2020 Race 8 Scallywompus 5K 10K Half

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/x4ZmUreSPtD8AH3D7

BEFORE MY START: My 8th race of 2020 was the Scallwompus San Marcos 5K on Feb 9th.   The main event was a half marathon and there was also a 10K and a 5K competitive walk.  All the courses started and finished at Tanger Outlets.   The half marathon folks started first, the 10K next, and then the 5K started at 8:30 a.m.   Weather dudes had called for rain on this day, but it was just misting a bit, we never really got any downpours, thank goodness. It was a bit humid, with the temps in the lower 60s, and the roads were kind of slick but it could have been a lot worse, so we were quite lucky.  I arrived with about an hour to go until the 5K start time and got a few pre-start photos.

 ON THE COURSE:  We went through part of the Tanger Outlet parking lot and then made a turn almost immediately had climbing up an incline.  After the incline, it was a down incline for a while, then a short up incline to the turn-round point.  Once we rounded the turn-round point, we had a down for a bit, and then that long down incline we had on the way up became a long 2-part uphill incline, which was probably the toughest part of the whole course. After we crested that it was downhill back to the Tanger Outlets, and then we turned behind the stores, running on a back service road and that was flat all the way to the finish.  I had pushed a bit at a 5K I had done before at OP Schabel Park – also hilly – in San Antonio, so this one I just kind of forced myself to take it a bit easier.  I ended up with a chip time of 37:38, which was good enough for 2nd in my 65-69 age group.  Of course, it helped that there were only 2 IN my age group, lol. That first guy finished 10 minutes ahead of me.

After My Finish:  Scallywompus does not kid about that “Stay for the party’ part of their motto, lol.  First I went and changed into a dry shirt I had brought with me, then found some fruit and water, and relaxed a bit.  Then I went to enjoy some sausage-on-a-stick and cold beer from Alamo Brewery. In between feeding my face I wandered around getting some photos of the happy finishers, supporters, volunteers, et al.   

EPILOGUE:     MUCHO GRACIAS to all the people that made this one happen for we participants:  all the volunteers, sponsors, vendors, outlet mall folks and workers for their patience, drivers out on the road – since this was an open course – for their patience too, any police officers out there for us, iaap for the timing, results, etc. our sound and music guy, race director Tony Garcia, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all for doing what you do for we participants!

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2020 Race 7, Cupid’s Chase 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Z7zTquie1GfHnVv97

BEFORE MY START: My 7th race of 2020 was Cupid’s Chase 5K, held on Feb 8 at O.P. Schnabel Park in San Antonio. This race supported organization Community Options, a nation-wide nonprofit supporting people with disabilities. This race is personal for me as I was born a birth-defect March of Dimes baby and now have spinal arthritis and hip degeneration in my older years, so I can relate to disabilities, although my disability is a lot less than some and so I am lucky that I can still remain pretty active so far. So I try to do as many races as I can that support people – especially kids – with disabilities. Race had a late start time of 10 a.m., so for a change I was able to sleep in pretty late on a race day and then go to the park with about 30 minutes to start time. Wandered around and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE: Start was from the park’s main pavilion and the course was on the park’s paved off-road trails. I run a lot in this park and have done several past races here, so knew what to expect: an up incline from the start; then a down incline to a downhill; then flat for a bit, as we made a left turn onto an adjacent trail. A few inclines along the way but nothing you could really call a major hill. Our turn-round was just past one of the under-passes in the park and then back the way we came. Of course this meant that when we got to that longer downhill we’d come down, that was now an uphill, and then we had a long up incline until we go to the turn that took us to the finish. Once we made that last turn, it was down all the way to the finish. I ended up with a 36:06 chip time, first in my age group, 65-and-over. There were only 2 in my age group, lol.

After My Finish: Right after I finished, got a few photo of some other finishers coming in. After that, back into the pre-and-post race activity area, where I found the food and water. Relaxed a bit and then got some post-race photos.

EPILOGUE: I’ve done this event a few times in the past. It’s a smaller event, with about 115 or so finishers. Makes for a nice friendly event with lots of the participants interacting with each other; it’s like a very friendly ‘community get-together”. Really nice quality long-sleeved race tee, finisher medals, and age group awards to first place in each age group. There was also a raffle, a DJ playing music, and a variety of vendors giving away some free stuff. Also a dog-friendly event, so my pockets I carry dog biscuits in were soon emptied, lol. Definitely will do this one in the future and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO GRACIAS to all the people that made this one happen for we participants: the park police officers out there for us; all the sponsors and vendors; iRun Texas for doing the timing, course setup, results, etc; all the race volunteers

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2020 Race Number 6, Stampede 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/hXwd8jXr7tFvHQkN6

 BEFORE MY START: My 6th race of 2020 was the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Stampede 5K held on Feb 1st.  Start and finish location was on Alamo Street in downtown San Antonio near HemisFair Park. San Antonio’s  annual Rodeo and Stock Show Days are always in February, and the event raises a whole lot of money for local student scholarships, so it supports a good cause.  Nice turn-out for this event with 344 finishers.  The race started at 9:30 am., so a late start, got to sleep in a bit, and then was followed by a parade atarting at 11 a.m., in which cowboys  had a ‘cattle drive’ and herded some Longhorns and other cattle right down Alamo Street, which was a sight to see.  I arrived at the start location with about 45 minutes to go to start time so before the start I wandered around and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:  This course gave us some nice views of things in downtown San Antonio. We literally started and finished the race in a corral, lol. With a view of the Tower of the Americas to our right.  After passing Hemisfair, it was down Alamo Street, passing in front of The Alamo and then a left turn onto Houston Street.  We went down Houston Street, getting a view of San Antonio’s newest skyline feature, the modernly built Frost Tower.  Due to some ongoing construction, we did a short loop-around, coming back to Houston Street, and then proceeding back to Alamo Street.  We then went back toward HemisFair.  A short ways up from the finish line we turned into HemisFair, going onto the pedestrian walkways.  We then did a little jaunt by the Gonzalez Convention Center to a turn-round point, then back to the main walkway in the park. Our last little jaunt was going up to the Tower of the Americas, circling around that, and then back down the walkway to Alamo Street, where we turned left and then went straight back to the corral to cross over the finish mat.   Given all the construction and activity going on downtown, pretty nicely laid-out course by the iaap race management folks with what they had to work with.  Well done!   As for how I did, well, my first mile was way too fast – 10:23 – shoot, I didn’t even know I could still do a 10:23 mile, lol; I guess my pacemaker is finally letting me ‘gear up’ a bit – and I paid for that with a slower time for 2-miles; but then from mile 2 to the finish, did a negative spit for that mile – and from Mile 1.6 to the finish, I did run nonstop all the way –  and ended up with a finish time of 34:42, averaging 11:10 per mile.  I was happy with that, and felt pretty good.

After My Finish:  Right after I finished, got a few photo of some other finishers coming in.   After that, back into the pre-and-post race activity area, where I found the food and water. Relaxed a bit, enjoying a sausage wrap and my water, and then went to find the beer and get some after photos.

EPILOGUE:   This is the 2nd time I have done this event.  I did it last year and the participation was way lower than this year.  I guess word got around how nice this event was, and what a nice course we had.  Also, lots of post-race goodies, finisher medal to all – nicely designed with steer horns and a cowboy hat – and we even had a band on the premises, providing live music for all of us to enjoy.  We also got a really nice quality long-sleeved tech-tee race shirt – orange too, my favorite color, and very comfortable wearing – which I think will become one of my favorite shirts.  The goodie bag was also jam-packed with stuff, including passes for the San Antonio Rodeo, various food coupons for local eateries, and even some Longhorn Horns that you saw some people wearing in the photos that I took.   Definitely will be doing this one again and would certainly recommend it to others.  Early registration is recommended though; this is a popular event and as you get closer to race day the entry fee does go up quite a bit.

MUCHO GRACIAS to all the people that made this one happen for we participants:   San Antonio Livestock and Exposition (SALE), the folks that oversee all this; all the stock show and rodeo folks;  all volunteers; police officers that were out there for us; iaap for the timing, results, etc; and, of course, all the sponsors and vendors that contributed to help pay for all the services, goodies, etc.   Also, thanks to anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here.

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2020 Race Number 5 – Freedom 5K

Race photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Zr2gcDLLKzrQKDPo8

BEFORE MY START: My 5th race of 2020 was the 7th Annual Freedom 5K on Jan 25th , supporting the  Adult and Teen Challenge of Texas residential adult and teen drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers. Location was at O.P. Schnabel Park in San Antonio, Texas. There was a kid’s 1K at 8:30 a.m., a Toddlers Trot at 8:40 am, and the 5K starting at 9 a.m.  I have not done all of this organization’s 5Ks, but this was my 5th time of doing this one.   I live fairly close to the park, so with the late start I was able to sleep in a bit, arriving at the race locale with just under an hour to go.  Had already picked up my packet the day before, so wandered around pre-start, chatting with friends and getting a few photos.  This event is also dog-friendly, so handed out a few doggie treats too.  Weather was okay too; around 48 – 50 degrees at start time, no wind, and overcast.

ON THE COURSE:  I do quite a few training runs in O.P. Schnabel Park and have done several past races here too, so I am familiar with the usual 5K course in this park, done on the park’s off-road paved trails.   Starting near the park pavilion, we went up a short incline, then went down a longer incline, and then down a short but steep hill to the park’s primary paved trails.  Out to a turn-round point and then back the way we came – meaning that on the way back we had to go up the short steep hill, and then up the incline we had come down on; but once we made the final turn to go back to the finish, that part was all downhill.  I ended up with a chip time of 36:30, putting me 2nd in my  60 – 69 males age group.  And, now that I am older, I met my primary goals too – finish standing up and no ambulance specifically waiting for me.   :p

After My Finish:  Right after I finished, got a couple of photos of some people coming in after me.  Then elaxed a bit post-race, enjoying some of the post-race goodies, and rehydrating and then wandered around getting some post-run photos of the happy finishers, supporters, sponsors, vendors, etc.  Then, since I am in one of the older age groups, had to wait a bit to hear my name called and get my 2nd place medal.  I jokingly told the Race Director, they really need to start the awards with we older people first since we are older and need to get home to take our nap.  😉  All good though and, wow, there sure were some speedy folks there.  The overall male did the 5K in 17-something and the first lady was at 20-something. I think at 17-something, I was near the halfway turn-round point, lol.

EPILOGUE:  This is a nicely done, well-organized event on a good course – although somewhat hilly in places, but the hills are not really that long or steep – nothing like the hills you would find at Helotes or Pearsall Park events.  Very nice drawstring goodie bag, chock-full of stuff, and a very nicely designed quality race tee.  Nice turn-out, with 269 finishers for the 5K.  An event done for a very good cause and some of the ‘graduates’ of the rehabilitation centers told their stories, which was quite moving.  I can’t relate personally to what these folks went through, but I can empathize as my problem in the past when I was very much younger and far away form home during my Air Force days was compulsive gambling. Thankfully, I had a great Commander and First Sergeant who recognized my problem and got me the help I needed, so I went through a program for that, and those two people probably saved my career.  Any kind of addiction – except for an addiction to running, of course 😉 – can take a terrible toll on you, family, and friends.  If you have never had this type of problem, I hope you never do.  As noted, I have done this event before, and will most assuredly do it again in the future, and would recommend it to others.   Also, MUCHO THANKS to everyone who made this event happen for we participants:  all the sponsors, vendors, volunteers, park police officers out there for us, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  And thanks, too, to the other patrons of the park – cyclists, other runners, and walkers not doing the event, but who were on the trails doing their own thing – for their patience with us as we ‘invaded your space” for a while.

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2020 Race Number 4: Martin Luther King 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/j1hUdBn4gmmpHfFA8

BEFORE MY START:   My 4th race of 2020 was the Martin Luther King 5K on Jan 19th, in support of the Young Men’s Leadership Academy in San Antonio, an all-boys educational facility that “helps them achieve their highest potential by setting high expectations and emphasizing character, leadership and discipline.”  Dr. King’s “message” is one of the things the boys learn about and so this event is always held on the weekend before MLK Day not only to support the school, but to recognize his contributions.  Event location was Wheatley Heights Sports Complex, a primarily high school sports event venue that includes track, football field, stadium, etc.   Start time of 9 a.m., so was able to sleep in a bit, as the race location is a fairly short drive for me.  Weather was sunny, but a bit chilly for we South Texans, as a cold wind had moved into the area over Saturday night-Sunday morning.  Temps in the low 40s with a ‘feels like’ temp of around 38 – 39 degrees, and a pretty good wind blowing.  This was the 4th year of the event – I have done them all since it first started – and one of the organizers told me this year, there were about 900 registered. I don’t know if they all showed up for race day, but per the results listing, most did as there were 831 listed race finishers.  I arrived onsite with about an hour to go to start time and got a few pre-start photos.

ON THE COURSE:    The start was inside the complex on a service road behind the stadium bleachers.  We went out one of the stadium gates, through an adjacent parking lot and then proceeded to nearby Martin Luther King park. Once in the park, we proceeded on paved park trails to a turn-round point and then came back to the stadium the way we had gone out.  Plenty of wooded areas surrounding the trails, so gave us a nice wind-break from that chilly wind.  Once we got started, it was actually quite pleasant, so I was glad to have ditched my top layer shirt for the race, as I would have probably been too warm when I was moving.  Along the route were several signs posted with quotes from various speeches and writings Dr. King had made.  I ended up with a chip time of 35:36, 7th in my  60 – 69 age group –  the top 3 in my age group all ran 7:30 – 8 minute miles; there are some real speedy folks in my Old Farts age group, lol. 

 After My Finish:    That wind was still blowing, so once I stopped running, I got my nice dry and warm top layer shirt back on.   I then enjoyed getting some post-race photos and chatting with several friends who were there and making new friends, and enjoying some of the post-race goodies.  

 EPILOGUE:    As noted previously, I have done this event since it first started.  It used to start and finish in Martin Luther King park, but the race outgrew that, as MLK Park, as far as parking facilities go, is a pretty small park.  So adjacent Wheatley Heights is a wise choice.  Plenty of parking there, but still close enough to MKL Park that we get to do a route through that park.  Nice quality race shirt – I do so many races a year I have plenty of shirts, so I told one of the organizers  to just donate my shirt to a kid – and lots of goodies at the race, including various fruits, hot coffee and hot chocolate,  food truck on site, and so forth. Also, this event is kind of personal for me.  My parents believed in equality for all and my mother – who worked for the Washington Post in DC – I grew up in the DC area- was very proactive in civil rights and a strong believer in the message of Dr. King, as I am now too. When I was in the Air Force, I was stationed a lot overseas – 18 of my 24 years – and in several of these locations, I was the minority.  My mother drilled into my being to never look at WHAT a person is, but WHO a person is.  That message stood me in good stead during my military years – and it still does now too – helping me to accept people for who they are, resulting in making many friends both nationally and internationally, and learning about ways of life I may have never know about if I had been more close-minded.  I thank God every day for the parents I got; they helped me keep an open mind and learn so much. So I will continue do to this event not only because is it a darn good event, but also in honor of my late mother and father.

THANKS:  MUCHO THANKS to all the people who made this one happen for us, including  all our volunteers, sponsors and vendors; iaapweb for the course setup, timing, and results; the park police that were out there for us  – I chatted post race with a couple of the officers – and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you for what you do so we participants can have this event.

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2020 Race 3: Hays Highstepper Hot Chocolate 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nhw5ddN2oLoVwG9c8

BEFORE MY START:  My 3rd race of 2020 was the Hays Highstepper Hot Chocolate 5K, held in Buda, Texas on Jan 11th.  There was also a .5 Kids Run/walk.  This event supports the Hays Highstepper varsity dance team of Hays High school. Buda is about an hour’s drive from San Antonio, so was up early for my oatmeal breakfast and then hit the road, arriving about 40 minutes before the 8 a.m. 5K start.  Got registered and got my packet and then got a few pre-start photos.   My long-time running friend, Bernadette, was supposed to do this one too, but her sore knee finally came to the point where it gave out, so she passed on this one, so no photos with her. Felt weird not seeing her at an event, as we do a lot of the same races over the year.  Heal well and speedily, my friend.   As you can see from the photos, lots of people are bundled up.  When I left San Antonio, it was 54 degrees and pretty pleasant.  After driving across what I call the Invisible Weather Line at San Marcos and the Hays County line, I watched my vehicle’s outside temp indicator drop like a stone from 54 to 43.  In the winter, it is always colder after that Hays County line as you move north toward Austin. Also, the wind was blowing like crazy in Buda, making it feel even colder.  43 may not feel cold “real winter” people in places like Minnesota, Michigan, etc., but for we South Texans – considering our temp the day before was in the 70s – really feel that weather when the temp drops 30 degrees.

ON THE COURSE:   This is a fairly small event, but a fun one, with 162 finishers.  A really nice course, laid out with NO hills thankfully – and around this area there are plenty of hills – going through a really nice neighborhood called Whispering Hollow, if I remember correctly,  and the start-and-finish was at Whispering Hollow Pool and Pavilion.  Nice wide streets, and all the housing gave us a nice windbreak for most of the way of the course. It was quite pleasant in the subdivision we went through.  I figured I would feel a bit warmer after I got started, so laid my long-sleeve shirt aside to use for post-race, and then ran in my short-sleeved shirt, and I did feel comfortable the whole way.  I did my usual 8-min run/2 minute walk thing – have to take walk breaks because of my arthritis – and took photos during my walk breaks.  I actually stopped a couple of times too during my running segments to get a couple more photos.  I ended up with a chip time of 36:19, 4th in my 60 – 69 males age group.

After My Finish:   First thing I did was get my long-sleeved shirt back on, that darn wind was really blowing around the start/finish area.  Then enjoyed some post-race water and Chik-Fil-A biscuit from the Chik-Fil-A people there.  Other goodies include some various fruits, nutrition bars, and so forth.  No post-race beer darn the luck.  😉  I then wandered around getting some photos of the happy finishers and their companions/supporters.

EPILOGUE:   This is the first time I’ve done this race but won’t be the last.  Even with that stiff wind, it was very enjoyable.  Pretty nice quality goodie bag with a nicely designed quality tech-tee. Even the goodie bag itself is pretty high quality, very nice durable plastic, waterproof bag with closure. Very nice start/finish location with indoor restroom facilities; and nice for this old arthritic guy to be able to use one of the pool chairs to relax in for a few minutes after the finish.  Very nicely laid out loop course, my favorite kind of course.  Most 5K are out-and-back, which is okay since you get to cheer friends on that you see coming back; but when you are as slow as me, you see those other folks coming toward you on their way back to the finish, you just want to be on that side already, heading back too, lol.  So mentally, a loop course just works for me better.  Yeah, I know, I got no discipline, lol. Anyway, would definitely recommend this one to others and will certainly do it again myself in the future.

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2020 Race Number 2: River Road 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipO5xgYk5LlrCf-crt854GhtROPIG60cj6n_oW0nR2jCq3SZxh_d5DzM4MtOAp9w_w?key=OGVYeUhLVHZwOVYxaVJXMnRlVGNKYWduYk5OQ2pR

 BEFORE MY START:    My 2nd race of 2019 was the River Road Run 5K held in New Braunfels, Texas. The main event was a half-marathon and there was also a 10K.  This event is part the series of 4 Texas Hill Country races put on my local running/race company Scallywompus.   River Road in New Braunfels runs alongside the Guadalupe River in Comal County.  These are very popular events and the half sold out.  There was quite a nice turnout also for the 10K and the 5K.   The half started at 8:01, the 10K started at 8:31 and the 5K started at 9:01.  By the time I got there the half folks had already gone, so I wandered around and took a few pre-start photos of some of the 10K and 5K folks.  For this event, we had what weather forecasters call “abundant sunshine”, but for while it was still a little chilly for we South Texans, with the temp at 7:30 a.m. hovering around 37 – 38 degrees.   By the time the 5K started, the temp had reached the lower 40s, so before I started the race I dumped my top long-sleeved layer shirt and ran in a short-sleeved shirt and felt fine.

ON THE COURSE: This series in not called Texas Hill Country for nothing.  First half-mile or so was fairly flat, with a slight down incline as we crossed a bridge over the Guadalupe River.  After the bridge we then began to climb a bit.  That leveled off after a while, but having done this event last year I knew there was a 2nd part to this hill after we went around an upcoming road curve.  That second hill climbed us up to another level part of the road where we 5K folks then went to our turn-round and headed back.  The half and 10K folks, having longer courses, kept going ahead and they had several more hills than we 5K folks did.  After the turn-round the return trip to the finish was now mostly downhill – which I do not prefer, as downhills are harder than uphills on my spine arthritis – but I managed to do okay.  The last ½ mile, or maybe just a tad under ½ mile, is all flat to the finish.  I ended up with a 34:14 chip time, good enough for 4th in my 60 – 65 age group, and I did negative splits for this event, with my last mile being 11:06.  Slowly but surely, me and my pacemaker are getting back to where my times were before my pacemaker.  The road was open to traffic. Where I was at any given moment, we were all helping each other out with call-outs of “Car Back” and so forth, and the drivers for the most part were pretty patient about it all.  That may have been helped by the presence of several police vehicles also driving  and parked on the course, with the officers keeping eyes open for the safety of us all.

After My Finish:  The motto of Scallywompus is “Come for the race.  Stay for the party.”  They sure live up to it.  Really nice after-party with pizza slices, sausage-on-a-stick, beer provided by Alamo Beer, and Bloody Mary’s with vodka.  There was also water and various other drinks for the non-alcohol drinkers.  Scallywompus has everyone covered.  Between sausage bites and beer swallowing, I wandered around getting some after-photos of the happy finishers, supporters, volunteers, vendors, etc.

EPILOGUE:  This is the second time this event has been at this location and it is a pretty nice one.  I much prefer this location to the old location at a place called The Ice House, where there was a MONSTER hill all participants wend down at the start and then had to climb up right before crossing the finish line.  The hills at the newer location – at least for the 5K anyway – are not that bad and also there are some really nice views of the Guadalupe River along this course.  There was on the old course too, but I just like this one better.   Really nice finisher medal for everyone and a nice quality long-sleeved tech tee.  Usually the Scallywompus shirts run a bit large for me, so I got a medium.  However, this one actually was a bit tight.  My wife did not mind at all, though, and was glad to claim the tech tee as her own. I must admit she does look better in it than I do.   MUCHO THANKS to all the people who made this one happen for us, including Race Director Tony; MC Lana; music guy Paul; bike guy the other Paul; iaapweb for the course setup, timing, and results; Dan-The-Man and the Munster Squad for the post-race sausages-on-a-stick; all our volunteers, sponsors, and law enforcement folks out there for us; anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much for what you do so we participants can have this event.

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