Man oh man, I hope your Run@Work Day/Run2Work Day has been as good as mine!
I rose at 4 a.m. with Laura, who was assigned overtime on the dayside shift. She works for an international media organization headquartered in Atlanta; normally she is on overnights but those dayside wieners needed some extra fire power today, so they recruited my tough-as-nails, sweet-as-pie darling.
After seeing Lo-town off, I readied myself for work, and walked around the neighborhood with my coffee, taking in the sweet silence of our seldom-sleepy, yet hardly rowdy, street. Nothing but crickets, wind, sprinkler whispers and the distant howl of trains.
Then, I was off, taking a long route, about twice that of my normal commute, since I am the only one in the office today and Atlanta is finally enjoying some sub-90, sub-80 — indeed, sub-70-degree weather! Rather than south, I headed west, young (wo)man, and am delighted to share with you my Run2Work Day adventures.
Josh and I have been running on the BeltLine since before it was cool, starting Jan. 2, 2010. We were the first to run its entire 20-some-miles corridor, though others had hiked it, not least of which is our/Atlanta’s pal, Angel. Evereman is a local street artist; we would find tiny wooden tiles of his signature image, fixed by magnets behind signs and to exposed rebar; we knew not what they were but were absorbed in the mystery. Of course, we each took one home; such is Evereman’s intent. You will find his work scattered throughout Atlanta, sometimes in places you would least expect.
Then through Piedmont Park, up past the Botanical Garden and into the Prado and Ansley Park, two shee-shee neighborhoods with winding streets and many pocket parks. Display caution in the Prado; its looping roads have disoriented many. Folklore tells of a hollowed-out husk of a man, ranging about in a tattered Calvin Klein suit, muttering to passersby, “I know I parked here somewhere … by a gigantic house and a park …” BEWARE.
I hustled through quiet, lush Winn Park, Midtown’s looming towers growing ever closer. Ladies in velour sweatsuits and hair hastily perched in tumbleweeds behind their heads walked their tiny dogs; the tiny dogs savaged my passage with their slobbery curses. Then I was out: I found egress from Ansley Park, triumphant as Theseus, yet without the hassle of minotaur combat.
Onward to Peachtree Street, Atlanta’s main thoroughfare! Past the Federal Reserve, Margaret Mitchell’s old home and plenty of folks trudging to their offices. I waved to my friend Jenna, who was biking to Georgia Tech, where she is adding another master’s degree to her law degree. Because, you know, that is not enough. Danged overachievers.
Peachtree Street and the hundreds of other Peachtree-related names in Atlanta are derived from nothing related to peach trees. It comes from the name of a Creek Indian settlement, Standing Pitch Tree. Peachtree once hosted several grand movie houses and theaters, including Lowe’s, which premiered Gone With the Wind. Alas: sad fates and fires for all. The fabulous Fox Theatre narrowly escaped the same end.
I crossed over at the Bank of America tower to Spring Street, running with five lanes of speeding commuters toward downtown Atlanta.
There is not much to see on Spring. Side views of Georgia Tech student housing, built for 1996 Olympians. The Varsity, the world’s largest curbside-service hot doggery. A shit load of traffic. And a few other businesses.
Spring descends beneath a viaduct, which I learned once the hard way floods terribly after even the lightest rain. In early, early mornings, it is quiet and eerie; often street folks shelter here overnight. It surprises me they installed sidewalks here, as it is pedestrian hostile territory. I will take it, though.
Meanwhile, above our intrepid, be-sweated hero:
Spring Street merges with Centennial Olympic Drive, which follows Centennial Olympic Park, so names for the 1996 centennial Olympics. Oh! That reminds me: if you guys didn’t know, Atlanta hosted the 1996 Centennial Olympics. Flanking Centennial Olympic Park (“centennial” and “Olympic” are the new Peachtree) are the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and an international news media organization headquartered in Atlanta. Billboards abound, and many speak mostly to visitors and tourists.
I hustled over the Gulch, a former railroad exchange, paved over for vast oceans of parking, unused beneath viaducts. Every so often, the state and city speak of putting in a casino or transit hub; the latter is the latest pipe dream. (I know I come across cynical — and I am — but I believe in Atlanta, too: we will have our transit, dammit.)
Beyond and south of the Gulch is Castleberry Hill, a former warehouse district now repurposed for trendy condos, artists’ spaces and some interesting taverns, not least of which is Elliot Street Pub. They are super bike-friendly and host iron pours on Friday nights. IRON POURS, gang. That is a great thing to see when drunk. Castleberry Hill is situated next to the railroad and former Southern Railways building; it also is home to Fire Station No. 1, with an interesting relief in homage to Walthal Robertson “Cap” Joyner, former fire chief and eventually mayor.
I crossed a de facto pedestrian bridge, closed to motor vehicles, and stopped to watch a handful of hawks wheeling above the Southern Railways building. Absorbed in that task, I heard a snarky voice behind me: Byron! He was going to brave Run2Work Day, even applying for a variance to two office mates, with whom he pledged to commute by bike daily in September. His request was granted (“Yeah, that’s OK, it’s active,” was their vote) but, as Byron and I discussed, it was just such a nice day for bicycling. I also wanted to but, alas: one can’t run and ride at the same time.
In just a few hours, I will pull a quick change and bag a few more miles. Lo-town and I will dine and curl up on the couch with some Kroger Brand Sandwich Creme Cookies, and do our favorite Friday night activity: going to bed at 8:30 p.m.
On what adventures did your feet carry you during your Run@Work Day or Run2Work Day?
UPDATE: After work, I ran to meet Laura in a brand new park, where she was doing needlepoint.