After careful deliberation, I decided to attempt to run on a different trail on Saturday morning in order to facilitate a nice change of scenery and also for new opportunties for failure. After a quick study of available options, I came to the conclusion that Oak Cliff Nature Preserve would indeed be a pleasant departure from my previous routine so I departed with haste and great hope that new adventure would await me.
Upon arrival at the preserve, my hopes faded immediately upon seeing at least 50-60 bicycle enthusiasts in tight bicycle shorts gathered around the entrance. Still slightly squeamish from a run last week where I was briefly followed by a man with possible unpure intentions, I quickly changed course and headed for the hardy Cedar Hill State Park.
The Plan for Saturday called for 6 miles, so I decided to run the Blue Trail (7.5 miles) and see how my lack of conditioning would fair. If needed, I could run the 6 miles as planned and crawl the last 1.5 miles so that I could enjoy enjoy the scenery and the heat.
I started out running as slow as I could and with great deliberation. I forcibly held back any intentions to speed up and the strategy worked out brilliantly. I ran the first 4 miles without any need of emergency help and thus decided to take a walking break to invigorate myself for the final 3.5 miles. As I began my walk, I heard a pack of coyotes in the not too distant vicinity yelping with enthusiasm. I feared that my scent had reached them and I fearfully pondered whether I could escape their jaws if they came upon me. I decided that I would not be eaten without a brave but probably fuitless battle. Thus I grabbed the first stick I could and prepared for the worst. But alas! Mile 6 came upon me with no sound of the howling coyotes. With renewed hope I began to run again in earnest, hoping that my escape from the evil canines was successful.
As the temperature increased, I decided that walking the inclines and running the rest of the terrain would indicate sound judgement on my behalf so I followed this strategy for the rest of the run. As I approached the last half mile, I came upon 2 hikers who had stopped on the side of the trail. One of the poor hikers was laying face down on the side of the trail with his head resting on a water bottle. I assumed that the young man had succumbed to the heat and asked if they needed assistance. The conscious hiker replied that they had assistance en route so I continued my journey and decided that I would check on them upon my run completion. Shortly thereafter, I saw a kindly gentleman with an ice pack on the trail heading my way. I stopped and told him that I was indeed feeling fine and had no need for the ice pack. But there was gentleman in great dispair not 100 yards up this trail that would greatly benefit from his assistance! He gave me a disposing look and walked away towards the fallen hiker. How unpleasantly rude! I felt that this was no way to treat a lifesaving man as myself! But hark, I did not let his brashness affect me for I was closing in on the trailhead and was on course to relief myself of this run.
When I completed the trail, I immediately dispatched myself to the bike cleaning station to hose myself down with its cooling water. Upon my return, I saw 2 gentleman assisting the wobbly hiker back to their vehicle. I felt confident that his health was on the rebound and thought of the matter no more.
I finished my 7.5 miles a little faster than last week and felt that my training is making adequate yet slothful progress. I will study The Plan before Sunday's run to ensure my mileage is close to the prescribed amount. Thus I will adjust Sunday's run accordingly.