Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/z5RZKetVUE2voej26
Before The Start: My 59th race of 2022 was the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day. This event supported the San Antonio Food Bank. I chose this event to do because the Food Bank was the favorite nonprofit of my late friend Bernadette Beck, who sadly died of cancer on Dec 5, 2021. Bernadette loved the Food Bank and would often go down there to help out. Bernadette was one of the first people I met through running when my wife and I moved to San Antonio, after I got reassigned to Lackland during my last Air Force years right before I retired. Bernadette and I became buddies and did so many of the same races over a period of more than 20 years. After my wife, she was the woman I loved the most in the world, my best friend Bernadette. After she passed, another friend of mine who knew our history found an old photo of the two of us after a race we had done. She had a friend of hers make this photo into a button which she gave me as a gift so I can still run with Bernadette. I wear that button at the races I do. The 5 started and finished near the historic “Commander’s House” at the H-E-B headquarters downtown. This is a very popular Thanksgiving Day event, so there was quite a large turnout. Someone told me there were over 3,000 or so participants registered. I don’t know if that is correct, but it may be; there sure were a lot of people there. 8:30 a.m. start for the majority of the 5K participants, with the ‘speedy runners’ – which is definitely not me, lol – going at 8:15 to avoid the majority of the pack. I arrived about an hour before start time. I had picked up my packet the day before, so after arriving, I chatted with friends and other participants and got a few pre-start photos.
On The Course: We started on South Flores just outside one of the HEB headquarters gates and the route gave us a nice little tour of downtown San Antonio as we went onto Presa Street, then South Alamo, then into the King William District for a short bit, followed by a turn onto Arsenal Street near HEB headquarters and then back onto South Flores to return to the start/finish line. Weather guys had predicted some possible rain/thunderstorms for race day, but that never happened. It was cloudy and overcast with a temp of 61 degrees, no wind, and over 90% humidity, so very muggy. I was quite comfortable in my shorts and singlet. About 5 minutes after I started, I had the pleasure of encountering my friend Jaqueline, up from Florida, visiting her family and friends here; one of my favorite people and like me, an Air Force person. Not only did I get to see her, she decided to just stay with me for through the whole course, even doing my walk breaks with me when my watch beeped for me to take them and also get some on-course photos , so we got to chat as we went along, and she kindly did my slow pace, lol, which must have been tough for her as she is a much faster runner than I am. I was feeling pretty good and ignored my last walk break and Jaqueline and I ran nonstop nearly the whole last mile to the finish. My garmin showed 41:10 for me, gun time, but the timer told me my chip time was 40-something; and I had negative splits too, nice. One of the most enjoyable 5Ks I have done this year, thank you Jaqueline!
After My Finish: Jacqueline had to take off to get back to her family. I got some post-race hydration – it really was muggy out there – and some post-race goodies and wandered around the post-race area – mainly the grounds of the Commander’s House – chatting with other friends there that I knew and also other participants, making new friends, and getting some post-race photos. I knew at my pace I had not won anything, lol, so I had plenty of time. Finally left around 10:30 a.m. and headed to Fort Sam Houston, where I took advantage of being retired military to stop at the base gym and take a nice hot shower so I did not have to drive home in my sweaty, wet running gear. That shower felt great, lol.
Epilogue: This is a very well-done event for a great cause and is very popular with the local community, so it always gets a super turnout. Really nice quality race shirt and finisher medals to all finishers. Age group winners got an additional medal for placing in their categories. The water stops on the course – there were two – were well organized and there were even two spots where they had musicians playing for us as we went along, very nice. The course is flat as a pancake so if you are one of those speedy runners who gets that 15-minute head start ahead of the main pack, good course to shoot for a PR if you are so inclined. Very nice after-party, which included this giant balloon turkey that was very popular for photos. This is also a dog-friendly and stroller friendly course. I will definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others. Mucho thanks to all the people who made this one happen for us, including Soler Sports – my friend Lisa Soler and her crew – who did the course setup, arranged for packet pickup before and on race day, and sent out race info messages to all participants; all the many many many volunteers there for us; all the sponsors that helped make this one happen for us; medical staff there (thankfully not needed); all the police officers on the course for our safety; and, of course, H-E-B for the use of its grounds, and the staff of the Food Bank who were also out there supporting we participants. My apologies to anyone involved I may not have mentioned; thank you all!