Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Happy Trails

When I got home today I decided to go for a quick run before I had a chance to start thinking of excuses not to do it. So I headed down to the bayou trails and began running east toward downtown, expecting it to be much of the same old. But as I approached the Sabine Street bridge, I realized that the new stairs were finally open and free of yellow tape. And because all runners like to go exploring, I went to investigate.

The stairs led to a finally-reopened stretch of neatly paved trail that headed into downtown. It went past the Aquarium, past the Wortham Theater, dipping and rising and twisting back on itself as it gave seemingly endless options for running up stairs or inclines, at street level or below, past waterfalls and canoe launches, around benches, mulberry trees, and little nooks where one or two people could stand and look at the bayou, at daffodils or at other sections of meandering trail.

Most junctures were marked by signs, vaguely art deco, with a buffalo on them and discreet arrows pointing the way to parks, theaters, parking lots, business district and even University of Houston's downtown campus. To the best of my knowledge the university had never been accessible via these trails before, so I'll have to investigate more thoroughly and check if it's really possible now. That would make for a very nice run, and one where I would almost certainly be able to find easy access to water fountains and restrooms. Because you see, that was my only complaint whatsoever with the new (and newly reopened) sections of trail-- no water fountains. But I did see a lot of shiny capped-off pipes in places that looked perfect for water fountains, so maybe those will come later. I hope so. Because for now, these sections of trail are strictly BYOB. Although I suppose if we really want to get picky about it, you're never far from a restroom and water fountain at 5:00 on a weekday afternoon if you're in the shadow of an office tower. You just have to find dehydration more embarrassing than walking into an office building in sweaty running clothes, which I do.

But that wasn't necessary today. I made a few wrong turns and found I couldn't get to the trail that led toward the university without having to retrace a lot of distance. And since I had left a note for Dan saying I would only be gone an hour, I figured I had better head back. So I wandered my way up stairs, down walkways and around new sections that when some of these trails were first created a few years ago had been only scarred and muddy lots, treacherous with trash and deep pointless gashes from a backhoe. Now they were clean and well-tended with trails, lights and flower beds. Everything wound around and dipped under the Sabine Street bridge, eventually connecting back into the original bayou trail so seamlessly that I found myself laughing. Sometimes a design is done that well.

I'm not sure how far I went, but I got home within the hour, as I had promised. So with the little stops I made to check things out along new sections on the trail and to read lost dog notices stuck to the water fountains on the old sections of trail (Chewy, go home!), I figure I'll call it five miles. It was probably a little longer, but that seems fair enough. Perhaps I'll go down there Saturday with my GPS and some water and scout myself a new route.

Happy Trails!

Recent Workouts
Wednesday: ~5 mile run, including stairs
Tuesday: 30 minute elliptical, 15 minute stair stepper
Monday: massage day
Sunday: 30 minute elliptical, 45 minute core and strength training


Jill said...

Sounds great!! Going to have to check it out sometime this summer! Maybe there will be water fountains by then.

Flo said...

Wow, that sounds great. Even though Hawaii is home of Ironman and Xterra, it's not very athlete friendly. We get to run along the side of the highways with little to no shoulder. Maybe someday we will enter the 21st century and have trails and paths like you do.

Holly said...

I love exploring new trails! Sounds like you had a good workout and it is fun when a trail comes together...

Cliff said...

When i was training for marathon, along the route there is a library. That's the only place I can think of that there is a water foutain..

so during Sat morning, u will see this sweaty guy coming in, walk pass the books, go to the fountain, filled up and walk back out :D..I am sure they can smell me as well...

goldenlucyd said...

Hi Dear Bunnygirl
Decided to drop by for a bit of virtual exercise. Hope you're enjoying springtime all the way 'round and that work is no worse than usual.
I think I'll lie down now. All this training is exhausting!
Sending lot of good thoughts to you and bunbun.

Rachel said...

I love your posts! They're so descriptive. Sounds like a really fun run. I love exploring. It's a nice change of pace. I had a similar experience when I visited Boston for a conference. I went out for a run and got lost on the way back. I ended up going 10 miles by the time I found the hotel. I decided to sign up for my first 1/2 marathon after that!

Kewl Nitrox said...

Nothing makes a runner happier than finding a new route with lots of nooks and croonie to check out. Except maybe a new route with lots of nooks and croonie to check out AND water coolers.

Thanks for bringing us with ya!

From Here to There said...

Sounds awesome! We're planning on moving this year, and one of my fears is... where to run?

Explorer! That's it! I will find new paths... :)