2 years ago, I cheered on my good friends Catherine and Ang as they ran 26.2 miles through the streets of Chicago. I watched them gloriously cross the finish line and, completely exhausted, swear off marathons for the rest of their lives. That promise didn't last long. They proceeded to run the New York marathon in 2013. And if that wasn't amazing (and crazy) enough, Catherine somehow convinced me to run in next year's Paris marathon with her!
With 6 months to go (and not a single marathon under my belt), I figured I better start training. I'm not the most disciplined trainer, but Cat is a pro at this. Before she shares some of her favorite running routes in Dallas, let's take a few moments to celebrate Chicago 2012.
Catherine Runs Dallas
When I moved to Dallas from New York, I started to ask myself if I really liked running. The answer was hovering around “Ugh I guess so, yeah, I mean I guess.” In New York, it was super easy to just set out from my house and run around until my mind, my legs, or my Garmin told me to stop. I even ran home from work on occasion (but let’s be real, this was more so I could sleep in the AM while also making sure to get an 8 miler in before The Bachelor). Running in New York was just a part of my lifestyle. In Dallas, not so much. I love my car, and I love that my apartment has central a/c. The idea of running around outside was quickly losing its appeal.
But then…the thing happened that made me start running in the first place. I think if you read my other post, you’ll get a pretty good idea. This girl’s clothes were fitting a little tighter. Rather than buying a whole new wardrobe, I had to start setting some goals. Signing up for a race is simple but finding enough places to run without getting bored while training for it? That seemed like a big task in a different city. And so, here are my current favorite running spots in Dallas now that I’ve gotten back outside to pound the pavement.
White Rock Lake - "The Obvi"
If you’re a runner or a cycler in Dallas, the chances are high that you’ll be at White Rock Lake about 1-2 weekends of any given month and that could be monotonous. But here’s the thing – I freakin’ love that place. It’s about a nine mile loop but has enough of a varying atmosphere that it hasn’t really gotten boring for me yet. Also, it’s pretty much a given you’re going to run into someone you know who is also sweating their butt off, so you get to do awkward side hugs and take a short chat break.
Santa Fe Trail - "The Coworker Reco"
I was lucky enough to be placed directly across from a fellow marathon runner at my job. Of course, we got to talking about training and routes, and she told me to check out the Santa Fe Trail. I did a frantic google search to make sure it was paved (I’m wholeheartedly a road runner) and google basically told me “yes and it’s awesome and you should go immediately.”(I’m paraphrasing.) It’s a great run – it connects White Rock Lake to Deep Ellum which – to be brief -- are hella different neighborhoods, so it’s really cool to be running the 4 miles that connects them. Also…a good part of it is shaded. I can’t express how discouraging the Dallas heat has been, so it’s a welcome relief. Currently, I’ve only run a portion of it to extend my White Rock Lake runs, but I’m super pumped to run the entire thing.
Katy Trail - "The David Made Me Go"
Ok he didn’t like threaten me or anything, but he really wanted to check it out when we were both home for Christmas last year. Since then, I’ve been back a couple of times. If I’m being honest, it would not be my favorite place to run if I actually lived near it, because it feels like it would get repetitive really fast. However, since it’s more of a treat for me, I find it pretty fun. Also, you can pass time searching for the Katy Trail trifecta: a lady wearing Lululemon, texting on her phone while pushing a stroller. I stopped trying to tally people doing these things separately, and my friend encouraged me to only focus on the trifecta for my mental tally/sanity.
Chisholm Trail Run - "The Family Reco"
My sister lives in Plano but in a different area than where we grew up. And homegirl has a lot of pride in her neighborhood. And she should – it’s adorable. So I was super excited when she told me there was a 7 mile trail near her. “But watch out for the nutria rats.” What are those, you may ask? HORRIFYING CREATURES. I saw two on one of my runs there and have been scarred. However, if you can get past that aspect, the trail is really fun, scenic and relatively flat. Also, the south side of it dumps out at an Einstein Bagels, so that’s a win.
Arapaho Bridge - "The Close to Home!"
I love a good bridge. And while this isn’t a route I’d necessarily encourage people to go out of their way to seek out, I definitely enjoy it. There’s something about running a bridge that makes you feel that you just conquered the world. While the Arapaho Bridge isn’t super large (it’s just over Midway road) and doesn’t appear to serve a purpose except to say, “Hey look! You’re in Addison,” but I still get a twinge of the same pride I got when I’d run over the much larger bridges of NYC. Bonus points that I get to run past the Addison Airport and see jets take off on the regular.
Arbor Hills - "The Hometown Favorite"
If you were friends with David or myself between 1999-2003, the chances are high that we dragged your to Arbor Hills and made you wander around with us as we debated who would be killed first in a horror movie. Now, it serves a different purpose. Those hills. As its name implies, this is my favorite place for hill repeats. It’s not expansive enough for a super long run (especially if you’re staying on the paved path) but has enough inclines to give you a friendly reminder that hills are hard.
Runkeeper Route Map (from user darreno2112)