Photos are here:
BEFORE MY START: My 24th race of 2021 was the Stars and Stripes 5K held on July 17 at the Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theater in New Braunfels, Texas. The main event was a half marathon and there was also a 10K and a competitive 5K walk. Athlete Guild was the race company organizer, timer, etc., of this event. I arrived onsite a little before 6:30 a.m. and got a few pre-start photos. The half-marathoners were already lining up as their event was the first to begin, with a start time of 6:30 a.m. Nice early start for a change, which is a blessing in Texas summer, believe me. Wish more Race Directors would do this early start thing during the Texas summer. Weather was pretty cooperative for the most part though. It did not rain on us and we had a pretty nice breeze blowing also, along with lots of cloud cover.
ON THE COURSE: 10K participants started on 7 a.m,, so when we 5K runners, walkers, and 5K competitive walkers lined up for our 7:15 a.m. start, the other race participants were already gone. I lined up way back as I did not anticipate doing this one very speedily. Just wanted to take my time, have fun with it, and not push it. I was feeling pretty good, in spite of the fact I had found out earlier in the week that my testing came back positive for prostate cancer. No worries, that will be taken care of. We started from the grounds of the Drive-In, next to the concession building, proceeding down the entrance/exit driveway. At the end of the long driveway we made a right turn and proceeded up a long incline. At the top of this, we turned right and proceeded down the longest incline/hill on the course. These were the only 2 climbs on the course. After getting onto level ground again we went a very short ways before making a left turn that took us down a country road – paved, thank goodness – to our turn-round point. From there we went back to the finish the way we had come out; which meant that long downhill incline was not an uphill for us. And, of course, the up incline we had first started on was now downhill on the way to the finish. I am actually not fond of downhill running, lol, as I have some spinal arthritis, and downhills pound my back much harder than uphills do. My timer did buzz me on my way to the finish on that downhill, notifying me of a walk break, so that helped. Mostly I felt pretty good and was comfortable, but also pretty slow. I ended up with a 41 minutes even chip time, averaging 13:02 per mile – my fastest was Mile 2 at 12:25, my slowest Mile 3 at 13:59 – 5th out of 6 in my 65 – 69 age group.
AFTER MY FINISH: By now sun was up and it was getting pretty warm. First thing after finishing, get some water, walk around a bit and monitor my pacemaker as it started lowering my heart rate back to what is normal for me, which did not take long at all. After that, I went to my vehicle and sat in it for about 10 minutes with the a/c turned on as I sipped my water and had a post-race nutrition bar. Ahhhhhh. Then it was back out to chat with friends, cheer for other runners and walkers as they finished, enjoy a post-race beer, and get a few “Happy Finishers” photos.
Epilogue: I’ve done this 5K a few times in the past years, including the inaugural one. The theater is family-owned by a great family of some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I saw the co-owner when I first arrived and he actually did the 5K today, the first time he’s done it, since he so kindly opened his venue for this event. This is really a nice place to have a race. Mucho available parking, indoor restrooms, and post-race if you need to cool down a bit quickly, the air/conditioned lobby is open. The theater staff also prepares goodies for post-race which for this one is a plate of burgers and fries and a drink. You can sit in the lobby booths to enjoy this or go to the outside pavilion in front of the lobby, where there are several picnic tables available, and also a nice ‘safe” playground area for any kids there. I hung around for quite while sitting in the picnic area chatting with friends, enjoying post-race food and drink and cheering in other runners and walkers as they finished. A very nice quality event with lots of amenities, pretty nice race shirt, and finisher medals. One nice thing the half marathoners mentioned they liked really well was there was a water-stop at every mile. Well done! I’ve done this in the past, would do this again in the future, and certainly would recommend it to others.
MUCHO THANKS TO: Race Director Sherri Purnell who really did a great job with this one, and all the Athlete Guild staff that was out there too, making it all happen for us. Thanks also to all the volunteers, both pre-race and race day; and thanks to Team RWB (veteran’s organization) that had a water stop right by Mile 1. I am a member and know a lot of these folks, so it probably did not help my finish time, lol, that I stopped to chat and get a couple photos. I think they also had some more water stations along the rest of the course. Also, thanks to all the other sponsors, Gaudalupe Brewing; For the love of GO!; eDragon Productions; and HutWorx; and of course, our venue sponsor hosts, Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theater. Thank you all!