2021 Race 46 Boerne Family YMCA 5K/10K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/wY9cramhsWJkWXa9A

BEFORE MY START: My 46th race of 2021 was the Boerne Family YMCA 5K and 10K held on November 20 in Boerne, Texas, about a 30 – 40-minute drive from my San Antonio home. There was also a 1-mile walk. This is one of my favorite races of the year.  This was the 10th anniversary of the event, and I have done them all since it first started, so this is one of my streak races.  This year, since I am getting radiation treatment for prostate cancer and had a treatment the day before this event, I was not sure if I would make it or not. Woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty good so I proceeded to Boerne. Start and finish at the town square, a really nice “park-like” area with a Gazebo, restroom facility, and lots of room for everyone.  Mother Nature was pretty nice to us fort this one, giving us a sunny day, no wind, and temps in the low to mid 50s.  A little child for me, lol, I prefer it about 60-and-up, so I wore my race shirt under a long-sleeved shirt and then ditched the long-sleeved one until after the race, so I’d have a dry shirt to put back on. After I arrived my friend, Jada, who had kindly picked up my packet the day before, found me and gave me my race bib.  After that, wandered around getting some pre-start photos and chatting with other participants. Encountered my YMCA volunteer friend Sally who told me this was their biggest year ever, with over 1,000 people registered for the races and the walk, zowie.

ON THE COURSE: The 10K participants started about 5 minutes before the 5K folks.  Then we 5K folks got going.  I thought it was kind of funny, the MC called for the 5K people to line up….and we participants were already half-way around the square, lol. I guess someone forgot to tell him we were already on our way.  Not a relapse on his part, lol. I think he was going by the start time on the ‘official sheet”, and I believe we actually started a little earlier than that time.  The course is a really nice one with wide streets and lots of maneuvering room for all, which was good since this is also a kid-and-dog and wheeled-vechicle (strollers, baby joggers, etc) event. Where I was at any given moment, I never saw anyone being cut off, interfered with, etc. This is a very friendly and ‘neighborly’ event, lots of people encouraging each other, lots of smiles – where I was anyway – and several owners of the residences we passed by were out to cheer us on. I did my usual 8-minute run/2 minute walk break thing and took some photos during my walk breaks. Around Mile 2 one of the dogs I had given a treat to before the start recognized me and the poor guy holding its leash had his arm go out as the dog veered and tried to head toward me, lol. The guy had a good sense of humor about it. I gave the guy a couple of my treats and he laughed and said ok, then, this will keep her next to me. Lol .  I ended up finishing 2nd out of 4 in my 65 – 69 age group, with a chip time of 38:10, averaging 12:17 per mile. One of my friends told me if I didn’t stop to take photos I’d probably do 35 or 36 minutes.  Maybe so, but I enjoy what I’m doing and, really, at my age and with my issues – cancer, pacemaker in my chest, spinal arthritis – I really only have 2 goals for my races: finish standing up and no ambulance specifically waiting for me at the finish, lol.  Goals met! And I thoroughly enjoyed myself, so it’s all good.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Walked back to my car – I’d been lucky to find parking pretty close to the square – and got my dry shirt back on, and stocked up with more treats since there were a lot of doggies at this event. Then back to the square to get some ‘after’ photos, chat with friends and other participants – including the dogs, lol – hand out some more treats and enjoy some of the post-race goodies.  A very enjoyable event, indeed!

Epilogue:  As noted before, one of my favorite events  Race shirt is always a nice quality long-sleeved tee; the course is very good; and the after-party is really nice, with all kinds of offered goodies including a served-up cowboy breakfast; post-race beer – and I think there was even a wine booth – all kinds of other foods, including various pastries and sweets, protein and nutrition bars, coffee, and various vendors giving away lots of souvenir freebies.  This event is definitely a keeper.  If you’ve never done it before, give it a try; you might just become addicted to it.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Boerne YMCA for putting this one one, and all their staff and volunteers that were out that day for we participants; all the sponsors that always help make this one happen for we participants; the police officers and EMTs and all the others who were there for our safety; the City of Boerne for allowing this “live’ event – you could also do it virtually – all those ‘booth” people out there, giving us all those pre-and-post race goodies; and thank to all the residents of the neighborhoods we went through for their patience as we invaded there space for a while; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2021 Race 45 Project Healing Heroes 5K

Photos are here:

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

BEFORE MY START:  My 45th race of 2021 was the Project Healing Heroes 5K on Saturday, Nov 13th in Cibolo, Texas, 8:30 a.m. start time. From the Everyday Fellowship Christian Church.  This event is put on by Project Healing Heroes, which has a mission of helping veterans, service members, first responders, and their families resolve trauma through awareness, resilience, and support.  The organization has qualified counselors who are also veterans and have been through what their clients have, so they have a first-hand knowledge of what their clients are dealing with. Retired Lt Col. David Tharp is the founder and CEO. Race start time of 8:30 a.m.  I almost did not make it to the start since I am “directionally challenged” lol.  I drove right by the start area – duhhhh – and then had to turn around and go back to find the place. I got there at 8:15 a.m.  Thankfully I had picked up my packet the day before, so already had my race bib.  Took a few quick pre-race photos and then it was time to start.

ON THE COURSE:   I was the very last one to cross the start line, as about 2 minutes before the start time, my prostate started acting up – darn prostate cancer! – and I had to make a quick trip to the port-a-potty.  Then back to the start line – everyone else had started – and made sure to go through the timing things at the start to get my chip going. Then I was running on the course and pretty soon caught up to a few people at the back of the back.  I made pretty good progress and passed several people. The course waw out-and-back in through a really nice, and pretty flat streets neighborhood. The only ‘hill’ was just a pretty small incline going up to the turn-round point. I ended up with a finish time of 38:29, averaging 12:25 per mile, and I had negative splits: 12:47, 12:23, 12:22.  I am pretty consistent with my paces, lol, slow-and-slower. I’d had a radiation therapy treatment on Friday, the day before this event, so was happy with the results, and happy that I can even still run.  As this was a small event, age groups were kind of spaced out – mine was males 50-and-up  – so did not get any award, but that’s okay, I usually don’t expect to get one anyway. All good.

AFTER MY FINISH: Got some water and had a nutrition bar and just relaxed a bit.  Then chatted with other participants, watched the awards ceremony – the top 3 in my 50+ males all finished in the 20s – and got a few more photos. This also is a dog-friendly event, so I handed out some treats too.  There were actually quite a few dogs at the event, had to go back to my car and get more treats, lol.  

Epilogue:  First time for me doing this event. Enjoyed doing something ‘new’ for me.  Nice course, lots of friendly people, lots of vendors on site giving away free stuff, such as pens, coozies, etc, and lots of these were veteran support organizations, so lots of resources for families in need.  Local police officers, firefighters and EMTs were at the event too. The Cibolo mayor even ran this event – and placed!  The goodie bag was nice, chock-full of various things – one of my cats took the frisbee as her new toy, lol – and a nice quality race shirt.  A very enjoyable morning.  Definitely would do this event again and would recommend it to others.

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2021 Race 44 Trails Fur Tails 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/aWoDox7D9yZc3h6DA

BEFORE MY START: My 44th race of 2021 was the Trails Fur Tails 5K held on Nov 6 at McAllister Park in San Antonio, with a 9 a.m. start. This event supports AAPAW (Alamo Area Partners for Animal Welfare), an organization to bring animal welfare organizations, veterinarians and the community together in partnership to improve the lives of animals in the San Antonio area. This was a fairly small event, 50 finishers, 21 male and 29 female. I arrived at the park with about 15 minutes to go until start time – fell asleep in my chair at home, lol, and snoozed a bit too long. Got my race bib and then got just a few pre-start photos before we all headed down to the start area.

ON THE COURSE: This was a kind of loop course, starting near the youth baseball field at the park and then proceeding down a paved park road in front of us. We then made circuit on off-road paved trails in the park, passing by the police substation near the park. Crossed the road we had initially come out on, and then did another trail that took us back to the finish. Nicely thought-out course with one water station on it. I ended up third in my 60-99 male age group, finishing in 41:48 and also doing positive splits, mainly because I kept stopping to treat doggies that I met along the way. Also, this being a smaller event, I pretty much ran/walked the back half of the course all alone. Okay with me, I enjoyed myself.

AFTER MY FINISH: Got some water and also enjoyed a post-race breakfast taco from Taco Cabana and a Shipley’s donut. Age group awards to top 3 in each age group so, with a small event, I got a nice little 3rd place medal for my 65-99 age group. My running community acquaintance, Ben, was first with a time of 29:48.

Epilogue: There were several events on this day all over the San Antonino region and a popular half marathon, 10K and 5K being done in Corpus Christi. So this event had a lot of registration competition. If there had been less event competition, I think this one would have been quite popular and gotten a better turn-out. Hint here for the race director: Sunday morning race. Hardly anyone does a Sunday morning race anymore, so probably would have gotten a bigger turnout, like the event I did on Sunday the week before this one. Even so, very nicely put-on event with a good course, quality race tee, and some nice post-race goodies. Also, an event for a good cause. Dog-friendly too. Lots of people had their doggies on the course. I’d do this one again and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO: AAPAW for putting on the event, along with all the volunteers and staff that did the work to make it happen; all the sponsors supporting it; the Park Police officer that was out there for our safety; our music and sound man; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!

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2021 Race 43, Monster Dash 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/LRzcBgJ7uuKn8Z3eA

BEFORE MY START: My 43rd race of 2021 was the Monster Dash 5K, held on Sunday, October 31 at Lady Bird Johnson Park in San Antonio.  Thee was also a 10K, a 1-Miler and a 1-Miler wheel chair event. Race start time of 9:30 a.m., so got to sleep in a bit extra, which was nice, as this was my 2nd 5K of the weekend, after having done one in New Braunfels on Saturday.      This event supports the Now You See Me Foundation, which raises funding for critically injured athletes and spinal cord research. They also help rebuild the lives of cyclists and runners who have suffered traumatic injury. At packet pickup the day before the race, I had the pleasure of meeting founder Monica and her husband, two very inspirational people.  I encourage you to check out the foundation website and read her story; truly amazing. I wear my Never Give Up shirts as personal motivation for myself.  This lady lives Never Give Up every darn day. I live quite close to LBJ Park so arrived on-site with about 40 minutes to race time.  There was a really nice turn-out for this one, parking lots were quite full. 100+ finishers in the 5K and about 45 doing the 10K. Add to that the people doing the wheelchair and walking events, so a very nice turn-out indeed; and lots of supporters and volunteers showed up too.  I found a place to park and then got some pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE: All the distances were basically on the same course, the off-road paved trails in the park, with everyone starting in the parking area near the dog park, doing a loop around a grassy area there and then hitting the trails.  The 5K was a single-time out-and-back, as were the 1-mile events, while the 10K folks did the out-and-back route twice. My legs were feeling Saturday’s 5K – which had a couple of pretty good hills to climb on the course – so I just took it nice and easy, behaved myself and took my walk breaks – I run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes due to my spinal arthritis – and took some oncourse photos during the walk breaks. The course took us out past the Los Patios area, and then to the Loop 410 frontage road, where we made our turn-round and headed back to the finish.  I finished 3rd in my 60 – 69 age group with a chip time of 37:45 and I had negative splits along the way too, nice. I was happy with this result, especially as I am currently undergoing some radiation therapy for prostate cancer, so nice to know I still able to do my run/walk thing. Slower than I used to be, but I’ll take it! My friend Patrick walked the 5K and he averaged 14-minute miles walking, jeez.  Speedy walker!

AFTER MY FINISH:  Got some water and a banana, relaxed a little, and then wandered around chatting with friends and other participants and getting some “happy finisher” photos. Everyone seemed in a pretty good mood and, given what this event is for, there were quite a few inspirational people out there. Makes you really reflect on just how lucky you might be, even if you do have your own issues to deal with. Age group awards to the top overall finisher in each category and overall awards to the top man and woman finisher and the top Master’s man and woman. All finishers did get a finisher medal.  Great weather for it too; sunny, around 60 degrees at start time, low humidity. Felt like Fall was actually here; for a couple days anyway.

Epilogue: Very nicely done event.  Nice venue, nice course, nice quality race shirt, finisher medals for all, and lots of post-race goodies that included a couple types of breakfast tacos, water and Gatorade, a selection of various fruits, and other items. Several vendors there also giving away freebies and there was a raffle drawing for various prizes, including the top prize of a $100 H-E-B gift card.  I got nada, that’s the way my luck goes, so probably a good thing I don’t gamble anymore, lol. There was also a costume contest. This is the first time I’ve done this event. I would definitely do it again and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO: Now You See Me Foundation for this really inspiring event and for all the work they and their volunteers must have put it to get this one done; the park police officers out there for our safety; all the sponsors that supported this one so we participants could have this event; iaap race management for its usual great job of course setup, timing, results, etc.; all the food preparation folks – nice goodies, thanks! – and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!  

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2021 Race 42, Halloween 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/85RP5zzvpSkzesfW7

BEFORE MY START:    My 42nd race of 2021 was the Halloween 5K and Lil Monster 1K put on by race management company Athlete Guild on October 30, 2021.  Start/finish location was in New Braunfels, Texas, on the company property of Rockin’ R, a toobing company business providing toobing access to the nearby Guadalupe River. The 1K for the kids started at 8 a.m., with the 5K starting after the 1K was done. True Autumn weather had come in for a few days, so when I arrived at the race site, it was a chilly 54 degrees – chilly for me anyway, lol; I prefer warm weather. I got my race bib and then wandered around chatting with friends and getting a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE: There were 137 finishers for this event. Lots of the participants did the course in costume. Starting from the Rockin’ R, we proceed off the grounds and onto the road in front of the Rockin’ R building. Up this road for a short bit and then a right turn that took us up a middling-steep  uphill.  After that, the course was flat for a while, as we went underneath a train bridge, and then made a right turn that took us into a really nice neighborhood area. Going through here took us to the other side of the neighborhood where we then had the pleasure of doing what the online course description called a ‘gently rolling hill.”  Right.  This thing made for quite a good climb.  After that, downhill to a turn that took us to the course water stop.  Passing this, we then made a left turn to head up to another fairly steep but mercifully short hill. Once we crested this, the flat road took us back to the road we had started on, and we headed back to the finish in reverse of the way we had come out, so that first hill we climbed was now a downhill on the way to the finish. I ended up with a 37:21 finish, averaging 12:01 per mile, and had negative splits, with my last mile being 11:21, sweet.  I ended up 2nd out of 3 in my males 69-99 age group, in which there were only 3 of us.  Even so, after 9 days so far of radiation therapy for my prostate cancer – 19 more days to go! – I was happy with my results and felt I had run fairly well.  Felt good the whole way.

AFTER MY FINISH: Post-race goodies included various pastries, protein bars, bagels, etc. Enjoyed a post-race bagel and enjoyed post-race chatting with friends and fellow participants, and also getting some post-race photos. I call these the “Happy Finishers” photos since more people seem to be smiling after they are done versus before the start and on the course. A really nice-and-friendly group of participants and supporters at this event.

Epilogue:  I enjoy Athlete Guild events. One of the best local-area race management companies, they always provide really nice quality events. Their staff is great and I am proud to call them friends.  In all the many years I have done Athlete Guild events, they have never disappointed me. This event is really well done and the course – which I’ve done before as it is used for other events too – is really well-thought out, with a couple of ‘challenges” – especially that 2nd hill, lol – along the way.  Nice quality race shirt and a really nice age-group award medal. Definitely would do this one again, and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:   Rockin’ R for the use of the grounds; Athlete Guild for their usual great job; all the sponsors that supported this event so we participants could have it; law enforcement officers out on the road for our safety; all the race volunteers involved; the residents of the neighborhood we went through and the patience of the drivers on the course roads, these roads were open to traffic; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.   Thank you all!

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2021 Race 41 Dia De Los Muertos 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/pSWhWRMQZVBiKg4w7

BEFORE MY START:   My 41st race of 2021 was the Dia de Los Muertos 5K on October 23.  Start time of 5 p.m. at McAllister Park, this evening event is a kind celebrates a kind of ‘memorial holiday’ that honors and remembers deceased family members. Originating in Mexico, this “Day of the Dead” celebration is actually a lot more involved than my simple explanation and is now celebrated in several places around the world. Several participants wore costumes – probably quite warm for them in the San Antonio 77 degree heat at start time –  and there were several unique backdrop items for photo opportunities.  I picked up my race packet a couple of days before the race so when I arrived I was ready to wander around chatting with friends/other participants and get some pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE: The course was kind of a loop course on the park’s off-road paved trails and right before the finish the last part was a  bit of an out-and-back on one of the park roads  – which I always find a bit annoying, lol, because when I hit the end of that last trail, I don’t want to do an out-and-back, I just want to head right for the darn finish line.  Even so, a pretty nicely thought out course, that provided us a lot of shade, which was nice on this warm-and-sunny Texas evening. After having completed my very first week of radiation therapy for my prostate cancer I am currently battling I was not sure how I would do, so I really did not push it much.  I had done training runs during the week of my training and felt good on those, with no adverse reactions, so felt I was ready for this.  Just took it fairly easy, doing my usual walk/run thing, and taking some on-course photos during my walk breaks.  I ended up 4th out of 6 in my age group, with a chip time of 40:01, averaging 12:53 miles.  The 3rd guy in my age group was 30-something and the first 2 finished in the 20s, nice.  I felt pretty good the whole way and enjoyed myself and was just happy I still could run as it was a long first week of treatment for me both psychologically and physically, especially as I am the first appointment of the day for the clinic; happy about that, but that 6:45 a.m. Mon-Fr treatment time means I have to be up way early in the morning to get there on time, lol. Four days done (started on Tuesday), 24 days to go.  I am a BAMC patient and just have to say, my medical team is just GREAT, always patient and caring with me, and getting it done for me with the least discomfort possible.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Happy with my performance, I mildly celebrated with one post-race beer, as I went here-and-there chatting post-race with friends, enjoying the costume contest and the music played by our sound guy,  and getting some post-race photos.  The ‘bride-lady’, who walked the course in full costume, was the costume contest winner.

Epilogue: This event, put on by iaap, one of the best race management companies around, was very well done.  A family business, race director Ceci and her crew did a great job with this event, as they do with every event of theirs I have ever attended. This one was really fun too, and very colorful, with the backdrops, the costumes, etc.  Anthony Zamora, our MC, also did his usual great job, being very entertaining and helping make it fun. I’ve done this one several times in the past and continue do to so in the future as long as I am able.  I most certainly would recommend this one to others. Both runners and walkers welcome, and this is a dog-friendly, stroller friendly, everything-friendly event too.  

MUCHO THANKS TO:   The whole Iniguez family for all the great events they keep providing to we participants year after year; all the sponsors who helped foot the bill so we could all enjoy this event; the park police officers out there for our safety for the 2 park-road crossing we did on the route; our music man; our MC; all the volunteers for this event; Alamo Beer for the post-race adult beverage; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much!

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2021 Race 40, The Purple Run 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/GYKmfq2G1d9dF8Nt9

BEFORE MY START:  My 40th race of 2021 was the Purple Run 5K held on Oct 16 at Our Lady Of the Lake (OLLU) University in San Antonio. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This race supported raising funds for domestic violence awareness. This event, per the race website is “designed for the entire family to run/walk/roll in honor of victims, survivors, and all those who lost lives to domestic violence.”  I chose to do this one in honor of my daughter, Lorrie, who has overcome many personal challenges to become the wonderful, giving person she is today; and for my granddaughter Amrita, who also dealt with many issues.  Race start time of 8 am but was delayed a bit as part of the packet pickup time the day before had to be delayed due to inclement weather in the late afternoon, so there was quite a line for race day packet pickup and registration.  All good. Since I had gone early to get my packet, I was already ready, and so just used the extra time to chat with friends and get some pre-race photos. The inclement weather was definitely gone.  Race day morning was a nice, sunny day, with very low humidity and a sweet temperature of 58 – 61 degrees.  Prior to the start, there was an opening ceremony in which proclamations addressing domestic violence were read; one of our City Council members, who partnered with the Mayor, and one by Governor Abbot, read by one of his staff members.  There were also comments from San Antonio Police Chief McManus and from County Sheriff Salazar.  The San Antonio Police Officers Association was one of the event sponsors.  The 5K began after that at 8:30 a.m.

ON THE COURSE:  This course, for those who have run 5Ks at OLLU just about matched the usual 5K course on the campus.  There was some ongoing construction near the front road of the campus, so we did the start a bit differently by going onto the sidewalk by the street in front of the university, and then turning back onto a campus road. Making our way between some campus buildings, we then went around a traffic circle and followed a road out to a campus gate that put us on a sidewalk along Commerce Street, just for a short bit.  Cutting across the grass, we went down a short grassy hill. This put us onto the trail of the man-made lake.  We went along this for quite a while, getting some nice views of the lake, until we came to the end of the lake and then crossed a bridge to the other side. From here we went onto the paved lake trail on this side of the lake, proceeding to a bridge. Crossing over this bridge, we then turned back toward the campus back to the short grassy hill, going up this time, and proceeding to the finish the way we had come out.  Nicely thought-out course, and slightly different from the usual 5K course. A nice touch along the course:  many signs with names of loved ones affected/lost by domestic violence. There were quite a few, so sad; really makes you think.  This is a dog-friendly and baby-jogger friendly course but felt for the people pushing wheeled vehicles who had to negotiate that short little hill, which was pretty short in distance, but went almost straight up-and-down. Everyone had to kind of be careful of their footing.   I ended up with a chip time of 38:30, averaging 12:25 per mile and ended up in my age group (65-69) 4th out of 7.  I might have done better if I’d kept steadily running during Mile 3, but this was the mile I kept encountering non-participants on the course walking their dogs, so I kept stopping to give each dog a treat, lol, if its human gave me permission. Most of them accepted and thought it was funny I carry dog biscuits when I run, and a couple of them said I “made the day for them” for their morning walk, lol, giving them a laugh. So 4th, what the heck; I had fun.  

AFTER MY FINISH:  Lots of vendors giving various marketing ‘freebies’ and lots of post-race goodies, including several kinds of breakfast tacos.  First though, did a cool-down walk and drank some water while waiting for my pacemaker to take my heartrate down – which did take long at all – and then reported to the medical tent to get my blood-oxygen level taken (96), as my cardiologist wants me to record it once in the morning, once at night, and also after I do a run/race. All good at 96, sweet.  Also, thankfully still not having any major side-effects from my current prostate cancer treatment. Overall, feeling pretty good. With that done, went to enjoy some post-race goodies, chat with friends, and get some after-photos.

Epilogue:  Domestic violence is a very serious concern so this is a serious issue, as we are all aware, especially when you or your loved ones are personally touched by it. Even so, this was a very enjoyable race with a really nice course, wonderful people participating; dog-friendly; lots of pre-and-post race activity, including a kid’s run; a wonderful and scenic race location; pretty nice race shirts that also carry a message; and actual indoor restrooms courtesy of our OLLU staff hosts. I definitely would do this one again and certainly would recommend it to my runner/walker friends.

MUCHO THANKS TO: All the people who made this one happen for we participants – apologies if I miss any here – all our sponsors, OLLU administration for allowing the event to be held here; the police officers out there for our safety; UT-San Antonio Health medical folks who were out there to provide medical assistance if needed; Athlete Guild race management company for the course setup, timing, results, our sound-and-music guy; our race director; and as, noted, anyone I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all!     

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2021 Race 39, Get Your Rear In Gear 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/PpTZTomrxrrPBgiQ6

Before My Start:  On Sunday, October 10, 2021, I participated in the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K at Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio.  This event is put on by the Colon Cancer Coalition and is held in cities across the US on various dates.  Being a survivor, I participate in this one whenever I can.  The was my second 5K of the weekend, afer having done the Battle of Hillotes 5K on Saturday, October 9; a very hilly course, and these were not baby hills either..  Event start time of 8 a.m.   Since I only live about 4 miles from Morgan’s Wonderland, I was able to sleep in a bit, arriving at race site around 7:15 a.m.  I had picked up my race packet the day before, so was able to spend my pre-race time chatting with friends and other participants; attend the opening ceremony for this one; and get a few pre-start photos.

On The Course:  About 100 finishers for this event, plus there was a Kids Run before the 5K started. After the hilly race the day before, this one was thankfully very flat, which my legs appreciated as they were still somewhat feeling all those hills done. We started inside Morgan’s Wonderland, did a loop around the man-made lake in the park and then exited the park to do a kind of out-and-back course that took us by-and-behind Heroes Stadium, an athletic event of Northeast Independent School District. Once we got back into the park, we went around the lake again to finish.  Not much scenery on this course but, as noted, it’s nice and flat.  I felt pretty good and did okay until a little past the halfway point and then my legs were shouting at me to slow the pace a bit, lol, feeling those hills from yesterday’s 5K.  I ended up with a chip time of 38:58, averaging around 12:32 per mile.  Almost 2 minutes slower than my hilly 5K on Saturday, when I was feeling good and pushed myself a bit that morning, so I guess I paid for that with this event. All good though, still managed to enjoy myself, and I did end up 2nd in my 60-69 age group, since there were only 2 in my age group.  The other guy in my age group finished in 24 minutes, zowie!  The weather was okay, cloudy and overcast, and we got ‘spit upon’ by a few raindrops after, but that soon faded.  The cooler weather we had the last few days was gone, however, and it was pretty humid out with the temp already in the 70s at by the 8 a.m. race start time.

After My Finish: First, went and got some water and sat down for a bit and also enjoyed some breakfast tacos that were part of the many goodies available after the race.   No beer though, but that’s okay, I get it.  So, enjoyed just relaxing, rehydrating and the tacos, and chatting with friends.  Then it was off to wander around and chat with other friend and participants and get some post-race photos.  Somehow, I manage to thoroughly enjoy myself at all these events I do.

Epilogue: Very nicely done event. In spite of lack of scenery – except in the park – the course really is nicely thought out and a good one. Very nice opening ceremony with some very moving words from a colon cancer survivor, and a moment of silence for anyone with cancer and lost to cancer.  There was also a group photo taken of all the colon cancer survivors attending.  Post-race goodies were great. There was a choice of about 6 different kinds of breakfast tacos, all kinds of energy/nutrition bars, coffee, water, bananas and other fruit, and I forget what else, but a nice selection. Very nice quality race shirt and very nice age-group medals.  Nice venue too; this is one nice park to just sit and relax in, it is very peaceful.  I have done this race several times in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I would certainly recommend it to others.  Great cause, and a really nice group of organizers, volunteers, and participants.

Mucho Thanks To: All the organizers and volunteers who got everything done so we participants can do this event; Morgan’s Wonderland operators for the use of the park; the police officers there for our safety, and any medical staff that was there; our MC who did a really fine job; and to our speaker at the opening ceremonies; very moving and very wise words; iaap race company for the course set-up, timing, results, etc; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so very much!  See you at the next one!

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2021 Race 38 Battle of Hillotes 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/A5spmNHsGgUEXqcQ7

BEFORE MY START: My 38th race of 2021 was the Battle of Hillotes 5K, held on Oct 9 in Helotes.  This is one of the races in the Alamo Beer Series, a series of 4 events put on by local running company Scallywompus, with Tony Garcia as race director. Participants can sign up for each one individually or sign up for all 4  as a bundle of races and get a nice discount.  For this one, the 3rd in the series, there was a half-marathon, a 10K, and a 5K, with half-marathoners starting first; then the 10K; and then the 5K.  Start/finish line was in a large open field in front of El Chapparal restaurant.  I planned to get there early to get some photos of my friends doing their respective races, but after left home to go to the races, the brain light bulb clicked on and I realized I had left my race bib at home.  Insert here Homer Simpson doing his “DOH!” thing.  So back home to get my bib. When I did get to the race area, the half marathon folks had already started, so I chatted with, and got some photos of, some of the 10K and 5K folks before we all started.

ON THE COURSE:  A noted, started on a field near Chaparral eatery. The ground in front of the start/finish area was paved and then we had to negotiate a short -and-rocky area before getting onto paved roads. 5K and 10K were out-and-back.  Half marathoners did a kind of loop course and then came back the way everyone had gone out, but near a water-stop on the course, we 5K and 10K folks went straight and back to the finish the way we had come out. The half folks turned left to go on a road that had some pretty sizeable hills.  The 5K course had a couple of hills too, but not as many as the participants doing the 10K and 5K. I felt pretty good on the course and ran well and I did manage to do all the hills fairly strongly. Glad I do hill work once a week, that definitely helped. Did my usual run/walk thing and during my walk breaks got a few on-course photos.  The overall winner of the 5K did it in a blazing 18:32, averaging 5-something minute miles.  I was a bit slower, lol – jeez I was not even to mile 2 by his finish time – finishing in 37:23 chip time, averaging 12:02 per mile.  3rd out of 4 guys in my age group. The first guy in my age group did it in 26-something. Anyway, I was pretty happy with my time and how I ran for this one.

AFTER MY FINISH: Scallywompus motto is “Come for the race. Stay for the party.”  They truly mean it too.  DJ playing music for us.  Post-race goodies included Alamo Beer – the sponsor company of this series of races – bloody marys and various other drinks, including water, tea, soda, etc. All kinds of vendors at this event giving away various free stuff. Really nice drinking glasses awarded as age group awards and ‘jugs’ to the overall winners.  Finisher medals for all finishers.  Not sure what the race shirt looks like since I stupidly waited too long before I registered, as I was monitoring myself to see if I would even be able to do it with my ongoing prostate cancer treatment and if I would have any side effects. Well, I was able do it and felt good too; but just will have to wait on the race shirt; which is okay; as many races as I do I have quite a few race shirts, lol.

Epilogue:   Scallywompus events are well-organized and they certainly do try to give you some challenging courses. Builds character, right?  😉 However, they certainly ‘pay’ you for taking the challenge with those great finisher medals, really nice quality race shirts, unique age-group awards, and a great after-party.  Also, their races support good causes, such as Marrow Match, a bone-marrow transplant organization, and other nonprofits.  Definitely worth doing, these events, and I will continue to do so in the future. I certainly would recommend them to others also.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Much thanks to Race Director Tony Garcia;, our great MC Anthony Zamora who did his usual fantastic job for this one; all the volunteers that helped make this one happen; our Music and Sound guy; the First Aid folks out there for us – they had a tent onsite – any police officer out there patrolling for our safety; and, of course, all the sponsors, vendors, and others who helped fund this event and make it happen. Also, shout-out to Chapparal folks for letting us invade their space for a while; and a thank-you to the residents of Helotes for their patience as we invaded their space for a few hours – especially those living along the race routes, as the roads were still open to traffic, so thank you for watching out for us. Apologies if I missed anyone, and thank you also!

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2021 Race 37, Confetti 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/dV7knAksqbgjBhhFA

BEFORE MY START:  My 37th race of 2021 was the Confetti 5K on October 2nd at Our Lady Of The Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.  I don’t remember the exact year this started, but I have done every one of these since it did. Last year it went virtual so I did that too, going out to the university and doing the course on my own. This event supports university scholarships.  Race start time of 9 a.m., with a Kids Run at 8:30 a.m.  Local weather folks had been predicting that It might rain all over us.  Thankfully, the forecast changed on Thursday night when a ‘front’ blew down from the Northern states above Texas and our ‘front’ got blown toward other states.  So race morning turned out very nice, with a bit of cloud cover and sunshine, a very light breeze, cooler temps and lower humidity.  It felt very pleasant out on race morning. I arrived a little before 8 am., with just a tad over an hour to go to start time.  LOTS of entrants at this race, I think it almost sold out, so I saw lots and lots of my running friends and took several photos before start time.

ON THE COURSE:  We started on a road at the front of the university campus.  As we started, a cannon shot confetti into the air, so confetti was raining on us as we got going. We proceeded along a couple of campus roads and then exited the campus out of a back gate, heading to a nearby park that was by the man-made lake there.  We crossed a bridge,  went along the concrete paths by the lake- with some really nice views of the lake – got to the end of one trail, crossed another bridge, and then went along the trails on the other side, Coming to a bridge there, we crossed that, which brought us back to the side we had started on for just a while, then crossed a 4th bridge and went back onto the other side again.  This trail took us back to a main road that took us back to the campus gate we had used to exit the campus. Once back on campus we headed for the finish on pretty much the same route we had started on.  Once we got to the finish, there was a lot of that cannon-shot confetti now all over the road, which did not bother most people. However, me being a klutz at times, lol, I did watch my footing a bit as I went to the finish. I finished 8th out of 16 in my 60 – 69 males age group, chip time of 38:30.  A friend once told me if I did not take photo-stops and just kept going, I’d probably take 3 or 4 minutes off my time.  That sounds like a lot of work where’s the fun in that? 😉  I enjoy doing my photo stops; and my photo-taking walk breaks actually are a necessity since I have spinal arthritis now and my doc firmly told me when it originally flared up, no more non-stop running, take walk breaks or I’d regret it.  I did not believe him and went to prove him wrong at a couple of races…and I regretted it, lol. So now I behave.

AFTER MY FINISH: Walked a bit to cool down, then got a banana and some water and just sat and enjoyed that while my pacemaker brought my heart-rate back down to normal range – normal range for me anyway, lol. Then went to the Aid Tent where a nice nurse took my blood oxygen level (97) – my cardiologist has me keeping a log – so got that out of the way, and then it was time to wander around chatting with friends, enjoying some post-race goodies and the awards ceremony – several of my running friends placed – the entertainment, and taking some ‘after photos.”  Very pleasant time.

Epilogue:   This is one of my very favorite races. Very well organized; really nice course location, and the university does open its doors for us so we have access to indoor restrooms, no porta-potties needed; very well-done laid out course; very nice quality tech tee race shirt; and just one really nice after-party with all kinds of goodies, like Kiolbassa sausage on a stick, beer, water, and various other drinks – there was even a taco food truck on site – all kinds of vendors giving out freebies; a team of dancers that entertained us; and more.  As long as this one keeps on happening, I will keep on doing it as long as I am able.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  My friend Liz Longoria, who is the Race Director for this one, and all her crew of many volunteers out there for us who helped make this all happen; to our MC Anthony Zamora who did a great job for us; and also gave me a public shout-out for doing my photo reports of all the races I do; and encouragement for me as I deal with my current prostate cancer; totally unexpected and also very nice of him, I was touched that he would take the time to do that on this very busy day for him.  Thanks also to all the police officers out there for our safety; the medical staff folks that were on site for us; all the vendors and sponsors there – and thanks to all the sponsors not there either, all the ones who helped make this event happen too; the Our Lady Of The Lake University community who graciously let us invade their space for a few hours; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Finally, of course, all you participants.  No event without your support and willingness to register and come out and do it!  Thank you all so much!        

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