"Let's go run the trails at Kennesaw Mountain!" Wes said to me. We had been training on pavement for a long time, all around Marietta, up Hwy 41, Franklin Road and the Marietta loop. I was a bit reluctant because trails meant strange areas, critters, the unknown.
I agreed and we met at the Visitors Center at Kennesaw Mountain and agreed to run a 6 mile loop. "Take it easy it is not the same as running on pavement" Wes said.
We took off running and within the first 10 yards I tripped and fell literally on my face, embarrassed as well as shocked I got up and wiped myself off, I had abrasions and blood on my hands and knees. "Do you want to quit?" Wes asked me as we laughed it off as we did most things.
"No way!", I said trying to keep my pride intact.
"The thing about trails is that you can enjoy the great scenery but know there are a lot of bumps, rocks, tree limbs etc to get in your way, you will learn to run comfortably with an anticipatory gait which will allow you to enjoy the course." he remarked so we took off for one of many runs through the 18 mile loop of trails. Most of the time we did not even talk, we just ran and took in the historical moments of what actually went on there during the Civil War.
There are still the war trenches and cannons through the run but what is most memorable was the silence and beauty of it all.
I had no idea what lessons I was learning about life on those trails during that time. I was still young and life was a simple paved road with everything laid out plainly in site; little did know.
I ran those same trails today and it has been over 15 years or more since I have run that course. It is a brutal, unforgiven course of long and short hills but what really takes my breath away is not so much the hills but the silence, the beauty and memories of running there with Wes many years ago.
It is still a tough course and many times I wanted to quit but I stayed focused, I enjoyed the scenery and it brought back so many memories. At one point I saw a family of deer crossing the trail ahead of me.
Wes was not with me physically but I so felt his presence as I took my time avoiding the obstacles that could trip me up.