Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back-to-back half marathons at Lake Whitney

This weekend was the sort-of annual Lake Whitney State Park camping trip with a bunch of friends from church.  At least 20 families went this year, the biggest group ever.  There were kids running around everywhere, the weather was perfect, and I think everyone had a blast.

Before we left, I e-mailed Phil, whom I met at an NTTR trail run a few weeks ago.  He lives in the area and had told me there were some nice trails near the state park.  He didn't steer me wrong!  Just a couple hundred yards from the entrance to the state park, there is a wildlife management area gate.  I don't know the full extent of land this leads into, but there are miles and miles of single track, double track, equestrian trails, game trails, and cattle trails where someone can run for hours.

On Saturday morning, I ran from our campsite, found the gate, and explored the trails for a bit before circling back to pick up Kurt.  He said he normally runs only about 5 miles, but he ran a good 9 miles this morning, about 6 of that on trails.  My Garmin read 13.3, but I ran a quarter mile or so before it picked up the satellites.

On Sunday, I met Phil at the gate.  He was running 20, as he is training for a trail marathon in 3 weeks.  I didn't think I was up to 20, primarily because of time.  We ran together for 12 or so miles (15.6 total for me).  He runs here frequently, and knows the trails well.

This is a delightful place to run.  Totally flat, but with good variation in surfaces.  I didn't run in any sand with Kurt, but with Phil we got into some sections that had pretty deep sand.  As much as I don't like sand, I was reminded that Vibram Five Fingers are the best for sand.  (I haven't posted an update on my Treks.  I love them!  Update coming soon.)  There are some nice views of the lake, plenty of cows, and a few deer.  We saw bobcat and turkey tracks; some bow hunters were out there looking for a turkey dinner.  We ran through pastures, saw scrubby mesquite and blooming cactus, and followed trails through thick canopies of trees.  I wish I'd brought my camera to get some shots of the trail.  If this were closer to home, I would definitely become a regular.  In any case, I will have some good trail running to look forward to on our next Lake Whitney camping trip!

Oh, yeah, I can't forget Kelly.  Both days I left before she got up, but by the time I got back she had gotten the kids up (rather, the sun had gotten the kids up and the kids had gotten her up!) and dressed and fed them breakfast, and had breakfast waiting for me.  She tells me she's happy to do it, so I'll take her word for it!  Thanks, Kelly!

This is the course I followed with Phil.

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