Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 First Coast Parkinsons 5k Run

First Coast Parkinsons 5k Run

Time: 20:51 (chip) 20:52 (gun), Pace 6:43/M, Place 8/428 overall, 1/17 in my age group, 7/180 among men
Garmin Data: HERE 
What are the perfect elements for a weekend get away? Family, a race, a little R and R with some live music, travel and explore new areas? It just doesn't get any better than that does it?

As a runner, I'm still an oddball...I like treadmills. Frequently refereed to as "dreadmills" by some, I always connected to the idea of cybernetic man/machine merger. I plug in whatever pace I want to go and then make my body hold on until my mind can no longer ignore the consequences of the physical punishment. 
The process would be futile if not for the gift of music.  
Treadmill + the right tunes =Exuberance, Treadmill with no tunes = forget it.
For me, no band has been able to produce the steady hard hitting tempos that I need to push myself beyond my limits quite like Ministry.
The complete separation of mind and body. Violent tempo's, defiant lyrics, merciless paces...it goes together in my mind at just the right frequency, energy, and vibration to push me to some of my fastest 4 - 8 mile runs ever. Most prominently in the tunes "So What", "Burning Inside" and "Just One Fix".

  When Ministry announced their N. American tour I wasn't going to miss it. They had some closer dates, but they were middle of the week, so I looked around and discovered the Saturday show in Jacksonville. Still, 1200 miles round trip just for a show? No, this was a two day festival with Ministry and many other bands! Still a rather long drive. A little more digging uncovered a race in the area and I was starting to feel compelled. I just couldn't justify the expense.

I asked my son, Chris, if he would be interested in going and with an enthusiastic "Yes!" all the elements were in place for a fun father/son road trip!

The Race
Riverside Park was a very clean community park just outside of the tourist area where I was staying and it made for a great location to host a race. Plenty of shade, adequate walking paths, a large fountain and a common community area. A real gem for the locals, I'm sure.

Prior to race start, I walked around and talked to a few of the vendors who had set up to distribute information about various health related and Parkinsons Disease specific topics. Notably absent was any information concerning the promising research being done regarding Parkinsons Disease and Cannabis, so I have included a link HERE. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few vendors, one being Dunkin Donuts, handing out free snacks and coffee which was exactly what I needed since I had skipped breakfast.

The race course itself was a very flat, roughly l mile lap of Riverside Park followed by a 1 mile out and 1 mile back route along a neighboring road.  I hadn't ran since the Blue Ridge Half the previous Saturday and I haven't been training at 5k paces in months, so I wasn't expecting anything exceptional. As the race started I quickly fell in to 8th place, somehow I managed an unexpectedly strong low 6 for the first mile, then fell into a sustainable high 6 for the remaining 2 miles. After the initial spacing out, I passed 2 people and 2 other people came from the back and passed me, so I was basically in 8th the whole race.

After finishing I had access to plenty of water and bananas for free or two food vendors were selling more substantial food if I had wanted to go the pay-to-eat route. This was a $20 pre register, $25 for the week of, and $30 for day of registration fees, so the favorable price was reflective in light of the post race food options and perfectly acceptable to keep expenses down.

The awards ceremony was done promptly at the advertised time of 10:15am and that gave me plenty of time to get back to the hotel, shower and get to Metropolitan Park for the music festival. The First Coast Parkinsons 5k Run is a well run event and I would definitely recommend it and do it again if fate should put me back in the area for such an opportunity. 


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