Race photos are at the link above.
BEFORE MY START: My 8th live race of 2021 was the Big Bear 5K held on Apr 17th in Mico, Texas. This race supports the Wounded Warriors. Running at Fort Sam Houston a lot, which has the Center for the Intrepid, a rehab facility for Wounded Warriors, I have often encountered/met some of these Wounded Warriors, and they are always so inspiring, truly living the philosophy of Never Give Up. I have a Wounded Warrior friend who lost a leg and sometimes see him at Fort Sam when I occasionally run on the large track there. I do around 11 – 13-minute miles with 2 good legs and my friend, with his prosthetic leg, laps me. Truly amazing and awesome seeing him out there. I’ve lived in San Antonio since 1994 and have never been to Mico, so this was a new race scene for me. Start and finish was at the Dancing Bear Cantina. Race start time of 10 a.m., a late start so I got to sleep in a bit. Maybe a bit too much, lol. I got up, had breakfast and got going a bit later than intended, not sure if I’d make it by start time. Arrived with about 20 minutes to spare. Had already picked up my packet during the week, so quickly got a couple of pre-start photos and then it was time to line up for the start. Nice sunny day, with weather a bit chilly in the 50s, and a really good wind blowing off-and-on with around 10-20 mph gusts, making it feel a bit chilly.
ON THE COURSE: Out-and-back course from the Dancing Bear Cantina. MC and friend Mark Purnell told me the course would be a tad short of 5K distance, as we had been instructed to use the local fire station as our turn-around point. He also told me it was a ‘bit’ hilly. Downhill to the turn-round point and then uphill back. The way he described it, I was thinking uh-oh, we are going to have steep “Helotes Hills on the way back up. It turned out that it was not like that at all. The hills coming back were challenging, all right – especially since I have not done any hill work since having my dental surgery about 3 weeks ago – but they were not really steep-steep, just more like really long, long inclines on the way up, as you can see from some of the photos. And the wind had changed direction and was blowing right into our faces on the way back. Tough wind to run head into. I did take a couple of extra walk breaks on portions of these hills. As I finally got to the finish line, my Garmin showed 2.7 miles, with a finish time of 34:52, averaging 12:55 per mile. I really expected to do 14-something minute miles, so was happy with my result.
AFTER MY FINISH: Got a couple photos of some people coming in after me and got some views of Medina Lake from the Cantina property. Got some post-race refreshment, which included a beer for participants, and enjoyed post-race relaxing, chatting with friends, and taking some photos of the happy finishers, volunteers, supporters, etc.
Epilogue: As noted, first time out here doing this event. Very well organized by John Purnell/Purnell Racing and his volunteers/crew in support of a great cause, Wounded Warriors. Course was open to traffic, of which there was very little, and drivers I saw at any given time were very friendly and careful when going by participants. Nice little after-party at the cantina with live music by a group called Lionthrone. I thought they were pretty good. If you wanted to stick around for a while, this event was also a Full-Day event with T-shirts, cuzzies, award for top male and females in 5 categories, beverages, and a food coupon. Nice quality race shirt. Definitely would recommend this one to others and will certainly be doing this one again in the future.
MUCHO THANKS TO: John Purnell/Purnell Racing, the Purnell family, and all the volunteers and sponsors that made this one happen for we participants; the Medina County Sheriff officer(s) that were out there for us; Dancing Bear Cantina