Beginners and Beyond


Race 70 of 2017: Cleftstrong 5K (Read 9 times)


Barking Mad To Run


    I am Scott aka Scottydog aka Scotty Dogg, runner since 1983, cancer survivor – caught very early, so I actually had a fairly easy time of it - , retired Air Force, employee of University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), friend of dogs, fun-runner, and all-around punster and 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.  My only goals for a race these days are finish everything I start, have fun along the way, and finish standing up with no ambulance waiting for me.  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 – unless it’s a mean dog; then the biscuit goes in one direction and I go in another.  Hence my nickname “Scottydog.”

    And a big thanks to for allowing me a “home” for my many many MANY race reports and photos.  Great site, free training log; calendars; running routes; maps; conversation forums for runners; and much more


    Here is yet another of my photo reports.  Full report below.   


    Link to photos only:


    A couple of the photos may not have come out so well; sorry about that.   Plus, at times post-race I forgot to wipe my sweaty lens - duhhhh - so there might be a smudge or two on some of them. And for a few, when I asked someone to take a photo for me, I forgot to tell him/her how to focus the camera, duhhh..   All in all though, I think they came out fairly well.  I am certainly no professional photographer with skills; but at least all the photos are free to save.  J



    My 70th race of 2017 was the Cleft Strong 5K held on October 15 at Mission County Park in San Antonio.  This event benefits American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.  ACPA is an international non-profit medical society of health care professionals who treat and/or perform research on birth defects of the head and face.


    Arrived with about an hour to go to the 9:10 a.m. start time. Kind of a late start for a South Texas race, especially when our “Fall” weather is still in the upper 60s and 70s, and this weekend was pretty darn humid too.   Personally, during our warm season (June through Oct)

    I prefer an earlier start for events – 8 a.m. at the latest – but it is what it is, so you just deal with it.  Had already picked up my race bib, so got my timing chip and then wandered around taking some pre-start photos.   There were both runners and walkers at this event.  I think the walkers outnumbered the runners, maybe around 200 – 300 participants total.


    Before I left home, my oldest cat, Paisley, wished me luck, lol.  She was apparently not thrilled with her photo being taken.


    This guy was out in front of the park pavilion greeting everyone who arrived.  Chatted with him for a bit, very nice guy.


    Race Day volunteers






    The official photographer


    MC  (right) and Music/Sound Man




    With pal Bernadette, who does in a year just about as many races as I do


    Photo Op at the Cleftstrong sign



    iaap folks who did the course setup, timing, results...  and also encountered a few of my Team IAAP friends who were doing or had just finished their Sunday long run...and my friend, Ed, who lives nearby and was out doing a cycle ride.










    With IAAP co-owner and friend, Jose, who is recovering from heart surgery.   Speedy and full recovery my friend!










    Various participants, etc









    Mission Park back up to the Mission Reach part of the San Antonio Riverwalk and that is where our course was.  The morning was warm – mid-70s, and very humid, and not many shady areas along the Riverwalk, but Mother Nature helped us a bit by giving us a lot of cloud cover, so we were not running into direct sun.  Out-and-back course. We lined up at the back of the park, crossed the start mat and then did a little U-turn onto the Riverwalk concrete trail, heading downriver.  Down an incline from the start – not steep, but a long incline that became a long up incline when we came back to finish.  Crossed over a bridge to the other side of the Riverwalk, then up the only real ‘hill’ that was on the course.  From the top of that, headed out to our turn-around point, with some nice views of the river along the way.  Turn-round and back the way we came.  I ended up with a time of 32:31, good enough for 2nd in my 60 – 69 age group.   After I finished,  and got my timing chip removed, I stuck around the finish line and got a few photos of some of the other runners coming in that I had been interacting with along the course.


    Getting ready to start, with the help of the NBA San Antonio Spurs Coyote


    And away we go....first walk break photos...this was a bit past a half mile on the course


    The uphill on the way out...




    At the top of the hill and looking across the river where I'd just been




    At the top of the hill on the side we continued to run on


    Made the turn-around and now heading back toward the finish.   The return trip was a bit more 'challenging' for we slower runners than the speedier people because we began to encounter the walkers at a certain point.  Most of them were really great about moving to their right to allow we runners to continue progress without breaking pace; but a few of them were rude idiots who just would not move over - even though we runners as we ran along kept calling 'move right please! move right!"  At one point, going around a curve on the walk, I just barely avoided knocking down a couple of them who were coming toward me and walking on the side the runners were going back on; good grief.  Well, it all worked out, thank goodness, and I didn't hear about anyone getting injured or knocked down, again thank goodness.


    At one point on the way back, we could see ahead of us the outline of the Tower of the Americas in downtown San Antonio at HemisFair Park.


    Ahead of me....






    Behind me...




    Ahead of me...


    Finish line...







    First person I saw was my pal Bernadette, and noticed that Shave Ice she was holding.  Got her photo and then she showed me where the Shave-Ice truck was; various flavors, free to all participants.  I got a root-beer (since there was no actual beer post-race; and I love root beer too, my soda of choice those times I drink soda), very refreshing after a humid run.  Then wandering around the park pavilion getting photos in-between spoonfuls of shave ice.




    I don't think the little one is impressed with her photo being taken



    The Mad Hatter escaped from the Rabbit Hole to do this race.  


    Tried to make her smile, but no luck...have to wait until she can read Dad's shirt...





    Friend Deb placed in her age group


    Bernadette, as usual, got 1st in her age group.  I was 2nd in mine.


    Hey, doggie look this way..


    Oh, wait....hold the treat up....there we go!



    Another shy doggie


    There, that's better...


    And Wonder Woman  - which is all my lady runner and walker friends, including my wife.  You are ALL Wonder Woman in my book.





    This is a fairly small event but a well-organized one, and one for a very good cause. I was a March of Dimes baby myself, so my heart has a soft spot for races that support causes to help people overcome birth defects and disabilities, and especially if they are children.  Done this race in the past and will do it again in the future.  Lots of nice goodies, lots of vendors giving away freebies, very nice course.  Also a very nice race locale – Missions Park has a lot of amenities: covered pavilions, water fountains, well stocked and multiple restrooms, and so forth and lots of local runners use this park as a ‘base’ where they start and finish their runs, especially those training for long races (half; marathon, etc) because of all this and because you can go a really long ways on the Riverwalk with no traffic around you, etc., and a good place to relax a bit after you finish.  Race organizers who select this as their race venue sure know what they are doing, local runners and walkers for the most part love this place.  Some nicely designed medals for the age-group winners too. Definitely would recommend this one to my fellow runners and walkers out there.


    MUCHO thanks to all the people who did all the hard work to make this one happen for the participants:  all the organizers, sponsors, volunteers, etc; law enforcement people that were out there for us; our MC and sound guy who both did a great job; and anyone else I may have not mentioned – apologies – who was involved.  Without all of you doing what you do, there would be no events for us participants to do, so thank you very much!

    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt


      70 races this year - holy cow! Sounds like a very meaningful event. Awesome job.


        Sounds like a fun race!