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.
BEFORE THE START
Pearsall Park is nearby what used to be Kelly Air Force Base (adjacent to Lackland Air Force Base) and is now part of Port San Antonio, which has lots of aircraft maintenance, etc. The park is about 28 miles from where I live near the San Antonio airport. Got my gear on - including my selected 'crazy socks' for this race, to match my shoes and shirt and shorts -
and since race start time was 7 a.m. I then I left the house early but had an 'old-man memory dump" and forgot to put my number on; so it was back to the house - luckily I was only about 15 minutes on the road - got my number and then zipped down to the park. Because the 2-mile folks started 10 minutes after the half marathon folks, even with my brain faux pas I got to the start area with about 20 minutes to go to my start time. Plenty of time to get my timing chip and take some pre-start photos. It was still a bit before sunrise when I started, so a tad dark for the first few photos, even with my flash.
Our MC, the same one who was at the 5K I did on Saturday. He did his usual great job.
Me and my pal, Bernadette, who was also doing the 2-miler.
This guy, with his lovely lady, is wearing the very nice tech-tee tank race shirt that participants got in the goody bag.
My pal, Sally S., who did the full half-marathon
My pals who operate the B.I.S.H. Foundation that puts on the BEST Santa 5K in San Antonio. She, like me, was doing the 2-miler, and he was one of a 2-person team for the half-marathon relay.
Half marathon folks are on their way and the 2-milers are in the starting area waiting to go.
ON THE COURSE
The course was mostly on grass and trails, with a bit of sidewalk at the end. The one word that best describes the route: HILLY! And not small hills either! I usually do 20 minutes or so for a 2-miler, but not for this one, it was VERY hilly; and also nice views in a few places, so I stopped for a few extra photo breaks too, as well as my normal timed walk breaks.
The start of our first hill, after just under a half-mile or so...I ran/walked most of the course with the young lady in this photo.
And up we go....
and up some more...
Wound around some more at the top of this hill, then did a downhill...and then up again to the water station...
...and continued on up from the water station...
At the top of this hill there was a nice view of Lackland/Kelly in the distance...
Then we came down a hill - a very steep x-country hill - and as we came down, saw this hill in front of us...
..with some runners silhouetted on top of that hill
I was thinking 'OMG, do we have to climb THAT next?" Luckily, the young lady with me has better eyes than I do and saw the sign for the 2-milers that instructed us to go right at the bottom of the hill...thank goodness! That other hill was part of the half-marathon route.
The steep hill we came down....
..and the road we turned onto...it was not really steep, but it was loooooong!
From the top of the last hill, looking back the way I'd just come...okay, maybe it was a tad steep...
After that I shifted from Snail Gear into Turtle Gear and got on back to the finish line. We did a bit of small downhill, not bad, then ended up on sidewalk that took us back past where we started, made a turn back onto the grass, and then on into the finish line. The young lady I did most of the course with was slightly behind me but blew by me with her finish line kick and finished ahead of me quite handily, she did great.
AFTER THE FINISH
As I finished, I was thinking "If that is the 2-mile course, then I have the deepest sympathy and respect for the folks doing the half-marathon and the half-relay because they must REALLY be getting swamped with hills!" From what some of them told me later, that was correct, they had hills, hills, and more hills! Race Director Eric obviously has a sadistic streak in him.
After I got some water and cooled down a bit, I got a few photos, first of we 2 milers done and some of the relay folks still waiting to do their part of the half, and then some of the folks who came in after doing the complete half-marathon.
The young lady I did most of the course with and who zipped by me at the finish. One nice finish line touch, we both have small towels which were waiting for us after the finish - which we got to keep- that we could dip in the ice water at the finish area to help cool down. Very thoughtful of the race organization folks!
Race MC was there at the finish the whole time announcing every runner in. After we runners finished we could go sit down and relax; our MC stood out there the whole time till the very last runner came in.
These folks were waiting to get started on their part of the half relay after their team members got done
This is the guy who was the first 2-miler finisher, here with his lovely lady
Retired Air Force and Air Force
This lady did the same 5K on Saturday that I did and then we both came out and did this event on Sunday. She went longer today than me, though, I think she did the half relay.
Met this lovely doggie with a sad story and happy ending; abused, given rat poison (so he has to take kidney medicine now), rescued by a family who now loves him greatly and takes good care of him. Very friendly doggie.
Nice chat with this lady and her husband, who did the complete half marathon. Really nice folks.
How tough was the half marathon and half marathon relay course? This 'relaxing' runner post-race probably says it all.
My happy-finisher half marathon friend, Elaine
As for post-race goodies....
Frozen popsicles....me and Bernadette too both indulged in one of these each. Hit the spot on a warm day!
...and beer from Ranger Creek Craft Brewery, served up by Edgar (hat and glasses), who is an owner of local running store "We Run San Antonio." Oh yeah, I had a couple, and it was gooood!
This was my first time to this fairly recently opened San Antonio city park. In my 31 years of running, one of the toughest courses I have ever done! And I only did the 2-miler! So I have the greatest respect for those folks who did the half/half-relay and must've really gotten blasted with hills! Especially as, even with a 7 a.m. star time, on a very warm day - about 82 degrees at start time with 92% humidity - they were out there way longer than we 2-mile folks. Thankfully, Mother Nature did keep good cloud cover - every little bit helps! - until almost the last sets of half runners were coming in. Yes, very tough course; but you know what? I'd do it again. I randomly asked some of the half folks that too, and more said "yes" than no, that they would do it again do. This was the first time for this event and about 150 or so registered, but I bet next year it will get bigger from word-of-mouth, especially for those runners that really like to challenge themselves. Shoot, now that I know where this park is and what it's like, I might start using it regularly for some really good hill training.
Mucho thanks to Eric of Dragon Tees - http://www.edragontees.com/ - and his folks for getting this one organized; all the volunteers, police officers, sponsors, etc., who were out there for us, Ranger Creek Brewery for the great beer, and the cooks out there who prepared the great turkey legs - and that guy who handed out those popsicles that really hit the spot on a warm day. Very well organized event, challenging course, really great post-race goodies, very nice race shirt. Definitely worth a 'do-over."
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt
Looks like a challenging race. I'm glad you and the others had fun.