Running 18 Miles Through the Civil War
This weekend I returned to my old hometown of Marietta, GA, for my best friend’s wedding. The wedding was awesome but so was the chance to run some of my old stomping grounds.
My house used to be right next to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. There’s a fairly decent-sized trail system that winds through some beautiful, lush Georgia pine forest. So I got up early and eager to throw some mileage down and see how different it was from my memories.
I went out my old front door and head towards the trails, about a mile away via road. As I was running past the park parking lot a lady who was also about to head out for a run shouted at me, “Man, you’re flying this morning!” I indeed was going very fast. I shot back, “Hey, I’ve got a long way to go.”
I turned off onto the East Trail that wraps around Kennesaw Mountain after a few miles, hit the Visitors Center. From there, it was a fast, steep climb up Kennesaw Mountain. I didn’t used to run this part of the park so it’s always nice (although tiring) to tackle the mountain. It ends up being about 640 ft in exactly 1 mile. Nice and lush canopy though.
Georgia forest, green from all the rain lately.
At the top, there are some old earthworks and canons. A reminder of the battles that went down here 150 years ago. The area is steeped in history. In fact, my neighborhood (like many) was named after the farm on the land at the time of the battles, Hardage Farm.
One of the many canons that was dragged to the top of the mountain.
From the top of Kennesaw, it was a fast drop down and then ascent up to Little Kennesaw. Then lots of flying down towards Pigeon Hill. I never remember how technical this part of the trail gets. Quite dicey in parts, especially if you’re barreling down the trail. Tough not to do with such a drop. This is some of my favorite part of the trail. Very wild, despite the rest of the area being quite family friendly.
Some beautiful spring flowers and bumble bees on the way down.
After storming down Pigeon Hill, I crossed over to the west side of the park. This is the area I used to run a lot when I lived there. Often times in the summer during high school I’d go out and run the 11 mile loop. I remember it taking me about two hours (which I thought was SO long), and I have some weird memory of bringing baby carrots with me to snack on while I ran. Funny how you grow up and get smarter.
I knew I had to get to the rehearsal so I had to blaze through this section, which isn’t too tough. Just some rolling Georgia hills and generally wide, even trails. The trail took me past some monuments and then out to the edge of the park before looping back in a wide arc.
As I was headed back, I grabbed for a packet of Justin Nut Butter for some calories. I opened it and brought it to my mouth to get some when WHAM! I let my concentration done for a second and hit a root. Dirt, almond butter and body parts went flying. This time it hurt a bit. Nothing too serious, just scraped the knee, but I caught my foot weird and stepped on something. The bottom hurt for a few days afterward.
There weren’t any couples around like my weird theory about tripping around couples, but I did pass a man and his dog about a minute prior. So I guess that could count.
The old people on the trail later on looked rather confused and concerned by this.
A bit humbled, I got up, brushed the dirt off my almond butter packet and headed towards home. All told, it was a fantastic run. I really pushed myself through some nasty humidity I wasn’t used to and got a nice tour of my old trails.
Distance: 18.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,182 ft
Average Pace: 8:40 min/mile
Temperature: 65 degrees
Shoes: New Balance Minimus Trail
All The Gory Details: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/86433902