2023 Race 25 Gabriella’s Cupcake 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/X5R3ERAAgnUvfr9Q8

Before The Start –   My 25th 5K of 2023 was the Gabriella Cupkcake 5K held on May 13, 2023 at Bluebonnet Palace in Selma, Texas, a small community within the Greater San Antonio area. This event is named for a little girl named Gabriella who sadly died at 6 years old, if I remember correctly, of a rare form of brain cancer.  Hosted by Gabriella’s Smile Foundation and supported by Community First Health Plans, this event raises funds to help provide financial assistance/free support for pediatric cancer families and for pediatric brain cancer research. There was some question as to whether this event would even go on, as Texas, including the San Antonio area, was getting some crazy, stormy weather, with lightning, thunder, and predictions of up to 5  to 7 inches of rain and potential flooding. However, God and Mother Nature was kind to us for this event. We did get some really crazy weather the night before and in the morning, but by the time I left to go to the race site for the scheduled 8:30 a.m. start, it was still overcast and threatening, but actually pretty nice, with very little ongoing rain.  This is a very popular local event, and even with the weather threat, it was a nice turn-out with 300+ finishers.  When I got to the Bluebonnet Palace, there was quote a crowd of people there already, most of them inside the dance hall, which made it pretty crowded in there, along with all the volunteers, sponsor tables, race day registration group, etc.  I shuffled along, both inside and outside and got a few pre-start photos before we got the lightning “all clear” and proceeded to the start/finish line.

On The Course –  We started on the road in front of Bluebonnet Palace, went to the intersection near the front entrance of Bluebonnet Palace and then made a right turn.  Proceeding down this road, we made a right turn and did a loop through an industrial park with lots of business buildings, warehouses, and so forth. The streets were pretty wet in places, but Mother Nature was kind and it never did rain on us the whole way. I think Gabriella in Heaven must have asked God for a favor for her race and God told Mother Nature to behave herself for this one, so we could help children  in need.  I did my usual 8-minute run/2 minute walk intervals and took some photos during my walk breaks. I’d done this course for some other events held her, so knew what to expect.  For the most part it was flat, but we did have a couple of pretty fair-sized up-inclines on the way; not steep, but long. After doing a loop through the industrial park, we then came back to road that had taken us to the industrial park and went back to the finish the way we had first come out.  Surprisingly, I was feeling pretty good and managed to run almost the last whole mile non-stop to the finish. I ended up with a chip time of 41 minutes even and was very happy with that.  I have been slowly – slow being the key word, lol – but surely getting stronger every week, as I recover from 15 months of prostate cancer treatment – finished my last treatment in December 2022.  I don’t know if I will ever get back to my pre-cancer times, which were a lot faster, but that’s okay. I’m just happy to be able to do any running and races at all.

After My Finish –    It did start spitting a bit of rain on us after we finished, but not too bad at all. Bluebonnet Palace, aside from its indoor area, also has a really nice outside pavilion area that has a lot of covered areas, so we had a lot of options for places to be to keep out of the wet.  I had brought a dry shirt to put on under my running shirt, so got that on to help keep dry and then enjoyed some post-race goodies – and, of course they had cupcakes, but I think, lol, I am one of the very few people in the world that actually does not like cupcakes – some of my friends were appalled to find that out,, lol; how can you not like cupcakes? Now if  if had been brownies  😉  – so I stuck to other goodies, of which there were plenty.  Age group awards went to overall finishers in each age group, which is fine with me; means more funding for the cause. Shoot, this year is my 40th anniversary of being a runner, so I have plenty of medals, lol.  Nice quality race shirt too; I asked the Race Director to donate mine to one of the cancer kids they support.

 Epilogue: I’ve done this one a few times, and it was nice to be back for this one. It really is a well-organized event for a really good cause, with very unique finishers medals and lots of post-race activity going on. Bluebonnet Palace  is also a very nice race venue with lots of room for everyone, indoor restroom facilities and a place full of some really interesting to see, hanging from the walls, the doors, and even the ceilings, lol. It really is a very fun place to be and to see. The course was very nicely thought-out by iRun Texas, a  local race management/running shoes and other runner/walker accessories stores, and they put on some pretty darn good race of their own too.  Mucho thanks to them and to all the people involved that made this event happen for us, including iRun; the foundation; all the event sponsors; the police officers and medical staff out there for our safety; all the many needed volunteers to make this one happen for we participants; Bluebonnet Palace, of course; and any others involved that I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!   Next up for me is the Legionary 5K Bier Run on May 20th in New Braunfels,  put on by the American Legion to help fellow veterans.  Nice one to do on Armed Forces Day.

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