Things have been crazy lately since I am in my busiest semester of nursing school. 20 hours of clinical a week, combined with tests, papers and health problems leaves little time for fun. I have spent the majority of the past 4 weekends studying in coffee shops or the library. Thankfully my hardest test was today so I am taking a quick mental break tonight- spending time with Penny and going to Yoga before committing my life away to pharm. In good news matt is coming this weekend (yay).
In order to incorporate a little fun into my hectic month ahead, I signed up for a 7.5 mi trail run in Watkinsville, GA at Heritage Park. I am too familiar with the area since UGA is in Athens-Clarke county, right next door. I did my first trail run in October 2016 with Matt in Lido, Wisconsin on the Ice Age Trail- It was absolutely taxing for me both mentally and physically. It was filled with rocks and hills, but not without gorgeous views between the hills. I consider myself to be in decent shape almost year round due to my exercise and activity schedule but I was beyond sore and tired after the Lido trail run. Nevertheless I decided it was time to give it another try, and planned for the Heritage Park run.
Kaitle and I woke up at 6 to drive the hour and a half to Watkinsville from Atlanta to make in time to pick up our bibs prior the race start at 8:30. It was frigid so we packed gloves, headbands, and layered up for the race! We watched the sun rise as we drove, and arrived promptly at 7:30, after passing the entrance gate (lol). We lined up at the start, and headed off!
The first 2 miles were a struggle for me, because it bottle necks much more than does a road race. The trail is wide enough for one person at a time, and speeds differ greatly amongst runners since there are no heats. Katile and I stuck pretty much together, minus a few people in between until the distances split off. She was running the 2.8 mile distance, and the two groups split at 2 miles. After most of the 2.8 runners were off the trial, it opened up a bit more so that I could better pass. The downside, was that after about 2.5 miles, the hills started to set in. I love hills when roadrunning, but trail hills are a whole different monster. I almost ate it on some rocks and uneven ground (multiple times), and managed to roll my ankle, but I enjoyed every second of it. Races like this one really help with mental clarity and self love- the open trail ahead and nature all around as the sun moves further up in the sky. Turning slightly hippie here, but hey its in my roots (see what I did there). I snapped this picture somewhere on mile 5 when there was an opening in the trees.
I started to warm up and got in some alone time in the second half of the race. I face-timed Matt for a mile or so, and passed a few small groups as I picked up my speed. It was hilly, but given my first trail run experience back in October in Lido, the hills were pretty minimal. The forest area opened up and I crossed some cute little bridges and streams. The race ended back in the pavillon area, with music playing and people cheering. I called Kaitle, grabbed some water and a banana and stretched. I finished the race feeling energized and refreshed. The feeling of a morning out on the open trial with brisk weather is unbeatable.
We grabbed a cup of local coffee from one of the stands, and headed into Athens for breakfast!