Barking Mad To Run
I am Scott aka Scottydog, runner since 1983, cancer survivor, retired Air Force, employee of University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), friend of dogs, fun-runner, and all-around goofball. In 2003 I had spinal arthritis flare up and ever since then I’ve done the run/walk method since it hurts my back too much now to run continuously with no walk breaks. I’m on what I call my “2F Plan” which stands for Fun and Finish. At events that I now do for fun I carry my camera, chase “Great Legs” to help motivate my slow old man self to keep moving forward, and take pictures before, during, and after the race. Sometimes I even get a nice post-race sweaty hug from one of the Great Legs ladies. I then do a pictorial race report of my events. I also carry dog biscuits with me to treat any dogs I may meet at a run, hence my nickname “Scottydog.” Here is yet another of my Race Reports With Photos, and my thanks to all the people I interacted with for their graciousness and good humor in letting me take photos of them.
SHORT VERSION REPORT
My 18th race/event done for 2014. Heal The Soul 5K was put on by the Kendall County Women's Shelter -<cite>www.kcwstexas.org/</cite> - and included a pet adoption event. The event was held at Joshua Springs Park and Preserve near Comfort TX and Waring TX, about an hour's drive for me from San Antonio. This was a 'family fun run' type of event and participants selected from an easy 1.4 loop through the park or, as the course description put it..."or challenge themselves to complete the 5K course that includes a 200 foot vertical incline to the top of a hill." Naturally being a glutton for punishment I chose the 5K course with the hill. I do hill training once a week regularly in San Antonio, but this area is Texas HILL Country and they don't call it that for nothing...this course was HILLY and the last hill that we went up and then came down to finish was a MONSTER hill. A very slow 5K for me, finishing at 37:33.
LONG VERSION REPORT WITH PHOTOS
The adventure first started for me by trying to FIND this place. I used google map directions and the stupid thing gave us the WRONG address for the park and I ended up about 15 miles in the opposite direction of the park. Next time I am looking for race directions in my area I will remember to go to the race company website of my friends at AthleteGuild, their directions to events are always dead-on. Well, I headed back the way I had just come and, luckily, found a local police officer who knew exactly where the park was and gave me the correct directions. I got to the park with about 5 minutes to go before the 9 a.m. start time. Apparently several other folks participating also had the same directional problems as me, so the race was delayed a tad, thankfully, while we checked in. There was a German music group called the Boerne Village Ensemble (Borne is a city about 30 minutes or so from San Antonio, and the 'start' of Texas Hill Country) playing live music before the start, very nice. Then we lined up and off we went - so I got no pre-start photos because of my close arrival to the start time.
On The Course
The weather was quite overcast and we got 'spit' on a little bit once in a while by some passing rain. The main problem was fog...it was very 'misty' in the park and my camera lens kept getting wet. I'd try and wipe it but didn't really do much good. So a few of the photos have that 'TV dream sequence look" lol. We ran on park roads, starting off on fairly flat surface and then some declines and inclines and small hills, doing a loop back to the start/finish area, then took a road to the left of the start line...and the climb was on! First a shorter hill - steep, but shorter than the Monster Hill - and then up, up, up we went! Wow. I ran a bit, stopped to take photos, ran a bit more, took photos...and SLOWLY made my way to the top. With my spinal arthritis, downhills are actually harder for me than uphills and as steep as this hill was going down, I took it pretty easy. One young lady in front of me on the way down fell and skinned herself up pretty good. Some of the walkers were still coming up the hill, so myself and another runner and a couple of the walkers stopped to check on her. The young lady was not seriously hurt, thank goodness and one of the walkers had one of those 'sanitary towlettes" so she could clean herself up a bit. The young lady decided to walk the rest of the way down the hill and another lady said she would keep her company, so I got 'back on the horse" and continued running down the hill - VERY easily. Finally got to more level ground where I could pick it up a bit and did finish running strongly, ending up with one of my slowest 5Ks ever, time-wise, but one of my most interesting, course-wise.
About a half-mile into the course, still on the lower-level park roads
A view of some of the country-side, as seen from the park road
We are now on Part II of the course...the start/finish line behind us (where the cars are in the background)...and going up the first 'small' hill, as we head toward the Monster Hill. I am about halfway up the first small hill at this point.
Top of the 'small hill' ahead of me
A bit of a flat part here...and some of the speedier runners heading back to the finish already.
Two of the many great volunteers out there for us. These guys were at the start-finish point of the Monster Hill. After I took this photo, then it was time to start climbing.
Looking back the way I'd just come...
And up we go......doesn't look that bad, does it? But don't be deceived...every time we went around a curve in the road, we were 'greeted' by another part of the hill waiting for us to climb it.
And up into the mist...
A 'misty view' of some of the hillside country below us
Water ladies volunteers at the top of the hill, thank goodness! I think we all needed that water after that climb. Thank you, ladies, for being out there for us!
And now down....and nice of them to think of me with this sign. SLOW is my only speed, lol.
Looking ahead of me...
Looking back the way I'd just come down...and gone up before that...
After The Race
Post-race goodies included gatorade on ice - I sure downed one after I got done - and various flavor cookies, bananas, orange slices, and donut holes (I admit to having a couple of those).
"Happy Finishers", Supporters, Volunteers, etc. Apologies, because of the moisture on my lens, some of these did turn out with the folks looking like they are in "Witness Protection."
I played "chase" on part of the course with this lady. She finished far ahead of me.
She is still fresh and I am still catching my breath, lol.
I could have used this friendly giant doggie on the course to help pull me up the hill!
Aside from my atrocious camera skills for this one, this was a very nice event. Rather than a race, it felt more like a community gathering of neighbors out there, all very friendly and enjoying each others company. Some of the nicest folks it was ever my pleasure to meet.
As for the park..very nice. I have lived in San Antonio now for nearly 20 years - came here when the Air Force Assigned me here in 1994 and I just never left, ended up retiring here - and I never even knew this park was here. Now that I do know - and have the RIGHT directions - I am going to come explore this park a bit more on my own. There are supposedly some 'fishing holes" in the park somewhere, but I never did see them this trip, so something to discover the next time around. And I can get some "practice" on the hill for the next time for this event.
Good event, challenging route but a good one, good race venue. I would definitely recommend this one to my fellow runners and walkers. Would just wish next time for a bit more clear weather for better hill-country views and for better photos. But until we can control Mother Nature, it is what it is. Either way, I will most assuredly do this one again.
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt
Hills! That looks like a really nice place to train, Scotty, definitely go back
Congrats on besting the tough course.
Nice report Scotty, always good to see the pups in your photos.
Good thing I don't get misty eyed reading your RRs or I wouldn't be able to see what's in your pictures. Your Monster Hill description reminded me of my experience with my first run in hilly CT after moving there from very flat IL.
2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race
Way to tackle that hill, Scotty! Glad you were able to make it to the event on time, and it sounds like a fun one!
PRs: 5K: 25:35 / 10K: 53:03 / 10mi: 1:26:15 / HM: 1:55:02 / FM: 4:50:35
Nice work on that hill and, as always, thanks for all the great pictures. You sure do have a lot of fun events in your neck of the woods.
PRs: 5K (26:35); 10K (53:55); HM (1:58:53); FM (4:20:20)
I have never seen race bananas sitting in a tub of ice. Must be a Texas thing.
Congrats on another great race, Scotty! Your RRs always make the perfect complement to my Monday workday lunch! Thanks for sharing!
But The Smile That I Sent Out Returned With You.
Well, it not a-peeling for everyone...
It does look like a fun event. Hopefully next time there will be more views, but at least the fog would have helped cool you down. Did any of the dogs get adopted?
That's a very, very pretty course. And whew at all those hills. Good thing you've been doing your hill work. Very nice of you to stop and help the girl who fell. Man, I'm always scared that's gonna happen to me. Congratulations on finishing this challenging run. BTW, how's your back doing after this?
"We do not become the people who this world needs simply by turning our backs on anyone we don’t like, trust, or deem healthy enough to be in our presence. " ---- Shasta Nelson
Nice race, Scotty!
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Scotty, are you sure of your spelling? Any possibility the name of the race was actually heel the sole? After all it was a foot race.
Nice report! I'm glad you were able to make it to the race on time and have a good time despite all the hills.
5k - 25:15 (11/18/12)
10mi - 1:33:18 (3/2/14)
HM - 2:06:12 (3/24/13)
3/29 - Reston HM
10/17 - Baltimore HM
Everything you need is already inside. [[Bill Bowerman]]