My downtown oasis, and a Sunday scramble

Every time I run at lunchtime on downtown streets, I somehow end up at Military Park.

It’s an open, green space about a half-mile west of my office. These days, it’s probably the largest shaded area downtown. I enjoy it, but I always wish it were about five times as big, with a few trails.

The whole thing is less than a square mile, maybe the equivalent of four or five city blocks.

On weekends, it’s often used for music festivals and rib cook-offs. But during the week, it’s mostly empty, and I often get it to myself.

There are no trails, just a beaten-down path on the lawn (probably my doing) where I run loops a few times a month.

Today I ran for about a half-hour. The weather was warmer and more humid than I expected.

As I ran around the park a half-dozen times, I saw a few other runners. But they were all on the sidewalk, near the street. I guess they were allergic to dirt.

Incidentally, the park is known as Military Park because it was a mustering area for Union troops during the Civil War.

At least I won’t have to worry about this park being developed into condos or a strip mall. It is one of three properties in Indiana that cannot be sold, under the state Constitution.

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This weekend, I have a hankering to run a race downtown, the Crossroads of America 30K.

The race is on Sunday morning, the course seems interesting and scenic, for a road race. (See map here, noting how the course crosses the White River numerous times. Of course, the crossings are on paved bridges, which will take a bit of adjusting; I’m used to getting my socks wet when I cross a river.)

But there’s a problem. I will be under a huge time squeeze. The race starts at 8 a.m. and I need to be somewhere else, cleaned up and presentable (OK, at church, where I am helping to lead a service) at about 9:30 a.m.

Obviously, I won’t have time to run a 30K race under these time constraints.

Luckily, there’s a 10K option. So if the race starts on time, and I don’t run into any other problems, I’m pretty sure I can squeeze this in. 

But it won’t be a slam dunk. Once I cross the finish line, I have no time to rest. I need to zip over to work (five or six blocks away), use the locker-room shower, change and get to church (about four miles away), all in about 45 minutes.

It will be tight. But I think I can do it.

Heck, I’ve done it before. About five years ago, after a half-marathon, I took a birdbath in a metroparks’ outhouse, including a shave and shampoo, without any mirrors or much privacy, using just a primitive outhouse sink.  I got the job done, and made it to a birthday party, all cleaned up and presentable.

No sweat, brother!

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A QUICK UPDATE: I can see clearly! And download/upload photos! And other stuff! Mrs. Trail Boy and I finally broke down and replaced our old, dying computer with a brand-new fancy one, with a wide, flat screen and other cool features and apps that my sons love. So here’s to better blogging — and better graphics, photos, data and other swell stuff.

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