Running Asheville

I can remember all my great runs, a 9-miler out in Priest River, Idaho, comes to mind immediately, as well as the beach at Tod’s Point in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, with views of Manhattan and Long Island in the distance.  This was my regular favorite when I lived in downtown Greenwich from 1998-2013.  The trails at Smith Mountain Lake State Park are near my mom’s house and I go there every time I’m home.  Lately, I’m doing more urban running, harder on the knees but actually probably harder on the shins.  Instead of three days a week, I now run every third day, so if I run on Sunday, I don’t run again until Wednesday then Saturday and so on, keeping a diurnal variation.  The problem with Asheville town running is the copious hills, meaning lots of downhills.  I don’t mind the uphills, but I think the downhills are a knee and shin killer.  That said, I have finally found a loop that mixes straight stretches, ups and downs with a good balance.  If I start off and head down McDowell, go under the tunnel and take a left at the bottom and make my way through the River Arts District, I can come up the big hill at Hilliard and weave around back to Biltmore Avenue.  The beauty of sidewalks is that they are fast; the downside is that they feel harder to run than asphalt which gives with the sun’s heat.  The other day I had a solid run and I end up seeing wonderful things like a beaver in a small creek.   I’m not sure daily running is good for my body type, but I’ve always loved doing a couple a week.  Downtown Asheville is packed so I avoid it and find the streets all but empty at certain hours.  An empty road is the runner’s friend.  In any case you can’t beat walking out of your door and having about twenty choices for loops, being right in the center of an amazing city.  Here’s a piece I wrote recently on Asheville for Act Two Magazine.  I run by a lot of these places all the time:  Hot American City: Asheville, NC

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