Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Runs in Georgia

Flying in to Georgia on Saturday night, I counted my lucky stars. If I have been here 24 hours earlier I would have had to deal with a tornado (?!) that ripped through downtown Atlanta. Unfortunately, on top of the property value lost in the storm I heard there was also a loss of life. Considering it hit the heart of the city, it is quite fortunate more people were not hurt.

As I drove all over the greater Atlanta area, I knew sprawl and highways were going to pose a problem in finding what I needed. The rerouted traffic in places most assuredly did not help. Luckily, I found some great places to run while I was there and I wanted to share a few with you.

First was the Fort Yargo State park. I took some pictures with my camera phone but I really don’t think they will do the area justice. Also, well I am not able to load them just yet. But soon. Fort Yargo is located outside of Winder, PA, and is home to many running races and triathlons.

I can see why. Loads of trails to run on, a really pretty lake and excellent foliage that must be gorgeous in the Spring/Fall made this a pleasant place to run indeed. I had to climb a few lofty hills to get fomr outside the park to its interior but the pleasant surprise of a beach (Yep, beach!) hidden in its hills was worth it.

Later in the week I had the distinct pleasure of meeting my friend Alan and his co-worker Derek for a run in the Suwannee area of Georgia just north of the city of Atlanta. Alan and Derek took me down the Suwanee Greenway which was this super nice boardwalk nestled into a little valley. It was hard to believe a few hundred feet in either direction was the hustling and bustling of about 7 freeway interchanges. Its boardwalks reminded me of the Teddy Roosevelt Islands in the Potomac and its trails of the Custis Trail behind my old apartment in Virginia.

There was even a hill just like the monster leading to my doorsteps in Arlington. Ok, not really.

But it did remind me of the hairpins on the Downhill Mile I ran last fall and both gentlemen laughed when I recounted the stories surrounding those races. (I figure this will get a comment from CharlieM). There were many more miles of trail and boardwalk to explore but my hosts had families to attend to and runs previously done early in the day so I let them get about their business. I made a mental note to get back here and explore sometime soon.

One of the things I knew my legs would want to test here was the Kennesaw Mountain National Park. As I drove by it earlier in the week, I noticed how quickly it erupted out of the flat nearby countryside. I looked up some info online and was quite pleased to see it had some runnable trails. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I had to "settle" for a jaunt to the top on the mountain on the paved road. An 800-foot jaunt UP the mountain in a little less than a mile that is! (Wouldn't be a Dane running blog without an elevation chart, right?)

Being a northerner it is odd to see so many monuments to the South and their fight in the Civil War. Raised on the "winning side" always gives one a feeling of self-confidence that your side just had to be right when they went to war. Regardless of that entire feeling, one always has to remember that the battles are not fought by ideas and theorems but rather young men (and women sometimes as well). People who gave their lives for their country, probably most without a clear understanding as to why are the ones whose blood will soak the lands. So when I came flying down the back half of this mountain hill, I nodded my head a little bit to the monument to fallen soldiers at the battles here near Kennesaw Mountain.

And Georgia DOT, how about a shoulder or two to run on. Can't be that hard, right? :) Regardless, my last run in Georgia left me just .2 shy of breaking 600 miles for the year. A little behind my desired schedule, I am still far ahead of any other year in total mileage. Last year it took me until May 6th to breach 600 miles and in the year of Fiddy2, April 25th was the day.


CharlieM said...

Well, how can I pass up an invitation to comment? The way I see it, you just needed some of those cool railings to hang onto during last year's Downhill Mile. Perhaps that would have made you feel more secure and would've made you run less gingerly and less scared last year. O.K., that smacktalk should do it, now I definitely think I've enticed you to fly back to VA for a rematch in '08.

skousend said...

Hey, it was good to run with you on Tuesday out along the Suwanee Greenway. Sounds like you had a good visit to the Kennesaw hill. There's still more great places to run out here so drop in again soon!

1L said...

Glad that you liked our crazy city, and even though it rained yesterday - I think the weather cooperated during your visit. Hopefully next time I can take you out on those trails at Keenness as they are great, but lunch was fun just the same even without a run! Good luck this weekend.

Alan said...

It was great to see you- twice in less than 24 hours!! I am glad you let us know you were in town.

Next time we can run on some of the natural trails at the greenway as well.

Hope the rest of your trip goes well.

Good luck in a couple of weeks!