Off the map

RATS #00170

“Hey there. Are you planning to run tonight? I am due for six easy…”

“I do need to run tonight, so yes, I could. Pro-Bike is running from Caps at 6:30. Meet there?”

“No, that’s too late. Meet at my place? 5:30?”


“Great, I’ll make a route.”

And THAT’s when it all began. I like Alisa, I like running with Alisa. But Alisa is a bad-ass fast runner and her “easy” six miles usually leave me gasping for air like a fish out of water. Tonight was no different. Additionally, that “I’ll make the route” would prove challenging.

I expected a rather flat quick circuit around Shadyside and East Liberty. But no, we went Penn to Fifth to Frankstown to Brushton. That’s where the sun went down and the run went from pleasurably fast to an intense hill workout. Finally on top, we came to a water tower in the fading light. Modest brick houses dotted the rather sparse landscape up here.

Water tower where Brushton becomes Cushing.

Finally on top, the route curved around into Penn Hills, a sprawling suburb east of the city. We passed a Penn Hills fire station and then plunged down the hill again towards Frankstown Road. Winding roads had smallish green street-signs indicating we were still not in Pittsburgh. Thoroughly disoriented we finally made it back into the city, flying down Frankstown Road. Whoops! We were going out of the city again! As Dean Karnazes remarks in his book “Run!”,

“It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going if you’re moving in the wrong direction.”

Dean Karnazes, “Run!”

We weren’t in a race, but the night was getting deep and cold. We turned around and sped back to our cars in North Point Breeze. Ending up with over seven miles, this run had been quite the adventure.

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