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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2021 Race 36, SNIPSA 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/EhQwA9GQZtetwmyx6

BEFORE MY START: My 36th race of 2021 was the SNIPSA 5K held on September 25 in Alamo Heights, and ‘affluent’ area of San Antonio that hosts some really nice homes, good parks, a public swimming pool and some really good running areas. SNIPSA is a non-profit spay/neuter and rescue/adoption organization for primarily dogs, but I think they take cats also. This was the 14th year this event has been done. I’ve don’t this one several times in the past so I knew what to expect. This 5K was also on the same day as another very good event I;ve done quite a few times in the past too, San Antonio KSAT-TV’s Head For The Cure, a 5K to raise funds for brain cancer research, so I had to make a choice of which one I would forego since it’s not possible to be in two places at once. At least, not yet anyway. I chose SNIPSA this year over Head For The Cure because (a) I love dogs and (b) I recently started my own cancer treatments for prostate cancer, so I just wanted to go out and run today and have fun and forget about cancer for a while, including my own. No regrets. Arrived with just under an hour to go to the 8 a.m. start time. I had picked up my race packet the day before so on race morning I just wandered around chatting with friends and fellow participants and also, with the permission of their humans, handed out treats to the doggies from a big jar of Milkbone soft-and-chewy biscuits I had brought with me. I soon got pretty popular with the dogs, lol. There really was a lot going on at this event pre-race, with lots of various booths there – all kinds of give-aways from the various sponsors – and doggies everywhere.

ON THE COURSE: We had some really nice weather for this, so that was a bonus; felt very cool and comfortable weather-wise. Local race management company iaap did the course set-up, timing and results for this one. They got us lined up in the start chute about 5 minutes before race start time, and then we were off. Since I had done this before I knew what to expect: some hills along the way since this is Alamo Heights. One thing about this area, the roads are nice and wide and smoothly well-paved so lots of room for everyone, which was good as there was a really nice turn-out for this one, 500+ or so participants, not including the doggies, from what I saw on the results list. Yes, they also got to run or walk. There was even a separate awards category for Runners With Dogs. As usual, because of my spinal-and-hip arthritis, I did my 8-min run/2-minute walk thing and took some on-course photos during my walk breaks, which helps me not notice those walk breaks so much, lol. I was a March of Dimes baby and had a birth defect when I was born, and all adult life, my docs would tell me I was doing okay – I guess I was because I managed to serve in the Air Force for 24 years – but probably when I got to my 50 or 60, this would most likely flare up in arthritic form; and so it did. Hence, the run/walk. All good though, since I really started enjoying doing this and then sharing my photo reports so others who were there could save their photos if they wanted to. I am certainly no professional photographer, lol, but hey, the photos are free. I felt pretty good for this one and did my usual 12-something minute miles, and my pacemaker, which I have had implanted for 2 years now, behaved itself and let me run all the hills quite adequately. I ended up with a 37:18 chip-time finish, averaging 12:01 per mile – Woohoo, I may yet get back to 11 and under minute miles, what I used to do pre-pacemaker and pre-cancer – and was 10th in my 60-69 age group, and I was quite happy with that. Actually, I am quite happy just being able to still run and at my age I only have 2 race goals now: finish standing up and no ambulance waiting specifically for me after the finish. Anything after that – age group award, better result time, etc. – is a bonus. If I get that, fine; if not, what the heck, I still got my run in. My first priority, after being a runner for 38 years now, is just…keep on…running!

AFTER MY FINISH: First off, walk around a bit and cool down, and I always get a kick post-race out of watching my monitor as my pacemaker works to bring my heartrate down; always amazes me how fast that darn thing works. Went and found some water and got one of the post-race sausage wraps, found a nice shady spot to sit for a while and just relaxed for a bit, enjoying the goodies. After that, I went wandering around like I did pre-race, getting some post-race photos, chatting with various people and, of course, more treats for the doggies.

Epilogue: No matter what my race time turns out to be, this is one of the most enjoyable events I have ever done, it is always a lot of fun for me. I love interacting with all the doggies and their humans; some of them – both dogs and humans, lol – are very entertaining, with a good sense of humor – yes, dogs, too, you can just tell from the way they act – and very friendly. The dogs were especially friendly when they found out I had treats, lol. Of course, I only give them out if I have permission from the doggie’s humans, since some may have allergies, medical issues, etc. Most agreed, so I was quite ‘dog-popular’, lol. Lots of booths at this event and lots of free give-aways from various sponsors. Really nice course, very nice race shirt, nice post-race goodies, and a lot of photo-ops for me as there were also lots of people in costume, and the Spurs Coyote was there and, of course, all the doggies. As noted, have always enjoyed this event and will continue to enjoy it in the future, god willing. I certainly would recommend this to others, both walkers, runners, and dogs.

MUCHO THANKS TO: The SNIPSA folks and all their volunteers for all their hard work in once again getting this event organized so well. Thanks to all the sponsors and contributors who helped make this one happen; to the police officer out there on the course roads for our safety during the run; to the ‘grill masters’ that fixed up those sausage wraps – they were really good – and to all those volunteers I saw at the food table who had all that ready for we participants when we finished; and thanks to the course marshal volunteers also; and especially thanks for the patience of the neighborhood residents as we participants invaded their space for a while; and to anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!

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2021 Race 35, Loteria 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/bSw4ESRjKvQCvWHh9

BEFORE MY START: My 35th race of 2021 was the Loteria 5K held on Sep 18 at 6 PM in McAllister Park, San Antonio. Put on by iaap, a local race management company, this event is based on a Mexican card game and several participants dress up in costumes representing the characters on the cards. There was also a Kids Run. This was my 2nd 5K of the day after having done the Oktoberfest Beer Garden 5K in the morning. I arrived at the park with about 40 minutes to go to start time, got my packet and then took a few photos before we got started.

ON THE COURSE: The course was an out-and-back on one of the park’s paved roads and one of its off-road paved trails. After a fairly hilly 5K done in the morning, I decided I would just take it easy for this one and do positive splits for each mile, instead of negative splits, and just have fun with it. I ended up doing most of the course with a friend, Bob, whom I had not seen in quite a while, so that was a nice bonus for this event. Everything went according to plan, with me doing Mile 1 in 12:28; Mile 2 in 13:22; and Mile 3 in 13:53. The last part of the course, Bob and I ran in together to the finish line. I did not expect to place, but I ended up 3rd in my age group, probably because there were only 3 in my age group, lol. My friend Bob was second in our age group. Other than the occasional hot-flash – my wife calls it poetic justice, lol – not having many side-effects from the treatment I am getting right now for prostate cancer, so I was pretty comfortable for the majority of the route.

AFTER MY FINISH: Pretty warm out in Texas summer at 6 PM, so found some shade – which is abundant in this park, thank goodness, and just sat for a bit, drinking my post-race drink and cooling down a bit. Then I wandered around chatting with friends and taking a few ‘after’ photos. There also was a costume contest and then a few door prizes were given away – none of which I got, darn the luck. After that, time to go home and get off my feet and just ‘veggie” in front of the TV – watching college football – and let my old-dog body really get a rest.

Epilogue: iaap events are really good quality ones and Race Director Ceci does quite a good job getting everything organized. Iaap is a family business and the whole family gets everything done pretty smoothly. This was a fairly small event but very well done. Nice course, nice quality race shirts and unique ‘painted’ age group awards with Loteria characters on them. My 3rd place award was a mermaid, which was appropriate because after this race I was ‘finis”. Post-race goodies included beer and chicken tacos – or maybe it was fajitas, I forget – from the excellent local company Kiolbassa. Race shirt of very nice quality. I’ve done Loteria in the past; will do it again; and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO: all the iaap folks, race volunteers, sponsors, and the park police that were out there for our safety; and to anyone else I may not have mentioned here.

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2021 Race 35 Oktoberfest Beer Garden 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/GSgMXcmh6twzYhnD6

BEFORE MY START:  My 34th race of 2021 was the Helotes Oktoberfest Beer Garden 5K held on Sep 18 in Helotes, Texas, a small city bordering on San Antonio city limits. This event was limited to 800 participants. They sure came close to that, with 785 finishers, wow.  Start time of 8:30 a.m.  I arrived with about 45 minutes until start time and got a few pre-start photos between chatting with several friends.  There were a few dogs at this event too. Since I am known by the running community as Scottydog – and I actually register for all the races I do as “Scotty Dogg” – since I carry dog treats with me when I run, the pooches did great treats from me, with the permission of their humans.

ON THE COURSE:   Course started on a dirt/gravel in a no-outlet area where Pete’s Place and other breweries and business places are located.  We proceeded onto Old Bandera Road, making a left turn and going up an incline toward the El Chapparal restaurant. We did a turn-round by some cones there and the went back down Old Bandera Road through Old Town Helotes. At a traffic circle, we made a left turn and did an out-and-back on this road. Back at the traffic circle, we did another short out-and-back, then headed back to the traffic circle, and once more went onto Old Bandera Road.  This time we climbed up the incline to the cones in front of El Chapparal, looped around those, and then back to the finish the way we had come out. Nicely thought-out course but pretty much no shade on it, and I had not really hydrated adequately enough, so did a bit more walking than I had intended to. I finished in 38:36, averaging 12:34 per mile. Tired, lol. Even so, enjoyable event, saw many friends on the course, and ran with a few of them at various times. Being treated currently for prostate cancer, but having very few side-effects, so that did not affect me all that much, maybe just contributed to the tiredness a bit.  Even so, all good, I am still able to get out there and keep doing what I love.

AFTER MY FINISH:  My two race goals are always: Finish Standing Up and No Ambulance Waiting Specifically for Me at the Finish. Anything after that – finisher medal, age group award, etc – is a bonus.  Goals met, lol.  After finishing this one, first thing I did was go find some water and then a shady place to sit down for a few minutes to rehydrated and relax. Being a heavy sweater – one reason my wife really loves me in winter 😉 – I was pretty drenched from my run/walk. Good thing I keep towels in my car. After just relaxing for several minutes and enjoying the music two DJs – is that even a term anymore? – were playing, I felt mucho better, so time to wander around, enjoy some goodies and get some post-race photos.

Epilogue:  Kudos to Race Director Lisa Soler and her crew for putting on a really fine event, especially with this many participants, so a lot of work for her and her volunteers, and the race setup and timing folks. There was also one heck of an after-party that kind of reminded me of the Scallywompus events. Even the packet pickup the day before was a party atmosphere, being held at Stout House, a very nice local pub, where I also enjoyed chatting with friends I saw there. Post-race, there were all kinds of beer vendors there, so those who enjoy beer could wander around sampling all these different beers – I did a couple myself – and other vendors offering all kinds of items from give-away souvenirs to various drinks and food, such as brisket tacos, giant soft pretzels – I love these things and got one of those – and much more.  Very nice quality race tee, and the age group awards were these really nice glasses and mugs. Sometimes people leave early from an event, but from what I saw, not this one. The post-race activities were so enjoyable, and so many friends there, I did not even leave myself until almost noon.  When I finally did get going, there still were several people there, enjoying all the goings-on. Would definitely do this event again and would recommend it to others. One very good event. 

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Lisa Soler and all her crew of volunteers, timers, sponsors who helped pay for all of this; the police officers out there on the course for our safety; the Helotes officials who allowed this “live’ event to happen; all the breweries and businesses that participated and helped make this a really enjoyable event; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Thanks so much to all of you!       

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2021 Race 33 Patriot Day 5K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/533hB2uezX3C48Gf8

BEFORE MY START:  My 33rd race of 2021 was the Patriot Day 5k held on Sep 11 at Pleasanton River Park.  This was my 2nd 5K of the day, after having done the Gruene 5K in the morning in Gruene, Texas.   This event, in honor and memoriam was held on the 20th anniversary of 9/11/2011 in honor and memory and recognition of the victims of that day; survivors of that day who were present at the targeted sites; all First Responders then and now; and the family members of those both lost and involved at “ground zero.” The 5K start time was at 6:30 with a well-done commemorative ceremony done at 5 p.m. with various local dignitaries speaking on what this day meant to those of us who lived that day, only the 2nd time in US history that an unexpected ‘sneak attack’ of this magnitude occurred on US soil, the first being Pearl Harbor. Pretty much everyone in the US who lived during that time knew exactly where he/he was the news of this tragic day began to come in. As a couple of the speakers noted, we must never forget and hopefully generations after us will always remember this day too with some type of dignity and respect for all those involved.  After the ceremony there was a placing of wreaths. At the conclusion of the ceremony packet pickup resumed.  I had gotten my packet earlier and before the 5K began I got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:   Thanks to my good friend Woody and the Atascosa County Running Club folks who had previously invited me to Pleasanton to do a couple of events in the past, I was already familiar with the 5K course so knew exactly where I was going for a change, lol.  This was a loop course, starting in the park.  We went along a very nice trail alongside the river, then did a brief stint on one of the park roads.  This road took us out of the park, where went up a short incline – not something you could really call a hill – and then proceeded on a route that looped us through a very nice neighborhood with wide streets and lots of room for everyone. The streets were open to traffic but no problem.  All the drivers I encountered at any given moment were very polite and waited for the participants in their immediate vicinity to pass by before they continued driving.  From what I have experienced whenever I’ve visited her, Pleasanton is a very polite and friendly little city.  Our loop through this neighborhood took us back onto the town street we had started on. We turned back onto that, now went down that incline, and then made a left turn onto another park road.  This road took us back to the finish line. This is an excellent course and just really tailor-made for anyone who might want to shoot for a 5K PR.  Which was not me, lol. I did my usual 12-something minute miles, took photos on my required walk breaks (stupid arthritis!) and just enjoyed myself.  Even got to treat a doggie along the way, with its human’s permission.  Third out of five in my 65 – 69 age group, with a chip time of 39:42, averaging something like 12:47 per mile.

AFTER MY FINISH:  My two race goals are always: Finish Standing Up and No Ambulance Waiting Specifically for Me at the Finish.  Goals met, lol. Although, like a dummy, right after I finished, I stopped moving for a minute, forgetting to keep moving for a bit, and of course all the blood went right out of my head, making me dizzy for a second. After being a runner for 38 years, you’d think I’d know better, lol.  There was no ambulance but thankfully there was a nice police officer right there who caught me by the arm so I did not fall and crack something, idiot that I am.  Moved around for a few minutes, just relaxing and letting my pacemaker take my heart back to my ‘normal’ range and felt much better.  Got a few photos of some others finishing and then went back to the park pavilion where all the action was. In between getting some food and drink and the awards ceremony, got a few after photos.

Epilogue:  A very nicely done event, organized by Race Director Tony Garcia, the Pleasanton Express newspaper, and all the many volunteers involved, including a local Jr Army ROTC detachment, some members of the Atascosa County Running Club, and more. Chip-timing by iaap, a very good race management company based in San Antonio area.  Post-race goodies included sausage-on-a-stick, lots of water, beer, and various other sundries. Even a DJ there, providing sound and tunes. 79 finishers, so not too bad for a first-time event, especially considering this was the 20th anniversary of 9-11, so in the morning there had been held multiple types of races in the San Antonio-Austin Corridor, so lots of people probably did those in the morning and may not have wanted to do a second event. So, as noted, all things considered, a pretty nice turnout. I would do this one again if it was held annually as a regular event, and I would recommend it to others.  Actually, I did recommend it to a few.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  The City of Pleasanton for the use of the venue; and to the city dignitaries that came out to speak at the ceremony; the Jr Army ROTC detachment for their involvement; Race Director Tony and all the race day volunteers out there for us; our sound guy; all the first responders – firefighters, police officers, EMT folks, etc – who were out there for the event, and especially to those officers who were out on the course for us to keep us safe; and, of course to any sponsors who helped in making this event happen; and to anyone else involved I may not have mentioned.  Thank you all!     

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2021 Race 32, Gruene 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/NPQqGHGWhg3rPU6K9

BEFORE MY START: My 32nd race of 2021 was the Gruene 5K on Sep 11 by Athlete Guild in Gruene, Texas, the home of Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas and a performance venue of many famous musicians.  There was also a 10K and a Kids Run.  Pretty nice turnout for this one, with 148 finishers for the 10K and 291 finishers for the 5K. Weather was really nice with clear skies, sunshine, a temp of around 68 degrees at the 8 a.m. start time  and low humidity.  Felt very pleasant and comfortable.   I arrived about 45 minutes before start time, got my packet and got a few pre-start photos.  Dog friendly event so, as I wandered around, a couple of the dogs actually recognized me, lol, and headed toward me for treats, to the surprise of some of their humans.      

ON THE COURSE:   The 10K folks started first, with the 5K folks going about 10 or so minutes after them.  We all started out on pretty much the same route.  The 10K folks had just a slight diversion from the 5K course where they made a turn, while the 5K entrants continued on.  The 10K folks then went back toward the finish line area, bypassing that and then doing an out-and-back on the road that took them past the Rockin’ R tubing company.  This meant that for their finish the had to get back to the finish line by coming up that big darn hill that is right past the Rockin’ R. area. The 5K course was pretty much all flat with just one very miniscule incline just past the Mile 1 mark.  Having got my 2nd injection on Friday morning for my prostate cancer,  was not sure if this would affect my in any way for the event. Luckily, I had just about no side-effects from my treatment and was feeling pretty good. I ended up doing negative splits and finished with a chip time of 37:57, 7th out of 8 in my 65-69 age group. The first three in my age group all finished under 30 minutes, zowie.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Cooled down a bit, drank some water, ate my protein bar I had brought with me and just relaxed for a while.  After that, wandered around chatting with friends and other participants, making new friends, and getting some post-race photos.  Everyone I chatted with seemed very relaxed and pleased with the event – it really is a well-done event – and seemed to be enjoying themselves. 

Epilogue:   As noted, very well organized event.  Also, some very nice post-race goodies that included beer; 4 kinds of tacos; various nutrition bars and other goodies; and, of course, bottled water. Nice quality race shirt and finisher medals for all finishers.

MUCHO THANKS TO: Athlete Guild for this nice event; all the sponsors of this event and all the race volunteers out there for us; our MC David; the residents and business people of Gruene as we invaded their space for a while; the police officers on the course for our safety; the providers of all the post-race goodies; and anyone else I may not have mentioned.  Thank you all!  

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2021 Race 31 Scallwompus Bankersmith 5K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Px4fPj3fgDAxkADL8

BEFORE MY START:    My 31st race of 2021 was the Battle of Bankersmith 5K, put on by Scallwompus running company on Sep 4 as part of its 2021 Alamo Beer Series, a series of 4 races for which you could register for all 4 or each one individually.  The main event was a half marathon and there was also a 10-miler, a 10K, and a 5-miler.  Bankersmith, population 0 is a small, privately owned property between Fredericksburg and Comfort, Texas, with a saloon, dance hall, and events center.  The final road on the drive to get there is one crazy, hilly, curves everywhere road, kind of spooky in the dark, and first morning light.  At one point on this road I felt like I was in The Twilight Zone and thought I would see Rod Serling waiting for me around the next bend.  My friend, Woody, when he drove it, told me he kept hearing banjo music in his head, lol.  Finally arrived at my destination, got parked, and then wandered around chatting with friends and fellow participants and getting some pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:   All the courses were out-and-back.  We 5K participants were the last to get started, at 8:15 a.m.  I have run the Bankersmith 5K before so thought I knew what to expect – a very hilly course – but what I did not know is the course was changed a bit since the last time I’d done this event.  So after going down a hill from the start, then proceeding up a long hill, instead of then going flat-and-straight to the 5K turn-round point and then back the way we came, we instead turner right onto one of the cross-roads…and had THE HILLIEST part of the course on our way to-and-from the 5K turn-round.  These hills were no joke – not as steep as the ones in hilly Helotes, Texas – but still fairly steep and long. After making the turn-round point the hill going back up as we headed to the finish was a real bear, and I ended up walking a bit more than I had planned.  Finally knew I had finished this hill when I could once again see the Team RWB water-stop tent – thanks guys! – good grief.  Then it was back out onto the road we had started on, downhill for a while, and then just before finishing, going up the downhill we had come out on…and then there was finally a nice flat part of the course just before we turned into the finish.  Mile 2 was my longest-in-time mile – that big hill – and I guess I was ready to be done after that, lol, because Mile 3 was a negative split for me. 39:13 chip time, averaging 12:37 per mile, and was 3rd out of 4 in my 65 – 69 age group.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Pretty warm for this one, with ‘abundant sunshine” and no cloud cover.  I went to my vehicle for about 10 minutes, sitting in the a/cl and rehydrating…ahhhhhh.  Much better.  Then it was off to get some post-race goodies – Alamo beer, sausage on a stick, a variety of fruits, etc. – and get some post-race photos.

Epilogue:  This is a very hilly and challenging event for all the courses – I think the drive is part of the challenge too, lol – and, of course, the participants doing the longer mileage events had even more hills than we 5K folks did – but very well organized as all Scallywompus events are.  They are not kidding, either, when they post “Come for the race. Stay for the party.”  Music, lots of food and drink, really nice and unique ‘award’ glasses to all the age-group placers and nice awards for the overall winners, and every finisher got a nice finisher medal.  Nice quality race shirt too. I’ve done several Scallywompus events in the past and will do more in the future.

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