Saturdays are for long runs; okay, Sundays work too. Any day really that you have enough time to set aside several hours to embark on a journey. This past Saturday was that for me. I have found that running hills within my long runs is the best way for me to get in the hill training which builds strength along with endurance. The run I chose for Saturday is one of my favorites; primarily because it includes some of the best views of Austin, a number of other serious runners, nice homes and roads, hills and flats and even a couple grocery stores and port-a-potties for restroom breaks.
I begin at Austin High School, a popular start for most people running along Lady Bird Lake, but instead of running the trail (alongside stroller pushers, dog walkers and groups running four or more abreast which blocks up the trail), I head out. I run up to Lake Austin Blvd which is good level ground to get my legs warm. This is where you see several training groups spread out, usually coming back in from a run (as I start around 7:00; late in the running world). I take it past Mozarts’ (which sits handsomely on Lake Austin) and head around the corner to the very aptly named Scenic Rd.
From there I reconnect to Pecos, another road chalk full of more beautiful homes, connecting to 35th street. From there I continue west, back toward the water and up uP UP Mt. Bonnell Road. When I reach the top of the road, I always run the steps up the mountain to take in one of the better views of the entire city of Austin. At this point I am only five miles in but it all seems worth efforts exhausted and those yet to come. Back down the steps, I continue around the bend toward Balcones to head north. I follow this up to Far West Blvd and head west again up uP the hill on Far West to reach Mesa and turn left (north) on up to Steck Blvd. which hosts Anderson High School. On longer runs I have continued on Mesa till I reached the Arboreteum; good to add a mile out and another back for a 22 miler.
I turned around at Anderson High and headed back. When I reach the intersection of Balcones and Mt Bonnell, I decided to continue down Balcones, as it is less abrupt (not as steep; easier on the knees). This forced me to run an extra quarter mile out and quarter back once back at Austin High.
I tried the mapmyrun app to show you, with hopes of being able to embed. It took some getting used to but I think I was able to give you a pretty good idea of my route. If nothing else this is good to show you the elevation. The map is also post on my new twitter @themohawkmoon. Furthermore, under the same name on Instagram, you can take a look back at my earlier post, for some Mt Bonnell pictures.
All in all – Beautiful run, which combined strength and endurance, on a gorgeous day.