This was long run day. I ran with Pro-Bike and then added on, at first with a friend, and then the last two miles on my own. For most of this run, I was keeping pace with Pro Bike’s “9:00” minute pace group (which usually runs a faster 8:30 pace). If you look at the Strava stats, you might think “he’s deluding himself, he’s no where near 9!” However, on long runs like this, I never stop my watch when we’re at a crosswalk or at a water stop, etc. It solves the “I forgot to turn my watch back on dilemma”.
Much of this run was uneventful. However, it WAS a beautiful day!
We ran across bridges, onto sidewalks in front of uptight hotel staff and round and round the point. Eventually, we made it back to our group starting point, in front of Allegheny City Brewing. Amy and I went out for more miles. We took long North Side streets all the way to Chateau St. On the way back, we saw these enormous tree stumps.
I’m hoping they have a good use for it. Making it back to Allegheny City Brewing was good for another six miles, but I had two more to go. Leaving the morning beer drinks behind, I did a little jog up Madison Ave and back. Finally, I, too, could have a beer!
This Sunday afternoon run took me from Highland Park into Stanton Heights. The previous day’s run (that 18 miler Duck Hollow to Downtown one) had been all about mileage. Today’s run was about running on tired legs. My goal was to do a few streets in Stanton Heights. By parking at the Highland Park Reservoir, I was able to extend the route a bit and hit more streets.
The park was active in that sleepy park way. Hammocks were strung up between trees, some with snuggling couples and others with solo readers. Perhaps the couples were reading, too, but I didn’t investigate. There were men grilling burgers and kids playing tag. Highland Park has large swaths of trees dotted with glades and picnic shelters. I made my way out of Highland Park on Farmhouse Road, making sure to keep right to pick up Heberton St.
This is the high-side of Highland Park. On the right the hill drops off quickly about 200 feet. But here, on Heberton, the street was comfortably downhill and straight, making an easy start. This area has large houses. The smallest are three or four bedrooms Cape Cods. The largest are foursquare houses with high gabled roofs and spreading front porches. Most have decent sized front yards and a driveway into back yard garages. Most everything was neatly trimmed and planted with flowers, orange, yellow and red. Then things went downhill, but only literally. I hit Stanton at the bottom of Heberton and then came back up Sheridan. At the end of Sheridan, there’s a small, cozy stairway up to Bunkerhill St.
I came up onto the dead-end side of Bunkerhill St. On the right, within yards of the stairway, the street ended unceremoniously in gardens and driveways. On the left, Bunkerhill Street runs straight off the hill passing a grand entrance to Highland Park and down toward One Wild Place, where the Pittsburgh Zoo sprawls.
I came back to the top of the hill and this time, took Hampton St down towards Morningside. From Hampton St, I maneuvered over to Stanton Heights. Azure St off of the sweeping Mossfield St is one of the few entry roads into Stanton Heights. I don’t believe I had ever been in this section of town, either on foot or in a car. How was it different than Highland Park? Well, for one, the streets were mainly wide concrete roads instead of asphalt-paved. The houses were smaller, more ranches and split level houses, yet the yards were bigger. I ran on Schenley Manor Drive till it met with Coleridge St. It looked very suburban. Eventually I emerged onto Stanton Ave and made my way back up the hill to Highland Park.
Today’s run was all about LSD, Long Slow Distance. I really nailed the slow part. Eventually I got the distance. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Like many a Saturday run, this started with serious preparations on Friday night. In particular, getting out for early dancing and drinking, instead of hanging out with the later crowd. That was fun, I must say. But this isn’t a dancing and drinking blog, its a running blog, so on, on!
Next, as per routine, I turned off the 6:30 alarm, valuing an extra hour of sleep as I mentally prepared for the arduous task ahead. When I finally arose, it was too late to join the group runs of the day. That was a bit sad, but I soldiered on. Finally, a route decision was needed.
In times like these, I try to have a couple of anchor streets I want to get to and let the rest of the run flow from there. I decided I wanted to explore Blair St in Hazelwood. It wasn’t very far away, maybe two miles, so I needed to add on mileage, by going the opposite direction!
Thus, I started my run by going to Summerset. In a February post, Lost-in-Your-Hazel-Highs , I have some pictures from Summerset. This time, when I exited Summerset, after going round and round in one cul-de-sac after another, I turned left and went down to Duck Hollow.
Duck Hollow has one road into it and only a few roads around the neighborhood. This was my first time there and I was surprised at how open it felt. There are, maybe, twenty houses there, most with large yards. It is surrounded by big hills. The lone person I saw quickly went inside When I ran by. I think cats would like it here.
The I ascended the hill and ran into Hazelwood. I covered some little streets there, notably Nansen St, which is now closed off due to the road sliding off the hill. I must say everyone I saw there gave me a friendly greeting, from the kid playing ball in his front yard, to the older, bald man having coffee on his porch. Cleverly continuing to run away from Blair St, I was astounded how many long streets there were above Second Ave. Eventually, when Gertrude St became an alley, I turned around. Second Ave is busy, rather dirty and flat. Not much to say here. When I got to Hazelwood Ave, I made the right onto Blair St. This is an area which is being redeveloped. CMU’s “Future of Manufacturing” is taking shape here.
Blair St is about 1.25 miles of flat, curving sidewalk, surrounded by weeds and construction vehicles. Views of the Mon and downtown started to improve as I got closer to the end. Hopefully this area will see a similar revival as other river trails in Pittsburgh.
From there, I wandered through Southside and Downtown until I got my whole 18 in. Will write more later, but got to run!
PS: Finding myself downtown after 18 miles, I took the bus home. No reason to do 25 miles!
The day before, I did an epic 16 miler with views, camaraderie and speed. Just for contrast, today was a plodding eight miler with none of those. On days like today, this project really was the motivating factor for the run. I had missed Mulhatton St. I had skipped Irma Way. There was a section of Northumberland St I had forsaken. Today was the day I would run those streets, no matter how slowly.
Mulhatton is only two blocks long, between Beacon and Darlington. I would love to live on Mulhatton St! Irma Way is a small alley which winds from South Negley Ave to Northumberland St. Unlike most alleys, it is not a straight-shot but makes a right-angle turn. The OpenStreetMap, which Strava uses, shows it as an intersection with another alley, Colma Way. Perhaps on paper that is true (see the Allegheny County Real Estate site), but the reality is, that it is someone’s side yard now, and perhaps someone else’s backyard.
Now, I have never traveled into that forsaken area of Northumberland. It abuts Schenley Golf Course, so I thought it was just a little service road. A mile and a half later, I realized I couldn’t be more mistaken. Northumberland itself is wide and shaded by forty foot oaks. It ends at the private Pittsburgh Golf Club. The curvy cul-de-sacs off of Northumberland are lined with well-appointed townhouses. It is amazingly quiet, given the central location. A few of the streets cut-down to Forbes Ave along stone-walled drives.
Crossing Forbes, I dashed up Normalee Pl, Techview Terrace and continued onto Beeler St. After Unger Lane and Bellermont Place, I had had enough and trundled on home.
Today’s run was one of four possible group runs, all with their own attractions.
Steel City had a later run going at 8:30 from the garage.
Perry’s group had a 20 miler going from Market Square. The last time I ran with them, it was pretty fun.
HPRC, another fun group, was running from a Point Breeze coffee shop, nice and close.
What tipped the scales for the Pro Bike Run from Chartiers Avenue? Well, I’ve been running Pro Bike’s Saturday run somewhat consistently and enjoy that 8:30-9:00 min/mile pace group. Not too much chatter, but a couple of good leaders and some very quick feet! Next was the allure of running in an area which would contribute so much to covering new streets of Pittsburgh. My first “official” RATS run was from Esplen, but I hadn’t gotten back out here again. Even though it was a bit far, mileage-wise, it still only took me ten minutes to drive to the Chartiers Ave starting point, no longer than any other option. Finally, the run planner, Kelly, was collecting teacher’s supplies, a good cause.
There I was, at 7:29 and fifty-five seconds screeching into a on-street parking spot on Chartiers Ave, just up the street from The Education Partnership. I grabbed my phone, clicked on the Forerunner 220, hoping the satellite would lock in before the run started. Kelly was just finishing her pre-run pep talk when I got to the group. The faster folks bolted out and then my group.
I start slow. Not super duper slow, but usually I’m the last person in the pace group at first. It takes some time for me to warm up and get all the muscles, sinews and joints in gear. This time was no exception and steep start was no help. We immediately went up Chartiers Ave, on our way to the West End Overlook. Once we got to the West End Overlook, it was time for pictures and a little water break. The downtown skyline looked magical as the sun broke through the fog. We lingered for a little, got a group pic and plunged down the hill. The sun picked up strength as we crossed West Carson Street en route to the West End Bridge.
The route showed that we would have a water stop on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail after crossing the West End Bridge. So, we expected to see some tables with beverages after we trundled across the bridge and down the stairs on the far side. And we were not disappointed! There was table after table of beer and pop. There were people grilling hot dogs and hamburgers. We were temporarily stunned at this extravagance, until we realized these were Pitt fans gearing up for the 11 am football game! After a little exploring, we crossed a gravel lot, found the break in the chain link fence and found our own water stop – a five gallon jug of clear, crisp water. Ahh!
From here, the group broke up a little. The folks doing seven miles went one way, the folks doing ten or eleven went another. Eventually I ended up in a group of four. We cruised along, promising the joking football fans that we’d be back for a beer. Our route did take us into the heart of the football revelry, right past Heinz Field then over the Fort Duquense Bridge. As we circled the Point, we could see the band marching and hear the oompahs of the tubas, the blare of the trumpets and the boom of the bass drum.
Soon after, I split off from the group. I had an idea I might be able to meet up with a friend at a coffee shop across town and didn’t want to wait for a pit stop. Turns out, the coffee shop plan didn’t pan out, but by the time I got that message, I was already zooming up West Carson St.
I had twelve miles on my feet when I got back to the run headquarters. Busted coffee shop plans meant I had more time and I resolved to get in sixteen miles. Gobbling a Honey Stinger Waffle and sloshing down water, I took off for more hills. I went up the other direction on Chartiers; strangely enough, still uphill. This section of Chartiers Ave is a wide, busy, curving street. On the left was a steep green hillside going up. Across the street on my right were several large parking lots and various business warehouses. Further along is a Comcast antenna facility, with a dozen large satellite dishes pointed at the heavens. Chartiers Ave keeps turning to the right, but I stayed straight and went up Straka St, which becomes Berry St. This was my first time in the Crafton Heights neighborhood. Berry St was directly uphill, again, and none too picturesque. As I wandered in the streets off of Berry I discovered it was a cute neighborhood with lots of tree cover and medium sized houses. Finally calling it a day, I was lucky enough to find that the Litchfield Street Stairs went back to Chartiers Ave. I made my way back to the start. Sixteen miles done!
That was quite a run. It had hills. It had flats. It had photo ops and it had boring sections. There was camaraderie and there was solitude. It had lots of new streets. Thanks Kelly and Pro Bike for getting me out there!
Like any good battle, this one started innocuously enough. Just run a few streets in the Flats, scurry up a street in the Slopes for the elevation then come back down. I didn’t realize then that I had picked a fight with one of the toughest hills in town, Billy Buck Hill. Perched above the Southside Flats, on the right as you go up S 18th St, Billy Buck is reclusive. I had actually come up a section of Josephine St and wasn’t even planning to visit Billy. But then short, straight, Pius St seemed so benign that I couldn’t resist. And the quaintness of “Yard Way”, with its street sign and cute stylized pedestrian climbing it sucked me in. How bad could it be? Well, Yard Way stairs start at Pius St and goes six rounds, crossing Gregory St, Magdalene St, Roscoe St, Baldauf St, Huron St and Shamokin St before the final bell. Luckily, each round I was able to take a break and run the little streets just mentioned. It was a modest neighborhood. The mostly well kept spectators, neat little houses, watched in silence. On Baldauf St, as I huffed along, a large brown deer with dark splotches on its coat, froze in silence just feet away.
The driver’s way up, on Oporto street, was nearly as steep as the stairs. Then Oporto St becomes a set of stairs! Ha! But I had had enough and found my way down to the flats again. I had missed a couple of streets, but I’d be back.
Billy Buck Hill, the rematch.
This time, I knew what I was in for. I wanted to avoid Billy’s left hook and make it past him to Arlington Ave. My route was up South 12th St which becomes Brosville St. That’s right, I was going straight up the gut. The tight curve which took me from South 12th St onto Brosville wasn’t too bad. Broad sidewalk stairs quickly put me above the rooftops on the Flats. A short bridge over active railroad tracks put me at Billy Buck’s foot. I feinted right, going up Welsh Rd. That proved exhausting. A dead end-street with a 15% grade. (Or something like that). No sign of life, except the light brown cat washing himself in the middle of that street. Pausing at the bottom of Welsh, I took a couple of pics of the church steeple towering on the hill above.
Now for the main round, up Brosville St to the end! I paused a moment at St. Michael’s street (another long set of stairs), but didn’t fall for the “oh come up the stairs trick”! No, I kept punching up Brosville St. This area was pretty deserted. A few houses sprawled out on the wooded hillside. To the right was an entrance to the Knoxville Incline Overlook Park. Only giving it a quick glance, I kept on. Finally I got to the Penguins of Allentown. Yay! I had made it past Billy Buck once and for all! Now I glided down Arlington Ave, back to the South Side Flats. Nice knowing you, Billy. Lots of respect.
August was a pretty good month for running. Weather was hot but mainly dry. I hit 137 miles for the month with significant elevation. I got out to Morningside and am starting to fill in the big central Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Garfield, Friendship, Highland Park and Shadyside. I didn’t get out to the southern neighborhoods of Pittsburgh even once, though. Brookline and Beechview are still uncharted territory.
Early morning run with Sasha simply going up and down long streets in Highland Park. Euclid Ave was on the outbound.
A rare evening run with SCRRC. We covered a few new streets near Penn Brewery, otherwise a usual route mainly on River Avenue.
Covering more of Shadyside. This time went down Devonshire St, which is a surprisingly quick way to get from Fifth Avenue to Centre Avenue.
A very short run into the Southside Slopes. Once you hit Josephine St, the streets are very steep, or they are actually stairs until you get to Arlington Avenue, (not on this map). It didn’t help that this was immediately after a quick ten mile run.
This was another short but steep run. Each of those contour lines is ten meters (~32 feet), so Hoosac St climbs over 60 feet from Alger St to the top of the hill past Neeb St, a distance of no more than a tenth of a mile.
This run went down College Avenue in Shadyside, earning its RATS number. With Pro Bike & Run , which is always enjoyable.
This was another morning run in Shadyside. It drizzled a bit, and we went round and round on the alleys.
This was a quick six miles with pHPRC – Perry’s route in lieu of an HPRC route. The section going straight through Uptown on Fifth Ave earned this run the RATS badge.