From snorkeling off the shores of St. Lucia to getting lost in the Great Smokies closer to home, whenever Jon and I plan our trips we create an itinerary that appeals to both our adventurous side and chill side. As we head up to the northeast in a couple short days, this time is no different. We will adventure to catch the sunrise before 6am and then mosey over to a coffee shop for an hour or two to relax. Some people are GO GO GO, and some people are like “please don’t make me move”, but packing for trips a combination of the two can be tricky. Having to be prepared for everything can sound like a chore, but trust me: it’s easier than you think.
- Set an itinerary – I am all for spontaneity, but there is some good that can come from having some set activities especially if you are having a mix type of vacation.
- Use packing cubes – back your undergarments in one, and your sports attire in one, then you can rightly figure out how much non active, nicer items you need and that will fit! My go to: @Amazon
- Wear your sunnies – regardless of what you might think sunglasses can be just the right accessory to make you presentable even after an active morning or afternoon along with a fresh shirt. My go to: @Goodr (in all the colors)
- Bring your snacks – this sounds oddly placed, but if you make sure you have substantial food along the way you won’t feel like you will barely make it to the meal you have planned for after. My go to: @rxbar
- Have a durable, yet light and sleek backpack – something to carry your water, snacks, the item below and a shirt change.
- Bring your toilettees – yes having a refreshing cloth with you is not only great for sweaty activity, but it takes up basically no space so you can transition quickly. My go to: @goodwipes
- Portable chargers – these are life-giving, at least to your phone. And you won’t have to rush back to charge your phone, but can head out for lunch or for coffee and you can post that sunrise photo no problem. My go to: @anker
- Shoes – one of the biggest things struggles when packing. Simply: pick three pairs of shoes that will go with anything you pack. (1) Outdoor pair for hiking, running, etc. (1) Casual around town pair, and (1) sandal or heel for fancy occasion.
Nothing on this list weights a lot, takes up a lot of space, or is incredibly expensive. Take the time to set aside your transitional gear so you can seamlessly go from sweaty to savory in a moments notice.
So where are we headed? Acadia National Park with moments off the coast of Maine with our books and coffee and a lovely 60 degrees. I will bringing my professional camera so I’ll be excited to share some of the views, tips and surprises along the way.
Why? Why do I run, why do I feel pulled to the community, why do I wake up at 4am sometimes to run my body to the ground? Part of me says the competitor in me and the need to be active. By nature, busybody would be an accurate description of my days, but the other part of me feels a true calling to the world of endurance athletics and the community around it. Contrary to what people believe, I don’t enjoy every single run, but I do appreciate every day that I get to put one foot in front of the other. While being a morning person is in my nature, not every wake up call is enjoyable, but it’s always worth it.
The community is worth it, the engaged and encouraging people that surround the running environment is tops, and for a year or so now running for a cause has been a forefront of my heart and love of running. Remembering that any day the ability to do something you are so passionate about could get taken away, and every day you have the ability to support those who can’t. The app Charity Miles, the charity runs, even just the simple email to a friend to say “you can do it”, “just 10 minutes today”. It’s the people that are the because, the running is a decompressor and stress relief in and of itself, but people help keep the drive, and the dreams alive.
So one of my girls suggested a blog post about some of my favorite spots in Atlanta to run and as the weather warms up and we start getting a little more active outdoors it’s a great time to explore some new spots. So after I’m finished with my list, I would love to hear yours!
- The Belt Line/Piedmont Park – one of the perks of running here is the clean, paved roads that are mostly FLAT, a rare find in Atlanta. The Beltline goes by all the new and flourishing neighborhoods as art displays line the pavement. As you go into Piedmont Park you can usually catch a festival or sporting event in one of the many fields. And weather you trying to loop together a 5K or just some loops around the active oval the ever present skyline will be a beautiful sight. And if you are finishing your run along any section you are set on refueling from Park Tavern, to Ponce City Market, to Krog Street Market – take your pic on food, cuisine, and price. The downside: if you are planning on getting in some serious miles / training make sure to hit this at non peak times, between walkers, bikers, runners, and dogs the trails can get pretty crowded.
- Peachtree Street – This is especially useful if the Peachtree Road Race is in your future as it hits a good portion of the run, and a nice workout up Cardiac Hill. Since I live a little north of Atlanta my route runs from Brookhaven through Buckhead and down right until you hit Midtown. While I love the Peachtree Road Race, it’s not why I love running here: mainly there are enough runners to feel a camaraderie, but not enough that you feel like you are being pushed off the sidewalk. Plus, the Buckhead skyline at sunrise is really stunning! The downside: the stoplights, this can really slow you up so if you are working on speed and consistency, it might not be the best option.
- Cochran Shoals – For me water just soothes the soul, and running alongside the Chattahoochee River is no exception. Head up just northwest of the city for an easy 3 miles on graveled trail next to the river, or even longer by adventuring onto some of their paved trails just off the river. Crowds aren’t ever too much and you its a scenic and peaceful route with a few cool photo spots. The downside: Parking can get a little tricky, and you definitely have to drive there.
- Little Mulberry Park – Ok so you have to head up northeast of the city for a bit to hit this park, but the reason I love it is it’s versatility. With two different paved trails, that remain relatively flat and miles of unpaved trails that take you through grassy fields to waterfalls, from valleys to mountain tops, you get views, miles, and a great workout wherever you are in this park.
- Cochran Mill – not to be confused with Cochran Shoals, you can find this on the southwest side of the city. The traffic is light out here in Palmetto, GA, and my friends at Peak Racing put on wonderful events and group runs. The trails are scenic and serene, but be careful not to go out here by yourself – definitely a group activity! The downside: The drive, it’s pretty far away from everything but if you are just looking for you and your partner some long quiet trail miles this is the place for you!
BONUS PICK: Stone Mountain Park – so fun fact I’ve never run around the whole mountain, I’ve hiked it more times than I can count, and have run part of the way. It’s five miles around the mountain, or hmmm rock, and very hilly so you will sure to be in for a good workout, and the fact you have scenic views being next to one of the most notable landmarks in Georgia. Definitely an add to
Want something a little closer, less crowded, and shorter distance? Try these: Morningside Nature Preserve, Kennesaw Mountain (if you are in that area), or Brookhaven Run Park for your furry friends!
****ALSO – If you are looking for a summer half marathon that has great city views, great community and a lot of support check out the Hotlanta Half Marathon, now being run by my friends over at Peak Racing (they also got me into the Cochran Mill Trails)
So go ahead, where do you love to get outside? I’d love to check out some new spaces.
Enjoy the spring and the outdoors!