Rambling Run

https://www.strava.com/activities/3146562623
RATS #00192

This was a rambling run across the Northside from East Allegheny to Elliot in the West End. It included densely residential areas such as Central Northside as well as the wide open warehouse district between Route 65 and the Ohio River. I crossed bridges, went up stairs and finished with seventeen miles on this sunny, but chilly Sunday.

Starting out on the Northshore, I specifically wanted to finish off Virgin Way and Tripoli Street. In spite of the brilliant sun and crystal clear skies, Virgin Way was very threatening. Circling back to Tripoli Street, I noticed the Neu Kirche building, built, if the stones do not lie, in 1859. Originally a German Church, perhaps Lutheran, it has been repurposed as a center for arts.

This took me to Vista Street. I had hopes of trotting a little up the hill and taking the Vista Street steps down to Itin Street. Alas that was a navigational mistake, as these stairs were closed.

Turning my attention to the Central Northside, I did the grid of Sandusky, Lorraine and Boyle Streets. Unlike the other two, Boyle doesn’t have an outlet at the top of its steep rise from North Avenue. As I was running up Boyle, two women, likely in their mid-to-late thirty’s were chatting at the top. I drew closer and closer, hoping to find an alley or staircase to Fountain Street. A few yards before the retaining wall, the women looked more and anxious as I approached. Finally realizing there was no way out here, I said something lame like:

“Oh, I thought this street went through”.

“Nope, doesn’t go through”, the dark-haired woman with brown knee high boots stated flatly. Her companion, with a black and white checkered coat tried to be positive, commenting “At least you’re getting some good exercise!”

If she only knew, I thought, reversing direction. Somewhere along the way, I also saw an outdoor beehive oven. Again, I was glad for the brightness of the day as I zig-zagged through the streets and alleys. But then, I noticed something following me. On one street, there it was. The next block over, I saw it again. Whew, just a true alley cat.

Now I went up Chateau Street. My left knee started to twinge a little, but I decided to run through it. This took me to Warehouse Land. Large warehouses and garages were separated by large, wide streets. While some of the buildings were in disrepair, just about everything was occupied with some business or another. There’s one section, an “Industrial Park” with high fences and a big gate. Just inside is “Get Hip Records”. Around the corner is the whimsically painted “Bicycle Heaven”.

I finally made my way across the West End Bridge. Coming onto Steuben Street, I took the first staircase I saw. A couple of years ago, these stairs went all the way up to Lander Street. Today, however, they only made it to Elliot Street. The second flight was closed. I had to detour a bit down the street, taking the Planet Avenue steps instead.

Thus began my ascent into the West End Overlook area. Huffing and puffing my way to the top of Valonia, I came to Saint Martin Cemetery. Apparently all the tallest hills have cemeteries on them.

At this point, my knee was truly complaining, so I started back towards the Northside. Gamely trying to hit new streets wherever I could, I ran down Crucible Street. Sure enough, there were some stairs! But, no. They were closed. I was a bit bummed and just went to Steuben Street via Amherst Street. On the lower end, I could see why those steps were closed. A lower section of the stairs and railing had completely collapsed.

Crucible Stairs Top and Bottom

Steuben Street is a main road and the sides are littered with trash, most likely thrown from cars. I took the stairs from Steuben to South Main Street, where I surprised four deer. Just for fun, I highlighted one of them in red below.

Steuben Street to South Main Street

That was about it. It was another two and a half miles back to the car, which felt like it took forever. Getting into the car, I greedily drank water and gobbled pita chips.

February Wrap-Up

February was a busy month for running all the streets of Pittsburgh. Of the twenty runs I recorded to Strava, fifteen of them covered new territory. I was also pretty good about posting, so there are only five runs in this wrap-up. Overall, I feel I’m making good progress, with an increasing number of runs in new areas, such as Homewood and Larimar in the East; Brighton Heights and Marshall-Shadeland in the North, as well another foray in Beechview. By the end of February I had completed 191 “Run All The Streets” runs, so that 200th one is coming up soon!

It’s also been an exciting month planning an event, “Take the Stairs FatAss” – a 50K and 25k fatass (unsupported run) around the city, using many of the Pittsburgh city steps along the way.

Run #00179

Run #00179 was a group run with PBR, from Cinderlands, a bar-restaurant. Towards the end of the run, I caught a few new blocks in Lawrenceville.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3069678216
RATS #00179

Run #00181

RATS run #00181 was a Saturday group run organized by PBR. It also featured a pierogie and pie fundraiser for Team NDSS, organized by Gina. I ambled along the snowy streets of the Strip District, taking pics and trying to stay upright in those slippery conditions.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3082820904
RATS #00181

It ran past 31st Street Studios Stage doors and under Iron City Brewing’s tall smokestack. I ran past old four-story warehouses and gleaming new condos.

Some of the shortest stairs on the 50K route are here, as well as the 28th Street Bridge and a forlorn hopper, towering over silent tracks.

RATS Run #00186

Again, this was a PBR run, onto which I tacked on a couple of streets in Bloomfield, Garnet Way in particular.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3109296696
RATS #00186

RATS Run #00187 – so Dark!

A run through the tiny streets of Park Place. Very nice houses crowded together in dark alleys, camouflaging many speed bumps, one of which tripped me up. Torn tights and a bruised hand were the result, but nothing serious.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3117951204
RATS #00187

RATS Run #00191

This was a short run in the West End Overlook area with stunning views and merciless hills. Like some runs beforehand, a planned route with RunGo was interrupted by the reality that not all alleys on paper survive IRL.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3143137398
RATS #00191

The West End neighborhood wraps around the hillside and spits you out on dirt roads ending on a cliff. Usually there’s a “No Outlet” sign, but not here.

With Spring almost upon us, the threat of cold weather is nearly gone and I’m looking forward to many miles in March.