Thursday, November 21, 2013

Run 52: Walnut Hills

At the beginning of our Walnut Hills run I decided that instead of following our usual routine of launching right into the run, we should try a little warm-up. We opted for skipping in the middle of the street.

Once we were all warmed up, we headed straight up a hilly path to Eden Park's Presidential Grove.

Presidential Grove got its start in 1882 when an oak was planted to honor George Washington.

Here’s a shot of Kayla posing with that very oak: (she and George share a birthday):  

I posed with Ronald Reagan’s Sycamore (me and Ronnie share a love of mac and cheese):

The only thing that I would change about the Presidential Grove is its size. I wish there was more to explore. The land that is developed is a great getaway from the city below.

Heading down from the Grove, we got some great views of Krohn Conservatory:

I’ve probably run by this place over 1,000 times, yet, I'm sorry to say I’ve never set foot inside. Apparently, Kayla hasn’t either. That trend didn't change on this run, as we looped around past the front entrance.

The trek from downtown through Eden Park is a staple for any Cincinnati runner. Especially a runner who is looking to take on the Flying Pig marathon. The Pig--notably, unfortunately, mercilessly, uncompromisingly--takes runners up a steady incline from downtown.

On our trip around the overlook we stopped to take a few scenic shots, which, even on a cloudy day, really show off Cincinnati’s tremendous beauty. Where else can you get a view like that?

We also came across this statue of Lupa Romana (The Wolf of Rome), who was credited with nursing the founders of Rome (Romulus and Remus) to good health.

With the great views behind us, we left the overlook and headed to Park Street to explore the Walnut Hills that lies beyond Eden Park.

A large part of the neighborhood is made up of a mix of Victorian homes and more modern condo complexes:

The Verona, just around the corner from McMillan, combines the old and new:

At the corner of Gilbert and Taft, we came to the corner bell tower, which is what remains of the Walnut Hills Presbyterian Church, designed by the prolific Samuel Hannaford.

Further along Gilbert, we came to the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, which is where the author wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Hitting MLK, we did a U-turn and headed back down Gilbert toward downtown. This is the exact course that the Flying Pig Half Marathon follows. That's significant because as we were headed down Gilbert Kayla told me she is planning to run the half this year.

On the descent, we passed the Greenwich, a arts landmark that features some of the best jazz performers around as well as spoken word performers and the occasional independent film.


Continuing down Gilbert, I had planned a little detour onto Florence street, which was at one time Cincinnati's Little Italy.

The Florence Avenue that we discovered has transformed over the years into a light industrial district.

Overall, we enjoyed the gradual winding downhill that led us to the border of Walnut Hills and Mt. Auburn. We also passed this piece of Cincinnati history--the Cable House, which is now an office building that once served as a storage site for parts to the cable cars that ran from downtown to Walnut Hills.

Once we reached the bottom of Florence, our run wasn't finished. Just around the corner was Gilbert. Quickly, our gradual downhill stroll transformed into an intense uphill climb (there was good reason for those cable cars). In the midst of this climbing, I managed to snap a "relfie" (running selfie):

At the height of her hypoxia, Kayla broke some big news. She's going to run the Flying Pig half marathon!

Picture her going down this hill in May
About a quarter of the way up Gilbert, we reached our final destination. The historic Gilbert-Sinton district. At one corner of the district is Andy's Mediterranean Grill, where Kayla and I once enjoyed a Valentine's Day dinner complete with belly dancers. 

The rest of the district features Victorian housing with much of it in the form of condos and townhouses. This row of townhouses along Gilbert had us longing to live so close to Downtown.

On our way home, we passed this couple on a tandem bike, which led Kayla to ask what I thought of taking on "Tandem 52" next year.
After a flashback to our last, and only, tandem bike ride around Mackinac Island over the summer of 2006, I came up with my quick and unequivocal response to Kayla's idea: Absolutely not!

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