2023 Race 18, Get Your Rear in Gear 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/tvrFxeL7bGadVguaA

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Before The Start:   My 18th race of 2023, and my 3rd race of the first weekend of April was the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K, put on by the Colon Cancer Coalition.  This event is held in several different cities over the year on various dates. The San Antonio 5k was held on Sunday, April 2nd at Morgans Wonderland with a start time of 8 a.m.  Very convenient location for me, as I live only about 5 miles from Morgan’s Wonderland, so got to sleep in a bit after doing two 5Ks on Saturday.   I’ve done the San Antonio event for several years, with my first one being done way back when at Brackenridge Park soon after the Air Force reassigned me to Lackland way back when during my 24-year Air Force career.  I  do this event regularly as I had colon issues way back when, at 29 years old, with aggressive malignant polyps found, which pretty much would have become cancer and a small tumor that was caught so fast, it had not spread, so I was very lucky it was found at stage zero and removed.  That was also the year I became a runner, and I have this superstition that as long as I keep running I won’t have a recurrence. Here I am still running, with my 40th anniversary of being a runner coming up on April 15th. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed in 2021 with an aggressive prostate cancer, and was treated 15 months for that, finishing in November 2022, and all is good.  Due to some side effects from my prostate cancer that I am dealing with – radiation proctitis – I got another colonoscopy in August 2022 and very aggressive malignant polyps were found and removed.  Due to this and my history my gastro doc has now move me from getting a colonoscopy every 5 years to every 3 years, which is okay by me, better safe than sorry.  All I can say is I am one darn lucky dog and my docs at BAMC have always taken very good care of me.  For the 5K, I arrived with about an hour to go and encountered my friend Woody – who had also done two 5ks on Saturday – and we got our packets for the race pretty quickly as we had pre-registered.  Woody went to get some coffee (blech! can’t even stand the smell of the stuff, lol) and I wandered around getting some pre-start photos.  Local news station KENS-5 was there, with Marvin Hurst – a fellow cancer survivor –  helping with some of the MC duties, which was pretty cool.  The opening ceremonies at the Morgan’s Wonderland amphitheater included some really good comments from a couple of survivors who have impressive stories of surviving this disease; very inspirational.  Some of the volunteers and sponsors recognized me from attending this event in previous years – I am pretty recognizable, the way I dress when I go for a run, lol – and I enjoyed chatting with them as I wandered around getting some pre-start photos.  

On The Course:  Having done several 5Ks over the years at Morgan’s Wonderland, I was  pretty familiar with the course; it’s pretty much the same route for just about every 5K done here. I started out doing my usual 8-min run 2-min walk thing, taking photos during my walk breaks. We started near the Amphitheater and just below where the water play area is.  After doing a loop around the park’s man-made lake, we exited the park with a right turn, and headed past the Morgan’s Wonderland splash-pad on our right and Toyota Field soccer stadium on our left. The route took us past the park’s basketball and tennis courts and around Heroes Stadium, a football-type stadium of Northeast Independent School District. We passed by the very recently opened Morgan’s Wonderland Multi-Assistance Center (The MAC) that assists people who have disabilities – I can relate; I was a March of Dimes baby.  This took us to the halfway point.  We then did a short stint in front of Heroes Stadium. This took us back out onto the road we had come down to get to the halfway point. After that we returned to the finish line the same way  we had come out, only in reverse, with our last bit being another loop around the man-made lake to get to the finish line.  After doing two 5Ks on Saturday, I thought today would be slow-and-easy for me; well, I AM  always slow, lol, with 12 – 14-minute miles these days as I continue to deal with these darn side-effects, but even so felt pretty good today.  I ended up running most of Mile 3 nonstop, surprising myself, finishing 3rd in my 60-69 males age group with a chip time of 41:32, and I even had negative splits, nice.

After My Finish: After I stopped, THEN, lol my legs shouted at me “OK, 3 races, we are done, sit down for a while!” lol.  Nice post-race goodies, including  breakfast tacos, so I enjoyed a couple of those and was joined by friends Woody, Carolyn, and Donald, and we all enjoyed sitting with each other and chatting post-race and just relaxing for a bit.  After that, I wandered around getting some after-photos – and several of the vendors/sponsors recognized me from previous years; had a nice chat with the Thrivewell Foundation lady; and one of the race volunteers when I got my age-group award handed me a couple of snickers bars saying she had made sure they had them this year because she remembered our chat from last year when I jokingly complained that they had all these nice candy bars, but no snickers, my favorites.  Wow, that was so nice of her.  My friend Woody was first in our age group, my friend Don was second, and I was third.  One more year, Woody, and I will be out of your age group, lol. Next year I turn 70. My strategy, since I am not speedy, is to try and outlive all the competition. 😉

Epilogue: This is always a really good quality event, with the Cancer Coalition organizing it really well; and all those great post-race goodies are a bonus.  The race shirt is a very nice quality shirt – orange this year, my favorite color – and the medals are really nicely done.  I would certainly recommend this one and will continue to participate in future ones. Lots of freebies from sponsors, and all kinds of great information handouts on this insidious disease.  Colon cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer deaths in the US, but if it is caught early, the survival rate is very high; so please, know your family history, and get checked.  This thing can be cured and someday, hopefully wiped out altogether.  Much thanks to all the people that made this one happen for we participants, Morgan’s Wonderland, all the many sponsors – especially the presenting sponsor, Gastroenterology Clinic of San Antonio  and all the vendors; iaap web for the course setup, timing, and results; KENS-5 for being there for this one; all those survivors that told us their stories; the police officers out on the course for our safety; our awards MC; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!  See you next year!

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