H-Town Run Tourist's Guide to Mental Health

Terry Hershey Park: My place of solace

Author's own.

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


When I need a serious reset, I jump in the car and and go to that parking lot under Beltway 8 and Memorial. I get my headphones, and my phone and just start walking. I'm talking about Terry Hershey Park. This out and back trail of about 12.5 miles has been my place of solace. This is the place where I began my journey into fitness. This is the place that brought me out of depression. I have used the rolling hills of Terry Hershey Park to train for my races, and I still come here to chill the f*** out. This is why:

Breathe in the beauty.

Author's own

There is beauty all around.

Terry Hershey Park is situated along Buffalo Bayou. There are all these trees that are overgrown with vines. It looks like a rainforest. It's like the trees befriended a vine and the vine showed them up. I don't know who is winning in this relationship. I think we are because it is beautiful. See how I just had this weird conversation in my head. Guess what I wasn't thinking about. The bad breakup I went through 5 years ago. Terry Hershey is also great during bluebonnet season. Many people visit to strike a nature pose. You can also use one of the many dedicated benches to reflect on your beautiful surroundings.

Shh! Keep quiet or you will scare them.

Author's own

The wildlife is abundant.

I really get a kick out of counting the different wildlife that I encounter. While preparing for the article, I tried to find all the insects, birds, and mammals that you will see in Terry Hershey. Too many to name so I will tell you my favorite stories.

This week, I saw 5 rabbits, some squirrels, a cardinal, lots of butterflies, a turtle, egrets and herons. There have been many times that I have seen 30 turtles just sunbathing. They are really scared of people so you have to be quiet or they duck back into the water. One time, I was running and almost ran into a huge spider hanging from its silk. I stopped to take pictures, but it wasn't having it. I waved bye-bye as it crawled up it's silk. I have also encountered poisonous snakes, but luckily, I saw them before they saw me. I can't help it, I'm a wildlife voyeur.

Walking or running, you get a great workout.

Author's own.

You can train for challenging races.

Terry Hershey Park is a great place to train. As I stated before, you have 12.5 miles of trails to work with. Whether you are a walker, runner, biker, or canoeing is your thing, this is your place to train. There are some of the best hills in Houston here making it a challenge. There are different trails with different difficulty levels. If you are training for a trail race, you can take the more difficult unpaved trails which are great to work those supporting tendons. You can also get off the beaten path that is across the bayou that will really test you. Honestly, I still don't know how to get on it.

Worth the 4 mile run.

Author's own.

Personal Experience

You have probably gotten that this park is dear to me. Let me tell you about some of the fun times that I have had on it. I call it "fun with myself." Not like that. Brace yourself, This is silly. When you have moments like these, you just have to give yourself over to them. I was listening to classical music while running. All of a sudden a song from the Last of the Mohicans comes on. It was so dramatic, I felt like I was running across a meadow or the frontier. Every turn felt new. I really felt alive and guess what? I was actually running across a meadow because that is what Terry Hershey looks like. I never forgot it. But, you know what I did forget? The fact that my car needs yet a new tire and oil change.

If you are new to Houston, want some hill training, or just need to relax, do not hesitate to get on the Beltway. Exit Briar Forest and park in the parking lot just underneath. It will lead you to mental health heaven.

Pixabay.com

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

While I was training for the Honolulu Marathon in 2009, I learned something very important. I was running late for training, but I needed something in my stomach. I had run out of bananas and did not have time to make some eggs and toast. I opened my refrigerator and grabbed the first thing that was close enough: a plum. It was juicy and delicious. I forgot one thing: that a plum is an unripe prune. Everything was great until about mile 15. I started to get that call. You know the one that says get to the bathroom fast. All I could see is a port-o-let. I didn't want to, but I had too. Of course, there was no toilet paper or soap or sanitizer. Gross! If you think that is bad, read on for the grossest things about running a marathon.

Snotty nose.

As you can imagine, running against the wind and in the cold can cause your nose to run. This is always a gross thing because most of the time, you do not have tissue. Most runners just let it fly off with the wind. It is really fun to talk to someone after their run when they have an "eagle" in the sky. This time, it is okay to refuse the handshake.

Bloody nipples.

This disgusting aspect of running typically only plagues men. Thanks to the sports bra, ladies usually don't deal with this. Bloody nipples happen when the runner's shirt chafes his nipples. After 26.2 miles, his chest looks like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If this happens to you, you are not alone. There is a wonderful product called Body Glide to help prevent the carnage.

Urinating on the course.

Maybe you had a time goal and stopping to use the port-o-potty would slow you down or you just could not hold it. There is a reason at the expo that they sell bladder pads for the ladies. Elite runner, Paula Radcliffe, professional marathoner from England has had her instances. In the 2005 marathon, she had to relieve herself in the street on course in front of cameras and reporters. She quickly recovered from the embarrassment because she won.

Pooping on yourself.

Urinating is one thing, but pooping is quite another. I was able to find a port-o-potty in time, but what if you can't? Many runners have had to do the doo on course. This marathon olympian could not wait until he crossed the finish line. Good news for him. He did take the lead and won the race.

Please take heed to my warnings, but don't let that keep your from trying and running a marathon. Invest in Body Glide, bladder pads for the active, and a small bag of keener. As far as the pooping, I always pack Imodium AD. It really works!

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