20 of ’20: #8. McLane Stadium Running

This is my second annual “Best Of” series of year-end posts. Some, I assume, will be brief. Some longer. All, varying degrees of serious. I’ll try my best not to use the words or phrases “unprecedented,” “new normal,” or “unpresidented”, but I can’t make any promises.

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My plan in 2020 was to continue my 2019 practice of running a 5K every month. That was obviously thwarted by the pandemic. In fact, the last 5K I ran was the Fresh15 in Tyler in early March, and I remember very clearly my Enneagram 6 spidey-senses kicking in and thinking “This virus I’m hearing about feels like something I need to be aware of.” That was back when we assumed hand sanitizer would do the trick, and the stuff was in abundance during the race.

But when things shut down, so did races. And the shock of everything kept me couchbound for more weeks than I care to admit. But in late April, a friend posted a challenge on Facebook for people to participate in 100 Mile May. It wasn’t timed. You could run it, walk it, crawl it, whatever you wanted. The idea was simply to move. Needing the accountability, I jumped on it.

It felt like everyone in May was beginning to come out of their stupor and live into, ummm, well, I promised I would try to steer away from this phrase, but I think I’m going to have dive in– the new normal. Everyone took advantage of the sunny weather to get outside and be active. And just about everyone in Waco decided to do so in Cameron Park, because why not? It’s beautiful, contains miles of trails, and is an obvious choice. But even though it was outside, when I drove by on University Parks, it seemed that people weren’t giving each other a wide enough berth, so I looked elsewhere.

I was shocked to find that very few people had discovered that the tailgating areas around McLane Stadium, as well as the footbridge over the river and the sidewalk down University Parks, were virtually deserted, and gave a lot of space to be outside, with people, but with enough space for those of us who need it. So I ran (and jogged/waddled/walked) all the 100 miles in May around that area. I continued every month afterwards, and am happy to report that it is still relatively empty. (I feel confident in sharing this with the 8 of you who are reading these posts.)

Even with the space given, I feel like some folks should use a tutorial on how to walk out of my path, and to keep their dogs on a leash. But it’s still the best I’ve found.

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