Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Austin and Town Lake Trail

Andrea and I spent last weekend in Austin. It was time for us to get away from Lake Jackson and be alone. We had a great time eating good food and shopping as Andrea tried to spend what was left of her birthday money.

We stayed downtown on 5th street and IH-35. Saturday morning I woke up, drank coffee, stretched and headed out of the door to run on Town Lake Trail. It has been years since I ran in downtown Austin but I remember Town Lake (which is actually a river) being an excellent place to run.

As I ran south on Travis toward the river I miss-stepped on an uneven part of the sidewalk and aggravated my twisted ankle. I was mad and limped around for a while contemplating walking back to the hotel room and forgetting about the run. I thought about it while I walked and said “Forget it, I’m running on it”. After a couple of strides my ankle started feeling better and by the time I made it to the trail I completely forgot about it.

I ran past members of the Austin Rowing Club as they cleaned their crafts and got them ready to launch onto Town Lake. I turned down a slight grade and was blown away by the number of people who were running on the Town Lake Trail on a Saturday morning. There were training groups running together getting ready for some unnamed race. There were both moms and dads pushing strollers with kids who were content to ride. There were couples running together and there were runners running alone, some pushing themselves and some running at a comfortable pace.

Town lake is the most festive place I have ever run outside of a marathon. It is like a party of people who have their health and ability to move in common. We navigated the trail together with a sameness of purpose.

I crossed the lake on a foot bridge made especially for those moving under their own power and ran back the way I came on the opposite side of the river. The south side of the river trail passes Runtex – one of the best running stores in the world. Runtex puts out igloo coolers with water, free to whoever is using the trail. I crossed Congress Avenue Bridge and headed back to the hotel. This was one of the best runs I’ve had in a while. I lost myself in the atmosphere and forgot that my ankle ever hurt or that running takes any effort at all.

Town Lake Trail is a great place to run.