How to Not Introduce Yourself to Trail Running

On Father’s Day I decided to try a more imposing run than just staying on the sidewalks of Metric between Parmer and Braker. Gracywoods Park has a paved trail that connects to roads on either side, and I thought that might be a fun place to run during daylight hours. I also figured my legs might like a bit of a break from pushing the hills between my house and the local community college campus, my turn around point for runs south along Metric.

My run to Gracywoods Park was fine, and I enjoyed the relative cool of running under tree cover instead of dealing with the sun. It was still extremely muggy, and I had a hard time with sweat as I passed behind the apartment complexes next to the trail.

My problems started when I got the far end of the park and tried to jog back to Parmer through the neighborhood instead of just turning around on the path. I got lost on the unfamiliar roads and finally asked a dog walker for directions. She got me pointed in the right direction, but when I saw a possible short cut through Gracywoods Park I took it, ignoring the fact that all the trails in the park were paved. I continued along the dirt trail for several minutes before hitting a sign that told me I was on one of the Walnut Creek Park trails!

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Walnut Creek Park is HUGE (over 200 acres), and I only knew that the entrance was on North Lamar Blvd, the opposite direction of where I wanted to go. I ran into several people with dogs or mountain biking as I struggled to follow the trail signs, but I didn’t think to ask how to get out of the park, especially since I was unclear about where I’d entered. At one point I ended up trying to cross a wide creek because I’d interpreted the parking lot sign post as pointed in that direction (it wasn’t), and my shoes got soaked at a spot where there weren’t any rocks above water level. Somehow after about an hour of wandering the trails I found my way back to the point where I had entered and got back to the paved Gracywoods trail. When I finally got home two hours after I’d left for my solo run after running with Patience I was wiped out and just wanted a shower and water. My feet were killing me from walking/jogging in damp shoes and socks, and I needed breakfast and a nap.

Trail running can be a nice change from road, track, or treadmill running, but it’s never a good idea to do it accidentally! Also, keep your cell phone with you if you’re running alone. I might have had a much easier time with the trail markers if I’d also had a map on my phone!

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About jlscaife

30 something year old animal rescuer, aspiring writer, and all around geek
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