Beginners and Beyond


Report and Photos: Hocus Pocus 5K (Read 11 times)


Barking Mad To Run


    I am Scott aka Scottydog aka Scotty Dogg, 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.


    This was my 53rd race of the current year.  It supported the San Antonio Animal Defense League, a no-kill shelter that is located right near where my wife and I live - and where we got our cat Lulu at 5 months old and she was with us every day of her life until she finally went to the Rainbow Bridge at age 15 this month; so I have a very soft spot for the ADL, as they gave me one of my best and loyal friends ever,  and was glad to support this event.  Held on October 31, 2015 by very good local race company Carrera Races and hosted by the primary sponsor Valero Energy, a Fortune 500 company based in San Antonio that is the largest independent refiner in the US.  After some crazy weather on Friday and a postponement due to flooding of a race I was to do Friday evening, the weather cleared up very nicely for my Saturday morning event; clear skies, nice breeze, temp in the low 60s at the 9:20 a.m. start time.  About 500 people registered for this event, although I'm not sure if all of them showed up; but there was a pretty large crowd there, with lots of participants in various costumes.  Dogs were welcome too and several of them were also in costume.  Right before the 5K there was a kid's 1K at 9 a.m; and this is where I screwed up, because at my slow pace, I like to take an energy gel about  30 minutes before a 5K, as it gives me a nice shot of 'energy" for the back half of the 5K.  I did not read the entire race description message, just saw the flyer that said 9 a.m. start; now if I'd read further, I would have seen that was the kid's start, and the 5K actually started at 9:20....duhh.  Anyway, the result was I took my gel way too early and that killed me for the back half, lol; I got a bit pooped just before the 2 mile mark and did a bit more walking than I usually do for a 5K; but it's all good, I turned that into a positive thing by taking a few more photos along the way than I normally do; and ended up finishing in 36-something, averaging 12-something minute miles - usually for a 5K I finish anywhere from 32 - 34 minutes, so I was a couple of minutes behind my 'normal' running self.  Anyway, as said, my own darn fault, and it's still all good, I did manage to enjoy myself out there.   Even with my slowness, I did finish 2nd in my age group (60 - 69) as there were only TWO in my age group, lol.  I guess all the other local runners in my age group were doing other events or sleeping in; either way, thank you, speedy guys in my age group, for the medal.




    Valero headquarters is right near the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), the university where I work, so I am quite familiar with Valero and knew right where I was going.  It's not that far of a drive for me, so I slept in a bit - and if I hadn't been stupid and had read the whole race flyer, I could have slept in a bit longer - and then was off to the race site, arriving in plenty of time to get some pre-start photos.


    The race shirt that participants got

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    My friend Sandra; she even manages to look beautiful as a skeleton


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    My good friends from local running store Run Wild Sports - including my pal, Emma Dogg (no, we're not related), who is coming at me in the first photo because she knows I always have a treat for her, lol.

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    Hocus Pocus..I think the guy heard a ghost.... 


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    My friend and one of my 'running crushes"  Virginia of Carrera Races

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    Yes, I was so slow today that I was even beaten by poo....


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    See that parrot on the lady's shoulder?


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    I thought it was a parrot doll...but then it flapped its wings, startling the heck out of me, lol.  It's a live parrot that patiently rode her shoulder for the entire event


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    One big doggie

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    Doggies..The long and the short of it, lol

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    At the start area, waiting to go


    People behind me....


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    Another big doggie

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    These folks are ready, no bones about it....

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    Me and my speedy pal, Bernadette

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    Yes..I was doubly slower than pooh.....


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    People in front of where I was...

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    We started at Valero HQ, went out one of the campus side-gates, down a sidewalk by the frontage road near IH-10 highway, and then onto the Valero Trailhead that took us to some of the trails of the Leon Creek Greenway system.  Did a little out-and-back on these trails, then back UP the hill to the Valero Campus, a little loop around part of the campus, and then back to the finish line.  A very well thought out and laid out course, courtesy of my friends at, a very good local race company that does course set-up, timing, results, etc.  They always do a great job.


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    Leaders already heading toward the finish

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    On my way back now, encountering some of the folks doing the walk


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    I stopped on our uphill on the way back and took this from a bridge we crossed on the uphill; this is normally dry creekbed and now has all this water from Friday's flooding in the area

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    Looking at the sidewalk that was our downhill on the way out, uphill on the way back

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    Welcome back to the Valero campus!

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    Volunteers helping us along...


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  folks checking everyone in as they finish, tallying results, times, etc


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    Got some water and sat down a bit to relax and drink;   then found where the post-race beer was - oh yeah.....


    Shiner Bock!

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    ...and after  I had my beer I then got some photos of the "Happy Finishers", volunteers, supporters, vendors/sponsors, etc.


    Friends Emma and Cat greeted me near the finish

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    I kept cutting out the poor lil doggie, lol.


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    promoting the upcoming Moustache Dache 5K

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    Finally found a cloth to wipe that spot on my lens that showed a bit in the previous photos....ahhh...better...

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    Do you know who this guy is supposed to be?  Then you are as old as I am, lol.

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    Me and Virginia; I'll let her decide which photo she likes better.

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    The crew

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    Very nicely done event - which is a given with Carrera Races - and a very nice day for it too, so thank you Mother Nature, the good Lord, and any of our running guardian angels for that.  Lots of nice post-race goodies - sandwiches, beer, water, various other drinks, various snacks, and H-E-B, a major local grocer - and another Fortune 500 company headquartered in San Antonio - and the ADL even had post-race treats for the doggies there, very nice.  Lots of very amusing costumes, music for us pre-and-post race, nicely down award medals, nice course.  Definitely would do this one again and recommend it to others.  Mucho thanks to Carrera Races,, Valero, H-E-B, and all the other sponsors/vendors, the volunteers and law enforcement out there for us...ALL the folks that made this one possible for we participants.

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


      Thanks for providing us with a constant flow of RRs Scotty. Always nice to see so many smiling faces with all the pics you post.

      53rd race of the year, huh? Are we looking at 60 for the year? Your area sure looks like it's filled with race savvy people.


        Lots of great costumes.  That looks like a lot of fun.