Report and Photos: 2023 Race 5, Das Dreizehn.Eins Half Marathon and 5K

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Before The Start:  My 5th race of 2023 was the das dries.eins 5K held on Sunday, January 29. There was also a half-marathon.  Put on by local area race/running company Athlete Guild, this was the inaugural event of this race, which raises funds for Pink Warrior Advocates, which provides grants for women undergoing treatment for  breast cancer.  Pretty nice turn out on a wet Sunday morning, with 195 finishers for the 5K and 199 finishers for the half, and a pretty darn good turnout for an inaugural event. The half start time was 7 a.m. and the 5K followed at 7:30 a.m. Both courses started and finished in Prince Solms Park in New Braunfels, Texas. This park is located near the Schlitterbahn Water Park. Prince Solms Park is one of the starting points in the summer for toobers who want to toob down the Comal River. Weather was kind of dreary, with overcast skies, temperatures in the 60s, and pretty darn humid, with the prediction of possible storms.  When I left San Antonio to go to the race site, it was raining there, but when I arrived in New Braunfels, there was just some slight drizzle, although the ground was pretty wet, so  looked like the rain had passed through.  I got there a bit after 7 a.m., so the folks doing the half had already started.  I had picked up my race packet the day before, so chatted with friends and other participants and got some pre-start photos.

On The Course:  The Half course took in Landa Park, the Gruene District and the Guada Coma neighborhood.  The 5K took was mainly in the Guada Coma area.  We went of of Prince Sohms park, took a right turn on Liberty Avenue, then made a right turn onto San Antonio Street.  We crossed a bridge, then proceeded down to a traffic circle, which we looped around, and then came back onto San Antonio Street.  We then made a right turn on Comal Street, going  down to a turn-round point, and then came back up Comal. Next, a right turn onto Tolle Street, and then down to Gilbert street, where we made a left turn.  This brought us back to San Antonio Street, upon which we turned right, and then proceeded back to the park; left on Liberty; and then left back into the park and around  part of the loop road there, which took us to the finish. I ended up 4th  out of 5 in my 65-69 age group, with a chip time of 42:31, averaging 13:41 per mile, with all my photo stops, and had a negative split for Mile 3.  The weather actually did cooperate a bit by not raining on us, but it was still very humid (90 percentile humid) and very overcast, with no wind at all.

After My Finish  –  Got some water and did a short cool-down walk for about 5 minutes or so.  Then it was time to get some photos of the happy finishers and their supporters, chat with friends and other participants and just wind down from the race. 

Epilogue –   This is  very well-done event put on by Athlete Guild and MC Extraordinaire Mark Purnell did his usual superb job; in my opinion, he is our top local area MC – but watch out, Mark, my friend Anthony Zamora may be pulling up on you.  Well, we have enough local events year-round, I think there is room for both of them, lol. Really nice tech-tee long-sleeved race shirt; and finisher medals, and race bibs that can be ‘personalized’ for you if you register early enough.  Very nice race location, with adequate parking only a short walk from the start/finish area.  All kinds of post-race goings-on and good treats, that included post-race massage, various “flavors’ of breakfast tacos, Shiner Beer, Gatorade, water, and more. I will definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others. Mucho thanks to Athlete Guild for this event, and the course setup, timing, and results; Sports and Spine Physical Therapy for the post-race massages; Two Rivers Running for doing being the site of the pre-race day packet pickup; the Pink Warrior ladies that were handing out the breakfast tacos; Shiner Beer for their great beverage; and all the other sponsors involved.  Thank you all for what you do so we participants can have this event.  Also, thanks to all the police officers out there on the course for our safety.  Also, in closing this report, I leave a personal note to my friend Amy, a co-owner of Athlete Guild, who is a fellow survivor, and one of the people  responsible for getting this event started. We both were getting treatment at about the same time, me for my prostate cancer, her for breast cancer. I recently finished my 15 months of treatment in Nov 2022. Amy has done the majority of hers and has a few more things to get through, but I am SO glad we  both made it through!  Amy truly is a Pink Warrior who daily lives Never Give Up and one of my very favorite people;, a wonderful lady with a strong spirit, good heart, and great attitude.  Her posts are an inspiration.   Please keep her in your good thoughts and prayers – and anyone else too you may know who is dealing with this insidious disease.

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2022 Race 4, Winter Dragon 5K/10K/21K

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Before The Start: My 4th race of 2023 was the Winter Dragon 5K, held on January 22 at Pearsall Park in San Antonio. Put on by e-Dragon Productions, this event included a half-marathon, 10K, and 5K with staggered starting times for each event.  Mother Nature was somewhat kind to us, giving us a lot of sunshine and a temp in the lower 50s, with a ‘feels-like’ temp of 45 degrees as the wind was blowing pretty good, making it feel a bit colder. This would have been Spring-like weather for people living in the ‘true-winter’ states, but for we South Texans, it was pretty chilly, so several of us were all wrapped up. I had on 3 layers myself, lol.  I arrived with about 40 minutes to go for my 5K start and got a few pre-start photos, as I chatted with friends and other participants. e-Dragon events are pretty popular, and this one was no exception, with 70 finishers for the half; 60 finishers for the 10K; and 134 finishers for the 5K.  There might have been a lot more, but this race day was also race day for the Austin 3M Half Marathon, which several of or local area runners had signed up for.

On The Course:   The Half started at 8:00 a.m., the 10K at 8:05 a.m. and the 5K at 8:10 a.m.  I was taking care of a ‘side-effect’ from my recent prostate cancer treatment (finished 15 months of treatment in Nov 2022), so go to the 5K starting area after everyone was starting, and ended up starting dead last, lol.   All good, though, I soon managed to catch up to some other participants, and even passed a few. I’ve done this 5K before and thought I knew the course; but no, it had been changed since the last time I did it, and we ended by starting almost right-off-the-bat  going up a fairly good-sized hill, with more to come.  My friend Erick, co-owner of e-Dragon has a mean streak in him at times, lol. These were no baby-hills either.  The 5K course was a mix of loop and out-and-back, and it is mostly off-road trails, a mix of dirt, some gravel, rocks, stones, etc, and some of the paved trails in the park, so I was glad for this one I had the sense to wear my trail running shoes.  First hill – uphill; second: downhill.  3rd – downhill; then we went on paved trail to a turn-round point; came back to the water stop and then did an off-road loop trail – flat, thank goodness – through a wooded area, and then back on pavement for a bit.  We then proceeded back to the finish the way we had come out, so 4th hill – uphill; 5th hill, uphill; and finally a short downhill, and then fairly flat back to the finish.  Good grief, lol. We 5K folks only had to do this once, so with the longer distance for the 10K and Half folks, they had even more hills than we did.   I just took it pretty darn easy, walked a lot more than I usually do, stopped several times to take photos, and ended up with a finish chip time of 46:52, averaging 15:05 per mile and ending up 2nd in my 60-69 males age group, I don’t know how; maybe because there were only 4 in my age group.  My good friend Bill ‘Doc’ Byrd was first in our age group, and I was not that far behind him.  One tough course!  I may have over-dressed a bit with my 3 layers, but with what darn wind blowing, I was glad I had kept them all on. This is probably the most challenging course I’ve done since I finished my cancer treatment, so I was quite simply happy that even though it is a very tough course, I was able to do it all, even if snails and turtles behind me were ‘honking’ at me to move the heck over, lol.

After My Finish  – First thing, get some water – they had some Force Water there, which is one of the water brands I really like – and also got a banana  and then simply rested a bit while I got those into me. After that I went here-and-there, chatting with friends, and getting more photos. The wind was still blowing like crazy, so I was glad I had brought with me that hat and my warmer gloves. My friend Lisa Soler – owner, Soler Sports, check them out, they put on some pretty good races too – surprised me by giving me a Wolfpack running shirt – Wolfpack is a local running-and-walking group of great people –  she had made for me, with my “I BEAT CANCER! NEVER GIVE UP!” logo.  It is bright yellow too, which I thought both funny, and great, since I’d been mentioning on FB at times that some races gave me these shirts and SAID they were yellow, but they looked more lime to me, lol; it’s NOT yellow! So now I have another TRUE yellow running shirt, lol.  Thank you so much, Lisa!  I read once somewhere that ‘hill work is speedwork in disguise.’ Well, I don’t know about that, but I sure am glad that I do make a point of doing hill work – usually paved roads – so that did help me get through; not as fast as I usually do a 5K – usually I am about 4 – 5 minutes quicker than my finish time for this one – but given the course, I was quite pleased with my results, as I really did expect this one might take me over an hour. If you’ve never done a run or walk at Pearsall Park – which is pretty close to Joint Base San Antonio Lackland – then go try it sometime; you really will get a workout.

Epilogue –  As with all e-Dragon events, this is a quality event, with a well-thought out – but tough, very tough – course for all distances; very nice quality race tech tee shirt – if I remember correctly,  we 5K folks got short-sleeved shirts, and the half and 10K participants got long-sleeved shirts – and finisher medals for all.  The awards are unique e-Dragon coins, with a number on the back that you can use to get a discount for future registration of e-Dragon events.  Lots of post-race goodies, including fajitas, Shiner Beer, Force Water, and more. Our music-and-sound man Paul was there doing his usual great job, as well as our MC Anthony Zamora, who has become quite a ‘staple MC’ for our local events; always professional, great sense of humor; a very darn good runner himself, so he can relate to all of us; much thank to all these people for being there for us, as well as the park police officers for our safety; all the sponsors of this event, and all the volunteers, some of whom had to be on location way early when it was even colder; to Kristin and Erik, of e-Dragon, our music man, Paul; and a special shout-out to my friend Meghan, who beautifully sang the National Anthem, while friend Louis presented the colors, that was awesome; and to everyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all for giving us this event.  Now I need to go soak my sore old-man body, lol.

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2023 Race 3, MLK 5K, Jan 15

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BEFORE MY START –  My 3rd race of 2023 was the MLK 5K held on Sunday, January 15th   at Martin Luther King Park in San Antonio.  This is one of my “streak’ races; I have done every one of the ‘live” ones in person since this event first started. During the pandemic the event was not held live in 2022, so none that year.  Good to be back at this event this year. Put on by the MLK Young Men’s Leadership Academy, this event had a nice return to ‘live’ with 522 finishers.  Smart move to hold it on a Sunday, as there are much fewer events held on that day, so less competition from other local events for getting participants. A nice race starting time of 9 a.m. too, so got to sleep in a tad longer. I arrived on-site around 8:15 a.m. and wandered around chatting with other participants, friends, sponsors, vendors, etc., and getting some pre-start photos.  BTW, An MLK race is also held in various other cities on various dates.

ON THE COURSE –  The course was out-and-back paved trails in MLK Park.  The weather was very cooperative, with abundant sunshine, just a tad of wind, and a temp in the mid-50s. I did my usual run/walk of 8-min run/2 min walk, and took photos during my walk breaks.  This course is pretty much flat all the way, with a short incline just past the course water station on the way out to the turn-round, not something you could really call a hill.  The worst part of the course for me personally was crossing twice – once on the way out, once on the way back – that darn bridge that goes over the river/creek.  With this many people in the race, the darn thing SHAKES as people are crossing it, making me nervous it was going to kick in my vertigo, which thankfully did not happen, as I just took it easy crossing that thing. I was feeling pretty good today and got going pretty well. I even ran the majority of Mile 3 nonstop, foregoing one of my walk breaks, I was feeling so good. Out of 15 people in my 60-69 males age group, I ended up 7th, with a chip time of 40:03, averaging 12:50 per mile. I even did negative splits for this event, with Mile 3 being my fastest at 12:38.  I have not seen that time in a while, so a pleasant surprise for my 2-month anniversary of finishing my 15 months of prostate cancer treatment back in November.

AFTER MY FINISH –  First thing, did a cool down walk, got some water into me, and a banana, and then changed into a base layer dry shirt that I had brought to stay warm and cozy – I always seem to feel cold now, lol, since my cancer treatments began, so maybe one of the side effects for me – and put my long-sleeved race shirt back on.  The weather could be in the 60s or 70s with people wearing short-sleeved shirts, and I am too, but also have a base layer under that top shirt, lol.  Oh well, it is what it is, and I seem to do okay.  I wandered around chatting with friends/participants/vendors, etc., and got some post-race photos. Also, of course, I treated the doggies that were there.  Some of them even recognized me, lol, knew I had treats and came hauling toward me when they saw me, sometimes to the surprise of  their humans.  It was all good, and the humans were very nice about it.  No award for me of course – did not expect one at my pace; but I met my two primary goals: finish standing up and no ambulance at the finish waiting specifically for me.  Anything I get after that is a bonus!

Epilogue –   This is a really well-done and well-organized event with a really nice course – except for that darn bridge; 😉 – and a very friendly group of participants all supporting and encouraging each other the whole way.  Comedian Cleto was our MC for the awards and did a great job.  Very nice quality long-sleeved race shirt; age group awards for the Top 3 in each age group, and awards for the overall finishers. Lots of vendors there giving away freebies and information about their various organizations.  The park has been renovated too in the past couple of years, so now has a building with indoor restroom facilities, nice. This is one of my favorite events of the year.  I certainly will continue to do it for as long as I am physically able – probably mentally too, lol – and I certainly would recommend it to others.  If you have friends not on FB, they can find my event photos on my blog: Scottydog Reports, which I do just for fun  – no ads, won’t sell you anything, etc, just a nice clean blog with all my race reports and photos.

MUCHO THANKS TO:   All the sponsors, vendors,  and volunteers that made this one happen for we participants; Mr. Brown, Principal of the Young Men’s Leadership Academy – great guy, by the way; our Race Director, whose name has popped right out of my head, so apologies to her, but she did great too;  iaap for the course setup, timing, results; Cleto for his MC appearance and to our sound guy and DJ who also did a great job; officer Ken who was on site for us; the Young Men’s Leadership Academy band – and big kudos to the musician who played the National Anthem for us before the start – with a saxophone I think – and he did it awesomely;   and anyone else involved that I failed to mention here.  Thank you all!     

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2023 Race 2, River Road Run 5K

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Before The Start – My 2nd race of 2023 was the River Road Run 5K put on by local race company Scallywompus.  The River Road run is the first in a series of 4 “Hill Country” races. One can register for each race individually or all 4 at the same time and get a nice discount on the registration price.  As I am still in the early recovery stage after completing my prostate cancer treatment, I register for each of these individually for now, as I am still dealing with a few treatment side-effects, and some days I just don’t want to do anything, lol.  Race location was in Comfort, Texas, about 40 or so miles from San Antonio.  Start and finish at the grounds of Hill Country Distillers in Comfort.  The event included a half-marathon, 10K, and 5K.  The weather was pretty cooperative, although it was very humid – 61 degrees and 96% humidity; my kind of race, lol, because I’d rather be warm than cold – causing a lot of fog to roll in first thing in the morning – the drive for me from San Antonio up to Comfort was crazy, with very thick fog all over the road; for a minute there, I thought a bunch of pirates were going to start coming out of it; and if you get that movie reference, then you are old as me, lol. I managed to make it safely IN COMFORT 😉 – arriving at race location in time to see the half-marathon folks starting off.  After that, got a few photos before next two races started.

On The Course:   As noted, all courses started and finished at the Hill Country Distillers grounds.  All were out-and-back. For the first part of the course, all events started on a fairly narrow sidewalk on the ground which took us out to a street where we made a left turn and got onto asphalt roads.  All courses then made a right turn at the first intersection, went down another road, and then made a left turn, which took us into a local neighborhood.  This road had a down incline – which was an up incline on the way back, and this was the only hill for the 5K; I think the 10K and half had some actual steep hills, from what those participants told me later. After going down this incline, the rest of the 5K course was fairly flat.  We proceeded down the road, making a right turn onto another pretty flat road – where some idiot truck drive with no patience decided he was going to get around all these participants and tried to pass everyone on the grass by the side of the road, nearly running into a couple of participants ahead of him who had moved over when everyone gave the “Car Back!” shout-out; thankfully lots of fellow runners around who warned them, so they got out of Mr. Idiot’s way safely without getting hurt.  Aside from that doofus, all other drivers on the course were pretty patient and accommodating for us.  After going down this road, we made a left turn onto another pretty flat road.  After going down this road, we made a right turn and went down a short slope – nothing you could really call a hill – where there was a water stop, and the 5K turn-round just past it.  There was a pretty good hill beyond the 5K turn-round point, and I saw one of my friends, who chose to do the 10K, coming down that hill on the way to his finish, so I assumed that was the part of the course where the hills began for the 10K and half folks. I gave a shout-out to my speedy friend as he passed me on his way to his 10K finish.  I stopped to get a photo of the water-stop volunteers and thank them; and then continued on.  The 5K course back to the finish was exactly the same way we had come out.  There were 6 people in my 65 – 69 age group and I ended up dead last in it, lol, with a chip time of 41:54, averaging 13:29 per mile. Was I happy with that? You bet! I only have two race goals: Finish standing up, and no ambulance specifically waiting for me, lol.  People often tell me if I quit stopping on the course to take photos, I might even place someday; however, can’t run non-stop any more, or I would not be able to do anything after, with this spinal arthritis, cuz I wouldn’t be able to move at all, lol; and I have fun doing the photos and interacting with the other participants out there. I am just as happy as a blind pig that found an acorn that I can still do any running at all, so it’s all good.

After My Finish:   Cool-down walk, get rehydrated a bit, and then enjoyed interacting with fellow finishers and race supporters, the volunteers, and the sponsors/vendors.  Scallwyompus always throws a fantastic after-party; lots of post-race goodies, beverages for both adults and the kiddies; and I took care of the treats for the dogs attending.  I was quite popular with the dogs, lol.  As I continued walking around, some of the dogs, when they saw me, tried to start heading my way; their poor humans holding their leashes, got some arm-lift exercise, lol. It was a very fun after-party, with lots of smiles and laughs; one reason I call my after-the-race photos the “Happy Finisher” photos; more participants seem to be smiling after the race than before it or on the course.  My friend Woody and I were just about the last participants to leave. We went across the street to the 8th Street Market and had a nice lunch on their outside porch.  The food is really good, very reasonably priced, and the staff is super-friendly.  After lunch, we wandered around for a bit in the market part of the store – mostly antiques, and some painting and sculpture, old-time furniture, etc. It has some pretty interesting – and some definitely funny and odd – stuff in there; felt like I was back in the Waltons era, lol.

Epilogue:   Scallywompus races are very popular, with nice turn-outs.  There were 122 finishers for the half-marathon; 168 for the 10K; 296 for the 5K; and 12 for the 5K walk, for a total of 598 finishers; and probably more had registered but were possibly no-shows for whatever reason. The motto of Scallywompus is “Come for the race. Stay for the Party.”  They are not kidding. Tons of post-race goodies, including Alamo beer and other adult beverages; sausage-on-a-stick, various fruits, lots of bottled water, and more. Hill Country Distillery is a nice location for an event, with large grounds, restrooms, various types of games on the grounds including the beanbag Cornhole toss, which the kids there were really enjoying; lots of seating with picnic tables, nice stage for announcing, and the awards, and lots more.  Very nice coffee shop and antiques store quite close to the Distillery, where you can get morning coffee, breakfast if you want it – my friend Woody and I had lunch there after the race – and do some shopping too, if you are so inclined. Very friendly staff.  Unique finisher medals to all, and a very nice quality long-sleeved shirt; also unique Scallywompus awards of glasses to all the placers.  If you’ve never tried a Scallywompus event, I would definitely recommend you do so, you will not regret it. Mucho thanks to all the folks who made this one happen for we participants: All the Scallywompus staff; our race Director Tony Garcia; Scallywompus co-owner Bart Childers; Paul, our music and sound guy, Anthony Zamora, our Super MC for the event; all the many volunteers for packet pickup, race day, on course, etc; Hill Country Distillers; Pushbutton Photography, police officers there for our safety – I saw a couple checking on us on the course – the lead cyclists for those speedy up-front runners; and, of course, all the sponsors whose support helped make this one happen, and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much!  See you at a future race, I hope!

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2023, Race 1, La Cruda 5K

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Before The Start – My 1st race of 2023 was La Cruda 5K, held on January 1st in Helotes, Texas.  The event started and finished in historic “Old Town” Helotes area. This is a very popular local area New Year’s Day 5K with a start time of 10 a.m., so people can sleep in a bit after their New Year’s Eve celebrations – except for the race organizers and volunteers, they had to be there early to get things set up, so thank you to them.  This is also a dog-friendly and chair-friendly event. After some fairly cold weather for we South Texans for about 2 weeks before this event, Mother Nature finally let us get back to somewhat normal, with a temp in the low 60s for start time.  It was also pretty humid, resulting in some mist/fog during the event. As noted, this is a very popular event and this year was no exception, with 591 finishers.  I had picked up my packet a couple of days before, so arrived with about an hour to start time and got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course:  Since New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday this year, our normal 5K route for Old Town was not used, as a local church along the route of the regular route was having Sunday services; thus, we were ‘good neighbors’ and Soler Sports changed the route to a 2-lap out-and-back event, using part of the route we normally use, and avoiding interfering with the church traffic, etc. For what Soler Sports had to work with, they did a really great job laying out the route on roads wide enough to accommodate everyone of all paces to run or walk comfortably. There were a couple of uphills and downhills, coming and going, but nothing near what the usual 5K route is like. Very well done.  Because there were so many participants, a ‘wave’ start was smartly used, allowing the participants with faster paces to get going first. With my slow pace, I was way in the back as usual, lol.  All good, as the race is chip-timed.  We started and finished near a building that was formerly the Soler Sports store, going past a traffic circle, and then down a road to a turn-round point.  This brought us back to the traffic circle, where we made a right turn – heading in the direction of Bandera Road – and made another turn-round near the end of the road.  We then proceeded back to the traffic circle going on the first road we had started on, passing by the entrance to the start/finish area.  This road was a downhill first, then an uphill to the next turn-round, which was just down from where the church is located.  After making that turn-round, we went back the way we had come out, once again passing the start/finish area entrance, and then did the above mentioned route a second time, turning into the lane to go to the finish, after we came back from the third turn-round near the church road. Out of the 32 finishers in my Males 60 – 69 age group, I was 22nd with a chip time of 40:38, averaging 13:05 per mile, and I had negative splits too, nice.  My speedy friend Meghan came out to run with me the last ½ mile, bless her, and my fellow Old-Dog friend, Albert caught up to me, and also ran with us to the finish.  I met my 2 primary goals, finish standing up and no ambulance waiting for me, lol, and felt pretty good overall.

After My Finish:  Got some water, and also got my dry base-layer shirt back on, and then wandered here-and-there, getting some photos and enjoying some post-race goodies, of which there was quite a lot, including various adult beverages; grilled sausage wraps, and much more. Fun stuff, and certainly enjoyed seeing a multitude of my running/walking friends out there.

Epilogue:   As noted, this is a very popular event, and you can register for it just about right off the bat.  Registration for the 2024 one is already available at a nicely discounted price if you register early. The race shirt is very nice quality and there is a finisher medal for all finishers. The event is dog-friendly, chair-and-stroller friendly and disabled participant friendly. It has one heck of a nice after-party with all kinds of items, vendor booths, DJ music, a raffle for some prizes, and age-group awards for Top 3 in each age group, if I remember correctly. Very nice race location – both porta-potties and indoor restroom facility – and, as noted, adult beverages of various kinds, as well as plenty of water and non-alcoholic drinks too, as this is also a kid friendly event.  I have done this one every year since it first started and will continue to do this one – hoping to keep my streak going – whenever I can. I would certainly recommend it to others.  MUCHO THANKS to all the people involved who make this even happen for us each year: Race Director Tony Garcia; Lisa Soler and Soler Sports crew; iaapweb for the timing and results; all the volunteers, of course, including the bike pacers for the lead runners, and the police officers out there at the road closure signage for our safety; the official photographers of Push Button Photography on the course, snapping photos of the participants – a lot better than my home-camera photos I am sure, lol – our MC, Anthony, and our sound guy Paul, who did their usual great jobs; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned.  Thank you all!

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2022 Race 63 Santa Antonio 5K

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Before The Start:   My 63rd race of 2022 was the Santa Antonio 5K put on by local running group San Antonio Roadrunners, the largest running group in the San Antonio area. This event, held on Dec 18th, supports cancer research in hopes of someday finding a cure.  Besides the 5K, there was a 1-mile walk and a Kids Elf Run.  The event started and finished at local brewery Alamo Beer near the Dignowity Hill area of downtown San Antonio. Start time of 9 a.m.  This is a very popular event, with the majority of participants wearing Santa Suits, which are included in the race registration.  I can’t wear one because the thing makes me itch like crazy, so I got a small in my packet and am going to donate it to a kids group. The weather was a bit more cooperative for my Sunday 5K than my Saturday 5K the day before, with temps a bit higher – in the 40s, and a lot less wind.  I arrived with about 45 minutes to go and got a few pre-start photos. The brewery grounds were packed with both Santa-suited and non-Santa-Suited participants, and several in other types of costumes. There were 548 finishers for this one, so that is a lot of Santas, lol.

On The Course:   We started on a street in front of the Alamo Brewery, then made a left onto Nolan Street.  We were on this street for a short while and then turned onto Burnet Street..uh oh, lol. I’ve run in this neighborhood before and knew after that turn onto Burnett, we were going to have a major hill climb….and so it was  After cresting the hill, we then proceeded to a turn-round point near the end of the street, and then went back the way we had come out. After going down the hill on Burnett, we then went to the historic Hays Street Bridge – yay, another hill, lol – climbing up the ramp, then crossing over the bridge; down the other side for a short way to a turn-round, and then back the way we had come, recrossing the bridge.  We then made our way back to Burnett Street, and had to climb that darn hill a second time. After making the turn-round one more time, we then went straight down Burnett Street, crossed over Cherry street (I think it was cherry), and then went back to the Brewery to finish up. This sounds like a lot of out-and-backs and repeat areas we ran in, and it was, but I get it.  There is a lot of ongoing construction in this neighborhood, with several street closures, so the folks that laid out the course did a pretty darn good job of getting us a route that had 5K distance. I actually did a negative split for Mile 3 – go figure,  lol – ending up with a chip time of 40:44, 6th out of 9 in my 65-69 males age group.  I am now 5 weeks out from having finished my last cancer prostate treatment and feeling pretty darn good. I still have a ways to go to full recovery – doc told me the side effects alone could take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to resolve, especially since I had some other health issues too – but I am starting to slowly feel like my old pre-cancer running self.  Yay!     

After My Finish: Got some water, ate a banana, even enjoyed a beer from the brewery, and then had lots of enjoyable time chatting with friends and other participants and taking several after-photos.  Santa was there too – lots of Santas were there, lol, but this was THE Santa with Mrs. Claus, which the kids enjoyed – shoot, we all did –  and there were a whole lot of vendor booths, goodie booths, games, live music, food and drinks available from Alamo Brewery; dog-friendly event, so the jar of dog treats I brought with me started emptying really fast, lol.  This is a very well-organized event by the San Antonio Roadrunners, and a very enjoyable one – even with all those darn hills, lol.

Epilogue:   I will certainly do this one again and would recommend it to others.  Very nicely done; nice finisher medal for all finishers; good course – all those out-and-backs, you see your friends and fellow participants quite a few times, and it makes for great opportunities to encourage each other on – and lots of post-race activities and goodies. For the age group winners, the award was a unique holiday bulb/light for your holiday decorative purposes; even the race bibs – smaller than a usual race bib – was holiday decorative. Mucho thanks to all the people that made this one happen for we participants, including all the sponsors and vendors; Alamo Beer for hosting – thanks to owner Gene and his crew! – all the police officers out there for our safety; our MC Anthony, who did his usual great job; the sound and music guys who entertained us; Santa and Mrs. Claus for being there; iaap web who I think did the course setup and results; and anyone else involved that I did not mention.  Thank you all!

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2022 Race 62, Snowball 5K

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Before The Start:  My 62nd race of 2022 was the Morgan’s Wonderland  Snowball 5K held on Saturday, Dec 17, at Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex in San Antonio.  There was a 5K, starting at 9 a.m. as well as a Kid’s Run and  a 1-mile run or walk.  Temperature was pretty chilly for we South Texans, with a temp of 38 degrees with a ‘feels like’ temp of 34.  Thankfully, clear skies and no precipitation, and hardly any wind at all.  The sun even came out for us after we started the course. I arrived at race site around 8:30 a.m. and got a few pre-start photos. 

On The Course:   The course was laid out by top- notch local race management company iRun Texas, my personal favorite running store; they have a few outlets in San Antonio area, including one that is very close to where I live, so I take advantage of that. The course was kind of a loop course, with us starting and finishing in front of the sports complex.  We were directly across from Toyota Field, the home of San Antonio’s local professional soccer team. After we started we went to the Morgan’s Wonderland Park, doing a loop around the park’s man-made lake.  We then exited the park and headed back the way we had come out. The next part of the course took us on an out-and-back near Hero’s Stadium a sports and event complex of the Northeast Independent School District (NEISD). We proceeded on the road around the stadium, did a short climb up a hill across from it to get to  turn-round point; then went back the way we had come out.  We then entered one of the stadium parking lots, did a route that took us past the stadium, then back onto the road. Once on the road, we went up to another road, made a right turn, and headed for the finish.  For what iRun had to work with, it is a pretty well-thought out course, mostly flat, with just that one small climb to a turn-round point.  All the out-and-back also allowed we participants to meet-and-great and encourage friends/participants as we passed by each other. There were also several ‘cheer groups’ in various types of costumes along the way, encouraging us on.  I stopped several times to get photos of them – killing my finish time, lol, but it’s all good – and then ran the last mile in nonstop.  I was 106 out of 179 finishers, with a chip time of 43:12, and 2nd in my 60-69 males age group.  There were 4 in my age group.

After My Finish:  Cool down walk, got some water, ate a banana, and then enjoyed chatting with friends and other participants – including my wife who walked the 5K, finishing in 49:02 chip time. She walks about as fast as I run, lol.  I also got some post-race photos of the happy finishers, supporters, cheer teams, etc. 

Epilogue: This is one of my ‘streak’ races; I have done the Snowball 5K ever since it first began, with the original start—and-finish in the Morgan’s Wonderland main park.  Morgan’s wonderland, begun by Gordan Hartmann and his family, is named for his daughter. Mr. Hartmann discovered there were really no parks that accommodated disabled patrons, so he and his family set out to remedy that and did a great job of it too, deigning a park that includes rides, activities, and events that all full enjoyment for ALL patrons; thus the park became a park of “inclusion for all” and became model park, with many other states – and other countries too – following his lead, also designing parks like this.  Today, facilities include Morgan’s Wonderland original park; Morgan’s Wonderland Camp; the sports complex; and a summer splash-pad park that accommodates all; how cool is that? Having been disabled myself a bit -and still am to some degree – I can relate somewhat to what some people deal with every day.  I was a ‘March of Dimes’ baby born with a spinal birth defect (dislocated hips and curved spine from facet joint defect), resulting in spinal arthritis and degenerative disc disease flaring up when I was in my 50s. I was very lucky to be able to be as active as I am for the most part and even served a 24-year career in the Air Force.  Thus, Mr. Hartmann’s cause is personal to me, and so this event has become a ‘keeper’ for me.  It is a very well-done event with great participants, a nice venue, always lots of fun costumed people, and a pretty nice race route.  Very nice quality race shirt, and a nicely designed finisher medal. I would definitely recommend this one to all.  Mucho thanks to all the people that made this one happen for we participants; the Hartmann Foundation, the race sponsors, all the many volunteers, the police officers on the course for our safety, iRun Texas for course setup, results, etc; all those great cheer teams that made us all smile; our two MCs who did a great job; and the Bubble Guy, who gave us ‘snow’ for the event, lol.  If I missed anyone, my apologies. Thank you all so much!  See you next year!

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2022 Race 61, Jingle Paws 5K

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Before The Start: my 61st race of 2022 was the Jingle Paws 5K held on December 10 at O.P. Schnabel Park in San Antonio.  This dog-friendly event supports the Helotes Humane Society. Race start time of 8 a.m. This was a fairly smaller event with 91 total finishers. Dark clouds overhead, but it never did rain on us, thankfully.  Mother nature gave us a very humid day – 90% – with temps in the upper 60s. I arrived at race site with about 40 minutes to start time and got a few pre-start photos.  Also, the doggies apparently all had great sniffers, lol; they knew I had dog treats in my pockets and went right for them. They even picked the correct pockets too; the amazing ‘smell ability’ of dogs.

On The Course:   Top-notch race management company Athlete Guild did the race setup, timing, and results, so they probably had a hand in laying out the course. If you choose to run or walk at O.P. Schnabel, there are going to be hills along the way, and this was the case for our event.  We started in front of the park pavilion, climbing up the paved trail that led to the inner park paved trails.  After getting to the top of the first trail we made a right turn and then did a down-slope on the next paved trail.  This took us to a steeper downhill slope – which we would have to climb up on the way to the finish as this was an out-and-back course – and then onto some very nicely paved trails which, for most of the route, were fairly flat, but we did have about  2 to 3 uphill and downhill inclines along the way. There were also some fallen leaves at several places, so had to be careful at those spots, that stuff can make you slip a bit.  The trails were open for non-race walkers, runners, and cyclists, and there were even a couple of skateboarders.  Most of them were very nice about calling out when they come up behind us, but a couple of the cyclists were just downright rude; thankfully, nobody got injured. I just plodded along at my slow  run/walk pace, taking photos during my walk breaks and interacting with other participants as I went along, cheering them on, and them cheering me on.  Overall, I felt pretty good. The last mile I ran almost completely non-stop and got a negative split for that one, nice. I met my primary race goal – finish standing up and no ambulance waiting specifically for me, lol. As for my time: 41:22 chip time, averaging 13:19 per mile, This is pretty slow, but it is progress for me; I finished my last prostate cancer treatment on Nov 9 – cancer free now, yay! – and during my 15 months of treatment my running times had dropped to around 14 – 15 minute miles, so this is nice progress for me as I slowly start to get back to my old self; felt really good. 

After My Finish:   Cool-down walk and some water and a banana. After that, enjoyed chatting with other participants, race supporters, volunteers, and the dogs.  Yes, I chatted with the dogs, lol. Again, I think every dog there knew I had treats, lol.  Some of the ones I gave treats to before the start actually recognized me and often came right up to me, sniffing for the treats, lol. Fun stuff, I did not mind at all.  I also got a few photos of the happy finishers, volunteers, and supporters. Nice little spread of post-race goodies that included fruits, nutrition bars, energy bars, and some other things.  I knew I was not going to place because age groups were definitely different, lol: 1-17 males, 1-17 females, 18-99 males and 18-99 females. Overall winners got awards – the guy who was first did it in 19-something, good grief.  I was 47th overall.

Epilogue:   A very nicely organized event at a nice location. I like running at Schnabel Park because there is a YMCA location in this park; as a member, after the race I can go over there and take a shower and change clothes, so don’t have to drive home all wet and sweaty; very convenient. Besides the paved trails there are also several off-road trails to run or walk on; and the park also is adjacent to some pretty nice neighborhoods, so you can get in a really nice outing on mixed surfaces if you so desire; also a great place to do hill work…one of the nearby neighborhoods has some pretty challenging hill.  This 5K is a fun little event, very nicely organized, for a very worthy cause; very nice quality race t-shirt too; indoor restroom facilities, always nice; and the park also has water fountains at various spots around the park. I will definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others. Mark December 9th for next year on your calendar for this one.  Mucho thanks to all who made this one happen for we participants, including the Humane Society, Athlete Guild, the Park Police officers out there for our safety; all the many volunteers and all the sponsors – and Buddy, the mascot of H-E-B who was out there too – and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2022 Race 60, Jingle All The Way 5K/10K

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Before The Start : Held on December 3, 2022, Jingle All The Way 5K was my 60th of the year. There was also a 10K. Hosted by Tusculum Brewing, this event was held in Boerne, Texas, starting and finishing on the brewery ground, the 10K started at 8 a.m., with the 5K following at 8:15 a.m. I arrived with with about 30 minutes to start time, got my packet, and then got just a few pre-start photo before we were off-and-running…literally!  I saw my friend Rick who had planned to do the 5K, but was having some hamstring issues and did not want to push it, so he probably wisely decided to forego the event.  Weather was not too bad for us at all.  It was very humid (92%) with temps in the upper 50s, and dark cloud cover, but never did rain on us. I felt quite comfortable out there, even with the humidity; but then, I am one of those crazy runners, lol, that like it hot better than cold.

On The Course:   Top-notch company Athlete Guild did the race setup, timing, and results, so they probably had a hand in laying out the course. Whoever laid it out did a nice job selecting the route. From the brewery grounds, we went directly onto a portion of the Boerne Riverwalk. The first part of the course took us over to the Boerne Town Center, where we did a turn-round and then went back the way we had come out. We then passed by the start/finish line and continued on the Riverwalk to another turn-round point. Back the way we had come, and then crossed a bridge over the river.  This took us into a really nice neighborhood with very wide streets and some nice homes.  We went down this street to our last turn-round point (thank goodness, lol) and then back the way we had come out.  After re-crossing the bridge, we got back onto the river path and then went to the finish line.  The 5K folks only had to do all this once; the 10K folks twice, so they had lots of out-and-back.  I admire their fortitude, lol.  I ended up with  41:18 chip time, averaging 13:18 per mile, and had a negative split for Mile 3, very nice. My friends tell me if would quit stopping to take all those on-course photos, I probably could do 11-minute miles or faster; maybe, but because of my spinal arthritis, I can’t do non-stop running anymore – unless I don’t feel like being able to get up for about the next  2 days, lol –  so have to take my walk breaks; and I enjoy doing my reports and sharing with my fellow participants, etc., so it’s all good.

After My Finish: Got some water and did a short cool-down walk, relaxing a bit, and then enjoyed interacting with other participants, volunteers, and supporters.  Super nice people at this event, enjoyed chatting with them and making new friends.  Dog-friendly event too, so the dog-treats I carry were gone pretty quickly; had to get a few more after I finished. I got quite a few more photos after my finish than I did before my start. Small world too; I met another veteran there and we discovered we both had been at the same Air Force base at the same time during our careers.

Epilogue:  This is a smaller event – 27 finishers, runners and walkers, for the 10K and 154 finishers, runners and walkers for the 5K – and with all these very friendly people I encountered, it felt more like a neighborhood get-together social run than a race, which I thought was great. I think I made a few new friends. Nicely designed course and Tusculum Brewery refreshments available post-race. I met the owners and they are super-nice people operating a really nice establishment; check it out if you are ever in Boerne. This event supported Transformation House, which offers services and transitional housing for women and children who have experienced domestic violence, so a very worthy cause.  Finisher medal for all finishers, age group award to Top overalls, and a nicely designed race shirt. This is the first time I’ve done this event but will not be my last. I certainly recommend this event to others. MUCHO thanks to all those who made this one happen for we participants; Tusculum Brewing, Athlete Guild for the timing, results, etc; the many volunteers out there for us, as well as the police officers on the course for our safety at a couple of road crossings; all the event sponsors; and anyone else involved I may have missed mentioning; thank you all!

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2022 Race 59, S.A. Foodbank Turkey Trot 5K

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Before The Start:  My 59th race of 2022 was the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day.  This event supported the San Antonio Food Bank. I chose this event to do because the Food Bank was the favorite nonprofit of my late friend Bernadette Beck, who sadly died of cancer on Dec 5, 2021. Bernadette loved the Food Bank and would often go down there to help out. Bernadette was one of the first people I met through running when my wife and I moved to San Antonio, after I got reassigned to Lackland during my last Air Force years right before I retired. Bernadette and I became buddies and did so many of the same races over a period of more than 20 years.  After my wife, she was the woman I loved the most in the world, my best friend Bernadette.    After she passed, another friend of mine who knew our history found an old photo of the two of us after a race we had done. She had a friend of hers make this photo into a button which she gave me as a gift so I can still run with Bernadette. I wear that button at the races I do. The 5 started and finished near the historic “Commander’s House” at the H-E-B headquarters downtown. This is a very popular Thanksgiving Day event, so there was quite a large turnout. Someone told me there were over 3,000 or so participants registered. I don’t know if that is correct, but it may be; there sure were a lot of people there.  8:30 a.m. start for the majority of the 5K participants, with the ‘speedy runners’ – which is definitely not me, lol – going at 8:15 to avoid the majority of the pack.  I arrived about an hour before start time.  I had picked up my packet the day before, so after arriving, I chatted with friends and other participants and got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course:   We started on South Flores just outside one of the HEB headquarters gates and the route gave us a nice little tour of downtown San Antonio as we went onto Presa Street, then South Alamo, then into the King William District for a short bit, followed by a turn onto Arsenal Street near HEB headquarters and then back onto South Flores to return to the start/finish line. Weather guys had predicted some possible rain/thunderstorms for race day, but that never happened. It was cloudy and overcast with a temp of 61 degrees, no wind, and over 90% humidity, so very muggy.  I was quite comfortable in my shorts and singlet.  About 5 minutes after I started, I had the pleasure of encountering my friend Jaqueline, up from Florida, visiting her family and friends here; one of my favorite people and like me, an Air Force person. Not only did I get to see her, she decided to just stay with me for through the whole course, even doing my walk breaks with me when my watch beeped for me to take them and also get some on-course photos , so we got to chat as we went along, and she kindly did my slow pace, lol, which must have been tough for her as she is a much faster runner than I am. I was feeling pretty good and ignored my last walk break and Jaqueline and I ran nonstop nearly the whole last mile to the finish. My garmin showed 41:10 for me, gun time, but the timer told me my chip time was 40-something; and I had negative splits too, nice. One of the most enjoyable 5Ks I have done this year, thank you Jaqueline!

After My Finish: Jacqueline had to take off to get back to her family. I got some post-race hydration – it really was muggy out there – and some post-race goodies and wandered around the post-race area – mainly the grounds of the Commander’s House – chatting with other friends there that I knew and also other participants, making new friends, and getting some post-race photos.  I knew at my pace I had not won anything, lol, so I had plenty of time.  Finally left around 10:30 a.m. and headed to Fort Sam Houston, where I took advantage of being retired military to stop at the base gym and take a nice hot shower so I did not have to drive home in my sweaty, wet running gear.  That shower felt great, lol.     

Epilogue: This is a very well-done event for a great cause and is very popular with the local community, so it always gets a super turnout. Really nice quality race shirt and finisher medals to all finishers. Age group winners got an additional medal for placing in their categories. The water stops on the course – there were two – were well organized and there were even two spots where they had musicians playing for us as we went along, very nice.  The course is flat as a pancake so if you are one of those speedy runners who gets that 15-minute head start ahead of the main pack, good course to shoot for a PR if you are so inclined. Very nice after-party, which included this giant balloon turkey that was very popular for photos. This is also a dog-friendly and stroller friendly course. I will definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others. Mucho thanks to all the people who made this one happen for us, including Soler Sports – my friend Lisa Soler and her crew – who did the course setup, arranged for packet pickup before and on race day, and sent out race info messages to all participants; all the many many many volunteers there for us; all the sponsors that helped make this one happen for us; medical staff there (thankfully not needed); all the police officers on the course for our safety; and, of course, H-E-B for the use of its grounds, and the staff of the Food Bank who were also out there supporting we participants. My apologies to anyone involved I may not have mentioned;  thank you all!

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