Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6HaXT2qk4bkjJ9tP9
Before The Start: my 61st race of 2022 was the Jingle Paws 5K held on December 10 at O.P. Schnabel Park in San Antonio. This dog-friendly event supports the Helotes Humane Society. Race start time of 8 a.m. This was a fairly smaller event with 91 total finishers. Dark clouds overhead, but it never did rain on us, thankfully. Mother nature gave us a very humid day – 90% – with temps in the upper 60s. I arrived at race site with about 40 minutes to start time and got a few pre-start photos. Also, the doggies apparently all had great sniffers, lol; they knew I had dog treats in my pockets and went right for them. They even picked the correct pockets too; the amazing ‘smell ability’ of dogs.
On The Course: Top-notch race management company Athlete Guild did the race setup, timing, and results, so they probably had a hand in laying out the course. If you choose to run or walk at O.P. Schnabel, there are going to be hills along the way, and this was the case for our event. We started in front of the park pavilion, climbing up the paved trail that led to the inner park paved trails. After getting to the top of the first trail we made a right turn and then did a down-slope on the next paved trail. This took us to a steeper downhill slope – which we would have to climb up on the way to the finish as this was an out-and-back course – and then onto some very nicely paved trails which, for most of the route, were fairly flat, but we did have about 2 to 3 uphill and downhill inclines along the way. There were also some fallen leaves at several places, so had to be careful at those spots, that stuff can make you slip a bit. The trails were open for non-race walkers, runners, and cyclists, and there were even a couple of skateboarders. Most of them were very nice about calling out when they come up behind us, but a couple of the cyclists were just downright rude; thankfully, nobody got injured. I just plodded along at my slow run/walk pace, taking photos during my walk breaks and interacting with other participants as I went along, cheering them on, and them cheering me on. Overall, I felt pretty good. The last mile I ran almost completely non-stop and got a negative split for that one, nice. I met my primary race goal – finish standing up and no ambulance waiting specifically for me, lol. As for my time: 41:22 chip time, averaging 13:19 per mile, This is pretty slow, but it is progress for me; I finished my last prostate cancer treatment on Nov 9 – cancer free now, yay! – and during my 15 months of treatment my running times had dropped to around 14 – 15 minute miles, so this is nice progress for me as I slowly start to get back to my old self; felt really good.
After My Finish: Cool-down walk and some water and a banana. After that, enjoyed chatting with other participants, race supporters, volunteers, and the dogs. Yes, I chatted with the dogs, lol. Again, I think every dog there knew I had treats, lol. Some of the ones I gave treats to before the start actually recognized me and often came right up to me, sniffing for the treats, lol. Fun stuff, I did not mind at all. I also got a few photos of the happy finishers, volunteers, and supporters. Nice little spread of post-race goodies that included fruits, nutrition bars, energy bars, and some other things. I knew I was not going to place because age groups were definitely different, lol: 1-17 males, 1-17 females, 18-99 males and 18-99 females. Overall winners got awards – the guy who was first did it in 19-something, good grief. I was 47th overall.
Epilogue: A very nicely organized event at a nice location. I like running at Schnabel Park because there is a YMCA location in this park; as a member, after the race I can go over there and take a shower and change clothes, so don’t have to drive home all wet and sweaty; very convenient. Besides the paved trails there are also several off-road trails to run or walk on; and the park also is adjacent to some pretty nice neighborhoods, so you can get in a really nice outing on mixed surfaces if you so desire; also a great place to do hill work…one of the nearby neighborhoods has some pretty challenging hill. This 5K is a fun little event, very nicely organized, for a very worthy cause; very nice quality race t-shirt too; indoor restroom facilities, always nice; and the park also has water fountains at various spots around the park. I will definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others. Mark December 9th for next year on your calendar for this one. Mucho thanks to all who made this one happen for we participants, including the Humane Society, Athlete Guild, the Park Police officers out there for our safety; all the many volunteers and all the sponsors – and Buddy, the mascot of H-E-B who was out there too – and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!