Saturday, December 24, 2016

Run The Woodlands 5K Race Report

Back in 2003, when I first started to run, there was this twice-a-month $1 race series, Run The Woodlands 5K.

It was - and still is - held at Barbara Bush Elementary in The Woodlands.

The race was basically a time trial course in that it never changed.  Therefore, you could always go out and benchmark yourself - in race conditions - where you were in your fitness.

And if you didn't need a t-shirt and a bunch of post-race food, you could do so for a $1.

Many times I would wake up at 7:15 a.m. and realize that I could make it there before the 8 a.m. start time.

Go up to the table, sign the waiver, put a $1 in the box and get ready to run.

Today's race completed the 17th year of the series that either spawned or was a great influence to two others -- Vern's No Frills 5K in Georgetown (produced by former and frequent RTW participant Bill Schroeder) and the current Run For Wellness 5K Series in Houston.

Today, I repeated that trend from the early years, arriving at the race site at about 7:40 a.m.

I ran with the Seven Hills Running Club's Ken Johnson, as I do many times at the once-a-month Sunday Night 5K produced by The Woodlands Running Club (well, really, Bill Dwyer).

Our time was 36:54, but that's never the important thing.  Running with Ken, it is a chance to converse with one of the few people that is out there and sees more than I do.

Run The Woodlands 5K was race #65 for me this year -- and nine of them were of the Run The Woodlands, Run For Wellness or TWRC Sunday Night 5K varieties.

If all goes well, I'll add one more in Mission, Texas next Saturday morning.  It will be a race in Texas city or town #125 and Texas county #64.

As always, being at a race, regardless if I'm running, working or volunteering, it is about the people that I see and meet.

The Attanuccis were there.  Vincent and son Michael.

They recently completed another BMW Dallas Marathon together earlier in the month.  It was Michael's 16th marathon and Vincent's 46th.

Vincent, a Penn State graduate, has run a mile a day for at least the last ten years.

Congratulations to Michael as he'll be getting married one week from today, December 31, 2016 in Fort Worth.

Dr. John Slate, who lives in The Woodlands and is a member of the Seven Hills Running Club in Huntsville, was out today.

Long-time friend Rick Cook and his son, Cooper, who is in the seventh grade, were racing today.  They live just right around the corner from the school.

Rick, Bill Dwyer and myself along with Andrew Perry started the Montgomery County Triple in 2006 and while working for Luke's Locker, who produces the race now, Rick was the RD of Run The Woodlands 5K for a year or so.

The very first Run The Woodlands 5K I ever attended was the second Saturday of July 2003.  I got lost by making a right-hand turn across Crownridge instead of left to come back to the finish.

That day, a man encouraged me to get rid of the cotton t-shirt and baseball hat.  (Yes, I was a newbie once.)

He ran with this really tall dog, whose name was Khobar.

His name is Tom Pinney and he was there this morning.  It was really good to see and talk with him -- and he was continuing to encourage another generation of runners that were out there.  Something we all need to do every chance we get.

I think the two daughters of fellow Spring High School graduate Kim Driver were there.

And as Ken and I made the turn into the school parking lot, we saw former Houston Strider Joan O'Connor, who has relocated up to The Woodlands upon her work retirement.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat, I went to Hughes Landing where Bill's Volte Endurance Training group was finishing up their long runs in preparation for next month's Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

Conversed with many, including Mary Carter, Rich Cooper, Leeanne Rosser, Randy Harris and others, but went there primarily to wish probably my best friend, Bill, a Merry Christmas and to give him a gift.

Although I'll see him later as he'll be at North Park Baptist Church for tonight's Christmas Eve service as his son-in-law Chris is leading worship.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

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