2022 Race 47, Head For The Cure 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/u17qfE8vxieXEmrq7

Before The Start:    My 47th 5K of 2022 was Head For The Cure 5K held in San Antonio on Sep 24th.  This event is held in multiple cities on various dates. Fund raised support medical research for brain cancer and patient programs.  This was the 9th anniversary of the one held in San Antonio, started in memory and honor of local TV station KSAT-13’s news director Jim Boyle, who died of this disease. Start and finish are at historic Providence Catholic School in San Antonio, located near KSAT-13’s studio headquarters.  KSAT’s David Sears, if I remember  correctly, served as our MC for the event. There were something like 8 or 9 total races on this da around the San Antonio-Austin Corridor, so a pretty nice turn out for this one, with 459 finishers. Start time of 8 a.m.  I arrived about an hour before start time, wearing gray shirt – since gray is the ‘ribbon color’ for brain cancer, if you did not know – and got a few pre-start photos and also had a nice time chatting pre-race with friends and other participants.  As a past cancer survivor myself, and currently undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, I try to do as many cancer-related events as I can in support of anyone who is dealing with this disease.

On The Course:  We started in front of an historic building on the school grounds. The course was out-and-back.  We went down a driveway on the school grounds, made a left turn onto St. Mary’s Street, then made a left turn onto another street – I forget the name of the street; Richmond, I think – went down that street, made a left turn on another street that took us back onto St. Mary’s. We then went back to the school and in front of the school on St. Mary’s, we did a turn-around and proceeded back the way we had come out, finishing on the driveway at the school.  I ended up 5th in my 60-69 male age group with a chip time of 40:25, doing my usual run/walk thing and taking photos during my walk breaks.  I also stopped at a café we passed right after the turn-round point to give a dog a treat, lol, which probably did not help my finish time at all.  I did, however, run the majority of Mile 2 – Mile 3 nonstop.  Have not done that in quite a while, since before I started my current prostate cancer treatments, with which I am almost done – my last treatment in November, yay! Nonstop for almost that full mile made me feel like I am truly making progress and will be my old-self again once I get through my treatment and over some of these side-effects from the radiation therapy I had.  My speedy friend, Woody, was first in our age group. When he reached Mile 2, I was probably still at Mile 1, lol.  Woody runs a pretty darn good pace. My VERY speedy friend, Jackie, was first overall female, zowie. 

After My Finish:   Got some water and a banana, which hit the spot, and then got a few photos of some other finishers coming in.  After that, I enjoyed wandering around, chatting with friends, and getting several photos of them and other happy finishers, volunteers, supporters, sponsors, etc., and made some new friends. Also enjoyed some post-race food and drink from some of the vendors there, and there was also a vendor of medical supplies that provided blood pressure reading.  Convenient, as I keep a BP log for my cardiologist – I have a pacemaker, so this fit in nicely for me.

Epilogue:  Very well-organized event, with finisher medal for all finishers, really nice quality race shirt, lots of various post-race goodies, and there was even a food truck on-site. With this crazy warm weather we’re having, would have been nice to have a bit of an earlier start, but probably would not have made that much difference, I guess, since it was already in the 70s at 7 a.m.  The one thing I did not get is no water stop on the course; I was curious about that but never found out why this is. For a 5K, water stops are usually at the halfway point, and since the turn-round was right in front of the school, near the start and finish, don’t see why some water couldn’t be put right there at the turn-round near the cones.  Maybe it was a safety issue or something, who knows. Well, it is what it is, so be it.  I’ve done this one several times in the past and will do it again. I try to do as many cancer-related 5Ks as I can, especially being a cancer survivor myself. I would also recommend this one to others.  Good cause, nice course – really flat course, so good one to try and set a PR if one is inclined to do that.  Mucho thanks to all the people that made this one happen for we participant: all the sponsors, KSAT-13, all the many volunteers, the school for allowing the use of the grounds, all the police officers that were out there for our safety, and anyone else involved not mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2022 5K #46, Zero Prostate Cancer 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/muswX1hxduJDkF5E9

Before The Start:   My 46th 5K of 2022 was the Zero Prostate Cancer 5K held on September 18 at Mission County Park 1 in San Antonio. This event is held at various dates in a variety of cities in the US. With national headquarters in Washington, DC, this event raises funds for prostate cancer research with a goal to find a cure and eradicate prostate cancer altogether. The San Antonio event was an untimed run with no awards, except maybe for the overall winners. I am not sure if all the hosting cities were like that, but probably so, as this allowed all funding to go to the cause, without spending money on medals, awards, etc. There was also a Kids Run at the San Antonio event.  Packet pickup started at 7 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony at 8 a.m, and then at 8:30 a.m, a celebration of all prostate cancer survivors – including me – at this event.  I also served 24 years in the Air Force, so I was additionally celebrating on Sep 18 the 75th anniversary of the Air Force, when it was named a separate service in 1947.  I encountered quite a few veterans at this event, several of them also Air Force.  I arrived around 7:20 or so, got my packet – and all survivors also got a shirt – and then got a few photos before everything started up.  Participants can get a bib to wear “in honor of” a prostate cancer survivor or in memory of someone.  When I arrived, I was very touched to see that a few of my friends had put my name on their bib.  On my honoree bib, I put the name of my survivor friend Bill “Doc” Byrd, former combat medic with the 82nd Airborne – jumping out of planes to treat people, crazy person that he is 😉.  When I was diagnosed, after my wife, he was the first person I talked to about it, and he gave me so much good information about what he had experienced with treatment, side effects, and more, which was so helpful for me.

On The Course:  For those of you in San Antonio who have done races at Mission Park, this was pretty much the usual 5K course. We started in the front parking lot of the park, went down a sidewalk, and then left onto Padre Drive. This took us down to Mission Parkway, where we made a left turn – and climbed a few up-and-down inclines – going out to a turn-round point under a bridge, and then back the way we had come out.  It is a nicely laid-out course with lots of room for everyone to spread out. There is very little shade on this course, however, so with a 9 a.m. start, it was pretty warm out there. Thankfully, the had a good water stop on the course, in case anyone needed it.  I started out with my friend Bill, and we were pretty much in the same proximity for most of the course, doing run/walk.  Bill has way longer legs than I do, lol, so his walking pace is about my running pace, lol. Sometimes he was quite a bit ahead of me and other times I was ahead of him a bit. From Mile 2 to the finish, I was ready to be done – especially with having done another 5K the day before this one – so I cut my walk breaks for that part a little short and ran more.  My finish time ended up being a slow 43:54 per my garmin, averaging 14:02 per mile, but Mile 3 was a negative split, so nice. 

 After My Finish:   I stuck near the finish line area and got some photos of Bill and other friends coming in.  After that, got some water – and my friends Terry and Ed who make PB sandwiches for their post-race “rejuvenation” had kindly made one for me too, how nice – so she gave me that and then I sat in the my car for about 10 minutes, a/c full blast, sipping my Zero Gatorade and eating that sandwich – hit the spot too! Ahhh, felt much cooled-down and refreshed after that. Back to the race area and got some more photos of volunteers, friends, other participants, and even a dog. Yes, dog friendly event. The park’s large pavilion had all kinds of vendors/sponsors with goodies, freebie handouts, and so forth, and a nice cross-wind was blowing in there, so felt pretty good.  There was also a DJ there for us, and one of the race organizers and a volunteer were announcing some of the finish times of the faster folks. I wanted to get a photo of them, so I just walked right out onto the big stage, much to the amusement of several of my friends on the pavilion floor, lol; hey, I’m not shy – and the DJ and 2 presenters kindly accommodated me, lol. After that, just enjoyed relaxing post-run, chatting with friends, volunteers, sponsors, vendors, etc., and having some goodies – there were breakfast tacos, nutrition bars, and other items, and, of course, keeping my camera busy, until it was finally time to go.

Epilogue:  Very well-organized event – although I would personally like to see an earlier start time; but the time may have something to do with what time the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Dept. allows the park gates to be open, so beyond the control of the organizers.  Very good facility with plenty of room for everyone; two pavilions, actual indoor restroom facilities – beats portapotties, lol – and even a playground area for the kids. Very nice quality event shirt for the survivors, and a really nice event photo backdrop for photo ops.  Local race management and running training program company iaapweb did their usual great job of course setup, etc. All the local race organizers and volunteers for this one were tremendous, very helpful and willing. DJ playing some nice tunes for us. Prior to the start, a young lady beautifully sang The National Anthem.    I have regularly done this event many times and will continue to do so. I certainly would recommend it to others. Mucho thanks to all the people making this one happen for we participants; all the organizers, volunteers, sponsors; the local police officers at this event for our safety; our music-and-sound guy; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2022 Race 45, Veronica’s Journey 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y4ZJZcXDqAmZHCXR9

Before The Start:  My 45th race of 2022 was the Veronica’s Journey 5K, held on September 17 at South Lions Park East Side in San Antonio.  Veronica was a young child who died of brain cancer when she was just over 2 years old, so sad. In her memory, her parents helped establish the Veronica Nicole Finnie Endowment at the Catholic Charities Association of San Antonio, which supports Veronica’s Botique at The Guadalupe Community Center (GCC). GCC provides to those in-need free material assistance with such things as baby formula, diapers, wipes, etc. The event also supports Gabriella’s Smile Foundation, a local children’s cancer support organization. The 5K had 102 finishers.  There was also a Kid’s Run, about ½ mile, before the start of the event. Considering on this weekend, there were about 10 other races in-and-around the local area, not a bad turnout. Kid’s Run started around 8 a.m, with the 5K getting started at 8:30 a.m.  Mother Nature has not let up yet on completely ending Texas summer, so it was pretty humid with a start temp near 79 degrees, and the dew-point way up. After the kid’s run, there was an opening prayer and then the playing of the National Anthem by some very talented school band members. We then all lined up – me way in the back where I belonged at my pace, lol – and got going.

On The Course: Out-and-back course on the park’s paved trails, with some nice views at times of the park’s man-made lake. For those familiar with the park, we started near the main pavilion of the park, went along a paved trail, and then crossed one of the park roads. We then passed the first water station – about 0.6 on the course – went over a wooden bridge, and then climbed up a winding paved trail.  The ascent was more long than steep. We eventually flattened out, came to the 2nd water stop – what, no beer?  😉 just kidding – and then went down a hill, traveled underneath an overpass, and down another hill.  After crossing another bridge, we then turned onto an asphalt trail that took us to our turn-round point. I recognized this trail from having done out-and-back races on the trails of Comanche Park, which is where we would have ended up if we had continued on. After making the turn-round, we proceeded back to the finish the way we had come out, with that long winding incline now being a downhill for us. Once back on the lake trail it was pretty flat back to the finish line. I ended up with positive splits – as usual for me right now with this prostate cancer I am dealing with – ending up with a chip time of 43:05 (gun time 43:28) and somehow managed to finish 3rd in my 60-69 males age group. I also met my two primary race goals:  finish standing up, and no ambulance waiting specifically for me.  😉

 After My Finish:  First thing, a short cool-down walk for a little bit; sometimes I have a bad habit of just stopping after I cross the finish line and then, of course, the blood rushes from my head downward and I get a bit dizzy – which makes my pacemaker think I am having an issue and it starts zapping me.  You’d think after being a runner for 39 years (I started April 15, 1983, in Turkey, during my Air Force days) I would know better, lol. Well, no issues today.  Got some hydration back into me, ate a small protein bar, and felt much recovered.  Then it was off to chat with other participants – several of whom I personally knew – and get some post-race photos.   There was also a very nicely done awards ceremony with awards to the overall finishers, and age-group awards to the Top 3 finishers in each age group, very nice. I really was surprised when I found out I was 3rd in my ag group, totally unexpected, but appreciated. 

Epilogue:   This is the first time I’ve done this event but certainly will not be the last.  It was really well-done and everything went off just as it was supposed to, which says a lot about the organizers, iaapweb who did the course setup, timing, and results, and all those many volunteers out there for we participants. Kudos to them all. Thanks to much to Veronica’s parents who got this event started, and to all the people that helped them get it done. A very worthwhile cause. Nice touch that there was also a food truck on site with breakfast tacos, water, coffee – my coffee-guzzler friend Woody would have been so happy at this one, lol – and other items too. Very nice course, set up by my friends of iaap, and the age group awards were really awesome, especially for a smaller event. Some of the larger-done events in the area could learn a thing or two from this group. Really nice quality race shirt too. I definitely would do this one again and would recommend it to others.  It is such a great cause; so I hope this one grows in the future. Mucho thanks to all involved that made this one happen for we participants; all the sponsors, volunteers, Catholic Charities and Gabriella’s Smile Foundation, the police officer out there for our safety – very nice guy, I briefly chatted with him – iaap web folks, all the band member kids, Mr. and Mrs. Finnie especially, and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much!

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2022 Race 44, CBC 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Z5ynpjhJcSaMzA9Y8

Before The Start: My 44th race of 2022 was the CBC (Community Bible Church) 5K held on Saturday, Sep 10, starting and finishing at the CBC campus, which is a huge place. This event raised fund for Child Advocates San Antonio (CASA) and the Harlandale Alumni Basketball Fund Scholarship. Lots of CBC members were volunteers, course marshals, etc.  Start time of 8 a.m. I arrived about 6:45. Even though it was early, the place was already humming, with lots of volunteers setting things up, doing race day registration and packet pickup and sponsors/vendors also getting their areas set up.  There was also a firefighter truck with crane, that was there flying Old Glory. There were quite a few flags posted around the area too, flying at half-staff, in remembrance of the late Queen Elizabeth. Events included a 1-mile walk, the 5K, and a 5K ‘ruck’ , in which participants carried a pack as they went along the course.  Split Second Productions, affiliated with the great local running store iRun Texas, did the course setup and the timing and results for this one. I had pre-registered and already picked up my race packet a few days before race day, so when I arrived on site I got a few “before the start” photos.

On The Course: Challenging, but well thought-out and well laid out.  I suspect my friend Mitch from iRun had a hand in this, lol, giving us not one hill to climb, but two. We started in one of the campus parking lots and then proceeded to make almost a full loop around the CBC building.  This brought us onto one of the CBC ‘access roads’ for entry and exit from the CBC campus. As we passed an intersection road on the campus, the Mile 1 participants went left to do a 2nd loop around the building.  5K folks went straight, coming to our first hill, a road that led up to East Sonterra Blvd.  After reaching the top of the hill, we turned right onto East Sonterra and went to Ridgewood Parkway, which was a loooooong downhill on the way to the turn-round. This took us to Dry Creek Way, where we made a right and then proceeded to the turn-round – which was 1.7 miles, not 1.6.  I thought maybe my Garmin was off, but 2 other folks there who also had garmins told me no, they had 1.7 also.  Darn Mitch, giving us “extra course”.  He really does like to challenge us, lol. All good though.  After the turn-round, we went back to the finish the way we had come out, for the most part. Of course, this meant that long downhill on Ridgewood Parkway was a long uphill on the way back.  East Sonterra was flat going back to the campus, and then we went downhill on the campus access road. To finish up, we made a a right turn onto an access road that goes in front of the CBC Building, and then made a right turn to head to the finish line, with 3.4 miles done.  Per my garmin, I ended up with a finish time of 44:14 chip time, 16 in my age group. I actually had positive splits, with Mile 1 being my fastest and Mile 3 my slowest. I am no speedster, lol, and I met my two primary race goals:  Finish Standing Up and No Ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish.  Good goals, lol, especially as I am being treated right now for prostate cancer, and am doing very well too, thank the Lord – and thanks to my lovely wife too, my #1 support crew person who helps me keep focused.

 After My Finish: First thing: water and a banana!  Sat at one of the picnic tables in the recreation area of the campus, drank my water, ate my banana, and just rested a bit.  After that, I enjoyed walking around the finish are chatting with friends of mine who were there, and also other participants, volunteers, etc, and got a few post-race photos. I think I was one of the very last people to finally leave, but it’s all good, I enjoy the post-race activities.

Epilogue:   This is the first time I’ve done this event but certainly will not be the last.  This is really a well-thought-out event with a very good route – challenging, as noted before, but with lots of room for everyone to maneuver around.  The course marshals and course volunteers were all awesome, cheering everyone on, providing water/Gatorade – what, no beer? 😉  just kidding – at 2 water stops on the course, ringing bells, showing funny signs and so forth. Mitch and the iRun crew did their usual awesome job with course setup, timing, results, etc. The two MCs – I talked to them for a bit – were lots of fun.  Pretty nice quality race shirt and nice medals for the age-group placers – not me, at my pace, lol.    All kinds of vendors and sponsors with a whole lot of different services and some free give-away stuff. Kid friendly event too.  Some of those kids run really fast too, a lot of them left me in their dust, lol.  This is most definitely an event I will do again and would recommend to others.  Thanks to CBC for putting on this event; Split Second Productions/iRun Texas for their usual great job; all those many many many volunteers that had to be out there WAY early, I am sure, to get everything ready; the San Antono Police Honor Guard for the presentation of the colors, and the lady who so beautifully sang The National Anthem; our two MCs; the medical staff people that were there for us; the police officers along the course for our safety – I chatted briefly with one of them on the course; as you can tell from that, I am really concerned about what my finish time will be; not! lol – and of course all the sponsors that made this one happen for we participants.  Apologies if I missed anyone.  Thank you all! See you next year, God willing.

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2022, Race 43, Boerne Rotary 5K for Labor Day

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ortEe3VocxccVVGw8

Before The Start:   My 43rd race of 2022 was the Boerne Sunrise Rotary 5K for Labor Day held on August 3 at Boerne City Park with an 8 a.m. start time. The Boerne Rotary chapter raises funds for a variety of causes in the local area. I’ve been to Boerne several times but never to this park.  There is some ongoing construction on some of the Boerne roads so my directionally-challenged-self missed a turn or two and it took me a while to find this park.  Finally did arrive with plenty of time to spare – good think I got an early start from home – got my packet and then got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course:  There was a kid’s run that was done before the main event, a ½ mile distance if I remember correctly.  Then we lined up for the 5K.  One of the race directors noted to us that the timing for this one was ‘old school’:  no chip timing, just a simple time clock in the start/finish area. As a participant came to the finish/he she noted the clock time and gave the finish time to one of the volunteers who wrote it down. Made me think of my early running days when I was just starting. Yes, I am older than dirt, lol.  The course was out-and-back.  We started near the park’s tennis courts, then went out onto a concrete Trail called “Old No. 9 Trail” which is about 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back – but not quite, so that is why we initially started back from the time clock a bit, by the tennis courts, to make sure we got in 3.1 miles. The course is a mostly flat concrete one, with just a couple of small inclines and a few bridges to cross with some metal on it that sure makes a racket when you cross those. The trail runs adjacent to some of the Cibolo Natural Trails that were on our right going out, on our left coming back.  There were a few people out there hiking on the trail and also some walking their dogs, so I diverted once in a while down to the trail to give a dog a treat – yes I carry dog biscuits with me when I run – and then get back on the course at the same spot I got off it.  Killed my finish time, of course, lol, but what the heck, I had fun.  Our turn-around point was a dead-end small circle area where there was a course marshal ut there for us.  I don’t wear my glasses when I run so with my near-sighted eyes I can see in front of me far enough not to fall over something but I can’t see distance. When I approached the turn-round and I was still a bit away from it, I could just barely see what I thought was a white shirt on a post, so thought that must be our turn-around marker.  Then when I got there, I saw it was an actual guy wearing a white shirt.  Lol. Ok, turn around now, and back the way I had come, with a couple more dog-treat stops.  My Garmin time was 43:11, averaging 14-something minute miles, my clock time was a minute or so longer than that.

After My Finish: Walked around a bit sipping some water, ate a banana, and then got some post-race photos.  The event gave out overall and 1st, 2nd, and third age groups in 5-year increments, nice, so for this one I was not in a 55-99 age group, lol, like some of the bigger events have.   Overall male and female and master’s male and female got medals too.  I was 2nd in my 65-69 males age group. Epilogue:  This was my first time doing this event.  There were maybe about 50 to 60 participants, plus the Kid Run participants. Small event but very well done at really nice venue with indoor restrooms, water fountains, picnic tables, tennis courts and soccer fields.  Since this park is adjacent to the Cibolo nature area, between the park trail and the nature area trails, you could probably get in a really nice long run if you are so inclined. When I was leaving I noticed there was also some kind of carnival area across the street – rides, booths, etc – so I guess you could make a day of it after the event with your family, friends, etc. Post-race goodies were water, bananas, and a few other things, very simply done.  As noted, ‘old school’ running race, but very enjoyable.  I’d do this one again and I would recommend it to others. 

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2022 Race 42, Uvalde Strong 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/hWBJKDBALXeW7sAW8

Before The Start:  My 42nd race of 2022 was the Uvalde Strong 5K held on Sep 28 in San Antonio at South Side Lions Park East in San Antonio.  This event was a fundraiser for the victims and families of the tragic elementary school shooting In Uvalde, Texas.  There were no awards of medals, as all proceeds went for the cause, but the Overall male and female finisher did get a free race entry to a future race, if I remember correctly. There was also a 1 mile walk or run, held right before the start of the 5K.  Start time of 8 a.m.  This event ended up getting over 300 registrations. The original course was to be 3 loops around the 1.1 mile trail by the lake, but with all those registrations, iaap, the company managing the race, thankfully changed it to an out-and-back course on the park trails, thinking of the safety of the participants. As it turned out, the 5k ended up with 195 finishers, which is still quite a few people that would have had to go around the narrow lake trail.  I arrived onsite with about an hour to go to start time, found some fairly good parking close to the start-finish, and then wandered around chatting with friends and other participants and getting a few photos.  This is also a dog friendly event, so the doggies were very happy to take treats from me – with the permission of their humans, of course.  Before we started, we had a moment of silence for the victims and then a young person sang the National Anthem just beautifully.  The 1-mile event then took place and then the 5K started after that, with a bit of a short delay, as we waited for all the 1-milers to get done.  No big deal.

On The Course: We did a short route on part of the trail that goes around the park lake – about just under a half-mile – and then crossed over one of the park roads to get to a trail on the other side. This trail, if you stay on it long enough, eventually connects with Comanche Park, but we did not go that far, thank goodness. It was pretty warm – 81 degrees at start time – and humid, but this particular trail did have a lot of shade along the way. We crossed over a pedestrian bridge, then proceed up a winding incline – not too steep, but still a climb – and then the trail became flat for a while. We eventually came to a downhill, went under an overpass, then down another hill; after going around a bend, we had another short climb to the turn-round point that had a hydration stop with water and Gatorade.  After doing the turn-round, we proceeded back the way we had come out, to get to the finish line. Although there were no age group awards, iaap kindly listed the results by age groups. I was really slow today – taking it easy after having done a 3.2 mile run/walk the day before this event and my outing including climbing Gorilla Hill, a fairly steep hill near the San Antonio Zoo So I goofed around on this one, stopping to take a few more photos; run with some friends, give some dogs a treat, and so forth. For this event I was 11th out of 13 people in my 60-69 age group, finishing with a chip time of 44:04, averaging 14:23 per mile. All good, and I met my two primary race goals: finish standing up and have no ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish.

After My Finish: I got a bit dizzy right after I finished, but I think that was because I stupidly did not hydrate enough before the start – you’d think I’d know better by now,, lol, being a runner for 39 years – so first thing I did was go back to my car and sat in that with the a/c running as I sipped some Gatorade Zero I had brought with me. Felt better after that.  Next it was off to get some post-run photos.  My friend Ed came along with a handful of bananas and let me have one and that hit the spot too, very helpful.  I also made sure to sip my bottle of water regularly as I went along; it really was humid out there.  All kinds of things going on post-race; there was a group photo of finishers; volunteers were also cooking up sausage wraps; selling event shirts, and more, with all the proceeds going toward the cause. There were also some free post-race nutrition bars, and a few other goodies, and plenty of cold bottled water.  I think they also had coffee too. Did not see any beer, but they might have had that too somewhere.

Epilogue:  Very nice turnout for this event and, if I remember correctly over $5K was raised for the cause.  Very sad that this tragic event even happened. My heart goes out to all the families of the victims. Our running/walking community really came together for this one.  I don’t know if they will make this an annual memorial event but if so, I would do this one again and would recommend it.  I think you can also do It virtually and/or simply just donate to the cause on the race website.   Pretty nice quality race shirt with a very simple design that gets the message across, and chip timing bibs for the event too, so you can get your posted results.  Nice park to run in, but if this event grows in the future, might have to be moved to a bigger park – like Comanche park, which has a whole lot more parking space, bigger pavilions, etc.  I’m sure the organizers will figure it out.  Good event for a good cause, well worth doing.     

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2022 Race 41, Remember The Alamo Beer 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/4twqFLL6aSr9E3CT7

Before The Start: My 41st race of 2022 was the Remember The Alamo Beer 5K held on August 6 at The Den in La Vernia, Texas.  The main event was a half-marathon and half-marathon relay and there was also a 10K. This race is part of The Alamo Beer Series put on by top-notch racing company Scallywompus, with sign up available for all 4 races with a nice discount, or one can sign up for each individually. The series is an 18-week long building up for people training for half and full marathons. The events started progressively, with the half and half relay beginning at 6:30 a.m., the 10K at 7:15 a.m., and the 5K at 7:55 a.m.  I had a few issues on race morning (my annoying cancer), so started out a bit later than I had planned but arrived in time to see some of the 10K folks heading out onto their route. The half folks were long gone. Thankfully I had picked up my packet the day before, so was able to get a few photos before the 5K start.

On The Course: 5K started right on time. Scallywompus is pretty good about this, very prompt with their events getting started when posted, unless there is some reason for a delay beyond their control, like a medical emergency or something like that.  Mother Nature continued her Texas Baking Session, with a temp already in the high 70s by the time we 5K folks started.  I have not run this course in a while, so found out the route had changed since I had last done it.  A much better change, too, well thought out, and very superior to the previous 5K course. The old 5K course was more of an out-and-back, but this one was more of a loop course – my personal favorite type of course – with lots of room for everyone.  Course was done on paved asphalt, with accessibility to nearby sidewalks too. Any traffic near the course was pretty light, and the drivers I encountered at any given point were all pretty polite about us being out there.  I did my usual run/walk thing, taking photos during my walk breaks, and going pretty much way slower than I normally go (stupid cancer), but all good, just happy I was still able to be there. I ended up with positive splits – which I expected – finishing 5th out of 8 in my 65-69 males age group, with a chip time of 42:48.  

After My Finish: One funny thing, lol; got my finisher medal and put it around my neck and was walking around chatting with other finishers when our MC and my friend Anthony, announced only a very few minutes after I finished about the medals that they were magnetic. Uh oh, and here I was wearing mine right near my pacemaker. People with pacemakers should not have magnets near their pacemaker, as magnets make the pacemaker slow your heart-rate down. This was drilled into me by my doc after I got my pacemaker implant. So I quickly found a couple who had a stroller -the guy pushing his child and the kid in the stroller each got a medal – so I donated my medal to “Mom’ so each member of the family could have one. I also told Anthony about this, since I have a few other runner friends with pacemakers, and he kindly made an announcement about that, so thank you Anthony. I was not upset about the magnet thing, I thought it was kind of funny, and told one of my friends, now I have a really good excuse for being so tired post-race, lol.  I did get a few munchies, but had to behave myself – no beer, no sausage, etc – as I have a procedure coming up on Tuesday and the prep for it is the same as a colonoscopy, so am on a limited diet until after that.  Too bad, because Scallywompus throws one heck of an after-party and it included Alamo Beer, sausage wraps, and more.  Our host company, The Den, also has a fantastic breakfast menu, so I missed out on that too. However, it is what it is, so just had to deal with it.

Epilogue: Very well-done event, as all the Scallywompus events are.  And they are not kidding with their motto “Come for the race. Stay for the party.” They throw one heck of an after-party. All kinds of goodies, including various fruits and veggies, bloody mary’s, the mentioned sausage wraps, and more.  There was also a self-serve photo booth thing; and the staff of The Den, bless them, served up the beer and more. I chatted with the manager, Jennifer – who I found out is also a cancer survivor; God bless all we survivors – and thanked her profusely for some personal assistance she had given me. Very nice lady, with a great sense of humor.   Very nicely designed finisher medal – even though I can’t have one; joking, Bart and Tony, joking, no big deal – and very nice quality race shirt.  Scallywompus events are very popular, so got to see lots of friends at this one, both human and canine. Yes, these are dog-friendly events. They let me in, didn’t they?  Mucho thanks to all who had a part in getting this one done for we participants: all the many sponsors, volunteers, all the staff of The Den; officials and people of La Vernia for allowing this event to be on their turf; any police officers out there for us; Race Direct Tony and MC Anthony, who did their usual great jobs; and, although I missed it by arriving too late, I assume there was a Color Guard for The National Anthem, which is usually done for all Scallywompus events, so thanks to those folks too; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  If you have never done a Scallywompus event, you are missing out. Give it a try!      

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2022 Race 40, Freedom 5K, 7/30

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/M2s7iYotNcbWSWC7A

Before The Start: My 40th  5K race of 2022 was the JBSA Fort Sam Houston Freedom 5K hosted by the Jimmy Brought Fitness Center.  This is a free event for DoD ID card holders. Start time of 0700., with show-and-register time between 0630 and 0700. I arrived just before 0630 and got signed up.  Nice that we could use the fitness center facilities – indoor restrooms, which this old dog was grateful for.  The running pack was pretty small – we had maybe 40 people or so, if that many.  This event is also dog-friendly and stroller friendly, so I did give away a couple of treats – to the dogs, not to the stroller kids, although one kid wanted to try one, lol.  I got just a couple of photos before the start, and then we were off.

On The Course:  The course was on some of the paved roads on the post.  We started in the parking lot behind the base post-office, which is right behind the fitness center.  Out of the parking lot we made a left turn, went to a nearby intersection and then straight across Wilson Street.  This put us into an area near the Fort Sam family housing area that is near the fitness center. We went up an incline on Hill Street – with the housing area on our left – then turned right onto New Braunfels Ave.  This took us behind part of the historic part of Old Fort Sam – which Is a museum now – and then back to Wilson Ave.  Left on Wilson Ave., and then another left turn as we headed to the post Quadrangle area, going in front of the other side of the museum. Around the Quad we went – some really nice family housing in this area – and then turned left onto Stanley Road. Down an incline – the mapper of this course really likes hills, lol –  then across Wilson Street,  staying on Stanley – and up yet another long incline. After peaking the incline we stayed on Stanley Road, going past a large parking lot and the Boy Scout area on our left and then passing in front of the base Post Office.  Right turn into a parking lot area past the Post Office, then a small route that took us to the parking lot where we had started. Whew!  I pretty much just took it really easy for this one, stopping on the course to get some photos, chat with some of the volunteers and even treated another dog I saw walking his human. My Garmin showed the distance as 3.2.  I finished in 43:54, averaging 13:44 per mile, with positive splits, and lots of fun.

After My Finish:  Did a short cool-down walk and then chatted with some of the other participants and got a few photos. Post-race goodies included a few nutrition bars, and some other small items and also 3 kinds of water, which was interesting. They were pitchers of water with the first one have cucumbers in it; the second one had apples in the water; and the third one had lemons.  I liked the lemon water best. The volunteers were taking a survey to see which water was liked best, so when you told them which one, they dropped a piece of paper into a small box by the water pitcher to get the count about which one would be most popular. I never did find out, but I’m guessing the lemon water, it was really good.

Epilogue:  A very nicely done event with a 7 a.m. start time – reminded me of my friend Erik’s events that he puts on – so although it was warm, it was not too warm.  Also, with several buildings and trees along the way, there were quite a few shady areas.  Nice that it was at the fitness center too because after the finish I then was able to take a shower and change into dry clothes, so did not have to drive home all sweaty and funky.       This is a fun event with a well-thought-out course – in spite of all those up inclines, lol – and lots of nice people participating. Definitely good camaraderie at this event, especially as we are all somehow military-related. I would definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others.  The next free event like this will be the Superhero 5K on August 27; costumes encouraged.    

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2022 Race 39 Winter in July 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/kS8s5mMifRegfJR8A

Before The Start:   My 39th race of 2022 was the Winter In July 5K, held on July 23 at Martin Luther King Park in San Antonio.  This event featured a 10 miler, a 10K, a 5K, and a Kid’s Run. Start time of 7 a.m. for the 10-miliers, followed by a 7:30 a.m. start for the 10K and 5K.  Early start time appreciated as Texas has been having one heck of a heat-wave this summer; we’ve already had over 30 days this Spring and Summer where the temp has been over 100 degrees for the high.  I do this event a lot, not only because my friend Rebecca puts this one on but lso because is raises funds for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN.  Back in my Air Force days when I was stationed near Memphis I did some part-time volunteering with St. Jude’s; some of the most courageous kids I’ve ever seen. These days, being treated now for my own prostate cancer, when I get a bit frustrated with it, all I have to do is think of those kids to get myself remotivated to keep carrying on.  I had picked up my packet the day before so when I arrived at the course site with just under an hour to go I had plenty of time to chat with friends and other participants and get a few pre-start photos.

On The Course: All the courses were out-and-back. The 10-milers were already on their course as we 5K and 10K participants lined up for our start. Temp was around 75 degrees already. One nice think about MLK Park is the trails are pretty flat and there is a lot of shade along the way. It’s a very nice park in which to run, walk, or bike. At my slow pace, I lined up way in the back where I belonged.  I did my usual 8-min run/2 min walk pacing, taking some on-course photos during my walk breaks.  Even before I neared the 5K turn-around some of the speedier 10K and 5K leaders were already heading to the finish; some of those folks are really speedy!  I just took it easy, enjoying myself and interacting with other participants on the course, and with one of the water-stop crews on the course. A very pleasant outing. I was 5th out of the 7 men in my 60-69 male age group with a chip time of 41:28, averaging 13:27 per mile, and met my two primary goals:  finish standing up, and no ambulance waiting for me at the finish.

After My Finish:  Did a cool-down walk back to my vehicle, then sat in it for about 10 minutes with the a/c one while I sipped my electrolyte water and munched on a protein bar.  Ahhh, much better. Then it was back to the race area to partake of some post-race goodies – including one Shiner beer, very nice – and enjoyed chatting with friends and getting some post-race photos; what I call my ‘Happy Finishers” photos, lol, because people are smiling a lot more after they finish than before the start and on the course. There were some really nice post-race goodies too; the beer, various fruits, lots of water and a few other types of nonalcoholic drinks, Kiolbassa sausage wraps, and some of the vendors had a few goodies too like nutrition bars and various snacks. Wolfpack Running, a local running group, also had some really nice running shirts/singlets for sale too.

Epilogue:  This is a very-well done event started by Race Director Rebecca, with timing done by local top-notch race management company iaap and help from e-Dragon Productions, another top-notch local race company. Great job done by them and our music/sound man Paul; our MC Tony, and the professional photographers on the course whose photos I am sure are a lot better than mine, lol.  Thank you all for what you do so we participants can have this event. Also thanks to Burleson Beer Garden managers for allowing the pre-race day packet pickup to be held there. Nice quality race shirt, and a finisher medal to all finishers; a really nicely designed finisher medal.  Mucho thanks to all the many volunteers, sponsors, vendors, all the people mentioned above, and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. I try to do this one every year and will continue to do so.  I’d certainly recommend it to others.    

       

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2022 Race 38, BryceStrong 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/2G37vvvuqiCw49h39

Before The Start:  My 38th race of 2022 was the Walk, Run, Have Fun BryceStrong 5K held on July 16 at the D. W. Rutledge Stadium in Converse, Texas. Put on by the Bryce Strong Foundation, this event is named for Bryce Wisdom, a young man and former Judson football player, who sadly died of kidney cancer at age 17.  He fought courageously and really touched the hearts of several people during his battle. Being a UTSA staff member, I knew of Bryce from his association with his brother, Rashad, a member of the UTSA football team. I also had the pleasure at packet pick-up of meeting Bryce’s oldest brother, Sean, a really great guy, and ended up staying at the pickup for a while as we chatted.    The stadium is an athletics/events facility of Judson Independent School District.  Nice early start time of 7:30 a.m.  Weather actually cooperated for us a bit and was a little cooler on this race-day than a few previous races I’ve done this year during a very very hot Texas spring and summer – we’ve already had over 35 days this season where the temp has been 100+.  I had picked up my packet the day before so after arriving, I wandered here-and-there chatting with other participants and getting a few pre-start photos, including one with my new friend, Sean.

On The Course: Start/finish was on school grounds, just outside one of the stadium access gates.  This was the 2nd year of the event. Considering, this was on the same day as the very popular San Antonio Road Runners women’s 5K and 10K, a pretty nice turn-out with 102 finishers.   Our route took us out to the front parking lot of the stadium,, then to the side parking lot, and then we proceeded on sidewalk off the stadium grounds.  We went up a long incline, then into another parking lot, circling around another building – which I think was a school property building, but not sure of that – and then back down the sidewalk the way we’d come out. Right turn back onto school grounds, putting us behind the stadium. This road took us to the course water-station and the halfway mark.  After passing the district buses parking lot, we went down another road that brought us to the soccer fields. This part of the course was natural grass, as we wound around the fields, which brought us back to a concrete walkway that took us back to the stadium.  We then entered a stadium gate to do one loop around the stadium track that surrounded the football field– really nice track, by the way – and then we took an exit gate – which was where the 3-mile marker was – and that put us back onto the stadium parking lot for the last short bit to the finish.  I was first in my 51 – 77 age group with a chip time of 41:49. I think all the others in my age group were walkers.

After My Finish:  Did a short cool-down walkabout and then went around chatting with other participants and friends and event supporters and got a few after-my-finish photos, including some of others coming into the finish.  My friends from Athlete Guild did the course setup, timing, and results.  It was nice to see them on this race day.

Epilogue: This is a smaller event right now – hopefully it will grow in the future – and very well done.  Easily accessible packet pick -up area and race area with plenty of parking for both – the stadium grounds are really large, which makes sense as Judson ISD is the 4th largest school district in Bexar County. The course was well thought-out, with both route and the safety of participants in mind. Really nice quality tech-tee race shirt. Lots of parking and great facilities with the use of the stadium – indoor restrooms, yay! I will definitely do this one again and certainly would recommend it to others. As a cancer survivor myself, and someone who is currently fighting a bout of cancer, I sure hope this one does grow.  It is a very worthy cause and the foundation makes a real effort to help those in need. Sean was telling me after the race about some of the things the foundation does to help people and it really is amazing how they try to connect and reach out to people in need. Give this one a try, I bet you will not regret it. Much thanks to all those who were involved in giving we participants this event; all the volunteers, Judson ISD authorities, Athlete Guild race management company, and of course, all the many sponsors; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Also a huge thanks to the Wisdom family and the Foundation-associated people who founded this event.  My heart goes out to the Wisdom family for their loss and my admiration goes out to them for turning this sad happening into something positive to help others. I bet Bryce in Heaven was right here along with us in spirit, cheering us all on.  Thank you all!           

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