James River Morning Run

Bridge to Belle Isle

Bridge to Belle Isle

It’s not every day I write about one of my runs. Yet, it’s not every day I have a run like this morning’s.

I woke in Richmond, Virginia, having traveled up with my brother to watch my nephew compete in the talent competition for the National Beta Convention. Whenever I travel I try to find a memorable place to run. Never have I been so successful.

I’ve run on beaches, highways, viewtrails, paved paths and urban sidewalks. Yet, never have I had such a diverse run. I googled Best Places to Run in Richmond and was directed to Belle Isle. I thoroughly enjoyed the 1.5 mile trek to and through the island sitting within the James River. The view from the bridge was nice and the flat trails pleasantly took me along the rocky river bank. It was perfect.

Another,more experienced, runner pointed me to the 7.5 mile North Bank Trail. Interesting. My longest run since the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2012 was a run just under 6 miles a couple of weeks ago. However, I convinced myself I could run a couple of miles and then turn back. I never turned back–got lost a couple of times, but I never turned back.

My run turned into a photo shoot of nature and then a 2.5 mile walk. All total, I traveled 9.5 memorable miles on my Mizuno Wave

I call this the Kudzu Bridge

I call this the Kudzu Bridge

Rider 15s.

I enjoyed looking down on, and along, the James River. I stopped to walk out on the rocks and peer at small fish. I ran through a kudzu lined bridge, over several other bridges and up and down some hilly terrain. A large heron hung around long enough for me to take his (or her) photo. I saw a rabbit and numerous birds and water fowl. A couple of times frogs scurried away from the path and at one point a foot-long turtle quickly—yes quickly—crossed the path in front of me. The trails often straddled train tracks where I saw CSX hauling coal. An old large cemetery also provided a needed photo break.

Rocks along Buttermilk Trail

Rocks along Buttermilk Trail

The hilliest and rockiest section of the trails was the  Buttermilk Trail. This is where I wished I had been wearing my trail shoes. To my amazement I saw a mountain biker navigating the treacherous terrain. I don’t know how he did it. My hats off to anyone who can conquer that trail on a bike.

It was also along the Buttermilk Trail I came across Buttermilk Spring where people in the 1800’s had carved out sections of the rock to store their milk in the cool water. At this point I remembered I did not have any water or gels, (or Glide!), things I always took on longer runs—I simply never planned to be on isolated trails for 2 hours when I left the hotel this morning.

One of the joys of running is the opportunity to explore new places. This morning, in Richmond,

If my wife had been with me we would have camped out here for a couple of hours.

If my wife had been with me we would have camped out here for a couple of hours.

Virginia I found running to be an exploring pleasure. Perhaps tomorrow, if the soreness and rare

blister can subside, I may take a jog down Monument Avenue…and then it will be back to the Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway or Five Forks Trickum Rd.

Notice the train in the background while the Heron waited on breakfast.

Notice the train in the background while the Heron waited on breakfast.


Congrats to Carson Bruce for an excellent performance in the Beta National Convention 2014 Talent Competition. He was the reason why we traveled to Richmond. My brother and proud papa, Runyan, is on the right.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Judy Lawrence on June 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Enjoyed immensely!


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