2021 Race 26, Winter in July 10K and 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y6safmt3iXVTcFPW9

BEFORE MY START:    My 26th race of 2021 was the Winter In July 5K/10k, originally started by my friend Rebecca B.  For career purposes, Rebecca now lives in another state, but she kept this event in San Antonio where it started, and she drove down from where she lives now to San Antonio to attend to this event.   Held on July 24th.  I did the 5K. Held at Wheatley Heights in San Antonio, this race benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.  This race is also kind of personal to me as, during my Air Force Days long ago, I was a volunteer for a short while at St. Jude’s, where I had the privilege to meet some of the most courageous kids I have ever known.  This has been a true blessing for me as I am now being treated for prostate cancer; so when I get a little frustrated or maybe start feeling sorry for myself for a few minutes, all I have to do is take a moment, close my eyes and think about those kids and it hits me that I really don’t have it so bad.  After all, I got to grow up and have a life, some of these kids did not. Race start time of 7:35 a.m. for the 10K and 7:45 a.m. for the 5K.  There was also a 1K Kids run before the two main events got started.  I arrived about 40 minutes before start time, chatted with friends and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  Start/Finish line was in the parking lot near Wheatley Heights Stadium. The course for this one was out-and-back. We did a very short distance in the parking lot, turned left onto an access road, and then turned right onto the Wheatley Heights off-road trails, part of the San Antonio Greenway Trails System.  Nicely paved trails, and lots of shade on the course.  A couple of up and down inclines along the way, but nothing you could really call a hill. We also crossed a couple of short bridges that took us across parts of Salado Creek, I think.  Because of my spinal arthritis, I did my usual 8-minutes running/2 minutes walking thing and got some on-course photos during my walk breaks. I felt pretty good and did my usual 12-something minute miles, with my last mile on the way to the finish being a negative split, nice. I ended with a chip time of 37:44, averaging 12:09 per mile, and was 5th out of 10 in my 60-69 males age group.  Got a few photos of others coming into the finish.

AFTER MY FINISH: Got my finisher medal and there was also a nice ice-watered down cloth given to each finisher, nice, to help with cool-down.  Got some water and just sat for a while, sipping my water, and eating a banana, waiting for my pacemaker to bring my heart-rate down to ‘normal” level, which did not take long at all.  After I got myself rehydrated a bit, I then enjoyed a post-race beer and Kiolbassa sausage wrap, and wandered around getting some after-photos, and chatting with friends, participants, and supporters.

Epilogue: Very nicely done event with local company e-Dragon Productions (race management; shirt-printing, running gear, etc) laying out the course and friend Erik doing duties as Co-Race Director with founder Rebecca.  Local resident Mark Purnell did his usual great job as Race MC, and Athlete Guild did their usual excellent job of timing and results. Unique age group nicely designed “tile” awards for the top 3 finishers in each age group, and nice quality race shirts and finisher medals for each finisher. Lots of vendors/sponsors at this one too and a bouncy Moon Castle for the kiddies.   This is a really good quality event I will definitely do again and again.  I would certainly recommend it to others. Walkers welcome too, and this is also a dog-friendly event.

MUCHO THANKS TO: All the people that made this one happen for we partcipants, including e-Dragon Productions; Team RWB San Antonio; Fleet Feet San Antonio; Kiolbassa Smoked Meats for the post-race sausages; Bloody Buddy (bloody mary with vodka); 20’s Moon Castle; wear blue: run to remember; Camp Gladiator; Como Familia; Delgago Realty Group; Trail Toes (anti-chafing products); Performance Republic Physical Therapy; Team Beef; and any others I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!

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2021 Race 25 Texas Tough 10-Mile, 10K and 5K

Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/zkpGp6ZzkPESNFQd8

BEFORE MY START: My 25th race of 2021 was the Texas Tough 5K held on July 18th in Helotes, Texas. Start and finish area was in the historic “Old Towne” part of Helotes. The main event was the Texas Tough 10-miler, starting at 7:30 am. There was also a 10K, starting 5 minutes or so after the 10-miler and then the 5K participants went a few minutes after the 10K start. This was my 2nd race of the weekend, having done the Stars and Stripes 5K the day before. I arrived about 35 minutes or so before the 5K start time and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE: The Race Title does not say “Texas Tough” for no reason. This is one of the hilliest events I have ever done. As I was doing the 5K course, I kept thinking ‘If this is what the 5K is like, I can’t imagine what the 10K and 10-miler participants are having to deal with.” Out-and-back course for the 5K. I think the 10K was out-and-back also. Not sure about the 10-miler. We started in Olde Towne in the parking lot of a local store, GG’s House. Out the parking lot and very first thing, down a hill we go and then up another hill. Left turn that took us down another hill and then up a short incline. We turned right into a very nice neighborhood area and had a flat course for about ¼ of a mile or so. Rounded a curve…..and the REAL hills began Down we went, 1st hill, then up the looooong hill; around a curve and then another downhill that took us to our 5K turnround point. Of course, now we did the hills in reverse on the way to the finish. These are what Race Directors euphemistically call ‘rolling hills” and I was thinking, I’d probably get down these faster if I did roll down them, lol. Downhills are always a problem for me with my spinal arthritis – pounds my back more – so had to be careful and just take it real easy on parts of the downhills. Somehow I managed to get through these tough hills, and finally all that was left were the shorter inclines/hills left to do that we’d first come out on, only in reverse this time. I ended up with a chip time of 41:46, averaging 13:27 per mile; 4th out of 8 in my 65 – 69 age group. My hilly 5K on Saturday was 41:02, so at least I am consistent, lol.

AFTER MY FINISH: First thing, get some water and walk around rehydrating, and watching my pacemaker take my heartbeat back down to normal levels. All-in-all I felt pretty good. Then sat for a while, sipping my water, eating a banana and also a breakfast taco, chatting with friends I had been running with off-and-on while on the course. Then enjoyed a post-race cold one, courtesy of Shiner beer, nice, as I wandered around getting some post-race photos. Also gave a few doggies some treats. Very enjoyable.

Epilogue: This is a pretty challenging 5K course – especially for an old dog like me, lol, with a pacemaker and currently dealing with prostate cancer – but also a well laid out one. The course design allows a lot of interaction between participants coming-and-going, so lots of cheering each other on as participants passed by each other. Really nicely designed and good quality race shirt; and finisher medals to all. Nice goodie post-race, including Taco Cabana breakfast tacos, various fruits, Shiner beer, etc. I would do this one again sometime and would recommend it to others, especially those looking for a good hill challenge; you will certainly get that!

MUCHO THANKS TO: eDragon Productions local company that managed the event and I think they also laid out all the courses; iaap for timing, race results, etc. friend Gilbert for his usual excellent array of fruits and post-race goodies; all the race volunteers; and, of course all race sponsors. Also, thanks to local police. I saw one police officer before the 5K started and she told me there would be a police presence, so thanks for helping keep us safe. Also thanks to anyone involved that I may not have mentioned here. Thanks for what all of you do so we participants can do this event.

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2021 Race 24 Stars and Stripes 5K, 10K, Half

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/a9To3p6H2A6n5nN4A

BEFORE MY START: My 24th race of 2021 was the Stars and Stripes 5K held on July 17 at the Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theater in New Braunfels, Texas. The main event was a half marathon and there was also a 10K and a competitive 5K walk. Athlete Guild was the race company organizer, timer, etc., of this event. I arrived onsite a little before 6:30 a.m. and got a few pre-start photos. The half-marathoners were already lining up as their event was the first to begin, with a start time of 6:30 a.m. Nice early start for a change, which is a blessing in Texas summer, believe me. Wish more Race Directors would do this early start thing during the Texas summer. Weather was pretty cooperative for the most part though. It did not rain on us and we had a pretty nice breeze blowing also, along with lots of cloud cover.

ON THE COURSE: 10K participants started on 7 a.m,, so when we 5K runners, walkers, and 5K competitive walkers lined up for our 7:15 a.m. start, the other race participants were already gone. I lined up way back as I did not anticipate doing this one very speedily. Just wanted to take my time, have fun with it, and not push it. I was feeling pretty good, in spite of the fact I had found out earlier in the week that my testing came back positive for prostate cancer. No worries, that will be taken care of. We started from the grounds of the Drive-In, next to the concession building, proceeding down the entrance/exit driveway. At the end of the long driveway we made a right turn and proceeded up a long incline. At the top of this, we turned right and proceeded down the longest incline/hill on the course. These were the only 2 climbs on the course. After getting onto level ground again we went a very short ways before making a left turn that took us down a country road – paved, thank goodness – to our turn-round point. From there we went back to the finish the way we had come out; which meant that long downhill incline was not an uphill for us. And, of course, the up incline we had first started on was now downhill on the way to the finish. I am actually not fond of downhill running, lol, as I have some spinal arthritis, and downhills pound my back much harder than uphills do. My timer did buzz me on my way to the finish on that downhill, notifying me of a walk break, so that helped. Mostly I felt pretty good and was comfortable, but also pretty slow. I ended up with a 41 minutes even chip time, averaging 13:02 per mile – my fastest was Mile 2 at 12:25, my slowest Mile 3 at 13:59 – 5th out of 6 in my 65 – 69 age group.

AFTER MY FINISH: By now sun was up and it was getting pretty warm. First thing after finishing, get some water, walk around a bit and monitor my pacemaker as it started lowering my heart rate back to what is normal for me, which did not take long at all. After that, I went to my vehicle and sat in it for about 10 minutes with the a/c turned on as I sipped my water and had a post-race nutrition bar. Ahhhhhh. Then it was back out to chat with friends, cheer for other runners and walkers as they finished, enjoy a post-race beer, and get a few “Happy Finishers” photos.

Epilogue: I’ve done this 5K a few times in the past years, including the inaugural one. The theater is family-owned by a great family of some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I saw the co-owner when I first arrived and he actually did the 5K today, the first time he’s done it, since he so kindly opened his venue for this event. This is really a nice place to have a race. Mucho available parking, indoor restrooms, and post-race if you need to cool down a bit quickly, the air/conditioned lobby is open. The theater staff also prepares goodies for post-race which for this one is a plate of burgers and fries and a drink. You can sit in the lobby booths to enjoy this or go to the outside pavilion in front of the lobby, where there are several picnic tables available, and also a nice ‘safe” playground area for any kids there. I hung around for quite while sitting in the picnic area chatting with friends, enjoying post-race food and drink and cheering in other runners and walkers as they finished. A very nice quality event with lots of amenities, pretty nice race shirt, and finisher medals. One nice thing the half marathoners mentioned they liked really well was there was a water-stop at every mile. Well done! I’ve done this in the past, would do this again in the future, and certainly would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO: Race Director Sherri Purnell who really did a great job with this one, and all the Athlete Guild staff that was out there too, making it all happen for us. Thanks also to all the volunteers, both pre-race and race day; and thanks to Team RWB (veteran’s organization) that had a water stop right by Mile 1. I am a member and know a lot of these folks, so it probably did not help my finish time, lol, that I stopped to chat and get a couple photos. I think they also had some more water stations along the rest of the course. Also, thanks to all the other sponsors, Gaudalupe Brewing; For the love of GO!; eDragon Productions; and HutWorx; and of course, our venue sponsor hosts, Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theater. Thank you all!

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2021 Race 23 Texas Too Hot 15K/5k

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/hxG9WVXfXHX4kvXY6

BEFORE MY START:   My 23rd race of 2021 was the Texas Too Hot 15K and 5K, with me doing the 5K.  Put on by iRun Texas and held on July 11 at Boerne Lake Park, I believe this was the 10th anniversary of this event, and I have done every one of the Too Hots since it first started so was not about to miss this one, even if I did do a 2-mile race at 6 pm the day before this event.  Got home a bit late from that one, had some dinner and went to bed late, so did not get much sleep, as I had to get up early for the drive to Boerne Lake Park, as the race had a 7:30 a.m. start.  Even so, feeling pretty good when I got there.  Lots of cloud cover and very humid – dewpoint in the 70s – but a bit of a breeze blowing and temps in the low 70s, so not too bad for Texas summer.  The skies looked like rain was threatening, but it never did rain while we were on the course.  However, lots of wet spots and muddy patches, so you could tell it rained pretty good up here the day or night before.  I arrived at the park with about 30 minutes to go and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  15K and 5K participants started all together.  We got the call to line up and then there was a slight delay as an equipment malfunction was corrected. Then we were off.  After my race the night before, and still recovering a bit from a biopsy I had, I planned just to take this one really easy, not push it, and take a few more photo stops and walk breaks than I usually did for a 5K.  I one one really slow walker, so I figured about a 45-minute finish for me.  I lined up appropriately for this, almost near the back of the pack. And off we went!  This course consists of starting near a picnic area and then right up a short but steep hill almost right off the bat.  One we crested the hill, we had a flat trail to go down. With all the week’s rain the trail was pretty muddy in places, and it is a pretty rocky terrain too, so definitely had to watch your footing. The course was trail until a bit after the 1-mile mark.  The we proceeded onto a paved road.  The 5K participants went up to a set of traffic cones, where we turned around. The 15K folks continued straight ahead on the road, heading for ‘them thar hills” in front of them; and from what people have told me about the 15K course, these are no baby hills either. Both courses are out-and-back, so we went right back the way we had come out, this time doing in reverse the 3 hills we 5K folks had. For once I did behave myself and did not push it, and just enjoyed myself, chatting with other back-of-the pack runners and walkers like me; enjoying the views of the lake and surrounding area; and taking some photos.  I ended up with a 43:43 chip time, 5th in my age group, so I was not too far off my estimate of 45 minutes. 

AFTER MY FINISH:  Got a few photos of some others finishing.   Then wandered around chatting with friends and getting post-race photos, rehydrating and partaking of some of the fruits, etc., that were available.  There was also lots of post-race activities, with a photo-thiingy where you stepped on a pedal and then stepped back for your selfie photo; also post-race massages, and several vendors with give-aways.  Shiner Beer was also on-site but because of the ‘blue laws’, since it was Sunday, could not serve the beer until 10 a.m.     Even so, lots going on, so time went by pretty quickly.  Also a dog friendly event, so I ran out of doggie treats pretty quick.

Epilogue:  iRun really puts on a good show.  Really nice finisher medals; very nice quality race singlets for all participants; awards for the top 3 in each age group and awards to the top overall finishers – nice prizes for them too; there was even a bib-number raffle where you could win a $50 iRun credit for Brooks gear at the iRun stores . iRun owners Mitch and his wife did a great job with the awards ceremony, keeping everyone entertained, lol. Mark Purnell, as usual, did his superb job of being our MC.  Another nice thing about this event: since it is at the lake and right near the picnic area, lots of the participants and their families just stay at the park for a few hours after, enjoying some food, grilling, and lake activities.  It really is a nice little park. This is definitely one of my favorite events of the year – in spite of the course, lol 😉 – and will continue to do it in the future as long as I am able, and certainly would recommend it to others.  

MUCHO THANKS TO:  all the iRun crew and their volunteers for packet pickup before and on race day, and for all the work they do so we participants can have this event. Thanks to all the sponsors who supported this event and all the vendors who came out on race day; the police officers who were on the paved roads part of the course for our safety; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all.      Oh, and apologies to the Shiner Beer guy.  I took his photo, but like an idiot old man, forgot to wipe my camera lens, so the photo of the guy made it look like he was in Witness Protection, with a big ole blob over his face, so I had to delete that one.  Sorry about that, buddy.

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2021 Race 22, Hurache Turbo 2-Miler

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nj1xn9usnQwhKvcR9

BEFORE MY START:  My 22nd live race of 2021 was the iaap Hurache Turbo 10th anniversary 5K held on July 10 at McAllister Park in San Antonio.  This was a free event, courtesy of Hurach Turbo, so the registration filled up really fast.  My friends Ceci and Rogelio created Hurache Turbo running group with a philosophy to make each running event original and fun by adding Mexican folklore. The group not only puts on races that include themes, a variety of costumes, and good food and drink; it also conducts training groups and sessions for runners at all levels.  This event started at 6 pm.  A short while before the start time, rain came pouring in.  McAllister park is noted some of its trails and roadways flooding in various parts after a heavy rain. The last mile on the course did get flooded so this event was changed to a 2-mile out-and-back. Thankfully, the rain stopped before start time and we actually had a pretty nice day with some sunshine, temp in the low 70s, but also very humid. Lots of standing water around the park too, so definitely needed the bug spray.  I arrived onsite with about 40 minutes to start time and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:   As noted, 2-mile out-and-back.  Start was from a road next to the soccer fields and youth baseball field.  We then went up the road that leads to Becken Pavilion in the park.  A little down from Becken Pavilion was our turn-round point and we went back to the finish the way we had come out. There is a lot of shade on this course, and we did have to negotiate a few “standing water” spots.  I did a few people slapping at themselves; assumed flying/biting insects were bothering them, so was glad I had put on my bug spray. I finished 3rd in my age group – there were only 3 in my age group, lol – with a time of 24:37, averaging 12:11 per mile.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Got a few photos of some others finishing.   Then wandered around chatting with friends and getting post-race photos. There were lots of local running groups present, including Wolf Pack; Munsters Squad; Team Beef, and more.  A few had some pavilion tents and were serving up various food and drinks. Awards ceremony went pretty quickly and there was also a costume contest those who wore costumes.  My friend’s mother, aged 90 years old, was quite a hit at the event, and got a medal for participating in the 5K. 90 years old and still going; sheesh, she should get a medal for just showing up! 

Epilogue:  Really nicely done event, with a nice quality race shirt; nice age group award medals; a food truck on site; iaap/Hurache Turbo in my estimate is one of the top race management/running groups in the San Antonio area. Not only do they organize races, they also have lots of various events at their Runners Ranch and runners are welcome to come out and train on the running trail at the ranch, which is mostly very sandy, which makes for some tough running and will strengthen you right up. One of the most outgoing and friendly organizations of people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and am proud to call them friends.  As noted, several running groups participating had food and drink at the event, as well as what iaap provided; so quite a choice of items, including chicken fajitas, various types of sodas and beer, and much more.  Definitely recommend iaap/hurache turbo events and certainly will continue doing them in the future.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  iaap/the Iniguez family for all the things they do for our local running community.   I just can’t say enough about how much this family contributes to local running.  Some of them pretty darn good runner themselves and pretty darn speedy too, and  in the local running history of San Antonio even set some records at a few races.  Check out the iaap web and hurache turbo websites to learn more; and then go do some of their events.  You will not regret it.    Also, thanks to all the volunteer out there for us; to Tico’s Family for its food truck onsite; to Paul, our Music and Sound man; and any others involved that I may not have mentioned here.        

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2021 Race 21, e-Dragon 5K Summer Series, Race 2

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/f54oJw5aJXyt8PN97

BEFORE MY START:  My 21st live race of 2021 was Race 2 of the San Antonio 5K Summer Series, put on by e-Dragon Productions (the Burciaga family).  There are a total of 4 races held over the summer for this series.  Race 2, held on June 27, took place in McAllister Park in San Antonio. The route was on off-road paved trails in the park, and part of one of the park roads.  The course for this one was done in reverse of the Race 1 course.  Start time of 7:30 a.m.  Temps in the 70s, and pretty humid, and somewhat overcast.  McAllister Park trails have lots of shade thankfully.  Starting point was Becken Pavilion with a loop course that brought us back to the pavilion to finish. For some reason I could not get my act together this morning before leaving home – oops, forgot my camera; go back inside and get it; oops, forgot my phone, go back into the house to get it; oops, forgot my dry shirt to change into…jeez, crazy old dog, lol – so arrived at race site with about 20 minutes to start time.  Got my packet, got my bib pinned on, got my camera and got a few photos before we started.    

ON THE COURSE:   As noted, a loop course.  We started in front of Becken Pavilion, then turned onto the trail that heads toward a local police substation near the park. Prior to reaching the substation, we turned onto another trail that took us down toward the park’s soccer fields and youth baseball field. Turned onto that trail, passing the soccer fields and baseball field; left turn onto another trail that took us to the park road that headed us back toward the direction of Becken Pavilion. Just down from Becken Pavilion, we turned onto another off-road paved trail that did take us past the police substation, and then back to the trail we had started on to finish up.  There were 6 people in my 60 – 69 age group, and I ended up dead last, with a chip-time of 38:17.  The first guy in my age group did the route in 20 minutes-and-change, jeez. The first 4 guys all finished in the 20s, with me and another guy finishing in the 30s. Got some talented speedy old guys in my age group, fer sher. Probably did not help my race time either, lol, when I saw walker coming along with a doggie or two, and stopped to offer them – the dogs, not the humans :p – a doggie treat.  All good, though; I enjoyed myself and I met my two primary race goals these days – finish standing up and having no ambulance waiting for me specifically at the finish.  😊

AFTER MY FINISH:  Got a few photos of some others finishing.  Then went to see friend Gilbert, who had brought a nice array of fresh fruits, and got a banana and some water.  Sat in the pavilion area, relaxing, drinking my water, eating my banana, chatting with friends there also, and watching my heart numbers on my garmin as my pacemaker took my heart-rate down from 135 back to my usual normal range of 55 – 61 when I am resting, which did not take long.  Good boy, Zapper (the name of my pacemaker, lol).  After that it was walk-about time to chat with more friends and get some post-race photos.

Epilogue: The Burciaga local running-legend family, via their e-Dragon business, always puts on some great quality races, training runs, events, etc.   They also do some really nice shirt printing too; Erik is my go-to guy for the printing for the majority of my shirts I wear for my races and training runs. Nicely laid out course at a nice location, very easy to follow; nice quality race shirt; nice awards ceremony – top 3 in each age group and overall winners – with unique medals for the winners.  Also, walkers are always welcome too. And, unless prohibited by some park rule or statute, e-Dragon events are dog friendly too.  I enjoy doing e-Dragon events, will continue to do them in the future, and certainly would recommend them to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:   e-Dragon for a really nice quality race; the park police officers that were out there for us for the times we crossed over one of the park roads and ran on another park road; friend Gilbert for providing fresh fruits; all the race volunteers that made this one happen for we participants; all the sponsors for this one; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Thanks for what you do that allows we runners and walkers to participate in this event.          

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2021 Race 20 Run To Remember 5K/10K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/odDiY1dTRkaY244N8

BEFORE MY START:   My 20th race of 2021, held on June 20th, was the Run To Remember 5K and 10K, an event raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. This was an event done in conjunction with The Longest Day 5k, held on June 19th, also raising funds for Alzheimer’s, and part of the fund-raising Beards vs Beans friendly rivalry going on between brothers Matt and Miguel. As with The Longest Day event, this event was also held at Wheatley Heights in San Antonio. Wheatley Heights is a very nice events facility that has a football field and running track with stadium seating, and nearby off-road paved trails that are part of San Antonio’s Greenway Trails System.  10K start was at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K followed at 7:45. After the main events, there was also a .5 beer run, in which participants had to run or walk, or both, .5 miles with a full mug of beer, trying not to spill any of it.  I arrived on-site with about 40 minutes or so before my 5K start time and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  Starting behind the stadium bleachers we proceeded out a back gate, did a short jaunt through the parking lot and then made our way to the trailhead of the paved trails. Both the 10K and 5K were out-and-back.  Weather felt a bit more humid than Saturday’s 5K, and I could tell I was going a bit slower for today’s 5K, as my walk break starting points were a bit less far out than my walk breaks for Saturday’s 5K had been.  Also, I made a couple of ‘unscheduled’ walk break stops to get a couple of extra photos, so that may have had something to do with it too. Yesterday’s event was bright and sunny, today’s event had a bit more cloud cover, and the temp, around 79 or so, was a couple degrees higher than yesterday at this time, and it felt a bit more humid today too. The trail is pretty nice with lots of shade along the way.  The majority of it is pretty flat, with just a few inclines along the way, nothing you can really call a hill.  Yesterday I finished this course in 37 minutes and change.  Today, it took me 39:18 chip time, and I had positive splits for this one, instead of negative splits like yesterday’s event.  Also got a tad dizzy at the finish after I stopped; but with my A-Fib heart, this happens once in a while, so I am used to it.  Found myself a shady spot – thanks to the Beer folks who let me sit on the cooler under their tent – and drank some water, ate a banana and watched my heart rate numbers start lowering pretty quickly as my pacemaker went to work getting me back to normal.

AFTER MY FINISH:  After rehydrating and eating the banana and just sitting a few minutes, felt much better and was off to do my usual thing of getting some post-race photos.  Several of the 10K folks were still out on their course. I saw a few of them coming in, including my friend Don, and the guy who carried the US Flag for the whole 10K course, something he had done for Saturday’s 10K too.  Also enjoyed watching the .5 Beer Run contestants do their thing. And even though today I was slower than a turtle’s spit dribbling down his shell, somehow I managed to place 3rd in my age group.

Epilogue:  Originally scheduled to be done the last Sunday of Fiesta in 2020, this was delayed quite a while due to the pandemic.  So long that I actually forgot I had registered for it, until Miguel sent me a reminder, lol. Glad he did.  This is a nice quality event with a really nice quality race shirt, Fiesta finisher medal from each race, and a coupon for a Whataburger free Taquito.  I am probably one of the few Texans – well, I am a transplanted Texan – who actually does not like Whataburger burgers, but I love their taquitos, good stuff. Lots of nice post-race goodies, including fresh fruits, sausage-on-a-stick, choice of spicy (with jalapenos) or not spicy; and Lone Star beer.  The Beans vs Beards brothers put on these two really great quality events, well worth doing. I definitely will do them again in the future and would certainly recommend them to others. MUCHO THANKS TO: Brothers Miguel and Matthew for putting on a quality event and always making it fun; all the organizers and sponsors, including e-Dragon productions for doing their usual great job; River City Produce for the fresh fruits; Wingstop;, Network Funding, Alzheimer’s Association,, and e-Dragon Productions. Also thanks to iaap race management company for the timing, results, etc.  Thanks to any others I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!      

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2021 Race 19, Longest Day 5K and 10K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/GPd3eHcTJLPDGig38

BEFORE MY STARTMy 19th live race of 2021 was the Bears vs Beans Longest Day 5K, held on June 19th at Wheatley Heights, an events location in San Antonio for various athletics events, football games, and more. Nice football field stadium with a really nice running/walking track that goes around the field.  There was also a 10K and a .5K beer run/walk, where participants had to do the .5 carrying a full mug of beer and finish with beer still in the mug. Put on by two brothers, Miguel and Matthew, it is a fundraising event supporting ENDALZ, to help raise funds for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. If I remember correctly, one brother likes to be clean-shaven and the other does not like beans.  So whichever brother raises the most funds, the other brother has to either eat a plate of beans or grow some face-hair. I originally registered for this race in 2020, but due to the pandemic, it got delayed until now.  I arrived with about 45 minutes to the 7:45 start time for the 5K – the 10K started at 7:30 – and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  This course started and finished at the stadium, with the majority of the course being done on one of off-road paved trails of the San Antonio Greenway System of trails.  These trails are pretty much all over various parts of the city and some connect with each other, so you can go a long way on some of these trails. For a summer morning run, the Wheatley Heights trails are very nice as this trail system has a lot of shade. Bright, sunny day for us for this event, so the shade was appreciated.  Temp was around 77 degrees with humidity around 88%.  As noted previously, 10K participants started at 7:30, 5K at 7:45.  So, at my slow pace, with a 15-minute lead for the 10K folks, the front-runner 10K person would probably already be halfway done or more, lol, by the time I started my 5K. This 5K course is pretty flat, with just a few small up-and-down inclines, nothing you can really call a hill. Out-and-back for both 5K and 10K.  I did my usual 8-min run/2 min walk thing (stupid arthritis, can’t run nonstop anymore) and took some photos during my walk breaks.  I ended up finishing in 37:14, averaging about 12:03 per mile, and I had negative splits too, nice; Mil 1: 12:04, Mile 2, 12:11, and my fastest mile was Mile 3 at 12:02. I am pretty consistent, lol. My pacemaker behaved itself and I felt pretty good the whole way.  I ended up 2nd in my 60 – 69 age group, so I think there were only two in my age group, lol.

AFTER MY FINISH: Got a few photos of some others finishing, then got a banana and some water and sat in some shade consuming those as I waited for my pacemaker to zap my heart back down into my normal range, which did not take long. Then I went on a walk-about, chatting with friends and other particpants, watching the beer run, and getting some photos of the “Happy Finishers.”  I call all of them that since more participants are usually smiling after the race is done, not before and during, lol.

Epilogue:  This is a keeper event for me.  Have done this one several times in the past and will continue to do it in the future.  Most definitely would recommend it to others. Very nicely organized by Erik and Kristina Burciaga of e-Dragon Productions and timing well-handled by race management company Athlete Guild. Nice post-race goodies, including Lone Star beer.  Always nice too, to have a location with indoor restrooms instead of porta-potties. Nice quality race shirt too.

MUCHO THANKS TO: Brothers Miguel and Matthew for putting on a quality event and always making it fun; all the organizers and sponsors, including e-Dragon productions for doing their usual great job; River City Produce for the fresh fruits; Wingstop;, and Catamount Constructors; Athlete Guild for its usual great job too; all the race volunteers, of course; and any others involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!          

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2021 Race 18, e-Dragon SA Summer Series 5K, Race 1

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Tfc6U1tqehZDdYXR6

BEFORE MY START:  My 18th live race of 2021 was the first event of the e-Dragon SA Summer Series 5k, held on June 13th at McAllister Park in San Antonio.  This is the first of a series of 4 races held over the summer.  You can sign up for each individually or you can sign up for all 4, which gives you a discount of getting 4 races for the price of 3.  This event supports scholarships for local deserving athletes.  Race start time of 7:30, which is really nice, given how quickly it gets hot in San Antonio during the summer. Temp was still in the 70s’ with a high dewpoint, making it feel very humid, but the early start did help a bit. I arrived with about 45 minutes to start time, got my packet and then got a few photos before the start.

ON THE COURSE:   We started at the Becken Pavilion – named for Al Becken, a runner and community activist who did a lot for our local running community and for this particular city park. One of the friendliest people I ever had the privilege of meeting. The course was pretty much off-road paved trails, with about a half-mile of it being on one of the park roads that was closed to the public.  The course is very flat, making it an opportune one for those who want to shoot for a PR.  There is also plenty of shade in this park.  Just about the whole course was under tree cover at any given moment.  I live very near the park so have run numerous 5Ks in this park over the years that had various course routes.  This 5K, in my opinion, had the best laid-out 5K course I have ever done in this park, very well thought out.  Definitely going to use this course on training runs in the future.  I did my usual 8-min-run/2-min-walk thing (my darn arthritis won’t let me run nonstop anymore) and took photos along the way.  Very enjoyable time on this course, chatting with friends, getting photos, seeing several deer, and also not falling down or running into something – I can be a klutz at times, lol.  I ended up with a 37:57 finish time, averaging 12:15 per mile, and had negative splits too, nice. I might have finished a tad faster if I had not taken a couple of on-course stops to give a treat to some doggies I encountered along the way, lol, but it’s all good. I got 2nd in my age group.  I think there were only 2 in my age group, lol.  I’ll take it. 

AFTER MY FINISH:   Got some water and enjoyed a post-race banana and rested a few minutes while my pacemaker took my heart-rate down to normal level again.  After that, enjoyed myself chatting with friends/other runners, and getting some post-race photos.  Age group awards were handled nicely, with each placer getting a nice medal and a professional photographer took a photo, with an e-Dragon backdrop behind each person who placed.

Epilogue:   Very nice event and, as noted previously, really nicely laid out course by Race Director Erik. Entry price of only $15, which is great, with an option to also purchase a Summer Series 5K very nice quality race shirt, reasonably priced. The first 100 who register for the whole bundle (all 4 races) get a free shirt.   Post-race goodies included various fruits, water, etc.  Very nice race venue, with nearby restrooms, water fountain, shaded park pavilion, etc.  I would certainly do this one again and recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:   e-Dragon Productions, which pretty much picks up the whole cost of this event.  Thanks to the Park Police officers who were out there for us at the two places were we were on an open park road and intersection crossing for just a few minutes.  The trails we used were still open to other public users of the park, so thanks to them for their patience with all the 5k participants they may have encountered.  And, of course, thanks to all the volunteers that worked with e-Dragon to make this one happen for all we participants.

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2021 Race 16, Cibolo Crossing Stampede 5K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/eA2wkQx7MQnTRKF88

BEFORE MY START:    My 16th race of 2021 was the Cibolo Crossing Stampede 5K, held on May 29th at the Cibolo Crossing area of shoppes, stores, etc., anchored by the Santikos Entertainment center. Race start of 5 a.m.  Was not sure if this one would be postponed, as our area had some major thunderstorms the night before, with one heck of a lightning show. However, although it was drizzling a bit when I left for the race, the lightning was gone and hardly any wind at all, so we got lucky.  After I got to race site, someone told me the 5K in Bulverde this same morning had to be canceled because of road flooding; and in Cibolo the night before, a house got its roof struck by lightning and caught on fire.   So we were extremely lucky that for our 5K, things were pretty mild.  Cibiolo Crossing is a nice shopping venue that includes not only Santiko, but Dunkin Donuts – who provided post-race goodies for us – Magnolia Pancake Haus and Venetian Nails.  This is a growing shopping center, with others coming.  For post-race, there were several vendors setting up barbecue and food areas for a celebration of the opening of this center.   Santikos kindly allowed participants access to its entertainment center for the use of its very nice indoor restrooms.  There are also several covered patios in this center, so during the early drizzle, we were able to pretty much stay dry.  I had picked up my race packet the day before, so after arriving I chatted with friends and participants and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  For what they had to work with, Athlete Guild – the company that did the course setup, timing, results, etc – did a pretty good job laying out the course. We started near Santikos and headed out to the shopping center’s access roads. We pretty much stayed on these roads the whole time. Turned right onto one road, down to a turn-round point, back the way we had come, this time on the other side of the road. Right turn and then out to a turn-round point, which included a fairly long hill to get up to the turnround. Back down the hill – which got us to Mile 1 along the way down – then up another hill to another turn-round point, passing in front of the walkway we had come out of to start. Then back the way we had come – toward that first turn-round hill, but did not have to climb the hill again.  Instead, just near the bottom of this hill was Mile 2, where we turned round again and went back the way we came. One more time up that hill again, back to the turn-round after that, and then, finally lol, a turn onto the pedestrian walkway that took us to the finish line.  Since we participants passed each other going so many ways, the slower runners like me were able to see the speedier runners doing their thing, and some of these folks were really speedy. Since we passed by each other at so many various times, we were also able to cheer each other on, and see friends on the course on occasion. I ended up with a time of 37:30, finishing the dreaded 4th in my age group; which was 61 – 99, lol.  There were only 4 in my age group, loll, and the other 3 guys in my age group all did 8-minutes and-change miles. I met my personal finish goals: finish standing up and have no ambulance waiting for me.   😊

 AFTER MY FINISH:  Got a couple photos of some other finishing, Indulged in some of the Dunkin Donut goodies, drank a bit of Gatorade, and then got a few post-race photos .   There were 130 finishers, 64 male and 66 female. From what I saw at any given moment post-race, everyone seemed to have enjoyed being here. Pretty nice turnout for a small inaugural event. 

Epilogue:  Mother Nature cooperated with our race today so we did not have it too badly at all, other than being pretty humid with all these storms up and down the Austin-San Antonio Corridor. We were at one of the lucky events that did not get canceled/postponed.  As noted, for what Athlete Guild had to work with, the course was laid out fairly well.  Parts of the shopping center is under construction, as is a nearby neighborhood being built up. My friend Scott of Athlete Guild told me as the center gets more completed, the course will probably change somewhat to reduce all those out-and-backs and maybe include one of the nearby neighborhoods.  I only see this one growing, as word gets out.  I would do this one again and would recommend it to others.  Also, it is walker friendly and dog-friendly.     

MUCHO THANKS TO: The Athlete Guild Team for putting this on; the Law Enforcement officers who were out there out there on the course keeping us safe, as some of these access roads did intersect with public roads; all the volunteers out there for us; all the sponsors of this event – especially big thanks to Santikos for use of the facilities, sure beats porta-potties; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!       

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