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Keyalus ran: I was all excited abo...
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- 17 miles
- 04:50 time
- 17:34 pace
- 4145 calories
I was all excited about doing my first "Meat Grinder" until I found out that we weren't doing a true grinder. Met a huge group of GUTS runners at the Top of the Falls parking lot @ Amicalola State Park. We missed out on the 600 steps in a mile part so this wasn't authentic grinder. I could have gone ahead and completed the run at the end, but umm...no. 16.5 miles was enough for me!
I knew this would be pretty much a solo run for me in spite of the large group and was totally fine with that. Most of the course is an out and back and I just like knowing that other people I know are out there for safety. That said, I wasn't about 15 min behind the main group and there was a group behind me. I felt secure!
Nice trails out here. I recorded 3300ft of gain for the 16.5 miles and it was nicely spread out. No ridiculous climbs, not constantly rolling. Course was fairly rocky and rooty in areas but nothing crazy. No scary descents either. I didn't fall once and anytime the terrain was tricky I walked.
I should have noted the time up to Springer but I forgot. The ~12 miles from the start to the Hike Inn offset trail took 3:12. The mile trek to the Hike Inn was the longest mile of my life. I needed to use the bathroom so bad that I could hardly think straight. After all the trail running I've done now, you think I would not be shy about this!
The Hike Inn was a godsend in the middle of nowhere. Real bathrooms, friendly employees & delicious lemonade. I didn't sample any of the cake they had available - I should have.
Having chatted with another runner about the trails earlier, I expected the Hike Inn Trail back to Approach to be "flat." but I wouldn't quite call it that. There weren't any major climbs but a few goodish hills and times when I looked up and saw enough incline that I chose to walk.
Covered the last 5 miles in about 1:20 which is what I estimated. Once I got back to the main trail though I was so confused about what to do. True to form, I fell apart in the last .2 miles of a run. I swear it was like I hadn't just been on the same trail earlier! I got to a street crossing that I did not remember so I was sure that I did something wrong. I went back to the split. I pulled out the map. I went back the other way. I turned around again. Some hikers that I passed a while ago were coming out and kindly pointed me in the right direction. Thank God for them because if I had followed my instincts, I would have headed back to Springer Mtn SMH.
The whole time, I was 2 minutes from the parking lot. I should have just crossed the stupid street because apparently I crossed it at the beginning of the run. Sigh. One day I will develop a sense of direction!
I felt great during the run and had some nice stretches of running. This the longest that I've been on my feet in a while and I didn't notice anything amiss. My legs felt pretty fresh the whole time...but my pace was nothing to brag about. I probably did 50/50 hiking/running but most often that was due to fear of falling on the rocks and not exhaustion.
What a nice day on the trails with perfect Fall-like weather! I don't think I have too many more of these to look forward to. :(