Tag Archives: walking

Cleared for Take-off

airplaneIt was one month to the day from my last run at Rabbit Hill Park. I entered the physical therapy facility on August 14th and completed all exercises, evidently with flying colors. As of now I can participate in all my prior activities with the exception of kettlebell training and running and I’m okay with that. I’m much too skittish about running right now anyway, especially since I’m not completely free of this radicular pain situation. The time off has been good because I learned a few things.

  • It doesn’t take long for my body to get squishy. I stayed begging the therapist to lift because I was already behind the eight ball in my weight training having been focused on Peachtree training since may. A month off from nearly everything and I’m now close to marshmallow material.
  • When my back is up against the wall, compliance is a non-issue. Everything that I was doing or not doing wasn’t working to improve my condition. As it stands with my back in the condition it is in all I can do is what the professionals tell me in order to maintain a good quality of life.
  • I don’t miss the little bit of ego that I did have at all. Though I wasn’t laid up, though I didn’t miss any days of work, I was limited in what I could do. The piece of ego I used to have that said quitting is for whimps is gone. Quitting at least for a while was the best thing I could have done.
  • I never thought I’d miss yoga so much. Having started a 30 day yoga challenge around the time of that last run. I was really looking for to the practice everyday and was making some strides in terms of flexibility and in my overall life outlook. When the therapist sat me down I was like noooooooooooooo!!!

Finally, let me say that I’m thankful that I still have a body that tells me when things are going wrong and to keep the going wrong to a minimum I need to listen to my body AND the professionals to stay healthy.

Until next time, see you at the gym, the yoga mat and even the trail, where you’ll find me WALKING with a purpose.

pinckneyville bb


Photos: MsThorns


Welcome Back to Lion’s Club Park

When I first discovered it about four years ago, it was closed, blocked off and pretty much in shambles.  I kept passing by and in 2013 saw that it was being renovated and shaping up to be nothing like that first visit. The place had been gutted with signs of life appearing that looked very much like many of Gwinnett’s other great parks. This past weekend, on a quest for the next park to try, I found an article about a re-opening. Woo-hoo! Lion’s Club Park had re-opened so I had to go check it out.
Lion’s Club Park in Lilburn, Georgia received a $5.3 million overhaul and was re-opened in February 2014. By Memorial weekend 2014, residents were taking full advantage of its amenities which include: a baseball complex with five lighted ball fields, 1,800-square-foot concession/restroom building, plaza, batting cages, 60-foot pavilion area, maintenance building, more than 850 parking spaces, paved trail system with benches, adult swings and shelters. (Amenities listing courtesy of the Gwinnett Daily Post. The county’s website has not been updated as of this writing).
The Trail
The trail is paved, circles the park and is a short but challenging .77 miles.  From the parking area at the main entrance headed toward Rockbridge is all downhill. There’s a brief flat area on the back end near the furthest baseball field and then it’s back uphill to the starting point.  There are no mile markers, which is okay given the distance.  Additionally since this park is basically new, there are mostly new trees, meaning that shade is limited and located in the back of the park by the residential entrance and the front main entrance. Runners, walkers and other sportos should get there EARLY to avoid getting baked.
The Fork
Now if a quick 3 miles is all you want, circle the park 4 times for a near 5K or, at the bottom on Rockbridge stay left at the fork, pass under Rockbridge and enter the Camp Creek Greenway — Glorious!  Not available until this year, the Lion’s Club Park Trail now feeds into the Greenway.  A potential long route is to loop around Lion’s Club Park onto the Greenway, through Lilburn Park, onto the Greenway offshoots and back, which is some nice mileage with a mix of scenery, inclines and flats. I chose a “tweener” route by taking one loop around Lion’s Club Park over to the Greenway, circling Lilburn Park and coming back to Lion’s Club which was a bit over 4 miles.DSCN7855
The new Lion’s Club Park is a great neighborhood park for families, fitness enthusiasts and baseball/softball fans with the bonus of a feeder trail system. If you’re in the area or are from Lilburn and remember how the park was, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what the park has become.
Until next time, see you on the trail where I’ll be getting my running legs back. 🙂
Photos: MsThorns

Takes Your Breath Away, Rock Springs Park

After the running FAIL at Peachtree Ridge Park, I didn’t rest until I had an opportunity to try another park.  The destination this time, Rock Springs Park in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

The Park
Per the Gwinnett Parks and Recreation website, Rock Springs Park features the following: 113 acres, football field with lighted walking track, six lighted tennis courts, playground, pavilion, restrooms, 2-mile paved, multi-purpose trail and grill.
One thing of note that I’ve not seen at other parks is that there is a recycling bin in the lot near the pavilion and playground for bottles and cans, which is fantastic and I hope will get implemented in other county parks.

The Trail
Before heading down into the the trail I stopped a couple of ladies and asked them how hard the trail was. Here’s the conversation:

Lady 1: “oh you’ll love it it’s beautiful.” 
Lady 2: “no you didn’t hear her, she said how hard is it?”
Lady 1: “are you walking or running?”
Me: “running”
Lady 1: “oh it’s pretty hard then there are some hills”
Lady 2: “it may be okay for you just hard for somebody who hasn’t worked out in a while”

Lady 2 proceeded to ask me if I wanted to leave a number just in case I had problems. I told her, no thank since my shoe is tagged with emergency information.  I should have known after this conversation that this run would challenging, but the hard-headed runner had a score to settle.  I wasn’t about to let another trail beat me.

So I did my warm up (always a quarter mile walk) and headed straight uphill. Upon reaching the top I ran out of trail but ended up by the football field. Heading back was only a brief respite as the steepness going up meant I would be “putting on brakes” on the way down.  Continuing on the downhill to my original starting point and beyond, was more of a downhill, back towards some water.  There was plenty to view on the trail but not enough to make me forget about how hard it was.  After few rough downhills it was time to make the ascent out. I don’t remember any normal breathing at all during the entire run which ended up at 3.25 miles.  The website indicates the trail is 2 miles, it’s actually 2.25 starting from the football field entrance.

Rock Springs Park is a great place for four things, children’s play (they have a really nice playground), tennis, football and of course the trail.  Though this trail is really challenging, it’s a good test of fitness, that I’d recommend in anyone’s running or walking program.  However to prevent entry I wouldn’t recommend it more than once a week.

Fore more information on Rock Springs Park or other parks in Gwinnett County Georgia, please be sure to visit the Parks and Recreation website.
Until next time see you on the trail.

Running in Lenora Park

The day after Peachtree Road Race, I knew I had no strength to run (see why here) but could definitely go for a walk and check out another one of Gwinnett County’s (GA) finest.  So I fired up the parks and rec map and Google maps and landed at Lenora Park in Snellville, GA.

Lenora Park in Snellville, GA has many of the features that residents and visitors come to expect in Gwinnett’s larger parks including: baseball/softball fields, a track, leisure pool, dog park, batting cages, gym, pavilion, children’s playground and disc golf.  I didn’t know what this disc golf was until I came back on Saturday and saw it in action.  There’s something for everybody in this park and the second visit revealed it in full use.  For me though, it’s all about the trail.

On Tuesday I walked it, really early around 7:00 am and walked it slow to take pictures and poke a round and what became crystal clear is that the paved trail is for EARLY MORNING or cooler weather use, unless you are the hearty type who can take the heat and humidity of the Dirty in July.  There are plenty of trees but for all but the back side of the park and a little piece on the Lenora Church Road side, runners, walkers and bikers get to enjoy plenty of wide open unshaded space in which to move.  That aside, I love this trail.  It is relatively flat and fast for all rabbits and is a nice break for turtles like me.  The paved trail is 1.7 miles which is fantastic with only three loops you’re at 5.1 miles and four loops puts you at  6.8.

What was especially beautiful for me at this park is that on Saturday morning the park was full of black people.  Since my folks have such high rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, I was really encouraged to see so many folks out there handling their health business.

Lenora Park is great for runners, walkers and bikers with that fast trail and is great for more leisurely pursuits as well.  If you’re in the area, check it out and if you’re not I encourage you to visit the parks near your home base.  July is National Park and Recreation Month, why not grab your kids, running shoes, book or nothing at all and experience parks for yourself.

See you on the trail!

Sweetwater Park

I’d just completed a run at my favorite spot, Bethesda Park on a weekday morning.  In order to avoid traffic which was backed up I stayed on Bethesda Church road until it turned into Bethesda School Rd and lucky me, another park was in sight, Sweetwater Park.  Having the day off and no schedule to follow I pulled into the lot to check it out.

Sweetwater Park is a small but well maintained park in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Features include a playground, pavilion, tennis courts, half-court basketball, and sand volleyball lot, something I’ve not seen at other Gwinnett Parks thus far.  Having arrive around 10:00 am there were not a lot of people around including one staff guy on hand to clean up after a holiday weekend.

The trail was easily accessible, .75 miles long and not hilly.  However, coming up on the volleyball side is an incline that will leave you slightly winded once you actually reach the sand.  Beginning at the park entrance and going right, the trail is shaded for the better part of .5 miles, which is a nice reprieve when needed.

Since the initial visit I’ve run at Sweetwater twice.  The first time around 7:00 am which was really nice.  There were only walkers and runners there and the .75 mile loop is perfect for a 3 mile run, four times around and you’re done.  The Pavilion area is a nice for your cool-down, stretch, meditation and for watching personal trainers put clients through their paces. I went back a few weeks later around 7:00 pm and it was CROWDED.  Walkers, runners, bikers, skaters, dogs and all of the courts including the sandlot volleyball were full, there was a girls basketball team doing drills and a boxing class at the pavilion.  To top all that off, it was STILL 88 degrees.

For runners and walkers Sweetwater Park is perfect for short distances, in the morning.  For families and other sport enthusiasts the evenings are on and poppin!

For more information on Sweetwater Park and others, go to the Gwinnett County Parks website.  Hope to see you on the trail!