Thursday, October 18, 2018

Running in Nashville: Cumberland riverfronts

Not, it's not a typo, I really mean the plural of riverfront. Well, it's trivial that every river has two fronts or they would be lake or sea ocean... And Nashville isn't the only city to have built a running and bike path on each side of their crossing river. I can think of Austin for instance (although I highlighted another nearby trail 5 years ago), Dallas' Trinity Skyline, a few major European capitals to a certain extent (e.g. Paris, London) and, more recently for me this past June, Krakow and it's Vistula River. This may be a book idea, a guide to running on both banks of cities by a river! ;-)

I had to book my trip to Nashville in a hurry, when most hotels downtown were either already sold out or with prices way too high for an IBMer. With that, I stayed in different locations including one night closer to downtown, in Vanderbilt, 1.5 miles from downtown and the Cumberland River.
After my great run near the airport on Tuesday morning, I went for 10 miles on Wednesday night and 7 miles before early calls on Thursday morning, to explore these riverfronts. And I came back with a mixed report. If you are looking for just a few miles, then Nashville has what you are looking for! For us ultra runners, our hopes are short lived, in every direction I tried, and I have been pretty exhaustive:

  1. Northbound left bank: you hit the end of the trail before Jefferson Street, about 1.3 miles from Broadway.
  2. Southbound left bank: I found a way to log 1.4 miles without much road crossing, but, at least in the dark, couldn't find something runnable after route 24.
  3. Northbound right bank: nice concrete trail along the massive Nissan stadium (football that it, you know, the one they play with the hands ;-), but the trail ends at the limit of the parking lot, so just 0.3 miles worth.
  4. Southbound right bank is even worse. Although, looking at Google Maps more closely, I believe you could go on Davidson street for 2 or 3 miles then get back on trails at Shelby Park and Shelby Bottoms. But that's a stretched urban connection to call this riverfront running.
Anyway, if you are for a long run, you may have to go back and forth or loops leveraging the 1-kilometer long John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge and very large sidewalk of the Korean Veterans Boulevard / Ridgeway bridge.

All in all, not the most outstanding riverfront from a (long) running standpoint, you've been warned! Or leave a comment to prove me wrong in case I missed something while running in the dark yesterday evening! ;-)

Still, always great to run a few miles outdoor, especially in this perfect weather this week, and a spectacular sky at sunrise this morning!

With that, a series of pictures for a virtual visit of this side of Music City, realizing millions of visitors don't come to Nashville to run, but enjoy the musical gems. And drink. Seriously that is.

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Nashville's nigh life headquarters (Broadway and 2nd/3rd streets)
 Cool diagonal crossing like in Tokyo:
 And ugly train and its terminus station right on the waterfront:
 Profile of the ATT building
 Cumberland riverfront:
 Views of the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge:



 Views of the Gateway bridge:




 The Nissan stadium:
 Back on Broadway:
 The other side of the iconic AT&T Batman Building (it even has a Wikipedia page!):
 Customs House:


 Frist Art Museum (Agn├Ęs would have love these exhibits):

 The classy Union Station...
 ... one floor over the train track:
And this quick tour wouldn't be complete without some reference to Country and Bluegrass music!
 The brand new Music City Center,
 and it's tribute to Song Writers (Hall of Fame):
 And the super popular Grand Ole Opry House which we had for ourselves tonight!


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Running in Nashville: Stones Ridge Greenway, near BNA

So long for tapering, I can't resist trying out trails when visiting new places, and what a trail Stones Ridge Greenway is, near the BNA airport, so close to Nashville! A great opportunity to log a few miles away from any car traffic on this 10-mile long paved bike and pedestrian path.

It took me a bit of guessing to find the closest trail head to my hotel in Google Maps, because a busy train track can easily be mistaken for the trail. I settled for a very particular place, the Tennessee School for the Blind, where I parked (and I know this isn't an official trail head parking...). Why special? Because it reminded me the visit blind ultra runner Simon Wheatcroft made last year to the California School for the Blind, with an inspiring talk facilitated by Marie Trudelle.


Nothing spectacular to report on this run, I went all the way to the mile 5 marker, and ran faster on the way back as, first, I didn't stop to take pictures and, second, work was calling. Or yelling as a matter of fact... ;-) But, after another short 5-hour sleep, working late and still digesting the 15-hour jet lag of last Saturday, I was really pleased to squeeze in 15K before another long day.

Here is a shot of the trail map from a trail head at Kohl's, 2.5 mile in the run, with a water fountain:

Relive's 3D flyover to situate the run (click on link, or picture):
And a few pictures to show you how green (and picturesque...) the area is, mid October.




 It's October... Boo! ;-)






So special to discover a bit of Tennessee this active but quiet way, before plunging in the amazing musical experience of hundreds of bands playing at every bar at night, if not on multiple floors, in downtown Music City!