2010-09-22 - Lady Bird Lake Loop

~10.2 miles @ ~9.8 min/mi

Graffiti on the spillway gate pillars of Longhorn Dam reads "YOUR ... RELEASE ... AND ... IGNORANCE ... YOUR ... ESCAPE" as I cross toward the south side of the river on the scary-high pedestrian walkway. I run on the edge away from the precipice and hope no vertigo strikes me en route. Soon I realize that I'm seeing the words in reverse order, and missing the ending.

Tall buildings in downtown Austin have their tops airbrushed off by fog which thickens as the morning progresses. I'm doing the Lady Bird Lake loop trail on the final official day of summer, with temperate-cool (~75°F) conditions. Light drizzle begins and soon ends as I follow the path alongside South Lakeshore Blvd. A homeless person sleeps on a metal park bench.

A young lady, trotting the opposite direction with a buff young gentleman, pulls up her singlet to wipe her brow and flashes a maroon jog-bra. She wishes me good morning. I greet the pair again on the opposite side of the river when our paths cross near the I-35 bridge. A scruffy bearded man at the freeway offramp holds a sign that says, "WHY LIE? I NEED A BEER". I wonder whether it's more successful than the usual appeals.

My circuit commences before the dam at mile marker "6", by the baseball fields just east of the old Holly Power Plant. This morning seems to be Construction Day in east Austin: neighborhood streets are blocked as crews do road repair, and my attempt to get to Metz Park is thwarted by a muddy detour. As I run I discover a better place to leave a car, the little lot on Canterbury St at the north end of the dam just off N Pleasant Valley Rd. The old Beach Boys song "Pleasant Valley Sunday" runs through my head briefly. When I finish my loop and drive by, the parking lot is half full of construction equipment.

As I climb a hill I tell myself I'm running well, until footsteps behind me reveal a shirtless young fellow who speeds by leaving me feeling like a slowpoke. Friction makes me take my fluorescent-lime-green shirt off and tie it around my waist after 4 miles. My spirits flag until I suck on hard candies and take a Succeed! e-cap at the one-hour mark, after which I begin to progress somewhat better. Or maybe it's the increasing number of ladies whom I encounter on the western end of the loop trail?

The Nike "Free" slipper-shoes I wear feel good until about mile 8, at which point my feet (esp. the left metatarsals) start to twinge. Cars are stop-and-go, mostly "stop", on the major roads into town. RunTex company sponsored water coolers are a welcome gift at miles ~4 and ~7. I accelerate and manage to pull my average pace down from ~10 min/mi in the first half to ~9.6 min/mi for the second.

Ribs on the right side ache when I breathe too deeply, a phenomenon that started a few days after the fall I took on the 2010-09-19 - Schaeffer Farms run Sunday morning with Caren but which didn't much trouble me until today. I hope the old bones are just bruised and not cracked or broken!

(cf. 2006-07-08 - Town Lake Loop, 2009-07-18 - Austin Town Lake Loop, 2010-07-16 - Lady Bird Lake Loop, ...) - ^z - 2010-10-03