Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/64uo6jdZGtqYYm9c8
BEFORE MY START: My 14th race of 2021 was the Helotes 5K held in Helotes, Texas, on May 15. Helots is a a small city that borders on one of the San Antonio city limit borders. Helotes is a pretty little town with friendly people, nice neighborhood areas, and lots of hills if you ever want to get some hillwork in. Depending on traffic, it is about a 25-35 minutes-drive from where I live near the San Antonio airport. Since this was early Saturday morning, I got there pretty quick, arriving with about 45 minutes until the 8 a.m. start time. I’d picked up my packet the day before, so after arrival I wandered here-and-there chatting with friends and other participants, and getting some pre-start photos.
ON THE COURSE: This is the first ‘live’ race since the pandemic shutdown started, so Lisa Soler of Soler Sports took advantage of the permission to have a live race here and put this event together. The course was in historlc “Old Town” Helotes, laid out in similar fashion to past live races done here. We started on a dirt-and-gravel road in a commercial area of stores, restrooms, a little patio area with picnic tables, and more. A very nicely done ‘comfortable’ area. We started on a dirt/gravel road, exited onto the street, left turn to a traffic circle and then down a paved road for about ¾ of a mile to a turn-round point. This part of the course was very flat. Back the way we had come, going around the traffic circle – we were past Mile 1 at this point – and this is where the hills began. First a down incline – not my favorite, since I have spinal arthritis and downhill is actually harder on my back than uphill is – then an up incline. We made a left turn near a church, bringing us to another downhill that got us to Mile 2. Once down the hill, we had a slight up incline and then some flat road to our next turn-round point. From this turnround, back the way we came, with that incline now being uphill. Right turn onto the ‘main drag” of Old Helotes Town, so that uphill incline we came out on was now downhill, and then we finished by going up another incline, and then making the turn back on the dirt road to cross the finish line. At my age (67) I met both my primary race goals: Finish standing up and no ambulance waiting for me specifically at the finish. Distance: 3.3 (course was a tad long, but no big deal), time: 39:39, averaging 12:17 per mile, while doing my 8-mm run/2 minute walk thing – can’t run nonstop anymore because of my arthritis – and taking photos on the course; which probably did not help my time any, lol, but what the heck, I enjoy myself.
AFTER MY FINISH: Got a couple of photos near the finish line and then went to get some water and banana and relax for a few minutes. My pacemaker implant (I have an A-fib) is very good and after I finish it does not take my heartrate long to go back down. During the run it went up to about 142 and about 10 minutes after I finished, it was already down to 72 after about 5-10 minutes, so good pacemaker, good boy! 😊 So I relaxed for a bit, enjoyed some post-race goodies and then wandered around chatting with friends, getting post-race photos, and treating canines to doggie treats.
Epilogue: Nicely done by Lisa Soler with the help of her “assistant” Tony Garcia, and all her volunteers. Nice to be doing a race again in Helotes. This is a dog-friendly event too, so there were a few dogs out there too. Finisher medal to all finishers, and a very nice quality tech tee race shirt. The road was open to traffic but I did not see any problems. Where I was on the course at any given moment, the drivers went slowly and cautiously, and were pretty polite about it all. There are a lot of runners, walkers, and cyclists in Helotes on any given day, so I guess the residents and drivers are used to active people being in their burg and take it all in stride, no pun intended. Definitely would do Lisa’s 5K again and would recommend it to others. Pretty nice turn-out for this one too, especially considering that on this day there were about 5 other races within the driving area of San Antonio.
MUCHO THANKS TO: Lisa Soler and all her volunteers for getting this one put together; the City of Helotes for approval of this live event; all the vendors/sponsors that were out there for us on race day and who also helped this one happen; the timing/results company; and anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here. Also thanks to the Helotes citizens in the areas we ran or walked through for their patience.