Atlanta #cityscape from Piedmont Park

My friend, James Loving turned me on to city runs when I stayed with him and his wife, Pamela a week ago. The hook: the run from his house in Richmond to the Virginia State Capital was a six mile round trip, and he claimed the route was rated one of the prettiest streets in America.

I thought I would hate it. Let me clarify. I thought I would hate the distractions but maybe enjoy the scenery. I have to get into *the zone* when I am running, otherwise it is just all guts and no glory. All I could think about was all of those people and crosswalks and traffic. I pictured myself having to yank Justice out of the headlights, maneuvering around the suits hogging the sidewalk, and having to stop dead at every red intersection.

There was nothing at all in those imaginations that appealed to me. But having never done a city run before, I was intrigued. State capitals are usually designed to impress the dignitaries and tourists alike, and there is so much history alive in Richmond. With a name like Monument Avenue… how could I NOT run it? So what if it was distressing! It would be a unique experience.

I LOVED IT. And Justice was great!

The people and vehicles were actually quite courteous. I think it helps to have a cute pup in tow. Justice garners attention and adoration everywhere she goes. I’m just along for the ride, really.

I decided I MUST include city runs in my #1000Miles1Year challenge (run/walk/crawl viaΒ ilovetorun.org). Coming to Georgia in week four of my project, Atlanta was my number one pick. My fiance, Edward and I used to rendezvous there from time to time when he lived in Virgina and I in Florida. Some of our favorite memories are in that city.

Still, I was chicken to take to the streets alone. I Googled “safe places to run in Atlanta” and Piedmont Park topped the list. I chided myself for not having the guts to run the streets, but I chided gently, as I am a recovering perfectionist. “This is not exactly a city run,” I told myself as I sat cross-legged on the floor and scrolled through the Google hits. But the reviews touted beautiful scenes of the cityscape, a lake, sculptures and other objects of interest. I decided it was a good compromise. The address *was* in the city after all.

The trail maps showed three distinct loops – the active loop, the lake loop and the meadow – together totaling 2.5 miles. I figured we could run it twice. Or, if it was really pretty, we could run it once, collect the camera, and walk it a second time to play with some photos.

Turns out dogs are not permitted on the active loop, which is like a dirt track oval. I had to get creative to reach even 2.3 miles on our run. But it was indeed beautiful, and I could hardly wait to get my hands on my new camera.

Justice and I did another two miles walking, taking in the sights and having fun with digital film. It was a gorgeous day. It was everything I hoped for. I even got sun-kissed.

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