With the Georgia Marathon coming up sooner than later, March 22, 56 days and counting, and my starting a job next week, I've remembered a few things.
- I didn't give myself enough time to prep for a marathon.
- Given the prep- time I did have and all the other things I have going on in my life; I didn't have enough hours in the week to properly prepare for a marathon.
- I really don't love running.
- I really, really, don't love running in urban scapes. (Unless its a new city, then I like exploring)
So why on Earth did I sign up for the Georgia Marathon?
Hitting the Trail
It took around thirty minutes to drive to Stone Mountain. When I got there I found out it cost $15 to park. I wasn't going to pay that in order to go for an hour long jog. So I found on the street parking some half-mile down the road. It was a particularly cold and dreary day and I didn't feel like going for a run, especially since I was supposed to be doing my "long" run of 8-10 miles.
I had decided to take the extra hour of driving so that I could run on trails, something I had always enjoyed and hadn't done in months. Maybe it could get me out of my current slump.
But it wasn't looking good.
I headed towards a big sign that had a map of the park's trails, and found one that looped around Stone Mountain.
It seemed easy enough, somewhere near the base on the hike up to the Stone Mountain Summit was the trail-head to the Cherokee Trail, which was a 5-mile loop. I could run it twice and have a real solid "long" day run.
Oops and More Oops
Somehow I missed the trail marker and ended up jog/hiking 3/4 of the way up to the summit. After finally realizing my mistake I started back down. And low and behold, I came upon the the trail and started slowly jogging.
I had to go slowly because the trail started across a granite face with sheets of ice as well as wide areas of melting ice which was even more slippery and hazardous. Add to this that the white blazes (white spray painted marks) that were on the rocks were in many place covered over by the ice making following the trail a challenge all unto it self.
Is still better than some of my better runs in the city.
After finally finding the trail and getting of the rock-face portion, I was able to actually run for a bit. It's still at a much slower pace than on streets because you have all sorts of obstacles, such as roots and rocks, people and their dogs and children, stream crossings, mud and of course keeping on the designated trail.
But I was still having a great time.
Except when I would step on a sharp rock, or hit my toes of a root or rock, or almost get tripped by a root or rock, or get tripped by a root and go stumbling to the ground trying not to get seriously hurt, which happened once, leaving me with a nicely scraped up knee and limping for a while.
In spite of all that, I was still enjoying myself and being out in nature and remembering how much I enjoyed trail running.
I realized I needed to make getting out on a trail run a priority, so earlier this week I headed out to Sweetwater Creek State Park on a Monday so I wouldn't run into the crowds of people that had made my run around Stone Mountain a bit more challenging/frustrating.
The traffic was horrible, so it took almost an hour to get to the trail and I had left latter than I wanted to so I wasn't going to have much time before the sun set. Good thing I brought a headlamp...
Except the park closes at sundown and they shut the gates to the parking lot. So now I didn't had enough time for a long run.
And I realized it was MLK day, so the crowds I would be avoiding were out in full force because it was a beautiful sunny holiday.
Oh well, a bad day on the trail is still better than a good run in the city.
And it was, and I was determined to have a good day on the trail.
A couple of days later, yesterday, I headed back to Sweetwater and had a great run.
I took my time and didn't care about the pace.
I even took stops to take pictures and enjoy the scenery.
Being out on trail reminded me of the reasons I did sign up for the Georgia Marathon
- Running is a great cross-training workout that helps in my other athletic endeavors, helps out with my moods and is a vital part of my weight-loss strategy.
- I get a lot of quality thinking done when I'm on run.
- I like being able to finish a marathon and if I do go to Burning Man again, I want to do the 50k and not feel stressed out about not having enough time to train for it.
- I don't really hate running.
I've been getting better at taking care of myself. I got myself these compression leggings, which aid in recovery. I've been doing a lot of self-massage and stretching as well as taking hot baths with loads of therapeutic salts tossed in.
Georgia Marathon here I come.
But first the Hot Chocolate 15k this Sunday.