Day #3: The Percy Warner Summit

I had the opportunity to do two runs while I was in Nashville, both at Percy Warner. I realized when I’d completed the first day that I’d neglected two important particulars: take a picture of the awesome Stone Gate entryway into the park and run the last .3 of a mile to the top of the park.

On day two, I took care of both of those:

Just through the gate is the beginning – and end – of the 11.1 mile loop. I arrived the second day much earlier, approximately 6:15 a.m., to a different site than the day before. That early in the morning, the hardcore folks are out.

For example: I parked just past the gate on the right side. As I was slipping on my Vibrams, I heard a voice coming from the tree off to my left. I couldn’t see anyone, but the whole right side of the tree was shaking. I glanced back, saw nothing. I glanced back again, nothing. Finally, I strapped on my shoes and just watched the tree.

Then I saw legs – or from the knee down – dipping down and up, down and up. Some cyclist had climbed into the three to do pull-ups. As I told my dad later on: once you’ve worked out in nature, the gym just seems boring.

Of course, I had no choice but to run the summit after that. I set out on a pace roughly six minutes faster than the day before. I knew the course, knew the hills, and knew I wanted to see the summit. At the 10.15 mile mark – just after you’ve climbed a terribly steep incline for 1.5 miles – you have a choice to make.

To the right: a long, glorious downhill descent .85 miles that takes you to the end of the run; to the left: a short, steep ascent that goes .2 miles uphill and then wraps around another .1 mile before dumping you back to that turning point.

As you sit here reading this, an additional .6 miles may not seem like much; after 2 hours of running – which includes 1,100 meters of inclines including 2 massive uphill runs – that .6 miles makes all the difference. I was prepared, though, and went left.

As I came through the wooded area, I looked out across this:

I only stayed for a few moments – enough time to snap a picture for my readers and take in the view for myself – before the call of the downhill beckoned me. It was, however, the perfect end to the Nashville leg of my adventure.

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