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.)

3 comments
bradp
bradp

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

Brad
Brad

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