There is very little parking near the start of the race so you are either forced to take a shuttle from the AT&T center to the start or arrive way too early. We decided to get up at 3:30am and were suprised to be the second car in a local parking lot a few blocks away from the finish area (apparently the race shuts down most streets by 6:00am). After a nice brisk walk to the start ~0.7 miles away we met up with our group at the downtown Hilton (right next to the start line) and found a nice area on the second floor to stretch out and use the bathrooms. Less than a mile into the race we were halted by a freight train! Yes, apparently Union Pacific failed to provide the race coordinator with an updated train schedule. I give the race volunteers credit for being prepared (orange flags were being waved to stop runners) but it was very disappointing to be stopping so early in a race. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and the 3 minutes we lost waiting for the train we decided to push the pace with our sub-2 hour goal. After passing the Alamo (very cool to run by the Alamo) we ran through a number of neighborhoods, most of which had fairly good crowd support, and up some decent hills through about mile 6. The last few miles felt tough, but that may have been due to being taken off our pace early in the race and coming down with the flu. The race coordinator eventually did an analysis of results (compared first 5k time to the 10k time) and adjusted some runner's results accordingly. Other than the train debacle the course and race were both average.
Highlights: While it started as a joke - running the entire half marathon with a sombrero was a huge highlight and the cheers (Go Sombrero Man) helped to push us to the finish! Enjoyed a great weekend in San Antonio with 10 members of our Triathlon group - go Y Tri!
Day 1 (Friday):
La Margarita offers outdoor seating and good wholesome southwest tex-mex food. The Michelada (beer mixed with clamato juice, lime and tabasco sauce) was an interesting and refreshing drink for lunch. Food was decent, but outdoor seating in 80 degree sunshine sold us on the location.
Downtown San Antonio boasts a really nice riverwalk area with a ton of great restaurants and shops. We took a short boat ride through the riverwalk area, which was a nice break from walking the entire city and provided a unique perspective on the city. As we walked through the city from the expo we passed an antique Southern Pacific steam engine that was screaming for a quick photo!
Hanging Tree Saloon in Bracken, TX is a local Texas two-step dance hall/saloon. When we walked in we immediately felt out of place but after about 30 minutes (and a beer or two) the ladies were asked to dance by some of the local gentlemen and before we knew it our entire group was dancing up a storm. We may have been terrible dancers, but it ended up being a ton of fun. The owner/bar tender eventually came over gave us a free round of drinks, beer coozies and shirts for the ladies. Apparently not too many tourists make the trip out to the Hanging Tree Saloon, but it was a really fun night.
Day 2 (Saturday):
LuLu's Cafe in San Antonio, TX offers up some classic southwest breakfast treats at very reasonable prices. In addition to sharing the world's largest cinnamon roll (a 3lb+ gooey, sweet and sticky mess) with our Tri friends we also sampled the breakfast tacos - which were out of this world good. The best bets were the potato, egg and churizo. As you can see from the pictures below the portions are huge as the $1.95 "short stack" of pancakes was two deep and nearly consumed the dinner plate. A must for breakfast in San Antonio.
The Alamo in downtown San Antonio, TX is a nice little tourist stop. While most of our friends and family told us that the Alamo was over-rated we would disagree. The gardens surrounding the Alamo are very pretty and the museum within the compound has a lot of really neat artifacts. The actual inside of the Alamo was nothing special, but overall this is one tourist attraction worth at least 30-45 minutes of your time.
We took a quick drive along the mission trail to get a peek at each of the major Missions in San Antonio. While we were only able to enter Mission Conception and Mission San Jose (we arrived shortly before the missions closed) it was clear to see that each mission had a slighty different style and architectural influence. I think buildings this old are likely under constant renovations, so be prepared to have rooms/areas closed.
As we drove the mission trail we spotted an oddity along side the road that we had to stop and see. Three 20 foot tall hay bail and metal sculptures in the middle of a field. Very random and yet very satisfying.
Texas Half Marathon Medals
November 14, 2010: San Antonio Rock n Roll Half Marathon