Susan aka Melon is training for the Marine Corp Marathon and usually runs with Dana on Saturday mornings, but Dana had to work so she sent a sub--me! Melon ran 10 last Saturday--her longest run in 17 months--so I figured it might be a cutback week. I figured wrong. Her schedule had her going 12 miles. The girls had been doing their runs on the bike paths around Zink Lake so I thought a change of scenery might be good. We headed to Bixby to run the trailz (mostly paved) at Washington Irving Park.
There are ~one mile of trailz in the park itself, and they connect to two miles of bike trailz that run along a storm drainage channel. The park is called "Memorial Park because of displays such as this. A steel beam from the World Trade Center is a chilling reminder of the tragedy unloaded on us 12 years ago. There is also a memorial to the Murrah Building bombings, and to the children that lost their lives there.
And someone took a shining to Washington Irving.
Besides naming the park after him, they bronzed a likeness of him.
It is said that he crossed the country and camped near Bixby on one of his journeys.
Here, I show a total lack of respect to the renowned author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Rip Van Winkle.
Leaving the park, we ran west to the trail lalong thr drainage channes. We tool a trail spur to the south to an overlook of the lazy Arkansas, which was not so lazy today. Recent rains had the mile-wide river bank full. I know of two geocaches out there somewhere.
I had ran these trailz on our night run last week, and I thought they'd be boring--flat and you could see where you were going for at least a mile at a time. But everything was so lush and green, and the conversation was lively--and the time just flew. We had a gentle north breeze in our face, but once we turned and headed back south, we warmed up and the sweat-fest was on.
Getting back to the park, we ran the southern part of the trailz. I opted to running on gravel for most of the way through the park--hate the pavement ya know.
We refilled out packs at the car and headed south for the second half of our run. 6-ish miles down, and a little less than six to go. The run across the bridge was a cooker. No wind to speak of, and the sun popped out from behind a cloud cover and proceeded to catch up the heating process.
Once across, we picked up a trail that parallels the river heading east. A super-nice cross-wind cooled us down, and a continuous tree cover and cloud cover shaded the way.
Melon was feeling good. We were steadily improving on our pace, shaving a few seconds of of each mile.
The only bad thing about this trail is that it just goes a mile. How cool it would be if it went on for miles and miles and miles. We hit the end, and continued onto some roads that skirted the outside of several ball fields to get out mileage in.
These rural country roads are actually a great run. Mitch and I ran this route a couple of years ago, running all the way to Lake Bixhoma and back. There is not as lot of traffic to deal with, and most of the people that drive by are friendly, although they probably can't imagine why someone would just be a runnin down the road.
We turned around at the exact mileage to make 12 miles by the time we reached my car. That worked out great. The return trip was beautiful. You could see the river bridge and where our finish was from two miles away. Melon and I slowed down slightly at this point. We were no longer shaving off seconds, but were maintaining our average pace. Considering she ran 12 miles in decent temps but high humidity, and this was the furthest she had ran in a year and a half, I think she did great. I got good marks for the course, and for being a good cheerleader, and an under-the-breath cussing for being a slave-driver. Couldn't ask for more. Jimmy's Egg was glad to see us, and I was glad to have coffee and bacon. :-)