2022 Race 23 Gabriella’s Cupcake 5K

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Before The Start: My 23rd race of 2022 was Gabriella’s Cupcake 5K held on May 14, 8:30 a.m. start time, at Bluebonnet Palace Dance Hall in Selma, Texas.  This event raises funds for Gabriella’s Smile Foundation, named for a young lady who battled a terminal form of brain cancer and sadly died shortly after her 6th birthday. This event is held in May, which is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and dedicated to raising awareness in the community of pediatric brain cancer. For this event there was both an in-person event and a virtual option. Timing was done by Split Second Productions, a division of the very popular iRun Texas local running/fitness stores. This is a very popular annual event and there were 524 finishers total. Not sure if some of these were virtual, but I observed there sure were a lot of people – both walkers and runners – on the course, so it was quite a nice turnout.  I arrived with about 40 minutes to go to the 8:30 a.m. start time, got my packet, and then enjoyed my pre-start time of chatting with friends and other participants and getting some pre-start photos.

On The Course: The weather was fairly cooperative. It was warm already at 71 degrees, with ‘abundant sunshine” but the humidity was thankfully pretty low. This was an out-and-back course. We started in finished on the road that went beside the Bluebonnet Palace.  After starting on the road to the side of Bluebonnet Palace – Schertz Parkway – we made a right turn on Lookout Road. We then proceeded down this road to the stop sign at the end, where we made a left turn onto Tri-Country Parkway.  This road took us all the way down to our turn-round point and we returned to the finish in reverse of the way we had come out. The course was pretty flat, with just a few minor inclines. We were all packed onto the same side of the road for the whole distance – left side of the road for us going out, right side coming back.  As noted this was one really packed-in race crowd. I kind of felt sorry for the speedier front-runners – those 6, 7, 8 minute milers – because once they made their turn-round then they pretty much had to go against the majority of the race pack that was still going to the turn-round. The majority of runners and walker around me at any given time – with my 13 minute miles, lol – were pretty good about giving way to the front runners, but I did see some near-misses with between the faster runners and some of the slower runners/walkers still heading to  the turn-round, as some were not paying attention to those faster lead runners; glad nobody got knocked down; at least not where I was at any given moment.   By the time my slow-self arrived at the turn-round, the crowd, lol, had thinned out considerably. Going back to the finish, I had plenty of room. Didn’t help my pace though, lol. Once we got back onto Lookout Road, wow, the wind had picked up considerably and those of us still out there were running right into a pretty well-blowing headwind.  I admit to taking a couple extra walk-breaks because of that.  I finally did make it to the finish line in a chip time of 43:04, averaging 13:54 per mile, and I was happy with that as I’d pretty much been expecting to finish in about 45 minutes. Slow and steady and got in done in spite of my current prostate cancer treatment side-effects and bit of a tweaking my right leg adductor muscle is giving me every now-and-then.

After My Finish:  Firs thing, just took a nice-and-easy cool down walk for about 10 minutes.  Then sat down and relaxed a bit. Run-Tex folks nicely let me sit on the floor edge of their timing van while I ate a banana, drank some water, and relaxed for about 15 minutes or so, just letting everything ‘drain’ lol.  Ahh, felt much better.  Then it was off to chat with friends and get some post-race photos.  Very nicely done after-party too.  Lots of goodies – including, of course, a whole lot of cupcakes; gosh, they had so many cupcakes – with lots of variety – the Cupcake Crew volunteers must have worked hours to prepare all those, so thank you very much. While I was chatting with friends and getting some photos, my friend Mitch came along and told me I might want to hurry up a bit as they were getting ready to do some awards and I had finished 3rd in my age group.  I was like: WHAT?  I placed at my slow pace? Did everyone in my age group die, lol? Then we found out only the first place winners of each age group would get awards – and I get that, it’s a budget thing, so more money can go to the cause of the race, and that is fine with me – so I had plenty of time. So I hung out with friends, we all got a lot of photos and had some nice chats, lots of smiles, and I made new friends too. Very nicely done after-party with a really nice area at Bluebonnet to relax in post-race; lots of chairs, tables, places to sit,  shade, and lots of vendors/sponsors giving away some freebies.

Epilogue: This really is an enjoyable race with a nice course and a great venue for the pre-and-post race activities.  Bluebonnet Palace has a really nice ‘event area” that includes a stage, all kinds of eat-and-drink places, lots of restrooms (mostly port-potties, but there are plenty of them) and plenty of post-race goodies.  Nice back-drop for photo-ops, nicely done quality race tee, and finisher medal to all finishers. I’ve done this event before, will do it again, and would recommend it to other. It is very walker-friendly too, and also stroller friendly and dog-friendly as well. If you’ve never done this one, give it a try, you might quite like it.     

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2022 Race 22, District 4 Heroes 5K

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Before The Start: My 22nd race of 2022 was the District 4 Heroes 5K held at Palo Alto College.  This was the series finale 5K of the year of San Antonio Sports Family Fitness 5K, a series of 5K events put on over the year by San Antonio Sports  in coordination with various local city elected district councilors. These are free races for those who want to do it untimed and only $5 for those who want a timed result, so pretty reasonably priced, and very popular. District City Councilwoman Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia, Ph.D., hosted this event, with San Antonio Sports doing the administrative duties for race registration, packet pickup and more.  Top-notch local race management company iaap did the timing and provided the results for the timed 5K.  San Antonio Sports provides the community a whole series of various events over the year, including not only running and walking, but also soccer, basketball, volleyball, and more; and also provide various training videos with a purpose to “transform the community through the power of sport.” They are very good at what they do.   I arrived a bit late – should have gotten my lazy dog-self up earlier, lol. – arriving at Palo Alto around 7:30 a.m. – race start time of 8 a.m – do the parking lot was pretty much full-up.  Thankfully I had picked up my packet before race day.  I finally did find a spot and got down to the start/finish area – jam packed with participants, vendors, sponsors, etc – and got a few photos before start time.

On The Course: I chose to do the timed 5K.  The course was two laps via various campus roads and parking lots.  I am not a big fan of 2-lap courses, especially after you start doing the 2nd lap all you think of is ‘where is that darn finish line?” lol, but after seeing the campus, I understood the reason for it.  In the 28 years I’ve lived in San Antonio this is the first time I’d ever visited Palo Alto.  It is a fairly small campus so San Antonio Sports had to lay out the course with whqt they were given to work with and they did a good job with that.  With as many people as were registered, the course was well-laid out to accommodate all these people, with plenty of maneuvering room for everyone, which the faster front-runners probably appreciated as on their second lap on the way to their finish, they had to pass several slower participants – like me, lol – who were still doing the first lap. The overall winner did this course in something like 16 minutes and change, which is amazing considering how many runners and walkers he must have had in front of him on that 2nd lap. So, well done, San Antonio Sports, well done.  As for me, between my current prostate cancer treatment and an adductor muscle issue, I ran slower than butter being melted on an ice cube, lol.  Since my pacemaker implant – which my body is still adjusting to a bit, I’ve usually done 11 – 13 minutes miles; today it was more like 13 to 14 minute miles, as I forced myself to go slower and took  a couple extra walk breaks than I normally do so I did not make that adductor worse. I’ve had a torn adductor muscle in the past it is NOT fun and has a fairly long recovery time.. It was pretty darn warm and humid out there too.  May is usually our Spring weather in Texas, but today the temp was predicted to get pretty close to 100 – crazy – and it was in the upper 70s when we started.  Also, very little shade on the course but, as noted, S.A. Sports had to lay out the course with what they were given to work with.  The only “hill” we had on the course was basically just a not-too-long up incline; mostly the course was pretty flat.  There were speed-bumps on the course – which S.A. Sports warned us about in message traffic and on race day so we were aware; from where I was at any given moment I never saw anyone trip over any of them.  I managed to eke out a chip finish time of 44:05, averaging 14:11 minute miles, better than I expected, I figured pre-start it would take me about 48 minutes with all my ongoing stuff I finished 11th in my males 60 – 69 age group out. At 68 years old, I also made my 2 primary race goals whenever I do a race:  finish standing up, and no ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish, lol. There were 548  total timed finishers for this one (I counted them all in the listed results, lol).

After My Finish: FIRST, get some hydration back in me and something to eat. I got a banana and a Gatorade and a bottle of water and then found a nice place to sit without the sun shining directly on me and just relaxed for a bit.  When I hear music behind me, I realized I sitting at the back of the ‘trailer” which was serving as the MC and awards stage.  A young lady came and near me on the other end of the ‘bench” I was on and I recognized her as our Race Director – had met her at an event last year.  She was busy writing and I saw she was filling out the names of the age group winners for the awards, so I did not bother her.  We each just sat there quietly doing our own thing and it saw quite peaceful and relaxing.  After I got my intake, felt much better and then went wandering around chatting with friends and getting various post-race photos an watched the awards given out.  Thanked every volunteer and San Antonio Sports person I encountered. We participants get up fairly early to do the events, but these people have to be there super-early to get everything ready for us. So I always try to thank them when I encounter them. 

Epilogue: Very well-organized event at a nice location.  San Antonio Sports did their usual great job with this event, as they do with all their events, iaap quickly provided race results. Lots of vendors/sponsor tents, etc., at this one, so some nice post-race goodies and some nice freebies from the sponsors. I would certainly do this one again – hopefully with cooler weather next time, lol – and would recommend it to others.  Mucho thanks to everyone who made this one happen for us: San Antonio Sports, iaapweb, the many sponsors, all the police officers out on the course for our safety, the EMT folks that were there (I think I saw two), Palo Alto staff for the use of the campus grounds; the musical group there that entertained us, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all.   

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2022 Race 21, Get Your Rear in Gear 5K

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Before The Start:    My 21st race of 2022 was the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K on May 1st at Morgan’s Wonderland Park in San Antonio.  This event supports the Colon Cancer Coalition, “a national coalition of people determined to end colorectal cancer deaths by increasing screening and educating others about the signs and symptoms of this treatable disease.” There are Get Your Rear in Gear 5Ks at several cities in the US at various dates over the year. Nice turn out for this one with 236 finishers.  There was also a Kid’s Run.  Race start time of 8 a.m.  Cloudy skies and very humid. Local weather folks had predicted some possible drizzly rain, but it never did rain on us during the event. I also had a very informative chat with a doctor from the Gastroenterology Clinic of San Antonio. He was a guest speaker at the 5K and he was very informative and helpful with me.   I found out they are a Tricare contractor, so I will probably get my colonoscopy from them later this year, as BAMC sent me a letter to advise me I was ‘referred out’ because they are so busy with the military members. I get a colonoscopy every 5 years and I am due this year. Colonoscopies are pretty easy. It’s that prep stuff that’s the difficult part, lol.

On The Course:   This was a mix of loop and out-and-back, with us starting inside the park and doing a loop around the park’s man-made lake. We exited the park with a right turn heading for nearby Heroes Stadium, and athletic facility of Northside Independent School District. Proceeding along the road that went around the stadium, we then entered one of its parking lots, went across that, and came back out on one of the roads near it.  We then proceeded back the way we had come out, finishing by doing another loop around the lake that took us back to the start/finish line. My friend Kristin and I were in the start crowd and she said “I may run with you today.”  That would have slowed her way down, lol, as she is much faster than I am.  Anyway, it was a moot point because after we crossed the start she was off-and-running at her normal pace, lol, and I never saw her again until the finish.  Probably a good thing she did not run with me, my slow pace might have given her leg cramps.  I was 7th in my males 60-69 age group with a chip time of 41:32, averaging 13:22 per mile and had a negative split for Mile 3.  I was 7th out of 12 in my age group.  I was actually trying to take it easy for this one after pushing myself a bit at the 5K I had done the day before; took a couple more walk breaks than I usually do and got a few extra photos. My speedy friend Eli, who was 2nd overall in the 5K came back out to run in with me, which was nice of him.

After My Finish:  First, get some water in me, it was very humid out there. Also, ate a banana and had a breakfast taco too.  There was quite a variety of goodies offered post-race.  Enjoyed post-race chatting with friends and making new friends. There were lots of ‘teams’ at this one, and several other survivors there too. I really enjoyed chatting post-race with a lot of friends and other participants and getting a variety of photos.

Epilogue:  One of my favorite events of the year, especially as I, along with several others there, am a survivor. Colon was my first cancer I dealt with and I was very lucky that it got caught so early, I ended up having a fairly easy time of it. Some side effects I experienced afterwards gave me more trouble, that was a bad and depressing time for while and I had some really not-so-good thoughts.  Thankfully, I met my wife at that time and she literally saved my life by brining me back to  good place  Currently I am being treated for prostate cancer and I am in the process of beating this one too. Never give up!  Mucho thanks to all that made this one happen for we participants:  The Colon Cancer Coalition; all the sponsors and the many many volunteers; Morgan’s Wonderland for allowing use of the venue; iaap for course setup, timing, and results; and any others involved that I may not have mentioned here.  Also, thanks to the police officers on the course for our safety; the guest speaker doctor that gave us very informative information; the Super Heroes team and all the others that were there in support of us; and any others not mentioned.  Thank you all.   I will definitely continue to do this one in the future – running, walking, or crawling, lol – and certainly would recommend it to others.  BEAT CANCER!!  ALL types of cancer!

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2022 Race 20 JLSA VIVA SA 5K

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Before The Start: My 20th race of 2021 was the Viva SA 5K held on April 30t at Hemisfair in Downtown San Antonio. There was also a 10K. This was the 10th anniversary of this event which support the Junior League of San Antonio (JLSA) an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. It is a chapter of the Junior League of Texas. This was a fairly small event – mainly because there were several other local area races on this day too – with 89 finishers for the 5K and 33 finishers for the 10K. There was also a kid’s 5K. I arrived with about 20 minutes to go to start time, got a few pre-start photos, chatted with friends there, and also treated the doggies as this is a dog-friendly event.

On The Course: The courses were out-and-back. Our start and finish location was right near the renovated ‘safe’ playground area (‘bouncy’ squishy surface mats for safety in case kids fall down and so forth) and restrooms. We had a nice view of the Tower of the Americas. The 10K people got going at 7:30 and then we 5K folks headed onto the course at 7:45. It had been “drizzly rain” on my drive down to the race but stopped before we started. No wind, temp in the 70s and humidity was way up there. We went down part of the Hemisfair bricked pavement, exited with a left turn onto Alamo Street and then did a right turn onto a service road by Marriott Springhill Suites. We did a right turn at the end of that, and proceeded up another small road that took us to Nueva Street. Left turn on Nueva, heading in the direction of the Bexar County Courthouse. A few blocks up from the courthouse, we accessed the San Antonio Riverwalk – the historic King William District was across the river from us – and headed in the direction of the Blue Star area. Turn-round point for the 5K was directly parallel with the Blue Star area – had to go up a small hill to get to the turn-round, the only hill on the course – so I am assuming the 10K folks probably had to go maybe all the way down near Brackenridge School for their turn-round. Then we went back exactly the way we had come out. Per my Garmin, which pretty much matched the official results, I ended up with 3.12 miles completed, 40:28 chip time, averaging 12:54 per mile, and I had negative splits too, nice. I wish finisher #52 out of 89 participants. Used to be faster but these days, dealing with my current treatment for prostate cancer, I am just happy I can still run at all. Nice touch: as I turned into Hemisfair to head for the finish line, the Race Director was right there, and she kindly ran in with me; I thought that was very nice of her, and appreciated the company. For a few minutes after I finished, I got a few photos of some of my fellow runners coming into the finish.

After My Finish: First, get some water in me, it was very humid out there. Did that, ate a protein bar, relaxed for a few minutes, chatting with my very talented friend – and fellow cancer survivor – Deborah, and then it was off to wander around getting some ‘happy finisher” photos – ever notice more people are smiling after they are done than before and during? Thus, I call them ‘happy finisher” photos, lol – and their supporters/friends, and also my new friends, the doggies I treated at the event. They were so happy to see me, lol, since I still had some treats left. Awards were for first overall in each event, including the kids race.

Epilogue: Small event but very nicely done, and a really nice course; scenic with the Tower of the Americas and the Riverwalk views. Finisher medals to all, which were put into race packets, and really good quality tech tee race shirt, with a nice design on it. There were also a lot of goodies offered both before and after the event, including different kinds of coffee – my coffee fiend and friend, Woody, would have been in 7th Coffee Heaven, lol – and Freetail Brewing Company had a variety of various beers; I enjoyed one of their Pale Blonde beers and it was really good. There were also various food offerings and vendors/sponsors with other items. I’ve done this one a few times in the past and will do it again in the future. I certainly would recommend it to others. Viva SA! Good luck and much success to JLSA. Thanks so much to them for having this event and also much thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, police officers and course marshals on the course for our safety, and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!

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2022 Race 19, Transplants for Children 5K

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Before The Start:  My 19th race of 2022 was the Gift of Life 5K on April 24th.  There was also a 10K. This event benefits Transplants for Children San Antonio, which provides programs and services for families and children dealing with pediatric transplantation.   This was my 2nd 5K of the weekend, after having completed The Witte Museum Dino Dash 5K on Saturday, April 23rd at Brackenridge Park in San Antonio.  The Gift of Life 5K/10K was held at Lady Bird Johnson (LBJ) Park in San Antonio, with a 9:15 a.m. start for both.  A top local race management company and running store iRun Texas did the course set-up, with timing and results provided by Split Second Productions.  I live fairly close to LBJ Park, so was able to sleep in a bit.  I had previously picked up my race packet so when I got to the park I wandered around chatting with friends and other participants and got a few pre-start photos. 

On The Course:  Sunny morning with some cloud cover, a  temperature of 70-something degrees with humidity to match. 10K and 5K all participants all started together.  Got some course instructions from Mitch Allen of iRun Texas, and then we were  off.  Both courses were out-and-back. We did a loop around the circular road near the park’s pavilion and then headed down an incline to access the park’s paved trails (concrete).  The course did have non-participating users in the park, other cyclists, walkers and runners, so we had to be aware of those.  At any given moment where I was, the cyclists I encountered all called out as they were coming up behind me so I could move over, so that was nice. Hopefully everyone got that courtesy from them. We followed the paved trails, with a couple of inclines along the way – nothing you could really call a hill, at least for the 5K; I know the 10K folks did have a couple of hills since I’ve done races before  on the route they would be on.  Both 5K and 10K participants proceeded on the trails, going past the Los Patios area and then to the 410  frontage road.  This was the turn-round for the 5K participants.  The 10K participants proceeded across the frontage road and did the trails on the other side, taking them down to a turn-round near Austin Highway, and then they came back the way they had come out.  After having done a 5K the day before, I went at a fairly slow pace for this one – behaving myself per my instructions from my oncology doctor, lol, as I fight my prostate cancer.  He told me back-to-back events for the weekend were okay, but take it easy for at least one of them, so I tried to behave; tried being the operative word, lol.  Between having my pacemaker implanted in Aug 2019, and my cancer treatment starting back in Sep this year, I pretty much do between 12 and 13 minute miles, and do an 8-minute run/2 minute walk thing due to my spinal and hip arthritis. So, since I pushed my Saturday 5K a bit, decided to shoot for 14 minute miles for this one and be a “Clairol Runner” – nice and easy, and stop a bit more to take a few more on-course photos than I usually do.  Mile 1: 12 minutes and change, uh oh.  Mile 2: 13 minutes and change, better. Mile 3: 13 minutes and change too, but it was a negative split….bad dog, bad dog! Even so, I felt pretty good overall, so don’t know if I am just getting stronger again as I beat this cancer – which I am doing – or I simply just can’t behave, lol. Probably a combination of both. Anyway, finish time of 41:22 per my garmin (my chip time may be a bit faster but have not seen the chip-time results posted yet) averaging 13:18 per mile….so I kinda behaved. 

After My Finish:  I got a few photos of some others coming into the finish line and then sat with a friend for a few moments, relaxing and chatting and then did a walk-about, chatting with other participants and friends and getting some “Happy Finishers” and supporters  photos.  Also treated several doggies to the dog biscuits I carry with me when I run and made several new 4-legged friends, lol. Awards were overall male and female in each age group, If I remember correctly.  All participants did get a finisher medal.  Some nice eats too; there was a local eatery – I think it was El Chapparal Restaurant – providing a nice plateful of food to those who wanted it; and one lady had popsicles, nice. Also, lots of water, various fruits, etc.  Several vendors had give-aways and there was also a raffle for San Antonio Spurs tickets, including a prize of season tickets.  Post-race was pretty nicely done.  Right near the start/finish area there was also a dog park at the LBJ park, and our music guy cracked me up when he played “Who Let The Dogs Out.”  Well….my wife, for one.  😝

Epilogue:  Participant-wise, this was a fairly smaller event – maybe 100  or so? – but very nicely done.  Pretty nice course with lots of shade along the way – nice on a warm day – water stop on the course (what, no beer?  😉 ) and the Los Patios area even had indoor restrooms available if you needed a ‘pit stop’ at that point. As noted, finisher medals to all, and the race shirt is very nice quality tech tee.  I hope this one grows – and grows enough where they might even have to move to a venue for a larger crowd – because it certainly is a great cause.  I would definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others. Mucho thanks to iRun Texas, all the sponsors for this one,  and the vendors who purchased tables to support this one, the park police officers out there for our safety, all the many volunteers, our music guy, and anyone else I my not have mentioned here.  Thank you all!

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2022 Race 18, Dino Dash 5K

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BEFORE MY START – My 18th race of 2022 was the Dino Dash 5k held on April 23 in support of The Witte Museum in San Antonio.  Race location was Brackenridge Park which is adjacent to The Witte Museum.  There was also a Kids Run.  Start time of 9 a.m. for the 5K.  The Kids Run was held after the 5K was finished.  Weather was a ‘cool’ 70 degrees with overcast skies trying to pretend it was going to rain on us but it never did. Humidity in the upper 60s range. 244 finishers for the 5K.  Since I live fairly close to Brackenridge Park, I was able to sleep in a bit, arriving on-site a little after 8 a.m to chat with friends and other participants and get a few pre-start photos. 

ON THE COURSE – Start and finish was on the park road that is in front of the side of the Witte where the museum treehouse is located. Broadway was at our backs. Event started right on time.   This route kind of reminded me of the Wednesday Evening 2-mile run, as we were on a lot of the same streets.  From in front of the museum, we went toward the park train tracks (for the park’s tourist train), making a right turn that took us past the Koehler Pavilion on our right and the river picnic area on our left.  We went across the Iron Bridge (baseball fields in front of us), then did a left turn, then an immediate right, going down a road that eventually intersects with Hildebrand.  Before Hildebrand, we made a left turn, went through a Zoo office area, and then went on  a road that took us past the cobblestone paved sidewalk and then back to the Iron Bridge.  We went back the way we had come out, going alongside the river once more, this time on our right. Once we got to the intersection where the train tracks were, we made a right and headed down this road until we go to where the water crossing is located.  We turned left here, went all the way down to Mulberry – could see the golf course across the street – did a turn-around here and back the way we came. We then headed in the direction of the finish line, but diverted off the paved road onto one of the off-road trails.  We followed the trails to a ‘roundabout’ in the park, turned left and headed down a trail that took us toward where the train is parked after-hours.  Following this trail, we came back out onto the paved road right near the train tracks.  Here we turned right, crossing over the train tracks and then did an out-and-back on this road.  Once back at the train tracks we turned right, heading back to The Witte, and that took us to the finish line. My age group, lol, was 55-99.  My chip time finish was 39:20, averaging 12:40 per mile, and I had negative splits for each mile, nice.  I was 16th out of the 23 guys in my age group.

AFTER MY FINISH – Did a bit of a cool-down walk, drank some water, got my finisher medal, and then got a few photos of others coming in. After that I just wandered here-and-there chatting with other participants and getting some post-race photos. There was also a small food-and-drink place on the grounds, so I got some water there and a banana mutt muffin and sat and relaxed for a bit while I enjoyed that. I also went up and explored the tree-house a bit and got a couple of photos from up there. All in all, a very enjoyable time.

Epilogue – This was my first time to do this event and I was pleased with the organization of it and with the course. It really is a nice place to run, walk, or bike ride; we did see a few cyclists while we were out there. The course was well-thought out, giving participants a nice tour of just about all of the park,, except for the part near the San Antonio Zoo area, where we did not go. Finisher medals to all finishers; age group awards to the top finishers in each category (The Witte is on a pretty tight budget in these costly days of rising prices, and I get that). Nice quality race tee.  Some nice post-race goodies, with fruits, coffee, water, and other items; and that nice little store with a very friendly staff for those who wanted something else; they had coffee, water, other drinks, a variety of pastries, breakfast tacos, and more. This was pay-as-you-go, but very reasonably priced. Very nice kids run, well organized, and play area too for the kids – and adults too for that matter, lol – who were there as supporters for friends and family, not participants.  I would certainly do this one again and would recommend it to others. MUCHO THANKS TO:   iaap for the course set-up, timing, and results; all the many pre-race and race day volunteers; the Witte staff members who were there for us; park police out there for our safety, all of the sponsors who made this one happen for us; and the on-call EMT folks in case of emergency and they are quick. After the race I was near a kid (who was with his mom) who I think had fallen (skinned his knee up pretty good and some bruises and bumps) and the EMT guy got there really fast and took care of him in good order, nice. Thanks also to anyone else involved that I inadvertently may not have mentioned here.     

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2022 Race 17 Poteet Strawberry Festival 5K

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BEFORE MY START – My 17th race of 2022 was the Poteet Strawberry Festival 5K held on April 16th in Poteet, Texas ant the Poteet Fair grounds, about an hour’s drive from where I live in San Antonio. Race start time of 8 a.m. There was also a Kid’s Run, and a 1-Mile Berry Walk, and also a 5K Wheelchair division in which members of “Ainsley’s Angels” participated.. Since I am ‘directionally challenged”, even with directional devices lol, I made sure to leave pretty early to arrive on time. I arrived a little after 7 a.m., with plenty of time to drink a bit of water and get some pre-start photos. The event is held on the Poteet Fairgrounds, a week before the actual Strawberry Festival starts. Iaap, a very good San Antonio-based race management company, did the course set-up, timing, and results. 126 finishers, including 3 in the wheelchair division.

ON THE COURSE – Weather was humid (81% humidty) and overcast, no wind, with a temp of 70 degrees. The course was interesting, kind of a mix of loop and out-and-back, all done on paved roads. We started by going down a paved road toward one of the access gates, did a very short stint on part of a sidewalk and then went looped around one of the park’s paved roads, going up a fairly long but not too steep uphill. After coming to an intersection it was a right turn that took us down an incline to a long road as we headed to a turn-round point. We wound around this road for a while – and had another uphill incline along the way – finally getting to our turn-round point. We then headed back on this road the way we had come out. As we headed toward the finish, we now went up the down incline that started us on this road, passing by the street that had gotten us onto this road. After we crested the top of this incline I was then a flat and straight path to the finish line. My friend Ian and I had run a bit together on the course, and then he surged ahead of me on the finish line, letting me eat his dust, lol. I also ran for a bit towards the finish with my friend, Lizzie – the Race Director of the very popular San Antonio Confetti 5K – who is nice company on a run, enjoyed chatting with her as we went along. Out of the 8 people in my 60-69 age group I was dead last with a chip time of 39:56, which is okay, I met my two primary race goals: Finish standing up and have no ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish.

AFTER MY FINISH – First, walked around a bit to cool down, and got some water in me. Got a few photos of some other finishers coming in, and then wandered around chatting with friends and getting more post-race photos. Two very nice lady volunteers let me sit for a bit on one of their chairs, relaxing, and gave me a very tasty “protein cookie” as a post-race treat. I am going to get some of those, that was one nice cookie. After my short break, more post-race photos and watching the awards ceremony – very unique age group awards for this one – and then went exploring around the fair grounds for a bit. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Epilogue – This is a very nice venue for a race. Nicely paved road course, lots of pavilions, lots of restroom buildings, and lots of things to see, with the fairgrounds, the amusement park rides, several buildings with drawings on them, and so forth. There is a very nice finisher medal to all finishers and a nice quality race shirt. As noted, the age-group placers got some very unique awards. This is also a dog-friendly event.

MUCHO THANKS TO: the Poteet Fairgrounds staff for their hospitality; iaap for another quality event; the color guard for a nice presentation of the colors for the National Anthem; our excellent race director (his name went right out of my head) and all the race volunteers and all the sponsors that made this one happen for we participants; the police officers out there for our safety – there were work vehicles on the grounds as we were running – and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Also, thanks to the EMT I talked to – I am supposed to take my blood oxygen level after I run, as I keep a log for my cardiologist, but forgot to bring my oximeter, but it was okay my pacemaker behaved well – I had a very enjoyable chat with him and his wife who was there; very nice guy. Thank you all so very much!

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2022 Race 16, Run To Remember 5K and 10K

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BEFORE MY START – My 16th race of 2022 was the 10th annual Beards vs Beans Run To Remember 5K held on April 9th at Comanche Park in San Antonio.  There was also a 10K, a Kids Run and a 0.5K beer run/walk, in which contestants walked or ran with a glass of beer, with the winner being the one with the most beer left in the glass.  Beards to Beans is a friendly contest between the brothers who organized this event as a way to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association and see which brother can raise the most. If Matt winds, Miguel has to eat a plate of beans (I’m with Miguel on this one, yuk). If Miguel wins, Matt has to shave his beard. Since this event started, this event has raised more than $65K, with all the funds going directly to the San Antonio and South Texas Alzheimer’s Association.   Race start time was around 7:30 a.m., with the 10K folks starting first and the 5K participants shortly after them. I arrived at the park with about 35 minutes to go to the start and got a few pre-start photos. 

ON THE COURSE – Course was out-and-back for both the 10K and the 5K. Races started in the park’s pavilion area and was done on off-road paved park trails. Most of the participants found the weather nicely acceptable: sunshine, hardly any wind, blue skies, and a temp in the mid 50’s. Personally, since I am like warmer weather – I prefer it 60 and up, lol – I found it a little chilly for me so wore a base layer under my race shirt.  I talked to one guy who was visiting from Alaska and he told me he was ecstatic about being able to run in shorts and a singlet, since when he left Alaska it was 27 degrees there.  BRRR! I did my usual run/walk thing and took photos during my walk breaks.  I am not speedy – never was, lol – and these days, since getting my pacemaker in 2019 and being also currently treated for prostate cancer my pace runs around 12 to 13 minutes per mile.  At this event I finished 4th in my 60-69 males age group at 38:47 chip time, 24 seconds behind the 3rd place guy in my age group.  Guess I should not have stopped to get that last on-course photo, lol. All good though.     

AFTER MY FINISH – Immediately after I finished, instead of continuing to do a cool-down walk around as I usually do, I stupidly stopped cold right off, which, of course, caused my blood pressure to drop somewhat and cause me to get a bit dizzy for a moment or two.  You’d think after 38 years of running that I would know better, lol – and I DO know better – so then got walking again, slowly and carefully, and after a few minutes felt much better. However, just in case, I went over to the medical tent and sat with them for while getting hydrated again and having a nice chat with these two ladies, so thanks to them.  Felt much better and so it was off to get some post-race photos.

Epilogue – This is a really nicely done event put on by Miguel and Matt.  I have not done all of them since it first started – at least, I don’t think so – but I have done quite a few of them over the years. Erik of Dragon’s Den was our MC and did a great job.  Dragon Productions puts on some pretty darn good events over the years too, and they also support a lot of events. Top-notch local race management company iaap did the results and timing. There was also some nice post-race goodies that included barbecue sandwiches, various chips and other sundries and fruits, and post-race Alamo Beer, nice, along with water, Gatorade, and more. Very nice quality race shirt and finisher medals to all participants. I will definitely continue to do this race in the future whenever able and most certainly would recommend it to others.  Also, check out the next upcoming race of the brothers – the Longest Day in June.  This one is like ‘part 2” of raising funds for Alzheimer’s and is also a very nicely done event.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Matt and Miguel for giving us this quality event for a great cause; all the volunteers out there for us; all the sponsors who made this one happen for we participants; the police officers and the two medical ladies who were onsite for our safety; the “official” photographers at the event (I am the unofficial one, lol), our sound and music guy, and anyone else I may inadvertently not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much!            

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2022 Race 15, Missions Run 5K

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BEFORE MY START:   My 15th race of 2022, and second of the April 2 – April 3 weekend, was the San Antonio Roadrunners Missions 5K, held at Mission County Park in San Antonio on April 3. I did this event after doing the Our Lady Of The Lake University 5K on Saturday, April 2. Put on by the San Antonio Roadrunners, this event was held during Fiesta San Antonio, a 10-day celebration which officially started on Thursday, March 31. This event had a half marathon, a 10K, and a 5K. The half marathon participants started at 8 a.m., the 10K folks went at 8:10 a.m. and we 5K folks started at 8:15 a.m. All the courses were out-and-back and went along parts of the San Antonio Riverwalk.  I arrived at race site with about 40 minutes until the 5K start and got a few pre-start photos. 

ON THE COURSE:   All the courses were out-and-back, staring from the Mission County Park pavilion area. We proceeded out of the pavilion area and onto the Mission Reach part of the San Antonio Riverwalk.  I started out running with friend Ralph, but after my watch beeped for my first walk break, he was long gone and I never did catch up to him. Like me, Ralph too did the Confetti 5K the day before – I managed to finish before him for that one – so don’t know where he got all this extra energy, but he did really well.  Meanwhile, just did my own run/walk thing and took photos during my walk breaks.  I ended up 6th out of 10 in my 60-69 males age group, with a chip time of 39:50.  My legs were feeling the day before 5K, so I kind of goofed around a little more on this one and took it easy and  got a few more photos on the course, Since this was out-and-back and the 5K folks were the last to start, we did see some of the speedier 5K and 10K folks coming back toward us at they headed to the finish. Some of the half marathon folks too. My speedy friend Marie, who did the half, actually passed me on my way to the 5K finish and finished her half well before I finished my 5K, lol. Mile 1 for me was 13:04, Mile 2 13:05, and then I did manage to get a negative split for Mile 3 with 12 minutes and change.  Slow, but that’s okay, just happy to still be able to do any running at all while going through this prostate cancer treatment.  I will take what I can get.

AFTER MY FINISH – First, got some water and walked around a bit sipping that and cheering other people coming into the finish. I got a few photos of some others finishing.  After that, I enjoyed wandering around partaking of some of the post-race goodies, which included sausage wraps, beer, and other assorted drinks – I think there were even bloody mary’s if I remember correctly – and there was a ton of various types of snacks, treats, etc.  The after party was a lot like the party of the Confetti 5K. 

Epilogue – Put on by the San Antonio Roadrunners – the oldest running group in San Antonio – this is a very nicely put-on event.  This event has been around a long time – I think our MC Anthony mentioned it was the 44th annual, wow – and is a popular event. Nice that it is held on Sunday too, as it gets less competition than the normal Saturday-held events. As noted, really nice after-party. It is also a dog-friendly event, and also stroller/wheeled chairs friendly, with wide Riverwalk paths, room enough everyone.  The only part of this course that freaked me out a bit, lol, were the wooden bridges we had to cross; lots of motion movement by these bridges as several people crossed them at the same time, coming-and-going.  I have a bit of ‘motion vertigo” so was worried a bit that might kick up on the swaying bridges – and then I’d really freak some participants out, lol – but I was okay by just taking my time and going across carefully and slowly; probably much to the chagrin of the people behind me, lol. Apologies to anyone who was directly behind me on these bridges. Overall, a pretty nicely thought-out 5K course where friends could greet and cheer each other on, coming-and-going Very nice quality race shirt, finisher medals to all, and very nice age-group awards for the age-group placers. .  I definitely would recommend this one to others – even with those  wooden bridges, lol – and I would do this one again.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Everyone who helped make this one happen for we participants: all the sponsors, volunteers, university staff and students who helped out, the y police officers out there for us on the parts of the route that went by the public roads, our MC Anthony Zamora who did his usual great job – his second gig too; he was also the MC at the Confetti 5K – to our sound and music guy, the medical folks that were onsite for us and anyone else I may not have mentioned here.  Kudos to the SARR organizers and volunteers for getting this all put together very nicely for we participants

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2022 Race 14, OLLU Confetti 5K

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BEFORE MY START:  My 14th race of 2022 was the Confetti 5K, held on April 2nd at Our Lady Of The Lake University in San Antonio, with a 9 a.m. start. Weather was pretty nice with sunshine, blue skies, very little wind, and a temp a bit over 60 degrees, with and fairly high humidity. Very nice turn-out for this event, with 494 finishers. If I remember correctly, there were a lot more registered than actually did the race.  This is one of my ‘streak’ races as I have done this one every year since it started.  When it had to go virtual during the heaviest time of the pandemic, I did it virtual, running the actual course. I kept my streak going by doing it this year too. I arrived with about an hour to start time and enjoyed wandering around the grounds, chatting with friends, and getting some pre-start photos. There were lots of vendor booths at this one, and lots of goodies too, including coffee for those who wanted that before the start, and various pastries and other food items. There was even a food truck on site.

ON THE COURSE:  This is a nicely laid-out course that starts us in front of the main building of the university.  The start cannon goes off  with confetti shot into the air and then we participants are moving  over the start timing mat with confetti floating all around us. We followed a campus road that took us to the back of the building, and then past another building, where we made a turn and did a short out-and-back. We proceeded past a road and parking area on our left and then made a right turn which took us down a road that exited the campus via a gate by Commerce Avenue. Right turn here, running on sidewalk for a brief time and then a right turn that took us up a ramp and over a bridge onto the paved trails of the man-made lake by the university; nicely scenic. We followed the lake trails until we came to a street at the far end of the lake.  At this point we went down a small ramp, made a left turn, and crossed a bridge to the other side of the lake. Once back on the lake trails we crossed another bridge, taking us to the side of the lake we had started on. We then proceeded down to another bridge, crossed the lake again, and then followed the trails that eventually took us back to the sidewalk on Commerce Street.  After that, it was back to the finish line the way we had come out, minus doing the short out-and-back part on the way to the finish. The course for the most part is very flat, with just a few small inclines when you cross over the bridges; nothing you can really call a hill. Very well thought-out course, and since the lake area is also a public park, there are even a few porta-potties out there if anyone needed to use them. There were two water stops on the course, which was nice. I did not see anyone fall into the lake, and I managed not to do that myself either, lol, even though I have a history when I am running around water of having fallen into the water on occasion. My running friends at this event who know my history would kind of edge me toward the middle of the trail when they came along, lol.  I ended up with a chip time of 39:04, 8th out of 20 in my 60-69 males age group.

AFTER MY FINISH – First, got some water and walked around a bit sipping that and cheering other people coming into the finish. I got a few photos of some others finishing.  After that, I enjoyed wandering around partaking of some of the post-race goodies, which included sausage wraps, beer, and other assorted drinks – I think there were even bloody mary’s if I remember correctly – and there was a ton of various types of snacks, treats, etc.  The food truck on site was doing a brisk business too.   Lots of fun and photo-taking post-race with friends and other participants.

Epilogue – This is really a very well-done event and one of my favorites of the year, thanks to Race Director Liz and all her many volunteers.  Very nicely laid out course, really nice quality tech tee race shirt, nicely designed finisher medal for everyone, and one really great after-party.  Very beautiful location for the race too with the lake and the architecture of the university buildings. Our Lady Of The Lake is one of the oldest and most historic universities in the city and the campus shows this in a really great and positive way. Also nice, that the university staff opens the main building for participants and supporters, so access to actual restrooms – nice not having to stand in a porta-potty line.   I will certainly continue to keep my streak going for this one as long as I am able, and most assuredly would recommend this one to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  Everyone who helped make this one happen for we participants: all the sponsors, volunteers, university staff and students who helped out, university police officers out there for us, our MC Anthony Zamora who did his usual great job, our sound and music guy, the medical folks that were onsite for us – I think it was people from the Methodist Hospital system – and anyone else I may not have mentioned here. Kudos, Liz, another great year of the event for you!          

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