I had a change of plans for this weekend and was able to take advantage of a HCTR group run out in Bandera. I love to go out there; to me, it is totally decompression time. For whatever reasons, that country just speaks to me. I love being on the trail there, and I really like being by myself as well (knowing that there are people around to notice if I don’t come back is a nice safety feature).
It was a no-drop run of the Bandera 50K course, so we were doing a good job of making sure folks made the various turns. I wasn’t with the fastest group but I wasn’t with the slowest group…in fact, I was the bridge between the two halves. Which worked well until we got about 5–6 miles in, to a section I wasn’t as familiar with. I made a wrong turn, realized it, doubled back, and waited for the folks behind me. Except they didn’t come…and I’d lost sight of the people in front of me…and I thought I knew where I was going…but I didn’t have the route with me.
Well, it turns out I didn’t know where I was going, and I made a lengthy loop back around to where I’d gotten separated from everyone in the first place. So I went to the road (I know enough of the park to have a sense of where I am, even on a pretty unfamiliar trail). Caught up with the trail I thought I was supposed to be on, ran some more, then wound up back at the road again.
Since I didn’t remember a second road crossing at that point, I decided to simply take the road back in to the ranger station. As I came up to Trail 8, I had a vague memory that this was where I was supposed to be. Uh, no–no more wandering around on hunches, especially since I realized that the others might be searching for me or perhaps concerned, which would affect their runs. The smart thing to do was to go back to the campsite and call it a day (by the time I got back, I’d have 3 hours under my belt, so I’d got my run in).
As I came up to the campsite, Janice was driving out. She was heading to Chapas to meet the last runner in the bunch; I hopped in the car and we drove out. Five minutes of waiting and along came the group of folks I’d been just ahead of before I did my own thing. We regrouped and headed on down along the route. Turns out I’d only missed about a mile of the actual course in my meanderings.
An hour or so later, we ran head-on into the first group, from opposite directions of the same trail. Everyone had gone slightly different ways and yet we all met up to run the final 20 minutes or so together. Perfect! Once into the campsite, Mark had burgers and grilled potatoes ready. Yum! I had a victory Pepsi and watched the others get ready to head back out to cover the rest of the 50K course.
The drive back to Austin was nice. Our kids had a band holiday party that night; the hubby and I grabbed dinner after I showered up and then went to chaperone.
It was a lovely Saturday.