When I decided to run 15 races in 2015 it was partially because I already had 8 races on the schedule. I knew I’d be adding 3 more because of Rock N Blog, so that only left me with 4 more races to fit in there. Sounds reasonable right?
Well earlier this month was my first race of 2015 – Best Damn Race in Jacksonville, FL. It was the first time Best Damn Race had come to Jacksonville and I was signed up for the 10k. Originally I was going to do the 1/2 marathon, but with the Zooma 1/2 being the following weekend (and due to some health issues the month before the race) I decided to do the 10k instead. This ended up being a good decision for many reasons.
A few days before the race the weather forecast showed that it was going to be VERY cold in Jacksonville. In fact, there were actually snow flurries there 2 days before the race. Even with this knowledge I still seemed to do a bad job packing warm running clothes (but more on that later). I headed up to Jacksonville on Friday after work and went straight to the expo at Metropolitan Park to pick up my packet and packets for a couple of friends. It was a little chilly, so after saying hi to some folks I hightailed it to the hotel.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront which was only about a mile from the race start. The hotel was HUGE and right on the river. Unfortunately our room didn’t have riverviews but it was still big and a great deal. My roomie and fellow BDR ambassador Haley showed up a little while later and we went out in search of food. Thanks for recommendations from some local friends we ended up at Carmine’s Pie House. Holy yummy pizza! We ate entirely too much, but had a great time catching up. Shortly after dinner we headed back to the hotel to try and get ready for the race the next morning.
We had been asked to show up up a bit early in case they needed help at the check-in tent, so we had a 5 am wake-up call. Wow that is early. Thankfully due to the earlier wake up call we were able to just drive to the start and park close by. Even with our layers of running clothes (I had on a long sleeve running shirt and a running jacket) we all decided to wear our regular jackets as well. Just before the race start we brought the jackets back to the car. Since I was running the 10k I started 30 minutes before my friends and gave them my jacket before heading to the start.
It was cold and dark and really all I could think about was crawling back into the warm comfy bed at the hotel. But I hopped in the corral with around 800 other people and prepared to run my first race of the year. I was a little worried since I hadn’t run since Best Damn Race Cape Coral back in December (due to a nasty cold and a broken toe), but I was just focused on finishing.
The course was difficult but great. The first 3 miles took us through parts of downtown Jacksonville and then the final 3 miles were right along the river. This was not a flat course by any means, but it was a lot of fun. The course kept me distracted enough that I didn’t spend the whole time thinking about how darn cold it was.
As I was coming down the final stretch towards the finish line I knew I was going to miss my 10k PR by about a minute and a half. It was a bummer, but I was still proud of my finish time considering the situation. But imagine my surprise when later that day I found out that I had only missed my 10k PR by 34 seconds. THIRTY FOUR SECONDS! That’s just insane!
After the race I grabbed some food and some cider (I had to try and stay warm!), then headed back to the finish line. I visited with friends, took pictures of the first 1/2 marathon finishers, and waited for Haley to finish the 1/2 marathon. Luckily I was able to get a couple good picture of her coming across the finish line. This was her first 1/2 marathon since having her son… less than four months ago. She is a rockstar!
Unfortunately we all had to get moving pretty soon after the race, so after taking a few group pictures we headed back to the hotel for some hot showers and warmer clothes. It was a brief trip to Jacksonville, but I really had a great time. As always Best Damn Race really did put on the BEST damn race. I’ll definitely be back again in 2016 to tackle that course again and hopefully get that PR.
Interested in joining us at Best Damn Race in Safety Harbor next month? You still have time to use code MEGROTH to save $5 off your registration!