2022 Race 2, Winter Dragon 5K/10K/21K

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BEFORE MY STARTRace #2 of 2022 for me was the Winter Dragon 5K, held on Jan 23 at Pearsall Park in San Antonio.  The main event was a half marathon and there was also a 10K and a Kid’s Race. Start time for the half was 8 a.m., followed by the 10K at 8:05 a.m, and then the 5K at 8:10 a.sm. San Antonio had a ‘cold front blow into the area on Friday and Saturday, and the temps pretty much stayed in the upper 30s, which for we South Texans is cold, considering the temp was in the 60s just a couple of days before this, and the wind was crazy, which made it feel colder.  Race day Sunday got better, with a temp at race start times of 50 degrees, which is pretty much where it stayed the whole time, and no wind, which was a blessing. I the older I get the more I feel the cold – and the darn prostate cancer I am being treated for right now does not help either, I seem to feel the cold even more than I normally do –  so I had on a base layer with a shirt over that, and made sure to bring a dry shirt to change into after I finished. I arrived with about 40 minutes to go until my start time, picked up my packet, got my race bib on, and then got a few photos before my start.

ON THE COURSE – If you want to get in some MAJOR hill training, Pearsall Park, near Joint Base San Antonio Lackland Air Force Base is the place to me. The flat parts of this park are few.  These are no baby hills either.  The courses for all the events consisted of a combination of the paved trails and the off-road trails. For the 5K, we started from the main part of the park where the park pavilion, restrooms, an parking lots are located. We then went onto an off-road trail, flat for a bit, and the went down a very steep hill. Next, it was onto a portion of the paved trail for a while.  As we came up to where the water stop was, I saw runners ahead of me making a right turn and thought “Shoot” (well, it was another word that began with “S” but cleaned it up for the report) because I knew what was coming, as this turn would take us to a steep off-road trail that I had been on in previous events here.  And up we went.  But wait…we only went part way up this trail, which was pretty steep itself, and then made a right turn onto a whopper of an off-road trail. Good grief! Almost straight up. Once we got to the top of that, we made a right turn to go up  a VERY er steep trail composed of dirt and gravel..  At this point I was thinking my friend, Erik, the Race Director, had a warped sense of humor and a cruel streak in him. I thought for a moment about picking up a few pieces of that gravel to throw at him as I crossed the finish line. 😉  My second thought was “if this is the 5K course, I really feel sorry for the 10K and half people who must be getting bombarded with some of the even steeper trails in this park.” I walked most of the first part of this steep trail, and then did manage to run some of the second part.  We wound around the trail which took us back onto the trail we had initially turned on and went down the full-length of this trail – which is actually harder for me, because downhills are harder on my spinal arthritis than uphills are – and back to the water stop.  Here, we made a right turn, putting us back onto the paved trail, which took us to the 5K turn-round point. Then back to the finish the way we had originally come out – which meant that first steep downhill we had come out on was now an uphill for us on the way to the finish.  I did manage to run most of this last uphill. I FINALLY got to the finish line in 43:53 chip time, averaging 14:08 per mile. I’ll take it.   Happy to be done and I ended up 2nd in my age group mainly because there were only 2 in my age group, lol. First guy in my age group finished in 36 minutes and change, jeez.  My friend Eli was first overall in the 5K in whopping speedy time of 22 minutes, with all those darn hill too, wowzer!

AFTER MY FINISH:  Got some water, did a cool-down walk, went back to my car and got into some dry shirts and then wandered around enjoying some of the post-race goodies – all participants got a nice plate of fajita chicken with assorted other items, and Shiner Bock and Alamo Beer had beer for finishers that wanted it – and chatted with friends and got some post-race photos.

Epilogue:  This is a challenging course.  Since I’ve done other events at Pearsall Park, I kind of knew what to expect.  With my ongoing treatment, I was not sure if my cancer doc would give me permission for a tough course like this, but he did. He is very supportive of me staying as active as possible through my treatment, telling me the better shape I was in, the better my body would handle things, and he also noted studies seem to show that active people may have have less side-effects than non-active people. He noted more and larger studies are needed, but those that have been done show good results. Well, yay then, and maybe it’s true, since for the most part I have had very mild side-effects. During radiation therapy portion of my treatment, I still managed to get seven 5Ks done during that time. Slow as molasses, but I got them done, lol.  This event is really well managed, with E-Dragon Productions – who are basically my friends Erik and Kristina – doing a great job, as usual. They put on several events during the year.  Local race management company iaap, one of the top racing companies in San Antonio, who also put on events – did their usual great job of timing and results.  Race packet is really nice, with a souvenir race medal in it, and very nice quality race shirt.      Really nice post-race food and drink goodies.  Tough course, but great satisfaction when you complete it.  I’d certainly recommend this one to other runners and walker who want a challenge and are physically able to handle this type of terrain.  It is probably not ideal for those with chair or baby-joggers, or disabilities that prevent steep climbs, both up-and-down.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  All the sponsors that supported this event; iaap for the timing, results, assisting with course set-up, and so forth; the San Antonio Park Police officers that were out there for us;  all the many volunteers that assisted with this one; e-Dragon Productions, of course, for providing well-organized events – even if you do find yourself swearing a little under your breath at them once in a while on the course 😉 –   and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2022 Race 1, La Cruda 5K, Jan 1

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BEFORE MY STARTMy 1st event of 2022 was the La Cruda 5K held on January 1st in Helotes,
Texas. Put on by Soler Sports, with timing and results by local race management company iaap, this event was founded by Race Director Tony Garcia and friends.  This event also happens to be held on Tony’s birthday.  This is a very popular event – the best New Years’ Day 5K in our local area – so had a really nice turn-out with 542 finishers.  The course started and finished in historic “Old Town” Helotes.  This event ha a very kind start time of 10 a.m., since New Year’s Eve is the day before, allowing people to sleep in a bit if they went out and celebrated the incoming year. The before-and-after finish area was a nice ‘garden-type’ area behind the building that used to be Soler Sports in Helotes. There were also a few businesses back here, such as a wine shop, an arts-and-crafts place, and others.  Old Town restroom was located here too, which was convenient, and there were also porta-potties, due to the large turn-out for this one. I arrived with about 45 minutes to go until start time and got a few pre-start photos.   As I was doing this, my friend Sally found me and gave me a ‘button” that a friend of hers had made, with a photo of me and my late running buddy Bernadette Beck – one of the first people I met in the running community when I moved to San Antonio, and we so many of the same local-area races for 27 years.  She was my “bestest” running friend and I loved her greatly. During the time of the illness that prevented her from being her active self and finally took her way too soon, at age 64, we talked every week on the phone. So thoughtful of Sally do to this, and when she first sent me a photo of it, my tears were flowing for sure. I wore the button the first time for this event and will wear it now in her memory and honor when I run, carrying my angel-friend with me in spirit. I miss her so much, especially at races, and find myself sometimes still looking around for her when I go to a race.  I thank God for my supportive wife, Gail, who has helped me so much in dealing with this. She is a very understanding woman, and I am so darn lucky to have had in my life two wonderful women like my wife, Gail, and my best friend, Bernadette, the woman I loved most in the world after my wife. May she rest in peace.

ON THE COURSE – We lined up on dirt-and-gravel off-road terrain and then proceeded through the start/finish chute onto a paved road.  We made a right turn that took us past a traffic circle and then went down a flat paved road to a turn-round point. I was feeling pretty good and did my usual 8-minute run/2-minute walk thing. I got to Mile 1 in in 11 minutes and change – way too fast start for me, and knew I was going to pay for that later on the hill part of the course. After making the turn-round, we came back the way we had come out. Back at the traffic circle, we made a left turn, went past the start/finish area, and then the hills began.  The first was a long down incline.  The second was a long uphill incline.  At the top of this, we made a left turn in front of a local church, proceeded down another hill, and then did a flat part of the course to our turn-round point. After the turn-round, we proceeded back the way we had come out.  This meant, of course, our downhill to the turn-round was now an uphill on the way back. The last part of the course on the main road that took us to the finish was a down incline, and then a last long uphill incline right before we made the turn to finish at the timing chute.  Very nicely though-out course, with very wide roads, so room for all, but dang, it sure does give you workout, lol.  As I expected from doing that first mile too fast, I paid for that by doing positive splits for Mile 2 and Mile 3. I ended up with a chip time of 39:02, averaging 12:34 per mile.   I’ll take it.  I am still being treated for my prostate cancer, so I am just happy I CAN still run.  This day was a good day, felt pretty well overall, ran fairly strong for me, had no issues, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, taking photos on my walk breaks and interacting with other participants along the way.  After I finished, I stood near the finish line and got a couple of photos of some of my personal friends and other participants coming in.

AFTER MY FINISH: – First thing, back into my dry shirt I had brought with me, and then get some water. Just sat for few minutes, relaxing and sipping my water and ‘draining”, lol, from the race. Then it was off to enjoy some goodies – I even allowed myself a beer today, I was feeling so good, and behaved myself, one post-race is my limit, per my doc.  Also enjoyed one of the Kiolbassa sausages that were being grilled up.   Then wandered around taking photos of the ‘happy finishers’, their supporters, volunteers, etc., chatting with friends and other participants, and enjoying the after-party.  My friend Sally also took a few moments to do a short ‘in memory” ceremonial for Bernadette – she was so well known in the running community, since she, like me, did so many races over the year, just about every weekend of the year.  All-in-all, this was a great way to start my running and racing year, with a top quality event, and “carrying’ Bernadette with me along the route. We all also paid tribute to race director, Tony, born this day long ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth – just kidding, Tony – with all the attendings singing Happy Birthday, and raising a glass to him. One of the best  ‘good guys’ around you could ever hope to meet, and I count it a great honor to be able to call him a personal friend.

Epilogue:  As noted, this is the best local area New Year’s Day 5K.   Very nicely thought-out course by Race Director Lisa Soler – another great person and personal friend – and one heck of an after-party.  Very nice quality race shirt; and finisher medal for all finishers – I do so many races, I have way too many medals, lol, so I gave mine to a couple who had pushed their little one in a stroller during the race, so the whole family would each have a medal.  A very nice relaxing venue for the post-race activities too. Lots of post-race goodies, water, beer, wine, various types of juices, fresh fruits – courtesy of another friend, Gilbert, who has the best fruits ever from his Farmer’s Market – and several types of freebie give-aways from various sponsors who had booths there.  If you are a local area runner or walker and have never done this one, you’re missing out!  Definitely give this one a try, you will not regret it. .    

MUCHO THANKS TO:   Race organizers Tony Garcia and Lisa Soler, and all their many volunteers that were out there for us for pre-race packet pickup and for all the race day activities. Thanks to all the sponsors supporting this event and to the local police officers out there for our safety. Thanks to our MC Anthony who did his usual great job, and thanks to our Sausage Griller and his crew for the great eats.  Also, many thanks to the Helotes residents and business owners in the race course area for their patience with 500+ crazy people- cuz you know, we runners and walkers really are crazy, lol; in a good way, of course – getting up and coming out to run or walk in their area. If I inadvertently missed anyone, my apologies, and thanks to all of you, also.

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2021 Race 48, Frosty Five 5K

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BEFORE MY START – My 48th race of 2021 was the Frosty Five 5K held on Dec 24 at 8 a.m. at Pearsall Park in San Antonio. This park long ago used to be a landfill, but the city renovated it into a very nice park with both paved sidewalk trails and off-road trails. It also has a LOT of hills – and not baby hills either – so a really good place to get in hillwork and a long run for those that want to do that. This event is a free event supporting Street2Feet, a walking/running training program for individuals experiencing homelessness, so several participants brought donations of gently used running/walking shoes, clothing and various other items and/or a donation to the cause, if preferred. Many of them live in the Haven For Hope facility in San Antonio. My friend Lana runs this program and does it quite well. There is also an annual ‘timed race’ 5K that is usually run in the downtown San Antonio area. Start time of 8 a.m. E-Dragon Productions, a really good local race management company, was the primary host for this event. They put on several good races over the course of the year from 5Ks up to half and full marathon distances. I do several of their events over the year. Before the start, I wandered around chatting with friends and getting some photos.

ON THE COURSE: The course had one off-road part, a trail going from the start and then down a large-and-steep hill that took us to the pavement trails in the park. Once on the pavement we went to a turn-round point, and then came back the same way we had gone out. This meant, of course, that the steep hill was now an uphill for us on the way to the finish line. Race directors can have a warped sense of humor, lol. I did manage to run the hill on the way to the finish. On the way out, after we started the 5K, I went down it at a very slow pace and walked a bit of it too, since downhills really pound my spinal arthritis back; unlike most runners, I much prefer an uphill to a downhill, lol. As usual, I did my 8-min run/2 minute walk method and took photos along my way. I surprised myself by actually doing pretty well for a slow old dog, in spite of the cancer treatment I am still dealing with. My garmin showed finish of 38:31, averaging 12:26 per mile, and Mile 3 for me, even with the uphill, was a negative split, nice. I’ll take it. After I finished, I stood near the finish line and got a few photos of some others coming in, many of whom I had run with on the course, off-and-on at various points.

AFTER MY FINISH: They had some nice post-race goodies, including my favorite type of cookie, oatmeal raisin. I scarfed down a couple of those real quick. Had brought my own water and zero-sugar Gatorade, so rehydrated with that. After a small time of ‘just relax for a few minutes after the run”, I then enjoyed chatting with friends and getting some post-race photos.

Epilogue: This is a very nicely done event, which I have done in the past. Lots of people in various holiday attire. A very nice course, pretty flat for the most part, with a few inclines and that large hill thrown in as a challenge, lol. Nice quality race shirt. Dog-friendly event too, which is nice. I made new doggie friends really fast when I handed out treats, lol.

MUCHO THANKS TO: All the sponsors of this event; our race hosts, E-Dragon Productions (my friends Kristine and Erik Burciaga, owners; they also do shirt-printing and they are the ones who do my “cancer” shirts for me; I love their work!); the park police officer that was out there for us; and, of course, all the volunteers that put this all together for us and were out there for us for packet pickup, getting everything set up, etc. Thanks also to anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here. No event without all of you; you all rock!

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2021 Race 47, SJRC Jingle Bell 5K, Dec 11

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BEFORE MY START:  My 47th race of 2021 was the SJRC Jingle Bell 5K presented by Comal Independent School District.  Held in historic Gruene (pronounced GREEN), Texas, the event supported the.  This is a popular annual event, with a nice turnout this year of 697 participants. There was also a kids 1K event. There may have been some that did not show because the weather was a bit crappy; very overcast and temps in the 50s – not bad – but a cold wind was blowing really hard, making it feel much colder.  Brrr!  I did just about everything wrong, lol, getting to this event. First, I stupidly turned my alarm off went it rang; then about 15 minutes later my brain kicked in and said ‘get up, stupid, you have a 5K today.”  So then in a rush to get breakfast, feed my cats (6 of them), get my gear on, and get going.  I had read the day before the temp at 8 a.m. start time would be 68, so I wore a singlet; then, of course, when I got to Gruene, that darn cold wind was blowing. Thankfully, I had thought to bring an extra shirt to put on after the 5K, so I just put that one on over top of my singlet. Still chilly, but I was find during my run/walk. Also, with my late start from home, I was rushing around to get my  packet – the line for race day packet pickup was pretty long too, so that took a while – get my bib on, and get back to the start area, which took me a bit of time as I had to park way back in the lot since I arrived later than I wanted to. Finally, with about 10 minutes to go, I was in the start area, and managed to get a few photos before the 5K began.

ON THE COURSE:  For anyone who has done a 5K in Gruene, the course was the ‘usual’ one: Start across from historic Gruene Hall, make a right turn, then a short loop around a couple of streets, and then back onto the main avenue which took us past the mile mark and then a turn into a really nice residential area, where our only ‘hill’ was – an incline of about 6 inches elevation, lol.  We looped through this residential area and then back onto the main street we had started on, coming out onto that street that put us about a half-mile from the finish.  Going back to the start/finish area was challenging as we were now running straight into that 19 – 21 mph gusting wind, jeez.  Weather folks had called for scattered showers too, but thankfully it did not rain on us while we were on the course.  I did this one really slow – still having a few side effects from my cancer radiation treatments I recently finished – completing the 5K in 42:28, averaging a pretty slow 13:40 per mile.  Of course, it also probably did not help that, since I did not think I was going to win anything anyway, I made several more stops on the course than I usually do to chat and joke around with some other participants and to get a few extra photos, and I even made some dog-stops to give a treat or two to some of the dogs of the residents in the neighborhood we went through.  I also walked a bit more going into that darn headwind on the way back to the finish.   All that, of course, is not conducive to doing a speedy 5K, lol, but, what the heck, I had fun out there and enjoyed myself.

AFTER MY FINISH:  First stop – water!  Got some water, got a banana, relaxed a bit and enjoyed those – – ahhh, much better – then wandered around chatting with friends and other participants and getting some post-race photos, while waiting for the awards ceremony, as a speedy friend had asked me to get hers if she placed, since she had to leave right after she was done. Well, did not have to worry about that; after about 20 minutes or so after I finished, then the rain started coming in, and with that darn wind still blowing like crazy, it started to get pretty chilly.  The race organizers made an announcement that due to the weather being nutso – they did not put in those exact words, lol, but you got the gist – that instead of having everyone wait for an awards ceremony the results would be checked by the organizers and the overall and age group placers would get their medals in the mail.  After that, everyone cleared out pretty quickly – well, at least got to sit in their warm vehicles while the long parking lot lines slowly exited the area.  Being a member of the Y, I headed right over to the nearby New Braunfels YMCA, where I was able to take a nice hot shower – ahhhh, felt great – and then get into dry clothes, so AI did not have to drive home in my sweaty, wet stuff.  Very convenient.

Epilogue:   This really is a nice event that supports the SJRC Texas – formerly known as St. Judes Ranch for Children – a facility that cares for children and families traumatized by “ trauma, abuse and neglect”.  I take this one personally, as I have had a couple of family members who have been involved in situations like this, so I try to do this event whenever I can and have been a participant for the last several years.   The cause is a serious one, of course, but the event is also a fun one to do, with people – and dogs too, sometimes, this is a dog friendly event – in various types of costumes, Santa Clause and his elves are at the event too, and post-race goodies include sausage wraps, beer, various other drinks (water, energy drinks, etc) and a wide variety of nutrition bars, bananas, and other goodies. The race shirt is a nicely done long-sleeved shirt.  Course is nice too, pretty flat for just about all the way, so a good course to shoot for a 5K PR for those inclined to do so.  Definitely will continue to do this one in the future as long as I am able and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:   Thanks so much for COMAL ISD for hosting this event, and to all the many sponsors, volunteers, and others who made this one happen for all we participants. Thanks to all the police officers who were out there on the course for our safety, having to stand in that darn wind until the last finisher was done. Much thanks to the Athlete Guild folks who did the course setup, timing, results, etc, and thank to the patience of all the residents of the housing our course took us through; there were actually several residents who came out to cheer us all on, very nice; a very friendly neighborhood area.   A very enjoyable outing, in spite of that wind.

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2021 Race 46 Boerne Family YMCA 5K/10K

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BEFORE MY START: My 46th race of 2021 was the Boerne Family YMCA 5K and 10K held on November 20 in Boerne, Texas, about a 30 – 40-minute drive from my San Antonio home. There was also a 1-mile walk. This is one of my favorite races of the year.  This was the 10th anniversary of the event, and I have done them all since it first started, so this is one of my streak races.  This year, since I am getting radiation treatment for prostate cancer and had a treatment the day before this event, I was not sure if I would make it or not. Woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty good so I proceeded to Boerne. Start and finish at the town square, a really nice “park-like” area with a Gazebo, restroom facility, and lots of room for everyone.  Mother Nature was pretty nice to us fort this one, giving us a sunny day, no wind, and temps in the low to mid 50s.  A little child for me, lol, I prefer it about 60-and-up, so I wore my race shirt under a long-sleeved shirt and then ditched the long-sleeved one until after the race, so I’d have a dry shirt to put back on. After I arrived my friend, Jada, who had kindly picked up my packet the day before, found me and gave me my race bib.  After that, wandered around getting some pre-start photos and chatting with other participants. Encountered my YMCA volunteer friend Sally who told me this was their biggest year ever, with over 1,000 people registered for the races and the walk, zowie.

ON THE COURSE: The 10K participants started about 5 minutes before the 5K folks.  Then we 5K folks got going.  I thought it was kind of funny, the MC called for the 5K people to line up….and we participants were already half-way around the square, lol. I guess someone forgot to tell him we were already on our way.  Not a relapse on his part, lol. I think he was going by the start time on the ‘official sheet”, and I believe we actually started a little earlier than that time.  The course is a really nice one with wide streets and lots of maneuvering room for all, which was good since this is also a kid-and-dog and wheeled-vechicle (strollers, baby joggers, etc) event. Where I was at any given moment, I never saw anyone being cut off, interfered with, etc. This is a very friendly and ‘neighborly’ event, lots of people encouraging each other, lots of smiles – where I was anyway – and several owners of the residences we passed by were out to cheer us on. I did my usual 8-minute run/2 minute walk break thing and took some photos during my walk breaks. Around Mile 2 one of the dogs I had given a treat to before the start recognized me and the poor guy holding its leash had his arm go out as the dog veered and tried to head toward me, lol. The guy had a good sense of humor about it. I gave the guy a couple of my treats and he laughed and said ok, then, this will keep her next to me. Lol .  I ended up finishing 2nd out of 4 in my 65 – 69 age group, with a chip time of 38:10, averaging 12:17 per mile. One of my friends told me if I didn’t stop to take photos I’d probably do 35 or 36 minutes.  Maybe so, but I enjoy what I’m doing and, really, at my age and with my issues – cancer, pacemaker in my chest, spinal arthritis – I really only have 2 goals for my races: finish standing up and no ambulance specifically waiting for me at the finish, lol.  Goals met! And I thoroughly enjoyed myself, so it’s all good.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Walked back to my car – I’d been lucky to find parking pretty close to the square – and got my dry shirt back on, and stocked up with more treats since there were a lot of doggies at this event. Then back to the square to get some ‘after’ photos, chat with friends and other participants – including the dogs, lol – hand out some more treats and enjoy some of the post-race goodies.  A very enjoyable event, indeed!

Epilogue:  As noted before, one of my favorite events  Race shirt is always a nice quality long-sleeved tee; the course is very good; and the after-party is really nice, with all kinds of offered goodies including a served-up cowboy breakfast; post-race beer – and I think there was even a wine booth – all kinds of other foods, including various pastries and sweets, protein and nutrition bars, coffee, and various vendors giving away lots of souvenir freebies.  This event is definitely a keeper.  If you’ve never done it before, give it a try; you might just become addicted to it.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Boerne YMCA for putting this one one, and all their staff and volunteers that were out that day for we participants; all the sponsors that always help make this one happen for we participants; the police officers and EMTs and all the others who were there for our safety; the City of Boerne for allowing this “live’ event – you could also do it virtually – all those ‘booth” people out there, giving us all those pre-and-post race goodies; and thank to all the residents of the neighborhoods we went through for their patience as we invaded there space for a while; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2021 Race 45 Project Healing Heroes 5K

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BEFORE MY START:  My 45th race of 2021 was the Project Healing Heroes 5K on Saturday, Nov 13th in Cibolo, Texas, 8:30 a.m. start time. From the Everyday Fellowship Christian Church.  This event is put on by Project Healing Heroes, which has a mission of helping veterans, service members, first responders, and their families resolve trauma through awareness, resilience, and support.  The organization has qualified counselors who are also veterans and have been through what their clients have, so they have a first-hand knowledge of what their clients are dealing with. Retired Lt Col. David Tharp is the founder and CEO. Race start time of 8:30 a.m.  I almost did not make it to the start since I am “directionally challenged” lol.  I drove right by the start area – duhhhh – and then had to turn around and go back to find the place. I got there at 8:15 a.m.  Thankfully I had picked up my packet the day before, so already had my race bib.  Took a few quick pre-race photos and then it was time to start.

ON THE COURSE:   I was the very last one to cross the start line, as about 2 minutes before the start time, my prostate started acting up – darn prostate cancer! – and I had to make a quick trip to the port-a-potty.  Then back to the start line – everyone else had started – and made sure to go through the timing things at the start to get my chip going. Then I was running on the course and pretty soon caught up to a few people at the back of the back.  I made pretty good progress and passed several people. The course waw out-and-back in through a really nice, and pretty flat streets neighborhood. The only ‘hill’ was just a pretty small incline going up to the turn-round point. I ended up with a finish time of 38:29, averaging 12:25 per mile, and I had negative splits: 12:47, 12:23, 12:22.  I am pretty consistent with my paces, lol, slow-and-slower. I’d had a radiation therapy treatment on Friday, the day before this event, so was happy with the results, and happy that I can even still run.  As this was a small event, age groups were kind of spaced out – mine was males 50-and-up  – so did not get any award, but that’s okay, I usually don’t expect to get one anyway. All good.

AFTER MY FINISH: Got some water and had a nutrition bar and just relaxed a bit.  Then chatted with other participants, watched the awards ceremony – the top 3 in my 50+ males all finished in the 20s – and got a few more photos. This also is a dog-friendly event, so I handed out some treats too.  There were actually quite a few dogs at the event, had to go back to my car and get more treats, lol.  

Epilogue:  First time for me doing this event. Enjoyed doing something ‘new’ for me.  Nice course, lots of friendly people, lots of vendors on site giving away free stuff, such as pens, coozies, etc, and lots of these were veteran support organizations, so lots of resources for families in need.  Local police officers, firefighters and EMTs were at the event too. The Cibolo mayor even ran this event – and placed!  The goodie bag was nice, chock-full of various things – one of my cats took the frisbee as her new toy, lol – and a nice quality race shirt.  A very enjoyable morning.  Definitely would do this event again and would recommend it to others.

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2021 Race 44 Trails Fur Tails 5K

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BEFORE MY START: My 44th race of 2021 was the Trails Fur Tails 5K held on Nov 6 at McAllister Park in San Antonio, with a 9 a.m. start. This event supports AAPAW (Alamo Area Partners for Animal Welfare), an organization to bring animal welfare organizations, veterinarians and the community together in partnership to improve the lives of animals in the San Antonio area. This was a fairly small event, 50 finishers, 21 male and 29 female. I arrived at the park with about 15 minutes to go until start time – fell asleep in my chair at home, lol, and snoozed a bit too long. Got my race bib and then got just a few pre-start photos before we all headed down to the start area.

ON THE COURSE: This was a kind of loop course, starting near the youth baseball field at the park and then proceeding down a paved park road in front of us. We then made circuit on off-road paved trails in the park, passing by the police substation near the park. Crossed the road we had initially come out on, and then did another trail that took us back to the finish. Nicely thought-out course with one water station on it. I ended up third in my 60-99 male age group, finishing in 41:48 and also doing positive splits, mainly because I kept stopping to treat doggies that I met along the way. Also, this being a smaller event, I pretty much ran/walked the back half of the course all alone. Okay with me, I enjoyed myself.

AFTER MY FINISH: Got some water and also enjoyed a post-race breakfast taco from Taco Cabana and a Shipley’s donut. Age group awards to top 3 in each age group so, with a small event, I got a nice little 3rd place medal for my 65-99 age group. My running community acquaintance, Ben, was first with a time of 29:48.

Epilogue: There were several events on this day all over the San Antonino region and a popular half marathon, 10K and 5K being done in Corpus Christi. So this event had a lot of registration competition. If there had been less event competition, I think this one would have been quite popular and gotten a better turn-out. Hint here for the race director: Sunday morning race. Hardly anyone does a Sunday morning race anymore, so probably would have gotten a bigger turnout, like the event I did on Sunday the week before this one. Even so, very nicely put-on event with a good course, quality race tee, and some nice post-race goodies. Also, an event for a good cause. Dog-friendly too. Lots of people had their doggies on the course. I’d do this one again and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO: AAPAW for putting on the event, along with all the volunteers and staff that did the work to make it happen; all the sponsors supporting it; the Park Police officer that was out there for our safety; our music and sound man; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!

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2021 Race 43, Monster Dash 5K

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BEFORE MY START: My 43rd race of 2021 was the Monster Dash 5K, held on Sunday, October 31 at Lady Bird Johnson Park in San Antonio.  Thee was also a 10K, a 1-Miler and a 1-Miler wheel chair event. Race start time of 9:30 a.m., so got to sleep in a bit extra, which was nice, as this was my 2nd 5K of the weekend, after having done one in New Braunfels on Saturday.      This event supports the Now You See Me Foundation, which raises funding for critically injured athletes and spinal cord research. They also help rebuild the lives of cyclists and runners who have suffered traumatic injury. At packet pickup the day before the race, I had the pleasure of meeting founder Monica and her husband, two very inspirational people.  I encourage you to check out the foundation website and read her story; truly amazing. I wear my Never Give Up shirts as personal motivation for myself.  This lady lives Never Give Up every darn day. I live quite close to LBJ Park so arrived on-site with about 40 minutes to race time.  There was a really nice turn-out for this one, parking lots were quite full. 100+ finishers in the 5K and about 45 doing the 10K. Add to that the people doing the wheelchair and walking events, so a very nice turn-out indeed; and lots of supporters and volunteers showed up too.  I found a place to park and then got some pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE: All the distances were basically on the same course, the off-road paved trails in the park, with everyone starting in the parking area near the dog park, doing a loop around a grassy area there and then hitting the trails.  The 5K was a single-time out-and-back, as were the 1-mile events, while the 10K folks did the out-and-back route twice. My legs were feeling Saturday’s 5K – which had a couple of pretty good hills to climb on the course – so I just took it nice and easy, behaved myself and took my walk breaks – I run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes due to my spinal arthritis – and took some oncourse photos during the walk breaks. The course took us out past the Los Patios area, and then to the Loop 410 frontage road, where we made our turn-round and headed back to the finish.  I finished 3rd in my 60 – 69 age group with a chip time of 37:45 and I had negative splits along the way too, nice. I was happy with this result, especially as I am currently undergoing some radiation therapy for prostate cancer, so nice to know I still able to do my run/walk thing. Slower than I used to be, but I’ll take it! My friend Patrick walked the 5K and he averaged 14-minute miles walking, jeez.  Speedy walker!

AFTER MY FINISH:  Got some water and a banana, relaxed a little, and then wandered around chatting with friends and other participants and getting some “happy finisher” photos. Everyone seemed in a pretty good mood and, given what this event is for, there were quite a few inspirational people out there. Makes you really reflect on just how lucky you might be, even if you do have your own issues to deal with. Age group awards to the top overall finisher in each category and overall awards to the top man and woman finisher and the top Master’s man and woman. All finishers did get a finisher medal.  Great weather for it too; sunny, around 60 degrees at start time, low humidity. Felt like Fall was actually here; for a couple days anyway.

Epilogue: Very nicely done event.  Nice venue, nice course, nice quality race shirt, finisher medals for all, and lots of post-race goodies that included a couple types of breakfast tacos, water and Gatorade, a selection of various fruits, and other items. Several vendors there also giving away freebies and there was a raffle drawing for various prizes, including the top prize of a $100 H-E-B gift card.  I got nada, that’s the way my luck goes, so probably a good thing I don’t gamble anymore, lol. There was also a costume contest. This is the first time I’ve done this event. I would definitely do it again and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO: Now You See Me Foundation for this really inspiring event and for all the work they and their volunteers must have put it to get this one done; the park police officers out there for our safety; all the sponsors that supported this one so we participants could have this event; iaap race management for its usual great job of course setup, timing, results, etc.; all the food preparation folks – nice goodies, thanks! – and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!  

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2021 Race 42, Halloween 5K

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BEFORE MY START:    My 42nd race of 2021 was the Halloween 5K and Lil Monster 1K put on by race management company Athlete Guild on October 30, 2021.  Start/finish location was in New Braunfels, Texas, on the company property of Rockin’ R, a toobing company business providing toobing access to the nearby Guadalupe River. The 1K for the kids started at 8 a.m., with the 5K starting after the 1K was done. True Autumn weather had come in for a few days, so when I arrived at the race site, it was a chilly 54 degrees – chilly for me anyway, lol; I prefer warm weather. I got my race bib and then wandered around chatting with friends and getting a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE: There were 137 finishers for this event. Lots of the participants did the course in costume. Starting from the Rockin’ R, we proceed off the grounds and onto the road in front of the Rockin’ R building. Up this road for a short bit and then a right turn that took us up a middling-steep  uphill.  After that, the course was flat for a while, as we went underneath a train bridge, and then made a right turn that took us into a really nice neighborhood area. Going through here took us to the other side of the neighborhood where we then had the pleasure of doing what the online course description called a ‘gently rolling hill.”  Right.  This thing made for quite a good climb.  After that, downhill to a turn that took us to the course water stop.  Passing this, we then made a left turn to head up to another fairly steep but mercifully short hill. Once we crested this, the flat road took us back to the road we had started on, and we headed back to the finish in reverse of the way we had come out, so that first hill we climbed was now a downhill on the way to the finish. I ended up with a 37:21 finish, averaging 12:01 per mile, and had negative splits, with my last mile being 11:21, sweet.  I ended up 2nd out of 3 in my males 69-99 age group, in which there were only 3 of us.  Even so, after 9 days so far of radiation therapy for my prostate cancer – 19 more days to go! – I was happy with my results and felt I had run fairly well.  Felt good the whole way.

AFTER MY FINISH: Post-race goodies included various pastries, protein bars, bagels, etc. Enjoyed a post-race bagel and enjoyed post-race chatting with friends and fellow participants, and also getting some post-race photos. I call these the “Happy Finishers” photos since more people seem to be smiling after they are done versus before the start and on the course. A really nice-and-friendly group of participants and supporters at this event.

Epilogue:  I enjoy Athlete Guild events. One of the best local-area race management companies, they always provide really nice quality events. Their staff is great and I am proud to call them friends.  In all the many years I have done Athlete Guild events, they have never disappointed me. This event is really well done and the course – which I’ve done before as it is used for other events too – is really well-thought out, with a couple of ‘challenges” – especially that 2nd hill, lol – along the way.  Nice quality race shirt and a really nice age-group award medal. Definitely would do this one again, and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:   Rockin’ R for the use of the grounds; Athlete Guild for their usual great job; all the sponsors that supported this event so we participants could have it; law enforcement officers out on the road for our safety; all the race volunteers involved; the residents of the neighborhood we went through and the patience of the drivers on the course roads, these roads were open to traffic; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.   Thank you all!

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2021 Race 41 Dia De Los Muertos 5K

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BEFORE MY START:   My 41st race of 2021 was the Dia de Los Muertos 5K on October 23.  Start time of 5 p.m. at McAllister Park, this evening event is a kind celebrates a kind of ‘memorial holiday’ that honors and remembers deceased family members. Originating in Mexico, this “Day of the Dead” celebration is actually a lot more involved than my simple explanation and is now celebrated in several places around the world. Several participants wore costumes – probably quite warm for them in the San Antonio 77 degree heat at start time –  and there were several unique backdrop items for photo opportunities.  I picked up my race packet a couple of days before the race so when I arrived I was ready to wander around chatting with friends/other participants and get some pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE: The course was kind of a loop course on the park’s off-road paved trails and right before the finish the last part was a  bit of an out-and-back on one of the park roads  – which I always find a bit annoying, lol, because when I hit the end of that last trail, I don’t want to do an out-and-back, I just want to head right for the darn finish line.  Even so, a pretty nicely thought out course, that provided us a lot of shade, which was nice on this warm-and-sunny Texas evening. After having completed my very first week of radiation therapy for my prostate cancer I am currently battling I was not sure how I would do, so I really did not push it much.  I had done training runs during the week of my training and felt good on those, with no adverse reactions, so felt I was ready for this.  Just took it fairly easy, doing my usual walk/run thing, and taking some on-course photos during my walk breaks.  I ended up 4th out of 6 in my age group, with a chip time of 40:01, averaging 12:53 miles.  The 3rd guy in my age group was 30-something and the first 2 finished in the 20s, nice.  I felt pretty good the whole way and enjoyed myself and was just happy I still could run as it was a long first week of treatment for me both psychologically and physically, especially as I am the first appointment of the day for the clinic; happy about that, but that 6:45 a.m. Mon-Fr treatment time means I have to be up way early in the morning to get there on time, lol. Four days done (started on Tuesday), 24 days to go.  I am a BAMC patient and just have to say, my medical team is just GREAT, always patient and caring with me, and getting it done for me with the least discomfort possible.

AFTER MY FINISH:  Happy with my performance, I mildly celebrated with one post-race beer, as I went here-and-there chatting post-race with friends, enjoying the costume contest and the music played by our sound guy,  and getting some post-race photos.  The ‘bride-lady’, who walked the course in full costume, was the costume contest winner.

Epilogue: This event, put on by iaap, one of the best race management companies around, was very well done.  A family business, race director Ceci and her crew did a great job with this event, as they do with every event of theirs I have ever attended. This one was really fun too, and very colorful, with the backdrops, the costumes, etc.  Anthony Zamora, our MC, also did his usual great job, being very entertaining and helping make it fun. I’ve done this one several times in the past and continue do to so in the future as long as I am able.  I most certainly would recommend this one to others. Both runners and walkers welcome, and this is a dog-friendly, stroller friendly, everything-friendly event too.  

MUCHO THANKS TO:   The whole Iniguez family for all the great events they keep providing to we participants year after year; all the sponsors who helped foot the bill so we could all enjoy this event; the park police officers out there for our safety for the 2 park-road crossing we did on the route; our music man; our MC; all the volunteers for this event; Alamo Beer for the post-race adult beverage; and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much!

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