2021 Race 36, SNIPSA 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/EhQwA9GQZtetwmyx6

BEFORE MY START: My 36th race of 2021 was the SNIPSA 5K held on September 25 in Alamo Heights, and ‘affluent’ area of San Antonio that hosts some really nice homes, good parks, a public swimming pool and some really good running areas. SNIPSA is a non-profit spay/neuter and rescue/adoption organization for primarily dogs, but I think they take cats also. This was the 14th year this event has been done. I’ve don’t this one several times in the past so I knew what to expect. This 5K was also on the same day as another very good event I;ve done quite a few times in the past too, San Antonio KSAT-TV’s Head For The Cure, a 5K to raise funds for brain cancer research, so I had to make a choice of which one I would forego since it’s not possible to be in two places at once. At least, not yet anyway. I chose SNIPSA this year over Head For The Cure because (a) I love dogs and (b) I recently started my own cancer treatments for prostate cancer, so I just wanted to go out and run today and have fun and forget about cancer for a while, including my own. No regrets. Arrived with just under an hour to go to the 8 a.m. start time. I had picked up my race packet the day before so on race morning I just wandered around chatting with friends and fellow participants and also, with the permission of their humans, handed out treats to the doggies from a big jar of Milkbone soft-and-chewy biscuits I had brought with me. I soon got pretty popular with the dogs, lol. There really was a lot going on at this event pre-race, with lots of various booths there – all kinds of give-aways from the various sponsors – and doggies everywhere.

ON THE COURSE: We had some really nice weather for this, so that was a bonus; felt very cool and comfortable weather-wise. Local race management company iaap did the course set-up, timing and results for this one. They got us lined up in the start chute about 5 minutes before race start time, and then we were off. Since I had done this before I knew what to expect: some hills along the way since this is Alamo Heights. One thing about this area, the roads are nice and wide and smoothly well-paved so lots of room for everyone, which was good as there was a really nice turn-out for this one, 500+ or so participants, not including the doggies, from what I saw on the results list. Yes, they also got to run or walk. There was even a separate awards category for Runners With Dogs. As usual, because of my spinal-and-hip arthritis, I did my 8-min run/2-minute walk thing and took some on-course photos during my walk breaks, which helps me not notice those walk breaks so much, lol. I was a March of Dimes baby and had a birth defect when I was born, and all adult life, my docs would tell me I was doing okay – I guess I was because I managed to serve in the Air Force for 24 years – but probably when I got to my 50 or 60, this would most likely flare up in arthritic form; and so it did. Hence, the run/walk. All good though, since I really started enjoying doing this and then sharing my photo reports so others who were there could save their photos if they wanted to. I am certainly no professional photographer, lol, but hey, the photos are free. I felt pretty good for this one and did my usual 12-something minute miles, and my pacemaker, which I have had implanted for 2 years now, behaved itself and let me run all the hills quite adequately. I ended up with a 37:18 chip-time finish, averaging 12:01 per mile – Woohoo, I may yet get back to 11 and under minute miles, what I used to do pre-pacemaker and pre-cancer – and was 10th in my 60-69 age group, and I was quite happy with that. Actually, I am quite happy just being able to still run and at my age I only have 2 race goals now: finish standing up and no ambulance waiting specifically for me after the finish. Anything after that – age group award, better result time, etc. – is a bonus. If I get that, fine; if not, what the heck, I still got my run in. My first priority, after being a runner for 38 years now, is just…keep on…running!

AFTER MY FINISH: First off, walk around a bit and cool down, and I always get a kick post-race out of watching my monitor as my pacemaker works to bring my heartrate down; always amazes me how fast that darn thing works. Went and found some water and got one of the post-race sausage wraps, found a nice shady spot to sit for a while and just relaxed for a bit, enjoying the goodies. After that, I went wandering around like I did pre-race, getting some post-race photos, chatting with various people and, of course, more treats for the doggies.

Epilogue: No matter what my race time turns out to be, this is one of the most enjoyable events I have ever done, it is always a lot of fun for me. I love interacting with all the doggies and their humans; some of them – both dogs and humans, lol – are very entertaining, with a good sense of humor – yes, dogs, too, you can just tell from the way they act – and very friendly. The dogs were especially friendly when they found out I had treats, lol. Of course, I only give them out if I have permission from the doggie’s humans, since some may have allergies, medical issues, etc. Most agreed, so I was quite ‘dog-popular’, lol. Lots of booths at this event and lots of free give-aways from various sponsors. Really nice course, very nice race shirt, nice post-race goodies, and a lot of photo-ops for me as there were also lots of people in costume, and the Spurs Coyote was there and, of course, all the doggies. As noted, have always enjoyed this event and will continue to enjoy it in the future, god willing. I certainly would recommend this to others, both walkers, runners, and dogs.

MUCHO THANKS TO: The SNIPSA folks and all their volunteers for all their hard work in once again getting this event organized so well. Thanks to all the sponsors and contributors who helped make this one happen; to the police officer out there on the course roads for our safety during the run; to the ‘grill masters’ that fixed up those sausage wraps – they were really good – and to all those volunteers I saw at the food table who had all that ready for we participants when we finished; and thanks to the course marshal volunteers also; and especially thanks for the patience of the neighborhood residents as we participants invaded their space for a while; and to anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!

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