Tour de Pain 2012

Previous Tour de Pain’s:


The Tour de Pain is sort of an annual passage for runners in Jacksonville. It’s an “ultra” racing type weekend allowing runners to prove to their friends (and themselves) that they have a little badass inside.

It’s more than just a race, it’s a collection of 3 races all run in a less than 24 hours. It begins with a 4 mile beach run Friday night, a 5k road race Saturday morning, and a 1 mile “sizzlah” Saturday afternoon. Runners can also sign up for just one or two of the races if they prefer to not run all 3.


First up was the 4 mile beach run Friday night. I have to say of the 3 races, the beach run is my least favorite. In fact, I pretty much think Beach Runs Suck overall.

They don’t look that bad. In fact, they look quite pleasant, but trust me, they’re not. The sand is never even. It’s bumpy, too soft, too hard, or full of shells.

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Worse than that, it’s not level. The sand slopes towards the water, sometimes worse than others. You don’t realize how hard this is on your body until you finish.

Beach runs are typically an “out and back” style race. This means you take off running from the starting line, run for have the distance (in this case 2 miles), turn around, and run back to the starting line which is now converted into the finish line. To me, this is pretty boring. There’s not a whole bunch of landmarks on our beaches. One tall condo complex looks the same as the next in m brain. I feel like I’m running with a never ending repeating scenery.

Lastly, there’s the wind. For the Tour de Pain, we start running south which means we have a slight breeze in on our face.  It wasn’t the type of breeze that’s strong enough to hold you back, which was good. The real problem is after you turn around, you suddenly realize how much that slight breeze was cooling you off.  This is actually the point many people overheat and break down during the race.

…and this is also why beach runs are awesome. They challenge you to keep going, push through the discomfort and pain, and finish strong.

When we arrived, we parked and walked out onto the beach. We started jogging to warm up and ended up stopping under the pier. A cold rain had started at this point which was chilling. We were hoping to wait it out a bit. I thought the above picture was pretty neat. Then I looked to the right and saw something even better!

Why hello there rainbow out of nowhere!

This post is going to have a LOT of rainbow pictures. Excessive.

We finally peeled our eyes off the rainbow to head back up to the boardwalk to find a restroom. There was one set of restrooms fairly close to the starting line but the line for that was really long. We walked a bit further to the restrooms in the parking lot across from Lynches Irish Pub where there was no line. On our way back to the beach, there was an announcement from the race director that they were delaying the start of the race 30 minutes due to lightning. Great. Then it started to rain.

We ducked into a hotel overhang and hung out on a bench for a while.

Finally the rain stopped and left us with a full rainbow.

And then we continued to wait as they delayed the race a bit longer. The sky was really dark and luminous ahead of us.

Finally.. after a loooong delay, we got things going and the race started.

The sand seemed to have been effected by the tides and was really sloped towards the water. As a result, everyone was running fairly close to the water because it was flatter and harder than everywhere else.  For some reason, the cone indicating the halfway point and the table with the water was really high up on the beach. This meant we all had to run up part of the beach (the softer part.. waaaaah!) to get to the water and to run around the cone.

Then we got to turn around and run 2 miles back to the finish.

FINALLY. My Garmin died about 2.5 miles into the race which was a bummer. I was hoping to beat last years time (even if by just a minute) which was 48:05. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. While I finished strong, I ended up finishing in 51.26. Regardless, I was glad I completed the run and held strong.

Next up, it was time to refuel and get some sleep so I could be ready for the 5k the next morning!



Well, we made it. We usually seem to arrive for morning races just in time to race, but finally made it with plenty of time to warm up. My legs were a little tight from the night before, so I did an extra long warm up. I ended up warming up about a mile.

Everyone lined up..

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…and we were off. The blurry guy in the front? That’s my friend Chris. Kinda makes me laugh that he’s in this picture. I’m in the green shirt on the right side next to the girl in the white shirt.

Finisher!!  I am happy to say that I actually beat last year’s time of 36:22!  I finished in 35:38.  I’m slowly getting that 5k time down. Yay!

After the race I admit I click one-by-one through all the photos posted on the 1stPlaceSports Facebook page. I can’t help it. There are rarely ever any photos of me, and if I’m not absolutely careful, I just might miss one.

Well.. this time my obsession paid off. I present you with the absolute best running photos I’ve ever seen…mostly because the comments on Facebook were hilarious.

And in case you were wondering, Adam had NO problems with heading to Bagel Love after the race.

Yum! This time I tried the egg and cheese with sausage. Mmmm..

…and of course, iced coffee!



Less than 12 hours later we found ourselves downtown outside of the Jacksonville Landing waiting to run one mile. Until last year’s Tour de Pain, I can’t say I’ve ran one mile for time since high school. It’s definitely interesting. I really wish I remembered what my cross country pace was back in the day; although it’s probably good I don’t because it would be a little defeating as well.

Running just a mile and no more is challenging.  It’s almost a sprint for the entire time, but not quite. If you go out too fast, you risk a blow out.  Too slow, you risk a slow time.

If you want to come out for one of the most exciting races in Jacksonville, I highly recommend coming to the Tour de Pain 1 mile sizzler.  (I prefer to call it the sizzlah, though)

The race starts and ends right at almost the same place making it easy for people to gather around and watch both. After you start running, you make a loop around one city block (which has you running right past the start/finish) then you make the same loop again around that city block and right into the finish.

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I did a fun panorama while I was waiting for my chance to start. You can see everyone crowded around watching.

Here I am just finishing the first loop. You can tell I’m on the first loop because I’m on this side of the cones. If I was on the other side, that would mean I’m headed to the finish.

I’m happy to say I beat my 1 mile sizzler time from last year. Last year’s time was 9:52 and this year I finished in 9:39!

This means I improved on 2 out of the 3 races. I can’t complain about that!

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I worked hard for this baby!

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