Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christmas in Dixie

Let me just brush the dust off of these blogging fingers for a second....yep, that's better. Aside from my HTC review last week, since the new year it's been all Sal carrying this blog load. I've had a bad case of blogger's block I had to overcome.

However, just because I haven't been writing doesn't mean I haven't been running. In fact, while the hubster and I were home for the holidays on our three state tour I took the opportunity to enjoy the change of scenery and ran in every city we graced with our presence. (not to mention, I had just received some some new winter weather lulu loot and I was dying to road test it)

We started our Southern tour in Memphis where our first stop was with my Dad's family as we celebrated my grandfather's 85th birthday. Dad has a corporate apartment in Memphis on the fabulous Mud Island (which is conveniently close to the downtown restaurant hub and nightlife of the Mid-South capital). Optimal for when hubster and I would visit Memphis (and Sal) from Ole Miss and hit up Beale in the early post college days. Mud Island, is just that, an island in the Mississippi river.

The houses and real estate on this island are incredible. Many of the ones that line Island Drive have these wonderful porches with amazing views. The best part about the island is the trail and sidewalk that run all along the river. Runners, walkers, dogs and bikers are constantly out and about. As you run along the Mississippi you'll see barge after barge making their way down.

Random dad and cute little boy not included...

Next stop was Greenwood, MS, home of the hubster and where his family lives. We loved staying with the newlyweds, my sister-in-law and her new hubby, who just happen to have set- up-shop on the corner of Jane Lane and Olivia Street. Which, for those of you that don't know, that's my first and middle name Jane Olivia (or was before I married).

Greenwood, for all of you unfamiliar with Mississippi geography, is part of the Mississippi Delta, and the Delta is FLAT! And flat = a nice run.

At the start of my run, the sun rises over the cotton fields behind Westminster Presbyterian church.

What I loved most about my Greenwood route was running down Grand Boulevard. One of the most gorgeous tree lined streets, I would argue, in America!

And all along the street, you'll find gorgeous, old southern homes:

If you read Kathryn Stockett's bestselling novel The Help, loved it as mush as I did and you're equally excited about the movie coming out, then you too will get to know Greenwood as the movie was filmed there this past fall.

And this little face was waiting for me at the door when I finished my run

The final leg of our holiday tour found us in Birmingham, my old stomping ground. I was so happy to be reunited with what I think, is one of the best running trails out there, Jemison Trail.

The Shades Creek Mill House along Jemison Trail

Birmingham, and specifically, Mountain Brook, is so green with rolling hills. I really have no words to explain how beautiful the houses and neighborhoods are, you'll just have to take a run to see for yourself.

And how can you not love the quaint villages that connect the different neighborhoods.

Corner of Mountain Brook Village

In fact, this very Saturday is the Village to Village 10k and I wish I could be there to run it because it's such a beautiful and fun course.

Running in all three cities added so much to this year's holiday travels. Previously when I traveled, I had my excuses to justify me leaving my sneaks and workout clothes at home: airline baggage restrictions, no time on my trip for working out, etc. But excuses no more - call it one of my 2011 resolutions if you will. I've realized how fun it is to take advantage of different locations and research in advance great trails and routes in the cities you will be visiting. Not to mention, it's a great way to get outside and explore.

If you're like me, when you're traveling you're probably enjoying yourself by eating and drinking a little more than when at home. During this trip I kept my running up, and while I might not have lost any weight while I was indulging, I definitely didn't gain any of those pesky holiday lbs and I felt great. So get out and run - and then you don' t have to feel bad having that dessert at the amazing restaurant you were so excited to try.

Without further ado the routes:
Mountain Brook - Jemison Trial (note: this map does not really show the trail, but it's there. You can't miss it, right by the creek, er the "brook").

If you find yourself in any of these three great cities, you should check them out. Tried and tested by yours truly.

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