Slogging It

Last night, I hit the HCTR’s Wednesday night club run. Somehow, it felt cooler (when I got home, the temperature was “only” in the 90s!). Part of that was the bit of breeze and another part was running on shady trails.

Hill Country Trail Runners Wednesday Night Club Run
Hill Country Trail Runners group at the Hill of Life. The Wednesday night club run, then led by Henry Hobbs (blue headband, left) was a training staple for me in 2009. Photo Credit: Henry Hobbs

We did another trail I didn’t know:  Foxy.

Ok, I’ve spent a fair amount of time running on the trails on the greenbelt, and I’m the first to admit that I’m bad with names; often times, I’ll say I’ve never been on such-and-such trail, but when we get there, I’ve run it before and know it.

I’ve now been on two now (Rudy’s Loop and this one) with the Wednesday night group that I’d never run on, never stumbled upon in my wanderings. Henry simply knows every trail like the back of his hand, and Marcia is very fearless — taking a map, going out, and just wandering solo.

Mentors, Not Maps for Me

Hill Country Trail Runners Wednesday Night Club Run
That’s me, enjoying the downhill as the Hill Country Trail Runners Wednesday night club run comes back to the main trail on the Barton Creek greenbelt. Photo Credit: Henry Hobbs

I think I’d feel better about doing that if I had decent map skills. Trail maps are hard for me to follow because my spatial sense is nil. What I’m experiencing never looks to me like what is depicted on the map; I do much better with a mentor. I’d also feel better about wandering with a buddy, like having Boo with me (though it’s too hot and dry to even think about wandering around with a dog. And Boo was so picky about what he drank his water out of that I doubt I could’ve ever carried water for him that he would’ve drunk. I miss you, Boo!)

So my goal is to do some exploring and to try to find the various “new” trails again on my own. That’s how you learn a trail, to go out there blind and try to run it. If you REALLY want to know a trail, then you have to flag it. Everything looks different when you’re putting out markers. Good flagging is an art. I’m a good flagger, if I do say so myself.

This morning, it was just me running at Lady Bird Lake as my friend Dr. Stephanie (to clarifiy from my other Stephanie running friend  ) is off on vacation. Between my trips in July, her trip, and then my conference in August, we will have gone some six weeks without seeing one another for our usual Thursday morning run. This happens every summer — I think we missed one another almost ALL of last summer between my Ironman/Port Aransas trip and her summer getaway!

Since I was by myself,  I made a goal of running the 7-mile loop without walking. That sounds very pedestrian, I know. But I haven’t done it this summer; either I’ve needed a break or a friend has needed to walk or it’s been just too blamed hot to move. I puttered along. There was NO speed whatsoever, but I did not walk any and felt pretty good when I finished. Drove me nuts though; the entire way back in, I was running towards a very dark sky, where it was clearly raining. I kept praying, “Please rain on me!  I want to run in the rain!” but no such luck. The wind didn’t even pick up until I got back to my car in the parking lot.

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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