in there trying to get out
On June 13th, a teeny, tiny head appeared on the cyst, which meant the infection had worked it's way up to the skin. 

A cyst is similar to a zit; an overly-large, puss-filled zit. 

What happens with zits? Well, they pop.  

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm showing lots of photos. 

I tell stories with photos better than words. 

You know, that whole "A picture is worth a thousand words" and all that....

If you don't like gross photos, go away now!  

I mean it. 

It gets worse from here. 


Why are you still here?

No turning back now. 

Grossness is going to happen. 

Okay, here we go. 


Once this happens, you have to pop it in a sterile environment, because otherwise, it will pop and drain somewhere else and, well, I don't want that nastiness on my clothing. 

So, I popped it. 

Not a lot came out, and it hurt like hell to do it, but once it was open, I slathered on some Neosporin, hoping that the antibiotic would take care of some of it. Additionally, I would put my heating pad on the area - I'd been told that warm compresses were helpful.  I also called and set up an appointment with my doctor to get some oral antibiotics to try to kill it off (again, if I'd known last week what this was, I would have taken care of it much earlier... oh well, lesson learned). 

A slapped another bandage on that bad boy and went off to work. 

Waking up on June 14th, it was still leaking and looking really gross. Like, purple skin gross.  Like, I have a flesh-eating disease gross. The skin all around it was still angry, too, from having to wear bandages so much. It really hurt!

I look like I have a flesh-eating disease
I squeezed it again, and dear God, it spurted like a pastry bag.  I halfway expected some sort of SPLAT sound when it hit the mirror.  It dripped down my chest and soaked in to my nightgown.

Skin shouldn't be grey
June 15th was an especially gross day, when I woke up to see how disgusting the bandage was when I pulled it off.

Can they make maxipads that soak up this much? I mean seriously!
However, that meant that the cyst was continuing to drain, and the heat and Neosporin were working. 

My poor skin
More squeezing, more splatting.

Finally, on June 16th, I was able to see the doctor, who was just a cute little baby doc.  I showed him the photos on my phone (everything above) and he got a laugh out of the circle photo.  He tried to "express" (squeeze) some of the infection, but was unable to do any damage, so he called in the Boss Doctor, who suggested they cut it open just a teensy bit.  After I said go for it, they sprayed me with some Medicinal-Grade Keyboard Air Cleaner (seriously, it was freezing air in a can), then they made a tiny slit and tried to "express" more of the cyst.  They didn't have much luck either, but now I had a bigger hole, so they sent me on my way with some more bandages and a prescription for oral antibiotics. With those, I could fight the cyst from the inside and the outside! One, two, punch! And also, I was supposed to keep up with warm compresses to the area.

You can see where they sliced me open
On June 18th, after 2 days of oral antibiotics, real fun started happening. The pus and the blood had abated somewhat, but that was because FIRM stuff was coming out. Like, white chunky FIRM stuff.

I had to pull some of this out with tweezers
Different view so you can see how BIG these chunks are

Now, I watch surgeries on TV. I love seeing gastric bypasses. Brain surgery is awesome. 

This. Was. Disgusting. 

It was also painful as shit.  I basically had to hold my breath, gird my loins and SQUEEZE!!!! until I couldn't take the pain anymore.  

I discovered the next day that I bit my lip so hard, while dealing with the squeezing pain, that I had a blood blister!  Ouch. 

Horrid photo of a big blister
By June 26th, 10 days after seeing the doctor, and the last day of oral antibiotics, most of the ick was out, and the wound was healing.  There wasn't much seepage or anything pussy like that.

Looks like a really bad bug bite
It was even smaller by June 28th. 

I'm shrinking!
A few weeks later, June 7th, it was mostly healed and just looked like a scar. 

Almost gone
So, why am I writing about something that happened LAST YEAR?  Well, I wanted to give it plenty of time to heal so that I could show you what it looks like now. I know it's there, and I can see it in the mirror, but when you see me out and about, you may not even see it. 

Free boob shot for perverts!!!  Also, spot the scar!
The original bump is still there, and I don't think the cyst was related to that bump at all, but just an unfortunate bystander in the whole game. The bump is smaller, though. There is a slight pink tinge to the area that you can't see very well in the crappy photo. There isn't any scar tissue from being sliced, which is good - I slathered myself up with cocoa butter lotion every night, massaging the skin in all four directions to ensure that the tissue wouldn't bunch up.  

                    Before: When the Head Showed Up                                                  After: Eleven Months Later
All in all, this was a really crappy, month-long shit fest that I had to deal with. It made work hard. It made running hard. It made sleeping VERY hard. I went through a whole bottle of Aleve because of the pain. But, now that I know what this is, if I see it again, I can 'head' it off at the pass. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I'm a Queen! (Crown Saga, Part 4)

Here we are.


Another day, another shot to look out of this window
Truly not tired of going to the dentist at all.


But, at least today is the day I get my Big Girl Crowns!

Step one, was of course, popping off the fake crowns, and biting down on some gauze to keep the area moist. Mmm, moist. I can't remember at this point if they even gave me any Novacaine this time. I don't think they did. I could be wrong (all these visits seem to run together!)

Nom Nom Nom
 Once the fake ones were off, Cassie began fitting on the permanent ones.

Goodbye, Bat Boy smile!
I got to hold the spit sucker!

This thing sucks. Really!
Once they were fitted in, we hopped over to the x-ray machine to make sure they were up where they needed to be. More biting down on things was involved.

Bite it, bitch
When Dr. S was happy with the fit, they cemented them into my face and now I have a pretty new (pretty expensive) smile!

Cassie told me how to care for them - brush and floss like you should, don't use your front teeth to pull or open things (like ketchup) and don't bite down on hard foods like carrots. I honestly LOLed at carrots. Girl, you don't know me very well!

Finally!  My crown saga is over. I have normal looking teeth again. I don't have to worry about them falling out of my face, and I'm not too worried about my smile to actually smile.  Was it worth $1000?  Yeah.  Is that a very PAINFUL $1000?  HELL YEAH.

I'm going to let my credit card cool down a bit before starting on my next round of dental work!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What's That Smell? (Crown Saga, Part 3)

So, here I am again, in the dentist chair, to get my front teeth worked on. I've already had a deep clean, and a lot of grinding done and have been wearing a temporary crown for three weeks - I should get my new crowns today!

Or not.

Apparently, it wasn't made very clear at my last visit - they weren't sure if #10 tooth would need a root canal, and they didn't want to crown it if a RC was needed.  So, I'm really just here for a continuation of my first crown appointment. Boo.

So, they took off my temporary crowns - which broke when they did it - and laid me back.

Numbed, so I look like a stroke patient
Dr. S checked out my teeth stumps and said that everything looked good and we were ready to proceed with the actual crown process (there was more grinding, but not much).

Such sexy teeth!
After the final shaping was done, it was time for something called Laser Troughing. This would basically burn away a bit of my gums around the tooth, so that it would be easy to get a dry, clean impression for the crowns. 

Because we were working with lasers, they replaced my normal sunglasses with these bangin' Del Boca Vista, Phase 2 style glasses.  Where's my golf cart?

Hey, Morty! Let's go get an Early Bird Special at Bob Evans
Dr. S began troughing away and off-handedly asked "What's that smell?" and instantly replied "Oh, that's you!"  (Burning gums make a smell. A bad one.)

Once that was over, it was time to make in impression of my teeth and my bite. I was given a flat stick with a bunch of pink goo on it, which got shoved into my mouth, then smeared all over my face. 

I'm here to get crowns and chew bubble gum... oh, that's not bubble gum.

An even better shot of that wonderful facefull of goo
I'm not really sure of WHY they needed to smear it all over my face, but it sure does look funny.

Anyway, once the impression was made, they repeated the process with some blue goo.  After the blue goo, we picked colors for my teeth - it was suggested that I whiten the rest of my teeth, but that is SO the least of my worries in the long haul, we stuck with matching what I've got now. My color is a mix of C2 and C3 (I know that means nothing to you).

Once colors were chosen, Cassie made a new set of temporary crowns for me (a much better set, too, than the first ones) and I was on my way back to work.

NOW, in three weeks, I'll have my for-real permanent crowns!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Little Scrapey Scrapey (Crown Saga, Part 2)

So, here we are again. At the dentist.

Smile's looking better, though you can tell those three are fake!
This time it was for a deep Periodontal cleaning (also known as Scaling and Root Planing). It was 'highly recommended' I get my upper teeth super clean before they put on my front crowns. No sense putting crowns on dirty teeth, right?  Generally, when someone gets this done, they do Upper Left and Lower Left (or rights), but since my crowns would span Upper Left and Upper Right, we did that instead.

I was seated in a different area of the office, and it was COLD in here!  Plus, the hygenist lady had a fan on. I was going to be miserable, I just knew it. 

Luckily, she noticed that I was chilly and explained why it was kept so cold in there: Since she had to wear a large facemask (she looked like a welder), it was kept cold so that her breath wouldn't fog up on the inside of the mask. The fan helped with that too.  She offered me a blanket, which I gratefully accepted!

Long pants, sweater and blankie
All of her tools were laid out on the tray, and soon the dentist was in there giving me shots of Novocaine to numb me all the way up. The numbing was because they would be cleaning under the gumline, and that shit hurts.

So. Many. Picky things.
Okay, I have to tell you this - having your entire upper mouth numbed almost to your soft palate is the WEIRDEST feeling in the universe!  Your whole mouth feels swollen, and as she laid me back, I seriously thought I was choking. All I could feel was the spongy, soft part of my mouth at the back of my throat - it was like a warm oyster was trying to block my airway. SO FREAKING WEIRD! It took me a few minutes to get used to it!

Once used to it, it wasn't 'better' per se, but I was at least able to handle it.  I put my earphones in, put my sunglasses on and let her scrape the hell out of my teeth. She wasn't very descriptive in what she was doing, but it didn't take very long (maybe 20 minutes?) After looking it up online, the cleaning includes cleaning calculus, plaque and bacteria, both above and below the gumline, as well as smoothing and shaping tooth root to remove bacteria. Finally, an antibiotic is prescribed, for healing. 

Once done, I was free to head off to work.  I'll return next week to get my permanent crowns!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hoo-Rah! Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 2015 Race Report

When my alarm went off at 2:45 this morning, I was not ready to get up!  I never sleep well before a race, so I think I was going to be doing this on about 4 hours of sleep.

I finally dragged my ass out of bed 20 minutes later.  Curled up in my robe, I debated scrambled eggs or cereal, but both options made me feel nauseated. I tried to eat string cheese, but after 10 minutes, had only eaten ½ the piece.  This nausea is a new wrinkle to my race mornings, and I don’t like it. Luckily, I was able to at least drink some OJ. 

After doing my hair (I think I did a braid in the back), I woke up the Hubby then went and got dressed.

Miraculously, we actually were ON TIME and got out the door by 4am.  It was chilly outside, but not chilly enough for me to think about going back inside for tights.

Our drive was pretty uneventful, except for a stupid stray dog outside of Waldo, who had a death wish. I think I missed hitting him by only a few inches. Certainly woke me up!

Due to construction (although, is there ever NOT construction in Jax?), we missed the exit we needed, so we came around via Alt-1. This turned out to be a GREAT shortcut (even though it was further away) and I’ll have to remember that for whenever we need to go to EverBank Field in the future.

We made good time and arrived around 5:30.  We parked and I went to packet pickup, then to the bathroom.  I love that there are REAL bathrooms, at Metropolitan Park, that we can use.  Since we got there so early, there was no line, and I could even get a pic! (Yeah, I’m weird, but I like to know details, so here’s some details).

Dirty Industrial Potty Pic, just for my readers!
6 or 7 stalls in this bathroom (Photo taken around 5:45am)

I came back to the car and attempted to eat some peanut butter.  My tummy was still unhappy, it was still hard to actually eat the food – it had no taste, it was literally hard to swallow. So weird.

Anyway, I eventually geared up and put on my bib. It was still chilly, with the stronger winds kicking up, so I grabbed my sweater from the backseat to put on.

I hit the bathroom again, then made my way to my ‘corral’ while Hubby made his way to the start line. 

This is the potty line at 6:45. A lot different an hour later!!!
I say ‘corral,’ but it was really just a flag; 14 Minute Mile was the slowest pace listed, then just “Walker.”  Sigh. 

Geez, it must suck to be SO SLOW! Assholes.
Hey, losers! You start back here!
If you squint, you may be able to see the Start Line
I look a lot more cheerful than I feel
At this point, I realized that I still had my sweater on!  I peeled it off and hoped that I would be able to toss it to Hubby when I passed him!

I lined up at the back of the 14 Minute Mile flag, but in front of the Walker flag.  There was some chatting by the Race Director guy, who mentioned that some dude had had a heart attack on the course a few years ago, but was running it again this year.  I guess it was supposed to inspire, but it really just rammed home my shortcomings of training.

Because of my new work schedule, my training plan died months ago.  My longest run was only 8 miles, back in September.  Yeah, I know I’ve run half-marathons before, and I can barrel through them, but I wasn’t feeling super-confident about this one.  So, what was my plan to finish upright?  I wanted to do 2/1 intervals, like I did in St. Augustine last year.  I planned to alternate fuel at every even-numbered mile marker:  GU at Miles 4, 8, 10 and 12; Chews at Miles 2 and 6.  Also, I gave myself permission to completely walk Miles 6 (or 7) through Mile 8, then walk the Riverwalk Spiral.  I had high hopes when signing up to PR this race (my St Augustine time was 3:36:55), or at least beat my 2014 Celebration time of 3:54:41.  

I got everything locked and loaded (Garmin, Nike, etc) and the singer began to perform the National Anthem. About ¼ of the way through, though, her mic cut out.  Little by little, over the course of a few lines of the song, the entire crowd began to sing, getting louder and louder. It was so awesome, I shed a tear or two. I love my anthem, and I love my country! It was truly moving to hear how many others did too.

The race started with a literal cannon boom (I wonder how Hubby handled that?!) and we were off!

Everyone had to go through the Start Arch, so there was a bottleneck, trying to get through it. I gave my hubby my sweater (which I’d long since taken off while chilling in my ‘corral’) and began running down the road. 

Weirdly, there was a water stop set up at only .5 Mile.  I didn’t see anyone taking water – but I sure hope it’s still there at mile 12.6!

Spoiler Alert - they were there 4 hours later; they didn't seem happy about it
As with pretty much every race I’ve ever run in Jax, we passed the Maxwell House factory. I don’t drink coffee (it’s bitter and nasty), but damn if I don’t love the SMELL! 

The best part of waking up... oh
For the first mile, these 4 bitches kept walking 4 across blocking people. They’d interval and get in front of someone (usually me), then slow to a walk with no warning. EXTREMELY unprofessional.

I was passed by a group of what may have been high school ROTC kids (they looked pretty young).  The caller was doing a comedic cadence, saying things like “Turn around and go right back,” or “I forgot to eat breakfast,” weirdly random stuff.  The kids were into it though!

I made it to Mile 1 and soon the half-marathon folks (me) split from the 5k folks (annoying 4-way broads) at the entrance to the Main Street Bridge. Bye bye, 5k wussies!

Yay MIle 1! Boo, shitty pace time
See ya, losers!
Go block someone else's way!
I crossed the Main Street bridge, easy peasy – I’ve done this bridge a bunch of times now! After coming down the bridge, we pulled a hairpin turn headed towards Mile 2.

Mile 2 was the beginning of the Acosta Bridge. The most hellacious bridge I’ve ever been on (and I’ve been on the Hart Bridge…)

Mile 2 - Sucked up a Gu before the hell started
Up, up and away!

It seemed to go up forever. I was seriously having palpitations, couldn’t catch my breath, it was terrible! (I did some research after the race – while the Acosta and the Main Street bridges are the same distance {.31 and .32 miles, respectively}, the Main Street Bridge is only 35 feet above the water; Acosta is over twice that, at 81 feet above the water – no wonder it felt like one hell of a climb!)

It. Just. Keeps. GOING!
Finally, after what seemed like 20 minutes, DOWNhill!

Hello, Riverwalk Bridge thing. See you in a few hours.
Ah, the sweet sight of a decline
More, more! Go down!
Okay, what the hell? It’s going UP again?  Who’s disgusting joke is this?  It went up and down and banked and generally just made Mile 2 the worst mile ever.

Who in the hell planned this road?
Finally, the hell is over, and I’ve made it to Riverside.  Here’s a picture of a really ugly shopping center. Just thought you should know it was ugly. 

Who planned this?  Way too many colors!
Mile 3 was in front of Yates YMCA. I wondered if there were people inside on treadmills watching us and thinking we were stupid.  While on a treadmill. Inside. Going nowhere. 

It's fun to stay at the ....
Also, I love these vintage octagonal cement sidewalks. They remind me of my Aunt Ginger’s house here in Jax we visited when I was younger. I was too young to know WHERE in Jax she lived, but I remember it was a beautiful 3-story house with a tiny backyard, near a corner store that sold small boxes of Fererra Pan candies (Jawbusters, Boston Baked Peanuts, etc.) near her house. This was more than 3 decades ago.  But the sidewalks made me wistful.

Anyway, I reminisced my way to Mile 4.

Less than 10 miles to go!  (Ate some Honey Stinger chews, too)

And then Mile 5.  As you can see, I’m pretty alone back here by now. I don’t think I’ve been so alone so soon in a half-marathon before. 

What are you guys running from?
I was greeted by a bunch of Edible Arrangements employees dressed as fruit handing out water, and runners were coming back towards me.

No banana for scale
I passed Mile 6, which was where I had originally given myself permission to walk until Mile 7 or Mile 8.

Sucked on some Gu

I crossed over the 10k mat.  I wasn’t super happy with the time, but it’s not terrible for me.

I’m falling way behind now, since I’m only walking. 

Wait for me!
There was a cute “Go Mommy!” sign tacked up to a telephone pole.  Kind of bummed me out because my family, while supportive, isn’t hang-up-a-sign supportive, or hold-up-a-sign supportive.  They go, they cheer for me, but (mostly hubby) they aren’t all that into it. 

I passed an awesome group of older homeowners handing out frozen mandarin orange slices and ice pops. I bet you can guess which one I took!
Yum, purple flavored!
I sucked my way to Mile 7, and was finally on the back side of this race. We were headed back to the finish line.

I passed another great family spectating – they had 3 cutie kiddos (maybe 3 to 8 years old) giving high fives, fist bumps and Tootsie Rolls. I graciously accepted all three!

It's just me and Big Blue up there
I decided to stop running and walk to Mile 8.

The fruity folks were gone, but there was a random guy out playing the bongos.  Not really encouraging (he was playing bad reggae music – but then again, is there any other kind?).

At this point, there is no one except Big Blue as far as the eye can see.

You sir, suck.
Officially the furthest length I've gone in my training (Also, more HS Chews)
Hello?  Anybody there
I ran past some sort of Tri running group – they were packing up their stuff, but all of them stopped to cheer me on while I came through.  Very nice.

Thank you, running group whose name I can't remember!
Okay, folks, I’ve made it to Mile 9. What do we call this mile?  That’s right – the Motherfucker Mile. The mile you want to quit. The mile that takes forever. The mile that can make or break you. It will not break me. Ever.

The Motherfucker Mile™
I can see Big Blue Shirt way up ahead, past the trees… I’m really behind. 

All by myself... don't wanna be... all by myself
I passed a 7-Eleven, and I really just wanted to pull in for a Slurpee. I was ready to quit, but the Motherfucker Mile won’t beat me…

Someone go get me some NACHOS!
At this point, though, we were told to get up on the sidewalk (which is Race Code for, “Damn, slow ass, you’re holding up traffic with your fat ass trundling down the street in a stupid skirt.” Okay, maybe that’s not what it means, but it sure is what I hear.)  Screw you guys for only keeping the roads open until 9:30AM!  Seriously, in 10 minutes, all the runners would have been at the turn to the Riverwalk and off the roads.  It was a huge morale sucker.

Fuck you, sidewalk
I caught up to Big Blue Shirt on the sidewalk after the water stop and we ended up walking together for a few miles (I remember thinking that I would come to regret the decision to slow down, and I was right). She was worried about getting lost.  We chatted about random bullshit and I completely missed snapping a pic of Mile 10.

Caught ya!  I should've kept going
Mile 11 was at the beginning of the Riverwalk ramp, so we powered up, then walked down.

It's deceptively painful
We passed this gorgeous yacht, docked near Jacksonville Landing. I found out later that it was owned by Shahid Kahn, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars.  He’s a Pakistani who moved to the US in 1967 to go to school and became a US citizen in 1991.  He’s worth $5.6 billion, and the 360th wealthiest person in the world (the richest Pakistani, by net worth!)  I’d say he’s a pretty good definition of “The American Dream.”

Pictures do NOT do it justice - it was gorgeous!
Big Blue's friend, who had already finished, came back to find her. She suggested we do 30/30 intervals, saying “you can do anything for 30 seconds!” I kept up for a few, then waved them on (I don’t think the friend was sad to see me do that).

Bitch, I can beat your ass for 30 seconds.
After they disappeared into the horizon, I put my ear bud back in (I’d taken it out while we were chatting) and recommenced my 2/1 intervals – I can do this!!

I made it to Mile 12 and realized that I would not beat my St Augustine time.  OH, who’m I kidding?  I knew this race was shit from the top of that Acosta Bridge. I just want to finish at this point.  

Wait... if I run 1.1 miles in FOUR MINUTES I can totally PR this race!
A cop pulled me over – so to speak – to tell me that after the A. Phillip Randolph road, I would have to walk in the grass so I wasn’t in the way of traffic. Geeee, such a walker-friendly course ya got here.

Nothing says run like walking in soft grass
I made it to Mile 13, and I might just beat my Celeb time!  I quickened my pace as much as I could.

FOUR MINUTES - I can do this! The turn is right up there!!!
I came in to Metro Park when that herd of high school ROTC kids were carrying out cases of bananas and water (did you leave me any?).  They didn’t get out of the way, either! Seriously, I had to go around them. I also didn’t see a sign of which way to go until I was right near the back of a tank (no, seriously, a fucking TANK).  I turned right and saw the finish line.

Wow, so crowds. Much support.

Feels crowded
I crossed the finish line with hardly any cheering – there were about 10 people there, including hubby, but I got my medal and my cool pint glass. I didn’t see anyone handing out water. 

Ooh-Rah, I finished!
Mani shot!
Great pint glass
I got my hug from hubby, and since it certainly wasn’t busy, hung around the finish line to change my shoes and take my finish line photo. 

Lady on the left (I'm thinking) - "See that girl, she's a badass. AND she did it in a skirt!"
I told him about the race. I found Big Blue and congratulated her.  We walked around the sad-ass after party (though, as you can see from the Drone Video, it was a lot busier earlier) and I headed to the ladies’ room (again, every stall empty) to change clothes. 

My official time was 3:49:59, so I did beat my Celebration 2014 time.  My 10k split time was 1:46:45.  I beat a whopping THREE people and came in 139th out of 140 in my age group. 

(When I got home, I photo-stalked Big Blue and found out her name was Claire Willis, and she came in a few minutes before me at 3:45:29)

Speed Banana did photos, but for me at the back, they were NOWHERE to be found on the course. I got a big whopping FOUR photos at the finish line and they all look exactly the same.  

After changing, we grabbed some lunch and just headed home. I was tired and in a grumpy mood.  I did take a few pics of the swag I got in my packet.
Hand lanyard with keychain and carabiner -I use this for my work keys
Whistle with strobe light on a lanyard (I attached to my backpack for work safety)
Collapsible water bottle
So, what did I think of this race?  Would I do it again?  Nope.  This race was not fun.  I didn’t feel like I was part of a running community, coming together to have a fun time.  1st Place Sports puts on some great races, but this wasn’t one of them for me. Much of it is because I am slow – no spectators, no photographers, no after-party; all these things were gone by the time I got to where they had been. Who wants to sit at a finish line for 4 hours to cheer on some fat chick in a skirt?  All the real runners had already finished. I was pissed that I’d been shoved to sidewalks and grass. I was mad that no one at the finish line congratulated me (besides my hubby) and there wasn’t even any water.  I was just over it. I was extra-pissed because I was so looking forward to an awesome race that benefited military causes, and the race wasn’t awesome. It was hard, and the payoff wasn’t worth it. I’ll find something different next year.

Location: Jacksonville FL
Host: 1st Place Sports
Race Fee: $40
Packet Pickup: Available at 5 locations in Jax or P/U on Race Day
Parking: Ample, in lots J and D, across the street from Metro Park (at Stadium)
Support: (on-course) Water stations, I don’t remember any sports drink or fuel
After Party: WHAT after party?  90% of the tents AND people were gone when I got there