Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/EvRFM7fG1RmBPC1Y9
Before The Start: My 8th 5K of 2023 was the Be My Valentine 5K held on February 11th at McAllister Park in San Antonio, Texas. This is a very popular event, put on by local race management company iaap, and the event sold out with 351 finishers. With a late morning start time of 9:30 a.m., I got to sleep in a bit longer; probably a bit too long, lol, as I made it to the event with about 35 minutes to go, found some parking, got my packet, and then got a few quick photos before we all got onto the course. The weather was pretty sunny, which was nice for a February day, but Mother Nature also gave us quite a windy day too, making it feel pretty chilly out there. 45 degrees at start time with a ‘feels like’ of 41 degrees. I much prefer running in the 60s, 70s, even 80s. Some of my running friends think I’m nuts, lol, but I just prefer warm weather running to colder weather. Maybe it has something to do with my cancer side-effects. I’m cancer-free now after a 15-month treatment session, but ever since I finished my radiation treatment last year, I just seem to feel chilly more easily. Even so, not going to let it get me down or stop me running. I just slap on those layers – I had 3 layers on for this event – and keep on going.
On The Course: As noted, this event took place in McAllister Park. I did my usual 8-min run/2- minute walk thing (stupid arthritis!), taking photos during my walk breaks. We started by the park pavilion located near the lower soccer fields and the youth baseball field. The terrain was primarily off-road paved trails and one of the park’s paved roads. For the most part, a very well thought out course; we started in front of the pavilion on a park road and went past the soccer fields and youth baseball stadium. We then proceeded to a turn onto one of the off-road paved trails. This took us behind the baseball stadium, then along another trail that took us across a park road that was just up from Becken Pavilion in the park. After crossing this street, we were on another off-road paved trail. We proceeded up this and made a left turn onto another trail – if we had gone right, the trail would have taken us to the Turkey Roost pavilion area. Once on this trail, we went down to a road that used to be the original entrance way-back-when to McAllister Park. We crossed this road, and made a left turn, going down another trail. This trail came out just down from Becken Pavilion. We turned right, going away from the pavilion, coming to a trail intersection. We went left. If we had gone right, this would have taken us past the police substation near the park. The trail we did take wound around for quite a bit, eventually bringing us back to the first trailhead we had entered, just down from the youth baseball field, with the finish line on the road to our left. Now came the part of this course – which I have done before – that I really absolutely hate, lol. Instead of turning left to just go to the finish, we had to make a right turn and do a short out to a cone turn-round and then finally headed for the finish. What? When I come out on that trailhead before that out-and-back, I always think to myself, “What the heck…I know the finish is to my left, so I just want to come off this trailhead and GO TO THE DARN FINISH right now, lol. There must be some way to extend the course a bit on the other trails so we can do that. However, it is what it is, and I’ve never cut a race course in my life and wasn’t about to start now. So I just did that darn out-and-back, and finally got to the finish 7th out of 10 in my 60 – 69 males age group with a chip time of 41:29, averaging 12:28 per mile. I did stop a few extra times to get a couple more photos, but I did run nearly all of the last mile nonstop, with just a shorter walk break than I usually take.
After My Finish – Got some water, did a short walk-about so I would not get dizzy and fall over, lol, and then enjoyed some post-race goodies – they had quite a bit of stuff, including beer too – and chatted with friends, volunteers, other participants, etc., while getting some after photos. Epilogue – In spite of that short out-and-back just before the finish that drives me crazy, lol, this really is a well-thought out course and a very nicely done event, as all iaap events are. They’ve been doing this for a long time now and have it down to an art; they definitely know their stuff. They also throw some great after-parties; not quite as crazy as the Scallywompus parties, but iaap sure does a good job. There were lots of post-race goodies; very unique finisher medals; and the race “shirt” is a nicely designed hoodie. My wife and I were married on Valentine’s Day, so when I registered, I got one in her size, figuring she would like this design. It fits her pretty well too. There was also a costume contest; a selfie-photo area, where you stood in front of a camera with balloons behind you formed in a heart-shape; and we had our sound-and-music man, Paul, playing tunes for us. Mucho thanks, also, to our MC Lana for her great job. Also, of course, thanks to the iaap crew; all the sponsors of this event; the park police officers out there for our safety, and anyone else involved that made this one happen for we participants. I would do this one again and recommend it to others.