Photos are here:
BEFORE MY START: My 47th race of 2021 was the SJRC Jingle Bell 5K presented by Comal Independent School District. Held in historic Gruene (pronounced GREEN), Texas, the event supported the. This is a popular annual event, with a nice turnout this year of 697 participants. There was also a kids 1K event. There may have been some that did not show because the weather was a bit crappy; very overcast and temps in the 50s – not bad – but a cold wind was blowing really hard, making it feel much colder. Brrr! I did just about everything wrong, lol, getting to this event. First, I stupidly turned my alarm off went it rang; then about 15 minutes later my brain kicked in and said ‘get up, stupid, you have a 5K today.” So then in a rush to get breakfast, feed my cats (6 of them), get my gear on, and get going. I had read the day before the temp at 8 a.m. start time would be 68, so I wore a singlet; then, of course, when I got to Gruene, that darn cold wind was blowing. Thankfully, I had thought to bring an extra shirt to put on after the 5K, so I just put that one on over top of my singlet. Still chilly, but I was find during my run/walk. Also, with my late start from home, I was rushing around to get my packet – the line for race day packet pickup was pretty long too, so that took a while – get my bib on, and get back to the start area, which took me a bit of time as I had to park way back in the lot since I arrived later than I wanted to. Finally, with about 10 minutes to go, I was in the start area, and managed to get a few photos before the 5K began.
ON THE COURSE: For anyone who has done a 5K in Gruene, the course was the ‘usual’ one: Start across from historic Gruene Hall, make a right turn, then a short loop around a couple of streets, and then back onto the main avenue which took us past the mile mark and then a turn into a really nice residential area, where our only ‘hill’ was – an incline of about 6 inches elevation, lol. We looped through this residential area and then back onto the main street we had started on, coming out onto that street that put us about a half-mile from the finish. Going back to the start/finish area was challenging as we were now running straight into that 19 – 21 mph gusting wind, jeez. Weather folks had called for scattered showers too, but thankfully it did not rain on us while we were on the course. I did this one really slow – still having a few side effects from my cancer radiation treatments I recently finished – completing the 5K in 42:28, averaging a pretty slow 13:40 per mile. Of course, it also probably did not help that, since I did not think I was going to win anything anyway, I made several more stops on the course than I usually do to chat and joke around with some other participants and to get a few extra photos, and I even made some dog-stops to give a treat or two to some of the dogs of the residents in the neighborhood we went through. I also walked a bit more going into that darn headwind on the way back to the finish. All that, of course, is not conducive to doing a speedy 5K, lol, but, what the heck, I had fun out there and enjoyed myself.
AFTER MY FINISH: First stop – water! Got some water, got a banana, relaxed a bit and enjoyed those – – ahhh, much better – then wandered around chatting with friends and other participants and getting some post-race photos, while waiting for the awards ceremony, as a speedy friend had asked me to get hers if she placed, since she had to leave right after she was done. Well, did not have to worry about that; after about 20 minutes or so after I finished, then the rain started coming in, and with that darn wind still blowing like crazy, it started to get pretty chilly. The race organizers made an announcement that due to the weather being nutso – they did not put in those exact words, lol, but you got the gist – that instead of having everyone wait for an awards ceremony the results would be checked by the organizers and the overall and age group placers would get their medals in the mail. After that, everyone cleared out pretty quickly – well, at least got to sit in their warm vehicles while the long parking lot lines slowly exited the area. Being a member of the Y, I headed right over to the nearby New Braunfels YMCA, where I was able to take a nice hot shower – ahhhh, felt great – and then get into dry clothes, so AI did not have to drive home in my sweaty, wet stuff. Very convenient.
Epilogue: This really is a nice event that supports the SJRC Texas – formerly known as St. Judes Ranch for Children – a facility that cares for children and families traumatized by “ trauma, abuse and neglect”. I take this one personally, as I have had a couple of family members who have been involved in situations like this, so I try to do this event whenever I can and have been a participant for the last several years. The cause is a serious one, of course, but the event is also a fun one to do, with people – and dogs too, sometimes, this is a dog friendly event – in various types of costumes, Santa Clause and his elves are at the event too, and post-race goodies include sausage wraps, beer, various other drinks (water, energy drinks, etc) and a wide variety of nutrition bars, bananas, and other goodies. The race shirt is a nicely done long-sleeved shirt. Course is nice too, pretty flat for just about all the way, so a good course to shoot for a 5K PR for those inclined to do so. Definitely will continue to do this one in the future as long as I am able and would recommend it to others.
MUCHO THANKS TO: Thanks so much for COMAL ISD for hosting this event, and to all the many sponsors, volunteers, and others who made this one happen for all we participants. Thanks to all the police officers who were out there on the course for our safety, having to stand in that darn wind until the last finisher was done. Much thanks to the Athlete Guild folks who did the course setup, timing, results, etc, and thank to the patience of all the residents of the housing our course took us through; there were actually several residents who came out to cheer us all on, very nice; a very friendly neighborhood area. A very enjoyable outing, in spite of that wind.