Greetings! My name is Brett, and this is my first year as a Rock ‘n’ Blog member. Some of you may know me as @run_for_beer on Instagram and Twitter. For my first post, I will tell you a little bit about my decision to run the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon as my final Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event of the year.
My running journey began in 2011 while stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Air Force had required members to run the fitness test for a few years at this point, but I never took it seriously. In July of that year, I failed my test by running my mile and a half in 16 minutes — two minutes slower than the cut-off time. My Commander gave me three months to pass a retest or lose my promotion. This was the wake-up call needed to quit smoking and take running seriously. I immediately headed to a local running store, got fitted for the proper shoes and tossed my last pack of cigarettes in the trash. Two months later, I ran the mile and a half in just under 12 minutes and scored an excellent on my test.
While training to retake my test, I signed up for the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon that was being held in November of that year. After a few more months of training, I completed my first half marathon in 2:30. After the race, I decided that I would do the marathon the next year. My marathon training didn’t go as planned. My longest run leading up to it was 17 miles. It was unseasonably hot on race day, and I barely finished, with a time of 6:22.
Fast forward to present day — I’m no longer in the Air Force and live in Southern California. Upon my selection to the Rock ‘n’ Blog team, San Antonio immediately caught my eye as a December race. My wife and I still have a lot of friends there whom we miss, and that first marathon left a bad taste in my mouth. The course looks much different than it did in 2012. The back stretch back then seriously lacked scenery and crowd support, which was extremely demoralizing. The new course focuses much more on places that make San Antonio a great city. Now included along the route are Brackenridge Park, the area near the zoo and the Pearl Brewery complex.
Along with missing friends and wanting to run the race again, we really miss some of the food and drink spots in downtown San Antonio.
The main reason I am returning to run this amazing race is to visit some of the historic places on the course, such as The Alamo, the Riverwalk, Menger Hotel, and the Tower of the Americas. These landmarks play a huge role in our nation’s history. The second reason for this much anticipated trip is the food! San Antonio is well known for its dining scene and large portions. Below are a few places that should definitely be on your itinerary.
- Magnolia Pancake Haus is the best breakfast/brunch place in town. It’s located just north of the airport, and you can expect a wait to get in. Magnolia serves normal breakfast fare, but their pancakes are where it’s at. You can get them whole wheat, gluten-free or even with bacon cooked in!
- Texas de Brazil serves churrascaria, and you should probably wait until after crossing the finish line to dine here. If you’ve never been to a place like this, wait staff comes around continuously with different cuts of meat until you are ready to stop. Some cuts you will get are chicken, filet mignon, pork chop and beef shank. A giant salad bar with soup and sides also comes with your dinner. Texas de Brazil has an extensive wine list and a “wine angel” that retrieves each bottle ordered. If you are a vegetarian, do not go here!
- Lulu’s Bakery & Cafe was featured on the popular show Man v. Food and can be found about a mile from downtown. What makes this location famous? A giant fried chicken steak and a three-pound cinnamon roll! Neither one of these items should be consumed by one person in a single sitting, especially the cinnamon roll. It’s literally larger than a human head.
- Soho Wine & Martini Bar specializes in house-made infusions and craft cocktails. Some infusions previously featured are brisket bourbon and ghost chile vodka. If the bar staff can’t make it, it probably doesn’t exist. My wife once asked for something that tastes like Nutella, and the bartender made a Nutella martini on the spot. Soho is located on the street level of the Riverwalk.
- The Friendly Spot is an outdoor bar a few blocks from the Riverwalk. Here you will find more than 300 beers in bottles/cans and another 75+ on tap. Kids and dogs are welcome, and the bar frequently plays movies on a large screen.
- Howl at the Moon is a dueling piano bar on the street level of the Riverwalk. Patrons always pack this place and have a good time. Drink prices are very reasonable, service is outstanding and the dueling pianos are the best. Customers can choose what the pianists play, but if you tip a little extra, your song moves up the list. Definitely a great place for groups looking to have a good time.
These are just a few of the amazing places that this city has to offer. If you would like more suggestions on things to do and places to go, feel free to reach out to me!