Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2017 Missions 10,000 Race Recap!

This year's race shirt for the 10,000 - once again, they knocked it out of the ballpark with the design!  I love the color...I think this is the first brown technical shirt I've owned!  They had both women's and men's cut and huzzah, it fits!

For the second year in a row, I ran the Missions Heritage 10,000 race in San Antonio.  The race was held this past Saturday; you could sign up for a half marathon, a 10K, or a 5K.  Jeff and Brian did the half marathon, but the rest of my fellow renegades ran the 10K.

This is a special race.  There is just something about the feel of it - the community, the gentleness of everyone involved, the fact that 100% of the proceeds are going toward restoring these centuries-old buildings - that makes me want to come back year after year...and that's saying something because the course has some very challenging hills toward the latter part of the race and you all know that I do not like hills.  But I like this race, so there you go.

We all drove to San Antonio on Friday, and went to packet pickup, which was held at a local brewing company in an industrial area of town - it was a little challenging to find, but once we arrived, packet pickup went smoothly.  We were given our bibs, race shirts, and bags:
I really appreciate that once again, they gave out reusable tote bags!  The half marathon participants received a sling backpack, which was pretty cool (but not cool enough to make me want to run another half marathon, HA!).

It was a quick drive - about 15 minutes - from our hotel to the race start at Mission Concepcion.  We may have been a little too casual about the proximity, because when we got there, we had to park waaaaayyyy out in a field.  Luckily we still had about 30 minutes before the race began, but that was a pretty late arrival for us.  Still, we had time to take some pictures before the race started:
We were taking pictures while the race director was making announcements over a PA system, when he suddenly photobombed us!  Credit goes to our official photographer, Jimmymeow, for catching the moment.
We realized we were covering up the sign so we went behind it for another shot...also we can't get enough of ourselves.
Diane and I, pre-race.  I was a true renegade and wore last year's race shirt instead of our official RRC shirt.

One of the race officials started out singing the national anthem over the PA system, and then we all joined in.  It was a very sweet moment, with hundreds of people singing together.  Then the race began and we started our run.  It seems like the theme of our lives is that the Renegade Run Club cannot catch a break when it comes to race day weather, and this was no exception - it was 70 degrees, with humidity at a balmy 83%.  At least we had cloud cover for the entire race, but still - it would be really nice if just once this season, we could get some cool weather for a race.

Cary, Diane, and I ran together.  We left Mission Concepcion and ran through an older, more rundown section of the city, but there were plenty of people on the course plus volunteers and police officers directing traffic, so we weren't afraid.  Well before we could see Mission San Jose, we could hear the church bells ringing, which was really cool.  Mission San Jose is so interesting - we took our time going through the grounds, which added about three minutes to that particular mile, but it was totally worth it - check out our pictures:
 Approaching Mission San Jose.
Runners entering the grounds just ahead of us.
Selfie with a monk!
One of the wells, with all the different archways behind it.
Old brick oven in front of the tiny living quarters - see the wooden door and window?  A couple of the doors were open and we could see just how small the rooms were where the people used to live.
While Diane was taking pictures of the architecture, Cary and I slowly jogged ahead...she snuck in this shot of us and you can see how Cary is pointing out something - we were fascinated by the grounds and were talking about everything.  
Outside the Mission - we really need to go back and visit it when we're not trying to run through it.
The race course for the first part is either flat or slightly downhill.  This year, they changed the route a bit so that we'd finish right in front of Mission Concepcion, which meant that we took a different route down to the river.  It was a more remote and a lot more of a jungle feel, which made me extra glad I was running with friends this time (last year I ran this race solo).  Once we got to the river, we hit the rolling hills, along with the swarms of bugs.  They were bigger than gnats and stayed in groups that floated right along with us, which was annoying.  Mostly I was trying to not swallow any at this point.  We also saw a lot of ducks and waterfowl in the river, along with an otter.  Or a seal.  OK maybe it was just a large, slick-feathered black bird, but it was on a rock and the Californian in me saw an otter, plus I had runner's brain at that point.  Any case, it made for a nice distraction from the hills.

We ran back through the grounds of Mission Concepcion, where our fellow renegades were waiting for us at the finish line:
Diane and I - Cary had zipped ahead a minute earlier.

Whew!  I was HOT at the end and glad to be done.  But after a minute of cooling down I felt much better.  Diane and I ended up running into Father David at the finish area - he's the priest at Mission Concepcion and the person in charge of spearheading the renovations for the four missions.  The 5K race is named after him, so of course he ran it.  It was really interesting talking with him and hearing about the history of the missions - these buildings date back to the early 1700s!  Of course we had to get a picture with him:
He was wearing last year's race shirt as well!

Then we went over to the food tent, where they loaded us up with goodies - fresh fruit, Mexican cookies and pan dulce, and a cup of rice, black beans and grilled chicken from Pollo Tropical, which was really good:
The grass was damp, so we wandered over to the park sign to have a dry place to sit and eat.  While we were over there, Brian finished his half marathon - we cheered him on from our sign.

Jeff has been dealing with some foot pain for quite a while now and running hasn't gone well for him lately.  I was livetracking him via his Garmin, and could see that he was around mile 11.5, which was getting near the long, steep hill that we all had to run up (spoiler alert:  I walked that sucker).  Brian and Jimmymeow decided to walk back to meet him, which was really nice.  Another nice thing that Brian did was to take off his medal and leave it with Cary - I can tell you, there's nothing more demoralizing than still being on the race course when runners who've finished and gotten their medals and post-race refreshments are walking back toward you like it's just a day in the park.  At least limp, or act like you're in pain, you speedy runners!

We all were watching for Jeff when suddenly all three of them appeared - and they were all running!  I said to Karen that I didn't know Jimmy ran!  We may get him into a race yet.  They were too far away to get a good picture while they were still running, and then Jeff entered the finisher's chute and Brian and Jimmy pealed off, but you can see all three of them here:
Jeff, with Brian and Jimmymeow off to the side.
Here's Jeff coming in for his finish, with our friendly race announcer in the picture once more!

Renegades, post-race!  Cristy, Julia, Karen, me, Cary, Diane, Brian, and Jeff. 
My medal - once again, it's wood, which I love.

We had so much fun doing this race; it's challenging, the weather was warmer than we'd like, but the people and the location make it all worthwhile.  We'll be back next year.


  1. I would love to do this race! Years ago, when my hubs and I visited San Antonio, we did a tour of all the missions. It was amazing.

  2. As you know I've always wanted to visit San Antonio - it really is on my bucket list. Now I'm thinking maybe I visit and do this race. I ain't skeered of no hills!!

    P.S. I cannot believe how much clothing you guys are wearing. If it was 70, I'd be in a tank and shorts!

    1. Most of our group were in a tank and capris, which are pretty thin (but not sheer - we check). Capris help to absorb and wick the sweat that would be rolling down your legs in the humidity...most people seem to wear them in our area except for the hottest of days.

      You definitely should plan a trip out here and include this race. It would give you a good taste of the real, old school Texas.

  3. This is such a neat event! I would be stopping to look at all the sights, too! Did you like this year's course better? It's nice you got to run with friends this year!

    I think Jimmymeow WILL be running, soon enough! :D

    The medal is super cool! I hope you guys get some freak weather and have a cool race at some point!

    1. I did enjoy this year's course more - believe it or not, there were less hills.

  4. Next time I go to Austin I'll need to do a day trip to San Antonio - my Mom loves it - I think that's where that riverwalk is too with all the restaurants on the canal?

    I always love your race recaps! :D

  5. This is my favorite race that you run! I love San Antonio anyway, and I always learn something new about it--all the missions there, and that the race is to help restore them. Very cool that you met a monk and a priest, and they took pictures with you. Plus, I like how well they treat you--all that good food at the end! Maybe someday Helen will come to run with you, and I'll come and be your official photographer (because by then Jimmymeow will be running :)

  6. I love this race!!! It just looks unique and fun! And the wood 'medal' is awesome!!!

  7. Haha I had to laugh at your comment about the finishers walking towards the runners with their medals. Most runners that are still on the course say its inspiring to see the finishers but I'm like you, I think they are just showing

    I really liked this race recap when you told it last year too so I'm really glad that you got to run it again. It does seem like a very special race. Congrats!

  8. I looooove those old building and fantastic that the race proceeds go to those. Yay!!

    I would love to see San Antonio. From what I've seen, it's really beautiful.


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