This year’s Plum Creek Popsicle Run comes with Camp Gladiator challenges

10369136_735648473164312_5429915369586600304_nThis weekend, even gladiators will be slurping Popsicles.1925528_10204147546599488_1766233513_o

This year’s Plum Creek Popsicle Run comes with optional Camp Gladiator Functional Challenges. Participants in the 4-mile race on July 4 can choose to tackle the six physical challenges built into the course, or just walk or run the distance. Either way they’ll get frozen treats at the finish line.

Rather not run that far? A 3K and 1K option are also offered.

All three races start and finish at Negley Elementary, 5940 McNaughton, in the Plum Creek neighborhood of Kyle.

Check-in opens at 6 a.m. The 4-miler begins at 7 a.m.; the 3K and 1K start at 8:30 a.m. Entry fee is $15 for the 1K or 3K; $25 for the 4-miler ($15 for 18 and under.)

To register go here.

Summer running: Hydrate, dial it back, stay cool

Jon Broussard stops at a water fountain at Auditorium Shores after a 13-mile run on the Butler hike and bike trail in this 2013 file photo. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Jon Broussard stops at a water fountain at Auditorium Shores after a 13-mile run on the Butler hike and bike trail in this 2013 file photo. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

I ran the Luke’s Locker Driveway Summer Series Wednesday evening, and it reminded me how much harder it is to run when it’s warm outside.

Notice I didn’t say hot. We’ve had a deliciously “cool” summer so far, and I’m not complaining. And I loved the race, which is staged on a closed, partly shaded motor track in East Austin.

But it is different when you head out for a run in the heat and humidity, and you need to take care of yourself. Here are a few tips:

1. Hydrate. Drink up a few hours before you head out, and sip on something every 15 minutes or so if you’re out more than 30 minutes. If you’re going for a longer run, make sure you get some electrolytes too. It’s actually possible to get too much water, so make sure you’re belly isn’t gurgling.

2. Shade. Don’t run down a sun-baked stretch of hot black pavement. Look for trails or streets that are shaded. The Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake is a good option; if you like trail running try the Barton Creek Greenbelt. You can cool off in the creek if you overheat.

3. Slow down. Now is not the time to set a personal record. It takes about two weeks to get used to running in the heat, and even so, you shouldn’t expect to run as fast as you can when it’s, say, 60 degrees outside. St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis suggests slowing your pace 20 to 30 seconds per mile for every 5 degrees above 60.

4. Go early, go late. Just try not to go mid-day, between noon and 6 p.m., when the sun’s at its highest point and you might catch a sunburn.

5. Clothes. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes that breath well. Grab your sunglasses, slather on the sunscreen and wear a cap.

Texas Water Safari postponed – again – until July 11

Jay Daniel, Sammy Prochaska, Brandon Stafford, Shawn Boyett, Michael Vandeveer and Steve Bis paddle near Zedler Mill dam in the San Marcos River in Luling, TX during the 2014 Texas Water Safari. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman
Jay Daniel, Sammy Prochaska, Brandon Stafford, Shawn Boyett, Michael Vandeveer and Steve Bis paddle near Zedler Mill dam in the San Marcos River in Luling, TX during the 2014 Texas Water Safari. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman

Organizers of the Texas Water Safari, have postponed this year’s paddling race another two weeks.

The 260-mile race was originally set for June 13, but delayed until June 27 due to heavy rains and flooding on the lower Guadalupe River. This week organizers announced a second delay, until July 11.They said this would be the final postponement.

“If the lower section of the Guadalupe is still in flood stage at that time, the finish line for the 2015 Texas Water Safari will be moved up river, and the race will stop prior to the flooding sections,” read an announcement on the race website. “If the current conditions hold on July 11th, the finish line of the Texas Water Safari will be at the Swinging Bridge checkpoint. This could change as conditions change. The Board reserves the right to make that determination prior to the race or even during the race, depending upon river conditions.”

The race, which begins in San Marcos and finishes along the Texas Gulf Coast, will not be run on a section of the river that is in flood stage, organizers said.

The delay marked the second time in the Safari’s 53 years that the race has been postponed twice in the same year.

All sizes are welcome at Abby Lentz’s HeavyWeight Yoga classes

Abby Lentz, an Austin yoga instructor, has moved her HeavyWeight Yoga classes to a new downtown location. Photo by Korey Howell
Abby Lentz, an Austin yoga instructor, has moved her HeavyWeight Yoga classes to a new downtown location. Photo by Korey Howell

Not everyone who does yoga is wispy thin or bendy as a strand of cooked spaghetti, and no one knows that better than Abby Lentz, the Austin-based pioneer of HeavyWeight Yoga.

Lentz’s classes are geared toward big-bodied and full-figured students who may feel less intimidated in a yoga class designed specifically for heavier people. She modifies poses for her heavyset students, and some poses, like inversions, shoulder stands and headstands, are off-limits.

Abby Lentz, background, teaches a yoga class for overweight people in this file photo. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Abby Lentz, background, teaches a yoga class for overweight people in this file photo. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“There are lots of other ways to get the benefits of yoga without endangering yourself because of the body weight you carry,” Lentz said when I interviewed her about the classes several years ago.

Lentz announced this week that she’s moving the location of her public yoga classes to the Women’s Community Center, 1704 San Antonio Street. Classes will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, starting July 18. Two Wednesday night classes – 5:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. – will begin on July 22.

Lentz is on a roll. Her work appears in the July issue of Prevention Magazine in the form of a collection of illustrations showing people how to find the benefits of yoga with the body they have today.

She’s also leading livestream yoga classes.

She began offering the classes because she knows how it feels to be the heaviest person in a yoga class. She also knows that many overweight people would rather skip an exercise class than risk the humiliation of not being able to do what the instructor can do. With Lentz as instructor, she says, students can see how someone with a body like their own can do yoga.

This week, she celebrated her latest success. “Over a decade ago I wanted to change the image of yoga and what a joy to see it unfolding,” she said.

You can watch her “Abby Unplugged!” livestream event at 6 p.m. July 8 here. Starting Aug. 5 she’ll host the program at 6 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month.

Need some inspiration? Check out this collection of photos that smash yoga body stereotypes.

FrankenBike to mark 10 years of free swap meets on Saturday

Andrew Kyle, left, checks out bike parts being sold by Andy Outcalt at FrankenBike, a free bike swap meet. File photo by ALBERTO MARTINEZ/Austin American-Statesman
Andrew Kyle, left, checks out bike parts being sold by Andy Outcalt at FrankenBike, a free bike swap meet. File photo by ALBERTO MARTINEZ/Austin American-Statesman

Halk up 10 years in the books for FrankenBike.

The free monthly event – part bike swap meet, part keg party and all bike-geek-o-rama – will celebrate its anniversary with a special event from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 27 at Independence Brewing Company, 3913 Todd Lane, Suite 607.

Patrick Crovo, left, buys bike parts from Carlos Barron at FrankenBike in 2012. File photo by ALBERTO MARTINEZ/Austin American-Statesman
Patrick Crovo, left, buys bike parts from Carlos Barron at FrankenBike in 2012. File photo by ALBERTO MARTINEZ/Austin American-Statesman

FrankenBike at Clown Dog

Besides the usual tabletops spread with cranksets and derailleurs, bike seats, handlebars and used cycling jerseys, FrankenBike officials will unveil their very first FrankenBike video, new websites and the third edition of their annual Austin FrankenBike map.

Local bands Stoic’s Descent, The Kneivels and Bad Dad will provide live music and Quality Seafood will sell food. And did we mention beer?

For more information go the organization’s webpage here or its Facebook page here.

Austin-born FrankenBike takes place monthly at rotating sites across the city. This weekend’s event will be the 119th.

Part of the event’s charm comes from the mix of attendees. From high-end roadies to commuters and the fixie crowd, they all converge to find new homes for their no-longer-needed stuff.

FrankenBike now operates meets in San Antonio, Houston, Corpus Christi, Denton, Dallas, Fort Worth, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Portland and Las Vegas.

A reminder: Staying safe on the hike-and-bike trail

This story was published in 2011 (and that’s when the runner was killed on a Dallas trail), but we can all use a trail etiquette reminder now and then, don’t you think?

***

Runners use the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike trail during the lunch hour along Auditorium Shores in this file photo. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Runners use the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike trail during the lunch hour along Auditorium Shores in this file photo. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Pamela LeBlanc

Last fall, a runner died after she collided with a cyclist on a recreational trail that winds through downtown Dallas.

Police determined that no one was at fault, and no charges were filed. But the incident shook the community, and showed that trail etiquette can have life-or-death consequences.

In Austin, more than 100 miles of trails, including the 10 most-loved miles that encircle Lady Bird Lake, twist through the city. In recent years, those trails have grown increasingly congested. Runners and cyclists, tourists and nature walkers, sometimes two or three abreast, share a trail also populated by strollers, dogs, a serenading musician or two and the occasional squirrel that darts across the path.

According to the Trail Foundation, the nonprofit group that works to maintain it, the trail around Lady Bird Lake records an estimated 1.5 million visits each year.

The challenge is to figure out now – rather than after someone gets badly hurt – how to keep them all safe.

What happened in Dallas

The runner killed in Dallas, 28-year-old Lauren Huddleston, was wearing headphones connected to an iPod when she was struck on the Katy Trail, a 3.5-mile concrete path.

The cyclist who hit her, 31-year-old Asher Hamilton, was riding loops on the trail with a fellow triathlete, according to news reports. They were traveling an estimated 17 to 19 mph on a downhill stretch when the accident happened. Witnesses say Hamilton called out just before he tried to pass Huddleston, but she turned abruptly into him.

They hit head-on. Huddleston died in a hospital three days later.

The death has prompted a trail safety awareness campaign in Dallas and has spurred a continuing debate among city officials over headphone use and bike speed limits.

Guidelines posted on the Katy Trail website advise users to control their speed, turn the volume down on headphones or use only one earpiece, stay to the right on the trail and announce “passing on the left” when overtaking someone. They also suggest that runners and walkers use the narrower soft surface pathway designated for pedestrians, which parallels most of the 3.5-mile Katy Trail.

The Katy Trail has no posted speed limit for cyclists, although officials are now considering a limit of between 10 and 15 mph.

Also of note: A Dallas Morning News article reported that Hamilton was riding a Royal Windsor Triathlon bike, raising questions about whether the trail was an appropriate place for race training.

The Austin scene

Since last September, 18 park rangers funded through about $1.1 million from the city’s general fund have patrolled the Lady Bird Lake corridor, usually in pairs, mainly by bike. They focus on the downtown trail, but also respond to issues in outlying parks. They can’t issue tickets, but they can ask disruptive trail users to leave.

The biggest problem they see? “Congestion, ” says Pat Fuller, division manager of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department Park Rangers. “It causes a lot of problems.”

Park officials had no record of serious injuries resulting from on-trail collisions, but weekly incident records show one report of unsafe cycling on the trail since patrols began. In that same six-month period, rangers stopped to educate trail users about the trail, including reminding them of proper trail etiquette, some 2,196 times, according to the report. There were no reports of collisions.

In Austin, park rules posted on the City of Austin website say cyclists must yield to joggers and joggers to walkers on hike-and-bike trails. The rules also state that cyclists should ride at a “prudent speed.”

Speed limit

One of the first suggestions that comes up in any discussion of trail safety is a speed limit for bicycles.

“If a cyclist is moving four to five times faster than a runner, that’s a recipe for disaster, ” says Jack Murray, co-owner of Jack and Adam’s triathlon shop. “Then you add earphones to either of them, any type of uneven terrain or variable, and something like what happened in Dallas could happen here.”

Technically, a speed limit is already in place on Austin’s trails. Park rules posted on the city website designate all portions of the hike-and-bike trails as “bicycle speed zones.” As such, the speed limit there is 10 mph.

But no speed limit signs are posted on the trail, and the rule isn’t supported by a city ordinance, so it’s not a ticketable offense, Fuller says.

Unlike the concrete Katy Trail, the trail around Lady Bird Lake is mostly gravel. Bike racers aren’t likely to be training on it because their skinny tires track better on paved roads. Still, some cyclists cruise at a brisk pace even when the trail is crowded.

“There’s no need to carry any type of speed around the seven-mile (trail) loop, ” Murray says.

Annick Beaudet, bicycle and pedestrian program coordinator for the City of Austin, says a posted speed limit of between 10 and 15 mph is a good idea. Many cyclists don’t have speedometers, though. “A lot of people just don’t know what 10 or 15 mph is, ” Beaudet says.

Others have suggested bike dismount zones in especially crowded areas, such as trailheads. But they wouldn’t prevent accidents like the one in Dallas, which are more likely in areas where cyclists are moving quickly.

And the problem with any bike speed limit is enforcement.

Headphones

Another factor in the Dallas accident was headphones. Here in Austin, they’re everywhere – on runners, cyclists and walkers. Depending on how loud the volume is turned up, they can provide either a pleasant background noise or a pounding distraction to the user.

“Some people are really connected to music when they run, and it calms them, ” says Paul Carrozza, owner of the RunTex running stores in Austin.

Carrozza says headphones shouldn’t be banned, but the volume should be turned down or one earpiece removed.

Beaudet agrees. “No matter where you are or who you are on roadway, you have to have all your senses – all of them, ” Beaudet says.

Cellphones are another distraction.

Right of way confusion

Even without headphones in the mix, traffic on trails that don’t have a center line, like the one around Lady Bird Lake, can be confusing.

“Do runners stay to the right? Then where do cyclists go?” says Carrozza, with RunTex.

Trails are so crowded at peak hours that Carrozza and his running buddies tend to take to the streets – or the paved Lance Armstrong Bikeway along the north side of Cesar Chavez Street, parallel to the hike-and-bike trail around Lady Bird Lake. And that, of course, means cyclists and runners are more likely to bump elbows on the bike path, where cyclists move more quickly.

Room to roam

One way to reduce the chances of a crash is to give trail users more trails so they can spread out. Plans are already in the works to close the gap on the Lady Bird Lake trail by building a boardwalk underneath Interstate 35 on the south side of the river.

The expansion will add “another layer of safety because it will relieve crowding on the west side of the trail and on weekends, ” says Susan Rankin, executive director of the Trail Foundation.

Wider trails could also alleviate conflict, but there’s not always room to widen them. The trail around Lady Bird Lake varies from 10 to 20 feet wide. Ideally, multiuse trails would be 14 to 20 feet wide, Beaudet says. “That’s what’s needed to keep people moving safely at speeds we anticipate, ” she says.

Education campaign

While the broader issues are debated, the one thing Austin can do is launch a safety campaign that reminds trail users of proper etiquette. After all, the trail belongs to all of us, whether we’re runners, walkers or cyclists.

(Like many trail users, I’m a regular bicycle commuter who uses the trail to get to work. I also use it recreationally, as a running trail and hiking path.)

“To me, it circles back to trail etiquette and being a responsible park user, cyclist, jogger or dog owner, ” says Kelly Snook, assistant director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The new edition of the city bike and pedestrian program’s Austin Bicycle Map, due out in April, will include trail etiquette and safety information.

And a recent $707,000 in funding from a federal matching grant administered through the Texas Department of Transportation will be used to implement a safe bicycling and walking campaign. Part of that could be a trail safety awareness effort, says Beaudet.

The park rangers are mulling another idea, too – portable, sandwich-type boards with changeable signs that could be moved around the trail. “If we’re having a certain problem in a certain area, we can concentrate there, ” Fuller said.

But too many signs along the trail would make it look like a freeway junked up with billboards, some warn.

Parks officials regularly look at areas of conflict, such as the off-leash area along Auditorium Shores. The trail in that area might one day be moved farther away from the river’s edge, to put some space between the dogs and other trail users to eliminate conflict, Snook says.

It comes down to basic manners.

“Assume the trail is ours, not yours, and we’re here to share it, ” Carrozza says.

Chill out, slow down, pay attention, be polite.

And stay safe.

pleblanc@statesman.com; 445-3994

***

Tips for staying safe on the trail:

* Slow down.

* Don’t change course abruptly.

* Turn down the volume on your headphones or use just one earphone.

* Look both ways before crossing the trail.

* Keep your dog on a short leash.

* Don’t walk more than two abreast.

* Slower users stay to the right.

* Call out or ring a bike bell when passing.

* Pass on the left.

* Consider putting away your cellphone.

Water’s flowing at Pedernales Falls State Park

Pam LeBlanc swims in the Pedernales River at Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City on June 14. Photo by Chris LeBlanc
Pam LeBlanc swims in the Pedernales River at Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City on June 14. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

IMG_0249 Recent rains have worked magic on Pedernales Falls State Park west of Austin.

I headed to the park yesterday, and instead of a trickle of water found a nicely flowing river. Look at me in the picture above – I’m waist deep in the Pedernales River in the park’s swimming area!

My husband Chris and I spent an hour hopping into the water, letting it carry us a few hundred yards downstream and repeating. We even got to watch a snake ride the tide, eliciting screams from waders as he passed near shore.

Mid-river the water’s so deep you can’t touch bottom. (If you’re not a strong swimmer, be careful. Currents are brisk with all the recent rains and the area is prone to flash flooding.)

Up at the falls area, where you’re not allowed to swim or wade, water this week was gushing over giant slabs of rock and crashing through slot canyons carved into the limestone .It’s beautiful.

IMG_0242

It’s been years since the park looked so lush and watery. I’ve got fond memories of P-Falls, as we call it. My family spent many summer afternoons there when I was a kid, soaking in the river, picnicking under juniper trees and hiking along the river.

There’s another reason to visit the park now – 15 miles of new mountain bike trails. (Read my article about biking at the park here.) The park also offers camping, equestrian trails and bird watching.

It takes about 45 minutes to get to Pedernales Falls State Park from Austin. Take U.S. 290 West, toward Johnson City. Just past Henly, turn right on FM 3232, which leads to the park’s entrance at 2585 Park Road 6026. Admission is $6 per adult; children 12 and under free.

For more information go here or call (830) 868-7304.

Texas Water Safari postponed until June 27

Jay Daniel, Sammy Prochaska, Brandon Stafford, Shawn Boyett, Michael Vandeveer and Steve Bis paddle near Zedler Mill dam in the San Marcos River  during the 2014 Texas Water Safari. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman
Jay Daniel, Sammy Prochaska, Brandon Stafford, Shawn Boyett, Michael Vandeveer and Steve Bis paddle near Zedler Mill dam in the San Marcos River during the 2014 Texas Water Safari. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman

This year’s Texas Water Safari has been postponed until June 27.

Six-man team boat 150, made up of Gaston Jones, Clay Wyatt, Wade Binion, Andrew Condie, Jeff Glock and Ian Rolls make their way down Zedler Mill dam during the 2014 Texas Water Safari. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman
Six-man team boat 150, made up of Gaston Jones, Clay Wyatt, Wade Binion, Andrew Condie, Jeff Glock and Ian Rolls make their way down Zedler Mill dam during the 2014 Texas Water Safari.
Ashley Landis for American-Statesman

Organizers decided to delay the grueling, 260-mile paddling race from San Marcos to Seadrift along the Texas coast after recent heavy rains. The race, known as “the World’s Toughest Canoe Race,” was originally scheduled for June 13.

Officials postponed the event because of safety concerns, saying access to some of the race checkpoints and private ranches along the ranch was limited because of flood damage. Radio equipment used to track racers was also inoperable after the flooding, according to the race website. http://www.texaswatersafari.org/texas-water-safari-postponed-to-june-27/

This isn’t the first time the race has been rescheduled. Weather conditions have forced postponement of the race several times in its 53-year history.

This year’s race will be dedicated to those affected by the recent floods.

Athletes at June 13th GoRuck Kill That 5K will race with weighted packs

Participants in this weekend's GoRuck Kill That 5K will walk while wearing a weighted rucksack. Photo courtesy GoRuck.
Participants in this weekend’s GoRuck Kill That 5K will walk while wearing a weighted rucksack. Photo courtesy GoRuck.

For a different spin on a 5K, try carrying a weighted pack while you race.

The GoRuck Kill That 5K starts at 5:30 p.m. at Mylo Obstacle Fitness in Austin. Photo courtesy GoRuck.
The GoRuck Kill That 5K starts at 5:30 p.m. at Mylo Obstacle Fitness in Austin. Photo courtesy GoRuck.

That’s what participants in this weekend’s GoRuck Kill That 5K will do. They’ll walk with a weight-filled rucksack on their back. Body type and fitness level determines how much each person carries.

The Kill That 5K event series is designed to introduce people to the sport of rucking, which means to move with a rucksack. Organizers say the races combine the cardio of a 5K with the strength training of rucking with weights.

Onsite registration starts at 3 p.m. during the Gear & Beer packet pickup at Mylo Obstacle Fitness, 5415 McKinney Falls Parkway. The 5K starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by an after party.

Participants must bring their own ruck, or backpack, and weight (20 pounds for women, 30 pounds for men and 45 pounds for the

Rucking combines the cardio of a 5K with strength training. Photo courtesy GoRuck.
Rucking combines the cardio of a 5K with strength training. Photo courtesy GoRuck.

elite men or women). The event is not a chip timed – the person who crosses the finish line first wins.

Jason McCarthy, a Green Beret and Ohio native, founded GoRuck in 2008 with childhood friend Jack Barley of Florida. Events are based on special operations training and team building. For a list of Kill That 5K events across the country, or to register, go here.

Free fitness classes throughout June at Whole Foods Plaza

Trainer Matthew Carney of Mecca leads a free workout class at Whole Foods this month. Photo courtesy Mecca
Trainer Matthew Carney of Mecca leads a free workout class at Whole Foods this month. Photo courtesy Mecca

File this one under “More Free Workouts.”

Morning and evening yoga and fitness classes will be offered, no charge, on the plaza of Whole Foods Market throughout June.

Free fitness classes are offered seven days a week at Whole Foods during June.
Free fitness classes are offered seven days a week at Whole Foods during June.

Here’s the schedule:

  • 7 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday – Body sculpting classes that combine barre, resistance bands and kickboxing, led by Matthew Carney of Mecca.
  • 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday – Yoga by Black Swan Yoga.
  • 7 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday – Yoga by Bea Love Yoga.
  • 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. Sunday – Strength and conditioning classes by Titan Evolution.

Space is limited. Whole Foods is located at 705 North Lamar Boulevard. Bring a yoga mat, towel and water.

Reserve a space for the Mecca classes here. http://meccagymandspa.com/apps/mindbody/classes/18