H-Town Run Tourist: Houston Favorite

Get your exercise on and your culture on at Hermann Park

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

I was taking a drive through Hermann Park the other day. It gave me so many memories. When I waited tables in Rice Village, I would sneak in extra mileage and hill training on my breaks. I wanted to see how much I could do without being late to work. As a matter of fact, I have had a lot of personal memories at Hermann Park. Chances are, you have too. If not, here are a few reasons to visit Hermann Park to make a few memories of your own.

Sam Houston Statue

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But first, a little Hermann History.

Hermann Park is a hub for exercise, hard- core training, golf and culture that sees 6 million Houstonians and tourists a year. 105 years ago, a real estate investor named George Hermann deeded the city of Houston the land that has become 445 acres of green space that is now the Hermann Park that we know and love. Here is a fun fact: Did you know that in 1922, the Hermann Park Golf Course became the first public golf course to welcome all races?

*Cited from the Hermann Park original website.

Rodents of Unusual Size

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Abundant foliage and wildlife.

Take a walk through the Japanese Flower Gardens and you will see all of the trees and lily pads in the water. If you continue walking, you will walk into families of ducks and geese. Your run may begin here with the geese chasing you. Stay away from their goslings. They won't tell you twice. And they do have facial recognition. During spring, you will see not one, not two, but over a hundred turtles. You may also see some nutria swimming in the pond as well. I don't know why I'm not more afraid of these Rodents of Unusual Size. I guess, I respect how they just do them and not get all up in mine. That's pretty cool.

Run around the golf course on the cinder path.

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Get your exercise on.

So, obviously, we are talking about a park. When I think park, the first thing I think of is exercise. When I was training for the 2008 Houston Marathon with Kenyan Way, we used Hermann Park for extra mileage that was easy to calculate and it was a great way to get from the Museum District to Rice University. Those were some long days, but worth it. You can definitely enjoy a 4-5 mile run or a walk around the golf course, the refection pool, and through the Japanese Gardens. The best thing is not only is the scenery ever-changing, but its all on the luxurious cushion of the cinder path that is oh so good on your joints. There is also workout equipment in the park as well as a full-on weight room in the community center.

McGovern Centennial Gardens

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Picture worthy landmarks.

Of course, there are some amazing wildlife and foliage in Hermann Park, but there are some amazing picture worthy landmarks as well. Jesse Jones Reflection Pond and Mecom Fountain come straight to mind. Jesse Jones Reflection Pond is also great for a picnic lunch and a good book as well as sprint running with a slow rising hill. The Pyramid at McGovern Centennial Gardens offers a great photo opportunity and some great hill running. Just make sure that no one else is there. Of course, there is the Sam Houston Statue that caused a lot of controversy in the last couple of years. I'm going to say it. Remember, this is coming from a black woman and said with love. Who wasn't racist and owned slaves back then? That is what they did. You can't just rip up Houston and Texas history because of this. Regardless of the man's political stance, this statue is part of Houston history and should be left alone. I will continue to take pictures by it and that is that.

Treat yourself right at Miller Outdoor Theatre

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Miller. Outdoor. Theatre.

Enough said. One of my first expressions of self love and care as an adult was at Miller Outdoor Theatre. I brought a picnic meal complete with pate and cheeses along with a blanket to the hill at Miller. I was determined to enjoy my own company while enjoying some culture. It took some getting used to, but it was the first time that I had a great time by myself. We are done being existential. Today, you can still enjoy performances that range from Shakespeare to Bollywood, from Ragtime to Chinese Ballet to Hip Hop and children's plays. All for free. Just don't bring glass or weed.

Lots of performances

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Really awesome events.

Whether you are on vacation, just moved here, or a long time resident, you will definitely enjoy the amazing events at Hermann that are for all ages. Bring your kite to the Annual Kite Festival and you will find 10,000 other friends who love to fly kites just as much as you do. Other events include Hats in the Park, Evening in the Park, and Run in the Park.

See the Dark Side of the Moon at Burke Baker Planetarium

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It is the hub to the Museum District and the Houston Zoo.

Park your car once and you will not need to move it all day. Hermann Park is a few footsteps to the Houston Zoo (ooh Zoo Lights is going on right now!), the Museum of Natural Science. (Burke Baker Planetarium shows the Dark Side of the Moon most evenings at 5pm. You know Pink Floyd.) Don't forget the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

Hermann Park has something for everyone. You could be a family of five with young children, a couple getting to know each other, or a tourist from Abu Dhabi staying at Hotel Zsa Zsa. You will definitely get a taste of Houston culture and hospitality.


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The 2022 regular season is nearing its end and while for the Houston Astros the true test will begin in the postseason, now is a good time to look ahead at what the team’s starting rotation could look like in 2023.

The big question will be whether long-time ace Justin Verlander returns to the team. Heading into 2022, there was doubt whether he would even be with the Astros coming off Tommy John surgery. Verlander re-signed with Houston on a two-year deal with a player option for 2023.

His production in 2022 has been nothing short of sensational. Verlander has the most wins for the Astros with a week left in the season. He has a 1.82 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 5.2 wins above replacement. More importantly for both Verlander and the Astros, is that he has played in 26 games and counting this season.

Whether Verlander remains with the Astros will likely depend on whether Houston is willing to spend. It is highly likely Verlander opts out of his player option following the strong 2022 campaign he has put together and looks for a bigger payday. Houston has shown it is not afraid to let key players walk in the offseason, so let’s take a look at a potential rotation with and without Verlander.

If the 39-year-old, who will be 40 by the time the 2023 regular season starts, stays with the Astros, he will undoubtedly be either the No. 1 or No. 2 pitcher in the rotation along with Framber Valdez, who is right behind Verlander in wins this season at 16. If Verlander leaves, Valdez should be the new Astros ace at No. 1.

Behind those two should be pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who in seven games in 2022 has a 2.38 ERA and has cooled the concerns about his right flexor tendon strain being a long-term concern. He suffered the injury last postseason.

After those three, things begin to get interesting. Let’s say Houston opts to stay with a six-man rotation. The fourth starter could be Luis Garcia, who has a 3.90 ERA in 2022. The 25-year-old has shown he is more than a capable starter for the Astros.

The big question is if Hunter Brown can lock himself a spot in the rotation. Numbers wise, he makes a solid case to be more than Houston’s fifth starter as he has garnered 1.13 ERA through four appearances and two starts.

Brown’s starts have been against the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers, so there is a bit of a caveat there, but the upside undoubtedly should put him in the conversation for a starting role in 2023.

If Verlander leaves Houston, it should be more of a guarantee that a spot in the rotation as a starter for Brown is locked. Another factor in whether Brown is a starter could be if the Astros keep Dusty Baker as manager. Baker has shown at times he is willing to side with veterans over younger talent.

Other factors in Brown’s role will also be Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier. Urquidy has a 3.88 ERA in 28 games, all of which have been starts. Javier has a 2.65 ERA in 29 appearances, 24 of which have been starts.

Javier’s role for the Astros the last couple of years has involved starting and coming out of the bullpen, but this season he has shown that he is a capable starter. Based on this season’s play, Javier should have the edge for a starting spot, which leaves the question, what should the Astros do with Urquidy?

If Verlander walks, and Houston opts to keep a six-man rotation, then he just slides in and becomes starter No. 6. If Verlander stays, then is he willing to accept a role out of the bullpen, or do the Astros continue to use Brown out of the bullpen? Over the course of the season, both Brown and Urquidy will undoubtedly have chances to start throughout 2023.

Because of the long grind of an MLB schedule, the Astros should not trade whoever doesn’t get a starting role if Verlander stays, but how likely is it that it is even a problem for Houston? Regardless of who leaves or stays, the Astros should also continue with a six-man rotation because over the course of 162 games, it is what is best for your starters.

If the Astros bring back general manager James Click, based on how the Astros have seen players like George Springer and Carlos Correa walk in the past under his leadership, it is likely Verlander leaves Houston, but at the same time, many didn’t believe he was going to be back at all for 2022.

One thing is for sure, the Astros have a great problem to have. So many starting pitcher candidates, many of whom can be under team control for several years. So even if Verlander walks, an unforeseen injury happens, or a player ends up being disgruntled, Houston has more than enough flexibility to remain among the American Leagues’s best.

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