Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We've Got It Good

Yesterday was my first full day down here in Athens, GA and with a forecast of the mid-60s and approaching 70F, I was lickin' my chops for a run...in shorts...without gloves. By 10:30am, I was on the always-hilly roads of Athens and made it through the UGA campus, downtown, a quick stop by The Grit (had to make sure it was still there!) and back to base for 10 miles...all sweaty. Yes...salty sweat dripping down my face instead of freezing to my eyebrows. It was a great run and pain-FREE. It was even on mostly concrete and still..no pain. The true test was when I woke up this morning and still, no pain. :-) Later after we let out of class in the afternoon, I went and saw Shutter Island. The previews made it look like a horror flick which of course, Marjie had no interest in. However, the reviews I skimmed didn't agree and the reviews were quite good. It's a quick-moving 138 minute movie and if you like psychological thrillers that keep you guessing...it's for you. For example...if you like shows like "24"....you'll like it. I do...and I did. Afterwards, I got my 1st wish of the trip granted...a trip to The Grit for my first of four trips. Grit is a vegan restaurant just off the UGA campus and is what you'd expect regarding decor, staff, and customers considering it's proximity to the university and what it serves. It's actually in a 100+ year old building and all the original brick is exposed inside with local art adorning the walls. I had their staple dish...the Golden Bowl. Brown tofu cubes sauteed with with soy sauce and nutritional yeast served over brown rice. I added the optional cheese and mixed veggies, too. It was soooooo good!!! The tofu was so well cooked and reminded me a lot of scallops. I could've had 3 helpings without blinkin' an eye. Thursdays are their Indian cuisine nights so I'm going back this Thursday....then Saturday (or Sunday), then lastly on Tuesday next week. 4 visits and I should be good to go!

Today was a surprise bonus day. Either I could participate in a golf outing.......or......I could do as I please. Hmmmm....golf....or go find some trails. Easy decision. Since I'm heading north to the Appalachian Trail this Saturday for an all-day hike, I thought I'd head south to the Oconee National Forest...pronounced o-CO-nee. I drove straight to the ranger station, about 1hr south of Athens and got some directions to a trail I could run on. Hundreds upon hundreds of acres and there is ONE trail they recommend. Everything else is only a couple of looped miles and are widely scattered. OK...fine...where's the trail? "About an hour away. Further away." Yikes. This trail had better be good!!! I hopped back in my little, tiny, burgundy Toyota rental and got driving yet again...for another hour. I get to the road I'm supposed to turn on and it looks like an abandoned gravel road. I take it and sure enough, there's a "parking area" where the ranger said it would be. Reality: it was an open area under pines with horse poop everywhere. You see..this is an equestrian trail and it looks like they were here over the weekend. Oh joy...the trail should be....well...poopy. I had a really bad feeling about leaving the car there with my wallet/phone/laptop inside. I didn't even have a cell signal, I was in the middle of nowhere, and there was NO ONE around. Nada. I pulled up the rear seat cushion in the Yaris and found a cavity to hide my wallet. I hid my cell phone in another seat cushion (after uploading my GPS coordinates to Facebook just in case something happened), and got moving on the trail.

Right away, I felt like I was dancing on rocks and over roots...without either. The horses...many of them...had definitely been on the trail recently. Deep, muddy craters everywhere from side-to-side on the trail. It eventually got better and I just had to go off-trail a lot to stay out of the red clay mud. I didn't want to get my new Vasque's all dirty! I have to say...the trail itself was a disappointment. I'm so accustomed to our trails in Ohio and these trails were just plain ugly...sorry, but they were. No color, no beauty...nothing. I still had a good trail run because I don't know any other way to have a trail run...but geez..."WE'VE GOT IT GOOD" up in Ohio with our trails. Any month...any season....our trails are breathtaking. I can take my camera for any run in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and never have trouble wearing down my battery. Today...I had trouble finding pictures to take. Made me miss "my" trails, for sure. (here are the pictures I did take...all in wide angle...they're pretty good) In the end, I got in 2 solid hours of trail running and here's the big fat icing on the cake: with the wide variety of foot placement and technical-like running, NO soreness in my adductor. That 20 miles over the past two days without pain. I'm praying (seriously) that I feel no pain when I awake in the morning. That's the true test...the morning after.

Afterwards, I headed back north and drove through historic Madison, GA, looking for a cafe with Wi-Fi access so I could chill, refuel, and work on my pictures. No need to rush back to base. I stayed until I got kicked out when they closed at 5pm. Getting back to base, I checked my e-mail and the perfect end to a perfect day was waiting: I got sponsored by Brooks in their Brooks ID program! I'm a big fan of Brooks and am also in their wear-testing program. ID stands for "Inspire Daily." I applied about a month ago and was starting to think I wasn't selected but BAM!...there it is! Here's an overview about the program. Enjoy!

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