Day #7: Running the Kennesaw Battlefield

My body is beat up.

Despite running just 44 miles this week, my legs feel like iron anchors. I’ve climbed several miles on trails, which I haven’t done much before this trip. Still, I wake up every morning and drag myself out. It’s helpful that I’ve brought nothing else to do.

Once I pull myself out of the tent, however, I find myself anxious to run – despite the fatigue – to see what the day has to offer. Without delving too deeply into this, I can feel a stirring inside me with every step I take on the trails. My state of mind has been altered. I’m not sure where this is going just yet, but I’m very excited to see what – if anything – grows from this experience.

Today I set about running a short 8 miles through Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park. Yesterday, I ran the mountain. As I made my way through the park, I felt spry (after I shook off some of the soreness). When I reached the Illinois Monument, 5.2 miles from the Visitor Center, I came across the sign for Kolb Farm (3 miles), the southern-most part of the park.

“I’ve come this far”, I thought. “What’s 5k more?”

Let’s forget the math that suggests that it’s actually a 10k since I’d be running out-and-back, or the reality that making a decision to continue running when you feel at your best (re: after a surge of energy) is never a good idea.

As I pressed on to the southern end of the park, I realized that I’d only brought enough water for a 10-mile run. I realized this as I emerged from the shaded path and set about crossing one of the numerous open fields in the late morning heat.

Fortunately, there was a drinking fountain at the Kolb Farm, which allowed me to refill my water bottle. (I said aloud: “If I’m hallucinating or that doesn’t work, I’m screwed.”)

The run back was brutal. The exclamation: the last five miles were uphill, which explains why I felt so good when I reached the Illinois statute at mile 5.2. I was lost in a sea of emotions and thoughts, my body breaking down and my synapses firing at random intervals. What kept me grounded was this thought: at the end of the 16-mile run, I’d have completed my first 60-mile running week.

Unfortunately, my run ended at 15.75 miles, leaving me just shy of that marker. However, I have one more day to break that barrier before packing up my tent and heading to Pelham, Alabama.

If you’re wondering what today’s run looked like, here it is. (Also: note there is more elevation – 1,400 meters – on this run than there was on the Kennesaw Mountain run – 1,100 meters. It’s just more spread out.)

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3 comments

  • John Borland June 12, 2011   Reply →

    Insane, dude. Inspiring as hell.

    • Brad June 12, 2011   Reply →

      Ha. I’m just running, man. You should see the pros. They go flying past me like you wouldn’t believe.

  • bradp December 16, 2011   Reply →

    I walked it today with a buddy…..I ran out of water by the time I got to Cheatham Hill……trudged back seemingly forever and got turned around on a couple of trails….poorly marked.   We were reminded today how soft we are at 45 years old……OUCH

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This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
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