Photos are here:
Before The Start: My 45th race of 2022 was the Veronica’s Journey 5K, held on September 17 at South Lions Park East Side in San Antonio. Veronica was a young child who died of brain cancer when she was just over 2 years old, so sad. In her memory, her parents helped establish the Veronica Nicole Finnie Endowment at the Catholic Charities Association of San Antonio, which supports Veronica’s Botique at The Guadalupe Community Center (GCC). GCC provides to those in-need free material assistance with such things as baby formula, diapers, wipes, etc. The event also supports Gabriella’s Smile Foundation, a local children’s cancer support organization. The 5K had 102 finishers. There was also a Kid’s Run, about ½ mile, before the start of the event. Considering on this weekend, there were about 10 other races in-and-around the local area, not a bad turnout. Kid’s Run started around 8 a.m, with the 5K getting started at 8:30 a.m. Mother Nature has not let up yet on completely ending Texas summer, so it was pretty humid with a start temp near 79 degrees, and the dew-point way up. After the kid’s run, there was an opening prayer and then the playing of the National Anthem by some very talented school band members. We then all lined up – me way in the back where I belonged at my pace, lol – and got going.
On The Course: Out-and-back course on the park’s paved trails, with some nice views at times of the park’s man-made lake. For those familiar with the park, we started near the main pavilion of the park, went along a paved trail, and then crossed one of the park roads. We then passed the first water station – about 0.6 on the course – went over a wooden bridge, and then climbed up a winding paved trail. The ascent was more long than steep. We eventually flattened out, came to the 2nd water stop – what, no beer? 😉 just kidding – and then went down a hill, traveled underneath an overpass, and down another hill. After crossing another bridge, we then turned onto an asphalt trail that took us to our turn-round point. I recognized this trail from having done out-and-back races on the trails of Comanche Park, which is where we would have ended up if we had continued on. After making the turn-round, we proceeded back to the finish the way we had come out, with that long winding incline now being a downhill for us. Once back on the lake trail it was pretty flat back to the finish line. I ended up with positive splits – as usual for me right now with this prostate cancer I am dealing with – ending up with a chip time of 43:05 (gun time 43:28) and somehow managed to finish 3rd in my 60-69 males age group. I also met my two primary race goals: finish standing up, and no ambulance waiting specifically for me. 😉
After My Finish: First thing, a short cool-down walk for a little bit; sometimes I have a bad habit of just stopping after I cross the finish line and then, of course, the blood rushes from my head downward and I get a bit dizzy – which makes my pacemaker think I am having an issue and it starts zapping me. You’d think after being a runner for 39 years (I started April 15, 1983, in Turkey, during my Air Force days) I would know better, lol. Well, no issues today. Got some hydration back into me, ate a small protein bar, and felt much recovered. Then it was off to chat with other participants – several of whom I personally knew – and get some post-race photos. There was also a very nicely done awards ceremony with awards to the overall finishers, and age-group awards to the Top 3 finishers in each age group, very nice. I really was surprised when I found out I was 3rd in my ag group, totally unexpected, but appreciated.
Epilogue: This is the first time I’ve done this event but certainly will not be the last. It was really well-done and everything went off just as it was supposed to, which says a lot about the organizers, iaapweb who did the course setup, timing, and results, and all those many volunteers out there for we participants. Kudos to them all. Thanks to much to Veronica’s parents who got this event started, and to all the people that helped them get it done. A very worthwhile cause. Nice touch that there was also a food truck on site with breakfast tacos, water, coffee – my coffee-guzzler friend Woody would have been so happy at this one, lol – and other items too. Very nice course, set up by my friends of iaap, and the age group awards were really awesome, especially for a smaller event. Some of the larger-done events in the area could learn a thing or two from this group. Really nice quality race shirt too. I definitely would do this one again and would recommend it to others. It is such a great cause; so I hope this one grows in the future. Mucho thanks to all involved that made this one happen for we participants; all the sponsors, volunteers, Catholic Charities and Gabriella’s Smile Foundation, the police officer out there for our safety – very nice guy, I briefly chatted with him – iaap web folks, all the band member kids, Mr. and Mrs. Finnie especially, and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!