Today I went for an eight mile run as a part of my Tupelo 14.2 training plan, which will evolve into my 4 Bridges Half, St. Jude Half, and Walt Disney World Marathon training. I decided to utilize one of the best assets that Memphis has to offer, the Shelby Farms Greenline. Shelby Farms is a 4,500 acre urban park in the heart of Memphis that offers a vast variety of activities. You can rent bikes, ride horses, observe the buffalo herd, play paintball or laser tag, play frisbee golf, hiking trails, visit the off leash dog park (a personal favorite of Beau’s due to the lack of sodomy he enters here versus Overton Bark), or participate in the litany of youth programs there. There is also the Greenline, a 6.5 mile track that runs along an abandoned railroad track from Midtown Memphis to Shelby Farms Park. The course does not cost the tax payers of Memphis one red cent, and is free to use for everyone. It has been criminal how little I have used this asset over the past two years. I ran on it often while training with my running group for my first half marathon in the summer and fall of 2011, but not much since. That will be changing.
The Greenline also connects to several of the trails within Shelby Farms, as well as the Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge, so you can add even more miles to your route. There are access points at Tillman Street, Highland Street, High Point Terrance, Graham Street, Waring Rd, Podesta Street, Sycamore View Road, and Farm Road. The official Greenline course is the paved trail from Tillman Street in Midtown to Farm Road inside of Shelby Farms. The area near Tillman Street is not the best of neighborhoods, so most people I know go no further than Highland Street when utilizing the trail.
I have never been on the trail when it was not extremely busy, which is a good problem to have. I know the success of the Greenline has led to other smaller urban trails being opened around town and has helped Memphis to secure federal grants to make the city a little more Eco-friendly. Today I encountered numerous cyclists and runners, as well has multiple walkers (I think of The Walking Dead every time I say this now), a couple of people in wheelchairs zooming down the course, several baby strollers, and one man walking and smoking a cigar. My only word to the wise is if you are running, be very cautious of the cyclists because they are not always willing to share the trail with you. Also, when you come to an intersection, hit the crosswalk button, please. It produces a red light for oncoming traffic rather quickly and greatly diminishes your chances of being struck by a vehicle!
The future plans for the Greenline is to extend it west from the starting point at Tillman to the viaduct in Downtown Memphis. This will be a $73,000 project and the article I saw said that the hope is to have it completed be December! There is also the Shelby Farms Greenline Half Marathon being held on October 13, 2013. I really want to run in it, but with the 4 Bridges Half Marathon the following week, it probably is not the wisest decision of my life, so I guess I will skip the event this year.
Today’s run was not my best, but we did have a cold front roll through today. The expected high is only 88 today and it was only 82 when I was running this morning! It does feel good to slowly get stretched back out for my fall race schedule and I am incorporating some new running and recovery tactics this year. I am currently wearing a pair of compression socks for the first time in my life, so I am hoping that they are as good as everyone says that they are! I went with a pair of Pro Compression socks today, and decided to try wearing them post run today. Next week I will wear the same pair of socks during my run, which will be eight miles once again, so I can compare and contrast the two techniques that I know causes much debate in the running community.