Lady of the Lake 4 Hour Run - Blairsville, Georgia

Elevation: 2743' ............ RESULTS

September 25, 2021 - Legend has it that Cherokee Indian Princess Trahlyta's beauty was so renowned that after refusing a warrior's marriage proposal he kidnapped her and held her captive for the remainder of her life. Her dying wish was to be returned to the mountains that she so dearly loved. The warrior honored this one wish and returned her body to her beloved mountains. The lake is named for the beautiful Trahlyta and we pay homage to the Lady of the Lake.

It was a perfect early fall day with a little bit of color to reflect off beautiful Lake Trahlyta at northern Georgia's Vogel State Park. Under sunny blue skies and a comfortable 55 degrees at 0800, a hundred of us or so headed out in a clockwise direction to circle the lake as many times as we could in either four or eight hours. Four hours was enough for me. My goal was to do twenty miles, one way or the other. If I couldn't run that many in the allotted time, I would tack on additional miles after noon to round up the run to an even twenty miles.

The one-mile loop around the lake is mostly single-track on wood chip and dirt trails, but about a third of it is still pavement, sidewalk, and grass. Feeling rough at the start, I hobbled along to try to keep up with the field without sacrificing too much comfort, so I was surprised to come around the first time in eleven minutes. It didn't seem that fast, so I just maintained my tempo for the first five laps in an even 55 minutes or 5.5 miles per hour. My knee continues to hurt, so I still run with a bit of a hitch in my giddy-up, especially up mild grades. It must be painful to watch my limp from behind.

In the second hour of running, I aimed to back it down a bit to an average of 5 miles per hour, which I managed to do, rolling through ten miles in 1H and 58M. The third hour was about the same, hitting 15 miles in 2H and 58M. In the fourth hour I was good through 18 miles at an average 5 mph, but opted not to push the final two miles, so backed off the 19th lap just a tad and then shagged down for the 20th time around. Credit for 19 laps was good enough for 9th place of 67 entrants. I was surprised that I could sustain this tempo for that long and happy with a top ten finish. My body has gained in strength and my head is still on straight, but I regrettably still have to yield to the limitation of my injured knee.

The day was a good time, with nice people and cool swag. Toward the end I was getting kind of loopy from going around in circles, but once in awhile this kind of competition is good because it forces one to focus on the basics and work on holding tempo. I've raced at Vogel State Park four times before, and expect I'll be back... at least to train on the Coosa and Duncan Ridge Trails and to venture up Blood Mountain on the Appalachian Trail, which is the high peak in the header picture of the lake above. It's very pretty country to make tracks.