Sunday, October 31, 2010

Road Trip: ATL

Sunday: 15.5-16 miles @Kennesaw Mtn. National Battlefield Park
Saturday PM: 8-8.5 miles @Chattahoochee River trails
Saturday AM: 8 miles w/West Stride training group

Twas an epic road trip weekend for Jordan and myself. The destination: Atlanta. The objective: Craft and Karhu wear test run at West Stride. The payoff: Hanging out with friends and knocking out some great runs.

It started Friday afternoon, when Jordan and I loaded up Felix the "sport wagon" and set off in the southbound direction on I-85. We didn't have anything on the agenda for Friday but needed to be up bright and early for a Craft and Karhu wear test run at West Stride on Saturday morning. After a brief stop in Greenville we arrived in Atlanta just in time to grab some dinner and call it an early night.

Saturday morning dawned crisp and cold--quite the relief, as I'd only brought Zero and Zero Extreme base layers for wear testing and it was 80 degrees up until Friday! The gang at West Stride was expecting 50-75 people for the run, which meant that Jordan and I pulled out all the stops by setting up a tent, table, flag and samples in the parking lot. There was a flurry of activity when the wear test samples were brought out, and within minutes I'd handed out every piece in the box. The run through the affluent surrounding neighborhoods was a lot of fun and I heard tons of positive feedback about the Craft base layers--a few people even asked to buy the shirts that were on their backs! Always a good sign when people are that e
xcited about the product.

In the early afternoon Jordan and I paid a visit to Fleet Feet John's Creek, our partner for 13.1 Atlanta, before driving back to midtown to meet my friend Jennie for a photography session. In addition to working at West Stride, training for the next Olympic Trials and earning a massage therapy license, Jennie is also an accomplished photographer (check out her site here). Apparently she is helping shoot for an Atlanta running calendar and was in need of some super hot girls (myself, obviously, and her friend Kyla) to run for some photos. I don't know whether or not we fit the bill, but we did get honked at eight different times by men who appeared to be of all ages and ethnic persuasions, so I consider that a victory any day of the week.

A less technical section of the Chattahoochee River trails

Next on tap after my supermodel shoot was a trail run with JSK at the Chattahoochee River. Jordan has been here with me once before but we barely made it up into the technical trails, so today was a special treat. The weather could not have been better for a run, and the sound of autumn leaves crunching under our feet supplied the perfect soundtrack for our afternoon miles. Having not been on trails for a while I found myself quite timid on some of the more technical sections, which meant that every few minutes Jordan would gap me by about 50 meters before feeling guilty and stopping to wait. This sequence was repeated at least half a dozen times before he grew exasperated with the tortoise and left me to fend for myself. By the time we made it back to the parking lot the sun was dipping below the horizon and I was thoroughly exhausted--and, of course, hungry. We hadn't eaten a proper meal all day and I was ready to tear something up. Fortunately we'd made plans to rendezvous with Jennie and her husband Leo for a fun night out at Antico, an authentic local pizza place. The menu is stark and simple and they import all their ingredients from Italy, which means they close up shop each night when they run out of provisions. The coolest part is they make the food while you watch (the limited selection of table seating is located literally in the middle of their kitchen). Oh, and it's BYOB and BYOD (dessert). How can you not love that? And, just in case there was any doubt, let me confirm that the pizza was amazing and the atmosphere was loud and boisterous, just like I imagine a real Italian pizzeria would be. We left feeling full and tired and ready to crash early.

A map of our Sunday run--we went from the Visitor Center
to Kolb Farm and back

Sunday morning saw us returning once more to West Stride for a staff meeting/clinic, which wrapped up around 10:30. From there it was time to conquer the mountain--Kennesaw Mountain, that is, a spot just north of Atlanta with miles and miles of glorious wooded trails. I'd only planned on putting in 12 or so miles, but about 30 minutes in Coach Jordan decided I must be feeling peppy (not sure what part of my labored breathing and heavy footfalls offered that indication) and encouraged me to keep going. Since he wasn't dropping me every two minutes like yesterday I decided to take him up on it and continue to the eight-mile mark at Kolb Farm. The trails were hopping with runners, walkers, horseback riders and even the occasional costume (several times we passed a guy wearing a full body skeleton suit who unbeknownst to me was actually my friend Kate's husband). My quads and hammies were throbbing at the turnaround point, already fatigued from an hour of undulating trails, but from there I had no alternative but to return from whence I came. The final 20 minutes were incredibly tough--I'm too lazy to look it up now, but I don't think I've run two hours more than a time or two in the past year--but I still managed to enjoy the serene beauty of the trails and the gorgeous autumn weather. Nature could not have delivered a better morning, and despite my aching body I had a blast exploring new terrain with Jordan. What a perfect end to our weekend road trip.

Beautiful Kennesaw Mtn. trails


mmmonyka said...

Happy B-day Meagan!!!