2020 Race Number 4: Martin Luther King 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/j1hUdBn4gmmpHfFA8

BEFORE MY START:   My 4th race of 2020 was the Martin Luther King 5K on Jan 19th, in support of the Young Men’s Leadership Academy in San Antonio, an all-boys educational facility that “helps them achieve their highest potential by setting high expectations and emphasizing character, leadership and discipline.”  Dr. King’s “message” is one of the things the boys learn about and so this event is always held on the weekend before MLK Day not only to support the school, but to recognize his contributions.  Event location was Wheatley Heights Sports Complex, a primarily high school sports event venue that includes track, football field, stadium, etc.   Start time of 9 a.m., so was able to sleep in a bit, as the race location is a fairly short drive for me.  Weather was sunny, but a bit chilly for we South Texans, as a cold wind had moved into the area over Saturday night-Sunday morning.  Temps in the low 40s with a ‘feels like’ temp of around 38 – 39 degrees, and a pretty good wind blowing.  This was the 4th year of the event – I have done them all since it first started – and one of the organizers told me this year, there were about 900 registered. I don’t know if they all showed up for race day, but per the results listing, most did as there were 831 listed race finishers.  I arrived onsite with about an hour to go to start time and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:    The start was inside the complex on a service road behind the stadium bleachers.  We went out one of the stadium gates, through an adjacent parking lot and then proceeded to nearby Martin Luther King park. Once in the park, we proceeded on paved park trails to a turn-round point and then came back to the stadium the way we had gone out.  Plenty of wooded areas surrounding the trails, so gave us a nice wind-break from that chilly wind.  Once we got started, it was actually quite pleasant, so I was glad to have ditched my top layer shirt for the race, as I would have probably been too warm when I was moving.  Along the route were several signs posted with quotes from various speeches and writings Dr. King had made.  I ended up with a chip time of 35:36, 7th in my  60 – 69 age group –  the top 3 in my age group all ran 7:30 – 8 minute miles; there are some real speedy folks in my Old Farts age group, lol. 

 After My Finish:    That wind was still blowing, so once I stopped running, I got my nice dry and warm top layer shirt back on.   I then enjoyed getting some post-race photos and chatting with several friends who were there and making new friends, and enjoying some of the post-race goodies.  

 EPILOGUE:    As noted previously, I have done this event since it first started.  It used to start and finish in Martin Luther King park, but the race outgrew that, as MLK Park, as far as parking facilities go, is a pretty small park.  So adjacent Wheatley Heights is a wise choice.  Plenty of parking there, but still close enough to MKL Park that we get to do a route through that park.  Nice quality race shirt – I do so many races a year I have plenty of shirts, so I told one of the organizers  to just donate my shirt to a kid – and lots of goodies at the race, including various fruits, hot coffee and hot chocolate,  food truck on site, and so forth. Also, this event is kind of personal for me.  My parents believed in equality for all and my mother – who worked for the Washington Post in DC – I grew up in the DC area- was very proactive in civil rights and a strong believer in the message of Dr. King, as I am now too. When I was in the Air Force, I was stationed a lot overseas – 18 of my 24 years – and in several of these locations, I was the minority.  My mother drilled into my being to never look at WHAT a person is, but WHO a person is.  That message stood me in good stead during my military years – and it still does now too – helping me to accept people for who they are, resulting in making many friends both nationally and internationally, and learning about ways of life I may have never know about if I had been more close-minded.  I thank God every day for the parents I got; they helped me keep an open mind and learn so much. So I will continue do to this event not only because is it a darn good event, but also in honor of my late mother and father.

THANKS:  MUCHO THANKS to all the people who made this one happen for us, including  all our volunteers, sponsors and vendors; iaapweb for the course setup, timing, and results; the park police that were out there for us  – I chatted post race with a couple of the officers – and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you for what you do so we participants can have this event.

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2020 Race 3: Hays Highstepper Hot Chocolate 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nhw5ddN2oLoVwG9c8

BEFORE MY START:  My 3rd race of 2020 was the Hays Highstepper Hot Chocolate 5K, held in Buda, Texas on Jan 11th.  There was also a .5 Kids Run/walk.  This event supports the Hays Highstepper varsity dance team of Hays High school. Buda is about an hour’s drive from San Antonio, so was up early for my oatmeal breakfast and then hit the road, arriving about 40 minutes before the 8 a.m. 5K start.  Got registered and got my packet and then got a few pre-start photos.   My long-time running friend, Bernadette, was supposed to do this one too, but her sore knee finally came to the point where it gave out, so she passed on this one, so no photos with her. Felt weird not seeing her at an event, as we do a lot of the same races over the year.  Heal well and speedily, my friend.   As you can see from the photos, lots of people are bundled up.  When I left San Antonio, it was 54 degrees and pretty pleasant.  After driving across what I call the Invisible Weather Line at San Marcos and the Hays County line, I watched my vehicle’s outside temp indicator drop like a stone from 54 to 43.  In the winter, it is always colder after that Hays County line as you move north toward Austin. Also, the wind was blowing like crazy in Buda, making it feel even colder.  43 may not feel cold “real winter” people in places like Minnesota, Michigan, etc., but for we South Texans – considering our temp the day before was in the 70s – really feel that weather when the temp drops 30 degrees.

ON THE COURSE:   This is a fairly small event, but a fun one, with 162 finishers.  A really nice course, laid out with NO hills thankfully – and around this area there are plenty of hills – going through a really nice neighborhood called Whispering Hollow, if I remember correctly,  and the start-and-finish was at Whispering Hollow Pool and Pavilion.  Nice wide streets, and all the housing gave us a nice windbreak for most of the way of the course. It was quite pleasant in the subdivision we went through.  I figured I would feel a bit warmer after I got started, so laid my long-sleeve shirt aside to use for post-race, and then ran in my short-sleeved shirt, and I did feel comfortable the whole way.  I did my usual 8-min run/2 minute walk thing – have to take walk breaks because of my arthritis – and took photos during my walk breaks.  I actually stopped a couple of times too during my running segments to get a couple more photos.  I ended up with a chip time of 36:19, 4th in my 60 – 69 males age group.

After My Finish:   First thing I did was get my long-sleeved shirt back on, that darn wind was really blowing around the start/finish area.  Then enjoyed some post-race water and Chik-Fil-A biscuit from the Chik-Fil-A people there.  Other goodies include some various fruits, nutrition bars, and so forth.  No post-race beer darn the luck.  😉  I then wandered around getting some photos of the happy finishers and their companions/supporters.

EPILOGUE:   This is the first time I’ve done this race but won’t be the last.  Even with that stiff wind, it was very enjoyable.  Pretty nice quality goodie bag with a nicely designed quality tech-tee. Even the goodie bag itself is pretty high quality, very nice durable plastic, waterproof bag with closure. Very nice start/finish location with indoor restroom facilities; and nice for this old arthritic guy to be able to use one of the pool chairs to relax in for a few minutes after the finish.  Very nicely laid out loop course, my favorite kind of course.  Most 5K are out-and-back, which is okay since you get to cheer friends on that you see coming back; but when you are as slow as me, you see those other folks coming toward you on their way back to the finish, you just want to be on that side already, heading back too, lol.  So mentally, a loop course just works for me better.  Yeah, I know, I got no discipline, lol. Anyway, would definitely recommend this one to others and will certainly do it again myself in the future.

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2020 Race Number 2: River Road 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipO5xgYk5LlrCf-crt854GhtROPIG60cj6n_oW0nR2jCq3SZxh_d5DzM4MtOAp9w_w?key=OGVYeUhLVHZwOVYxaVJXMnRlVGNKYWduYk5OQ2pR

 BEFORE MY START:    My 2nd race of 2019 was the River Road Run 5K held in New Braunfels, Texas. The main event was a half-marathon and there was also a 10K.  This event is part the series of 4 Texas Hill Country races put on my local running/race company Scallywompus.   River Road in New Braunfels runs alongside the Guadalupe River in Comal County.  These are very popular events and the half sold out.  There was quite a nice turnout also for the 10K and the 5K.   The half started at 8:01, the 10K started at 8:31 and the 5K started at 9:01.  By the time I got there the half folks had already gone, so I wandered around and took a few pre-start photos of some of the 10K and 5K folks.  For this event, we had what weather forecasters call “abundant sunshine”, but for while it was still a little chilly for we South Texans, with the temp at 7:30 a.m. hovering around 37 – 38 degrees.   By the time the 5K started, the temp had reached the lower 40s, so before I started the race I dumped my top long-sleeved layer shirt and ran in a short-sleeved shirt and felt fine.

ON THE COURSE: This series in not called Texas Hill Country for nothing.  First half-mile or so was fairly flat, with a slight down incline as we crossed a bridge over the Guadalupe River.  After the bridge we then began to climb a bit.  That leveled off after a while, but having done this event last year I knew there was a 2nd part to this hill after we went around an upcoming road curve.  That second hill climbed us up to another level part of the road where we 5K folks then went to our turn-round and headed back.  The half and 10K folks, having longer courses, kept going ahead and they had several more hills than we 5K folks did.  After the turn-round the return trip to the finish was now mostly downhill – which I do not prefer, as downhills are harder than uphills on my spine arthritis – but I managed to do okay.  The last ½ mile, or maybe just a tad under ½ mile, is all flat to the finish.  I ended up with a 34:14 chip time, good enough for 4th in my 60 – 65 age group, and I did negative splits for this event, with my last mile being 11:06.  Slowly but surely, me and my pacemaker are getting back to where my times were before my pacemaker.  The road was open to traffic. Where I was at any given moment, we were all helping each other out with call-outs of “Car Back” and so forth, and the drivers for the most part were pretty patient about it all.  That may have been helped by the presence of several police vehicles also driving  and parked on the course, with the officers keeping eyes open for the safety of us all.

After My Finish:  The motto of Scallywompus is “Come for the race.  Stay for the party.”  They sure live up to it.  Really nice after-party with pizza slices, sausage-on-a-stick, beer provided by Alamo Beer, and Bloody Mary’s with vodka.  There was also water and various other drinks for the non-alcohol drinkers.  Scallywompus has everyone covered.  Between sausage bites and beer swallowing, I wandered around getting some after-photos of the happy finishers, supporters, volunteers, vendors, etc.

EPILOGUE:  This is the second time this event has been at this location and it is a pretty nice one.  I much prefer this location to the old location at a place called The Ice House, where there was a MONSTER hill all participants wend down at the start and then had to climb up right before crossing the finish line.  The hills at the newer location – at least for the 5K anyway – are not that bad and also there are some really nice views of the Guadalupe River along this course.  There was on the old course too, but I just like this one better.   Really nice finisher medal for everyone and a nice quality long-sleeved tech tee.  Usually the Scallywompus shirts run a bit large for me, so I got a medium.  However, this one actually was a bit tight.  My wife did not mind at all, though, and was glad to claim the tech tee as her own. I must admit she does look better in it than I do.   MUCHO THANKS to all the people who made this one happen for us, including Race Director Tony; MC Lana; music guy Paul; bike guy the other Paul; iaapweb for the course setup, timing, and results; Dan-The-Man and the Munster Squad for the post-race sausages-on-a-stick; all our volunteers, sponsors, and law enforcement folks out there for us; anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much for what you do so we participants can have this event.

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2020 Race Number 1: La Cruda 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cNL3pZZYjfn1Eok7A

BEFORE MY START:  My 1st race of 2020 was the La Cruda 5K, held on Jan 1st at Helotes Creek Winery in Old Town Helotes, a small city on one of the San Antonio city limits border.  Race time of 10 a.m. This is a very popular event and always has a nice turn-out.  This is the 3rd year for this race – I’ve done all 3 so far – and this year was the best weather we’ve had so far for the event.  First year was 19 degrees, with a wind and some sleeting going on – BRRR!  Second year we had sunshine and blue skies but chilly at 37 – 39 degrees. This year a temp ranging between 49-52, with gray overcast skies, but at least no wind, and no precipitation.   I arrived with about an hour to go before start time to get a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSEThe first part of the course is fairly flat, with us going out around a small traffic circle, then on a flat road to a turn-round point.  The roads were open to traffic, so we had to watch out, but the drivers I saw on the course were pretty patient about it all.  After the turn-round point we went back to the traffic circle, then past the start/finish line area, and here is where the inclines and hills started.  Not steep though, just mainly long. After getting to another turn-round point, we went back the way we had come and then turned in to the driveway that took us to the finish line.  I had a “Senior Moment” before the event, lol, and forgot to get my timing chip, so no official time for me – not like I was going to win anything anyway, lol – but per my Garmin, I finished in 38:21, averaging 12:06 per mile.  I went out a bit too fast – 11: 53  – and paid for that by ending up with positive splits.  Even so, felt pretty good but, after not running regularly like I usually do, after having to reduce my weekly mileage way down for a few weeks as my sore foot healed, I certainly felt this one.  Still, just happy to be running again and am slowly working on building my stamina back up to where it used to be.  All in all, pretty nice course and, with two sections of out-and-back, lots of friends to see and cheer on as we passed by each other.

After My FinishWhere’s the beer?  Wait…first hydrate a bit, and get a banana in me and cool-down walk.  Then some photos and my post-race one beer and sausage-on-a-stick and wandering around getting some post-race photos.

EPILOGUE:   One of my favorite races of the year and a good way to start the running year.  Finisher medal to all, nice quality race tee, lots of post-race goodies that included Alamo Beer (my personal favorite) and some ‘harder’ choices of drinks, including bloody mary and tequila, sausage-on-a-stick, various fruits, etc, and apparently a “New Year’s tradition around here of menudo, a spicy soup.  There also was a raffle for some Brooks running shoes and I think there was some kind of hotel stay give-away prize too.  Really nice event, one which I will continue to do as long as I am able, and I certainly would recommend this to others.  MUCHO THANKS to all the people who made this one happen for us, including Race Director Tony Garcia, our MC Anthony Zamora, our ‘bike’ guy  George, all the many volunteers and sponsors, Scallywompus running organization and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.

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2019 Race Number 67: Frosty Five 5-Miler and 5K

Photos are at this link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/EEJaBWnrqd1nFdQ47 

Detailed Report:

BEFORE MY START:   My 67th 5K was the Frosty Five 5-miler/5K Costume Run held on Dec 24 at Pearsall Park in San Antonio.  I did the 5K.   Organized by local fitness company Alamo 180, this free fun-run event supports Street2Feet, a 5K training program designed to promote strength and success among individuals experiencing homelessness.  Pearsall Park, previously a landfill site, is now a developed park that is part of San Antonio’s greenway system of off-road trails.   Start time of 9 a.m.    My wife, Gail, and I arrived about 7:30 to get some good parking – parking gets crowded pretty quick at this park – and then just relaxed until everyone started arriving.  With about an hour to go before the start I wandered around getting some photos.   Several people were in various costumes.  The weather was a bit chilly, starting in the 40s, but quite sunny, with blue skies.   This park is also quite hilly in places.

ON THE COURSE:   By 9 a.m. start time, the temp had already climbed into the low 50s, and no wind at all, so I shed some of my layers and lined up.  We began on a non-paved trail, working our way down a fair-sized hill, and then proceeded on paved trails to a turn-round point.  Back the way we came and then, of course, had to climb up the hill to get back to the finish.  I did not want to push my healing foot on the hill, so walked the majority of it.   I ended up finishing in 40 minutes even, averaging about  a 12:40 per mile pace.  My speediest mile was from 1 – 2, done in 11:53.  My slowest mile was 2 – 3, with that hill at the finish, done in 14:07.   Gail walked the course.

After My Finish:  Did a bit of a cool-down, and then enjoyed post-run chatting with friends, and getting a few after-photos.

EPILOGUE:    I believe this is the 5th year this event has been done. Previously done in a local San Antonio neighborhood, this is the first time the event was held at this park.  I think it went pretty well.  People seemed to enjoy themselves; no worries about traffic or road closures since we were in a park on the park trails; and pretty nice weather this year for the event.  This one will probably continue to be held here in the future, which is all well-and-good. This is a fun no-frills event, well organized with a good course, even with the challenging hill. I definitely will continue to do this one in the future and would recommend it to others.  Many thanks to all the people who made this one happen for we participants, especially Alamo 180 for hosting,  and Dragon’s Den local race and t-shirt company whose folks set up the start/finish line and timing equipment.  And, of course, a big thanks to the Street2Feet people who were out there, some participating in the race, some volunteering on the course, and some helping provide some prerace and post-race goodies, such as coffee, etc.  Apologies to anyone I may not have mentioned here.

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2019 Race 66 Morgan’s Wonderland Snowball 5K

Photos at this link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ub5ttphp2J1664hJ7

 BEFORE MY START:  My 66th race of 2019 was the Morgan’s Wonderland Snowball 5K held on Dec 21. Morgan’s Wonderland is an ‘inclusion for all” amusement park designed in mind for those with specific needs. The park has become world famous has even been copied by other countries to create similar parks in their home environments.  This is a popular event that includes a 1K as well as the 5K.    5K start time of 9:35, so I got to sleep in a bit, as I live quite nearby the park.  Arrived with about an hour to go and got a few before photos.  As you can see, it was quite sunny, but also a bit chilly for we South Texans, in the 40s, so several people were wrapped up.  I know you ‘real winter’ folks would laugh out-loud at that, but Texas weather is kind of crazy in our winter months, with it being in the 70s one day and the next day we could be in the 30s, or 40s.  These back-and-forth 30-40 degree drops and then rises back up again in temps every few days really throws our systems off, lol.

ON THE COURSE:   Started in the park, made an exit through one of the gates, and then did sort of loop-out ‘n-back course on the streets around the park, that included going up a hill.  Not a steep hill, but was a pretty long incline.  Also took in a view of local Hereos Stadium, an event venue of one of our local school districts . We ended up b going back into the park, doing a lap around the man-made lake there and then on to the finish line.   My sore foot is not quite completely healed yet, but a heck of a lot better than it was.  I managed to do negative splits for this one and my last mile was 10:21, which I have not done in quite a while.  Finish time of 35:37, 4th in my 60 – 69 age group.

After My Finish –  Found my friend Woody and we enjoyed some Whataburger breakfast tacos and post-race hydration. And, of course, also spent time flitting from place-to-place taking some after photos, including a few finish photos of some of the folks I had been around and interacted with on the course.

EPILOGUE:   This is quite a fun event and they even have some frozen snowballs in a cooler post-race to toss, which the kids loved. Super heroes on-sight, several people in various costumes, well-thought out and nicely laid out course, and some nice post-race goodies, including a variety of breakfast tacos from Whataburger, a very popular native Texan ‘fast-food’ eatery – probably THE most popular in Texas. Whataburger is also very community oriented and supports a whole lot of causes.  Really nice race venue with indoor restrooms, lots of ‘scenery’, what with the lake, the park rides, the pirate ship in the park, etc.   And, of course, great cause. Very nice building with indoor restrooms – always a plus- and a nice sitting areas just about everywhere in the park to  sit an relax for a bit before and after the start.  Also, everywhere you go in the park there is always something to see to  inspire you – statues, sculptures, signs, even the rides; inclusion is what it is all about here and the park gets its message across very well.  I have done this event several times in the past and will continue to do it in the future.  Many thanks to all the people who made this one happen for we participants, including all the sponsors, vendors, volunteers, police officers, etc., out there for us and, of course, Morgan’s Wonderland for the use of its grounds and facilities.  Apologies and thanks to anyone I may not have mentioned here that was also involved.

 

 

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2019 Race 65 TeletonUSA Elf 5K

Photos here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/owcXvvxg88fpHTko6

BEFORE MY START:   My 65th race of 2019 was the Elf 5K held on Dec 15 at Teleton USA in San Antonio.  This event supports Teleton efforts in providing services for its Children Rehabilitation Centers.  Children’s Rehabilitation Institute TeletonUSA (CRIT) is the largest private pediatric rehabilitation system in the world with more than 110,000 patients treated to date in the United States and Mexico.  I have a personal interest in this cause, as I was a March of Dimes baby, born with a birth defect.  Events included a kids run, a walk, and the main event at 9 a.m.  As I only live a very few miles from this  location, I was able to sleep in a bit, arriving at race location with about an hour to go.  Got my race packet and then got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:   Still nursing a sore left foot but is a lot better than it was.  I planned to just take it slow, like I did for my 5K the week before, thinking I’d finish in about 41 – 43 minutes like my previous 5K.  The course of this one is very flat, starting in front f San Antonio’s Teleton building, then doing a loop around the man-made lake on the grounds of Morgan’s Wonderland – an amusement park designed specifically for those with special needs; even people with wheelchairs can enjoy some rides – and then an out-and-back past local Heroes Stadium, and then back around the lake, exit the park again, and then down to the finish line.  I was feeling pretty good and my foot behaved.  I did my 1st mile in 11:20, which I knew I’d pay for, as I have not been running very consistently since I hurt my foot; and I did; my last 2 miles were in the 12 minutes-plus range. I ended up with a chip time of 37:15, averaging 11:59 per mile.  There were 5 people in my age group and I was number 5, lol.  The top 3 guys all finished in the 20s.  I was happy with this race though; slowly making progress in getting back to my normal running.

After My Finish:  Walked around a bit, did a cool-down, then sat and drank some water and just relaxed a bit.  Then wandered around getting some after photos.

EPILOGUE:  This is quite a fun event with usually a pretty nice turnout but for some reason, this one seemed a bit smaller, entry-wise, than in the previous years I’ve done it. Locally, Saturday, the day before this race,  was quite a busy racing day – I think there were 6 local day races and then there was a race in the evening too – so I know several people went out and did those, with some doing both the day and the night races, so maybe lots of folks were just resting up on Sunday after that.  Anyway, this is a fun event, with lots of people dressing up in Elf and other holiday costumes, and Santa Claus onsite, and it’s also dog-friendly if you want to run or walk with your 4-legged friend.  Pretty nice medals for the age group placers and a nice quality race tee.   Very nicely though out course this year; I like this course the best, out of the courses used in the past.  Hope they keep this one.  I’ve done this one in the past, will continue to do it in the future, and would recommend it to others.

Many thanks to all the people who made this one happen for we participants, including all the sponsors, vendors, volunteers, police officers and EMTs out there for us and, of course, Teleton for the use of its grounds and facilities.  Very nice building with indoor restrooms and water fountains – always a plus- and a nice sitting area to just relax in before and after the start.  Apologies and thanks to anyone I may not have mentioned here that was also involved.

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