Beginners and Beyond


Report and Photos: St. PJ's Great Pumpkin 5K (Read 30 times)


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.




    This was my 55th race of 2014.  Held on October 11, 2014.   I had originally planned to do the Veteran's Barrio 5K  with, and in support of, my fellow military veterans, but that event got cancelled so I switched to the St.  PJ's 5K, always a local popular event, with packet-pickup,  course management and race timing being done by the very reputable local race company and the good folks at St. PJ's.  St. Peter's-St. Joseph's Children's Home (known as St. PJ's) is a refuge for children, caring for for abused, neglected, abandoned, and homeless children.    Since this was a Halloween "pumpkin- themed" event, lots of folks in costumes. The race shirts - which you will see in the photos below - were also Halloween themed.  As many races as I do each year, I have lots and lots of race shirts - and I mean LOTS (52 races done in 2011, 68 races done in 2012, 75 races done in 2013) so at packet pickup I selected a youth shirt and then gave it to one of the St. PJ's admin folks there, asking her to give it to one of the kids at the home.  I assume they don't get too many race shirts, so hopefully some kid will enjoy it.  About 500 or so registered walkers and runners for the 5K. There was also a kid's run.  The weather was cloudy, overcast, with a kind of 'eerie light" - appropriate for a Halloween event, lol - giving everything a 'hazy' look, and it was VERY VERY humid, with not even a breath of wind for a while.


    The start/finish location was at the St. PJ's campus.  I arrived with about 40 minutes to go till start time, got my timing chip, and then began my usual pre-start antics of taking some 'Before" photos.


    A few of the Race Day Volunteers.  The majority of them were kids and adults associated with St. PJ's.  Thank you so much for being there for we participants!




    When you went inside the registration area building, these figures greeted you.....very imaginative...


    What-A-Burger - a hugely popular Texas-founded restaurant of burgers, chicken, salads, etc, with its HQ located in San Antonio - was there as one of the sponsors, handing out pre-and-post race goodies.   Can you tell that orange is their color?  So very appropriate for this race.



    Eyeore 'pin-the-tail' to help keep the little ones entertained, plus a clown making balloon animals, etc..




    And there were these two clowns...


  folks lovely ladies who did the course timing and results lists


    Our 'music master' who provided the sounds for us...


    Racoon and his lady....I think they are the mascots of St. PJ's



    The English ladies with Racoon mascot and "Blue Bear" the San Antonio Police Dept. mascot


    I think the 'drug and gang" Blue Bear was telling me a joke, which "cracked" me up...


    St. PJ's Pumpkin Patch....



    And, of course, some of the participants and their supporters before the start.....


    These folks were from England, where I lived for 4 years during my military days, so we had a nice chat. The 2 ladies in the middle are wearing the blue race shirt participants got.






    My running pals, Gene and Loyce.  Gene is in my age-group and about twice as fast as I am.




    The guy on the left reminded me of a 'so awful it's funny' Jamaica joke that I shared with him:  What happened when Jamaica ran out of shampoo? It was dredful!   He politely laughed.    Very nice folks, we had a nice chat.












    This lady did a beautiful singing of the National Anthem... the person to her left was our MC for the event, who did a great job.


    And after the singing, the crowd begins to move to the start area...




    We started on the St. PJ's campus, then out one of the gates and onto Mission Road, which has a very nice asphalt hike-and-bike path alongside of the road.  This took us down to the part of the San Antonio Riverwalk known as the Missions Extension, so called because the 17th century-built Spanish Missions are in this area.  We then ran alongside the San Antonio River, eventually coming back to the road/sidewalk and then returned to St. PJ's to finish on the campus.  The course was a very nicely laid out  scenic loop route - although that darn Jose of iaapweb DID throw in a couple hills for us along the way...which were tough on a very humid day!   I scolded him when I got done. 


    On the way out of the campus, we passed by this very nicely built church


    On Mission Road, heading toward the Riverwalk...







    I am now on the Riverwalk, and can see other people on the bridge on Mission Road making their way to the turn entrance onto the Riverwalk


    Cresting one of the hills along the way...


    Those little 'colored dots' are runners ahead of me after getting around that bend in the walk in the previous photo


    Runners coming up behind me.  Me and that front guy in the blue shirt pretty much played 'leapfrog" for the whole course, me passing him after taking photos, him catching back up to me when I stopped to take photos



    After that last photo, I took it on into the finish.  Normally about 34 minutes for me for a 5K, but this one I did in 36-flat. That darn combination of high humidity (95%)  threatening rain, and high dew-point (73) and no wind at all, not even the slightest breeze,  was really slowing me down.   The last mile, "Leapfrog Guy" was pretty much ahead of me for most of the way, but right near the finish, I managed to pass him - just barely - and get into the finish, with him not far behind me.   This made me end up 2nd in my age group, with Leapfrog Guy" 3rd in my age group.  My speedy pal, Gene, was first and he beat us both in by a whopping 13 minutes, lol.




    As I came into the finish, I heard the announcer saying about the weather at least there was no rain.  Spoken like a true non-runner, lol.  I think the majority of us would have LOVED a bit of refreshing rain to fall on us in that darn humid weather!   And about 15 or so minutes after I finished, it actually did rain, and came down pretty good too.  Really, Mother Nature?  NOW you rain, after the majority of us are done? Where the heck were you at about Mile 1?     I believe some of the folks farther behind me were still on the course when the rain began and probably got a nice soaking.  Hopefully, it was refreshing for them.


    Post-race there was a pancake breakfast for all the participants.    I think I gave everyone in the pancake line a laugh with my pancake sign antics.  The wind blew it down...I stood it back up....backed up to take a blew down again...this went on for about 3 tries, lol, I felt like I was in a Charlie Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy movie....and finally I just laid the darn thing on the ground and took the photo.


    One of the pancake preparers...




    Supporters and the "Happy Finishers" - which I call them because the majority of the participants are smiling a lot more after the finish than before the start or during the miles...









    Luckily, the rain did not affect awards, etc.  St. PJ's has a very nice "hall" where the post-race festivities were held, so everyone could keep out of the rain.


    A very festive stage...



    Lovely winged ladies in the hall....I think the lady on the right's favorite drink is a 'stinger"....



    The 3 winners in my age group (60 - 99)...I think we were the ONLY 3 in my age group, lol...Me (2nd place), "Leapfrog Guy" (3rd place) and Gene (1st place)


    Gene's wife, Loyce, also place in her age group...which I will say is 29-something-plus-a-few-years...



    These ladies were also medal recipients.   The lady on the left I have seen at several of the same races I've done in the past.





    Where where they with the stroller when I needed a ride at Mile 2?    Very nice folks.....


    Mother and son Happy Finishers...I have encountered her at past races I've done


    Our 'hosts' for the post-race awards ceremonies


    One of the hosts, the mascots, and twi Silver Dancers.  The Silver Dancers are the cheer team for the NBA San Antonio Spurs.





    Really wonderful folks at St. PJs and did their usual great job.  Lots of pre-start and post-race activities and for nice post-race goodies, even for those like me that actually don't like pancakes (I prefer plain waffles or french toast; maybe next year they will have a special plate of waffles just for me.. )  , but that's okay, there was plenty of other good stuff,   Very good course, as said before, well thought out and takes in nice views of the San Antonio River.  And, of course, a very good race cause, supporting the kids.  Definitely would recommend this one to all my fellow runners and definitely will participate in this event again in the future.


    Sunday, Oct 12,  I followed up this 5K by going to Hardberger Park and doing a run there.  I could tell how much the weather on Saturday had affected me because for Sunday's run the temp had dropped to 62 degrees - and this was at 10 a.m. late morning - a dew-point of only 58, and very low humidity - and for this run, it actually DID rain on me for a bit, not pouring, just light enough to be quite refreshing.  36 minutes for my 5K yesterday and today I did 3.3 miles in 36:27, sheesh.  That fickle Mother Nature, she really does like to play with we Texans. 


    Next up for me:  Paint the Parkway Pink 5K in Stone Oak on the 18th; and then the St. Mary's University Fun-Run 5K on October 19th - only a $10 entry fee for any runners who may be interested in finding a low-fee event.

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








      Dudes expression looks like - no more picture with my girl yo.  lol


      Nice job Scotty!

        Good thing you beat leapfrog guy at the end! Smile


          Looks like a lot of fun, aside from the weather.  I love the way people always dress up for your races. You also get a lot of post race goodies, though I'm not sure I could eat pancakes after a hard run race.


            That sounded like a hot one, and nice job betting leap-frog and getting 2nd place.  I  loved seeing all the costumes, especially the puppy-dog's!

            Life is good.



              Dudes expression looks like - no more picture with my girl yo.  lol


              Nice job Scotty!


              You stalking 2031, Scotty? He's on to you!


              I'm surprised at the amount of costumes already, but it looks like a fun event. Congrats!