Here in houston for the AMA Interim Meeting and went for a run this morning before business. A local physician told me about the Buffalo Bayou on the NW-ish part of downtown which tracks along a waterway that I am not sure has its own name or not. I ran about a mile from the Hilton near the convention center over towards the interstate trying to find an access point, since the Bayou walking path is underneath a series of bridges that span the waterway. Turns out I was just a few feet away from a couple of entry points, but ended up running about a half mile out of the way to finally find a stairway near the Aquarium. Once I got below the roads, the noise level dropped several decibels and the water, while muddy, was calm and babbling. I then headed north, which apparently was not the best way to go.
Shortly up the path, layers of silt covered the concrete, I am guessing from flooding of the river that has not been cleaned in quite some time. A wooden bridge had several planks broken and one nearly rotted out. I weaved through a tangle of pillars supporting the rumbling roadway overhead and nearly ambushed a half dozen homeless people sleeping wherever they could, their belongings tucked behind columns, or sometimes strewn about with whatever trash remained from their last meal. This went on for nearly a half mile, eerie, drafty, traffic overhead and me hoping that I would not startle someone who then might want to relieve me of my MP3 player, fancy shoes, and any money I might have been carrying.
Reaching the end of the path, I turned back, familiar with the trail and the homeless people I would expect to pass, likely still sleeping in the just-past-dawn sun creeping in. I reached my stairwell and proceeded onward hoping the other side might be more enjoyable. It proved to be much more like the scenic place to run that had been described to me. While the pillars of the bridges were still everywhere, for some reason, this side of the trail was well cleaned and maintained. It appeared to be subtly landscaped, and the lawn aside the concrete sidewalk carefully edged and manicured. Having reached my distance goal, I did another about face and took a different stairwell back to street level, finding myself just feet away from a spot I had been half an hour before, trying to find the way down. The sun now up, the sky was hazy and I ran the short mile back to the hotel.
On a separate note, turns out I should have checked the race schedule before deciding on my flight times, because there is a 15K race here on Sunday morning. Next year's Interim meeting is in San Diego, so maybe I can run something like the Silver Strand Half.