Well I certainly hope you guys enjoyed the loooonnnnngggg pause in our run around Lake Hefner. I was kind enough to leave you at Louie's drinking margaritas. If you drank too much it's not my fault, now get up and let's get going.
Once we pass Louie's it's on up the path where the water comes right up to the edge and you can really feel the wind. It's almost always a southern wind so it is at our backs and we can put our arms out and fly for awhile if we want. There's another split in the trail up ahead, one path for pedestrians and one for bikers. The pedestrian path heads left and follows the lake outline and also adds some distance to the runs so we'll chance it on the bike path. We'll run past the turnaround point for the OKC marathon and across a parking lot. Then it's on up past where the Redman Triathlon starts and finishes every year (RBR wouldn't know that because she ditched Oklahoma for some other state! But I don't hold a grudge.... much). This will bring us to the North parking lot where I park a lot because it's the closest one to me when I'm coming over here from home. There's a porta-pottie here if anyone needs to stop. In the summer there is a water fountain here also but they turn it off in the fall and winter so it doesn't freeze.
After our pit-stop at the North lot, it's out onto, what I consider, the WORST part of this whole run: The dam (or damn). I hate this part because it is out in the open, elevated, and seems to go on ffffffoooooorrrrrreeeeevvvveeeeerrrrr! In my mind it consists of 4 straight sections each of which never seems to end. This is also the section where we will eventually turn into the wind. This occurs no matter which way we run around the lake because this is the North side and we started on the South side. Oh, for you non-Oklahomians, the wind never blows from the East or West here, always North or South. It's a meteorological miracle. So we'll head out across the damn and past a few fisherman who will look at us like we're nuts for being out here when it's this cold/hot/rainy/snowy/icy, whatever it happens to be. We'll try to avoid the temptation to look at them like they're crazy for fishing when it's this cold/hot/rainy/snowy/icy, whatever. We will get to enjoy the wonderful scents of dead fish decaying and the garbage cans that are placed every 1/4 mile or so along the damn. Uhmmmmm! Love the smell. The road we're running on is one way and the traffic is in our face so we'll be able to see the vehicles as they pass. This is nice because it's always nice to see them coming before they run you off the road. You'll want to keep your head up to avoid running into any parked cars (it has happened, didn't see it but heard about it and OMG it's funny!).
I'll skip describing the rest of the damn because it's the same scene for at least 3 more miles until we start to reach the end. Over on this side we'll have the wind directly in our face so it's best to just put your head down and keep moving forward. Don't look at Garmin, you'll only be disappointed at your pace. Just keep moving and get through this last stretch. We'll take a slight right and dip down off the damn to hit the bike trail again. It's slightly lower than the roadway so it will break the wind for a bit. The trail is slanted to the right though which always bothers me more mentally than physically. We'll cross the road and head past the Redman Triathlon run turnaround point which RBR still doesn't know and then we'll head up to the golf course.
Once we cross a small bridge we'll be right beside the golf course. One of the holes runs right along the trail and people will be teeing off into our face. I've never been hit but I know it must have happened at least once. There's another water fountain up ahead but again, since it's winter, it won't be on. We'll cross another road and make a hard left. At this point you can really say we are heading back towards the park. I don't know why but I always feel that way here. It just feels like we're on the home stretch. We still have quite a ways to go but it's a good mental boost anyway. We'll stay in the golf course until we pass the club house and cross the road again where we'll head towards the marina. There's another porta-pottie here if anyone has to go... again!!! We'll then continue on until we go up a slight incline and take another hard left. Now we're along the golf course again and we're starting to get in some trees. This is nice as it will block the wind. There's a storage lot for boats on our left. I love to look at the sailboats and dream of one day owning one. I also wonder how someone could own a huge sailboat and leave it in dry storage like this all year. If you own a sailboat, sail it! Anyway, I like looking at the boats but be careful because there is another golf tee near us and I have had a few balls fly over my head here.
Once we pass the boat storage we'll enter a patch of trees where the trails turns left and then right. We'll come out at the fire station and take a left where we'll cross a bridge with wooden planks. It's a little bouncy which is cool, then it's into the trees again and past some picnic areas. We'll come out the trees and meet up with the lake again but only briefly. This is a new trail section that they had to rebuild last year because it was eroding into the lake. We'll pass the model airplane park where I will once again swear I'm going to buy one one day and learn to fly those things. It's up another little incline and past some fir trees where the trail winds again. When we come out of this section we can start to see the ballpark lights of Stars and Stripes, we're almost home!!! Time to kick it in if we have anything left. I don't so go ahead without me, I'll see you at the finish. Sprint down the trail and up to the edge of the park and you can decide now if you want to stop at the edge of the parking lot or run all the way through it to where we started. It's always a mind game for me. I want to stop but feel like I should make a complete lap. It must be an engineer thing, I need complete circles!
Well that's that. You've now run a lap with me, about 9 miles or so. You did GREAT! Not long ago it was my goal to run a complete lap of Hefner. I thought I would never be able to do it. It seemed so far. I used to worry that I would get half way around and die. You're kinda stuck at that point, there are not shortcuts through the lake. I love that I do it now as a middle distance run! Just another way I can judge my improvement. I'm glad you guys were able to do this with me. I couldn't have come this far without you.
Thanks for listening.