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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2020 Race 29 Run To Remember 5K/10K

Photos are at this link:   

https://photos.app.goo.gl/5oa47AjzfDzdfuzu8

BEFORE MY START: My 29th race of 2020 was the Run To Remember 5K on November 15th in LaVernia, Texas.  There was also a 10K.  Start and finish from The Den, a very nice restaurant/bar/entertainment venue with a beautiful outside patio area, and a game playing area.  Nice atmosphere, good food and drink. This run was to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association in support of finding a cure, etc.  Race start time of 8 a.m.  Weather was pretty nice at around 68 degrees or so, but it was VERY windy, so felt a bit cooler in the shady areas. I arrived with about 45 minutes to go to start time and got a few pre-start photos.   

ON THE COURSE: Social distancing start, with the 10K folks starting first.  This was a loop course, so the 10K folks had to do 2 loops. About 10 runners or so released to start every few minutes to maintain social distancing.  Starting out, we ran directly into the wind, which was pretty tough as hard as it was blowing, felt like a big hand pushing against you.  After making a turn into a really nice neighborhood the wind was still blowing pretty good, but at least not directly into our faces now.  The course was nicely laid out on wide streets in a very pretty neighborhood. We made a loop through this area, then went out onto the main street heading back toward The Den.  Before we got to The Den start/finish area, we made another turn that took us up to a local school.  The first time I did this course for a previous 5K, we had to go in front of the school and jump up onto a sidewalk, run on that, then jump down on the other side, and then run down a road beside the school.  For this event, however, Eric of Dragon’s Den, was a lot smarter and laid out the course so we ran or walked behind the school, so no jumping anything, just nice even surfaces to be on.  I am sure the participants with running strollers appreciated this!  Much better course route than the original 5K I did here.  After making the turn behind the school, we then proceeded back the way we had come; a short incline up to the main road, and then back to the finish line.  I ended up with a time of 38:04, 3rd in my 60 – 69 age group.  The guy who finished second was only 11 seconds ahead of me.  Shouldn’t have stopped to take that last photo, lol.   All good, though, nice course and enjoyed myself.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Post-race goodies included various fruits, water, and Alamo beer.  Also, The Den serves up a nice variety of good eats for Sunday 9 a.m. breakfast for those who wanted to partake of that. Finisher medal to all finishers, and nice ‘tile’ award for the first three age group placers in each age group. I sat in the patio area post-race, enjoying some fruit and water and then enjoyed wandering around chatting with friends and getting some post-race photos.

Epilogue:  This was a really well-done event with a nice course, good quality race tee, and very nice finisher medals.  Really nicely done course.  Announcing by Eric of E-Dragon Productions, which I think provided the very nice age-group award tiles too.  Maybe the race shirts also.  Normally this event is held in San Antonio, but due to the pandemic had to be moved to LaVernia, which is okay, it all worked out well.  Would definitely do this one again, and would recommend it to other.  Kudos to Race Director Miguel for a great job with this one. 

 Mucho thanks to all the people that made this event happen for we participants: all the sponsors, vendors, volunteers, police officers out there on the road for us, etc.  Thanks to The Den management and staff for letting us invade their space for a while, and thank to anyone else I may not have mentioned here.

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2020 Race 28 Battle of Hillotes 5K

Photos are at this link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/2FQWExp2cNC49uud8

BEFORE MY START:  On Nov 14, 2020, I did my 28th race of 2020, the Scallywompus “Battle of Leon Creek 5K.”  This was the 4th and fina; race in a series of “Remember The Alamo Beer” race, which gradually increased distances for the longer runs until the series culminated in today’s 20-miler, the main event.  There was a 5K at each race and I did all 4 of the 5Ks. Today’s event also included a 10-miler and a half-marathon.  Location was in Canyon Lake, starting and finishing in the Anytime Fitness parking lot area. The 5K was the last to start, so I got to sleep in a bit, and then drove to the race location, arriving with about an hour to go to the 5K start.  The 20-milers and half folks had already left, and the 10-milers were getting ready to go shortly.  I’d already picked up my packet the day before, so wandered around chatting with friends and getting a few photos.  Weather was overcast (nice) with a bit of wind (nice) but pretty humid (not so nice) with the temp about 68 – 71 degrees.

ON THE COURSE:  Out of the parking lot onto a paved road.     Down this road to a left turn, taking us on a fairly flat road that led to a bridge over the Guadalupe River.  A short downhill to the bridge, then after getting to the other side, we began to climb. Fairly long hill, with the river to our right, as we ran facing traffic.  After cresting this long hill, we had a bit of a flat, winding road that went to the 5K turn-round point.  Then it was back the way we had come out.  By this time, some of the speedier half and 10-miler folks – and maybe some of the really speedy 20-mile folks too – were beginning to come back from their turn-round points, also heading to the finish line.  Of course, since we went uphill from the river, we now had a downhill back to the river bridge, which was nice; but not much easier on my joints as, with spinal arthritis, downhills actually pound me a bit more than uphills do. Even so, I felt pretty good and was making good time for a slow old dog.  After I got to the bridge, I started to push myself a bit faster, knowing I now had just a tad under a mile to go. At that point, a young lady came up behind me and said “Scotty, aren’t you supposed to be behaving yourself?”   I was like, Whaaat?  How the heck did she know this?  I had seen my doctor on Friday for a non-infectious prostate condition and was given antibiotics for 10-days. I told my doc I had 2 races this weekend and she said, well, I could still do them, just take it easy.  The young lady, who was doing the 10-miler told me she was one of my doc’s nurses and she was the one who updated all her case results, so she knew I had been at the office on Friday and what the doc told me.  Dang.  Busted on the race course, lol.   She continued on ahead of me, jokingly telling me “I’ll be watching you when you finish.”  Lol.  OK, so I “forced” myself to stop on the bridge – it was so hard to make myself stop 😉 – and had the official photographer take a photo of me with the river behind me.  So that slowed me down a bit.  After that, a nice lil run to the finish line, completing the 5K in the take-it-easy time, lol, of 38:34, averaging 12:17 per mile.

AFTER MY FINISH: Got some water post-race and then wandered around getting some photos of the Happy Finishers, supporters, etc.  Ended up being third in my age group.  I think there were only 3 in my age group, lol. Nice post-race activities with music, various fruits, two types of sausage-on-a-stick, and adult beverages that included beer and some vodka mix drinks.   Scallywompu is not kidding when they tell you “Come for the race.  Stay for the party.”

Epilogue:   Very nicely done event at a really nice location.   This event was supposed to have been at Bankersmith TX but got moved to this location due to ‘some stuff”.  Personally, I was glad it got moved to here, I was getting tired of that Bankersmith course – and that spooky drive to get there, lol. Yes, this is a hilly course, but much more scenic with the river views and lots of tree shade. Course was open to traffic, but where I was at any given times, the drivers were pretty cautious and polite.  Most of them had their windows down, so as I passed them and they passed me, I called out a “Thank you!” to every one of them.  I don’t think the speedier runners would have been able to do that; but at my slow pace, I still had lots of breath left, lol. All the Scallywompus event are greatly done, and they have quite a variety of events over the year, so if you have never done one, sign up and see how it goes for you.  I am sure you will enjoy yourself.

 Mucho thanks to all the people that made this event happen for we participants: all the Scallywompus folks and volunteers; all the many sponsors providing support; our food-and-drinks folk; the local businesses in our start/finish area for allowing them to invade their space for a while – I encountered a few of the local business owners and thanked them personally on behalf of all we runners and walkers; and to the EMT folks that were out there for us, as well as the local law enforcement officers patrolling the roads for our safety; and to anyone else I may have not mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2020 Race 27 Bulldog Dash 5K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/BkvQZVLCdCh62Ker5

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 want 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 e a few races over the year; 91 races in 2018 is my all-time high so far.  Never give up!

BEFORE MY START:  On Nov 7, I did my 27th race of 2020, the Bulldog Dash in Buda, Texas. This event supported a local elementary school, if I remember correctly. The event was held at the Buda YMCA Camp Moody, a very nice facility with the usual YMCA accoutrements and also a really nice Natatorium with an indoor pool.The grounds of this facility are really large with various terrain running and walking trails and also equipment for ‘team building’, like a climbing tower and so forth. Event start time of 7:30 a.m. and there was also a kid’s run.  I arrived with about 45 minutes to start time, got my packet and then got a few pre-start photos.  We had a nice sunny day for this event, with the temp being about 58 or so when I first arrived, and then around 62 or so when we were on the course.

ON THE COURSE: Starting in the parking lot in front of the main YMCA building, we went onto the entrance road of the park, down to some cones where we did a turn-around and the proceeded back the way we had come out. We continued past the Y building on a paved road and then went into ‘the interior” running trails that included dirt, gravel, and grass.  We made a loop in this area on the various trails and then ended up back on the paved road heading for the Y.  I figured we would finish by turning back into the parking lot, so I started pushing a bit.  However, the volunteers directed us back up to road to the cones we had looped around after the start, and THEN we went back to the finish.  Looking at my Garmin as we did this, I suspected this would make the race a tad long and did turn out to be 3.3, so not too long over.  After we were all done, our Race Director Jennifer jokingly said she definitely heard about, lol. 

AFTER MY FINISH: Got some water post-race and then wandered around getting some photos of the Happy Finishers, supporters, etc.  Got a bit chilly now that I was stopped, so thankfully had brought a dry shirt with me to put on.  Age groups were 10-year, so I didn’t even come close to placing in my 60 – 69 male age group, with a finish time o 41:32, averaging 12:38 per mile.    

Epilogue:   Very nicely done event at a really nice location.  Enjoyed doing a course I had never done before and got to meet a lot of great people. Really nice facility and trails. Definitely would do this one again, and would recommend it to others.

 Mucho thanks to all the people that made this event happen for we participants, including the Y for hosting us; Race Director Jennifer and her volunteers for getting thing organized; Athlete Guild for timing, results, etc., and all the sponsors and others who helped make this one happen for us.  

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2020 Race 26 Trick or Treat 5K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/9HkkMF4MmRFbLJHw9

BEFORE MY START:  On October 31 – Happy Halloween – my friend Lynette organized an inaugural fun 5K in La Vernita, Texas.  This became my 26th race done in 2020.  The Trick Or Treat 5K was held at The Den, a very nice bar/café in La Vernia, with a very accommodating and helpful staff that kindly allowed all we runners and walkers to invade their space for a while. Race start time of 7:30 a.m., so I was up early to head down to La Vernia to get my packet. I planned on taking a costume with me, but had a senior moment when I left home and forgot to put it into my car…duhhhhh..   Arrived on site with plenty of time to go to start time, got my race packet, and then took a few pre-start photos. 

ON THE COURSE: For we South Texans, weather was a bit chilly at 46 degrees, but at least we had a nice day for it with no rain or mist, just nice blue skies, no wind, and “abundant sunshine”, as the TV weather folks say.  The course was a nicely designed out-and-back course laid out by Race Director Lynette and our friend Tony Garcia. Except for the main road we started out and finished on, very little traffic in the neighborhood we went through.  And because of the early start, not much traffic on the main road either. Very nice neighborhood with very wide roads.  Plenty of room for everyone. After I made the turn-round, I saw one guy in his yard with his dog, watching us all go by.  I called out to him “Got any beer?” He laughed and said “Plenty!  Come on back after you’re done.”   Lol.  Friendly neighborhood!  :p     I ended up with a time of 37:50, averaging 12:03 minute miles.  I was third male in my age group – which was 60 – 99 for this event, lol, since it was a smaller event.  Plus, there were only 3 in my age group, lol.  My speedy friend Woody won our age group.    

After My Finish
.  It was still a bit chilly, so I walked back to my car where, thankfully, I had brought a dry shirt.  Put that on as my dry base layer, and then back to the race area to get a few photos of the happy finishers, supporters, etc.  Lynette did a really nice job with the awards ceremony and there was even a costume contest for both species at the race: humans and dogs.  There were quite a few doggies there, so I ran out of treats pretty quickly.

Epilogue:  One of the best inaugural events I have attended. Very well organized at a nice location – and indoor restrooms are always plus, lol. Very nicely laid out course, good quality race shirt and nice medal for all finishers.  The goodie bag was pretty nice too, with a few nice treats in it for Halloween.  Lynette told me this race sold out – nice! – and also ended up getting quite a few sponsors which allowed for finisher medals, costume prizes, and so forth.  Very nice.  The Den staff was also very helpful, and they have pretty good food too.  They start serving breakfast at 9 a.m., so me and a couple of friends stuck around post-race to have breakfast there.  The food is pretty darn good.  This is definitely an event I would do again and would recommend to others.

 Mucho thanks to all the people that made this event happen for we participant:  Race director and organizer Lynette, of course, and Tony for all the help he gave; and all the volunteers as well as the staff of The Den, all of those people that were out there for us way early in the morning; the law enforcement officers on the course for us and the medical folks that had a medical tent there; and, of course, all the sponsors that provided funding to help make this one happen.  Also, thanks to the Athlete Guild guy there doing the timing, results, etc. He too had to be out there way early to get his stuff set up.  Thank you all for what you did so we participants could enjoy this event.

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