I meet Cecilia and David to run the Coosa Loop just 4 days prior to my own GA Loop run in May. It's my last week day to run trails while Lee is at work and the kids are at school. For the rest of the summer, I'll only run trails on weekends so that I can stay home with the kids during the week.
I haven't run a full Coosa Loop since March and even then I threw in some miles onto the DRT before turning around and finishing out the loop. So, technically, I haven't run just a true Coosa Loop since last July. I've been so busy running other trails and re-running certain sections so much that I just never got around to running "just" a Coosa Loop. Usually, if I am going to make the drive then I want to run as many miles as I can. But, with GA loop being in just 4 days 12 to 13 miles will be plenty.
Six days after I complete the GA Loop, June 1st, I agree to meet Cecilia for her double Coosa loop, and it's National Trail Day!. I tell her that I will go one loop and if I feel good I'll go a 2nd loop, but to not count me in for the 2nd loop. I am pretty well recovered from GA Loop except my feet still hurt and my stupid blister hurts worse now than it did after my GA Loop run. It feels like it's bone deep. I cover it with antibiotic ointment, moleskin, and tape. As I get out of my car at Vogel and put on my trail shoes it really hurts, and I wonder how in the hell am I going to run one loop. LOL But, I don't dwell on this as I really have a strong desire to run in spite of it.
We make it to the top of Coosa and was headed down to Wild Cat gap, and I asked Cecilia, "why are we going down, we haven't reached the top of Coosa yet?" Well, she must have thought I was crazy because she told me we had already passed Coosa and are headed towards WPG. I just died laughing! Usually, I can't wait to see the top of Coosa and counting the minutes till I reach the top. Today, I pass right over the top, and I didn't even realize it! This must be a great sign that I am getting stronger..lol.
As we were running down on the other side of the loop a hiker warned of us a rattle snake next to the Bear Hair Trail. I told Cecilia to go first as she had to be the "brave one" lol. As we approach, Bear Hair I had to talk her past it as she was tip toeing...I say to Cecilia, "let's just keep running and he won't see us" ..LOL We finished the loop and ran to our cars and shared her avocado and some potato, and I drank a powerade. Went to the potty and off we went for loop 2. I actually felt pretty good. My blister wasn't hurting at all but my feet still hurt, but they hurt regardless...so may as well go again! I am reminded of what my friend Tom says, "nothing hurts when you're running!". So true.
We decided to take the Bear Hair trail up and run past the rattlesnake that wasn't there going clockwise.. Turns out the reverse is really not any easier than going up Coosa lol It's just not quite as steep but looking at my Garmin map...no discernible difference! Running down Coosa and hearing Cecilia laughing at the mountain behind us because we are running downhill and not uphill was my favorite part of the day. She was making fun of the mountain because we were done with the worst of the climbing! It was funny. I was very proud of myself for completing such a hard run after the GA loop 100k just last week. We finish in 8:04 hours. Great running time for a double Coosa 28.58 mile run on fatigued legs climbing 9200 feet in elevation gain.
Cecilia and I run Merrill's Mile and then one week after running 50 plus miles, we decide to tackle the Double Coosa Loop once again on July 13. Now, to most people this might sound like madness, but to my running twin and I, it just sounds like fun! Weeeee! LOL
We start running at 5:45am by headlamp and this time we decide to run the first loop clockwise and to eliminate the Bear Hair Trail, so that we can be near finishing our first loop when Wilson's fun run group gets started around 9am. I feel surprisingly good but that's because my foot feels a lot better from the nail puncture, and I am running more normally on it. We run into Wilson's group within a mile of the start, and it's always fun seeing friends on the trail!
Wilson runs back to our cars with us and we refuel and head back out for our 2nd loop to run counter clockwise. We eventually run into Deborah and Theresa who decided to turn around and go back to the park. It's not long before we run into Mitch and Brandon who breeze past us running up Coosa on their first loop. I told Cecilia that is just amazing to watch those two guys running that fast up Coosa as we power hike on our poor tired legs! haha
We make it to the top of Coosa and it's gotten breezy and rainy. We stop briefly here for a snack and start running down Wild Cat Gap and then towards Wolf Pen Gap. I love this stretch of trail before heading up Slaughter. Cecilia and I are not really looking forward to going up Slaughter, but up we go. Cecilia cracks me up when she says, "you know this sucks but in a good way". We both burst out laughing, and I tell her this is the funniest thing all day. I tell her that as hard as this is that Merrill's Mile was harder for me...lol
See how happy we are to be finished with Slaughter Mountain! Not so bad, huh?
We finish this loop out and while Cecilia runs to the bathroom, I run all the way out to the far parking lot and notice our time is 8:23 hours. A little slower then our last double Coosa loop, but we did make a few social stops with Wilson's groups and again with other runners we saw that day. But, also we just ran 50ish miles at Merrill's Mile just a week ago too. So, I'm not complaining about our time at all. I think it's actually quite good!
Cecilia and I think so much alike on our running philosophy that I often tell her she's my "running twin". We often share our ideas and the other one has already thought along those lines or was going to bring this same idea up. It's so funny just how much running sense we have in common. I've never met someone who thinks so much like me in terms of running and also shares a strong determination factor.
I'm looking forward to our future endeavors wherever they may lead. If I'm running with Cecilia, it's bound to be a fun hard day. It's rare to find someone who wants to run like that consistently. I am so thankful to have her as my friend. She inspires and motivates me so. I've learned so much from her, and I hope I have helped her as much as she has helped me.
Mostly, I am thankful to have found a great friend.