My original Labor Day plan was to run the U.S. 10K Classic (a great race, I’ve heard), but that would have stood in the way of the family canoeing/kayaking trip (something of a family Labor Day tradition now). But then the late-breaking forecast called for mid-50s in the morning: perfect for running, but not good for little ones in a river. So we delayed hitting the river for a few hours, which gave me time to head over to nearby Hickory Flat and run the Hickory Flat Out 5K.
I was glad I did. The 5K was sponsored by Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and benefited their children’s camp ministry. The race was run on the roads in front of the church, and ended on trails behind it. It was a beautiful setting for an early morning race, participation was good, the event was well organized, and the volunteers were very friendly and helpful. The technical shirt for the race was nice, although I didn’t get one: that’s what I get for registering only minutes before the race started. However, the volunteer at the shirt table told me they would mail shirts to those who didn’t get one. That’s a very nice gesture; with many races, the policy is, “you snooze, you lose.” I’m a bit out of training, so I certainly didn’t set any personal records (my time was around 25:30). But I enjoyed it, and it was much better than morning loops around my usual running spots.
Afterward, we loaded up the two kayaks, one canoe, and 5/7 of the family and headed out to run the 13 mile stretch of the Etowah River from East Cherokee to 140. Last year’s floods changed this section a bit, but it was still very nice, with blue herons escorting us, interesting aquatic life, and the native American fish weirs still intact (Tina posted some nice shots in her Picasa Gallery). Water levels had receded, but it was very runnable. Rapids never get above Class II in this segment (if that), so it took awhile: 6 hours for us (with stops), and it made for a good paddling workout. My only complaint is that put-in and take-out remains a real challenge; we look forward to the planned launches to improve that situation.
Following that we rushed home just in time for me to grill “dad burgers.” There: we squeezed as much into one day as is humanly possible. Can we do it again tomorrow?
Run, canoe, grill: pretty much a perfect Labor Day “triathlon,” if you ask me.