And now for your regularly scheduled fitness update. I’ve been planning to run all weekend. Our Helen trip and residual kickboxing soreness postponed the run until Sunday morning. When I woke up on Sunday, I was so excited to finally get out there and sweat. After donning my new heart rate monitor, swishy Nike running shorts, long-abandoned Asics sneakers with gel inserts, and my GPS watch, I was ready to go. Four minutes of running went by without a hitch. Then my pretty new GPS watch emitted a pathetic beep, flashed “battery low,” and went dark. So much for technology. I’m not really sure how much longer or further we ran (by ‘we’ I mean Xavier, Riley in her pink running harness, and me), but suffice it to say that we were all sweaty and out of breath by the end. The watch has now completed another charge cycle and will hopefully work as it should next time. On the bright side, though: I successfully ran!
Helen, GA is like what Disney’s Epcot would be had it been built on an anemic budget in the mountains of North Georgia. You’ll find it if you drive about ninety minutes north of Atlanta. It springs up almost as a surprise after the rolling hills that surround it. One minute you’re on a road that could be in any mountain town on the East Coast. The next you’re gazing upon a tiny German hamlet nestled into the mountains.
Helen came recommended as an interesting place to shop and explore, so we drove there on Saturday. What I really want to say about the town isn’t appropriate for this blog (I am practicing the art of filtering), so please feel free to email me for full disclosure. What I will tell you, however, is that it’s the kind of place where you wander into a little building heralded by a sign saying “Charlemagne’s Kingdom” and are then implored by the proprietors, an adorable older couple, to pay five dollars for the privilege of viewing their handmade two-story model of the entire country of Germany. “Everything is there! The entire country! All the major historical events! There are 25,000 trees!” We declined, and since I was on my best behavior, I didn’t ask if they were so thorough as to include Auschwitz.
There were shops of all sorts in Helen. We saw a glassblowing establishment where they shaped little butterflies as patrons watched. Candy stores that could have been transplanted from the Jersey shore, taffy and all. A leatherwear shop. Antique stores. Bakeries. Furniture shops. You could pretty much buy anything in Helen, provided you’re looking for something useless or edible. We’d come to Helen to explore, not shop, so our longest stop was at a German restaurant and pub where we drank German beer and chowed down on bratwurst, wienerschnitzel, and spaetzle. Juvenile jokes abounded throughout lunch.
After our adventures in Faux Bavaria were finished, we headed out to Unicoi State Park, which is right up the road from downtown Helen. This, I’d recommend. It was so refreshing to be immersed in complete silence among trees and water. Even though Atlanta is a quiet city, I realized that I’ve gotten used to constant noise around me. Unicoi was a welcome change of pace. Although we weren’t equipped for hiking, we managed to park, walk around, and take in the scenery. The day was cold and the park was almost abandoned. This was just fine for us.
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and that you are meeting all of your personal goals for fitness and beyond!