Photos are here:
BEFORE MY START: My 12th race of 2022 was the Prickly Pear 5K on Sunday, March 12 at McAllister Park in San Antonio, put on by the San Antonio Road Runners. . This was my 2nd race of the weekend after doing the Helotes Beer Garden 5K the day before this one. There was also a 50K and a 15K. The 50K started at 6 a.m., the 15K at 8 a.m, and the 5K at 8:30 a.m, so I got to sleep in a bit, even if we did have to set our clocks forward on Sunday morning for Daylight Savings Time. McAllister Park is conveniently about a 3-mile drive from my house. I arrived with a little over 30 minutes to go for the 5K start, so got to see the 15K folks get started. The 50K folks were long gone by then. I had already picked up my packet the day before so I was able to chat with friends and get a few photos before the 5K start. By the way, it was darn cold too. Mother Nature once again brought in cold weather for our weekend racing. We had plenty of sunshine and no wind, thank goodness, but that darn ‘feels like 33’ temp at the start of the 5K – BRRR! I can’t imagine what the 50K folks must have been dealing with at 6 a.m. with no sunshine, and probably even a colder temp.
ON THE COURSE – All the events were trail runs. Since I live so close to this park, I run in it a lot and am familiar with both the park’s off-road paved trails and the natural trails. The start was in a dead-end parking lot directly across from the restroom area near the Optimist Pavilion in the park, near some soccer fields. We started on the parking lot pavement for less than a minute and then were on the natural trails, passing a playground area on our right. I did not look up the 5K route before race day but after we got started and made a left turn to go in the direction of the golf driving range that is next to the park, I was pretty sure then what the route would be, and it’s a pretty tough course with quite a few rocky areas along the way on the trails, and single-track trail most of the way, so not much maneuvering room. After the ‘start trail’ we came out onto the paved off-road trail and went down a steep, short hill to near the golf driving range that was ahead, on our right. We were not on the pavement long. A left turn took us back onto another trail, which we followed and then crossed over a part of the paved trail and got onto another trail. Jones Maltsberger Road was on our right. Following this trail, we crossed over one of the park roads, then back onto trail, crossed another park paved road, and then headed on a trail that took us onto another small portion of the paved trail. This took us past the police substation near the park, where we accessed yet another trail. From this point, it was pretty much trail all the way with going by the ‘dam’ on our right, then on a trail that took us near the youth baseball field on our left. We proceeded on this trail until we came out on the paved road just up the road from the lower soccer fields adjacent to a large parking lot . Crossing this street, we were on pavement again, turning left, passing a small pavilion area on our right, then back into the parking lot area, right turn, and across the finish line. Challenging course, and for a slow guy like me, really could not pick up any speed. Also, of course, being the klutz that I am, it would not be an official trail run for me without a fall, lol, and I took that tumble a short ways past mile 2. Thankfully, since I run so much in this park, I am well-practiced, lol, in how to fall, so no harm done, just two minor scrapes on my knee. Surprisingly, I finished 5th out of 12 in my male 60-69 age group, with a chip time of 47:55. The first guy in my age group finished in 30 minutes and change; how he kept that pace on those rocky trails, wow…way to go.
AFTER MY FINISH: Thankfully I had brought some warm stuff to change into after my 5K, so that was the first order of business, get this wet stuff off in this cold air. After getting comfortable again, I enjoyed some post-race Kiolbassa sausage wrap and some post-race goodies, courtesy of the vendors/sponsors. There was a variety of various nutrition bars, chips, crackers, etc. and even beer nice. Enjoyed post-race chatting with lots of friends and getting some post-race photos. Since there were 3 events for this one, finishers from the various races were coming in off-and-on for the whole time I was there. I heard our MC announce that the Top 6 people for the 50K finished in 4 hours and change, wow. I don’t think dogs were allowed on the courses for this one, but it was a dog-friendly event for the before-and-after; several doggies there and they were quite happy to see me, lol with my doggie treats.
Epilogue – A very nicely done 5K. It was a bit of a challenging course, but also an enjoyable one, especially as the participants I was near at any given moment chatted with each other, encouraged each other on, and general participant camaraderie, nice. I can’t speak for the 50K and the 15K, but hopefully those participants enjoyed their outings too. I would do this one again – hopefully without a tumble this time, but I doubt it :p – and would recommend it to others. I would also recommend Mother Nature clean her act up and give us better weather next time, lol. Very nice finisher medal, unique age group award for those placers, and a really nice quality race tee. If you have not done this one before – I did once before a few years ago – give it a try, you might find you enjoy some trail running or walking.
MUCHO THANKS TO: All the people that made this one happen for us: San Antonio Roadrunners and all their volunteers out there for us; Park police out there for our safety on the park roads we crossed over; all the many sponsors, vendors, and others who supported the event; our MC, Anthony Zamora, who did his usual great job; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!