Photos are here:
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.