Since the plan was to go to my sister's house for Easter Sunday, I felt like I needed to get a workout done Saturday.
I was very surprised to arrive at Stephen F. Austin State Park and find a sign stating all the campsites were sold out! I was only planning to stick around for 2 hours at the most, just to get in a good hill workout, and since I have a state parks pass, I can visit as often as I like without paying a day pass fee.
Here is a map of the trails for reference... I started out at the Cottonwood trail head near the amphitheater. Just a little way down the trail, the Opossum Loop breaks off to the right and there is a nice little down hill to a bridge over a creek bed then back up the other side of the creek. As you proceed around the loop, you come to the intersection of the Raccoon Bend Trail. If you turn right, it takes you toward the Brazos river which is still pretty high, and if you make a left turn, it leads you back to the Cottonwood trail, or if you follow Raccoon Bend just a little farther, you can follow the Opossum Loop back to the Cottonwood trail. None of these cover too much distance, so I chose a sort of figure 8 pattern for a decent 4 mile hill repeat workout. Each of these trails have a nice little up and down near where they intersect with Cottonwood, so I ran up and down all the hills and walked the flats for recovery... I ended the morning with a couple of miles of easy hiking to check out the Riverbend and Copperhead trails which were both under water my last trip to the park! Things had dried out nicely and the park staff had mowed some of the tall grass to make the trails more visible. It was fun to walk along a few downed trees and jump back and forth over them for fun... also walked along the edges of the little bridge over the creek (forward, backward and side to side) to work on my balance... that's when the mosquitoes attacked in full force!
Side note: Thanks for leaving me the Deep Woods Off, Mellody. Had I not sprayed myself down and rubbed that horrible stuff all over my face and ears, the mosquitoes would have just picked me up and carried me away. As it stood, they were trying to fly inside my ears to bite my eardrums because that's the only place I didn't spray the Off!!!
I am always encouraged when I see families with their children out exploring the trails at a state park, and Saturday was no exception! There were families headed out to the river with their fishing poles and families riding the trails on their bicycles! One little lady was training for a triathlon and her mother had recently completed her first half marathon!
Notes on nutrition... started this workout about 3 hours after I ate breakfast, and find that I don't need any electrolytes or nutrition on walks/runs up to about 2 hours. Anything longer than that and I use 1 or 2 Endurolytes an hour, and might take along a Larabar or a bite or two of cooked peeled sweet potato in a ziploc bag. For ultra distance racing or training longer than 2 hours, I have a liquid nutrition drink that is made from sweet potatoes and other stuff... and I make home made Pemmican bars too. I will post these recipes in a separate blog post.