2020 Race 25 Warrior Dash 5K

Race photos are here:    https://photos.app.goo.gl/BY5dQHKnLvB7X6sb6

BEFORE MY START:   On October 24, 2017, I did my 25th race of 2020, the Warrior Dash 5K, held at the Community Center of Floresville, Texas.  This was a fundraiser put on by members of the local Anytime Fitness and friends of a very nice guy named Jerry, to raise funds for Jerry and his family as he battles liver cancer. I registered online a couple of days before the start date, after I found out about this event from my friend Lynette, so thank you Lynette! Start time advertised as 9 a.m. I arrived about 8:15 or so, got my packet and then wandered around chatting with other entrants and supporters and getting a few photos.  The event actually started closer to 9:30, as more people showed up to get registered.  I did not mind the delay at all, this was for a good cause, and extra time just let me get to meet more people, which I enjoy.   Also gave me time to explore the grounds of the community center area – and find the restrooms pre-start, always a good thing for old men, lol.  The community center is actually quite large and the grounds are extensive, with playing fields for soccer, etc.  The same day this 5K was going on, there was some kind of youth activity taking place at the fields, with flag football and soccer matches for kids of various ages.  My friends Woody and Ralph and Ralph’s son also did this event, so I did have some familiar faces there for me.

ON THE COURSE:  Weather conditions for this one was: chilly. On Friday in our area, it had been in the 80s.  Then we had a “cold front” move in for Saturday and at race time, we had a drop of 30 degrees, with the temp in the 50s.  Crazy Texas weather.   The wind was blowing pretty good too, making it feel even chillier.  I had two shirts on, planning to take the top one off when I ran, but instead just used that bottom shirt as my base layer, with this darn wind blowing, and that worked fine.  I was comfortable for the whole route. The course started us in the community center parking lot, with a short lap around the lot, then onto the road that went to the back of the center where the playing fields were located. Here, we got onto sidewalk and did a loop near the playing fields.  Then onto a dirt/gravel road that took us to the adjacent City Park.  Here we did a couple of circuits around one of the park roads, then a lap around a dead-end park area, and then made our way to the finish at a pavilion in the park.  It was a very nicely laid out route, but a little short of 5K distance, around 2.45 is what I had on my Garmin.  I checked with some others and that’s about what they had too.  Even so, nicely done event, lots of fun, and my old-man legs did not mind the shorter distance at all, lol.  

After My Finish
.  Walked the short distance from the pavilion back to my car to get my post-race drink and protein bar and dry off with a towel I had –  since even in cold weather, when I run, I sweat like crazy – and then back to the pavilion to get some post-event photos and chat with other participants.  The pavilion was a pretty nice area; covered pavilion with restrooms, a couple of tables, a playground nearby, and parking area in front.   This event, of course, was for Jerry and family, so they had a nice little post-race event that included some photos of him and with him.

Epilogue: This is one of the nicest events I have ever done, mainly because of the people that were there.  One of the friendliest groups of people I have ever met.  The event was well-organized, the course was pretty nice – I plan to go back there occasionally and run on my own and do some exploring in that area, so I appreciate this introduction to the park, etc – and everyone got a really nice finisher medal.  The race shirt is pretty darn nice too, but I registered too late to get one.  All good though…as many races as I  do in a year – my all-time high was in 2018 when I did 91 races for that year – I think my space for race shirts is beginning to run out, lol.   With the purpose of this event, I guess this is a one-time event, but if they ever decided to turn it into a regular fund-raiser for the club or whatever cause, I would definitely do this one again.  This was a dog-friendly event too, so I did get to hand out a few treats.

Mucho thanks to the Anytime Fitness members that got this one organized and thanks to any and all sponsors who may have supported this one.  Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers who were out there for us, and thanks to anyone else I may not have mentioned here that had a part in getting this event put on.   A really big HEART-FELT HUG AND PRAYER for Jerry, one of the nicest guys I have ever met, who also has a great sense of humor.  It was really a privilege and an honor to meet you, sir. I wish you every success in your personal battle.  I hope we can meet again sometime.  Never give up!

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2020 Race 24, Battle of Hillotes 5K 10K Half

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/icwFQ56HiACSxRtq5

BEFORE MY START:  On Oct 17, I did my 24th race of 2020, the Scallywompus “Remember the Alamo Beer Battle of Hillotes 5K.”  This was the 3rd in a series of 4 races.  Three distances at this race: half-marathon; 10K; and 5K. Although the race name says “Hillotes”, the race location was at Bankersmith TX (near Fredericksburg TX) since the Helotes TX powers-that-be did not approve a live race in their city boundaries.  From San Antonio, Bankersmith is about an hour and thirty minutes driving time, so I was up early to get some breakfast and hit the road to get there by 7:30 or so.  The half started at 7:30 – so I missed their start – 10K at 8:10, and the 5K at 8:25.  I arrived a tad after 7:30.  Having already picked my race packet up the day before, I wandered around and get a few pre-start photos.   

ON THE COURSE:  One word: HILLY.  They call this area Texas Hill Country for a reason.  The 5K basically only had 4 hills to do, which were actually 2 hills, since all courses were out-and-back. A bit after the star we did a long downhill, then a bit level for a fraction of a time; then proceeded up a long uphill.  Once we crested that, it was fairly flat to the 5K-turn-round point.  Back to the uphill we had just come up, which was now a downhill for us and then back to the start downhill, which was now an uphill for the finish.  The previous event before this was also on this course. For my second outing on this course, I finished almost a minute faster than I had when I did this course the first time. 38:02 chip time, averaging 12-something minute miles.  I think I might have gotten 37-and-change, but I stopped on the finish line hill to get a couple of photos. All good for me, I really don’t pay that much attention to race time; my main goals when I run – especially at my age, lol – are to finish everything I start; have fun with all the running I do; and have no ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish.  :p   Goals met!  I still managed to finish 2nd in my age group, since there were only 2 in my age group, lol. The first guy in my age group (65 – 69) in the 5K finished, by the way, in 29:45, averaging 9-something minute miles.  Yeah…by the time I got to the finish line, he could have already showered and changed clothes, lol.

After My Finish.  Forgot my blood-oxygen measuring thingy – with my pacemaker and running, my cardiologist likes me to do a post-race check – but the medics on site had one, so they took it for me.  Very nice for me at 95%.  The medics were really nice and I ended up chatting with them for a while, and getting a photo of them.  Thanks for being there for us.  Then I went to enjoy a post-race beer and sausage-on-a-stick and wandered around munching, chatting with friends, and getting some photos of what I call the “Happy Finishers” since most people are smiling a lot more after the race than before and during, lol.  Very nicely done event with the unique ‘drinking glass’ award for the age group award winners and nicer awards for the top overall finishers in each event.   

Epilogue:   Scallywompus throws a heck of an event.  Their motto is “Come for the race. Stay for the party.”  And they are not kidding, either, as you can see from some of the photos.  Bankersmith is a really nice location for an event, with a nice little store-and-bar, very nice outside patio-and-picnic table seating, and also picnic tables on, a small stage, and an event center on the grounds behind the raised patio and bar/store.  It is very ‘rural” – said this city boy, lol, who grew up in the Washington DC area – but very nice and very fun, and very relaxing post-race.  Nice quality race tee too for this event.   One sad note:  I missed running this time with my bud, Ralph, whose mother recently passed away in the week before this race.  Please keep him and his family in your good thoughts and prayers.

Thanks to the Bankersmith authorities – and after 2 races there, I think I still haven’t met anyone yet who lives in Bankersmith – for allowing this venue for the races, and thanks to all the patience of the local residents for letting us invade their space for many hours.  Thanks also to all the other people who made this one happen for we participants: sponsors, vendors, volunteers, local law enforcement, all the Scallywompus staff, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here. 

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2020 Race 23 Oh My Quad 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/7ZpFeBdUctxuseqz6

BEFORE MY START:   On Oct 10, I did my 23rd race of 2020, the Oh My Quad 5K held at Guadalupe Brewery in New Braunfels, Texas., and organized by race company Athlete Guild.  There were 197 finishers for this one, 87 male and 110 female. Race start time of 8:30. I arrived around 7:30 a.m., got my race packet, and then got a few pre-start photos.  

ON THE COURSE:  The weather was pretty nice, even with a later 8:30 a.m. start.   Clear skies, sunshine, with a few clouds on occasion, and a temp of 68 degrees. However, the humidity was 93%, making it feel warmer.  Due to COVID restrictions, a staggered start, with about  15 – 20 runners  per group spread out and released gradually.  At my slow pace, I lined up way in the back, so was almost one of the last to get started.  Had some spinal arthritis issues flare up on Thursday and Friday before race day but once I got started on the course, I actually felt pretty good.    The course was flat, with us running on the road in front of the brewery.  Left onto the road from the start line, down to a turn-round point; then back the way we had come out, went past the finish line, and then down to a turn-round point on another road. From there, back to the finish the way we had just come out. There are a couple of cement factories out here, and truck delivery areas, so with the roads open to traffic, we did have some of these big trucks passing us off-and-on. From where I was at any given moment, the drivers were pretty patient about it, and drove slowly and carefully past the participants; at least where I was; maybe it was different for some of the other participants. Planned to just take it easy, have fun, get some photos, and at least finish by sunset. 😉.  Hit Mile 1 at 11:49 and paid for that, lol, ending up with positive splits. Finished in 38:34, averaging 12:22 per mile. 10-year age groups – mine being 60 – 69, so did not even come close to placing, as there are some real speedy old farts in my age group, lol.  My friend Woody got 2nd.

After My Finish.   Stuck around the finish line and got a couple photos of others coming in, including my friend Ralph. Then went back to my car, sat for a few minutes in the ac, cooling down and drinking some cold water I had brought with me. Changed into a dry shirt, and then went to enjoy the after-party and get some ‘happy finishers and supporters” photos.  The brewery threw a really nice after-party with beer, of course, and some other drinks, and also had various kinds of tacos and some sausages.  Lots of tables to sit at – some of which you were able to reserve before the race if you had a group of people with you – in a very nice “back-yard’ or picnic-type location, with tables spread out from each other, and there was also a cover patio with tables too.   Pretty nice atmosphere.  I enjoyed a beer and a taco as I wandered around chatting with friends and participants and getting some photos.

Epilogue:  Very nicely done event.  Athlete Guild organized everything very nicely, from packet pickup to putting up results, and made sure everyone was ‘behaving themselves” per the guidelines set by the county for having a ‘live’ race.  Actually, from what I saw where I was at any given moment, everyone was pretty compliant, which was good for everyone, especially if we want to keep having live races while we live in these crazy times.  As noted, the brewery really did well with the after-party goodies, seating arrangements, etc. Nice also to have indoor restroom facilities instead of porta-potties. I chatted with a couple of the employees post-race – and I think one of the owners, if I remember correctly – and they were all very nice, and very accommodating for this event.  This is definitely an event I would recommend and would do again.  Also, I would recommend if you have a chance to visit the brewery, then go.  Have a meal, get a drink. Very nice place with very nice staff and atmosphere.  Also dog and kid friendly too.

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2020 Race #22 Semper FI-VE 5K

2020 Race #22 Semper FI-VE 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/u1wwZYermpsvhGBr7

BEFORE MY START:  On Oct 3, 2020 I did my 22nd race of 2020, the Semper FI-VE “live” 5K at New Braunfels High School in support of the school’s US Marines Jr ROTC program. The event has a nice turnout, 137 male finishers, 145 female finishers for a total of 282 participants.  I arrived onsite with about 45 minutes to go to 9 a.m. start time.  Had already picked up my packet the day before, so wanderered around pre-start chatting with friends, giving some doggies treats – this is a dog-friendly event – and taking a few photos.  A nice pre-start ceremony with a JR ROTC Marine Color Guard and the singing of The National Anthem.

ON THE COURSE:  Nice course with nice weather, about 65 degrees at 9 a.m., with low humidity, and “abundant’ sunshine.  This was a kind of out-and-back and loop finish. We started in front of the JR ROTC building on the campus, did a little route through the school grounds, and then went into a really nice neighborhood in proximity to the school.  The course was mainly flat with a couple of inclines and a couple of fair-sized hills along the way.  On the way back we passed where we had exited the school grounds after the start and went down to a gate a bit farther down that took onto the road that got us back to the finish line.   I ended up 4th in my 60-69 male age group, with a time of 37:04.   My friend, Woody, was first in our age group with a blazing time of 24:05, zowie!  I jokingly told him, it was his fault that I got 4th because if it had been a larger event, it would have been 5 year age groups and he would have been in the 60 – 64 age group, and then I would have gotten 3rd in the 60 – 69 group, lol.  All good though.  A little under the last half-mile I saw my speedy friend Sammy on the course and he kindly allowed his speedy legs to run at my slow pace as he ran in with me to the finish.  Thanks for the company, Sammy, much appreciated!

After My Finish.   Got my ‘finisher medal” – for this event a set of dog tags…appropriate for me, right?  – and then went to my car and sat for a few minutes with the a/c on, cooling down, and drinking my bottle of water.  Changed into a dry shirt I had brought and then it was off to chat with friends and participants post-race and get some “after” photos.  

Epilogue:  This was the 4th year anniversary for this event, and the first time I’ve done it. Really nicely done, and I will certainly do this one again in the future.  Very nice course, lots of parking on the school grounds.  Also, indoor restrooms in the JR ROTB building, which beats porta-potties anytime…especially for we senior citizen folks, lol.   Not that much post-race snack, etc., except for some bottled water, but I get that; it’s a school and this is a tough budgeting time for life in the education world. I figured as much so had brought my own post-race snack.  All good.  As said, a really nicely done event.  I would certainly recommend this 5K to others and will do it again myself.

Mucho thanks to the JR ROTC and New Braunfels High School leadership for allowing this event on the campus.  Also kudos to race company Athlete Guild for the timing, course setup, results, etc. Nice bright pink race shirt, and good quality too. Thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors, the officers on the course doing road safety duties for us, the lead motorcycle drivers, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here for making this event happen for we participants. Thank you all!

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2020 Race 21 Mutt Strut 5K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ccXf8qQmqCghhW6y7

BEFORE MY START: On Sep 26, I did my 21st “live” race of 2020.  The Mutt Strutt 5K was put on by the Wilson County Roadrunners in support of the Wilson County No Kill Shelter.  Event location was the Helton San Antonio River Nature Park in Floresville, a small city about 22 miles from downtown San Antonio. Race start time 8 a.m.   There was also a 2K fun walk.  I arrived fairly early, got my race packet and then get a few pre-start photos. The weather was pretty nice; very little wind, cloudy and overcast, and about 71 degrees.   This was a fairly small event that had 40 finishers, 14 male and 26 female.  Everyone got a finisher medal.  Race award was given only to the overall male finisher and overall female finisher.  This is also a dog-friendly event, so there were several 4-legged participants too.

ON THE COURSE:  I’ve done this event a couple of times in the past so was somewhat familiar with the park. The 5K course was 2 loops through the park on its roads and trails, most of which were a mix of dirt-and-gravel.  Course was mainly flat, with one short hill we went down on the way out and up on the way back.  Tough terrain to run on in some spots along the course as the surfaces were pretty uneven.  Nice park to run in though; very peaceful and scenic.  There is a trail that also takes you down to the river for some nice water views, but the course did not include that trail; I think it may be a dead-end trail, if I remember correctly.  My friend Albert and I were pretty much in close proximity of each other for most of the time we were on the course.  Our speedy friend Woody was long-gone from both of us, lol, way ahead on the course, just as our speedy friend Lynette was too.  When I finished the 2nd loop, my garmin showed the course as 3.25, and a couple of friends had that too, so just a small tad long, but that was okay, it was an enjoyable course. I ended up with 40:10, averaging about 12:24-minute miles.  Mile 3 was a negative split for me, though, at 12:08.  Mile 1 was 12:33 and Mile 2 was my slowest, at 12:45.  One thing about being a slower runner, you have a lot more time to enjoy the scenery.  😊

After My Finish.   Some light refreshments available after the finish, various fruits and water.  I had brought some of my own so enjoyed my post-race drink and a small protein bar, just relaxing a bit.  After that, wandered around chatting with people, getting some post-race photos and providing a couple of treats to the doggies, with the permission of their humans, of course.

Epilogue:  Small but very nicely organized event with Athlete Guild doing their usual good job of providing timing, results, etc.  Nice course – but I need to remember for this event to wear my trail shoes, I keep forgetting to do that every time I do this event, lol – nice finisher medal and nice quality race tee.  This is a very ‘peaceful’ event in a very peaceful atmosphere and location. Will definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others.  Great cause too, supporting the animal shelter.  In talking with the participants that had their dogs there, the majority of them were rescues.   Mucho thanks to the Wilson County Roadrunners, Athlete Guild, all the sponsors that helped this event happen, and all the volunteers who were out there for us, and anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!

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2020 Race #20, Bakersmith TX 5K

Photos from my report are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/eqb5ZPnCpKwntzHr6

BEFORE MY START: On Sep 19, 2020, I did the Bankersmith 5K, my 20th “live” race of 2020.   This was the second race in a series of 4 that I signed up to do, called Remember The Alamo Beer.  The main event for this one was a half marathon and there was also a 10-miler and a 5-miler.  This event was held in Bankersmith, Texas which, from what I read online is a ‘ghost town’ near Fredericksburg TX.  The adventure started with my drive to get there. It was normal until I got to “Road 9”,  the road that took participants to the race site. One of the most twisting, hilly roads I have ever driven, and although it was only an 11 mile drive on this road, mentally it felt like forever.  At one point I thought I heard Twilight Zone music, and was going to go around the next curve and see Rod Serling standing there, or the Rock n Roll Band in Heaven, lol  Finally did arrive at the race site, got parked, and walked down to the “city center” of Bankersmith, where all the activity was. Had already picked up my packet so wandered around and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  The half and 10-mile folks were already on their courses by the time I arrived. The 5-miler folks were the next to leave at 8 a.m., and then we 5K folks started at 8:15.  Really nice weather for this one, not too humid at all, and temp in the 60s, very nice.  The 5K course started down a long hill, and then we climbed up another long hill.  Then a bit of flat to the turn-round point. Then back down that 2nd long uphill we had climbed on the way out; and of course, the hill we had come down on when we first started was now a challenging uphill on the way to the finish.  Fun stuff. After the race, friends who did the half, 10-mile, and 5-mile, told me they had to do that too, and then they had even MORE hills on their courses.  Glad I only did the 5K, lol.  I finished in 38:06, averaging 12:13 minutes per mile and had negative splits of 12:31, 12:07, and 12:05, so pretty consistent.  I ended up first in my age group (65 – 69) since I was the only one IN my age group, lol. I also took my walk breaks like I was supposed to (stupid arthritis) and got several course photos, and then got a few more photos of friends and a few others coming into the finish.

After My Finish.   First, banana and water, and just relax for a few minutes.  After that, wandered around taking photos of what I call the “Happy Finishers” since most people after they are done are smiling more than they did before the start and on the course, lol.   Also found the beer and sausage, nice.

Epilogue:  Live event, well-organized as usual by the great folks of Scallywompus, with special mention to Tony Garcia and Julianne Hansen, who got me sorted out after I registered twice for this event, lol.  Very nice after-party with our music man playing tunes; MC Jason Cox doing his usual great job as host and entertaining everyone; and Tony and Julianne making sure everything was going smoothly.  Also, thanks to all the volunteers who were out there for us.  Thanks also to the race photographers and, of course, all the sponsors that helped make this one happen for we participants. And thanks also for the patience of the residents who live in this area.  This was an open-road course and where I was at any given time, the drivers were pretty careful and polite, at least on the 5K course. Hopefully for all the other participants too on the other courses.  And thanks for Bankersmith for hosting us…I think Rod Serling is the mayor…

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2020 Race 18: Remember The Alamo Beer 5K/10K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qYj77wM6Zpa4g4RN9

 BEFORE MY START:  My 18th race of 2020 was the Remember the Alamo…Beer 5K on August 8th, held in La Vernia, Texas, which is about a 40 minute drive from my residence in San Antonio.  There was also a 10K event.  Put on by running organization Scallywompus, this was an actual in-person “live” event, not a virtual race.  I have done virtual races this year, but I only include in my year’s race count the ‘live” races because, let’s be real here, a virtual race is really only a training run that you are doing to support a good cause.  They are enjoyable, but just don’t have the same ‘vibe’ as a “live” event.  I arrived at race site with about 45 minutes to go before the 5K start.  The location was at “The Den” in La Vernia. I had already picked up my packet the day before, so wandered around getting some pre-start photos.

 ON THE COURSE:  The 10K participants started first, doing 2 loops of the course.  The 5K started shortly after the 10K folks.  Start was ‘social distancing” staggered start with runners and walkers lining up on social distance markers, nicely spaced out from each other, and then a few runners each started out, with the next group of runners following a few minutes after that.  Scallywompus did a nice job with the social distancing start, well-controlled with nobody crowding each other. The course was a loop course of paved roads that went out for a brief time on the shoulder of a local FM road, and then into a very nice neighborhood housing area with very wide streets.  Plenty of room for everyone and from where I was at any given moment, I never saw anybody crowding anyone else.  All the participants were very accommodating with each other. I did my usual 8-min run/2-min walk, taking some photos on my walk breaks.  After I got past the half-way mark, some of the faster 5K folks, who were doing 2 laps of the course, started lapping my slow running self, lol.  In the last mile of the course, we did a loop around a local school near the start/finish area, then headed up a small incline to a public road, and then back down to a driveway entrance of the parking lot where The Den was located, and back to the start/finish line.  The course was just a tad long at 3.2 miles, but all good. I finished in 38:19, averaging JUST under 12 minute miles at 11:59.

After My Finish:   First off, walked back to my car and got my mask back on and my own water bottle and sat in the car a/c for a few minutes cooling down. Then back to the race site where I enjoyed a Kiolbassa sausage and drank my water to rehydrate.  After that I got my ‘treat’ of an Alamo beer and also wandered around getting some post-race photos.

Epilogue:  Packet pickup the day before the event was a very well-organized drive-thru pickup – I think I was there for all of about 10 minutes before getting my packet – and race day packet pickup was well organized too.  Post-race sausages and cups of water were set out on tables, so no “handing off”, to help maintain social distancing. Finish medals were also in a box on a table, so you just went and got your own.  Alamo Beer did serve beer post-race and they also did it very nicely, wiping all the cans ‘clean” and then putting the beer on the counter for you – I think because of TABC regulations, the servers had to open the beer for you – and then just stepped back and you picked your beer and went on your way. Very efficient and quickly served.  For Age Group winners, a unique Scallywompus glass was the age group award.  These glasses were in boxes and each winner just picked it up himself/herself from the box; no handoff from anyone.

Mucho thanks to Scallywompus and Tony Garcia, Bart Childers, and all the other people/volunteers who put this together for we participants, and to all the sponsors supporting the event. Everything was done very efficiently with the safety of everyone involved in mind.  Very nicely laid out course. Nice finisher medal for all finishers and a very nice quality race shirt too.  In these crazy times we are living through, this was really planned well and from what I saw, it seemed to me everything went off without a hitch. Very enjoyable event.

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2020 Winter in July Virtual 5K

Photos for this event are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/EZ535wCgLpkUMUQq5

 BEFORE MY START: Winter In July 5K, July 25, 2020.  This would have been my 18th race of 2020, but due to COVID, this event too went virtual.  The actual race day would have been July 25, so Marty from Team RWB set up an area in McAllister Park , San Antonio, and invited participants to come out on race morning and do their own thing for the virtual race.  Race Director Rebecca was there and handed out packets to the participants that showed up, so I got to do my virtual 5K wearing the race bib.   After chatting and getting a couple of before photos, everyone was off to do whatever 3.1 mile route – or more for some, maybe – they had decided to do.  The weather was actually pretty decent.  Still warm, but at least only in the upper 70s, with a nice breeze blowing, and lots of cloud cover, as Tropical Storm Hanna – which I saw on the news right before I left to go to the park had turned into Hurricane Hanna – was in the Gulf area and heading toward the coast near Corpus Christi; so we were getting a little bit of ‘fallout” from that, as San Antonio is only a few hours drive from Corpus.  So we had a nice breeze and mix of both some darker clouds and sunshine.

 ON THE COURSE: I selected to do off-road for this one.  Started near the Dog Park at McAllister Park, beginning on what a trail sign said was the Blue Route. This trail is both quite hilly and rocky in some places, and popular with cyclists too, so these combinations did slow me down a bit as I both negotiated the trail and stepped aside many times to let cyclists go on past me.  Not that I am all that speedy anyway, lol, with my usual 12-minute miles, but today it turned out more like 13+ minute miles, with me ending up with 3.2 miles done in  42:37, averaging 13. I noted on my Garmin that I hit the 3.1 mile mark at 41:07, and then the last tenth of a mile got me back to the parking lot area.  Yeah, pretty slow but, between being hospitalized for a week a couple of weeks ago, and having a relatively new pacemaker that is still less than a year old, I am just happy to be running at any pace, lol.

After My Finish:   Marty had kindly brought a couple of coolers full of Gatorade, water, and other types of cold drinks, so that was nice post-race.  Sat relaxing and rehydrating and chatting with others there, and got a few “post-race” photos.  Lots of other runners, walkers, and cyclists coming-and-going in the parking lot area too, and Marty kindly invited them to have a cold drink too; so ended up chatting with some of these folks too, and also gave a few doggie treats out to some that had their dogs with them.  Very nice little outing and gathering, with  good people.  And, of course, I did get a few after-photos.

Epilogue: Thanks so much to Race Director Rebecca Benton for all her hard work in organizing the Winter In July 5K and then doing all the hard work to turn it into a virtual event for we participants.  And also thanks to any behind-the-scenes volunteers that helped her out with any of this.  Rebecca even handed out packets to those who came today, and there was a mail-out option for those who wanted their packets mailed, very nice.  Really nice singlet race shirt and a very nice finisher medal. Mucho thanks also to Marty for arranging the meet-up.   A very enjoyable running experience today.

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2020 Race 17: Stars and Stripes 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ELieHebxsfJhexaB8

 BEFORE MY START: My 17th race of 2020 was the Stars and Stripes 5K on July 18, 2020 put on by Athlete Guild after Comal County approved this to be an in-person race with social distancing, etc.  Held at the Stars and Stripes Drive-In Movie Theater in New Braunfels. Very nice venue with indoor restrooms and indoor water fountain.  The main event was a half-marathon and there was also a 10K.  Athlete Guild folks did a really good job of having all the participants doing social distancing for race-day packet pickup, wearing masks before the start and after the finish, and a ‘staggered’ social distancing start for all the events. Prior to race day, Athlete Guild also emailed out very specific directions for race day and how it would all work.  Very well organized, with “social distancing markers” on the ground  where packet pickup was and on the ground behind the start line.

 ON THE COURSE:    This was an out-and-back course, starting and finishing near the concession area of the theater.   Having been in the hospital for most of last week – being looked at for a possible TIA episode in my brain – my doc gave me permission to do this event only if behaved myself and did not push too hard.  I made this public to my FB friends to help me behave myself, lol, so they would scold me if they did see me misbehaving, trying to push myself to hard.  On the way to the start line, my friend, Sherri Purnell told me “Scottydog….know your limits today!”   So I guess the word was out, lol.  The Half started first, at 6:30, the 10K at 7 a.m. and the 5K at 7:15 a.m. With the early start in Texas summer, weather was pretty cooperative, in the 70s when I lined up for the 5K, although it was very sunny with blue skies, making it feel just a tad warmer; but not bad at all. This was an out-and-back course:  down the theater’s paved entrance/exit; right-turn on a paved rural country road and up an incline to a stop-sign. Right turn there, and then down a long incline to another country road we went down to get to the turn-round point.  Coming back is the hardest part of this course, as that down incline we came out on was now an up-incline on the way to the finish. It’s not really steep, just long.    I just took it nice and easy, loping along, taking all my walk breaks when my Garmin indicated it was walk break time, took some photos along the way, and chatted with friends here-and-there on the course, as I went along.  On the up incline going back, I was almost to the top when my Garmin beeped for walk break and I thought, well, I can make it to the top now nonstop; but then remembered I had promised to behave, so I took the walk break.  Then downhill to the theater driveway – and I even stopped once there too to take a photo of a friend with the flag – and back to the finish.  I ended up with a slow time of 39:18, averaging 12:31 per mile.  As there were only 2 in my age group, I managed to come away with 1st in my age group for the 5K, lol.

After My Finish:   I actually felt pretty good after the finish, but warm; so I got a bottle of water, then went and sat in my car for about 10 minutes with the A/C on, sipping the water.  Ahhh, much better.  Then I wandered around “social distancing” chatting with friends and getting a few after-photos.   There was also post-race beer and the Drive-In owner and his crew cooked up hamburgers and fries post-race for those who wanted that.  My wife, Gail, had come with me -I think she was worried a bit I was not quite yet strong enough for an actual race and  might ‘fall out” at the race – and I admit that was at the back of my mind too – so it was nice to have her there, in case I needed a driver to get home. Ain’t love grand?  She’s taken very good care of me over our 36 years together. While I was doing my event, she sat over in the porch area of the concession stand, chatting with some other folks also waiting.

Epilogue –   As noted, a very well-organized event by Athlete Guild. From what I saw, everything seemed to go well and everyone seemed to be following the guidelines and behaving themselves.  So nice to do an “actual” race again this year instead of a virtual one.  Nice post-race goodies, great location and great hosting by the theater owner and his crew; I’ve been an ‘acquaintance’ of the owner for a couple of years now, since I did my first race here, and he and his family are such nice people.  Great place to go if you are looking for something to do during these COVID-19 shutdowns, since this is a drive-in and you will be in your own car watching the movie.  Very nice quality race shirt and race medal in the goody bag.  I would definitely do this event again.

Mucho thanks to all the folks who did all the hard work and coordinating to make this one happen for we participants:  Athlete Guild; all the volunteers and sponsors, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.

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2020 Race Number 16 Run For the Hills 5K/10K

Photos are here:   https://photos.app.goo.gl/V9NMsgrUuRX3TVGp8

 BEFORE MY START:     My 16th race of 2020 was the Run for the Hills 5K in Bulverde, Texas on June 20, 2020.  There was also a 10K. This event supports the Bulverde Spring Branch Activity Center, which facilitates active aging and enhance the quality of life for older adults. Nice turn out, with 113 5K finishers, and 44 finishers for the 10K. There was also a 1-Mile walk, not sure how many did that.   Race time of 7:30 a.m. and already in the upper 70s and very humid. It even rained on us for about 5 minutes, right after I started.  The start was a staggered one to help with social distancing, with a few runners at a time starting off and then a couple minutes later a few more.  Since I was a little late in getting to the venue, I think I was actually the very last 5K entrant to start.  My wife, Gail, participated to, walking the 5K.  With her speedy walking pace, by the time I started she was already well ahead of me.  Also, I took a couple of photos right before I started too.

 ON THE COURSE:    This was an out-and-back course, starting and finishing at the Activity Center.  I’ve done this race in the past, so knew what to expect.  Despite the title, there really was not anything on the course that you could call a hill. More like just a few inclines.  Road camber was really slanted though, so I tried as much as possible to run right down the middle of the road where it was most level, and watching out for vehicles, as the course roads were open to traffic.  I did my usual thing of run/walk-and-take-photos along the way.   I went fairly slowly,  just enjoying myself and per my Garmin ended up with a finish time of 41:05, averaging 13:03 per mile, and was 4th in my 60 – 69  males age group.

After My Finish:    Waited at the finish line to see Gail coming in, but she did not for a while, so I thought maybe I had just missed her.  I found out later, she had walked right by the turn-point to come back to the finish, so she had to turn around and come back, and she ended up doing 3.6 miles.  My first organized race since all the COVID stuff started, so nice chatting with friends and getting some post-race photos.  Felt like old times, except the majority of post-race time I was wearing my face mask. All good though, just felt nice to be out there.

Epilogue –  A nice ‘welcome back to doing races” event for me – I guess with what’s going on again, we’ll see how long a time the authorities let organized races continue – and this was an enjoyable one to do.  As noted, have done this one in the past and would do it again in the future.   Really nice goody bag, packed with a lot of stuff a nice quality race shirt.   Mucho thanks to all the organizers, volunteers, police officers, sponsors and everyone else involved who made this race happen for we participants.

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