2021 Race 7, Wanderlust 5K 10K Half Marathon

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qbGE73ve2bTJePhX8

BEFORE MY START:  On March 20, I did my 7th race of 2021, the Wanderlust 5K, held in Fredericksburg, Texas. The main event was a half marathon and there was also a 10K. This event was the 3rd race in a series of 4 races called Texas Hill Country Races.  People can sign up for the whole series or any individual race.  Since the 5K was the last to start – at 9:01 a.m. – I got to sleep in a bit before my drive from San Antonio to Fredericksburg, which takes just a little over an hour from where I live. I arrived at race site with about 40 minutes to start 5K time and the 10K folks were lining up to get going.  I had already gotten my race bib the day before, so while waiting for the 5K start, I got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:   Normally, this course starts on the street in front of the “Marktplatz” (Market Square), but this year we lined up in the pavilion square and then did a “social distancing” start from the start line on part of the Market Square.  The start area had us going toward the Vereins Kerche Museum, a replica building of the historic one that was built in Fredericksburg only a year after it was settled.  This was a short path on brick pavement, passing in front and to the side of the building and by a very pretty little park behind the building, before we went out onto paved streets.  We then proceeded to do sort of “loop” course through some very nice wide streets with very little traffic; plenty of room for all to maneuver.  Our last mile as we 5K folks headed back to the finish, we started seeing a few of the faster ½ marathon and faster 10K folks heading to the finish also.  The last mile of the course was pretty much the same finish for all the races.  I ended up 4th in my 65 – 69 age group with a time of 37:12, averaging 12:14 per mile.  Even though at start time, the temp was a cool 41 degrees or so, we had abundant sunshine and blue skies, so I think I overdressed a tad with a base layer underneath my running shirt.  I usually do tend to overdress a bit on cooler mornings as I just do not like being cold; the older I get the more I seem to feel it, lol. Even so, all good, and my last mile was a negative split at 11:48 for that mile.

AFTER MY FINISH:   Stood by the finish line and got a few photos of other participants finishing up as I waited for friend Ralph to finish. Never did see him come in, so I must have missed him after I first finished, when I was getting my finisher medal and putting back on my dry shirt I had brought.  Sorry, Ralph.  Got some water and wandered around taking “after’ photos and treating doggies with the dog biscuits I had in my pockets – I even treated one along the course, lol.  Also enjoyed some post-race goodies, and there were quite a few of them, including bloody mary drinks, Alamo beer, Kiolbassa sausage on a stick and more.  Scallywompus has a motto “Come for the race. Stay for the party” – and they are not kidding either. Really nicely done. 

Epilogue:  Scallywompus events, with timing/results from a great local area race management company iaap, are always a class act.  Co-owner Bart and his crew take really good care of the participants.  Really nicely laid out courses, offering something for everyone, from the shorter 5K for folks like me who can’t run distance anymore and/or don’t want to do longer distances, up to those longer distances on some courses that can be pretty challenging in some places.  Finisher medal for all finishers and nice quality race shirts.  And, of course, that great after-party. If you’ve never done a Scallywompus event, give it a try, you might like it. 

MUCHO THANKS TO:    Bart; race director Tony Garcia; our sound/music man Paul, and our lovely event MC – and her name just popped right out of my head, sorry about that – and all the volunteers, sponsors, supporters, law enforcement officers, medical staff, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here that do what they do so we participants could enjoy this event.  Also, thanks to the “people in charge” in Fredericksburg who allowed permission for this “live” event in the city limits.

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2021 Race 6, St. Paddy’s Day 5K

https://photos.app.goo.gl/8W432HsXo4yU42tH7

Race photos are at the link above.

BEFORE MY START:    On March 13 I did my 6th race of 2021, the St. Paddy’s Day 5K held in Gruene/News Braunfels, Texas. Put on by local area race management company Athlete Guild, this event had 259 finishers, 91 male and 168 male.  There was also a Kid’s Run held a short while before the start of the main event. Start and finish at Gruene River Company, a tubing and rafts business.  Mother Nature was threatening rain, but all we got were just a few light drops, nothing much; however, it really did shoot up the humidity and the temp was around 68 degrees at start time.  I arrived at race site with about 45 minutes to start time, got my race packet, and then got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  Started in the Gruene River Company parking area; right turn onto a local street, then after a very short way, right turn that took us onto a road with a hill.  Up this hill and underneath a train bridge, and then a left turn into a very nice neighborhood with wide streets and nice homes…and more hills. Very little traffic at all so everyone could spread out quite a bit, which was nice. We did a loop course through this neighborhood that brought us back out to the street on which we had first come into this area.  So the uphill we had on the way out was now a downhill that took us back to the Gruene River Co. area.  To finish, we made a turn into the back gate area of the company property, went alongside the company building, then turned in front of it to get to the finish line.  Nicely thought out course. I finished in 37:01, getting 5th in my age 65-69 ag group.  Yeah, there are some speedy old guys in my age group, lol. The first guy in my age group finished in 22 minutes and change.

AFTER MY FINISH:  After I finished, I stood near the finish line and got a few photos of others coming into the finish line. Then went and got some water and a banana and relaxed for a few minutes.  After that, wandered around and took some various photos of some of the Happy Finishers, volunteers, and supporters that were there for their “personal runners/walkers” as well as some of the sponsors. Nic post-race goodies too, with Whataburger handing out breakfast taquitos and Guadalupe Brewery had their really good beer available.

Epilogue:  Athlete Guild puts on some really good, well organized events with nice post-race goodies; nice quality race shirts; finisher medals; kiosk for participants to get results print-out, and a pretty nice after-party.  Definitely would recommend their events, and would certainly do this 5K again. Also, as you can see from some of the photos, their events are dog-friendly.

MUCHO THANKS TO: Athlete Guild Crew, and all the volunteers that were out there for us, and who were at packet pickup too; and all the sponsors supporting this one. Thanks to Gruene River Co. for the use of their property and thanks to Guadalupe Brewery, Whataburger, and all the other sponsors for the goodies they had available; also to our law enforcement folks that were there for us for traffic control, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all for what you do so we participants could have this event.   

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2021 Race 5, Chocoholic Frolic 5K

https://photos.app.goo.gl/g4XV3zMxYQB875zb7

Photos are at the link above.

BEFORE MY START:   On Feb 27, I did my 5th live race of 2021, the Chocoholic Frolic 5K held at River City Community Church in Selma, TX.  Start time of 9 a.m.  The church location is pretty nice, with ample parking, very large indoor restroom facilities, and lots of booths for the volunteers, etc., to set up their areas. Weather was a bit humid, with a 62 degree or so temp and very overcast, looking like it was going to rain on us, but it never did.  I felt pretty comfortable the whole way; but then, unlike most runners, I prefer warm weather running to cooler weather running.  I’m an old dog, lol, and I seem to feel the cold more as I get older.  Nice turn-out for this one, especially considering there was another popular 5K going on the same day/same start time, right down the road from where this event was location.  Doncha hate it when 2 really good events are scheduled on the same day at the same time? Anyway…arrived with about 40 minutes to go to start time and got a few pre-start photos. 

ON THE COURSE: I’ve done 5Ks here before and usually the route takes us into a nearby neighborhood where we do an out-and-back and then head back to the finish.  This year, however, with the pandemic, etc., the route did not go into that area. Instead, the route was all on church-owned grounds. From the start, we went down a short hill and exited the main gate of the church grounds.  We then ran on the access roads and parking lot areas.  We’d get to certain points and went along one of the main parking areas, got to a set of cones, did a turn-round and went back the way we had come, only on the other side of the asphalt pavement.  This was done in 2 places on the course. Put into words, it sounds kind of boring, but it actually was not. It is a pretty well-thought-out course given what the race director had to work with.  Also, as I did my run/walk and took my walk breaks to get photos, I noticed at the out-and-back locations the participants, as they went by each other, coming-and-going, cheered on friends/family they saw, some stopping to get their own photos, and generally everyone just encouraging each other along.  After we passed the water stop on the course, we then went around the perimeter of another parking lot and then exited that into another lot that we went just about directly across.  This took us back to the road we had started on, which took us back to the finish.  I ended up with a finish time of 36:42, averaging 12:27 per mile. I also had negative splits, nice.  Mile 1: 12:49, Mile 2, 12:03, and Mile 3 I managed to get under 12-minute miles with 11:52.  My pacemaker behaved itself nicely.  😊

AFTER MY FINISH:  After I finished, I stood near the finish line and got a few photos of others coming into the finish line. Then went and got some water and a banana and relaxed for a few minutes.  After that, wandered around and took some various photos of some of the Happy Finishers, volunteers, and supporters that were there for their “personal runners/walkers.”

Epilogue: Very nicely done event.  Unique finisher medal and nice quality race shirt, made of really nice material.  Unfortunately for me, the race shirt has an attached hoodie. I am not a fan of hoodies, just have never liked them, so knew I would never wear it.  But no worries, my wife was happy to claim it from me, lol.  They had some Chocoholic Frolic event shirts on sale after the race, very reasonably priced at $10, so I ended up getting a really nice long sleeved pullover event shirt, collared and with a small zip-up on the front.  Very nice quality and very comfortable.  The course this year was different, but nice.  This used to be done at Morgan’s Wonderland, but in talking post-race with some of the participants, most of them were in favor of this course over Morgan’s.  Just more room to spread out.  So this course is probably a keeper for this event in the future.  Had lots of fun, saw lots of friends, very enjoyable. Definitely would do this again, and would recommend it to others.  TONS of goodies post-race, including not only the finisher medal to all participants, but also a small box of chocolates.  My wife got that too, lol. But that’s okay; she is the one who has to put up with me 24/7 so she deserves her treats.  :p

MUCHO THANKS TO: All the volunteers that were out there for us, and who were at packet pickup too; and all the sponsors supporting this one; thanks to Ed, our bike-lead guy and to Race Director Tony, who also laid out the course; our music man out there for us, as well as the 2 medical-staff people there for us; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here that was involved.  And of course, thanks to River City Community Church for the use of the grounds. Thank you all!     

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2021 Race 3, Freedom Fighters 5K, Jan 30

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ktRNH7eKDbfqBwTU9

Introduction:  I am Scotty aka “Scottydog”, called that because I carry dog biscuits when I run and treat the doggies I meet along my way – or throw them in the other direction if a dog wants to chase me. I actually register for all my events as Scotty Dogg and this is the name all my running friends know me by.  I became a runner during my Air Force career, on April 15, 1983, when I was stationed at Incirlik, Turkey. I always remember the exact date since I started on Tax Day, lol. And as all we runners know, sometimes running can be very taxing. 😉  As a cancer survivor, I have this superstition that as long as I keep running I won’t have a recurrence – so far so good! – so that is why I had my running shirts printed up; every time I get lazy and don’t feel like going for my run, all I have to do is open my shirt drawer and remember why I keep on running. That, plus I love to run anyway, lol. As I’ve gotten older I’m dealing with a few challenges – as we all usually do as we get older – with some spinal and hip arthritis – which is why I now do run/walk these days – and I’ve had a few surgeries, including 4 knee surgeries, and still have the screw that goes all the way through below my knee, holding my left kneecap in place, and in Aug 2019 I had a pacemaker implant.  Never-the-less I manage to do okay and complete quite a few races over the years; 91 races in 2018 is my all-time high so far, and I even managed to get in 35 live races in 2020..  Never give up!

BEFORE MY START:  On Jan 30th, I did my 3rd “live” race of 2021, the Freedom Fighters 5K. The event was held at the Regional Park of Castroville, Texas. As the online race event page put it: “The race is a salute to our most honored infantry soldiers.”  Start time of 9 a.m., so got to sleep in a bit. Arrived at the park with about 40 minutes to go, picked up my packet, and got a few pre-start photos.  Not sure how many participants there were, but it was a nice turn-out for a smaller event. 

ON THE COURSE:  We started by doing a loop through the park and just as we were going out of the park on a road leading into an adjacent neighborhood, that road was where the 1-mile mark was. 12:21 first mile for me. We then did an out-and-back on a very nice flat road in a really nice neighborhood.  The halfway turn-round point was marked on the road in green but I was not paying attention and kind of missed it and kept going a little before I realized I’d gone too far.  Being retired Air Force, I joked with some of my Army friends post-race, I needed them there to give me directions, lol. Back the way we had come out.  Mile 2 for me was 12:43. Back into the park and looped around the way we had come out, heading to the finish.  I guess I got a little motivated here to be done, Mile 3 was 11:44, and I finished in 37:13, averaging 12:15 per mile. 

AFTER MY FINISH:  After I finished, I stood near the finish line and got a few photos of others finishing the course.  I then went to my car to put my dry shirt back on – I did the race in a singlet – drank some water and ate my protein bar and then went back to the main race area, enjoying chatting with friends and other participants and getting a few after-photos.

Epilogue:  Small event, but nicely done and had the feel of a group of friends all getting together to enjoy a running/walking outing. Kudos to whomever laid out the course, that was really nicely done.  I have not been in the Castroville Park for quite a while, and I remember it being a lot smaller; it has been very nicely renovated since I was last here, and really has some nice trails, sports grounds, and so forth.  Definitely will be coming back here once in a while to explore some more.  If I remember correctly, awards to the Top 3 male and female finishers.  The race shirt is pretty nice quality too. I would definitely do this event again, and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:    The race sponsors, Tartan Construction; Run Local; e-Dragon Productions; and Jypsy Jane Botique.  Thanks to the race volunteers out there for us; to the lady who beautifully sang The National Anthem; and to our race director – I think she was the Race Director – Alliclare – and to anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here.  Happy running and walking to all!

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2021 Virtual Martin Luther King 5K, Jan 18

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/jPJWiGUo49gW23my5

Introduction:  I am Scotty aka “Scottydog”, called that because I carry dog biscuits when I run and treat the doggies I meet along my way – or throw them in the other direction if a dog wants to chase me. I actually register for all my events as Scotty Dogg and this is the name all my running friends know me by.  I became a runner during my Air Force career, on April 15, 1983, when I was stationed at Incirlik, Turkey. I always remember the exact date since I started on Tax Day, lol. And as all we runners know, sometimes running can be very taxing. 😉  As a cancer survivor, I have this superstition that as long as I keep running I won’t have a recurrence – so far so good! – so that is why I had my running shirts printed up; every time I get lazy and don’t feel like going for my run, all I have to do is open my shirt drawer and remember why I keep on running. That, plus I love to run anyway, lol. As I’ve gotten older I’m dealing with a few challenges – as we all usually do as we get older – with some spinal and hip arthritis – which is why I now do run/walk these days – and I’ve had a few surgeries, including 4 knee surgeries, and still have the screw that goes all the way through below my knee, holding my left kneecap in place.  Never-the-less I manage to do okay and complete quite a few races over the years; 91 races in 2018 is my all-time high so far.  Never give up!

BEFORE MY START:  On January 18, 2021, my friend Albert and I did the Martin Luther King 5K in San Antonio.  I have done this 5K ever since it started. I grew up in the Washington DC area – where Martin Luther King did his “I have a dream’ speech in 1963, when I was 9 years old – and my mom, who worked for the Washington Post, was very into civil rights and equality for all.  She was a great admirer of Dr. King.  So I do this one every year in her memory and for the way she raised me – to accept all, and to look at not WHAT a person is, but WHO a person is.   Normally this 5K is an in-person event,  a “live” race, but this year it was virtual due to the pandemic.  Albert and I met at 9 a.m. at Martin Luther King Park in San Antonio – the usual venue for the race.  There was a large police presence at and around the park. The MLK Walk – of which San Antonio has the largest one in the country, numbering in thousands of participants, usually – was also supposed to be held Jan 18, MLK Day, but that also went virtual.  However, the police were there to help with traffic control, etc, in case several people showed up to do the walk.  Local city workers were also present in the park.  One of them kindly took a photo of me and Albert before we started.

ON THE COURSE: Albert and I started on the main road in front of MLK park and headed in the direction of Wheatley Heights, a local sports stadium venue. We diverted onto the Wheatley Heights paved trails and did an out-and-back on this trail, doing run/walk.  We both had garmins and Albert at one point told me we were currently pacing at a 10:48 mile.  I thought he was kidding, since I haven’t done under an 11-minute mile since before my pacemaker implant, but my garmin had the same thing.  I jokingly told him okay, if I keel over here in the next minute or so, you keep running to bring the medics back.  Our walk breaks did slow us down some, and we ended up, by my Garmin at 37:42, averaging 12:05 per mile per my Garmin.  Albert was a bit ahead of me, so probably had a faster time and finish.  My fastest mile was 12:15 for Mile 2.       

AFTER MY FINISH:  After we were done, we did a little walk-about in MLK Park, and I got a few photos.  Albert had to go to work, so he left, and I wandered around some more, getting a few more photos.  There actually were some people out on Martin Luther King Boulevard doing the walk – not the thousand that usually do this one, but quite a few were out there – and there was also an event going on at a local church across from the local area school. I got some photos around this area too, and also met the Pastor of the church, a very nice lady.  The mural on the outside wall of this church is just…  AWESOME.

Epilogue: This has become one of my favorite events to do each year – especially when it is ‘live.’  It usually sells out every year and it is really well organized by the race hosts. The staff of the Young Men’s Leadership Academy, overseen by Dr. Brown, whom I consider a friend, after seeing him year after year at this event, and it’s always great chatting with him at packet pickup and at the race. He is one truly inspiring individual.   Really nice quality long-sleeved race shirt too, with a unique design this year.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Even though this was a virtual event this year, someone still had to support it. So thanks to all sponsors for this race that included The Markson, the primary sponsor, if I remember correctly; Britton Orthodontics; Chamberlain Hrdlicka attorneys;  Gonzaba Medical Group; NuStar; SAISD Foundation; and many others. Thanks to all the volunteers out there for the packet pickup times, and thanks to anyone I may not have mentioned here.  Without all of you, no event for we participants.

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2021 Race 2, Purgatory Trails 5K/10K, Jan 9

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/LQGia68sN8TCxzLt8

BEFORE MY START: My 2nd race of 2021 was the Purgatory Trail Run 5K, held on January 9th in San Marcos, Texas, at the Purgatory Trails Park.  There was also a 10-miler.  The 10-miler started at 8 a.m.  There were 77 finishers for the 5K and 66 finishers for the 10-miler, so a nice little turn-out for this event on a chilly Saturday morning, with the temp at start time around 40 degrees – with a ‘feels like” of 38.  Thankfully, it was a clear day with no wind, and we had lots of sunshine.  I arrived at race location with about 40 minutes to my start time – just in time to see the 10 milers get started – and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  From a friend of mine who had done this event before, and sent me some photos she took, I knew this was a pretty rugged course, mostly single-track trails, a couple of hills, and pretty rocky along the way.   With the pandemic this was, of course, a ‘social distancing start with 2 – 3 participants starting out every few minutes.  I am pretty slow at regular road racing, so knew I’d probably be really slow for this trail event, so I waited until everyone else had gone, and was the very last 5K participant to get started.  Plus, I figured since the course was an out-and-back…if I fell down somewhere along the way someone on the way back to the finish could save me.  :p     I actually managed not to fall down – stumbled over a couple of rocks in various places, but managed to stay upright – and did pretty well. Normally I run/walk around 11-something to 12-something minute miles on the roads, but with this course it was more like 14-minute miles, sometimes having to slow down to walk or run more carefully with the abundance stones there were at various spots along the way. I ended up 6th out of 7 in my 60 – 69 males age group, finishing in 47:57, averaging 14:04 per mile.  Also, my garmin showed I did 3.4 miles instead of 3.1, and a couple of people that were in the same proximity as me for most of the course, told me this is what their distance showed too. So we all got an extra .3 miles of fun, lol.  The guy that was first overall in the 10-miler did it in 1:19, averaging 8 minutes per mile, which is pretty darn impressive, given that the 10-mile folks went to the Upper Purgatory trails part of the park, which have some really major hills.  The first 5K guy did it in 24 minutes, and the first woman in 26. How they managed not to fall at that pace going over those rocky places…jeez.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Right after I was done, got a couple photos of some others coming into the finish line, including the lady I did most of the course with. Then got some water and a banana and just walked around a for a bit sipping my water and eating the banana.  Then back to getting some photos of some of the Happy Finisher participants.

Epilogue:  This is a very nicely organized event.  The 5K course is tough, but it was somewhat like one particular trail I run on at times at McAllister Park in San Antonio; so once I got going and saw the terrain, I felt I would be just fine – although on some parts of the course, my pacemaker showed my heart-rate was getting up there at times, lol, but nothing I haven’t dealt with before on the occasional run.  I felt pretty good the whole way and really enjoyed interacting with the other participants along the way.  It was like we were all a big team out there in the ‘wilderness’, lol, helping each other out at various spots, with warnings about the terrain, and making the correct turns to stay on the single-track course; there were flags along the way marking the course for us, but  at a few parts, no flags, so had to be careful we were making the correct turns.  Thanks to this group of friendly participants helping each other out, we all did manage to stay on course.      Also, since this was an out-and-back on single-track trail, the trail maneuvering got interesting at times, lol, as we slower participants met head-on the speedier participants making their way back to the finish. Everyone cooperated with each other though and it all worked out nicely.  I would do this one again and recommend it to others. 

MUCHO THANKS TO:  All the supporting sponsors that allowed us to have this event, including Guadalupe Brewery that provided some really good post-race beer; Athlete Guild for the course setup, timing, and results; and thanks to Scott Wood who was on the trails with his bike helping directionally challenged people like me stay on course; all the race volunteers out there for us on a chilly morning;  to David Smith for being our event MC; and to anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much.

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2021 Race 1, La Cruda 5K, Jan 1

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/K3Gvqw9JELKyWBGY9

BEFORE MY START:   Happy New Year! My 1st race of 2021 was La Cruda 5K, held on January 1, 2021 in La Vernia, Texas, about a 35 minute drive from where I live in San Antonio. This was a ‘live’ race, with around 200 or so participants.  Start and finish at The Den, a family friendly restaurant in La Vernia, featuring a 7000 square foot astroturf outdoor play area, outdoor seating area, patio, and live music, and a staff of great and friendly people. They serve up a pretty nice breakfast too, which was nice for those who wanted enjoy that, post-race. Start time of this event was 10 a.m., allowing people to sleep in a bit if they partook in any New Year’s Eve activities.  I arrived with about an hour to go before the start time and enjoyed chatting with friends and getting a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  Our local area had a crappy couple of days of rain and wind, starting on Wednesday night – although our local area did need rain badly – and the temp dropped too, with our low going from 61 down to around 31 degrees. The rain had cleared out by New Year’s Day, with abundant sunshine and blue skies, but there was a bit of a wind blowing, and the temp at start time hovered around 43 degrees or so, with the wind making it feel a bit chillier. Starting from the parking lot area of The Den – with a Social Distancing start of  only so many runners at a time starting out – we made our way onto a main road – very light traffic due to the holiday – and then turned into a very nice residential area with very wide streets and even less traffic. We proceeded to a turn-round point at what I think was a local school – didn’t pay much attention to what that building was, where we made our turn-round – and then proceeded back to the finish the way we had come out. This is a very well-thought out course, mostly flat, with just a small up incline shortly after we left the start line, and then a down incline as we turned into the residential area, which became an up incline as we headed back to the finish. Not what you can really call a hill – unless you have “Old Man Legs” like me, lol; then it’s a hill.  😉  I did better than I expected to, finishing in 37:11 chip time.  I was actually dead list in my 60 – 69 age group – there sure were some speedy old guys in this age group, lol – but that’s okay.  All my miles were under 12-minutes and Mile 3 was my fastest mile, at 11:44. Made me feel pretty good as it seems like me and my pacemaker are finally making progress lol, slowing and surely staring to get under 12-minute miles now and slowing getting back to being the runner I was before my pacemaker implant. After I crossed the finish line, I took a couple minutes to walk around a bit and also got a few photos of others coming into the finish line.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Still a bit chilly with that wind blowing; thankfully had the presence of mind to leave a base-layer dry shirt in the car.  Got that on, and then enjoyed post-race activities of award ceremony, chatting with friends, getting some post-race photos and enjoying the post-race goodies, which included grilled sausage wraps, Alamo Beer, and friend Gilbert had a really nice spread of various fresh fruits. Also, lots of water available too, of course.  If you preferred something stronger than beer, The Den was available to fill that order.  I also noticed several participants took advantage of that nice breakfast menu The Den has. Very nice.

Epilogue:  For me and several runners and walkers each year in the San Antonio area, this is the premier New Years Day event to do, sponsored by local race company Scallywompus – “Come for the race. Stay for the party!” – and well organized by race director Tony Garcia and all his volunteers, with social distancing/pandemic requirements in place.  Normally, this event is done in Helotes but due to the pandemic, had to be moved outside the San Antonio area this year.  All good though; The Den is a great location, and the staff members are great hosts. They even provided indoor restrooms, nice.  DJ playing music for us; professional photographers on the course and taking photos after also – I think the company is Pushbutton Photography, if I remember correctly – and good post-race eats and drinks. Finisher medal to all finishers, and a nice quality race shirt too – in orange, this year, my favorite color. This is a ‘staple’ New Year’s Day event for me, one I’ve done many times in the past and one I will continue to do in the future. 

MUCHO THANKS TO: All the sponsors that supported this one and all the organizers and volunteers that made this one happen for us. Special thanks to The Den for letting 200+ participants invade their space for a while, and to the Wilson County officials for allowing a “live” event in their district.   Thanks to also to anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here. May we all have a Happy New Year and may 2021 be a way better year than 2020. Stay safe, my friends.

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2020 Race 32 SJCR Jingle Bell 5K

Race photos are at this link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qNcGNi6jJiEb4a4fA

BEFORE MY START:   On Dec 12, I did my 32nd ‘live’ race of 2020, the Jingle Bell 5K held at Gruene (pronounced ‘green), Texas, presented by Comal Independent School District. The event supported St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, caring for children and families who have been affected by trauma, abuse and neglect.  Event start at 8 a.m.  I arrived with about 45 minutes to start time and got my packet from friend Jill who had kindly picked up the day before a bunch of packets for our running group of friends. After getting myself situated with my bib, etc., I then wandered around chatting with friends and taking some pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  A bit chilly for we South Texans with the temp in the low 50s, but a very nice day with ‘abundant sunshine’ and no wind. Took off my top layer long-sleeved shirt – my dry shirt for post-race – and did my run/walk in my singlet.  Due to the ongoing pandemic, this event was limited to 400 participants.  Per Athlete Guild, a running company that did the timing and results, there were 302 finishers for the 5K – 114 males and 188 females.  The course started near historic Gruene Hall, went out to a really nice neighborhood that we did a loop through, and then back onto the main road heading to the finish the way we had come out.  Social Distance starting with about 8 runners being allowed to start every  4 – 5 minutes or so.  At my pace I lined up way in the back, so took me a while to get onto the course.  Did my 8-min run/2 minute walk thing, taking photos during my walk breaks, and think I managed to do pretty well for an old dog with a pacemaker.  Finished in 37:32, averaging 12:05 per mile, and Mile 3 was my fastest at 11:42, so I was happy; ran well, felt good, and finally starting to get under 12-minute miles once in a while since my pacemaker implant.   I ended up 3rd in my 65 – 69 males age group.  There were only 3 IN my age group, lol.  I’ll take it.  The 2 guys in my age group ahead of me in 28 minutes, with the 2nd guy finishing only 12 seconds behind the first guy; that must have been quite a race for them at the finish.

AFTER MY FINISH: The wind was starting to pick up a bit, so glad I had my dry shirt to put back on.  Got some water into me and enjoyed a protein bar I had brought with me; then wandered around for post-race photos of happy finishers and supporters.  There were not really any “goodies’ post-race for this event as no vendors were present – this event was very low-key to promote social distancing and keep everyone safe, which is understandable.  However, right down the road from the race area, really close, there was an open-air outside market going on where you could purchase post-race eats, etc.  All good.

Epilogue:  This was a really nicely done event, put on with the safety of everyone in mind during these crazy times we live in right now.  Very nice venue and a very nice course.  Nice goody bag that included a really nice quality long-sleeved race shirt. Really good instructions provided to all entrants via email from the Race Director as to how this race would work during race day.   I have done this event for several years and it has always been a quality 5K with usually a huge turn-out, almost always selling out, and with a pretty nice spread of post-race goodies too.   Hopefully, we can soon go back to doing this event the ‘normal’ way.  Meanwhile, given with what the organizers had to work with, they did a great job.  Would definitely do this one again, and would recommend it to others. 

MUCHO THANKS TO:  the sponsors that supported this event so we participants could enjoy it; the law enforcement officers out there keeping us safe – this course was open to traffic; the Race Director and all the volunteers out there for us; Comal ISD for being the presenter of this event; all the residents who lived in the spaces we participants invaded for a while, thank you for your patience; Athlete Guild for the course setup, timing, results, etc;  Comal County officials for allowing this event to take place; and anyone else I may have neglected to mention here.  Thank you all!

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2020 Race 31 Cowboy Bill Gallop 5K

https://photos.app.goo.gl/DQVHCQJZziVVPYQG6

Photos are at the above link.

BEFORE MY START:  On Dec 5, 2020, I did my 31st race of 2020, the Wild Bill Cowboy Gallop 5K in Pleasanton, Texas.  This event was put on by staff of The Pleasanton Express, the city’s local newspaper. Start and finish were at Atascosa River Park, also known as Veteran’s Park. Start time of 8 a.m.  I arrived with about 40 minutes to start time, got my packet and then wandered around for a bit, chatting with friends and getting some pre-start photos.  It was a bit chilly with some drizzly rain, so I was thankful I had a hat in the car to keep my head warm and dry before the start.

ON THE COURSE:  By race start time, no more drizzle or rain, so we did not get rained on during the event, thank goodness. Temp was in the 40s, so chilly for we South Texans, but thankfully no wind.  We started at one end of the park and went down a paved park trail with the Atascosa River to our left.  Exiting the park, we made a right turn and went up to Main Street, turning right onto that. We went down Main Street for quite a way before turning left onto Virginia Street, which took us into a really nice subdivision of nice homes and wide streets. Cheered on by barking dogs in their yards, we made a loop through this area before getting back to Main Street, farther down than were we had started on it. Once back on Main Street, we returned to the road that took us out from the park and went down that road to get back into the park.  Once back in the park we proceeded the last ½ mile of the course to the finish at a large pavilion in the park.  This was a pretty laid-back event and “old school’ too, with a clock timer and cards on which we put our name, age and finish time, and dropped it into the appropriate age group box.  At my slow-and-easy pace of 12-something minute miles, with 8-minute run/2 minute walk breaks, I was just about way behind everyone else.  I mostly ran with my friend Ralph and another gentleman – whose name went right out of my head – who I recall telling me he is an obstetrician doctor. During my walk breaks, they would continue on and after my walk breaks I had to catch back up to them.  I ended up with a finish time of 37:33, averaging 12:07 per mile. I did, however, manage to do negative splits: Mile 1, 12:48, Mile 2: 12:44, and pushed Mile 3 a bit, 11:18. This was good enough for 2nd in my 65 – 69 age group.  I think there were only 2 in my age group, lol.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Mother Nature was kind; the rain started again, but after we were finished, and by then we were all under a nice covered pavilion.  For a smaller event, some really nice post-race goodies that included about 5 kinds of breakfast tacos, hot coffee (for me, blech; I can’t even stand the smell of the stuff, lol), bottled water, and some other items. I enjoyed a taco and some water, while wandering around taking some photos of the happy finishers, volunteers, etc.

Epilogue:   Really nicely done event with a very good course; pretty darn flat course too, so all you speedy runners out there – heck even all we slow ones like me – this is a really good course to shoot for a 5K PR if you are so inclined. My friend Woody did ii in the 20s and he’s an Old Dog like me.  Unlike me, he is a SPEEDY old dog.  Nice award medals to the age group winners, and really nice quality race shirt for all.  Would definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Pleasanton Express News and all the volunteers that were out there for us; all the sponsors that helped fund the event to make it happen for we participants; all the volunteers there for us, and the local police officers out on the course for our safety; and to the local residents along the route, as we invaded their space for a while.  Also, to anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all for what you do so we participants can do this event.

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2020 Race 30, Boerne YMCA Turkey Trot 5K/10K

Photos are here:   https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ap57akCWKNZ238sV9

BEFORE MY START:  This was my 30th race of 2020, which I think is a pretty good count so far for the year, considering the situation we all have been dealing with this year. This was the 9th annual Boerne YMCA Turkey Trot 5K and 10K and I have done every 5K of this one since it started, so this is one of my streak events.  Boerne Officials allowed this one to take place, thankfully.  However, when I arrived at 6:45 a.m. to get my packet, host and friend Erik Burciaga had told me the city officials had changed the rules for this one a bit.  So instead of having an “organized” start with everyone starting at the same time – being released in small groups to maintain social distancing – the rule now was after you got your packet, you could just go ahead and get started on the course.  There were plenty of course volunteers along the way to make sure you followed the right route.  Several participants – especially the 10K folks that had to do 2 loops of the course – took advantage of this, which allowed them to have a much earlier finish.  With this change, I thought about my friend, Woody, who could have signed up for the virtual since the in-person registration had already reached allowed capacity, and then he could have come up and just done the actual course anyway. I found out later several ‘virtual’ participants had actually done this – come up early and then ran or walked the actual course.  I waited a while so I could get some pre-start photos, and then after the presenting of the colors, the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, and a short prayer, I started pretty close to the posted 8 a.m. original start time. Several other people did too, but not all at once.  The race volunteers made sure everyone did a ‘social distancing” start, with groups of only about 5 – 6 runners starting at a time, so it was well-handled and nicely done.

ON THE COURSE:   Start and finish right beside the Town Center/Square.  One loop for the 5K folks and 2 loops for the 10K participants. The majority of the course was pretty flat, with just one incline around the halfway point; you could not really call it a ‘hill’, although my old man legs felt like it was a hill, lol. The only other ‘up’ part was another short but steeper incline just before we got to the flat part of the road that took us to the finish line.  It is a pretty nice loop course, well-thought out, with wide streets going through a couple of really nice neighborhoods, and very little traffic.  We only had one small portion on a main road, with not a lot of time on that at all, and the drivers encountered there were pretty patient and polite about it all.   I did my usual run/walk/take-photos-during-my-walk-breaks – and stopped occasionally during my running time to get a few more photos – and ended up with a finish time of 38:22, averaging a slow 12:25 per mile. I did do negative splits though:  Mile 1, 12:49; Mile 2, 12:29. Mile 3, 12:08.  All good and I accomplished my usual race-time goals:  have fun out there, finish before sunset; and have no ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish.  :p 

AFTER MY FINISH:  Got a few photos of others coming into the finish, then wandered around getting more “happy finisher” photos and some of a few of the vendors out there, and partaking of some of the post-race goodies that included some really good beer from the Dodging Duck Brewhaus, and sausage wraps – as well as other foods – from Boerne Knights of Columbus and “Kiss The Cook”, if I remember correctly.  Found a quiet spot near the Town Center Gazebo to enjoy my beer and sausage and then continued to get a few more “Happy Finisher” photos.  This is also a dog-friendly event, so the doggies were happy to see me with treats, lol.

Epilogue:  One of the best events of the year for me.  Always a class act; very nice course; finisher medal for all finishers, and a very nice quality long-sleeved tee  for race participants and for the volunteers too. This year’s tee was bright orange, – my favorite color to match my “orange personality”, lol, according to a psych test I once took.   No award ceremony this year and also did not have the guy in the Turkey suit running around everywhere, ‘gobbbling’ up all the atmosphere and giving photo opportunities for people, but I get it, we live in a different world this year and have to act accordingly.  Just happy this event still took place at all, and for what the organizers had to deal with, it was very well done.  This will definitely be an event I continue to do and I assuredly would recommend it to others.

 Mucho thanks to all the people that made this event happen for we participants: all the sponsors, vendors, volunteers, cheer teams, and police officers out there on the course for us, and the EMT  guys located at the start/finish line;  the Boerne YMCA staff, the Boerne City officials for allowing this event to take place; and our music man Paul, and Erik Burciaga of E-Dragon Productions for his usual great job as MC for this event; and to anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!

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