Race photos are here:
BEFORE MY START: Happy New Year! My 1st race of 2021 was La Cruda 5K, held on January 1, 2021 in La Vernia, Texas, about a 35 minute drive from where I live in San Antonio. This was a ‘live’ race, with around 200 or so participants. Start and finish at The Den, a family friendly restaurant in La Vernia, featuring a 7000 square foot astroturf outdoor play area, outdoor seating area, patio, and live music, and a staff of great and friendly people. They serve up a pretty nice breakfast too, which was nice for those who wanted enjoy that, post-race. Start time of this event was 10 a.m., allowing people to sleep in a bit if they partook in any New Year’s Eve activities. I arrived with about an hour to go before the start time and enjoyed chatting with friends and getting a few pre-start photos.
ON THE COURSE: Our local area had a crappy couple of days of rain and wind, starting on Wednesday night – although our local area did need rain badly – and the temp dropped too, with our low going from 61 down to around 31 degrees. The rain had cleared out by New Year’s Day, with abundant sunshine and blue skies, but there was a bit of a wind blowing, and the temp at start time hovered around 43 degrees or so, with the wind making it feel a bit chillier. Starting from the parking lot area of The Den – with a Social Distancing start of only so many runners at a time starting out – we made our way onto a main road – very light traffic due to the holiday – and then turned into a very nice residential area with very wide streets and even less traffic. We proceeded to a turn-round point at what I think was a local school – didn’t pay much attention to what that building was, where we made our turn-round – and then proceeded back to the finish the way we had come out. This is a very well-thought out course, mostly flat, with just a small up incline shortly after we left the start line, and then a down incline as we turned into the residential area, which became an up incline as we headed back to the finish. Not what you can really call a hill – unless you have “Old Man Legs” like me, lol; then it’s a hill. 😉 I did better than I expected to, finishing in 37:11 chip time. I was actually dead list in my 60 – 69 age group – there sure were some speedy old guys in this age group, lol – but that’s okay. All my miles were under 12-minutes and Mile 3 was my fastest mile, at 11:44. Made me feel pretty good as it seems like me and my pacemaker are finally making progress lol, slowing and surely staring to get under 12-minute miles now and slowing getting back to being the runner I was before my pacemaker implant. After I crossed the finish line, I took a couple minutes to walk around a bit and also got a few photos of others coming into the finish line.
AFTER MY FINISH: Still a bit chilly with that wind blowing; thankfully had the presence of mind to leave a base-layer dry shirt in the car. Got that on, and then enjoyed post-race activities of award ceremony, chatting with friends, getting some post-race photos and enjoying the post-race goodies, which included grilled sausage wraps, Alamo Beer, and friend Gilbert had a really nice spread of various fresh fruits. Also, lots of water available too, of course. If you preferred something stronger than beer, The Den was available to fill that order. I also noticed several participants took advantage of that nice breakfast menu The Den has. Very nice.
Epilogue: For me and several runners and walkers each year in the San Antonio area, this is the premier New Years Day event to do, sponsored by local race company Scallywompus – “Come for the race. Stay for the party!” – and well organized by race director Tony Garcia and all his volunteers, with social distancing/pandemic requirements in place. Normally, this event is done in Helotes but due to the pandemic, had to be moved outside the San Antonio area this year. All good though; The Den is a great location, and the staff members are great hosts. They even provided indoor restrooms, nice. DJ playing music for us; professional photographers on the course and taking photos after also – I think the company is Pushbutton Photography, if I remember correctly – and good post-race eats and drinks. Finisher medal to all finishers, and a nice quality race shirt too – in orange, this year, my favorite color. This is a ‘staple’ New Year’s Day event for me, one I’ve done many times in the past and one I will continue to do in the future.
MUCHO THANKS TO: All the sponsors that supported this one and all the organizers and volunteers that made this one happen for us. Special thanks to The Den for letting 200+ participants invade their space for a while, and to the Wilson County officials for allowing a “live” event in their district. Thanks to also to anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here. May we all have a Happy New Year and may 2021 be a way better year than 2020. Stay safe, my friends.