Thursday, April 30, 2009

Of pigs and sun and rain

Well, they are closing down entire school districts here due to the virus formerly known as swine flu. But the races go on. Saturday morning, I will be running the Run on the Sun 5k, as part of "Solar Fest - The Festival that's Off the Grid."

The buzz: Run from Maverick Park to the Pearl Brewery (soon to be the largest solar installation in Texas) and back! About Solar San Antonio - We are non-profit advocacy and resource center dedicated to renewable and sustainable energy applications. Through community outreach, we strive to decrease energy costs and improve the quality of life in South Texas.

Afterward, treats and 'green' exhibits, including a place to recycle your old running shoes and donate clothes. I like this event already. Of course, the irony of situation is that it will likely rain on the Solar Fest.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fiesta Fandango

The Fiesta Fandango run is always a blast. You run the parade route, so you have plenty of fans, folks spraying you with squirt guns, and folks chowing on a turkey leg trying to figure out what this running thing is all about. Here is my ugly race pic from the finish (this is always a HOT race, especially when you get downtown, among the buildings and 10,000+ parade watchers - there is no air).

It is fun when you are running near someone who is dressed up - "you" keep getting cheers - like the beginning, when I was running next to a guy dressed as a baby - in a diaper - or here, near the end - when I was running close to the beer guy.

And these folks won the costume contest - full out wedding party (yes, they ran the race in that get-up).

Thanks to Tom Lake for the pics

Monday, April 27, 2009

pig flu

I have blood sugar problems which I need to address medically at some point. I am just a wuss when it comes to medical treatment. I experience serious drops in blood sugar - and I know this, which is why I just eat low GCI food throughout the day, keeping everything fairly stable. This past weekend's race - the Fiesta Fandango - always throws me for a loop, though. It starts at about 6:40, but you get there at 5ish and get back around 9ish, so there's a long period without food during which I always forget to bring snacks. Anyway, this time, I ate a HUGE enchilada meal late after the race, when I was already getting shaky, slept a bit, ran another race, ate part of an orange, then crashed again awaiting the foster cat.
So, the calorie deficit got me, apparently, because this morning, I was really feeling poor. I managed to call in, but I was stuck in bed for awhile - I started drinking sports drinks until I felt hungry. So, I'm a wuss, but I realize that I need to probably see the doc. Gosh knows, these days, it could be swine flu.

My new addition to the zoo arrived yesterday - Driver the tail-less cat. His dad (a friend of a coworker of an acquaintance) is in predeployment status and will be deployed through about December. Driver's been hanging in my study and exploring the place. Shane (the cat-daddy) said Driver doesn't really jump up on things - apparently, he's already learning bad habits around here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ugliest race pic weekend tease

Believe you me, there will be an explosion of ugly race pics from this weekend. Unfortunately, my computer is running slowly, I am still recovering from one of my sorriest 5ks in awhile (dang pig flu), and I am trying to settle in a fostercat who will be here 9 months while his dad is in Afghanistan. So, I'm a bit weary. But I'll give you a tease.

Remember that scene in Aliens when Sigourney's stomach bursts forth with the alien baby? That's what my race bib was doing here. It, apparently, didn't like the smell of tacos tripas either. (And my head is not that big - it's one of those flower Fiesta headdress things)

Bottom line - race was good, just late afternoon/early evening run which always means blood sugar issues. So, I scarfed Mexican food upon return from the race (late evening) which made for an interesting 5k the next morning.
More ugly race pics to come - I just hear some major hissing in the study.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back to back races, take 3

Yes, I have not had much luck running back to back races in the past year. There was the sore hip and the separated shoulder. Of course, those occurred after I ran a 10k trail run in the dark, followed by a 5k/10k the next morning. I will never do that again (until July).

This rendition of the back to back races is a bit easier - and more festive. First up, Saturday night is the Fiesta Fandango run. This (about) 2.6 mile run begins in front of the Fiesta Flambeau night parade and runs the parade route - but not in the complete dark like my other foolish endeavors. So, you have nice, wide open streets, lots of fans, and the lingering smell of tacos tripas. Okay, that last part is really bad - kind of like the smell of death. But it's a fun little run with folks dressed in costume and just having a fun, Fiesta time.

After post-race icy-cold refreshments and a bit of sleep, I will then run the University of the Incarnate Word 5k Run for Brainpower (insert "you need it" joke here). This is a nice, mostly flat run around the campus north of downtown.

So, maybe I am wising up a bit and taking the back to back races a little easier. The truth is that is just when the races fell, and I am a slave to taking ugly race pics. After Sunday's race, I will take a nice, post-Fiesta nap and wait for my new fostercat to be dropped off.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cornyation kicks off with 'Flying Footwear'

It's still Fiesta here in San Antonio. And I attended one of my favorite events - Cornyation. It's the "raunchiest, cheapest event of Fiesta." Just my style. And where else would the City Manager (that's her below) sport spandex onstage while dancing with drag queens? She can work it, though, with her runner's body. Some of the drag queens, on the other hand. . .

So, here is the San Antonio Express News coverage:

By Lindsay Kastner - Express-News

There is probably nowhere else where the city manager goes by the name of King Anchovy, dresses up as Superwoman and shares a stage with drag queens during raunchy spoofs of everything from an upcoming mayoral election to a raid on a polygamist ranch.

Through Thursday, San Antonio — at least some of San Antonio — is proud to be that place.
Cornyation 2009 kicked off its annual lampoon of current events Tuesday night at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre complete with a send-up of Facebook and a brawl between Etta James and Beyonce Knowles. The audience loved a skit spoofing the Yearning for Zion ranch, especially when the polygamists revealed their fishnet hose.

This year's show, “The Court of Fancy Flying Footwear,” takes its name from last year's incident in which an Iraqi journalist aimed his shoe at then-President George W. Bush.
Coordinator Ray Chavez said he worried — he didn't actually sound too worried — that some audience members might start tossing chanclas on stage. People used to throw tortillas but they're now banned. “The cleaning bill was outrageous,” said Chavez, plus someone in the audience got whacked and filed a lawsuit.

Cornyation began in the 1950s at Night in Old San Antonio, but that didn't last.
“It got too zany for the Conservation Society,” Chavez said. “One of the costumed babies lost his diaper and we were asked not to come back.” Since then, the show has had a number of homes before landing at the Empire about six years ago, Chavez said. It's an official Fiesta event and a fundraiser for several charities.

The title of King Anchovy goes to someone in the city spotlight, but if you covet the crown, you're out of luck. Cornyation organizers began courting City Manager Sheryl Sculley, who said she has no theatrical experience, well before Tuesday's opening night. “Two years ago,” she said, laughing as she made her way to the stage for the second act.

The show was the third Cornyation for spectator Veronica Cortez, who was trying with limited success to carry an armful of drinks from the bar back to her seats. “It's the absolute best show,” she said, praising a skit about the mayoral race, which somehow managed to mix feather boas with songs from the musical “Grease.” “It's the best show of Fiesta,” she said.
Photo credit: BILLY CALZADA

Monday, April 20, 2009

Soggy Race

Asi como tu te as ido,Asi como tu me olvidas,Asi como tu la vida,Se vurla de mi, al ver que sin ti, no puedo vivir....

SLAM - I hit the snooze button at 5:30 Saturday morning. (I keep the alarm set to tejano to ensure that I do not continue to snooze through music.) Then I heard the clap of thunder and my room lit up with lightning. What a day for a race.

I figured that I would wait until 7:00 to see what the weather did and, after 'convincing' the dogs to go outside in the rain, then chasing mud dogs into their room, I hit the road for Mission County Park. By the time I arrived, there were blue skies and low pollen counts!

So, the course was soggy, and there were still a few raindrops around, but the Mission 10k was a nice run. The bouncy bridges were even worse, since wet wood is never a good running surface, but I managed to stay upright. It was definitely a nice way to start off Fiesta!

Yep -#488 is scared, very scared!

Post race festivities - with Joan and Carolyn (they didn't run, but you can't tell since they got soaked at set up, while I was still in bed)
Thanks to Tom Lake for the pics (and Carolyn). Thanks to Los Tigres del Norte for the lyrics and waking me up on Saturday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Now that Easter's craziness is over, and all that is left from camping in the park is a bunch of cascarones confetti, it is time for Fiesta! Which, for those crazies that camped in the park, means camping under the freeway to get the best free seats for the parades. True madness - even Friday the 24th is a City holiday. Fiesta is basically a week-or-so-long party/festival/event throughout San Antonio. I usually attend several events, then avoid downtown until it is over. This year, as always, I will kick off Fiesta with the Fiesta 10k at the Missions Park on Saturday. It is a nice, flat run, and my only obstacles (other than recent lack of speed work) are approximately 8 bouncy bridges that must be carefully crossed and the oak pollen that has declared war on my sinuses.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Camping and Coffee

Ah, it is Easter time. In San Antonio, that means that seven days ago, folks started lurking around my favorite park, Brackenridge Park. They begin by selecting the perfect bench, table, or picnic area. Then, they chain a grill, a spare tire, chairs, or coolers to the selected fixture. In the case of an open area, they use caution tape to rope it off. And that, somehow, gives one superior title to that little patch of the park for Easter weekend!

The City actually lifts the overnight curfew in select parks beginning Thursday night, and folks actually camp there. It fascinates me. I like to run through the extremely crowded park and ogle the people that, for generations, have decided it was fun to camp shoulder-to-shoulder in a city park. And then I ask them for food. Sometimes.

Don't get me wrong, I like this park a lot and run through it almost daily, but I can't quite fathom the marking of territory ritual (and respect thereof) and enjoyment of city camping. I think the homeless folks downtown share my bemusement with this activity.

And coffee. I drink quite a bit of the stuff, including before races and marathons - it may be what puts the ugly in my ugly race pics. I found a local coffee roaster less than a mile from the house - Brown Coffee Company. It costs a little more, but it's a one-man operation producing freshly roasted coffee. And Aaron Blanco, the proprietor, really cares about how his coffee tastes, how it was grown, and how it impacts the world (really, check out his website). For those of you in San Antonio, when ordering, you can use the code PICKUP to avoid the shipping charge and just enter the date/time you want to pick up the coffee in the comments section of the order form. The roastery is a little place in the Deco District off Fredericksburg Road.

No races this weekend (the parks are full of crazies, remember?), so just some OT for me. Next up: Fiesta Mission 10k next Saturday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wednesday night zoo runs

It is unofficially Summer - Wednesday night zoo runs began last week. My speed work has been slack, and it shows - I added an extra minute to my 2-mile time. So, I'll be working on cutting that down again tomorrow.

Here is the article the San Antonio Express News ran (hee) on us:

Web Posted: 08/07/2007 2:00 CDT
Athletes keep a tradition in Brackenridge Park

For years, the rhythm of runners' pounding feet has echoed along tree-lined paths at Brackenridge Park. They start outside the Parks and Recreation building at 950 E. Hildebrand — stretching, rubbing muscles, waiting for the signal to run.
Gilbert Hernandez gripped the handles of a three-wheeled baby stroller at that spot on a recent Wednesday, crouched and ready to run with 60 other participants. His wife, Peggy, her sister, Martie, and their three children braced themselves beside him.
"Runners!" shouted volunteer Sally Rios from the steps of the building. "Set, go!"
The family disappeared into the scattering crowd. Hernandez, 39, pushing the stroller beside his waddling 2-year-old daughter, fell to the back of the pack.
The Hernandezes have returned to the park after a three-year hiatus. The sisters ran with their father until he died. Now they're introducing the youngsters to a special society in which running rules and it's not a crime to draft on the speed of the person in front of you.
"We're a family," Rios said. "We support each other and cry with each other when we have problems."
The Wednesday Night Zoo Run is a staple in San Antonio for people from all walks of life. Professionals, amateurs, high school track teams, old and young run the 2-mile course. Regulars who have moved out of town stop in while visiting relatives for a reminiscence run. The unofficial and unorganized race continues until daylight-saving time ends.
Steve Smith, a local race organizer and former running columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, started the race in 1984 to promote fitness and running.
"The idea was to have fun," said Smith, 60. " It was better to have something in the middle of the week and not feel like they had to perform at a high level unless they wanted."
Family obligations forced Smith to move on, but fellow runners wouldn't let the race die. Volunteers haven't changed what Smith started.
The entry fee remains a $1 donation, with contributions going to the San Antonio Zoo.
Runners provide homemade dishes and beverages at the sign-up picnic table after each race. Participants sign up at 6:30 p.m.
First-, second- and third-place winners in four age categories receive a ribbon.
Challenges, besides finishing the route, abound for some runners. Some are recovering from illnesses; others have physical conditions they don't let limit their athletic pursuits.
Patrick Hernandez, 42, a deaf runner, focuses on his surroundings as he winds his way through the course. His biggest challenge was talking to his comrades. Since meeting Michael Shofner, 49, a runner who interprets for him, communicating isn't a problem.
The park's recent $7.5 million renovation included reworking trails that runners welcomed after years of dodging traffic on the roads.
Four course marshals fan out along the route before the race. They welcome runners with clapping hands and shouts of "Good job, good job!"
A marshal waits at the finish line, yelling times as racers dash by.
At the halfway mark a week earlier, Joan Bobrukiewiez, 57, pointed half a dozen runners to the last leg of the course.
"George, this is the corner you've been looking for!" she yelled to a man. "This is your corner, you're done!"
"Thank you, Joan," the huffing man said, turning toward the finish line.
Then came Julia Wilkerson, 74, a trim woman the regulars call the "matriarch of the racing community."
"She's the Energizer Bunny," Bobrukiewiez said. "She doesn't quit."
Wilkerson started running at 50 to lose weight. Six months later, she ran her first marathon.
Dave DeWall, 62, has run in the park since 1985. He and his cronies ran 5K races on weekends to increase their speed for the midweek run.
The last stragglers appeared.
"I got a cold drop of water here," DeWall said, smiling at an approaching runner. "You can swallow it or I can throw it in your face."
The runner chose the latter. DeWall splashed it in his face as he circled the last bend.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Critters and the Cure

Well, the Feast with the Beasts was fun again this year - plenty of snacks from local restaurants, beer, wine, and critters. The next morning, I awoke bright and early to join with approximately 29,999 other runners/walkers for the Komen Race for the Cure. It's always madness, with so many people, but the run is inspirational. And I actually like getting passed by a woman wearing a survivor cap!

Photo: Lisa Krantz, San Antonio Express-News

Friday, April 3, 2009

This is how I roll

Normally, before any race - even short ones - I take care to eat some pasta, drink plenty of water, and get to bed early. Before the last 5k, I ate cheesy bean nachos liberally sprinkled with jalapenos and pico de gallo and downed some margaritas with an old grad school bud. That sure didn't help my speed the next morning.

So, tomorrow is the Race for the Cure. It has never been a high-speed event for me anyway, due to the crowds, but I'm going to further sabotage myself by hitting the Feast with the Beasts at the zoo tonight - mmm, beer, wine, and 'free' foods. Should be an interesting run in the morning!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Marine Corps Marathon

Whew. It make me nervous when registration generally opens and closes the same day - but I'm off to DC in October! Now bring on the training.