2021 Race 33 Patriot Day 5K

Race photos are here:


BEFORE MY START:  My 33rd race of 2021 was the Patriot Day 5k held on Sep 11 at Pleasanton River Park.  This was my 2nd 5K of the day, after having done the Gruene 5K in the morning in Gruene, Texas.   This event, in honor and memoriam was held on the 20th anniversary of 9/11/2011 in honor and memory and recognition of the victims of that day; survivors of that day who were present at the targeted sites; all First Responders then and now; and the family members of those both lost and involved at “ground zero.” The 5K start time was at 6:30 with a well-done commemorative ceremony done at 5 p.m. with various local dignitaries speaking on what this day meant to those of us who lived that day, only the 2nd time in US history that an unexpected ‘sneak attack’ of this magnitude occurred on US soil, the first being Pearl Harbor. Pretty much everyone in the US who lived during that time knew exactly where he/he was the news of this tragic day began to come in. As a couple of the speakers noted, we must never forget and hopefully generations after us will always remember this day too with some type of dignity and respect for all those involved.  After the ceremony there was a placing of wreaths. At the conclusion of the ceremony packet pickup resumed.  I had gotten my packet earlier and before the 5K began I got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:   Thanks to my good friend Woody and the Atascosa County Running Club folks who had previously invited me to Pleasanton to do a couple of events in the past, I was already familiar with the 5K course so knew exactly where I was going for a change, lol.  This was a loop course, starting in the park.  We went along a very nice trail alongside the river, then did a brief stint on one of the park roads.  This road took us out of the park, where went up a short incline – not something you could really call a hill – and then proceeded on a route that looped us through a very nice neighborhood with wide streets and lots of room for everyone. The streets were open to traffic but no problem.  All the drivers I encountered at any given moment were very polite and waited for the participants in their immediate vicinity to pass by before they continued driving.  From what I have experienced whenever I’ve visited her, Pleasanton is a very polite and friendly little city.  Our loop through this neighborhood took us back onto the town street we had started on. We turned back onto that, now went down that incline, and then made a left turn onto another park road.  This road took us back to the finish line. This is an excellent course and just really tailor-made for anyone who might want to shoot for a 5K PR.  Which was not me, lol. I did my usual 12-something minute miles, took photos on my required walk breaks (stupid arthritis!) and just enjoyed myself.  Even got to treat a doggie along the way, with its human’s permission.  Third out of five in my 65 – 69 age group, with a chip time of 39:42, averaging something like 12:47 per mile.

AFTER MY FINISH:  My two race goals are always: Finish Standing Up and No Ambulance Waiting Specifically for Me at the Finish.  Goals met, lol. Although, like a dummy, right after I finished, I stopped moving for a minute, forgetting to keep moving for a bit, and of course all the blood went right out of my head, making me dizzy for a second. After being a runner for 38 years, you’d think I’d know better, lol.  There was no ambulance but thankfully there was a nice police officer right there who caught me by the arm so I did not fall and crack something, idiot that I am.  Moved around for a few minutes, just relaxing and letting my pacemaker take my heart back to my ‘normal’ range and felt much better.  Got a few photos of some others finishing and then went back to the park pavilion where all the action was. In between getting some food and drink and the awards ceremony, got a few after photos.

Epilogue:  A very nicely done event, organized by Race Director Tony Garcia, the Pleasanton Express newspaper, and all the many volunteers involved, including a local Jr Army ROTC detachment, some members of the Atascosa County Running Club, and more. Chip-timing by iaap, a very good race management company based in San Antonio area.  Post-race goodies included sausage-on-a-stick, lots of water, beer, and various other sundries. Even a DJ there, providing sound and tunes. 79 finishers, so not too bad for a first-time event, especially considering this was the 20th anniversary of 9-11, so in the morning there had been held multiple types of races in the San Antonio-Austin Corridor, so lots of people probably did those in the morning and may not have wanted to do a second event. So, as noted, all things considered, a pretty nice turnout. I would do this one again if it was held annually as a regular event, and I would recommend it to others.  Actually, I did recommend it to a few.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  The City of Pleasanton for the use of the venue; and to the city dignitaries that came out to speak at the ceremony; the Jr Army ROTC detachment for their involvement; Race Director Tony and all the race day volunteers out there for us; our sound guy; all the first responders – firefighters, police officers, EMT folks, etc – who were out there for the event, and especially to those officers who were out on the course for us to keep us safe; and, of course to any sponsors who helped in making this event happen; and to anyone else involved I may not have mentioned.  Thank you all!     

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2021 Race 32, Gruene 5K

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BEFORE MY START: My 32nd race of 2021 was the Gruene 5K on Sep 11 by Athlete Guild in Gruene, Texas, the home of Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas and a performance venue of many famous musicians.  There was also a 10K and a Kids Run.  Pretty nice turnout for this one, with 148 finishers for the 10K and 291 finishers for the 5K. Weather was really nice with clear skies, sunshine, a temp of around 68 degrees at the 8 a.m. start time  and low humidity.  Felt very pleasant and comfortable.   I arrived about 45 minutes before start time, got my packet and got a few pre-start photos.  Dog friendly event so, as I wandered around, a couple of the dogs actually recognized me, lol, and headed toward me for treats, to the surprise of some of their humans.      

ON THE COURSE:   The 10K folks started first, with the 5K folks going about 10 or so minutes after them.  We all started out on pretty much the same route.  The 10K folks had just a slight diversion from the 5K course where they made a turn, while the 5K entrants continued on.  The 10K folks then went back toward the finish line area, bypassing that and then doing an out-and-back on the road that took them past the Rockin’ R tubing company.  This meant that for their finish the had to get back to the finish line by coming up that big darn hill that is right past the Rockin’ R. area. The 5K course was pretty much all flat with just one very miniscule incline just past the Mile 1 mark.  Having got my 2nd injection on Friday morning for my prostate cancer,  was not sure if this would affect my in any way for the event. Luckily, I had just about no side-effects from my treatment and was feeling pretty good. I ended up doing negative splits and finished with a chip time of 37:57, 7th out of 8 in my 65-69 age group. The first three in my age group all finished under 30 minutes, zowie.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Cooled down a bit, drank some water, ate my protein bar I had brought with me and just relaxed for a while.  After that, wandered around chatting with friends and other participants, making new friends, and getting some post-race photos.  Everyone I chatted with seemed very relaxed and pleased with the event – it really is a well-done event – and seemed to be enjoying themselves. 

Epilogue:   As noted, very well organized event.  Also, some very nice post-race goodies that included beer; 4 kinds of tacos; various nutrition bars and other goodies; and, of course, bottled water. Nice quality race shirt and finisher medals for all finishers.

MUCHO THANKS TO: Athlete Guild for this nice event; all the sponsors of this event and all the race volunteers out there for us; our MC David; the residents and business people of Gruene as we invaded their space for a while; the police officers on the course for our safety; the providers of all the post-race goodies; and anyone else I may not have mentioned.  Thank you all!  

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2021 Race 31 Scallwompus Bankersmith 5K

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BEFORE MY START:    My 31st race of 2021 was the Battle of Bankersmith 5K, put on by Scallwompus running company on Sep 4 as part of its 2021 Alamo Beer Series, a series of 4 races for which you could register for all 4 or each one individually.  The main event was a half marathon and there was also a 10-miler, a 10K, and a 5-miler.  Bankersmith, population 0 is a small, privately owned property between Fredericksburg and Comfort, Texas, with a saloon, dance hall, and events center.  The final road on the drive to get there is one crazy, hilly, curves everywhere road, kind of spooky in the dark, and first morning light.  At one point on this road I felt like I was in The Twilight Zone and thought I would see Rod Serling waiting for me around the next bend.  My friend, Woody, when he drove it, told me he kept hearing banjo music in his head, lol.  Finally arrived at my destination, got parked, and then wandered around chatting with friends and fellow participants and getting some pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:   All the courses were out-and-back.  We 5K participants were the last to get started, at 8:15 a.m.  I have run the Bankersmith 5K before so thought I knew what to expect – a very hilly course – but what I did not know is the course was changed a bit since the last time I’d done this event.  So after going down a hill from the start, then proceeding up a long hill, instead of then going flat-and-straight to the 5K turn-round point and then back the way we came, we instead turner right onto one of the cross-roads…and had THE HILLIEST part of the course on our way to-and-from the 5K turn-round.  These hills were no joke – not as steep as the ones in hilly Helotes, Texas – but still fairly steep and long. After making the turn-round point the hill going back up as we headed to the finish was a real bear, and I ended up walking a bit more than I had planned.  Finally knew I had finished this hill when I could once again see the Team RWB water-stop tent – thanks guys! – good grief.  Then it was back out onto the road we had started on, downhill for a while, and then just before finishing, going up the downhill we had come out on…and then there was finally a nice flat part of the course just before we turned into the finish.  Mile 2 was my longest-in-time mile – that big hill – and I guess I was ready to be done after that, lol, because Mile 3 was a negative split for me. 39:13 chip time, averaging 12:37 per mile, and was 3rd out of 4 in my 65 – 69 age group.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Pretty warm for this one, with ‘abundant sunshine” and no cloud cover.  I went to my vehicle for about 10 minutes, sitting in the a/cl and rehydrating…ahhhhhh.  Much better.  Then it was off to get some post-race goodies – Alamo beer, sausage on a stick, a variety of fruits, etc. – and get some post-race photos.

Epilogue:  This is a very hilly and challenging event for all the courses – I think the drive is part of the challenge too, lol – and, of course, the participants doing the longer mileage events had even more hills than we 5K folks did – but very well organized as all Scallywompus events are.  They are not kidding, either, when they post “Come for the race. Stay for the party.”  Music, lots of food and drink, really nice and unique ‘award’ glasses to all the age-group placers and nice awards for the overall winners, and every finisher got a nice finisher medal.  Nice quality race shirt too. I’ve done several Scallywompus events in the past and will do more in the future.

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2021 Race 30, Big Red and Barbacoa 5K

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 BEFORE MY START:   My 30th race of 2021 and 2nd of this weekend was the Big Red and Barbacoa 5K held on August 22 at Comanche Park in San Antonio. Nice turn-out, with 242 finishers. Race start time at 8:30 a.m., with a Kid’s Run at 8:15 a.m.  August in Texas so temp at 8:30 a.m. was already in the upper 70s and humidity was thicker than a double peanut butter sandwich. I arrived at race site with about 45 minutes until start time and roamed around chatting with friends and getting some pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  Out-and-back course starting from near the park’s main pavilion.  The route was on the paved trails in the park just about all flat, with the exception of a couple of mild inclines that cannot really be called hills; down inclines on the way out, up inclines on the way back. Course was open to other patrons so had to watch out for cyclists – a couple of whom were pretty rude about it – and other runners and walkers.  Like the 5K my friend Ralph and I did the day before, we were pretty much in the same proximity again for most of this race too, until near the end when Ralph found his ‘finish mojo’ and finished ahead of me by a good 2 minutes or so. I ended up with a chip time of 38:48, 2 minutes faster than the 5K I did the day before this one.  Happy with that and my pacemaker, ‘celebrating’ its 2nd anniversary – it was implanted on Aug 22, 2019 – behaved itself nicely.  

AFTER MY FINISH: Comanche Park has a really nice and large pavilion with fans placed at various spots, so a nice place to just sit and relax for a few minutes and cool down. After that, enjoyed a post-race Kiolbassa sausage, chatting with friends post-race, and getting some ‘happy finisher’ photos. I call them that because most participants seem to be smiling more after they are done than before and during the race, lol.  

Epilogue: Very nicely done event at a nice venue. I personal like running at Comanche Park – a nice selection of trails, good facilities, including indoor restrooms, large pavilion,  and it even has a kitchen area, and has a couple of other smaller shelters just right for packet pickups, serving post-race goodies, and more.  Unique and nice quality race shirt. Goodies included barbacoa tacos, Big Red, and Kiolbassa sausage.  Finisher medals to all and nicely designed medals for the age group placers.  I would do this one again and would recommend it to others.  

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Race Director Eddie; all the volunteers at packet pickup and on race day out there for us; iRun Texas for hosting the packet pickup; park police officers that had a presence out there for us; our MC an music man who did a great job for us; iaap for the timing and results; I think iaap may also have designed the race shirts; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.   Thank you all!

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2021 Race 29 Churchill High X-Country 5K

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BEFORE MY START:  My 29th race of 2021 was the Churchill Cross Country 5K, held on Aug 21 at McAllister Park.  When I originally saw the race title I thought it was an actual cross-country race so did not sign up since I can’t do actual cross-country events – kills my spinal arthritic back. My friend Albert let me know it was actually on paved roads and trails at McAllister Park and the title was because the race supports the X-country team.  Okay, then.  So I did race-day sign up, since McAllister Park is very close to where I live – about a 10 minute drive.  Arrived on-site around 7:15 a.m., got signed up and got a few pre-start photos.  Nice to see friends at this one, including Albert, Rick, Ian, and Ralph. 

ON THE COURSE:  Start time 8 a.m.  Weather: very humid and already in the 70s.  The start was a bit down from a youth baseball field in the park and the finish was just about right in front of the entrance gate to the youth baseball field. The course was a combination of paved trails in the park and one park road – so no cross-country at all. Living near the park I am familiar with all the trails in the park as I run here quite a bit.  I did my usual 8-minute run/2-minute walk thing and took a few photos during each of my walk breaks. For the majority of the course I was pretty much in proximity of my friend Ralph.  I think I pushed a bit too hard during that first mile and I paid for it the last mile, walking a bit more than I usually do.  With about ½ mile to go, Ralph surged ahead of me to get to the finish. I plodded behind, finishing at 40:46 chip time, averaging 13:07 per mile, and finishing 1st and 2nd and 3rd in my 65-69 age group since I was the only one in my age group, lol

AFTER MY FINISH: I had parked pretty close to the finish line area so went and sat in my car for a bit, with the a/c running, sipping my post-race rehydrate drink and felt much better.  Then it was back out to watch the awards and get a few after-photos of some of the participants and supporters.   Some of the participants are pretty darn speedy. The overall guy finished in 16:47, jeez, and the first lady finished in 21-something. I was not even to Mile 2 by 21 minutes, lol. Felt sorry for my friend Albert who did the course in a pretty good time – but forgot to put his race bib on, so had no official time.  He ran the course pretty well too.

Epilogue:  A smaller event with 72 total finishers, but very nicely done.  The course was well thought out and did give us a lot of shade along the way. It was also a pretty flat course, with just a couple of small inclines along the way, so a nice course to shoot for a PR; however,  all the trails are still open to other park patrons – cyclists, other runners, walkers, etc – so you do have to keep an eye out for other “traffic’ coming toward you or coming up behind you. Pretty nice quality race shirts and nicely done small age-group medals for those who placed. The only thing I would recommend changing – earlier start!  This is Texas summer in August and it gets warm really quick.  7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. start would be nice, and it is light enough to see by that time.  All-in-all though, very nicely done.  I’d do this one again and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  All the Churchill High School staff, students, etc. who got this one going for us, and all the volunteers out there for us, cheering participants on.  Thanks also to all the sponsors who helped make this one happen, and to the Park Police officers that had a presence out there for us for our safety; and to Athlete Guild for timing, results, etc. and to anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned.  Thank you all!  

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2021 Race 28, S.A. Summer Series 5K-Race 4

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BEFORE MY START: My 28th live race of 2021 was the San Antonio Summer Series 5K held on August 1st at McAllister Park in San Antonio. This was my 2nd race of the weekend, after doing the American Heroes 5K on July 31.  Start time of 7:30 a.m. for this one.  McAllister Park is only a short drive for me; parts of my neighborhood are actually adjacent to some of the off-road trails in the park. I arrived a little after 7 a.m. at Becken Pavilion, the start/finish area of the 5K, got my packet and then got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:    The 5K was a loop course on off-road paved trails and one park road, that took in quite a bit of the park. For those familiar with the park, we passed by the nearby police substation; went on the park road that took us close to the youth baseball field, and then turned onto a paved trail that took us behind the baseball field. After that, we were on a paved trail that headed in the direction of the Turkey Roost pavilion, but we turned onto another trail before getting to that pavilion, and that last trail took us back to the finish on the trail that we had originally started on. Nicely thought-out route. Even though we had an early start, this is Texas in summer, so pretty darn humid, already 79 degrees at 7:30 a.m., with a feels-like of 84.  I felt pretty good for the most part, although still ended up with my usual 12-somethting minute miles, ending up with a 38:21 finish time. Surprisingly, this was good enough for 1st place in my 60 – 69 age group, so I think all the speedy runners in my age group slept in the morning of this race, lol.

AFTER MY FINISH:   Got some water and a banana; just sat a bit while I relaxed, ate, and and rehydrated, ahhh, felt good. Then wandered around chatting with various friends and other participants and getting some “Happy Finisher” photos.  Ever notice that more participants are smiling after the finish than before and during?

Epilogue: Put on by e-Dragon Productions – Erik Burciaga and Kristine Burciaga, co-owners and co-Race Directors – a company that is a really good local race management company that puts on several events on over the year. Kristina and Erik do a great job with all of them.  This is a well-organized event with a pretty nice course.  McAllister Park is a pretty nice activity venue with both paved and natural off-road trails; soccer fields, baseball fields; dog park; and several indoor restroom locations. Nice quality race shirts and unique age-group award medals.  Post-race goodies included some fruits; iced-down bottles of water; and an iced-down cloth post-race to help you cool down a bit more.  There were also sausage wraps, courtesy of Kiolbassa sausage, nice. The series includes 4 races total and you can register for all 4 at one time, getting a nice discount if you do that, or each one individually. The Summer Series proceeds go to scholarships for local deserving athletes. I participated in this series last year, again this year, and will again in the future.  Most certainly would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO: All the people that made this one happen for we participants, including e-Dragon Productions; all the volunteers who were out there for us, many of whom are Team Beef members; ; the Park Police officers that were keeping us safe at the two locations where we accessed public park roads; friends Dan The Man and Gilbert Weaver for the post-race fruits and grilling up the sausages; and anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you so much. 

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2021 Race 27, American Hero 5K/25K Relay

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BEFORE MY START:   My 27th live race of 2021 was the American Hero 5K held on July 31. The main event was the American Hero Relay 25K, which had 5 team members each running 5K distance.  There was also a Kid’s Run before the 5K and 25K got started. Event location was Comanche Park in San Antonio, a very nice park that is part of San Antonio’s Greenways Trail System.  The park has paved trails and connects to other parks in the system; you can get in a really long run, walk, or bike ride in this park if you so desire.  Start time of 7:40 a.m., after the kids run was done.  Weather…well, this is Texas in late July, so humid, warm – already 76 degrees with 82% humidity at the 7:30 a.m. start time – and no breeze at all.  I arrived with about 45 minutes until the start time, chatted with friends, and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:   Start was near the main pavilion in the park. Individual 5K participants and Relay 25K first-leg team members all started together. The course was primarily out-and-back, with a little bit of a ‘loop’ done just before the finish.  Kind of mentally frustrating, lol, because when you did that last little bit on the course, you could see the finish line on your left – and just wanted to turn right then to get there – but had to go past it on the trail to make the turn farther down that would take you back to the finish line to finally get done.  Lots of tree cover on this course, which is nice, but did not really help keep us cooler as, noted before, no breeze at all. Since everyone used this course, the speedier faster relay people were continuously coming-and-going – especially the runners doing the first two legs – continually passing by the slower 5K runners like me. I tried to keep aware of them and just get the heck out of their way, lol, when they came near me.  I ended up 3rd in my 60 – 69 male age group with a chip time of 38:54, averaging a slow 12:31 per mile. Mile 3 for me was a negative split though, liked that. I felt a bit tired, but pretty good overall, in spite of this stupid prostate cancer I am currently dealing with. It is what it is though, so just have to keep a positive attitude, keep up the good fight, and do the best  I can.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Got some water and a banana and then went to the park pavilion and just sat at one of the picnic tables for a while, relaxing, rehydrating, and enjoying the nice cool breeze of the pavilion fans blowing on me as I monitored my pacemaker bringing my heartrate back down into my normal resting heart rate range. Ahhh, much better. Then off on a post-race walk-about, chatting with friends and getting some photos.

Epilogue: Put on by e-Dragon Productions, a really good local race management company that puts several events on over the year, this was a well-organized event with a pretty nice course. Personally, I like running at Comanche Park.  Also, nice facilities, with a big covered pavilion and indoor restrooms.  Post-race goodies included iced-down bottles of water, chicken fajitas, and more. No beer though; guess the park authorities would not allow that.  Nice little age-group race medals that are also bottle openers; nice quality race shirt; and a music duo entertaining us post-race.  I’d do this one again and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO: All the people that made this one happen for we participants, including e-Dragon Productions; all the volunteers who were there for us for both packet pickup on Friday and the race on Saturday; local running company iaap who did the timing and results; park police officers that were out there for us; the food preparers for providing a really good feed; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here that was involved. Thank you all!

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2021 Race 26, Winter in July 10K and 5K

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BEFORE MY START:    My 26th race of 2021 was the Winter In July 5K/10k, originally started by my friend Rebecca B.  For career purposes, Rebecca now lives in another state, but she kept this event in San Antonio where it started, and she drove down from where she lives now to San Antonio to attend to this event.   Held on July 24th.  I did the 5K. Held at Wheatley Heights in San Antonio, this race benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.  This race is also kind of personal to me as, during my Air Force Days long ago, I was a volunteer for a short while at St. Jude’s, where I had the privilege to meet some of the most courageous kids I have ever known.  This has been a true blessing for me as I am now being treated for prostate cancer; so when I get a little frustrated or maybe start feeling sorry for myself for a few minutes, all I have to do is take a moment, close my eyes and think about those kids and it hits me that I really don’t have it so bad.  After all, I got to grow up and have a life, some of these kids did not. Race start time of 7:35 a.m. for the 10K and 7:45 a.m. for the 5K.  There was also a 1K Kids run before the two main events got started.  I arrived about 40 minutes before start time, chatted with friends and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  Start/Finish line was in the parking lot near Wheatley Heights Stadium. The course for this one was out-and-back. We did a very short distance in the parking lot, turned left onto an access road, and then turned right onto the Wheatley Heights off-road trails, part of the San Antonio Greenway Trails System.  Nicely paved trails, and lots of shade on the course.  A couple of up and down inclines along the way, but nothing you could really call a hill. We also crossed a couple of short bridges that took us across parts of Salado Creek, I think.  Because of my spinal arthritis, I did my usual 8-minutes running/2 minutes walking thing and got some on-course photos during my walk breaks. I felt pretty good and did my usual 12-something minute miles, with my last mile on the way to the finish being a negative split, nice. I ended with a chip time of 37:44, averaging 12:09 per mile, and was 5th out of 10 in my 60-69 males age group.  Got a few photos of others coming into the finish.

AFTER MY FINISH: Got my finisher medal and there was also a nice ice-watered down cloth given to each finisher, nice, to help with cool-down.  Got some water and just sat for a while, sipping my water, and eating a banana, waiting for my pacemaker to bring my heart-rate down to ‘normal” level, which did not take long at all.  After I got myself rehydrated a bit, I then enjoyed a post-race beer and Kiolbassa sausage wrap, and wandered around getting some after-photos, and chatting with friends, participants, and supporters.

Epilogue: Very nicely done event with local company e-Dragon Productions (race management; shirt-printing, running gear, etc) laying out the course and friend Erik doing duties as Co-Race Director with founder Rebecca.  Local resident Mark Purnell did his usual great job as Race MC, and Athlete Guild did their usual excellent job of timing and results. Unique age group nicely designed “tile” awards for the top 3 finishers in each age group, and nice quality race shirts and finisher medals for each finisher. Lots of vendors/sponsors at this one too and a bouncy Moon Castle for the kiddies.   This is a really good quality event I will definitely do again and again.  I would certainly recommend it to others. Walkers welcome too, and this is also a dog-friendly event.

MUCHO THANKS TO: All the people that made this one happen for we partcipants, including e-Dragon Productions; Team RWB San Antonio; Fleet Feet San Antonio; Kiolbassa Smoked Meats for the post-race sausages; Bloody Buddy (bloody mary with vodka); 20’s Moon Castle; wear blue: run to remember; Camp Gladiator; Como Familia; Delgago Realty Group; Trail Toes (anti-chafing products); Performance Republic Physical Therapy; Team Beef; and any others I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!

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2021 Race 25 Texas Tough 10-Mile, 10K and 5K

Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/zkpGp6ZzkPESNFQd8

BEFORE MY START: My 25th race of 2021 was the Texas Tough 5K held on July 18th in Helotes, Texas. Start and finish area was in the historic “Old Towne” part of Helotes. The main event was the Texas Tough 10-miler, starting at 7:30 am. There was also a 10K, starting 5 minutes or so after the 10-miler and then the 5K participants went a few minutes after the 10K start. This was my 2nd race of the weekend, having done the Stars and Stripes 5K the day before. I arrived about 35 minutes or so before the 5K start time and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE: The Race Title does not say “Texas Tough” for no reason. This is one of the hilliest events I have ever done. As I was doing the 5K course, I kept thinking ‘If this is what the 5K is like, I can’t imagine what the 10K and 10-miler participants are having to deal with.” Out-and-back course for the 5K. I think the 10K was out-and-back also. Not sure about the 10-miler. We started in Olde Towne in the parking lot of a local store, GG’s House. Out the parking lot and very first thing, down a hill we go and then up another hill. Left turn that took us down another hill and then up a short incline. We turned right into a very nice neighborhood area and had a flat course for about ¼ of a mile or so. Rounded a curve…..and the REAL hills began Down we went, 1st hill, then up the looooong hill; around a curve and then another downhill that took us to our 5K turnround point. Of course, now we did the hills in reverse on the way to the finish. These are what Race Directors euphemistically call ‘rolling hills” and I was thinking, I’d probably get down these faster if I did roll down them, lol. Downhills are always a problem for me with my spinal arthritis – pounds my back more – so had to be careful and just take it real easy on parts of the downhills. Somehow I managed to get through these tough hills, and finally all that was left were the shorter inclines/hills left to do that we’d first come out on, only in reverse this time. I ended up with a chip time of 41:46, averaging 13:27 per mile; 4th out of 8 in my 65 – 69 age group. My hilly 5K on Saturday was 41:02, so at least I am consistent, lol.

AFTER MY FINISH: First thing, get some water and walk around rehydrating, and watching my pacemaker take my heartbeat back down to normal levels. All-in-all I felt pretty good. Then sat for a while, sipping my water, eating a banana and also a breakfast taco, chatting with friends I had been running with off-and-on while on the course. Then enjoyed a post-race cold one, courtesy of Shiner beer, nice, as I wandered around getting some post-race photos. Also gave a few doggies some treats. Very enjoyable.

Epilogue: This is a pretty challenging 5K course – especially for an old dog like me, lol, with a pacemaker and currently dealing with prostate cancer – but also a well laid out one. The course design allows a lot of interaction between participants coming-and-going, so lots of cheering each other on as participants passed by each other. Really nicely designed and good quality race shirt; and finisher medals to all. Nice goodie post-race, including Taco Cabana breakfast tacos, various fruits, Shiner beer, etc. I would do this one again sometime and would recommend it to others, especially those looking for a good hill challenge; you will certainly get that!

MUCHO THANKS TO: eDragon Productions local company that managed the event and I think they also laid out all the courses; iaap for timing, race results, etc. friend Gilbert for his usual excellent array of fruits and post-race goodies; all the race volunteers; and, of course all race sponsors. Also, thanks to local police. I saw one police officer before the 5K started and she told me there would be a police presence, so thanks for helping keep us safe. Also thanks to anyone involved that I may not have mentioned here. Thanks for what all of you do so we participants can do this event.

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2021 Race 24 Stars and Stripes 5K, 10K, Half

Photos are here:


BEFORE MY START: My 24th race of 2021 was the Stars and Stripes 5K held on July 17 at the Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theater in New Braunfels, Texas. The main event was a half marathon and there was also a 10K and a competitive 5K walk. Athlete Guild was the race company organizer, timer, etc., of this event. I arrived onsite a little before 6:30 a.m. and got a few pre-start photos. The half-marathoners were already lining up as their event was the first to begin, with a start time of 6:30 a.m. Nice early start for a change, which is a blessing in Texas summer, believe me. Wish more Race Directors would do this early start thing during the Texas summer. Weather was pretty cooperative for the most part though. It did not rain on us and we had a pretty nice breeze blowing also, along with lots of cloud cover.

ON THE COURSE: 10K participants started on 7 a.m,, so when we 5K runners, walkers, and 5K competitive walkers lined up for our 7:15 a.m. start, the other race participants were already gone. I lined up way back as I did not anticipate doing this one very speedily. Just wanted to take my time, have fun with it, and not push it. I was feeling pretty good, in spite of the fact I had found out earlier in the week that my testing came back positive for prostate cancer. No worries, that will be taken care of. We started from the grounds of the Drive-In, next to the concession building, proceeding down the entrance/exit driveway. At the end of the long driveway we made a right turn and proceeded up a long incline. At the top of this, we turned right and proceeded down the longest incline/hill on the course. These were the only 2 climbs on the course. After getting onto level ground again we went a very short ways before making a left turn that took us down a country road – paved, thank goodness – to our turn-round point. From there we went back to the finish the way we had come out; which meant that long downhill incline was not an uphill for us. And, of course, the up incline we had first started on was now downhill on the way to the finish. I am actually not fond of downhill running, lol, as I have some spinal arthritis, and downhills pound my back much harder than uphills do. My timer did buzz me on my way to the finish on that downhill, notifying me of a walk break, so that helped. Mostly I felt pretty good and was comfortable, but also pretty slow. I ended up with a 41 minutes even chip time, averaging 13:02 per mile – my fastest was Mile 2 at 12:25, my slowest Mile 3 at 13:59 – 5th out of 6 in my 65 – 69 age group.

AFTER MY FINISH: By now sun was up and it was getting pretty warm. First thing after finishing, get some water, walk around a bit and monitor my pacemaker as it started lowering my heart rate back to what is normal for me, which did not take long at all. After that, I went to my vehicle and sat in it for about 10 minutes with the a/c turned on as I sipped my water and had a post-race nutrition bar. Ahhhhhh. Then it was back out to chat with friends, cheer for other runners and walkers as they finished, enjoy a post-race beer, and get a few “Happy Finishers” photos.

Epilogue: I’ve done this 5K a few times in the past years, including the inaugural one. The theater is family-owned by a great family of some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I saw the co-owner when I first arrived and he actually did the 5K today, the first time he’s done it, since he so kindly opened his venue for this event. This is really a nice place to have a race. Mucho available parking, indoor restrooms, and post-race if you need to cool down a bit quickly, the air/conditioned lobby is open. The theater staff also prepares goodies for post-race which for this one is a plate of burgers and fries and a drink. You can sit in the lobby booths to enjoy this or go to the outside pavilion in front of the lobby, where there are several picnic tables available, and also a nice ‘safe” playground area for any kids there. I hung around for quite while sitting in the picnic area chatting with friends, enjoying post-race food and drink and cheering in other runners and walkers as they finished. A very nice quality event with lots of amenities, pretty nice race shirt, and finisher medals. One nice thing the half marathoners mentioned they liked really well was there was a water-stop at every mile. Well done! I’ve done this in the past, would do this again in the future, and certainly would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO: Race Director Sherri Purnell who really did a great job with this one, and all the Athlete Guild staff that was out there too, making it all happen for us. Thanks also to all the volunteers, both pre-race and race day; and thanks to Team RWB (veteran’s organization) that had a water stop right by Mile 1. I am a member and know a lot of these folks, so it probably did not help my finish time, lol, that I stopped to chat and get a couple photos. I think they also had some more water stations along the rest of the course. Also, thanks to all the other sponsors, Gaudalupe Brewing; For the love of GO!; eDragon Productions; and HutWorx; and of course, our venue sponsor hosts, Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theater. Thank you all!

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