2023 Race 29 American Hero events

Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/hj7nJpeeqRyBtxKr9

Before The Start: My 29th race of 2023 was the American Hero 5K, held on May 28th, part of a series of events held at Comanche Park in San Antonio. The main event was the American Hero 25K Relay. The 25K Challenge was for those who wanted to do the whole 25K individually.  There was also a 25K Hero Ruck, for which you carried a certain weight of equipment while doing this event, and a 5K Wheelchair event. Prior to the start of all these events, there was a 400-meter dash, done primarily by the kids there. This was my second race of the weekend, after having done on Saturday  The Dino Dash 5K at The Witte Museum. I arrived at race-site with just under an hour go  to the 7:30 start time and got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course:  The 5K course was an out-and-back, as was the relay course. The people who did the 25K and the Ruck individually had to do the out-and-back course 5 times. The relay team members each did one out-and-back. Thankfully, Mother Nature as pretty kind to us, with lots of cloud cover – virtually no sunshine at all – and fairly nice humidity; it was still humid, but it could have been a lot worse. The course was done on the park’s paved off-road trails, and we crossed two bridges along the way, one a very short one, the other one a bit longer and a tad bouncy with runners and walkers going back-and-forth on it. It was well-thought-out course, with ample room for everyone. This course also had virtually no hills – just a couple of inclines, which was nice.  If we’d taken the trail on the other side of the park we would have had several hills, so thanks to the course planner for sending us  the other way.  For my 5K the day before this one I had pushed myself a bit, especially in the last mile which I pretty much ran non-stop (shhh, don’t tell my doc; I’m not supposed to do that, lol); so for this one I just planned to take it a bit easy and intentionally took a few more walk breaks than I normally do, to get a few extra photos. Overall, I felt pretty good and went pretty well, albeit slowly. I ended up with a chip time of 42:45, finishing 7th out of 9 in my 60-69 males age group. I actually was only 10 seconds slower for this 5K from the one I did the day before in 42:35, go figure. I stay pretty consistent in my times, lol.

After My Finish:  After a short cool-down walk and getting some water and just sitting and being lazy for about 5 to 10 minutes, I then wandered around chatting with friends and getting some post-race photos.  Also enjoyed some post-race goodies that included sausage wraps, courtesy of Kiolbassa and some Shiner Beer – a small cup; still on some post-cancer meds, so have to be cautious; did not want a full one, so split one with a friend. There was also  a variety of fresh fruits available, nutrition bars, and much more.  Enjoyed chatting post-race with friends and participant and handing out treats to the doggies that were there – this is a dog-friendly event, and some of the dogs even recognized me, lol, from previous events.  Small world too; talked to a lady whose uncle was in Somalia at the same time I was, and we were both on-site during the Black Hawk Down battle. He was probably more involved in that than I was, since he was an Army Ranger, and I was Air Force, serving as support personnel for the troops there. Still some “hairy” moments at times, though.   

 Epilogue:  This race was  a very enjoyable experience with unique race bibs; nice quality tech-tee shirt; a nice course; lots of nice post-race goodies; wheel-chair friendly and dog-friendly, finishers medals for all; and unique Dragon’s Den discount count coins for the age group awardees, giving you a discount towards future Dragon’s Den events; as well as some other prizes, and more

MUCHO thanks to all that made this one happen for we participants:  iaap for the course set up, timing, results, etc;  all the many race-day volunteers; Anthony Zamora doing his usual first-rate job as our MC; e-Dragon Productions for being the presenting sponsor; the park police officers out there for us; our music-and-sound-man Paul; Shiner beer and Lisa Haby Soler and her folks for the post-race adult beverages; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here; thank you all so much.  See you next year, lord willing, and the creek don’t rise.

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2023 Race 28 Dino Dash 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/hgvnAczfKTMUXtPv5

Before The Start:    My 28th race of the year was the 12th annual Dino Dash 5K and Kids Run put on by The Witte Museum. Held on May 27th, this event supports scholarships for the field trips of young students to visit The Witte Museum. Race start time of 7:30 a.m., with the Kids Run held after the main event. Mother Nature was very kind to us, with a nice temp in the low 70s, fairly low humidity, and a sunny day. Free parking for this event was at the Brackenridge Park parking garage, which is quite close to the museum, so very convenient. I had picked up my packet the day before race day, so arrived on site with just under an hour to start time and got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course:  The course was in Brackenridge Park, a mix of the park roads and off-road trails. We started on the park road that is directly behind the museum – Tuleta is the road name, if I remember correctly. We started by going toward the park’s train tracks, then making a right turn onto the road that is near the San Antonio Zoo Aviary.  After crossing The Iron Bridge, we then turned left, going past the park’s baseball fields. We then headed toward the park’s Hildebrand Road entrance-and-exit.  We did not go up to Hildebrand, but turned left onto a service road which took us back the way we had come out, and crossed over The Iron Bridge again.  This took us back to our start/finish road, with the Zoo’s tourist train crossing tracks in front of us.  We turned right onto this road, heading in the direction of the San Antonio Zoo entrance.  At the end of this road, we turned left.  This took us along another park road that took us to Mulberry Street, where we could see part of Brackenridge Golf Course across the street.  We did a turn-round here and proceeded back the way we had come out. Once we were back at the railroad tracks crossing, we turned right, heading in the direction of Broadway. Near the end of this road, we then made a right turn that took us onto one of the park’s off-road trails.  We wound around on this trail until we reached a circle- kind of like an off-road roundabout, lol. We looped around this circle – where there was also a water station; no beer 😉 – and then went on trail that took us back to where we had started the off-road part of the course.  Once back on this road, we then went back to the railroad crossing, made a right turn, and then headed for the finish line. It was quite a nicely laid out course with lots of opportunities to  see friends coming-and-going to cheer each other on.  I did my usual run-walk intervals – 8 min run/2-min walk – taking some on-course photos during my walk breaks.  I met my two race goals – finish standing up, and no ambulance waiting for me – and had a chip time of 42:55, averaging 13:49 per mile.  In my 60-69 males age group, I was 7th out of 12 finishers.

After My Finish –   Got a few photos of some others finishing. After that, a short cool-down walk and got some post-race photos of happy finishers – including dogs; this is a dog-friendly event – and their supporters.  The Race Director also asked if I would be interested in doing an interview with KENS-5.  Sure, why not; so did that for about 5 – 10 minutes.  The camera guy and I hit it off – like me, he has cats too, lol – and it was a very enjoyable experience.    Not sure when, or if, it will air, but it was fun.

 Epilogue:   This is a very enjoyable event to do. Entry fee is higher than those for most 5Ks, but The Witte offers a lot, and you do get free  access to the museum, including all their ‘special exhibits too.  All finishers get a nice little finisher medal, and the race shirt is a very nice quality tech tee; with, of course, a running dinosaur on it, lol. Lots of vendors with pre-race and post-race goodies, including a coffee company, which my friend Woody would have loved. Also nice that the museum gave us use of their indoor restroom facilities; much nicer than porta-potties. This is the 12th year for this event. and I have done a few of them over the years since it started. I missed 2021 and 2022 as  I was dealing with prostate cancer which, thankfully, I did beat, and then its side effects from my treatments, which I am still dealing with; those make take quite a while to resolve but while I get through it all, I try to do as many races as I can. Never Give UP! I would certainly recommend this event to others, it’s a lot of fun – and those participants that ran in those dinosaur outfits just cracked me up, lol.

MUCHO thanks to all that made this one happen for we participants: All the museum staff involved; all the volunteers; all the sponsors; the police officers out there for our safety who monitored the road closures; iaap face management for their usual great job of course setup, timing, and results; KENS-5 guy for being there to film the Kids Run – and thanks for the interview, I had a great time interacting with you – and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned.  See you next year!

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2023 Race 27, SA 5K Summer Series

Photos are here:   https://photos.app.goo.gl/NPDByXtEdqvhb3MB9

Before The Start:   My 27th race of 2023 was Race 1 of the e-Dragon San Antonio 5K Summer series held at McAllister Park on May 21st. This event is part of a series of 5 races, each held at a different San Antonio park.  Participants can register for all 5 races or register separately for each event they want to do. These races are affordable at only $15 each and help raise funds for a San Antonio Running Scholarship, given to a local San Antonio runner attending college. Please visit the e-Dragon website to get all the details on these events and how to participate. Start time of 7:15 a.m. for the 5K and there is also a Kid’s run at 7 a.m., for those kids that ant to participate.  There was some early morning rain on the day of this one, but Mother Nature was kind and held it off for the event. Temperature was in the low 70s and pretty humid, but at least it was not raining on us; actually pretty nice weather for me – I prefer warm to cold, lol – and lots of cloud cover.  I arrived around 6:45 a.m., got my bib, and then got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course: This was a loop course laid out by our Race Director Erik, co-owner of e-Dragon, and laid out by top-notch local race management company iaap. In my opinion, this the VERY BEST 5K course for McAllister Park as it is a nice loop course with participants not having do to that out-and-back crappola right before we go to the finish line. As soon as I saw one of the turns indicated on this course, I knew it was the loop course and was one happy old dog about that, lol. I wish every race director who does a 5K at McAllister Park would always use this course. From the start at the pavilion near the lower soccer fields and youth baseball field, we headed up a paved park road.  Just down from Becken Pavilion, we turned left onto an off-road paved trail that took us past a local police sub-station near the park. After going on this trail for maybe ¼ mile or so, we then crossed a road – which, if you did not know, many years ago used to be the original entrance road to the park – and this took us onto a trail just down a ways from the Turkey Roost pavilion. We then proceeded – yes, “proceeded”; I’m retired military, so I don’t “go” anywhere, I “proceed’, lol – down the park road where Becken Pavilion is located.  We crossed this road to continue on an off-road paved trail.  This trail took us to another trail that went behind the youth baseball stadium. This trail took us to our last connecting trail that took us back onto the road we had started on. After turning left, we passed in front  of the baseball stadium and then back onto the paved road we had started on, and that took us to the finish. I finished with a gun time of 44:06 and a chip-time 43:28, good enough for 2nd in my 65 – 69 age group, as there were only two in my age group, lol. Also, I probably killed a lot of time on the course because of doggies, lol. When I saw someone coming toward me walking their dog, I stopped and offered the dog a treat, with permission of its human. After doing a VERY hilly 5K the day before this 5K, I was just “kickin’ back’ and relaxing a bit for this one – actually like I do for all my 5Ks, lol.  I was pretty happy with this one, feeling pretty good, and enjoyed interacting with other participants on the course.

After My Finish –   Got some water and did a short cool-down walk and then it was off to enjoy the company of my fellow finishers and race supporters and get some after photos.  Awards were nicely present by Erik – although he always starts with the young people first instead of we older people who need to get home to take our nap 😉 As noted, I got second in my 65 – 69 age group.  The awards were these unique designed e-Dragon coins which can be used to get a registration discount for future -dragon events, very nice. The first place finishers in each age category got a very nice cap.  I enjoyed chatting post-race with several friends and other runners I had interacted with one the course and also, as usual, getting some post-race photos of participants, their friends and family members, as well as some doggie photos.  This is a dog-friendly event, so I soon ran out of treats, which is all to the good.

 Epilogue:   e-Dragon puts on some really nice quality events over the year, including this race series, so definitely check out their offerings. Kristine and Erik Burciaga are two of the nicest people I have ever met, as well as being very accomplished runners in their own right. I expect someday at least one of their kids is going to end up in The Olympics – some of those kids are already faster than me, lol.  Always enjoyable to do one of their events, and also enjoyable seeing friends from iaap, who do a great job with the timing, results, etc. I have signed up to do all 5 of the races in the series, so look forward to the next one, which well be at Lady Bird Johnson Park.  See you then, if you’re signed up!

MUCHO thanks to all the people that made this one happen for us;  e-Dragon for putting the series on and for the unique age group awards.  Due to the registration price being so low, there are no race shirts in the packets, but you can purchase an event series shirt for a really nice price; also, if I remember correctly,  if you do sign up for at least 4 of the races, you will get a shirt, and also a medal, which I think is presented at the last race of the series. Thanks also to the police officers out there for our safety – one of them moved really fast, lol, he was at two of our park road crossings on the course; to all the volunteers for packet pickup, doing course marshal duties, race day registration, etc.; and, of course, to all the race sponsors, donors to the cause, iaap for the timing and results, and everyone else involved that made this one happen for we participants.  Thank you so much!

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2023 Race 26, Legionary 5K Bier Run

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/rt4RAFj4D3Uxrdu39

Before The Start:  My 26th 5K of 2023 was The Legendary  Legionary 5K Bier Run, held on May 20th in New Braunfels, Texas.  This event was an inaugural 5K put on by the Walton F. Hoffman Memorial American Legion Post 179, with the goal of raising funds so the post can better assist local area veterans.  On race day, I woke up in San Antonio to thunder-and-lightning, so I was not sure if this one was going to be a go or not. I checked the race’s website and FB page, but did not see anything about cancelling, etc., so took a chance and just went for it. Mother Nature is so darn weird with Texas, lol.  Pouring rain like crazy when I left San Antonio, but as soon as I got into New Braunfels,  it just stopped, lol. There was cloud cover, and even a bit of sunshine too, go figure, with a temp of 73 degrees.  I had picked up my packet the day before so when I arrived at the race location – The American Legion post – I started getting a few pre-start photos, starting with one of the volunteers who was assisting with parking.  Unfortunately, with my great camera skill, I made him look like he was in Witness Protection, but did not notice until I got home, so my apologies to him.  The Post is a very nicely arranged building with lots of history, some photos, names on the walls,  some  patriotic artwork, and so forth.  Nice to have indoor restrooms too, although there were also  port-a-potties in the start/finish area, which was on grounds below the main building.  The Young Marines excellently did the Color Guard duties for The National Anthem, sung beautifully by a young lady.

On The Course –   As for the weather…wow.  Mother Nature gave us a nice break, it did not rain on us at all. As noted, the temp was 73 degrees, and we even had a bit of sunshine for a short while; a very short while, but it was there, lol.  We started in a grassy area on the activity field below the Post’s main building and then went onto paved roads in the neighborhood where the Post is located. Since I cannot run non-stop anymore with this darn spinal arthritis, I did my usual 8-min-run/2-min-walk intervals and took photos during my walk breaks. This turned out to be one of the most-hilly 5Ks I have ever done. I think we maybe had two flat areas the whole time, lol.  In this neighborhood, you just can’t avoid the hills, and I think our Race Director had us doing just about all of them, lol, as we worked up-and-down across the neighborhood. Some of these hills make the Helotes 5K course hills look like baby hills, lol.   I was very grateful that I do hill training at least once a week, so I got up and down them fairly well. In spite of the hills, the neighborhood really is quite lovely, with lots of old houses, verandah-style porches on some, and some of the residents I chatted with along the way were all very nice people.  At one point I was running with this younger guy and we passed a beautiful house along the way with a big verandah porch and a back screened in porch.  I told him, wow, that house looks like the house in The Waltons.  His response was “Who are the Waltons?”  Dang, I feel old, lol. I ended up with a 38:17 chip time per the posted results – at this link – https://www.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=127&RId=302  – good enough for 2nd in my 60 – 69 males age group; but even if I’d taken an hour, I’d still have been 2nd because there were only 2 in my age group, lol. I may have finished faster if I had kept doing my run/walk steadily, but whenever I saw someone walking a dog, I stopped to give the dog a treat.  I did this at one house, and then started up again, and the dog followed me, lol, to get another treat, so I had to stop and take the dog back home to his human, and we had a laugh about it.  He held onto  the dog until I got out of sight.  I think the chip timing might be off a bit, because my garmin had me finishing in 44 minutes flat, which I think is about right. I did do a nice negative split for Mile 3 though, running that mile nearly nonstop all the way.

After My Finish –   Some really nice post-race goodies, including nutrition bars, various drinks (Gatorade, water, juice, etc) and you could go get an “adult beverage’ in the post bar, if you so desired, as well as some other foods and I think there were even breakfast tacos you could purchase from a local food truck.  The sun actually did come out again for us for a while at the post-race activity and awards.  Lots of photo ops too, with various backdrops, the historic American Legion Building, and more.

 Epilogue:  When I first arrived at the race site, I noticed for race day packet pickup, there were a lot more packets than there were participants at the event. We ended up with a total of 48 finishers, so this 5K felt more like a bunch of friends getting together to enjoy each other’s company and have a nice race outing too. The camaraderie at this one was GREAT so those folks who did not make it to the race  really missed out; they were probably thinking, like I did at first,  that the weather would be bad. Well, it was not, it actually turned out to be a bit humid, but overall pretty nice conditions for us; could have been a lot worse.  Also, for slower back-of-the-pack runners like me, we were helping each other out along the way, since lots of times we were by ourselves, and sometimes – since I am directionally challenged, lol, even with signs, – we  back-pack folks helped each other out by calling out the correct times to turn on the course, or go straight, and so forth. It actually turned out to be a pretty well-done and fun event. I would definitely do this one again and certainly would recommend it to others.

MUCHO thanks to all the people that made this one happen for us; all the American Legion folks; our Race Director and the many volunteers for packet pickups, course marshals, water stop folks, etc; al the police officers out there at the intersections and road crossings for our safety; all the sponsors, of course, could not have an event without them; and a nice thank you to all the doggies there – this is a dog friendly event – I loved meeting them all; Personal Best Events for the timing, results, etc.; the  Young Marines; and that lady who beautifully sang The National Anthem; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much!  See you next time!  Hopefully with an even larger turnout.

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2023 Race 25 Gabriella’s Cupcake 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/X5R3ERAAgnUvfr9Q8

Before The Start –   My 25th 5K of 2023 was the Gabriella Cupkcake 5K held on May 13, 2023 at Bluebonnet Palace in Selma, Texas, a small community within the Greater San Antonio area. This event is named for a little girl named Gabriella who sadly died at 6 years old, if I remember correctly, of a rare form of brain cancer.  Hosted by Gabriella’s Smile Foundation and supported by Community First Health Plans, this event raises funds to help provide financial assistance/free support for pediatric cancer families and for pediatric brain cancer research. There was some question as to whether this event would even go on, as Texas, including the San Antonio area, was getting some crazy, stormy weather, with lightning, thunder, and predictions of up to 5  to 7 inches of rain and potential flooding. However, God and Mother Nature was kind to us for this event. We did get some really crazy weather the night before and in the morning, but by the time I left to go to the race site for the scheduled 8:30 a.m. start, it was still overcast and threatening, but actually pretty nice, with very little ongoing rain.  This is a very popular local event, and even with the weather threat, it was a nice turn-out with 300+ finishers.  When I got to the Bluebonnet Palace, there was quote a crowd of people there already, most of them inside the dance hall, which made it pretty crowded in there, along with all the volunteers, sponsor tables, race day registration group, etc.  I shuffled along, both inside and outside and got a few pre-start photos before we got the lightning “all clear” and proceeded to the start/finish line.

On The Course –  We started on the road in front of Bluebonnet Palace, went to the intersection near the front entrance of Bluebonnet Palace and then made a right turn.  Proceeding down this road, we made a right turn and did a loop through an industrial park with lots of business buildings, warehouses, and so forth. The streets were pretty wet in places, but Mother Nature was kind and it never did rain on us the whole way. I think Gabriella in Heaven must have asked God for a favor for her race and God told Mother Nature to behave herself for this one, so we could help children  in need.  I did my usual 8-minute run/2 minute walk intervals and took some photos during my walk breaks. I’d done this course for some other events held her, so knew what to expect.  For the most part it was flat, but we did have a couple of pretty fair-sized up-inclines on the way; not steep, but long. After doing a loop through the industrial park, we then came back to road that had taken us to the industrial park and went back to the finish the way we had first come out.  Surprisingly, I was feeling pretty good and managed to run almost the last whole mile non-stop to the finish. I ended up with a chip time of 41 minutes even and was very happy with that.  I have been slowly – slow being the key word, lol – but surely getting stronger every week, as I recover from 15 months of prostate cancer treatment – finished my last treatment in December 2022.  I don’t know if I will ever get back to my pre-cancer times, which were a lot faster, but that’s okay. I’m just happy to be able to do any running and races at all.

After My Finish –    It did start spitting a bit of rain on us after we finished, but not too bad at all. Bluebonnet Palace, aside from its indoor area, also has a really nice outside pavilion area that has a lot of covered areas, so we had a lot of options for places to be to keep out of the wet.  I had brought a dry shirt to put on under my running shirt, so got that on to help keep dry and then enjoyed some post-race goodies – and, of course they had cupcakes, but I think, lol, I am one of the very few people in the world that actually does not like cupcakes – some of my friends were appalled to find that out,, lol; how can you not like cupcakes? Now if  if had been brownies  😉  – so I stuck to other goodies, of which there were plenty.  Age group awards went to overall finishers in each age group, which is fine with me; means more funding for the cause. Shoot, this year is my 40th anniversary of being a runner, so I have plenty of medals, lol.  Nice quality race shirt too; I asked the Race Director to donate mine to one of the cancer kids they support.

 Epilogue: I’ve done this one a few times, and it was nice to be back for this one. It really is a well-organized event for a really good cause, with very unique finishers medals and lots of post-race activity going on. Bluebonnet Palace  is also a very nice race venue with lots of room for everyone, indoor restroom facilities and a place full of some really interesting to see, hanging from the walls, the doors, and even the ceilings, lol. It really is a very fun place to be and to see. The course was very nicely thought-out by iRun Texas, a  local race management/running shoes and other runner/walker accessories stores, and they put on some pretty darn good race of their own too.  Mucho thanks to them and to all the people involved that made this event happen for us, including iRun; the foundation; all the event sponsors; the police officers and medical staff out there for our safety; all the many needed volunteers to make this one happen for we participants; Bluebonnet Palace, of course; and any others involved that I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!   Next up for me is the Legionary 5K Bier Run on May 20th in New Braunfels,  put on by the American Legion to help fellow veterans.  Nice one to do on Armed Forces Day.

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2023 Race 24, Spring Thing 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/tWzxGH2SwxJ3J46XA

Before The Start –  My 24th race of 2023 wat the Spring Thing 5K held on May 6 at the San Antonio State Mental Hospital in San Antonio. This event supports mental health and, if I remember correctly, helps raise funds for patient activities that are not paid for by the state. The event was held on the hospital grounds and had a nice turnout, with 117 finishers, especially considering the free District 4 5K, put on by the District 4 staff, usually has a huge turnout as it is a free event. I’ve done a few of those in the past and  those get crazy-crowded.   Top-notch race management company iaap did the course setup, timing, and results for this one. Race start time of 8 a.m. I got there with about an hour to go, got my race packet, and got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course – Held entirely on the hospital grounds, this course was out-and-back a mix of flat paved roads and a few hills and inclines along the way.  The weather was pretty darn humid – about 90-something percent, with dark clouds hovering overhead as we started.  I thought it might rain on us a bit, but that never did happen, and the sun even came out for a while; could have done without that, lol,  it was warm enough already, with a temperature of 81 degrees…at 8 a.m in the morning, good grief. Gotta love San Antonio weather, lol.  I started out with my friend Sally, with us doing 8-min run/2-minute walk. On my first walk break, Sally and I walked together a bit, and I stopped to get a few photos while she continued on, and I never did catch her for the rest of the course, lol. We got a very nice tour of the hospital grounds, and on our way back to the finish, a nice panoramic view of the hospital building. We also passed by where the new hospital building is being constructed.  After the turn-round point, I had Sally in sight again, just ahead of me, but then stopped to get another photo, and that was that, she finished ahead of me quite handily. She has overcome some issues and is doing really well with her running these days and I am very happy for her.  She was first in her age group.  I ended up finishing with a chip time of 43:21, 3rd in my males 60-69 age group.  My speedy friend Luke was first in the age group with 26 minutes and change.  I met my two primary race goals, finish standing up and no ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish, lol – and was quite satisfied, especially as I am still dealing with some side effects from my 15 months of prostate cancer treatment, which I finished in December 2022; so to be able to do any running at all is a blessing.

After My Finish – First thing, a short cool-down walk and then get some water into me.  After that enjoyed some of the post-race treats – breakfast tacos, bananas, donut holes, and more; there was quite a nice little spread for this one – and also wandered here and there getting some post-run photos of happy finishers, volunteers, and supporters. There was also a raffle, and I actually got one of the prizes, a spa outing, which I gave to my wife when I got home.

 Epilogue:  This is a really nicely done event with a good course that gives lots of nice views of the hospital campus.  Indoor restroom is nice too.  The race shirt is very nice quality and the post-race goodies were also good. As noted, there was a post-race raffle with several prizes.  Awards went given only to the top overall in each age group, with which I have no heartburn, just means more support for the patients, and the awards were quite unique items that were made by some of the hospital patients, very cool. I’ve done this one a couple of times in the past and it is always enjoyable.  The hospital staff there, the volunteers, etc., all do a great job in accommodating the participants. I will definitely do this one again in the future and certainly would recommend it to others.  Hope it grows a bit more; it certainly is for a very worthwhile cause, especially as my experience is there are not too many 5Ks overall that support mental health causes, but that support surely is needed. Mucho thanks to all the people involved that made this event happen for we participants; all the event sponsors – Methodist Hospital System, University Health, and H-E-B, were the primary ones – all the volunteers and hospital staff members that were there for us; iaap, of course; our bike lead volunteers, and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much!  See you next time I do this one!

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2023 Race 23 Siesta 5K/10K/Half

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/bJdyWj5DpodV4Xcm8

Before The Start – My 23rd race of 2023, and my 3rd  5K of the May 29 – May 30 weekend was the Siesta 5K put on by local running organization Sccallywompus.  Held on May 30th, this was the 4th race in the Hill Country Series of 4 races, for which you could register individually or register for all 4 at once and get a nice registration discount. If you completed all 4 races, you got an extra medal after you finished the last event.  This race was held at Missions County Park and included a half-marathon, a 10K and a 5K.  Scallywompus events are very popular, especially as they are not kidding with their race motto: “Come for the Race. Stay for the party.”  Scallywompus throws some awesome after-parties.  I arrived early on race day, got my packet for the 5K I would be doing, and then wandered around getting some pre-start photos.  The Mission County Park grounds and pavilion were already getting crowded, as participants, volunteers, and supports continually began showing up.  How popular are Scallywompus events?  There were 214 participants in the half; 245 in the 10K; 388 in the 5K and 8 in the Competitive Walker category, totaling 855 participants. I’d say Scallywompus events are very popular. Mother Nature was kind to us, also, with really good weather, sunshine, hardly any wind, a temp in the upper 50s, low 60s, and the humidity was not really too bad.

On The Course:  Staggered starts for all the events, with the half marathoners going first at 7:31 a.m.; the 10K at 8:15; and the 5K at 8:35 a.m. All the courses were done on the paved trails of the Riverwalk, so it did get a bit crowded at times, but I think everyone expected that, with this many participants, and from where I was at any given moment, we all pretty much accommodated each other as much as possible, trying to move out of the way of faster participants and also lots of encouraging each other on.  You just have to keep your sense of humor and not get frustrated by it all.  I did my usual 8-min-run/2 min walk thing, and stepped to the side during my walk breaks when I was getting some on-course photos. At my two running paces – slow and slower – I figured I’d probably be out here for at least an hour, with the crowd the way it was. For the 5K course, we started from the Mission Park pavilion. When I saw that we were turning left to go down the hill in front of the pavilion, well, right then, because I’ve done events here before, I knew we’d be taking the hilly route.  We went down a hill to start, then it was flat for about 100 good deep-breaths, lol, which you needed because then we hit our first uphill.  We then proceeded down a hill, and under a bridge, and then onto a small bridge that went across the water.  The half and 10K folks crossed this bridge.  For the 5K folks the bridge was our turn-around point, so we stayed on the side of the river that the park was on.  Of course, since we’d come downhill to the bridge, now we had to climb up this hill on our way back and it sure was no baby hill, lol.  The nice thing, though, is we got some good scenic views of the river. I do hills once a week, so really had no problems with the hills; just kept plugging along and doing my thing.  As noted earlier I expected to finish close to an hour, but surprised myself and ran the whole last mile just about non-stop. There were only 4 in my 65-69 males age group, so I was pleasantly surprised when I finished 2nd in my age group, with a chip time of 43:48, so almost an hour, as expected, but better than I thought I would do. The age group awards were these really nicely designed small drinking glasses.  When I got my ‘award’ home, my wife loved that thing, so I graciously ‘allowed’ her to have it.  Smart, right?  It’s all good though; I prefer cups anyway; a klutz like me should probably not be holding a glass, lol; we lose more dishes and glasses that way. 

After My Finish:  First thing, get some hydration in me, and also enjoyed a post-race Kiolbassa sausage. Then wandered around taking some ‘after photos’, chatting with friends and enjoying some of the other post-race treats, and freebie give-aways from the various sponsors and vendors, and there were a whole lot of them. As noted earlier, Scallywompus events are very popular, even for the vendors; a bigger audience for them to show their wares too.

 Epilogue: I really enjoy the Scallywompus events.  I also like “Mr. Scallywompus”, my friend Bart, who is a class-act guy with a great sense of humor.  Also, he and I were both treated for our cancers during the same time frame, so we chatted a lot with each other through that, and I can’t begin to tell you how much that helped me get through, and I hope I helped him do the same. I think we became closer through that experience, and I will always count him as a friend; and now we still continue to support each other because, even though the worst part is done, now we will be dealing with the treatment side-effects for a while – and everyone who was a cancer patient, and is a cancer patient, can certainly relate to that.  We will get through this – and it is gradually getting better for both of us, I think-  and we will prevail.  I don’t plan on letting it stop me from being as active as possible and I keep on scheduling myself to do races, and have 7 in May for which I’ve already registered. Hope to see any of you at a few of them! I also want to throw some kudos out to all the people involved that made this one happen for we participants; Scallywompus folks; all the many volunteers, vendors, and sponsors; iaap folks for course setup, timing, results; our music and sound person; police officers and EMTs out there for our safety; the Junior ROTC guys – I think it was the Young Marines – that did the presentation of the colors ; the grill-masters that cooked those great sausages for us; and all that great fruit from my friend Gilbert; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all! 

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2023 Race 22 Still I Run 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/VsewYAKtMpv79tzz5

Before The Start  – My 22nd race of the year was the Still I Run 5K held on the evening of April 29th at McAllister Park.  This event supports and raises funds for mental health awareness, with a concentration on mental health for veterans, who sometimes may be in a dark place after their military duties, experiencing PTSD, possible suicidal thoughts, etc. Most the participants, including me – retired Air Force – had some type of military connection. This was my 2nd 5K of the day after doing a 5K earlier in the morning. Start time was roughly around  5:45 or so, done on the paved park roads and paved off-road trails. This was the inaugural event for this 5K, founded by my friend Jada.  Done on the same day as the vey popular night-time Flambeau parade for Fiesta San Antonio,, which started in the evening a bit after this one, this ended up being a smaller event with 56 total finishers; however, it was also a pretty personal event too, with lots of friends who knew each other being there, so it came across as a very nice runner/walker get together for a serious cause.  I got my race packet and then got a few pre-start photos. 

On The Course: National Anthem was sung beautifully by my friend Meghan and then we started probably a little before 6 pm. For our weather, we had what weather people call ‘abundant sunshine’ and a temp of 88 degrees.  My kind of weather, lol.  I much prefer running in warmth than in the cold. The humidity was actually not too bad and McAllister Park trails have lots of shady spots along the way. I did my usual run 8 minutes/walk 2 minutes and took photos during my walk breaks.  Several times, since I am slower than a snail racing a turtle, I had the trails all to myself.  It was all good, though; My neighborhood is right behind the park and I often run here on my own, so it felt very natural for me; also, since I had pushed myself a bit at my morning 5K, for this one I just kicked back and went easy. I even stopped to play wih a dog for a bit and give it a treat; chatted with a deer for a couple of minutes; -she told me that Bambi movie was WAY off the mark for what deer actually do, lol; my first thought was ‘how did a deer get into the movie theater?  😉 – and I encountered a walking couple who were in the park for the first time and felt like they were lost, so gave them some directions   I ended up 4th out of 5 in my 60-69 males age group, with a chip time of 42:24, averaging 13:35 per mile, but I sure did have a lot of fun, and I had a negative split from Mile 2 to Mile 3.

 After My Finish: Got some water and did a short cool-down walk.  Then I wandered around chatting with participants, supporters, vendors, etc.  Enjoyed a post-race beer and some post-race goodies. There were some awards for the top finishers and overall age group winners, and then some other give-aways too.

 Epilogue:   This is a very nice-and-friendly 5K that feels more like a get-together of running friends to just come out and enjoy themselves with each other – although the message and cause of this event is a serious one and should be heeded. Please, please, please, if you have veteran family members, friends, are a veteran and are in a bad place mentally, physically, whatever, please be aware there is help out there.  If you know of someone in a bad place, then please tell someone about it, so someone can step up and try and help them before it is too late. There are all kinds of resources, but they won’t help if nobody knows what’s going on. Did you know:  Among all U.S. adults—including Veterans—the average number of suicides per day rose from 81.0 per day in 2001 to 121.0 in 2020; and it is still pretty bad; not good. Please help any way you can via a donation to organizations that try to prevent this; to reaching out to those you personally know; and/or anything else you can think of to help.  I would definitely do this one again – but perhaps move it away from Fiesta time. Participants got a very nice finisher medal and a really good quality race shirt. Much thanks to Jada for starting this one; to iaap who did the race timing and results; to friend Gilbert for having his very tasty fruits out there for us; and all involved sponsors, volunteers, and anyone else helping to get this one going,  

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2023 Race 21, Run To Remember 5K/10K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/ASpNxR88wgUxN5ey7

Before The Start  – My 21st race of 2023 was the Run To Remember 5K held on April 29th at Comanche Park in San Antonio, Texas.  There was also a 10K. This event raised funds for research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.  This event was founded by two brothers, Matthew, and Miguel to raise money for a cause that has personally affected their family.  Known as Beards (Matthew) vs Beans (Miguel), these two have a contest to see who can raise the most funds for the cause. The winner then gets to give a challenge to the other brother that must be met.  This is a very popular annual event in the local running community and usually gets a really nice turn-out.  As this event is usually done around Fiesta San Antonio time-frame, it is sometimes a challenge, as lots of people are attending Fiesta events during this time.  Even so, the brothers always manage to get a pretty nice turn-out, and this one was no exception with the results showing 157 finishers for the 5K and 39 finishers for the 10K.  In spite of some crazy weather the night before – rain, hail, wind, lightning, etc. – race day was pretty nice with sunshine, virtually no wind at all and a temp in the mid 50s.

On The Course : The 10K started 15 minutes before the 5K, with we 5Kers starting off at 7:45 a.m. The course was on paved asphalt and then asphalt and concrete trails in the park. Both courses were out-and-back. The trails in Comanche park are very nice ones, with lots of woodsy areas and trees – even a tree that fell down on the course from the storm the night before, so we had to negotiate that, which all of us did safely. We also crossed over a couple of bridges,  and one could see how much the water had risen from the night’s storm, and how fast it was moving.  I seem to have a problem with bridges in my running life – I’ve run off of 5 of them in my 40 years of running, lol; thankfully all pretty low bridges, so no high falls, just simple ‘splash-downs’ into a creek, pond, lake, etc – but I managed to cross these two on the course with no problems; I’m sure the race organizers were grateful for that, lol, no rescuing required. I did my usual 8-min-run/2-min-walk thing – can’t run a whole course nonstop anymore because of my spinal arthritis – and took some on-course photos during my walk breaks.  I was feeling pretty good overall and even managed to run nonstop for most of the last mile.  I surprised my self by doing a negative split for Mile 3, and ended up with a chip time of 40:43, averaging 13:07 per mile and Mile 3 was 12:38, the fastest I’ve moved in a while, since finishing my cancer treatments in December 2022.  I was one happy old dog, lol. I even managed to place 3rd in my age group.  I finished 1 minute and 10 seconds behind my friend Ted, who was second in our age group; shouldn’t have stopped for that last photo, lol.  It’s all good; I really enjoyed myself. Instead of a medal, we got these memorial coins from Dragon’s Den aka e-Dragon Productions – another really good local race company – that has a number on the back of it that can be used for a registration discount for their events, nice.

 After My Finish: Got some water and did a short cool-down walk.  Then I wandered around chatting with participants, supporters, vendors, etc.  Enjoyed a post-race beer and a sausage wrap. This is also a dog-friendly event, so I soon ran out of dog treats, which I carry when I run. The dogs, however, did not know I had run out, so I got lots of looks from them for more treats, lol.

 Epilogue:   I have done Miguel and Matt’s events almost from the very time it started up. This one is personal to me too, as my wife’s uncle passed away from this disease. He was a great guy who was an orthopedic surgeon and also taught at the medical school of Texas Tech.  I really liked him a lot, as well as his wife – my wife’s aunt – Noreen, a very classy lady. Bud is surely missed by the family.  Miguel and Matt have a great sense of humor too, and carry that into their events. Today’s event’s also included the 0.5 Beer contest, in which participants carried a full stein of beer and whomever succeeded in the least spilling was the winner, lol.  My friend Woody came in second – and then promptly drank the beer, lol.  The second part of their fundraising efforts is a race called The Longest Day 5K, which comes up in June, and that one will decide which brother gets to give the other a challenge. I am already registered for that one too, so see you there if you come out!

Kudos and thanks to all the people involved that made this one happen for we participants: the two brothers of course; Alamo Beer for being the pre-race-day  packet pickup venue ;iaap for the course setup, timing, and results; Dragon’s Den folks for the age group coin awards and for helping out; all the involved sponsors and vendors; our ‘sausage wrap” workers who had to be there really early and had some really tasty Kiolbassa sausage for us post-race; our ‘fruity guy’ Gilbert with all that great fresh fruits he brings to these events; Anthony, our MC, who did his usual great job at it; he MCs several events over the year and, in my opinion, has become the premier guy to get as MC if you have a San Antonio event going on;  and all others involved that I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all, so much!   Hope to see any or all of you at one of my upcoming events!

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2023 Race 20, Confetti 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/jHNnUK8CqpiFVPNW6

 Before The Start:   My 20th race of 2023 was the Confetti 5K on April 22, held at Our Lady Of The Lake University (OLLU) in San Antonio, Texas. This event raises scholarship funds for OLLU students.  This is one of my ‘streak’ races, as I have done every one of them since it first started, which was in 2017, if I remember correctly.  The course starts and finishes on the OLLU campus.  It has a 9 a.m. start, so got to sleep in a tad, and then arrived at OLLU just before 8 a.m.    I got my race packet, and then wandered about getting some pre-start photos.  There were a lot of people at this popular event that had 561 finishers. Along with the participants there, the area was packed with the vendors, sponsor areas, medical tents, volunteers for race day packet pickup and registration, as well as friends and family members who had come to cheer their participants on. Quite a busy little place, this 5K before the start.

On The Course:   We started right on time , with a cannon shooting confetti into the air in front of the start/finish line and we ran or walked below the falling confetti as we got going. We rounded the building near the start, making a left turn, and then stayed on campus for about just under  a half-mile, with a little out-and-back along the way.  After going out one of the campus gates we then proceeded on a sidewalk which I think is adjacent to Commerce street on our left.  We then made a right turn onto a paved trail that took us to  the man-made lake near the University. We went over a bridge to the other side of the lake and proceeded to do a loop around the lake, with some really nice views of the lake. We had a total of 3 bridge crossings on the lake for this event.  I managed not to fall off any of them into the water; me and bridges have a past history in my running life, lol. After crossing the 3rd bridge on the lake, we then proceeded around a paved trail on the opposite side of the lake we had been on when we started around the lake.  This trail took us back to the campus where we then proceeded back the way we had come out, with the exception of not doing the small out-and-back part on the way to the finish.  I was feeling fairly well and managed to nonstop run just about all of the last mile, so yay, progress! I ended up with a chip time of 41:06, averaging 13:14 per mile and had negative splits too, with the last mile my fastest, yay!  Loved this, as it really does make me feel I am doing pretty well post-cancer treatment (had 15 months of treatment for prostate cancer, finishing in December 2022) and am slowly – VERY slowly, lol – getting back to my old self. Not bad for an old guy with a pacemaker and some side-effect issues from the cancer.

After My Finish:  First thing…get some hydration in me and get a banana, my usual first post-race eatery-thing after I finish a race.  After that, wandered around in the finish area, getting some post-race photos of finishers, vendors, sponsors, etc.  After that, went wandering around looking at all the event booths, tents, and whatever else was going on.  I tend to do a lot of races over the year, as well as posting my reports on my blog, and always wear one of my cancer shirts when I do a race, so as I roamed about, I heard lots of “Scottydog!” call-outs, resulting in several post-race chats and lots of photos taken. This is also a dog-friendly event, so I soon ran out of the dog treats I carry with me when I do a run or a race, and made some more 4-legged friends for life, lol.  The weather really behaved for us too; sunny day, clear skies, with a bit of cloud cover, not too humid, and temps in the upper 50s, low 60s.

Epilogue:  One of my very favorite events.  My friend Liz, the race director, really puts on a good show for this one and arranged for one heck of a really nice after party with all kinds of various goodies from the vendors/sponsors, including Kiolbassa sausage, cold beer, a food truck on site, bottled water, of course, and much more. Very nice quality race shirt and finisher medal for all finishers.  Really nice course.  OLLU also opened its doors to us, so we had actual restrooms too, instead of porta-potties, nice. This one will always be a keeper for me; if anyone else has a race scheduled on the same day, well, sorry, I will be at the OLLU 5K. I very well know that race calendars can get a bit crazy, as the races compete for entrants, and sometimes it happens that two really good events end up on the same day.  I think all the race directors of our local races should have a big annual conference during a time when there are not that many races ongoing – like during the Christmas week for example – and divvy up everything between them, lol, so no double races on race days, lol. Doubt that will happen, though, but we runners can dream, right?    Kudos and thanks to all the people involved that made this one happen for we participants; iaap for the course setup, timing, and results; Race Director Liz and her crew for packet pickup, race day registration, being out on the course at water stops and other places to cheer us on, and much more that they did; all the police officers out there for our safety; all the staff of OLLU for their patience and courtesy in letting us invade their space for several hours; our MC, Anthony Zamora, who did his usual fantastic job; in my opinion he has now elevated himself to being the #1 local area MC for our local races that he does MC duties for;  he is also a pretty talented runner in his own right. Thanks also, of course, to all the sponsors/vendors for this event which could not have happened without their support; our volunteers that cooked up al that Kiolbassa sausage for us; and the post-race beer was pretty good too; and any others involved that I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all, so much! 

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