Beginners and Beyond


Report and Photos: Sights and Sounds of Christmas Jingle Bells 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 64t race of 2015. Held on Dec 5, 2015 in San Marcos TX, the Sights and Sounds of Christmas nonprofit agency helps a variety of nonprofits raise money for their causes and provides the community a local venue to celebrate the holiday season. Besides the 5K and 1K, Sights and Sounds has a variety of events that include music performances, rides, vendor food booths, etc. Usually held in the evening to enjoy a multitude of holiday lights. This year there were about 1,000 total entrants for the 5K/1K, so a very nice turnout. The weather was very cooperative with lots of sunshine on a December day, just about no wind, and a nice temp of around 51 degrees at start time. Of course, for we ‘cold-weather wimp’ South Texans, 51 is darn chilly for us, lol, so lots of people were dressed in layers.  I ended up with a finish time of 32:36, finishing 6th in my 60-64 age group.



    San Marcos is about a 40-mile drive from San Antonio, pretty much a straight shot right up the I35 North, and with a 9 a.m. start time I got to sleep in a bit. I left the house around 7:30 a.m., got to the race location about 8:15, got my race packet, and then went around taking some pre-start photos.


    I parked near the San Marcos Veteran's Memorial.  In honor of my fellow vets and for my fellow team members of Team RWB (RED White & Blue) veterans organization, I got a few photos

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    I arrived at the race site by walking over this bridge which gave me some nice views of the river on either side.  photo 091_zpsyf0vcnzd.jpg


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    The 'sentries" guarding the entrance

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    These kind volunteers let me stow my goodie bag under their table so I didn't have to walk all the way back to my vehicle.  Thanks, lovely ladies!

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    My pals from local race company AthleteGuild did the course setup, timing, results, etc

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    Some of the pre-start volunteers, participants, etc.


    Welcome to Sights and Sounds 5K


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    Ooops...I didn't realize I was photo-bombing this young person when I stood next to Speedy Cash


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    The gentleman on the left was our MC for the event

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    As we all gathered in the start area, photos were being taken from this cherry-picker

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    Crowd behind me

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    Crowd in front of me

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    People right behind me...until the start...then they were all ahead of me, lol...

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    "Fly-Over" by the Texas Commemorative Air Force, which restores, maintains, and flies vintage airplanes in honor of our aviation history.

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    We started in front of the Sights & Sounds venue – San Marcos Plaza area, right near a very good city park with local trails that runs alongside the river – went through part of downtown San Marcos, passing by some Saturday market vendors in booths/tents, and then did a loop through a very nice residential area.    Then it was back to the Sights and Sounds area via one of the downtown streets and the last part of the course was pretty much downhill all the way to the finish line. One nice touch: along the route in the residential area there were loudspeakers attached to some poles so you heard holiday music as you ran along; very inventive.


    And we are off!  About 1/4 mile in...I stopped on the hill we were going up to look back at all the people coming up behind me

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    First walk break...almost to the 1-mile marker

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    Thanks for being out here, volunteer!

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    Near the 2-mile mark now...

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    Some of the residents cheering us on


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    We passed by some nice homes in this area...


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    Free hot chocolate for all the participants and volunteers – I gave my ticket to a kid, as I’m one of the rare people not fond of hot chocolate; now if it had been a beer ticket…. – and Chik-Fil-A folks were handing out like crazy masses of free chicken breakfast biscuits – and that was one treat I took..mmmm good! There were also various sponsors giving away free stuff – pens, pins, bags, etc - along with information on their programs. There was also a raffle drawing for a multitude of prizes that included gift certificates for things like overnight stay at bed-and-breakfast, free haircuts for a year, merchandise at the local running specialty store, Rogue Running, and so forth, with the grand prize being a 42-inch TV. I didn’t win anything in the raffle, darn the luck, but that’s okay, I still managed to enjoy myself wandering around taking photos and interacting with all the people there.


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    Cow and its "Wrangler".  The poor Wrangler at these events are always taking photos for everyone I got a photo of the Wrangler this time, to give her some credit for being out there for us too.

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    Doggie was interested in all that food passing her by, lol

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    Food included these....

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    Provided by these good folks photo 050_zpssmmcvlog.jpg


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    These folks are wearing the tech tee shirts that participants got

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    Enjoying the chicken breakfast biscuits

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    Hot chocolate modeled by this lovely lady

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    The lady on the far right did this 5K and the San Antonio Marathon the next day

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    MCs and one of our law enforcement officers out there for us

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    Me and friend, Darrel Rhodes (beside me) of San Marcos Running Club,  with the lady who was first woman overall and the bike pacer.   All 3 are great people!  There was one small but steep hill on the course and I jokingly told Darrell he put that in just for me, didn't he?  He knows I am so fond of hills. 

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    Seated for the awards ceremony and the raffle.  It was done very nicely.  They'd announce awards for an age group, then do a drawing for a prize...made things go quite quickly, actually.

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    This was the last little finisher for the 1K.  He had quite a gang of people bringing him in.

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    Some of the festival's decorations

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    Hay bales used as seating for performances...and the kids love to play on them.

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    Thanks, Santa, for the temporary use of your chair for my old bones.  HO HO HO!  MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!


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    If you ever get a chance to do this one take it, you will not regret it.  Of course, the weather at this time of year can be ‘iffy’ at times in our area – a la Forest Gump, you just never know what you’re going to get. Last year, the temp for this one was in the 30s with a wind-chill in the 20s! I really hate very cold weather – I am one of those crazy people that much prefer running in hot weather than cold weather. So thank you, Mother Nature, for being nicer to me this year! Even if the weather does get chilly, it is still a really nice event to do, and the race organizers are very accommodating – last year they put outdoor heaters all over the site, so everyone could stay nice and toasty when not active.   Lots of prizes, lots of people in various outfits/costumes, a very nice 1K for the kids, just lots of stuff going on. Definitely worth doing!


    Mucho thanks to all the race organizers, sponsors, volunteers, firefighters who were out there cheering us on, law enforcement, etc; all the people who made this one happen for we participants. Thank you, San Marcos residents, for your patience in letting we runners and walkers ‘invade’ your area streets for a few hours.

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

      I love the costumes people wear at your races.  Looks like so much fun.  Great day for a race and nice venue with wide empty streets to spread out on.