2022 Race 57, Endeavors Veterans Day 5K/10k/2k

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/UGCdTqm7moEZeRK56

Before The Start: My 57th race of 2022 was the Endeavors Veterans Day 5K, held on Saturday, Nov 12, 2022. There was also a 2K walk and a 10K. This event was held at HemisFair in downtown San Antonio.  The race supports the Endeavors Veteran Wellness Center which provides a variety of services for veterans and their families. It currently serves 105 countries via 11 center locations, including one in San Antonio on De Zavala Road, which is the corporate headquarters. This event had a nice turnout on a cold-and-windy day -by South Texan standards anyway – with 121 finishers for the 5K and 58 finishers for the 10K. Race start time of about 8:30. I am so thankful I picked up my packet earlier in the week, because race day dawned with a temp of 37 degrees – feels like 34 – and the wind was blowing like crazy, making it feel even colder.  I am a cold-weather wimp, lol; when it gets below 50 degrees I layer up. This morning I was wearing 3 layers, a warmer pair of gloves, and a cold-weather cap, which is saying a lot for what the weather felt like for me because I absolutely hate wearing hats. I arrived with about 45 minutes before start time and got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course: The 5K started on Alamo Street in front of the entrance to HemisFair.  After going down Alamo Street for a bit, then turned onto South St. Mary’s Street.    A right on Eagleland Drive took us onto a bridge that got us on the San Antonio Riverwalk heading in the direction of the Blue Star Arts complex. We stayed on the Riverwalk, going past King William District; behind the H-E-B headquarters area (what used to be the old San Antonio Arsenal) and then up from the Riverwalk to Nueva Street and began heading for the finish. A turn onto Presa Street and then turn onto a shorter street that took us back to Alamo Street for the final turn that took us to the finish.  Nicely laid-out course with some nice views along the Riverwalk.  I ended up finishing the dreaded 4th in my 60-69 males group, chip time 42:21, averaging 13:38 per mile.  Mile 3 was a negative split for me as I did that mile almost nonstop all the way, something I have not done in a while. Yay for the end of my prostate cancer treatment, which I finished on the Wednesday before this race. 

After My Finish: Got some water, did a short cool-down walk and got some photos around the start/finish area. We gathered in the HemisFair area for the awards being given out and also heard a pretty motivating talk from retired Major General Al Flowers (over 46 years of service) and another motivating chat from an officer who was injured in an IED incident and went through one of the Endeavors program; he was quite inspiring, surviving what he went through. Enjoyed the awards ceremony, as many of my friends placed, and continued to get a few more photos post-race. Lots of military-associated people at this event and we all had a story. It was interesting to hear some of the personal military-life experiences of the participants with whom I chatted – wow, just wow – and it was nice being with a group of people who know exactly where you were coming from and can relate to what you experienced.

Epilogue:  Very nice event – aside from the weather, but I don’t think we can bribe Mother Nature, lol, she’s definitely into doing her own thing – with great participants. Very nicely laid out course; really nice quality race shirt; nicely designed finisher medals to all finishers; and lots of post-race goodies available – some for purchase – as the Veterans Day Parade was happening later in the day so there were several nearby food-and-drink booths. I am definitely going to put this one on my race calendar as “Keeper” and do it again.  I most certainly would recommend it to others.  The people I personally met who were affiliated with the Endeavors Wellness Center were all great, and you could tell they really cared a lot about what they do, helping veterans and their families. Mucho thanks to all involved who made this one happen for we participants: Lisa Soler and her crew from Soler Sports; iaap for course setup, timing, and results; all the many police officers along the route for our safety; all the event sponsors: Loyal Source; Visionlink.org; Target Hospitality; Sendero; Securitas; USAdvisors; Victory Supply; and any others involved I may not have mentioned.  Thank you all!

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2022 Race 56, Trails Fur Tails 5K

Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ShsPeHL51Q6uiToZ6

Before The Start:   My 56th race of 2022 was Trails Fur Tails 5K, held on Sunday, November 6. This was my 2nd race of the weekend after doing the Battle of Leon Creek 5K the day before. Trails Fur Tails was held at McAllister Park, starting at 9 a.m.  With the time change for the year, I got nice little sleep-in on Sunday morning, as the McAllister Park race location is only a 15-minute drive from where I live. This event supports Alamo Area Partners for Animal Welfare (AAPAW), which supports funding for animal rescue groups and veterinary costs in the San Antonio area. This was a fairly smaller event with 54 finishers.  I arrived a bit past 8 a.m., got my race packet, and then got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course:  Start and finish line was near the youth baseball field, just up from the lower soccer field in the park. The course was on a paved park road and off-road paved park trails. Our route took us from the baseball field onto the park road and then onto an off-road trail that took us past the Police Substation near the park. After passing by the substation, the trail continued on a trail that took us near Becken Pavilion in the Park.  We turned right onto another trail  – with Becken Pavilion behind us – which took us back to the park road. Back at the road, we then proceeded to the finish via the same way we had come out from the start. I ended up with a chip time of 44:22; 25th overall, 3rd in my 60 – 99 males age group, and 11th male overall.  I felt pretty good overall, but my legs for this 5K were feeling that Scallywompus race the day before, lol.  I still placed, as there were only 3 in my age group, and the awards went 3-deep for each age group; nice for a smaller event.  

After My Finish:  I got a few photos after my finish of some of the happy finishers – a couple of them a bit blurry with my great camera skill, so apologies to those folks – and enjoyed some post-race treats – NOT dog biscuits by the way, lol; although AAPAW did have several types of dog treats available and some of them actually did look like they’d be pretty tasty.

Epilogue:  Although a smaller event, this one is nicely done. Very well organized; nicely laid out course; nice quality race shirt; some nice post-race treats – including lots of coffee, which my coffee fanatic friend Woody would have loved –  and a nicely designed age-group medal for the award winners. Also, of course, a dog-friendly event. I would definitely do this one again and would recommend it to others. It is really a great cause too, so I hope this one grows more in the future.  Nice, also, that is done on Sunday, so not competing with the other umpteen races that were held the day before this one.  Y’all come on out next year and do this one!  Mucho Gusto thanks to  AAPAW and all the people that made this one happen for we participants; Race Director; all the volunteers and race sponsors; park police out there for our safety; Athlete Guild  race management company for the course setup, timing, results; and personally from me, all the dogs out there, I love meeting the dogs, lol.  Personal thanks to a lady I met on the course who ran with me a bit; she is originally from England and I lived in England for 4 years, so we had a nice chat.  Also thanks to my friend Albert for running with me – until Mile 2 when he left me in the dust, lol; and to my friend Eli – 2nd overall  finisher –  who came back onto the course to pace me in.  My apologies if I missed any others involved; thanks to all of you!

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2022 Race 55, Battle of Leon Creek 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/Tk6qBLZce2Nsm3VR8

Before The Start:  my 55th race of 2022 was the Battle of Leon Creek 5K held on Nov 5 starting and finishing at Hill Country Place apartments just off of UTSA Boulevard.  This event was the 4th event in the Hill Country series of races leading up to the San Antonio Rock n Roll events.  Put on by Scallywompus, a top-notch company that provides series of races over the year, this event had 4 races: 20 miler; 10 miler; 10K; and 5K.  I did the 5K, which was the last one to start, at 8:45 a.m. I arrived with just under an hour until the 5K start and got to see the 10K folks get started.  The 20-miler and 10-miler participants had a way earlier start and were already out on the course.  Found some parking and then got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course:  All event started in the apartment complex area, then went onto the nearby greenway trail.  The trailhead and apartments are about a half-mile down from the upper parking lot of the UTSA Campus and also from Valero Energy Corporation headquarters on Valero Way. Scallywompus events are popular so usually get a very nice turnout.  For the 5K alone there were 281 finishers, per the results list of iaap, who did the course setup, timing and results.  All the courses were out-and-back.  The 5K started right on time.  The course was mainly flat, with a few inclines along the way; nothing major that you could really call a hill. I felt pretty good for this one as I did my usual run/walk thing, taking photos during my walk break. After making the 5K turn-round, I still felt pretty strong, so for the last mile, I ignored my walk break and went all the way to the finish. I ended up 2nd in my 65 – 69  5K age group – there were only 4 in that age group, lol –  with a chip time of 38:59.  This is nice progress, as, since I started my cancer treatment back in Sep 2021, my times really got longer – darn cancer can wear you out at times, for sure – with me finishing in the 42 – 44 minutes range.  Makes me feel like I am finally starting to get back to my former runner self. One more treatment to go – my last treatment is Nov 9 and then I am DONE.  Yay.

After My Finish: Got a few photos of other folks finishing, then went to get some water and some food.  The motto of Scallywompus is “Come for the race. Stay for the party.”  They are not kidding either.  All kinds of stuff at Scallywompus events, including sausage-on-a-stick, Alamo Beer , of which I enjoyed one, margaritas, bloody mary’s, Force Water (good electrolytes water to help you rehydrate; had a couple of those too) and lots more.  There was also a post-race raffle – I did not win a thing, darn the luck – and all kinds of vendors/sponsors giving away freebie things like hats, pens, buttons, and lots more. I just kicked back, enjoying it all while I wandered around chatting with friends and other participants – and making new friends – and getting some post-race photos.

Epilogue:  Bart (co-owner of Scallywompus) and Tony Garcia (Race Director) really throw a great event with some, ummm,   at times, “challenging courses”, lol, but they are all well-thought out and the participation for these is great.  No matter which distance you choose, because the majority of these events are all out-and-back, you get to see participants and friends from all the events ‘in passing”, as participants come and go.  The encouragement participants provide to each other as we all go along is great. And then when you finish, you have that great party waiting for you, sweet. Definitely will continue to do these events and certainly would recommend them to others.  Mucho thanks to all the people who made this one happen for we participants; all the sponsors and vendors;, the many many volunteers; the apartment management for allowing us use of the venue; the patience of the residents living in the apartment complex; UTSA for allowing us use of one of its parking areas; my friend Anthony for doing his usual entertaining and great job as our MC; and my friends Bart and Tony who are the primary ones getting these events all together. If I missed anyone, my apologies, thanks to all who were involved!

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2022 Race 54 Monster Dash 5K

Photos are here:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/mDCMho83RKyDW9Up9

Before The Start:    My 54th race of 2022 was the Now You See Me Foundation Monster Dash 5K Run, Walk or Wheelchair.  This was my second event of this weekend after doing the Harp & Shamrock 5K the day before. Events for the Monster Dash included a 10K and a 1-mile event.  held on Sunday, October 30 at Eisenhower Park in San Antonio, this event raises funds for critically injured athletes and spinal cord research. I chose this one to as I can somewhat relate to being disabled. I was born a March of Dimes baby with dislocated hips wearing braces on my legs for a short time and then a pair of shoes held together with a bar in-between them. I lived a pretty normal life – even did 24 years in the Air Force – but can never sit or stand perfectly straight due to a curvature in my spine from all this.  When I was in my 50s, my spinal arthritis flared up – arthritis and spinal disc disease at 6 levels in my back – so per my doc’s recommendation, I began to use the run/walk method, which has worked very well for me. Of course, I have nowhere near the damage a critically injured athlete has, but I can empathize maybe a tad with what they may deal with. Also, I am a cancer survivor twice over, colon area and currently prostate cancer.  So when I choose my races to do, ones that support funding for cancers and disabilities are high on my priority list.  This event had a late morning start time of 9:30 a.m., so got to sleep in a bit. Weather was perfect.  Sunny skies, but not hot at at all, with a nice temp in the 50s, very low humidity, and no wind. I arrived with about an hour to go to start time and got a few pre-race photos.

On The Course:  The course started and finished at a small compound at the park that included a pavilion, several other structures, and some supply sheds and so forth. After we exited the compound, we proceeded on asphalt trails near the parking lot area and then onto the nearby concrete Greenway trails.  All courses were out-and-back and, no matter what distance you were doing, all participants started together. The paved trails inside the park were fairly flat. Once we hit the greenway trails, the hills began.  These were no baby hills either; we climbed and climbed for most of the way, both uphill and downhill.  My friend Jose from iaap was the one who laid out this course. As I went along, I kept thinking “After I finish, I don’t know if I should kiss Jose for giving me a really good workout; or kick him in the butt for all these darn hills!” lol. And I only did the 5K; my friends who did the 10K had even more hills, as they went out almost to The Rim area nearby before their turn-round. Well, I was out here now so just had to get it done. I plodded along at my two paces of slow and slower and took some photos during my walk breaks. As I was heading back to the finish, the speedier 10K folks started passing me, good grief; their 10K time is better than my 5K time, lol.  I finally did finish, chip time 42:25, 4th out of 6 In my 5K 60-69 males age group, averaging 13:39 per mile. I ran most of mile 3 nonstop, so had a negative split for that one, nice.  My walking friend, Patrick, was 4th in our age group.  He walks almost as fast as I run, lol.

After My Finish: Lots going on post-race. There was a costume contest for the female kids and then the male kids; and a costume contest for the women and the men. There was also a raffle  – I won Nada, but my friend Carolyn got a prize – and all kinds of post-race goodies including water, breakfast tacos, lots of types of fruits, and more.  Lots of places to relax post-race after that hilly route; the pavilion had a whole lot of seating. I got some water and  banana, relaxed and rehydrated and sat for a while, just chatting with other participants. After that, I was out-an-about getting what I call “Happy Finisher Photos” since more people seem to be smiling after they are done than before and during, lol. 

Epilogue:  Total of 168 finisher for the 5K and 71 for the 10K, per iaap results. This one is a keeper, and it is nice that it’s done on Sunday morning, giving it just about no other race competition for the day, as most of the local races are done on Saturdays – this weekend there were TWELVE total races in the local area on Saturday, good grief. This event is very well organized and very well done, with nice facilities; a course that is wide enough to accommodate all; very good quality tech tee race shirt; finisher medal to all finishers; and the goody bag was nice too, with coupons for free stuff from sponsor Chik-Fil-A, and other various sundries. Challenging course, but it really was a good one, well thought out for what iaap had to work with, as Eisenhower Park is not one of the largest parks in San Antonio. DJ playing music for us, and our MC, Jason – a friend of mine – was his usual crazy and entertaining self, doing a great job for us.  I would definitely do this one again – hills and all, lol – and would recommend it to others.  Much thanks to Now You See Me Foundation for giving us this event; and thanks to all the sponsors, vendors, park police out there for our safety, the many volunteers doing things for us (packet pickups, water stop, etc); iaap for the course setup, timing, and results; and anyone  else involved I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all so much!

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2022 Race 53, Harp & Shamrock 5K

Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/hCEPtcPeSvZgK6wa9

Before The Start:   My 53rd race of 2022 was the Harp and Shamrock 5K, which had originally been scheduled in March 2021, but the Pandemic pushed it back a couple of time and those of us who kept our original registration finally got do to this event on October 29, 2022.  Event was held at Southside Lions Park East. RunSignUp showed 114 participants registered. Results for actual race day showed 58 total participants finishing.  With a start time of 8:30 a.m. I got to sleep in a tad more and arrived at the race site around 7:30 a.m. on a brisk morning.  Temperature was in the mid-50s. I picked up my race packet, got myself ‘arranged’ and then got a few pre-start photos. Lots of people there that I personally knew, so this event was like a really nice ‘get-together’ of family members and friends, something nice about doing these less-populated races at times.

On The Course: For those familiar with this park, for this one we did not start and finish at the main pavilion.  We started and finished at the pavilion closer to the park’s playground and indoor-restroom building. We went along the park’s paved trail for a bit, then crossed a park road, proceeded across a bridge in the park, and then headed for our turn-round point, which was on a trail that would have eventually taken us to Comanche County Park if we had stayed on that trail.  We came back the way we had come out from the start, with the exception that this time when we went back onto the trail that circles the park’s nice man-made lake, we made a left turn and went on a trail that gave us a nice view of the park lake – which I stupidly did not take photos of, duhh…I think mainly because I could ‘smell finish line” now and just kept going  until I was done..  I passed by the park’s main pavilion on our right and then after a slight curve in the trail, there was the finish line ahead.  My friend Terri came out to run in with me a bit and then went back again to run in another friend, so nice of her.  After she left, my very speedy friend Sammy – who had finished way ahead of me, lol –  ran in with me, veering of just right before I crossed the finish line. I ended up 6th out of 7 in my 60 – 69 males age group, chip time 40:12, and I had negative splits too, nice.

After My Finish:  Got a banana post-race, did a short cool-down walk as I ate that and drank some water, and then I enjoyed a post-race Guinness; I don’t know which ‘flavor’ it was, but dang that thing was really good; going to have to get some of that. Of course, as I usually do, I also wandered around chatting with other participants and friends and getting some post-race photos. This was a smaller event, but a very enjoyable and fun one. 

Epilogue: Very nicely done, and I much like this course a lot better than the one usually used, that brings us back exactly the way we had come out.  With this course, you get to see a bit more of the park and also have a nice lake view. Very nice quality race shirt for participants, and a small, nicely designed finisher medal to all finishers.  There was also a post-race raffle – I didn’t win a thing, darn the luck – and some nice post-race goodies too.  Some of the volunteers were also in various costumes too. Very nice weather for this one too – a bit brisk before we started, but once we got going, very nice, cooler with less humidity.  One of my favorite events, from the time when this event used to be done in Brackenridge Park and always had a huge turnout.  Hope this one grows again for next year, it really is an enjoyable one. Mucho thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers, organizers, park police out there for us, Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas that puts this one on, and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here  Thank you all, so very much!   

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2022 Race 52, Dia de los Muertos 5K

Photos are here:


Before The Start:  My 52nd race of 2022 was the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) 5K held on October 22, 2022 at 5 pm. in McAllister Park, San Antonio.  This was my 2nd event of the day after doing a 5K in the morning. This is a very popular annual 5K put on by top-notch race management company iaap. This year the event had 333 finishers, which is half of 666…spooky, huh?  The weather was cool for my morning 5K, but by 5 pm our Texas warmth had come back with a temp in the 80s, humidity climbing, and plenty of sunshine.  I arrived with about an hour to go to start time and enjoyed chatting with friends and other participants and getting a few pre-start photos.  Lots of participants and supporters dress up in all kinds of really imaginative Day of the Dead themed costumes.  There was also a Kids Race.

On The Course: iaap is really good about laying out courses that often help the runners and walkers.  This course was laid out so along the route we had abundant shade as we went along. Mcallister Park is full of shade trees that go alongside the majority of the trails there, making for some very nice running and walking. We could still feel that warmth but from what I saw, I think most of the participants were fairly comfortable as they went along. I did my usual 8 minutes run/2 minutes walk intervals, taking photos during my walk intervals. After we came off the trails, we then had to do an out-and-back portion on one of the park roads and then headed for the finish.   I jokingly told iaap that the final out-and-back was a bit annoying, lol, as when you get to the end of the trail, mentally you just want to turn left and go to the finish, but you have to do that out-and-back first, darn the luck.  Even so, the course is very nicely laid out by iaap to accommodate all the runners and walkers, trying to make us feel as comfortable as possible and give us maneuvering room. Iaap did very well with this. I ended up with a finish time of 44:25 chip time, averaging 14:18 per mile – I was trying to take this one a bit easy, after pushing myself a bit at my morning 5K – and, surprisingly, I did end up with negative splits doing Mile 3 in 12 minutes, jeez; guess I was ready to be done, lol.  

After My Finish:  Fun times.  This is a really nice after-party event, with grilled Kiolbassa sausages, Alamo Beer, ample water, and various other goodies.  I enjoyed some of the goodies as I went around post-race getting photos I call “Happy Finisher Photos” as more people seem to be smiling after they are done than before-and-during, lol.  Stayed until just about everyone else had left, that is how much fun this event can be.  I’ve done this one often in the past and will continue to do it in the future – and especially now, as my cancer treatment is almost done and I am feeling stronger and better a little bit more every day, thank the Lord and my great oncology doctor and staff members taking care of me.

Epilogue:   One really fun and very imaginative event put on excellently by iaap. DJ music and sound from friend Paul;  a really fun MC, my friend Anthony, who keeps everyone entertained; one of the best-ever MCs I have ever encountered, and the is quite the runner too in his own right, very speedy and talented; really nice quality and unique race shirt and the finisher medal for all finishers is quite unique too; very nice course at a great venue; nice post-race goodies; and very entertaining participants too.  I definitely recommend this one to others. Much thanks to iaap;, our MC Anthony and DJ Paul; the park police officers out there for our safety; all the sponsors that made this on possible for we participants; and on a personal note: thanks so much to my iaap friend and co-owner of iaap, Cecilia, who put on the race bib the name of my very best running friend, Bernadette, who passed away of cancer on Dec 5, 2021. When I picked up my packet, pulled out the bib and saw that….I admit the tears flowed for a while, bringing back so many memories of the race times we had together.  Every race I do, sometimes I still find myself looking around for her.  I took an old race photo of her and me together and had some buttons made up with that photo on the buttons. I took some to the race to let other people have one if they wanted it; and every button was taken, that is how popular and so well-known Bernadette was in our running community.  I was so touched about how her fellow runners responded…I admit the tears flowed again before I went home.  I miss her every day, at every race I do,  and carry her with me on the button…and sometimes I think I can almost ‘feel’ her with me as I run. Thank you, Cecilia, for the bib, and thank you, my running community members and supporters for your respect, love and friendship for my late friend.  

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2022 Race 51 Young Marines DDS Dash 5K

Photos are here:


Before The Start: My 51st race of 2022 was the Closing the Gate on Drugs Young Marines 5K held on Oct 22 at Rodriguez Park in San Antonio.  I was scheduled to do the Mission 4 Hope 5K at Eisenhower Park but, since I did not pay attention, didn’t realize it was a 9 a.m. start; for some reason I thought it was a 7:30 start.  Well, shoot, I did not want a race start time of that late – especially as I was signed up for a 2nd race in the evening – so figured, well, guess I won’t be doing a 5K this morning, but then found this one on line.  I don’t live too far from Rodriguez Park – about a 20-minute or so drive – so got some cash for Race Day Registration and then zipped on down to the race location.  Nice bonus is that my friends Ed and his son Peter were the ones putting on this 5K.  After I arrived, I encountered my friend Ralph, who also did this one.  Got my bib and then got a few photos before the start.

On The Course:   Pretty small event, with maybe 25 or so participants.  I jokingly told everyone they did not have to worry about last since I was there, and I turned out to pretty much be correct, lol.   Ralph and I started together behind everyone else, but he was pretty soon way ahead of me.  Also, it probably did not help that I stopped to give treats to a couple of dogs that were out walking their humans. For the most part, I had the whole trail all to myself, so I just kicked back and enjoyed it.  The trails at Rodriguez Park – which is located just off the Enrique Barerra Memorial Highway aka Old Highway 90 – are really nicely done ‘greenway’ trails like most of the parks now in San Antonio.  The course was very wide and pretty flat, with one not-too-bad downhill.  River (or creek) to our left as we went along. Lots of shade in this park with all the treelines.  The loop we did on this trail brought us back to the parking lot. We went past the start/finish line, then did an out-and-back in another part of the park near some soccer fields. We then went back the way we had come – passing the start/finish area – and then went on another trail – this one off-road, unpaved, but really nice to run on.  After we exited this trail, we then proceeded to the finish line.  This park is fairly small – and isolated from other parks – so for what Ed had to work with to make this course a 5K, he did a very good job at it.  I ended up finishing in 36:30 – woohoo, haven’t seen that time in quite a while since  before I started my prostate cancer treatment – and felt pretty good the whole way. Someone told me it was a tad short; maybe, but not for me, lol.  I had 3.12 – probably because I often run BACK on the course in the direction I’d just come to treat a dog or get another photo – I did that twice on this course – so I usually end up with 3.1 or slightly longer even if the actual course is a bit short.  Anyway, whatever it was, nicely thought out; I liked it. We also had a couple of out-and-back, so I did get to interact with people on the course, even at my slow pace, lol.

 After My Finish:  For a smaller event they sure did this one up nicely.  Post-race sausage wraps and beer, water, and the Young Marines were even handing out various types of candy – lollipops, candy bars, etc – to those that wanted them…Trick or Treat! There was even a music group before and after, providing us some entertainment, nice.   Epilogue:  Ed told me he literally put this one together in about 2 weeks, awesome! Of course, didn’t make for much time to get a lot of people registered. Even so, very nicely done event with a nice goody bag, very good quality race shirt, and reasonably priced too.  Really nice race

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2022 Race 50, City Manager 5K, Oct 15

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Before The Start: My 50th race of 2022 was the City Manager’s 5K held on Oct 15, starting and finishing at the San Antonio Zoo. Very early start of 7:15 a.m., as we had to be off the Zoo Grounds by 9 a.m., so the Zoo could open for its regular weekend business hours.  I picked up my race packet a couple of days prior to race date so get to sleep in a bit extra. I arrived at the Zoo around 6:45 a.m.  My wife arrived shortly after, as she had signed up for the 5K walk. It’s very rare when she is with me at an event, so made for a nice outing.  I took a few pre-race photos but as it was still dark, my old-time Canon push-button photography camera was a bit ‘iffy’ as it does not like the dark – me either, lol – so quality not always good for some of them. Even so, enjoyed being there.  It was quite the turnout, as the course included starting in the Zoo and running a bit on the Zoo Grounds. This was a big turn-out.  I don’t know how many actually registered for the event and did not show up, but for this one iaap, the company that did the course setup, timing, results, showed 1,257 finishers for this event.

On The Course:   We started in the Zoo, pretty much in the same area where the Zoo Relay event is done. After the starting horn went off, we did a short route through part of the Zoo grounds, then exited a back gate to begin a loop through Brackenridge Park.  This look took us over the old Iron Bridge near the baseball fields, then across the Zoo’s train railroad tracks. On this road, we did an out-and-back, then re-crossed the railroad tracks and made a left turn, heading toward the water-crossing area across from the Zoo Entrance. We turned left near the water crossing and did an out-and-back on this road. Once we got back to the water-crossing area we turned right, went back to the railroad tracks intersection and then turned left.  This took us past a pavilion and restrooms on our right as we went back to the Iron Bridge, and then proceeded onto the cobblestones path that took us just down from the Zoo’s Main entrance. We turned right, went past the Zoo entrance and then entered a gate that was just down the road from the Animal Shelter.  Back onto Zoo grounds, we went to the finish line, passing by the Zoo’s main entrance and then back into the Africa Live section before getting to the finish. Nicely thought out course, with lots of room for everyone.  I never felt ‘crowded’ the whole time I was on this course.  I was shooting for a 39-minute finish, but ended up with 41 minutes because just before the finish, this leopard was walking around in its cage, so I stopped to get a photo of it as it walked past the viewing plexiglass window.  Very cool; it was worth the extra 2 minutes.  I ended up 24th out of 51 in my age group, with a chip time of 41:14, averaging 13:15 per mile, with a negative split for Mile 3, nice. I felt good the whole way; my third event in a row now that I have run pretty strong, making me feel almost like I am getting back to pre-cancer old running self, and that I truly am winning my battle right now against my prostate cancer.

 After My Finish:   The Zoo folks threw us a very nice after-party in a really nice area near the flamingo pool, and there were also a few monkeys on exhibit there. Lots of happy finishers. I enjoyed chatting with friends and other participants and also had the rare pleasure of relaxing post-race with my wife who walked her 5K in under an hour – 49:31 chip time, so she was not far behind me. She is an active walker and walks about as fast as I run, lol.  This was a very enjoyable event, which has grown quite a bit.  I remember doing the City Manager 5K way back when, and it did not have nearly this turn out.  We also started and finished near SAWS headquarters, and that route took us up Gorrilla Hill, lol. It sure has grown since then!

Epilogue:   For as many participants as there were, this was really organized nicely and done well overall.  The route is really nicely laid out and, since there are 2 course out-and-backs, gives you a nice chance to cheer on friends and family as you pass each other by, coming and going. Course volunteers were really great, appreciate them being out there. Nicely designed race shirt, very nice post-race relaxing area and, surprisingly, lots of parking available.  I had no problem getting parked pretty quickly when I first arrived. I would definitely do this one again and recommend it to others.  Much thanks to all those involved that made this one happen for we participants: iaap, the Zoo staff, the many many volunteers involved for us through the whole process from stuffing the packet pickup bags to being there for race day and more; all the police officers out there for our safety, the bike pacers for the speedy leaders; and, of course all the many sponsors supporting this event. I was hoping maybe I’d run in the Zoo’s Director to say hello, since he is a UTSA alum and I work for UTSA; he may have been there, but I never saw him; but thanks, Tim Morrow, for allowing us use of the Zoo for this.  If I missed anyone, my apologies; thanks to all involved!

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2022 Race 49 CleftStrong 5K

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Before The Start:   My 49th race of 2022 was the CleftStrong 5K held on October 8 at McAllister Park in San Antonio.  There was also a Kid’s Run.  This event, per their website, is the primary fundraiser for CleftStrong, which works to promote understanding of craniofacial conditions; and create events that foster hope, motivation, for those in the community, and to raise research funds. There was an opening ceremony, the National Anthem, then the Kid’s Race, and then the 5K started at 9 a.m.  I live very close to McAllister Park so slept in a bit, and then arrived on-site at 8 a.m and got a few pre-start photos.

On The Course:  There was something like 9 other races around the local area, so lots of competition to get participants to sign up for each of these.  This event ended up with 131 finishers. Large enough to be a lot of fun and small enough so there was lots of room for everyone on the course, very nice. Our start and finish was in front of the lower soccer fields at McAllister Park, the 2nd largest park in the San Antonio area. We headed past the youth baseball field, then onto a paved park road that took us just down from Becken Pavilion.  Before we got to Becken Pavilion, we made a left turn onto one of the park’s off-road paved trails,, then a left turn onto another trail just down from Becken Pavilion. This trail took us to our turn-round point, where we rounded the turn-round cones and went back to the finish the way we had come out. I ended up 2nd of 4 in my 60-69 males age group, 40:45 chip time.

 After My Finish:  Got a couple photos of others coming in, then went in search of water and post-race goodies. I did enjoy a very good paletta (popsicle) after the 5K.  There was also a food truck on-site, and lots of vendors/sponsors had some table treats.  After a brief rest of munching and hydrating, I then went around chatting with other participants and getting some more post-race photos.  

Epilogue:   This is really a very nicely organized event, with iaap doing their usual great job of course set-up, timing and results.  Really nice quality race tee; I ordered a Youth Small and when I went to packet pickup, they said “Umm, I don’t think that’s going to fit you.” No, it won’t, lol. I told them I wanted them to give it to one of their kids they are helping, so they said they would do that.  Very nice course with lots of shade – although it was a pleasant 60-something degrees for this event, so very nice weather. Food truck onsite, nice, paletta (popsicle) lady on site too and, as noted, lots of vendors giving away some treats. Dog friendly event, stroller friendly, kid friendly. Very nicely designed race bibs and finisher medals, and nice trophies for the overall winners. I’ve done this one in the past, will definitely do this again, and certainly would recommend it to others.  Much thanks to iaap; all the sponsors/vendors; the park police officers out there for our safety, all the race volunteers that helped make this one happen; our sound-and-music folks there; and, of course, to the CleftStrong 5K people that get this one organized each year for we participants for such a great cause. Apologies if I missed anyone.  Thanks to you all!

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2022 Race 48, Purple Run 5K

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Before The Start:    My 48th 5K of 2022 was the Purple Run held on October 1 at Our Lady Of The Lake University.  This event supports The Battered Women and Children’ Shelter in partnership with the Kristine Meza Foundation, named for a young lady who sadly was killed by her ex-boyfriend at only 25 years old.  The Foundation’s mission is to raise public awareness about domestic violence. Race start time was 8:30 a.m., but opening ceremonies started at 7:30 am., with remarks from Foundation members – Kristine’s family, who started the foundation – and the San Antonio Police Chief, Bexar County Sheriff, and the Bexar County District attorney.  I arrived a little before 8 a.m. and got a few pre-start photos.  

On The Course:  Someone told me there were something like 400 registered for this event. If so, several missed out on a really nice 5K, as there were a total of 216 finishers.   We started in front of Our Lady Of the Lake University (OLLU), did a short route through part of the campus grounds, and then exited via one of the campus gates for a short stint on part of a sidewalk on Commerce Street.  Very short, as almost immediately we cut across a grassy field and then accessed the concrete trails of Lake Elmendorf Park.  We went to the end of this trail, crossed over a bridge and then returned toward the finish on the trail of the other side of the lake.  We crossed another bridge, returning to where we had first accessed the lake trail, and then returned to the finish the way we had initially come out.  I ended up 4th in my age group (60 – 69 males) with a chip time of 39:39. I was 38 seconds behind the guy in my age group who finished 3rd in 39:01.  I guess I shouldn’t have stopped during the last ½ mile to give  dog  treat, lol. All good though; I was very happy with my time.  I had a negative split for the last mile and also have not seen a finish time under 40 minutes in quite a while, since I began my treatment for prostate cancer back in 2021 (one more treatment in November and I am done, yay!), so this really affirmed to me I slowly but surely am beating this darn disease and getting better.  I did get  few photos of some others coming in after me, and then went searching for some post-race goodies.

 After My Finish:  First thing, get some rehydration and a bit of protein in me. After that, wandered around chatting with friends, supporters, other finishers, and getting some post-run photos.  Lots of post-run smiles, awards ceremony for the top 3 in each age group and for the overall finishers, and I also indulged in a popsicle a vendor had there, that was really good.

Epilogue:   This is really a very nicely organized event, with timing and course setup done by Athlete Guild, one of the area’s top race management companies, and they put on over the year quite a few pretty darn good Athlete Guild events too.  Music and sound provided by The Beat, 98.5, and there were just a whole bunch of vendors and sponsors there with all kinds of foods and goodies, including a food truck on site. Very nice quality race shirt. OLLU kindly gave us access to the main building, so we had actual restrooms instead of porta-potties, which was nice. I’ve done this event before; I certainly will do it again; and I would recommend it to others.  Very nicely done, all for a really good cause.

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