Continuing my exploration of the Austin area trails, I went to Pace Bend Park in Spicewood, TX. Thankfully I had read others' comments that the trails were not well marked and that getting turned around was easy. I did not even spot the trailhead while looking for a place to park! That combined with wondering if I was going to be ticketed since I did not have a parking decal (no one at park entrance when I arrived) made me feel very "off" starting my run.
I had printed a trail map at home and it immediately seemed off when the "bulk water station" location did not match the map. When I started running trails, I learned that trail running requires being adventurous and in this park, I knew that even if I got lost, I would not be far from a park road.
I parked at a camping area near one of the coves off Lake Travis and soaked in the sights -- just what I needed this Easter. I ran down the road towards the park entrance for about a mile before finally finding a trail entrance. Along the way, I battled myself over how far I would run. Mentally, I was not convinced I could run 15 miles-- the distance I needed prior to next week's 30K. I've struggled with getting the confidence to run longer distances this year.
Once I hit the trails, I still doubted myself but basked in the joy of being on trails. There were times when I was unsure if I was going the correct direction and I pulled out my phone to take pictures with hand signals to help me find my way back; based on the maps, an out and back was the only way I could get in my mileage.
|Gorgeous view of Lake Travis|
I decided to run out 4-5 miles and turn around since I doubted my legs could do 15 on the rocky terrain; I was super cautious on the rocks and tree roots and I remembered that training on rocky terrain makes it easier!
|Beautiful windy trails through the woods|
I turned around close to being 5 miles out and thankfully the return trip was not confusing to me. I made it back to my car and decided to go back out for a couple of miles and call it at 12 miles. I convinced myself that I could not do 15 miles since my legs felt like they were dragging.
I ran out the same path along the road and spotted a trailhead that I somehow missed previously. I decided to run it out and turn around after about a mile....somehow I got turned around at one of the junctions, ran the wrong way (recognized it from the out/back from the other trailhead) and then just decided to go back the way from my prior out and back. I heard cars on the park road and knew I was not truly lost--- thankfully! Since I was at 14.60 when I got back to my car, I ran past it on the road and back to make it 15 miles. I guess my body decided that it could do the mileage and got lost to force me to do it!
|Negative split run!|
|I made it!|
The only negatives about the park are that the trails are not well marked and they are relatively flat; the trail markers have numbers on them and the map online names the trails and does not give numbers (odd!!!). I hoped for some hills during the run but it was barely any up/down. Overall, I loved the park and the seclusion of the trails and see running them frequently since they are nearby.