Monday, May 19, 2008

Running from my doorstep...


This am marked a milestone. It is the first time in almost 3 years I could vary my running route from my house in the am.

You see, for many years, I only ran from my front door. It was like that when I started running, through my moves to Flagstaff, Tucson, and finally Austin. When I first moved to Austin almost 15 years ago, someone told me I would hate the hike and bike, that it was "a crowded meat market" (it kinda is if you run at 5-6pm.) well, I believed them, and for a long time, I only ran starting at my front door. This worked great as my various residences were S 5th (I'd run down Dawson, into Zilker, onto the greenbelt and then turn around and run home, or run through Barton Hills), then hyde Park (flat, but I would just zig-zag around the neighborhood), North austin off Duval (a huge flat neighborhood), then Far West...the best running 'hood I have ever had. I had well over a dozen routes, all with the possibility of hills, all beautiful with lots of deer sightings. I would run up Spicewood Springs, run Bull Creek, run Mt Bonnell, Balcones, Mesa Dr., 2222, ValBurn, Ladera Norte, Shoal creek, some of Austin's best routes, all from my doorstep. then I moved to Metric blvd, and I had 15 + miles of single track trail across the street from me. Plus, Wells branch hike and bike, and great neighborhood full of huge oaks.

Almost 3 years ago, we bought a house in Central-northeast austin (51st and Manor). we are minutes from UT, I have a 10 minute drive to work, downtown is just a few minutes away, and Hyde park is about a 7 minute drive.......but, the running stinks. I am bordered by Airport blvd, 183, I 35, and Cameron Rd. Horrible places to run. Plus, I am TERRIFIED of the feral dogs. I am sure a lot of people arelaughing at me, but once when I called the pound to come get a stranded puppy, the dog catcher was scared the puppy's cries would bring out the feral dog packs. One morning, I hoped in my car, and started backing out my garage only to see 2 GIANT pitbulls in my driveway. I have developed one boring loop, and the major lack of street lights, can make it a little scary before work. Not to mention the trash. Shame on all of those who feel like they can just toss their garbage into east austin. Nothing like seeing old couches and mattresses along the road while you run...

this am, I tried the new Mueller trail for the first time...ok, I ran maybe a whooping mile on the trail, but combined with cutting through the Mueller development, and a loop around Bartholomew park, I made a 6 mile run; which is about all I have time for before work. It was great looking up, and seeing the sun rise over the lake (ok, it's man-made, but who cares!) an old air tower was left up, and it was neat to see it on the horizon. there were definitely no feral pit bulls or old couches. I cannot wait until the whole trail is done. then, I will get 5 miles of crushed granite surface, with beautiful native plants landscaping the whole thing, and sculptures by local artists. So far we have a beautiful giant spider to run under.

There is something wonderful about running from your front door, and coming home, collapsing in a heap on the floor. In this age of global warming, it sometimes seems silly to me to drive to run. Weekends are better...the lack of traffic opens some options up, but M-F I am a slave to a very limited area if I don't want to hop in the car and drive somewhere. I never realized how good I had it living off Far west and Metric when I took in some really beautiful neighborhoods...and having walnut creek park across the street was a true gem. How many trail runners who live in an urban area have 15 miles of trail outside their door? the photo is an old one from the park across from my apt on metric. There was a nice little stretch along a creekbed.

Don't get my wrong....I love owning a home. To do that in Austin is not an easy thing. Most folks I know can't afford it, and have very long commutes since they can only afford to live outside of town. the trade off of getting a home in Austin was losing the possibility of a dozen or more great runs up to 20+ miles out my front door....but it looks like I am getting there again!

2 comments:

Mark said...

I've had a few encounters with "nasty" dogs on my early morning runs and it's no fun.

Sounds like a great new trail, and I love the spider!!!

meredith said...

Congrats on enjoying the new route!! I am very excited for you and Pancake :)
mer