2022 Race 26, SA 5K Summer Series, Race 1

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Before The Start:   My 26th race of 2022 was the Race 1 of the eDragon San Antonio 5K Summer Series. This is a series of 4 races put on at various local San Antonio Parks. The series profits provide scholarship for deserving local athlete. Start time of 7 a.m.  This was my second race of the weekend, after doing a very hilly 5K on Saturday, May 21st. Race 1 was held at McAllister Park.  After 100-degree temps for most of the past week, Mother Nature was kind to us for this one, dropping the temp into the 60s on race day.  There was also a pretty stiff wind blowing making it feel a bit cooler. Nice turn-out on an early Sunday morning with 123 finishers.  Packet pickup on Race Day only, so I arrived at the park with about 20 minutes until start time, got my bib and race shirt and then got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course: McAllister Park is a very popular park for runners, walkers, and cyclists.  The majority of the trails are paved and flat.  There are some park trails that are off-road and do have a few hills, but the 5K stayed on the paved flat trails and one of the park roads.  I did my usual walk/run thing and took photos during my walk break. After I got to near the 1.5 mile mark, I suddenly found myself all alone on the trail and was like, what the heck, did I miss a turn or something? When I looked to my right, I could see some people running on the road we had started on and thought, oh shoot, maybe I missed a turn. Well, too late now, so I just kept going with nobody around me until I came to the end of this paved trail and there was a directional arrow pointing me to the right, so that at least let me know I was on the correct course. I found out later that several people had missed a turn and ended up back on the road. I guess that ‘all alone’ running helped my pace, lol, because I ended up doing negative splits for the course, finishing 40:40 chip time, averaging 13:06 per mile. I did mile 2 in 12:53 and Mile 3 in 12:24. It’s been a while since I’ve been under 13-minute miles – this darn prostate cancer I am being treated for right now has slowed me down a bit, but even so I am just happy I can do any running at all – so I was one happy dog with my results. There were only 2 in my 65 – 69 male age group, so I ended up first in that, nice.    

After My Finish: First, got some water and enjoyed a post-race banana provided by my friend
Gilbert, who operates a fruit and veggies stand and has the best stuff ever, always fresh and tasty. After that, enjoyed post-race chatting with friends and other participants and making new friends.  This is also a dog friendly event so enjoyed giving out treats to the doggies there and we were friends for life after that, lol.  When I run I take dog biscuits with me all the time, races and training runs, in case one chases me. When I toss the biscuit, they usually go after the treat instead of me, lol.   For the friendly ones, I just give them a treat, with permission from their humans, of course. I think a lot of the San Antonio dogs in the areas I run have come to know me now, they see me coming and sometimes start giving me a barking greeting, which I guess means “Here comes the doggie treat guy!” lol.

Epilogue:  Very nicely done event, with e-Dragon Race Director Erik  and his volunteers dong the usual great job. Little bit of a mishap with the course missed turn for some participants, but everyone pretty much took it in stride – no pun intended – and it did not affect the awards for the age group placers. Very unique ‘coin medals’ for the placers and a very nice quality race shirt. Nicely laid out course – whichever path you ended up on 😉 – and flat too, which was nice after my hilly Saturday 5K. I did this Series last year and it was good, but this year it is even better as last year was just one park and this year provides a little more variety with 4 parks. I will keep on doing this series as long as they have it, and certainly would recommend it to others.  Mucho thanks to everyone who had a part in getting this one done for we participants: e-Dragon, all the many volunteers and any other sponsors and supporters, iaap race management company for the race timing and results, and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!   

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2022 Race 25, Cibolo Crossing 5K Stampede

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Before The Start:  My 25h race of 2022 was the Cibolo Crossing Stampede 5K held on May 27 at the Cibolo Crossing shopping area, which included the ‘anchor’ patron of the complex, Santikos Theaters.  Santikos company kindly opened the facility to we participants, so we had access to indoor restrooms and water fountains. The place is huge, with movie theaters, a small bowling alley, food areas, and a games area complex.  Start time of 8 a.m.  I arrived around 7:15 am.  Weather was very humid with a temp in the upper 70s, and some dark clouds above, but it never did rain on us.  The sun actually came out while we were on the course.  Since I had picked up my packet the night before, once I arrived at race site I enjoyed chatting with other participants and getting a few pre-start photos. Athlete Guild, a top-notch local area race management company, did the course set up, timing, results. This event supports education scholarships for Cibolo students.

On The Course:  Before the start, National Anthem was well sung by one of the organizers. Since this was “Beach to Bay” marathon weekend – a very popular relay marathon in Corpus Christi, consisting of a course of six legs each – the local area events scheduled for today were fairly small.  For this 5K we had a total of 152 finishers, walkers and runners.  We started just up from the Santikos complex, going along a paved sidewalk area and then onto one of the Cibolo Creek Crossing access roads.  We did a fairly short out-and-back and then proceeded down a hill to another access road, doing an out-and-back on this one also.  We then proceeded up a short incline and went down a road that took us into the parking lot of the “Living Spaces” store. We did a round-about route through here and exited on the other side of the building.  The course then took us up a fairly long hill to a turn-round point.  Then it was back down the hill on the other side of the road, then uphill again as we went toward the finish area. Once we got back near the finish area, we did a u-turn and went back down the first hill we’d gone out on, then up to another turn-round point, and did the last uphill of the course a second time. One up that hill we then went up to a set of cones, did a turn-round here, back onto the road we’d originally started on, and then to the finish.  It is certainly a somewhat challenging course – especially for slow old dogs like me, lol, who are going to be out there a while – but for what Athlete Guild had to work with – and the time constraints they were given; the race had to be done by a certain time – they really did a good job figuring out how to get a 5K course laid out for us. The other nice thing, all these out-and-backs made for a lot of seeing our fellow participants on the course several times and encouraging each other on.  I ended up with a 41:11 chip time, averaging 13:15 per mile, finishing 5th out of the 7 in my 60 – 69 males age group.

After My Finish:  First thing, get some water and rehydrate and make sure to do a cool-down walk as I did so. I sometimes have a bad habit of just stopping after I finish – you’d think I’d know better after being a runner for 37 years, lol – and then the blood just pools right out of my head and into my legs and I suddenly get very dizzy.  I have got enough to deal with fighting my current bout of prostate cancer, and I don’t think my oncologist would be too thrilled if I ended up having to take an ambulance ride from keeling over, lol. . So this time I made sure to walk around a bit for at least a good 10 minutes or so.  Felt much better after that.  I then enjoyed chatting with friends and fellow participants, supporters, and sponsors, and getting a few post-race photos. Enjoyed some of the post-race goodies available too, including taking home a few ‘donut holes” from the Dunkin Donuts folks that were there, since they also have a store at Cibolo Creek Crossing.   I had them as dessert after lunch…they were good too. 

Epilogue:  Today’s event was a smaller 5K, participant wise, but very well done.  Nice job by Athlete Guild, all the race day volunteers, our MC, and our music and sound guy.  Sponsors and vendors were all very supportive. Santikos area a really nice area to cool down in after running/walking in that humidity.  They also had some staff that were selling cold drinks – including some cold beer, but I did not have any cash at the moment, lol – and there was also a BBQ cooking contest going on there too, so all kinds of grills and wonderful ‘cooking smells’ post-race. Nice quality finisher medal for all finishers and good quality race shirt.  One thing I liked is that when you crossed the finish line, they gave you this scarf-looking thing, which I found out was a ‘cooling towel’.  You wet it down, put it on your neck and it cools you down. I was skeptical but I tried it, and the darn thing really did work for me.  That thing is a keeper!  Mucho thanks to all the people involved that made this one happen for us; all the Cibolo Crossing vendors, Athlete Guild, the many race sponsors, all the volunteers for this one, the local law enforcement officers out there for our safety, our music and sound man and our MC, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2022 Race 24 Spring Thing 5K

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Before The Start:  My 24th race of 2022 and my second race of the May 14 – 15 weekend, was the Spring Thing 5K held on Sunday, May 16 at San Antonio State Mental Hospital. This event benefits “the Volunteer Services Council of the San Antonio State Hospital (SASH). The Council’s primary mission is to improve the quality of life and enhance the well-being of patients receiving treatment at the San Antonio State Hospital by providing goods and services not funded through traditional state funding.”  Start time of 8 a.m. Nice turn-out for this one, with 194 finishers, runners and walkers. Weather was semi-cooperative. May is usually one of our cooler months in San Antonio but this year, the temps have been much higher.  Sunshine, very little wind, temp of 72 degrees at start time, but humidity was a tad lower than the past few days, which was a blessing.  I arrived with just under an hour to go to start time, got my race packet, and then got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course: Paved roads on the SASH campus. The out-and-back course had a mix of a bit of everything.  We started on flat roads, went down a short incline, then flat a bit more, then went up a hill, evened out for a bit more, then up a longer hill which took us to a very short non-paved dirt-and-stones part of the course. We then proceeded down another hill that turned us onto the road that took us to the 5K turn-round point.  We then proceeded back to the finish line on the same route, making all those uphills now downhills for us, with our last hill being a climb up that incline we had come down after our start.  After that, it was flat all the way to the finish.  I had planned to take it easy for this one after my 5K on Saturday, but felt okay, so decided maybe I could run normally;  well, what is normal for me, lol.  Did not quite work out that way.  After I made the first turn from the start line, my MP3 player – yeah, I’m old school, lol, still have a SANS Disk – fell out of my pocket – guess I did not secure it enough, and the back opened and I lost my battery.  Good thing I carry an extra when I run.  So stopped, got my player back together, input fresh battery, and was off-and-running again, way at the back of the pack area with mostly walkers.  I had brought my angel Bernadette with me – a button photo of her and me together after a race – so I took this as a sign from her, lol, that I was to behave myself today and just take it easy and enjoy myself and the heck with the time.. So I did. It was kind of fun at the back of the pack, running and walking with friends I don’t normally interact with on the course – even got to feed a doggie – and just relaxing and taking a few more photos than I usually do.  Hit Mile 1 at 15:08 versus my usual 12 -13 minute miles.  My speedy walking friend Patrick was even ahead of me for most of this 5K and that does not happen very often. I eventually did catch up to him and got to chat with him. Feeling fairly good and actually ended up with negative splits. Mile 2 in 14:23 and Mile 3 in 13:20, per my Garmin. My garmin had my finish time at 44:20, while the chip results showed 44:14 chip-time finish. My friend, Patrick the Walker King, finished 43 seconds behind me, nice.

After My Finish:  First, got some water and did a cool-down walk-about and ate a banana..  Chatted with the local EMT that was there – very nice guy – and he took my BP and heart rate (I keep a long for my cardiology appointments, since I have a pacemaker) and he told me everything was looking good.  Awards were only given to overall winners, so I had plenty of time to chat with friends, volunteers, etc., and get some post-race photos.

Epilogue: I’ve done this event a couple of times before, so was familiar with the course, how the awards went, and so forth Very nice quality race shirt, nice course, good facilities for the participants – indoor restroom, nice – massage therapy for those that wanted it before or after –   I got ‘rolled out’ after I was done and it felt great – and post race goodies that included various fruits, coffee, water, and even donut holes, and more. This is a very nice location for an event.  The campus is quite large with a few scenic views along the way – especially when you’re atop some of those hills, lol – and the course is well laid out to take a lot of the campus in. Dog-friendly event. The SASH campus is normally closed to the public but opens yearly for this event, so a nice way to see it. The event supports a good cause too; I think all of us probably know someone, whether family or friends, who has dealt with mental issues for whatever reason and/or maybe dealt with them ourselves. When I was growing up – I am a baby boomer era kid – this was not really talked about all that publicly, but thank goodness times have changed and mental health issues are now getting more public attention and is not the ‘family secret to keep quiet’ as much as it once was, the stigma of it starting to slowly go away as people realize mental issues can be quite common and there IS help for it.   This event has continued to grow over the years bit by bit, and hope it stays that way, very good cause to support. I will do this one again and would recommend it to others.     Thank you to all the people who made this one happen for us:  SASH, sponsors, volunteers, iaap, police officers and EMT out there for us, and any others I may not have mentioned here

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2022 Race 23 Gabriella’s Cupcake 5K

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Before The Start: My 23rd race of 2022 was Gabriella’s Cupcake 5K held on May 14, 8:30 a.m. start time, at Bluebonnet Palace Dance Hall in Selma, Texas.  This event raises funds for Gabriella’s Smile Foundation, named for a young lady who battled a terminal form of brain cancer and sadly died shortly after her 6th birthday. This event is held in May, which is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and dedicated to raising awareness in the community of pediatric brain cancer. For this event there was both an in-person event and a virtual option. Timing was done by Split Second Productions, a division of the very popular iRun Texas local running/fitness stores. This is a very popular annual event and there were 524 finishers total. Not sure if some of these were virtual, but I observed there sure were a lot of people – both walkers and runners – on the course, so it was quite a nice turnout.  I arrived with about 40 minutes to go to the 8:30 a.m. start time, got my packet, and then enjoyed my pre-start time of chatting with friends and other participants and getting some pre-start photos.

On The Course: The weather was fairly cooperative. It was warm already at 71 degrees, with ‘abundant sunshine” but the humidity was thankfully pretty low. This was an out-and-back course. We started in finished on the road that went beside the Bluebonnet Palace.  After starting on the road to the side of Bluebonnet Palace – Schertz Parkway – we made a right turn on Lookout Road. We then proceeded down this road to the stop sign at the end, where we made a left turn onto Tri-Country Parkway.  This road took us all the way down to our turn-round point and we returned to the finish in reverse of the way we had come out. The course was pretty flat, with just a few minor inclines. We were all packed onto the same side of the road for the whole distance – left side of the road for us going out, right side coming back.  As noted this was one really packed-in race crowd. I kind of felt sorry for the speedier front-runners – those 6, 7, 8 minute milers – because once they made their turn-round then they pretty much had to go against the majority of the race pack that was still going to the turn-round. The majority of runners and walker around me at any given time – with my 13 minute miles, lol – were pretty good about giving way to the front runners, but I did see some near-misses with between the faster runners and some of the slower runners/walkers still heading to  the turn-round, as some were not paying attention to those faster lead runners; glad nobody got knocked down; at least not where I was at any given moment.   By the time my slow-self arrived at the turn-round, the crowd, lol, had thinned out considerably. Going back to the finish, I had plenty of room. Didn’t help my pace though, lol. Once we got back onto Lookout Road, wow, the wind had picked up considerably and those of us still out there were running right into a pretty well-blowing headwind.  I admit to taking a couple extra walk-breaks because of that.  I finally did make it to the finish line in a chip time of 43:04, averaging 13:54 per mile, and I was happy with that as I’d pretty much been expecting to finish in about 45 minutes. Slow and steady and got in done in spite of my current prostate cancer treatment side-effects and bit of a tweaking my right leg adductor muscle is giving me every now-and-then.

After My Finish:  Firs thing, just took a nice-and-easy cool down walk for about 10 minutes.  Then sat down and relaxed a bit. Run-Tex folks nicely let me sit on the floor edge of their timing van while I ate a banana, drank some water, and relaxed for about 15 minutes or so, just letting everything ‘drain’ lol.  Ahh, felt much better.  Then it was off to chat with friends and get some post-race photos.  Very nicely done after-party too.  Lots of goodies – including, of course, a whole lot of cupcakes; gosh, they had so many cupcakes – with lots of variety – the Cupcake Crew volunteers must have worked hours to prepare all those, so thank you very much. While I was chatting with friends and getting some photos, my friend Mitch came along and told me I might want to hurry up a bit as they were getting ready to do some awards and I had finished 3rd in my age group.  I was like: WHAT?  I placed at my slow pace? Did everyone in my age group die, lol? Then we found out only the first place winners of each age group would get awards – and I get that, it’s a budget thing, so more money can go to the cause of the race, and that is fine with me – so I had plenty of time. So I hung out with friends, we all got a lot of photos and had some nice chats, lots of smiles, and I made new friends too. Very nicely done after-party with a really nice area at Bluebonnet to relax in post-race; lots of chairs, tables, places to sit,  shade, and lots of vendors/sponsors giving away some freebies.

Epilogue: This really is an enjoyable race with a nice course and a great venue for the pre-and-post race activities.  Bluebonnet Palace has a really nice ‘event area” that includes a stage, all kinds of eat-and-drink places, lots of restrooms (mostly port-potties, but there are plenty of them) and plenty of post-race goodies.  Nice back-drop for photo-ops, nicely done quality race tee, and finisher medal to all finishers. I’ve done this event before, will do it again, and would recommend it to other. It is very walker-friendly too, and also stroller friendly and dog-friendly as well. If you’ve never done this one, give it a try, you might quite like it.     

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2022 Race 22, District 4 Heroes 5K

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Before The Start: My 22nd race of 2022 was the District 4 Heroes 5K held at Palo Alto College.  This was the series finale 5K of the year of San Antonio Sports Family Fitness 5K, a series of 5K events put on over the year by San Antonio Sports  in coordination with various local city elected district councilors. These are free races for those who want to do it untimed and only $5 for those who want a timed result, so pretty reasonably priced, and very popular. District City Councilwoman Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia, Ph.D., hosted this event, with San Antonio Sports doing the administrative duties for race registration, packet pickup and more.  Top-notch local race management company iaap did the timing and provided the results for the timed 5K.  San Antonio Sports provides the community a whole series of various events over the year, including not only running and walking, but also soccer, basketball, volleyball, and more; and also provide various training videos with a purpose to “transform the community through the power of sport.” They are very good at what they do.   I arrived a bit late – should have gotten my lazy dog-self up earlier, lol. – arriving at Palo Alto around 7:30 a.m. – race start time of 8 a.m – do the parking lot was pretty much full-up.  Thankfully I had picked up my packet before race day.  I finally did find a spot and got down to the start/finish area – jam packed with participants, vendors, sponsors, etc – and got a few photos before start time.

On The Course: I chose to do the timed 5K.  The course was two laps via various campus roads and parking lots.  I am not a big fan of 2-lap courses, especially after you start doing the 2nd lap all you think of is ‘where is that darn finish line?” lol, but after seeing the campus, I understood the reason for it.  In the 28 years I’ve lived in San Antonio this is the first time I’d ever visited Palo Alto.  It is a fairly small campus so San Antonio Sports had to lay out the course with whqt they were given to work with and they did a good job with that.  With as many people as were registered, the course was well-laid out to accommodate all these people, with plenty of maneuvering room for everyone, which the faster front-runners probably appreciated as on their second lap on the way to their finish, they had to pass several slower participants – like me, lol – who were still doing the first lap. The overall winner did this course in something like 16 minutes and change, which is amazing considering how many runners and walkers he must have had in front of him on that 2nd lap. So, well done, San Antonio Sports, well done.  As for me, between my current prostate cancer treatment and an adductor muscle issue, I ran slower than butter being melted on an ice cube, lol.  Since my pacemaker implant – which my body is still adjusting to a bit, I’ve usually done 11 – 13 minutes miles; today it was more like 13 to 14 minute miles, as I forced myself to go slower and took  a couple extra walk breaks than I normally do so I did not make that adductor worse. I’ve had a torn adductor muscle in the past it is NOT fun and has a fairly long recovery time.. It was pretty darn warm and humid out there too.  May is usually our Spring weather in Texas, but today the temp was predicted to get pretty close to 100 – crazy – and it was in the upper 70s when we started.  Also, very little shade on the course but, as noted, S.A. Sports had to lay out the course with what they were given to work with.  The only “hill” we had on the course was basically just a not-too-long up incline; mostly the course was pretty flat.  There were speed-bumps on the course – which S.A. Sports warned us about in message traffic and on race day so we were aware; from where I was at any given moment I never saw anyone trip over any of them.  I managed to eke out a chip finish time of 44:05, averaging 14:11 minute miles, better than I expected, I figured pre-start it would take me about 48 minutes with all my ongoing stuff I finished 11th in my males 60 – 69 age group out. At 68 years old, I also made my 2 primary race goals whenever I do a race:  finish standing up, and no ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish, lol. There were 548  total timed finishers for this one (I counted them all in the listed results, lol).

After My Finish: FIRST, get some hydration back in me and something to eat. I got a banana and a Gatorade and a bottle of water and then found a nice place to sit without the sun shining directly on me and just relaxed for a bit.  When I hear music behind me, I realized I sitting at the back of the ‘trailer” which was serving as the MC and awards stage.  A young lady came and near me on the other end of the ‘bench” I was on and I recognized her as our Race Director – had met her at an event last year.  She was busy writing and I saw she was filling out the names of the age group winners for the awards, so I did not bother her.  We each just sat there quietly doing our own thing and it saw quite peaceful and relaxing.  After I got my intake, felt much better and then went wandering around chatting with friends and getting various post-race photos an watched the awards given out.  Thanked every volunteer and San Antonio Sports person I encountered. We participants get up fairly early to do the events, but these people have to be there super-early to get everything ready for us. So I always try to thank them when I encounter them. 

Epilogue: Very well-organized event at a nice location.  San Antonio Sports did their usual great job with this event, as they do with all their events, iaap quickly provided race results. Lots of vendors/sponsor tents, etc., at this one, so some nice post-race goodies and some nice freebies from the sponsors. I would certainly do this one again – hopefully with cooler weather next time, lol – and would recommend it to others.  Mucho thanks to everyone who made this one happen for us: San Antonio Sports, iaapweb, the many sponsors, all the police officers out on the course for our safety, the EMT folks that were there (I think I saw two), Palo Alto staff for the use of the campus grounds; the musical group there that entertained us, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all.   

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2022 Race 21, Get Your Rear in Gear 5K

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Before The Start:    My 21st race of 2022 was the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K on May 1st at Morgan’s Wonderland Park in San Antonio.  This event supports the Colon Cancer Coalition, “a national coalition of people determined to end colorectal cancer deaths by increasing screening and educating others about the signs and symptoms of this treatable disease.” There are Get Your Rear in Gear 5Ks at several cities in the US at various dates over the year. Nice turn out for this one with 236 finishers.  There was also a Kid’s Run.  Race start time of 8 a.m.  Cloudy skies and very humid. Local weather folks had predicted some possible drizzly rain, but it never did rain on us during the event. I also had a very informative chat with a doctor from the Gastroenterology Clinic of San Antonio. He was a guest speaker at the 5K and he was very informative and helpful with me.   I found out they are a Tricare contractor, so I will probably get my colonoscopy from them later this year, as BAMC sent me a letter to advise me I was ‘referred out’ because they are so busy with the military members. I get a colonoscopy every 5 years and I am due this year. Colonoscopies are pretty easy. It’s that prep stuff that’s the difficult part, lol.

On The Course:   This was a mix of loop and out-and-back, with us starting inside the park and doing a loop around the park’s man-made lake. We exited the park with a right turn heading for nearby Heroes Stadium, and athletic facility of Northside Independent School District. Proceeding along the road that went around the stadium, we then entered one of its parking lots, went across that, and came back out on one of the roads near it.  We then proceeded back the way we had come out, finishing by doing another loop around the lake that took us back to the start/finish line. My friend Kristin and I were in the start crowd and she said “I may run with you today.”  That would have slowed her way down, lol, as she is much faster than I am.  Anyway, it was a moot point because after we crossed the start she was off-and-running at her normal pace, lol, and I never saw her again until the finish.  Probably a good thing she did not run with me, my slow pace might have given her leg cramps.  I was 7th in my males 60-69 age group with a chip time of 41:32, averaging 13:22 per mile and had a negative split for Mile 3.  I was 7th out of 12 in my age group.  I was actually trying to take it easy for this one after pushing myself a bit at the 5K I had done the day before; took a couple more walk breaks than I usually do and got a few extra photos. My speedy friend Eli, who was 2nd overall in the 5K came back out to run in with me, which was nice of him.

After My Finish:  First, get some water in me, it was very humid out there. Also, ate a banana and had a breakfast taco too.  There was quite a variety of goodies offered post-race.  Enjoyed post-race chatting with friends and making new friends. There were lots of ‘teams’ at this one, and several other survivors there too. I really enjoyed chatting post-race with a lot of friends and other participants and getting a variety of photos.

Epilogue:  One of my favorite events of the year, especially as I, along with several others there, am a survivor. Colon was my first cancer I dealt with and I was very lucky that it got caught so early, I ended up having a fairly easy time of it. Some side effects I experienced afterwards gave me more trouble, that was a bad and depressing time for while and I had some really not-so-good thoughts.  Thankfully, I met my wife at that time and she literally saved my life by brining me back to  good place  Currently I am being treated for prostate cancer and I am in the process of beating this one too. Never give up!  Mucho thanks to all that made this one happen for we participants:  The Colon Cancer Coalition; all the sponsors and the many many volunteers; Morgan’s Wonderland for allowing use of the venue; iaap for course setup, timing, and results; and any others involved that I may not have mentioned here.  Also, thanks to the police officers on the course for our safety; the guest speaker doctor that gave us very informative information; the Super Heroes team and all the others that were there in support of us; and any others not mentioned.  Thank you all.   I will definitely continue to do this one in the future – running, walking, or crawling, lol – and certainly would recommend it to others.  BEAT CANCER!!  ALL types of cancer!

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2022 Race 20 JLSA VIVA SA 5K

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Before The Start: My 20th race of 2021 was the Viva SA 5K held on April 30t at Hemisfair in Downtown San Antonio. There was also a 10K. This was the 10th anniversary of this event which support the Junior League of San Antonio (JLSA) an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. It is a chapter of the Junior League of Texas. This was a fairly small event – mainly because there were several other local area races on this day too – with 89 finishers for the 5K and 33 finishers for the 10K. There was also a kid’s 5K. I arrived with about 20 minutes to go to start time, got a few pre-start photos, chatted with friends there, and also treated the doggies as this is a dog-friendly event.

On The Course: The courses were out-and-back. Our start and finish location was right near the renovated ‘safe’ playground area (‘bouncy’ squishy surface mats for safety in case kids fall down and so forth) and restrooms. We had a nice view of the Tower of the Americas. The 10K people got going at 7:30 and then we 5K folks headed onto the course at 7:45. It had been “drizzly rain” on my drive down to the race but stopped before we started. No wind, temp in the 70s and humidity was way up there. We went down part of the Hemisfair bricked pavement, exited with a left turn onto Alamo Street and then did a right turn onto a service road by Marriott Springhill Suites. We did a right turn at the end of that, and proceeded up another small road that took us to Nueva Street. Left turn on Nueva, heading in the direction of the Bexar County Courthouse. A few blocks up from the courthouse, we accessed the San Antonio Riverwalk – the historic King William District was across the river from us – and headed in the direction of the Blue Star area. Turn-round point for the 5K was directly parallel with the Blue Star area – had to go up a small hill to get to the turn-round, the only hill on the course – so I am assuming the 10K folks probably had to go maybe all the way down near Brackenridge School for their turn-round. Then we went back exactly the way we had come out. Per my Garmin, which pretty much matched the official results, I ended up with 3.12 miles completed, 40:28 chip time, averaging 12:54 per mile, and I had negative splits too, nice. I wish finisher #52 out of 89 participants. Used to be faster but these days, dealing with my current treatment for prostate cancer, I am just happy I can still run at all. Nice touch: as I turned into Hemisfair to head for the finish line, the Race Director was right there, and she kindly ran in with me; I thought that was very nice of her, and appreciated the company. For a few minutes after I finished, I got a few photos of some of my fellow runners coming into the finish.

After My Finish: First, get some water in me, it was very humid out there. Did that, ate a protein bar, relaxed for a few minutes, chatting with my very talented friend – and fellow cancer survivor – Deborah, and then it was off to wander around getting some ‘happy finisher” photos – ever notice more people are smiling after they are done than before and during? Thus, I call them ‘happy finisher” photos, lol – and their supporters/friends, and also my new friends, the doggies I treated at the event. They were so happy to see me, lol, since I still had some treats left. Awards were for first overall in each event, including the kids race.

Epilogue: Small event but very nicely done, and a really nice course; scenic with the Tower of the Americas and the Riverwalk views. Finisher medals to all, which were put into race packets, and really good quality tech tee race shirt, with a nice design on it. There were also a lot of goodies offered both before and after the event, including different kinds of coffee – my coffee fiend and friend, Woody, would have been in 7th Coffee Heaven, lol – and Freetail Brewing Company had a variety of various beers; I enjoyed one of their Pale Blonde beers and it was really good. There were also various food offerings and vendors/sponsors with other items. I’ve done this one a few times in the past and will do it again in the future. I certainly would recommend it to others. Viva SA! Good luck and much success to JLSA. Thanks so much to them for having this event and also much thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, police officers and course marshals on the course for our safety, and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!

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2022 Race 19, Transplants for Children 5K

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Before The Start:  My 19th race of 2022 was the Gift of Life 5K on April 24th.  There was also a 10K. This event benefits Transplants for Children San Antonio, which provides programs and services for families and children dealing with pediatric transplantation.   This was my 2nd 5K of the weekend, after having completed The Witte Museum Dino Dash 5K on Saturday, April 23rd at Brackenridge Park in San Antonio.  The Gift of Life 5K/10K was held at Lady Bird Johnson (LBJ) Park in San Antonio, with a 9:15 a.m. start for both.  A top local race management company and running store iRun Texas did the course set-up, with timing and results provided by Split Second Productions.  I live fairly close to LBJ Park, so was able to sleep in a bit.  I had previously picked up my race packet so when I got to the park I wandered around chatting with friends and other participants and got a few pre-start photos. 

On The Course:  Sunny morning with some cloud cover, a  temperature of 70-something degrees with humidity to match. 10K and 5K all participants all started together.  Got some course instructions from Mitch Allen of iRun Texas, and then we were  off.  Both courses were out-and-back. We did a loop around the circular road near the park’s pavilion and then headed down an incline to access the park’s paved trails (concrete).  The course did have non-participating users in the park, other cyclists, walkers and runners, so we had to be aware of those.  At any given moment where I was, the cyclists I encountered all called out as they were coming up behind me so I could move over, so that was nice. Hopefully everyone got that courtesy from them. We followed the paved trails, with a couple of inclines along the way – nothing you could really call a hill, at least for the 5K; I know the 10K folks did have a couple of hills since I’ve done races before  on the route they would be on.  Both 5K and 10K participants proceeded on the trails, going past the Los Patios area and then to the 410  frontage road.  This was the turn-round for the 5K participants.  The 10K participants proceeded across the frontage road and did the trails on the other side, taking them down to a turn-round near Austin Highway, and then they came back the way they had come out.  After having done a 5K the day before, I went at a fairly slow pace for this one – behaving myself per my instructions from my oncology doctor, lol, as I fight my prostate cancer.  He told me back-to-back events for the weekend were okay, but take it easy for at least one of them, so I tried to behave; tried being the operative word, lol.  Between having my pacemaker implanted in Aug 2019, and my cancer treatment starting back in Sep this year, I pretty much do between 12 and 13 minute miles, and do an 8-minute run/2 minute walk thing due to my spinal and hip arthritis. So, since I pushed my Saturday 5K a bit, decided to shoot for 14 minute miles for this one and be a “Clairol Runner” – nice and easy, and stop a bit more to take a few more on-course photos than I usually do.  Mile 1: 12 minutes and change, uh oh.  Mile 2: 13 minutes and change, better. Mile 3: 13 minutes and change too, but it was a negative split….bad dog, bad dog! Even so, I felt pretty good overall, so don’t know if I am just getting stronger again as I beat this cancer – which I am doing – or I simply just can’t behave, lol. Probably a combination of both. Anyway, finish time of 41:22 per my garmin (my chip time may be a bit faster but have not seen the chip-time results posted yet) averaging 13:18 per mile….so I kinda behaved. 

After My Finish:  I got a few photos of some others coming into the finish line and then sat with a friend for a few moments, relaxing and chatting and then did a walk-about, chatting with other participants and friends and getting some “Happy Finishers” and supporters  photos.  Also treated several doggies to the dog biscuits I carry with me when I run and made several new 4-legged friends, lol. Awards were overall male and female in each age group, If I remember correctly.  All participants did get a finisher medal.  Some nice eats too; there was a local eatery – I think it was El Chapparal Restaurant – providing a nice plateful of food to those who wanted it; and one lady had popsicles, nice. Also, lots of water, various fruits, etc.  Several vendors had give-aways and there was also a raffle for San Antonio Spurs tickets, including a prize of season tickets.  Post-race was pretty nicely done.  Right near the start/finish area there was also a dog park at the LBJ park, and our music guy cracked me up when he played “Who Let The Dogs Out.”  Well….my wife, for one.  😝

Epilogue:  Participant-wise, this was a fairly smaller event – maybe 100  or so? – but very nicely done.  Pretty nice course with lots of shade along the way – nice on a warm day – water stop on the course (what, no beer?  😉 ) and the Los Patios area even had indoor restrooms available if you needed a ‘pit stop’ at that point. As noted, finisher medals to all, and the race shirt is very nice quality tech tee.  I hope this one grows – and grows enough where they might even have to move to a venue for a larger crowd – because it certainly is a great cause.  I would definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others. Mucho thanks to iRun Texas, all the sponsors for this one,  and the vendors who purchased tables to support this one, the park police officers out there for our safety, all the many volunteers, our music guy, and anyone else I my not have mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2022 Race 18, Dino Dash 5K

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BEFORE MY START – My 18th race of 2022 was the Dino Dash 5k held on April 23 in support of The Witte Museum in San Antonio.  Race location was Brackenridge Park which is adjacent to The Witte Museum.  There was also a Kids Run.  Start time of 9 a.m. for the 5K.  The Kids Run was held after the 5K was finished.  Weather was a ‘cool’ 70 degrees with overcast skies trying to pretend it was going to rain on us but it never did. Humidity in the upper 60s range. 244 finishers for the 5K.  Since I live fairly close to Brackenridge Park, I was able to sleep in a bit, arriving on-site a little after 8 a.m to chat with friends and other participants and get a few pre-start photos. 

ON THE COURSE – Start and finish was on the park road that is in front of the side of the Witte where the museum treehouse is located. Broadway was at our backs. Event started right on time.   This route kind of reminded me of the Wednesday Evening 2-mile run, as we were on a lot of the same streets.  From in front of the museum, we went toward the park train tracks (for the park’s tourist train), making a right turn that took us past the Koehler Pavilion on our right and the river picnic area on our left.  We went across the Iron Bridge (baseball fields in front of us), then did a left turn, then an immediate right, going down a road that eventually intersects with Hildebrand.  Before Hildebrand, we made a left turn, went through a Zoo office area, and then went on  a road that took us past the cobblestone paved sidewalk and then back to the Iron Bridge.  We went back the way we had come out, going alongside the river once more, this time on our right. Once we got to the intersection where the train tracks were, we made a right and headed down this road until we go to where the water crossing is located.  We turned left here, went all the way down to Mulberry – could see the golf course across the street – did a turn-around here and back the way we came. We then headed in the direction of the finish line, but diverted off the paved road onto one of the off-road trails.  We followed the trails to a ‘roundabout’ in the park, turned left and headed down a trail that took us toward where the train is parked after-hours.  Following this trail, we came back out onto the paved road right near the train tracks.  Here we turned right, crossing over the train tracks and then did an out-and-back on this road.  Once back at the train tracks we turned right, heading back to The Witte, and that took us to the finish line. My age group, lol, was 55-99.  My chip time finish was 39:20, averaging 12:40 per mile, and I had negative splits for each mile, nice.  I was 16th out of the 23 guys in my age group.

AFTER MY FINISH – Did a bit of a cool-down walk, drank some water, got my finisher medal, and then got a few photos of others coming in. After that I just wandered here-and-there chatting with other participants and getting some post-race photos. There was also a small food-and-drink place on the grounds, so I got some water there and a banana mutt muffin and sat and relaxed for a bit while I enjoyed that. I also went up and explored the tree-house a bit and got a couple of photos from up there. All in all, a very enjoyable time.

Epilogue – This was my first time to do this event and I was pleased with the organization of it and with the course. It really is a nice place to run, walk, or bike ride; we did see a few cyclists while we were out there. The course was well-thought out, giving participants a nice tour of just about all of the park,, except for the part near the San Antonio Zoo area, where we did not go. Finisher medals to all finishers; age group awards to the top finishers in each category (The Witte is on a pretty tight budget in these costly days of rising prices, and I get that). Nice quality race tee.  Some nice post-race goodies, with fruits, coffee, water, and other items; and that nice little store with a very friendly staff for those who wanted something else; they had coffee, water, other drinks, a variety of pastries, breakfast tacos, and more. This was pay-as-you-go, but very reasonably priced. Very nice kids run, well organized, and play area too for the kids – and adults too for that matter, lol – who were there as supporters for friends and family, not participants.  I would certainly do this one again and would recommend it to others. MUCHO THANKS TO:   iaap for the course set-up, timing, and results; all the many pre-race and race day volunteers; the Witte staff members who were there for us; park police out there for our safety, all of the sponsors who made this one happen for us; and the on-call EMT folks in case of emergency and they are quick. After the race I was near a kid (who was with his mom) who I think had fallen (skinned his knee up pretty good and some bruises and bumps) and the EMT guy got there really fast and took care of him in good order, nice. Thanks also to anyone else involved that I inadvertently may not have mentioned here.     

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2022 Race 17 Poteet Strawberry Festival 5K

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BEFORE MY START – My 17th race of 2022 was the Poteet Strawberry Festival 5K held on April 16th in Poteet, Texas ant the Poteet Fair grounds, about an hour’s drive from where I live in San Antonio. Race start time of 8 a.m. There was also a Kid’s Run, and a 1-Mile Berry Walk, and also a 5K Wheelchair division in which members of “Ainsley’s Angels” participated.. Since I am ‘directionally challenged”, even with directional devices lol, I made sure to leave pretty early to arrive on time. I arrived a little after 7 a.m., with plenty of time to drink a bit of water and get some pre-start photos. The event is held on the Poteet Fairgrounds, a week before the actual Strawberry Festival starts. Iaap, a very good San Antonio-based race management company, did the course set-up, timing, and results. 126 finishers, including 3 in the wheelchair division.

ON THE COURSE – Weather was humid (81% humidty) and overcast, no wind, with a temp of 70 degrees. The course was interesting, kind of a mix of loop and out-and-back, all done on paved roads. We started by going down a paved road toward one of the access gates, did a very short stint on part of a sidewalk and then went looped around one of the park’s paved roads, going up a fairly long but not too steep uphill. After coming to an intersection it was a right turn that took us down an incline to a long road as we headed to a turn-round point. We wound around this road for a while – and had another uphill incline along the way – finally getting to our turn-round point. We then headed back on this road the way we had come out. As we headed toward the finish, we now went up the down incline that started us on this road, passing by the street that had gotten us onto this road. After we crested the top of this incline I was then a flat and straight path to the finish line. My friend Ian and I had run a bit together on the course, and then he surged ahead of me on the finish line, letting me eat his dust, lol. I also ran for a bit towards the finish with my friend, Lizzie – the Race Director of the very popular San Antonio Confetti 5K – who is nice company on a run, enjoyed chatting with her as we went along. Out of the 8 people in my 60-69 age group I was dead last with a chip time of 39:56, which is okay, I met my two primary race goals: Finish standing up and have no ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish.

AFTER MY FINISH – First, walked around a bit to cool down, and got some water in me. Got a few photos of some other finishers coming in, and then wandered around chatting with friends and getting more post-race photos. Two very nice lady volunteers let me sit for a bit on one of their chairs, relaxing, and gave me a very tasty “protein cookie” as a post-race treat. I am going to get some of those, that was one nice cookie. After my short break, more post-race photos and watching the awards ceremony – very unique age group awards for this one – and then went exploring around the fair grounds for a bit. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Epilogue – This is a very nice venue for a race. Nicely paved road course, lots of pavilions, lots of restroom buildings, and lots of things to see, with the fairgrounds, the amusement park rides, several buildings with drawings on them, and so forth. There is a very nice finisher medal to all finishers and a nice quality race shirt. As noted, the age-group placers got some very unique awards. This is also a dog-friendly event.

MUCHO THANKS TO: the Poteet Fairgrounds staff for their hospitality; iaap for another quality event; the color guard for a nice presentation of the colors for the National Anthem; our excellent race director (his name went right out of my head) and all the race volunteers and all the sponsors that made this one happen for we participants; the police officers out there for our safety – there were work vehicles on the grounds as we were running – and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Also, thanks to the EMT I talked to – I am supposed to take my blood oxygen level after I run, as I keep a log for my cardiologist, but forgot to bring my oximeter, but it was okay my pacemaker behaved well – I had a very enjoyable chat with him and his wife who was there; very nice guy. Thank you all so very much!

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