2023 Race 19, Fiesta Fitfest 5K and 10K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/3DubGRT8QwdbJgH2A

Before The Start:  My 19th race of 2023 was the SATX Fiesta Fitfest 5K, held on Saturday, April 15th.  Starting and finishing at the campus of The University of Texas at San Antonio, this event was a prequel opening event for the upcoming Fiesta San Antonio, which runs from April 20th – April 30th, 2023. Start and finish was at the university’s East Parking lot, a huge area that is across the street from the headquarters of Fortune 500 company, Valero Energy.  Besides the 5K, there was also a 10K, a  kid’s run, and many other things going on. Race start time of 8 a.m. for the 10K and 8:15 a.m. for the 5K.  Presented by another Fortune 500  local company H-E-B, this was the 2nd year this event has been held and the turnout was huge:  1,081 finishers for the 5K; 442 finishers for the 10K.  I arrived with about 40 minutes to go to the 5K start, got my race packet and then wandered around taking some photos and chatting with many many friends and acquaintances I saw at this event. San Antonio Sports was the primary presenting organization for this event, held over three days with activities that included the 5K and 10K; a cycling race, and much more. H-E-B of San Antonio was the primary presenting sponsor.

On The Course:  Both the 10K and the 5K started right on time.  As I am a fairly slower runner (averaging 12-to -14 minute miles) I lined up fairly back a ways in the start crowd; probably a mistake with a crowd this size as there were a whole lot of people in front of me; it took me almost 3 – 4 minutes just to cross the start mat to get my timing chip started.  The course was a combination of paved roads and off-road paved trails.  Coming out of the UTSA campus, we turned left on Valero Way, passing in front of Valero Energy headquarters. We did an out-and-back on this road, heading toward UTSA Boulevard after we made the turn-round.  Crossing over UTSA Boulevard, we headed into an apartment complex area, but we did not going into the apartment area of the residents living there; instead, we went onto one of the off-road paved trails that led us onto the trail system of the Valero Park Trailways. We turned left onto the trails and and off we went. There were a couple of mild inclines along the way, but nothing you could really call a hill.  I kept thinking this was an out-and-back course; however, after reaching a mile with me not seen any other 5K participants coming back towards me, I knew this would be a loop course and thought “Uh oh…I see where this is going” I work for UTSA and often run in this area after work, so was familiar with it.  Sure enough, and as I suspected, we came out on the Valero Trailway head of the trail system where the parking lot is, and then went out onto a frontage road of highway 1604 – right down from the university – and proceeded to climb a long uphhill that I have run before, and it takes a while to get up this thing.  Once we did get up it, the course then turned us back onto Valero Way. We passed by Valero headquarters once more, and then proceeded to the finish line the way we had originally come out.  I did my usually 8 minutes running/2 minutes walking thing, taking photos during my walk breaks, and ended up with a chip time of 42:28, 15th out of 24 in my 60-69 males age group, averaging 13:40 per mile. Also, I had negative splits – yay! – with Mile 3 being my fasted mile as I  ran that whole mile almost completely non-stop.  One thing I thought was funny…as I was finishing my 5K, my speedy friend Max, whom I think did the 10K, passed by me – and I think that was his cool-down run, lol, after already finishing the 10K. So he did “loops” around my slow self, lol.

After My Finish: First thing…get some hydration in me and get a banana, my usual first post-race eatery-thing after I finish a race.  After that, wandered around in the finish area, getting some post-race photos of finishers, vendors, sponsors, etc.  After that, went wandering around looking at all the event booths, tents, and whatever else was going on.  I tend to do a lot of races over the year, as well as posting my reports on my blog, and always wear one of my cancer shirts whenI race, so as I roamed about, I heard lots of “Scottydog!” call-outs, resulting in several post-race chats and lots of photos taken. This is also a dog-friendly event, so I soon ran out of the dog treats I carry with me when I do a run or a race, and made some 4-legged friends for life, lol. The Fit Fest sponsors/vendors completely filled one of the East Campus parking lot areas, so there was a ton of stuff going on from activities for the kids there right up to enjoying some post-race Michelob Ultra at the Michelob pavilion area. They even had a Texas Special Olympics area too, with activities there to accommodate the disabled, etc., which I thought was really nice.

Epilogue:  One of the very best and enjoyable events I have ever done.  This one is definitely a keeper for my race calendar.  There were so many things to chose from, and all kinds of post-race goodies and freebies hand-outs from the sponsors and vendors. There were also lots of activities going on too, including things for the kids to do, challenge things from Camp Gladiator folks, and much, much more; so many that I can’t remember them all.  This is really a well-done event.  Mucho thanks to all the sponsors and vendors; he many, many, many, race day volunteers and event volunteers; the police officers and medical staff out there for our safety, including the UTSA police force officers; our MC who did a really great job for us; to my friends at iaap race management company that did the course setup, timing, and results – they had to be there REALLY early – and were even out on the day before to get the course ready – and anyone else/all involved that I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much.  See you next year!

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