Although Laura and I are miles apart and even have an ocean in the between us, we managed to sign up for races for the same weekend without even knowing it. Several months ago we were having a conversation about what’s to come and as it turned out she will be running a half marathon tomorrow night and I will wake up Sunday morning for a 30K trail run.
This will be her first race since adding Nahuel to the family and I have my second trail run on the docket. Thankfully this one is a smidge shorter than the last one especially considering this was the worst training session I’ve had yet.
As always, I sat down to plan out when I would run each distance. My goal was to hit 18 miles 2 weeks ago and then taper. Life happened or I should say I put other things first and all of a sudden it was 2 weeks out and I still hadn’t done 16. I also managed to go the entire week without putting my running shoes on between the 14 and 16. Talk about feeling my legs those next couple days! I also made the decision (both good and bad) to run in the shoes I will run in this weekend. As it turns out I have a slightly different form with those shoes and it meant my calves felt like it was my first run in ages.
Regardless and whether we’re ready or not, this weekend we’ll both be pitter-pattering our way across several miles. And it’s been nice to be able to talk about similar runs again even though we’re so far apart.
The weather had warmed up again and it was time to pull out the shorts and t-shirt. I’ve been bored with running my normal routes lately and since I got home early from work and the sun was still shining I decided to make my way to the park. Thankfully since the last time I wrote about the park I have learned my way around and am able to make the loop without any wrong turns. I eased my down the embankment to get along the creek at the bottom.
I was amazed by how different it looked. Just two weeks earlier I had taken the dog I’m watching for a walk. Granted there had been torrential rains on Halloween (hence my need for dog sitting), but there was water flowing through the creek and there was even a waterfall. It was so peaceful with the sound of running water and being surrounded by the trees even though the highway isn’t that far away.
The two weeks had taken their toll and the ground had soaked up the water. I ran along the path and where there used to be waterfalls and places where the trail was overtaken by water was now dry rocks and the makeshift cement trail. I was still enjoying being one of only four other people on the trail and feeling like I wasn’t stuck in the city.
I continued on and made it to the spot where I should turn left to make my loop up the hill only to find it impossible to turn. I knew they were doing some construction to connect this park to another, but I didn’t think they’d block so much of it off. This meant that my 2 loop run was now becoming a multiple there-and-back. While it wasn’t what I’d hoped for, it was more enjoyable than pounding the pavement alongside the cars. I was able to let my mind run free in nature and truly enjoy my run.
About a week ago I moved into my house and have been getting settled in. With the move, running was put on the back burner while I painted new pieces of furniture and got things somewhat organized. One of the benefits of my location is about a half mile away there is a park with a mile trail around it as well as a basketball court. So I woke up on Sunday morning and decided it was time to venture over and discover what Balcones District Park had to offer.
I had seen on Google maps a rough idea of how the trail would go. So I cut across the parking lot and found what I assumed to be the trail. I followed it down across a dry creek bed and up before heading into the trees. I thoughtfully landed my feet between the big rocks as I my 2 mm FiveFingers soles are not helpful on these types of terrains. I passed a man walking his dog and felt like I had to be on the right track.
Then, the side paths began. I tried to keep right as much as possible as I assumed these paths would cut across the circular trail and cut my mile loop short. Sometimes I selected the trail based on which one had less overgrowth. It also got confusing when I’d end up at a dry creek bed and the rock path somewhat disappeared into the empty rock bed. I even took a slight detour when a tree had fallen across the path and blocked it, but quickly continued on my way.
After twists and turns and even getting splinters from brushing away branches from hitting me in the face, I ended up at yet another fork in the road. To the right was a gate with an paved road on the other side. To the left continued the trail. I took a few steps down the trail and decided to turn around. I figured the best idea was to get on a street that would have a sign at some point that I would hopefully recognize. I took a right once I hit the asphalt only to realize it was a dead end. I turned around and headed up the hill. It was then that I saw a sign that was actually a street I’d been on during my last run and made it back home safely.
My goal is to now start the loop backwards and see where I end up. Maybe I’ll have better luck or recognize something from my last run. The odds of distinguishing one tree from another is slim, but it’s worth a shot!