This weekend, Rogue Cedar Park officially moved to its new training facility.
Art by Bill Schroeder
It’s staying dark longer, so our 6:30ish start required extra care since the new location sits just off a busy road. And of course we took a wrong turn right from the beginning. But I more or less knew where we were going–the map showed us picking up an older Rogue route after about a mile and a half. We just couldn’t run an autopilot to get there.
At the first water stop (in front a fire station–handy) neither of us felt great. I’d run two hard workouts Wednesday and Thursday, plus I’m still having some soreness in my back. And it was 76* with a billion percent humidity. We pondered the question, “Which do I hate worse–blazing sun but no humidity or overcast and humid?” and unanimously decided blazing sun is worse. But damn, if it’s gonna be this humid, it should at least rain and cool us off a little.
This neighborhood is an interesting mix of brand-new McMansions, older traditional homes with white limestone facades and tin roofs, and both single-and double-wides. I’m guessing that with Austin’s ever-expanding sprawl, it won’t be long before the trailer-dwellers are completely pushed out. One old guy steadfastly hangs on, though. The decrepit-looking trailer’s yard is unkempt, sections covered with broken ladders, rusted bits of fence, and piles of unidentifiable junk. At one point he’d displayed a religious shrine, but it has fallen to decay. Handmade signs staked to the ground every couple of feet declared that the city stole his lawnmowers.
Two miles in, we’d already taken a walk break. And at three miles. Plus we ran through a set of sprinklers in front of the community center. (Side note: if you’re walking dogs and we pass on the same sidewalk, don’t loosen their leashes and let them get close enough to lick our sweaty legs. They may be the sweetest dogs in the world, but it’s still a wild card to have them lunge at us while we are running. Rein them in, please.) The water/Gatorade stop was a welcome sight.
Between the water stop and the next street crossing, we ran on the sidewalk mostly under the shade of trees planted along the curbs. At one point, a grackle shrieked and flew out of the tree overhead. It was a bit Hitchcockian.
At 4.25 miles, we almost missed another turn–not that it really would have mattered since our turnaround was at 4.5–but we got back on track, then sat on the curb and took another water/fuel break before starting the return trip. We stopped at the water/Gatorade again, joined by some guys at mile 17 of 22. I felt like melted crap at 6.5 miles. (Side note: HOW was this only 6.5 miles??)
We started setting micro-goals; run to the water, run to the next intersection. The sun had come out and we wanted to be done.
At a major street crossing, we pressed the button for the Walk signal and crossed in the crosswalk when the signal changed. The road is six lanes, three in each direction. Cars lined up (behind the crosswalk) in the left lane and the right lane, but the center of the three was empty. As we approached, still with a Walk signal, an SUV blew across the stop-behind-this-line line and into the crosswalk, finally stopping with its front tires completely past the crosswalk and its back tires squarely in the center of our path. The driver and passenger were both looking in their laps. I’m not sure either of them ever saw us.
The next two miles were mostly event-free, although the old guy was out, hammering another handmade sign into his yard. Dark clouds had rolled in and the breeze had picked up.
After stopping one last time for water (and for the fire truck to drive by), we headed up the “yay, a hill at the end” hill to cross one final intersection. Again, we waited for the Walk signal. Again, cars in two lanes waited behind the crosswalk. And again, a car in the third lane blew into the crosswalk, apparently intending to make a right turn on red without actually stopping. The driver barely stopped in time–if we had been a second faster, she would have hit us. Some days I’m glad I’m slow.
By the time we got back, a storm was clearly on our heels. Dark clouds hung overhead, the wind battered the inflatable camel outside the car dealer, and I felt a raindrop or two. We’d run 8.75 instead of the nine we intended, but I did not have it in me to circle the parking lot to make an even nine. I was done.
We joined the Rogue/Tri Doc party–breakfast tacos, a raffle–while foam rolling and stretching. Familiar faces and new ones, familiar route with a new twist, and a completely new home base. What’s old is new again.
Art by Bill Schroeder