The alarm went off at 4:30 AM and when I walked out the front door at 5 AM after drinking my usual cup of coffee and downing a bottle of Propel, the weather was gorgeous. It was already above 60 degrees and I was rearing to go for a trail run. I headed to Richard's house, where he, Mike and James were already waiting. Jay followed a short time later for what would be his very first "real" trail run. I have to say, he mastered this true trail test with flying colors. Heading up Bankhead Parkway with the largest running group to date, we settled in an easy pace, keeping everyone together until we entered Tollgate trail. Once we passed the parking lot, we split upin smaller groups based on pace, agreeing that we would eventually meet up again anyway on the way back from the State Park Ranger station atop Monte Sano mountain.
James, Mike and I charged ahead, gradually increasing our pace until we reached the top of Cold Springs trail. Mike continued the increase the pace towards the Rangwer station and James and I gladly followed suit. As is often the case, neither one of us wanted to let the other get ahead too far. We are competitive like that;-) After we reached the Ranger station only to find the water fountain turned off, we turned around to head back. Richard had caught up with us just as we had turned around. Barely half a mile into our return leg of the run, Jay appeared on the trail in front of us, still running and still in great spirits. We all continued on together to finish out the run, heading down the technical sections of the Tollgate trail. With a quarter mile to go on Tollgate, Richard decided to pick up the pace once again for a little "speed work". Since three of us were running extremely close together (foolish, I know!), any trip would have meant all of us would take a serious tumble. Hey, what's a trail run without a little risk and fun:-) We all arrived back at Richard's house at the same time, ready to do it again.