Saturday, January 10, 2015

Was it realllly the Best Damn Race? Best Damn Race 10k Race Report

Today is the first day of what will be an exhausting weekend.  First, I'll be doing a 10k in Jacksonville, and then me and the family are heading down to Disney to volunteer at the Walt Disney World Marathon. This post will cover the Best Damn 10k Race, as well as the trip down to Disney. Stay tuned for my volunteer report though!

When I checked out the course map beforehand, I was pleased to see that it would at least start out the same as the Gate River Run, at least for a bit.  There were no bridges on the course, and we were going to run on the Riverwalk, under the Acosta Bridge, so I was excited for a fast, flat course.

Bright and early Saturday morning, we were packed for the weekend, and headed towards Jacksonville. Let me tell ya, it was cold. Damn cold.  When we got to Jax, it was only 44ยบ!  I’m glad that I had all my extra layers. I ended up in tights, Sparkle Skirt, Cuddle Duds, tee, white running jacket, gloves, fleece headband, Bondi Band AND Hot Hands Hand Warmers. I hate being cold. I live in Florida for a reason. But, about every 5 years or so, there is a weirdly ass-cold winter, and since the last was in 2010, I knew this was coming.

Anyway, we parked at the Stadium, across from Metropolitan Park, and I went in search of packet pickup. We were running late, so it was already very crowded and busy! I had to ask a few people where to go, but we found my packet and I got ready to go.

Best Damn Race calls for the Best Damn Bondi Band!
Luckily, we didn’t stand around too long in the cold air, and soon we were off. I decided that I was going to run without looking at my Garmin, so after finding satellites, I pulled my jacket back down and pushed the start button through my jacket. 

I love getting stuck with the strollers
We passed the Maxwell House plant, which I *love* the smell of (at least, somewhat). 

Good to the last drop (but stinky after a few hours)
We passed a Monorail station – something I had no idea that Jacksonville had! I would love to ride around the city on it once, just to say I did it, and to see if it’s as awesome (I bet it’s not) as Disney’s.

It's a pretty station
We ended up going on some sort of overpass. My photo shows a sign of Main Street Bridge detour, but we didn’t go over the blue bridge, so I’m not sure WHAT road we were on! We went over some train or monorail tracks and you can see that this was definitely NOT flat!

We went in the direction of the detour, anyway
Going uphill on Mystery Road
Took a photo of what was behind me - NOT FLAT!
Mile 2 (where was the sign for Mile 1?) was across the tracks, in Riverside, where the sidewalks are made with those cool octagonal tiles.

Mile 2 - Riverside
Finally, I reached the turn-around point (okay, seriously, where was the Mile 3 sign?)  I’d been having… well, issues… with my undies, and after the turn-around I couldn’t find any potties, so I ended up going behind a big transformer on the side of the road to stick my hand down my pants and fix my panties. So classy!

Turn the race around, love to hear percussion!  Oh, wait....
Now with less chafing, I’m on the Riverwalk, and this, folks… THIS is the Best Damn Cheer Station.  Six people in bad tutus and rocker wigs. I didn’t get a great photo, but you can see that, while they ARE cheering, it is a bit sad. 

They did say that my skirt was better than their tutus. (Damn right it is!)
At least the river is pretty. 

Good morning, starshine
Looking towards Downtown
Hey, she got in front of me
Oh, crap, I’m only at Mile 4!!  How long is this Riverwalk?  And where is my other Cheer Stations?  There were supposed to be 3 stations. I guess by the time I got there, they were tired. Boo freakin’ hoo. The first one was supposed to be at Mile 3, but ended up at about Mile 3.5. The one at Mile 4 and Mile 4.5 were gone. 

Mile 4 - 2/3 of the way done!
What goes up....
I came around a curve on the Riverwalk and saw this, a ramp. Um, why is there a ramp? Oh, man – I have to climb this ramp to go over train tracks!  No one told me about all these inclines and hills! I thought the course was FLAT!

Uphill wasn’t too bad – at the top is a bridge that is enclosed all the way around (I guess so no one can jump and die), and people put locks on the chain link fence. There was a lot of graffiti, but this one was nice. My life, just not right NOW, is beautiful. 

Don't jump! Your life is beautiful!
Oh, but then it got better. What goes up must come down, right?  But not as a ramp, noooooooo… there is some sort of weird-ass square spiral thing that is about 4 layers that brings you back down to the Riverwalk. If it was round, I think I’d be able to jog down it, but the squares were weird, so I just walked.  (Helpful tip for anyone who cares – there are public bathrooms at the bottom!)

Must come down.
I’m not sure what’s going on in this photo, but you can see that I’m not all that happy right now. This race is sucking, I’m freezing and I can’t be done fast enough!

I think this was an attempt at a selfie, or taking a photo behind me
At this point, I was feeling like I was last. The girl in front of me was doing intervals and doing her darndest to keep in front of me at all times. We had to walk past a more public part of the Riverwalk, and it was populated by, well, a bunch of hoboes who had nothing better to do than to leer at me and smoke.  Many of them were actively blowing their smoke in our direction. Really classy, guys. 

At least we don't have to tackle the Hart Bridge!
We passed through the front (back?) of Jacksonville Landing, and I saw these – running is serious business in Jacksonville and there is a statue of a running man and running woman on the Riverwalk.  BDR got cute and put shirts on them!

They're so slow it's like they're standing still!
Oh, thank God, I see Mile 5!  This has got to be the SLOWEST race, in terms of how long it feels to run it!  I feel like I’ve been out here for three hours!

Mile 5, by a bench - how is that fair?
We turned back towards Bay Street after Mile 5, and finally I saw the Mile 6 sign.

So close!
The entrance to the park was just around the corner and I made it! I finished the Best Damn Race. 

Assume the position!
BDR has free race photos!  This one wasn't too bad
Remember how, at the beginning of the race, I said that I wasn’t going to look at my Garmin at all during the race? Well, I didn’t. But if I DID, I would have seen that the damn thing never even STARTED!  I ran that whole race with no Garmin!  I did have Nike going (but Nike is so janky that a 5k is saved as a 14 mile run!).  I guess I’m going to have to rely on the official time for this one.

My official time was 1:42:06 (5k split was good at 48:11).  I beat 11 people (9 of them females), so I wasn't anywhere near last. It’s not my worst time, though – that belongs to the Tacachale Turkey Trot 10k in 2013; that one was 1:44:40. However, this race was cold, had unexpected hills and shit, and was just generally NOT the Best Damn anything. I think I’ll give it one more chance though, next year.  Perhaps the cold and unexpected hills and shit are to blame for the crappy results. 

If there was a Best Damn After party, I didn’t see much of it, but we were able to grab a few cans of soda before we headed out.

I changed clothes at the restrooms, and we found a 7-Eleven close by for some snackage.  Our next stop was going to be lunch, but it wouldn’t be until we got to Orlando, and I would need food before then. I ended up getting some hot chocolate and some chips, I think. I gotta say, 7-Eleven hot chocolate is pretty good (or I was just really cold and really hungry)! 

On the road (after getting lost with all the damn construction in Jax), I ended up only drinking half of my hot chocolate, so I told hubby that if he wanted to hit that, he could.  Being the snarky smart-ass he is (we all are), he grabbed the cup and slapped it, not realizing that it was still pretty full, and got a face full of cocoa!  It was highly entertaining.

After a stop for gas (when I realized that I was speeding through Orlando on I-95 with a tank sitting on “E”), we found our lunch destination – LONG JOHN SILVERS!!!!  Yes, my favorite white trash seafood shack!  There hasn’t been an LJS in Gainesville going on about 10 years now, and I miss it a lot!  There is none in Jax, and none really close to Disney, so I was psyched when I saw that we could get to this one with a relatively minor detour.  Hubby is not a huge fan, but he humors me.

The restaurant was clean, and I got myself the best meal ever – the LJS Super Sampler platter:  1 Chicken Plank, 1 Fish Plank, 3 Shrimp, Popcorn Shrimp, Fries and Hush Puppies!  Phew, I’m full just typing all that!  The kiddo got the same thing, with extra hushpuppies, and we both got Crispies. Hubby stuck with chicken fingers. 

Photo Courtesy of - Super Sampler Platter with Slaw and Onion Rings
Oh, sweet, deep-fried, lab-created fish, I have missed you!  There is crack in LJS food, there has to be, it’s just so good in a bad way.

I gorged myself on the fish and shrimp and sadly was too full to eat my chicken plank.  Thinking that I would eat it in the car, I wrapped it up in about 10-15 napkins and took it with us (I could’ve gotten a bag, in retrospect, but I didn’t think of that).  We made our way to Baymont Inn & Suites, or go-to el cheapo hotel and finally was able to veg for a bit. 

I unpacked my bling and swag, then took a hot bath.  We had to be up around midnight for our volunteer shift at the Marathon.

Finisher Medal - Nice for a 10k

Swag Bag Goodies - BioFreeze, LaraBar, Kind Bar, lotion and some shaving goo
Shirt, two cans of soda (I drank another one in the car on the way down)
Shirt and Medal
Olaf wants my bling (the blankie comes in handy for crappy hotel rooms with no blankets)
Location: Metropolitan Park, Jacksonville FL
Host: Best Damn Race
Race Fee:$15 (32nd Person to register for the race with the tiered pricing system)
Packet Pickup: Hard to find – it was very busy in the park.
Parking: Lots – we were able to park in the Stadium parking across the street
Support: Pretty “Meh” for supposed a BEST DAMN race. Only one “Cheer Stop”
After Party: I didn’t hang around to check it out – I was freezing