January 2020 Wrap-Up

Summary

January 2020 was a good month for running and running all the streets of Pittsburgh. The weather has been relatively mild, with little snow or ice impeding progress. Of the twenty runs I recorded on Strava this month, fourteen of them included new streets. I ran off the city map on a couple of occasions, once spilling into Bellevue and once falling off into Penn Hills. I’ve finished Southside Slopes, excepting a handful of streets and finished all six streets in Arlington Heights. I was also pretty good about keeping up the blog, so only two make it into this catch-up.

RATS #00163 – Pro Bike in Highland Park

https://www.strava.com/activities/2973617947
RATS #00163

This was a group run with Pro Bike. Nice route, nice chat with Tom as we powered up Highland Avenue towards the park. Tom is notable in the number and variety of races he has run in the last five years. Something like two marathons a month, but including all sorts of other races, from 100 milers to 5K’s. I veered off the official course to take in a few new streets. I also like the way the route looks – almost like a runner with a backpack.

RATS #00165 before the Cathedral

https://www.strava.com/activities/2985423200
RATS #00165

This was a short run down the length of Melwood Avenue in Oakland, before doing stairs at the Cathedral of Learning.

December 2019 Catch-Up

Many the runs that December brought
Many December's runs have been depicted and blogged
Others...
All but forgotten
These are their simple stories.

RATS #00151

https://www.strava.com/activities/2909860119
RATS #00151

On a night of some distress and chaos, this run was a godsend. Missed a group run, but ended up running with an old friend, chatting it out and covering a new streets in Shadyside, including, Stratton Lane, Yardley Way and Spirit Street.

RATS #00156 – Another Lights Run

https://www.strava.com/activities/2952423715
RATS #00156

Who knew that Market Square would be so busy on a Monday night, two days before Christmas? Not me! Lots of people skating, shopping at the Market Square Christmas Market and going to holiday shows. I met a new runner friend and, even though the map isn’t very clear, we ran most of Third and Fourth avenues.

RATS #00161

https://www.strava.com/activities/2965954914
RATS #00161 in North Oakland

A short run to cover a few streets and stairs prior to doing steps at the Cathedral of Learning. Schenley Terrace confounds the CitySteps app because it is so close to Bigelow Boulevard that it can’t tell which street you’re on.

RATS #00162 PBR from Modern Cafe

https://www.strava.com/activities/2969114691
RATS #00162

A cool group run with Pro Bike & Run. I added on a couple of miles so that I could reach 1,400 miles for the year. Those last two felt like they took forever, as I was running alone in dark alleys. There was beer, I mean light, at the end of the tunnel, though.

October 2019 Catch Up

aka Blog of the Off Course Runs

RATS #00137 with PBR

https://www.strava.com/activities/2786942096
#00137

Usually running and beer is my thing. However, for this PBR Beer Exchange run, I just made the run. I suppose I had something pressing to do, like vacuuming the house? At any rate, we started off from Millvale Riverfront Park, dashed across the 40th St Bridge and gasped up 45th St into Friendship. I did have a few moments to chat with Gina and Keirstyn, who also were training for Indy. Then, in Friendship, I chatted with another runner about the various marathons he had run, including one that had been cancelled due to the heat. What a nightmare!

RATS #00138

https://www.strava.com/activities/2794724969
Off the beaten path #00138

PBR run gone wrong…. The official course was the same one Kim made up for my 100th run. I went off course and explored cul-de-sacs off of Beechwood.

RATS #00139

https://www.strava.com/activities/2799349125
#00139

This was a run and event to benefit Pumped To Run. It is a great organization with a mission to help residents of homeless shelters through running. Instead of dreary loops through Allegheny Center, I did High St in Spring Hill and explored Troy Hill. It was an early evening run, as dusk was settling in. People were walking dogs, and sitting on their porches in Spring Hill. One of them, a teenager perched high on a porch full of chairs shouted down “You’re Late!”. Of course, I was. But, how did SHE know?

RATS #00140

https://www.strava.com/activities/2800917540
Exploring Perry Hilltop in RATS #00140

Ah yes, this started as a Steel City run. See that little rectangle on the bottom right? Those were three quick miles with Steel City. The remainder of the run was an urban exploration up Perrysville Avenue. This was all new territory for me. Large, four-square houses are plunked into small yards. Many houses have seen better days, but some are renovated. There are side streets which look like Squirrel Hill. There are side streets which look like Homewood. I found my way across the Milroy St Bridge which crosses high above I-279 N and came back across the East St Bridge.

Looking down on I-279 from the East St Bridge

RATS #00141

https://www.strava.com/activities/2810586045
RATS #00141

A little run covering a few Bloomfield streets.

RATS #00142

https://www.strava.com/activities/2811998764
RATS #00142

A short and steep run through Hazelwood and Greenfield. Managed to slog up Tesla St. However, running on Susanna Court and Parade St earned this run the RATS badge.

RATS #00143

https://www.strava.com/activities/2814677960

Keeping with the theme of running off course, I met up with George after Sami’s run had taken off. Instead of Sami’s nice flat run, I led George up 45th Street and up Stanton Ave. I believe he is still talking to me. Of the five miles we covered, Blackberry Way at the start earned this run the RATS badge.

RATS #00144

https://www.strava.com/activities/2815529496
Cypress St in the morning RATS #00144

Nice morning run with Sasha. My only RATS goal was to cover Cypress St, which we did. It winds through lower Bloomfield.

RATS #00146

https://www.strava.com/activities/2827279428
RATS #00146

I covered a few streets in Squirrel Hill which I had missed. Pleasant, unremarkable run.

September 2019 Catch Up

September was quite the month. I ran more miles (189) and second highest elevation (12,425) this month than any other. I covered many streets, but still did not get into the Big Southern neighborhoods. Nineteen September runs got the “RATS” Badge, covering new streets. Here’s the wrap up.

RATS #00117

https://www.strava.com/activities/2675783421
RATS #00117 – covering the last bit of Nicholson St finally

RATS #00117 got the badge for finally crossing off Nicholson St off my list. Whoo!

RATS #00118

https://www.strava.com/activities/2683598843
RATS #00118

This run originated in Shadyside and traversed into East Liberty. The Strava route is a bit misleading in that the first few miles actually went on South Graham St, crossing the East Busway on a pedestrian walkway. Little Brownwell St has some neat old houses on it. Unfortunately they now only look wistfully over at Bloomfield across the wide bus way.

RATS #00121 Pre-run, run, a pre-run run

https://www.strava.com/activities/2703475578
RATS #00121

A couple of miles before my initiation into Sami’s runs, singing tunes!

RATS #00122 Sami’s Run!

https://www.strava.com/activities/2703475916
RATS #00122 Sami’s Run

This is a run worth the explanation. Let’s go into the Wayback Machine. …whooowhooowhooo <flashing lights> …

…landing a few years ago on a random Tuesday. In those days, Steel City Road Runners had a track workout. Elijah would run it from the Schenley Park track. (A few more “whooos” of the Wayback Machine would have taken us to the CMU track…) A man of more medals than words, Elijah religiously taught us the “A-skip”, the “B-skip”, and brought “high-knees” and “strides” into my vocabulary.

Then there was “reorganization” within Steel City. (Oh, no!!) At some point, the remaining leadership decided to cut track. Like energetic saplings rising from the trunk of a felled trip, several small running groups have emerged. One of them, HPRC, I have mentioned often in this blog. Another one, which I like to call pTNT!, is Perry’s Tuesday Night Track group. Perry was one of the coaches in Steel City and carries on the track tradition. In addition to posting about track, pTNT! also posts about other runs going on. That’s how I found out about Sami’s Thursday runs. Sami is part of HPRC, but, like me, has some issues getting to those 5:30am runs.

So, we started, promisingly enough, at Silky’s on Liberty Ave. Nothing but wide open, nearly flat streets! But Sami had other ideas. We galloped into Oakland via Centre Ave. That was worrisome, as Centre keeps rising. But then we cut over to Bayard St. Ah, nice trees, slight uphill. But then, up DeSoto! Up Terrace! Up Allequippa!! Now on level with the top of the Cathedral, we caught a little break on “Champions Dr”, only to climb up the backside of Centre Ave again! Five miles, 460 feet of elevation, it wasn’t easy. Luckily, it also ended at Silky’s, and they were stocked with Runners Honey, aka beer.

RATS #00125 – Ascend Runner Party

https://www.strava.com/activities/2715058616
Ascend Run Club RATS #00125

In addition to climbing, yoga and some fitness equipment, Ascend also has a small run club. Tonight’s run was inspired by the promise of beer and Chipotle after the run. That was quite the right promise, as they had nearly 50 runners show up. The routes were three, five and seven miles. Needing lots of miles, I went out with the seven mile group. What they didn’t mention was that they were moving at a 7:30 pace!! Like the last hippo in Jumanji, I struggled to keep up. After four miles of lightning speed (for me), I slowed down to a more comfy pace and caught a few new streets. It was a good run, with good food and friendly faces.

RATS #00126

https://www.strava.com/activities/2720940935
PBR Run, RATS #00126

This run was with Pro-Bike’s Wednesday night group. A few new streets around Schenley Park earned this run a RATS badge.

RATS #00127 A Northside Pre-Run Run

https://www.strava.com/activities/2723473110
Exploring the North Side before a group run. RATS #00127

Nothing too spectacular about this run. Eloise St was longer than I expected. Manchester streets are pretty desolate. Many houses must have been taken down, so there’s lots of open space.

RATS #00128

https://www.strava.com/activities/2723660177
RATS #00128

This was a group run from Allegheny City Brewing. I believe the two blocks of Middle St, earned this run the RATS badge.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2731058728
Steuben St Doughnut Run RATS #00130

Doughnut Surprise on Steuben St: RATS #00130

This was a recovery Sunday run after a long run on Saturday. I had gone to the the West End Overlook to take some pics and just wandered a little from there down Steuban St. This area is super hilly. Going down from the overlook, I took a long flight of stairs at the end of Fairview, which took me to Furley St. A couple of blocks of stairs…pretty impressive. A couple of turns later, I took the Amherst St stairs up from Chartiers Ave, which eventually took me to Steuben St. The neighborhood coming off the overlook was reminiscent of Morningside – small houses, close to each other. There were lots of people out, fixing cars, mowing lawns, walking dogs. Steuban St. was a bit different. It is an alternate route for drivers going to the Western suburbs, so it can be pretty busy. In this area, the houses are a bit farther apart, bigger yards, but not very cozy. Then, going up a large hill in the sun, I saw this sign:

Ahhh! A sign runners love to see!

Not the best sign, but a woman coming out of the store said “They’re open! I drove from Ohio to get these! You’d better get one!” I smiled and nodded and planned to come back. Another mile along this road and I returned. This time, people were parking randomly along the road and coming in and out the store. I went inside and searched for my cash while a young couple came in. The woman was impressed that I had run there and offered to buy my doughnut. I thanked her but declined, having come up with the dollar required. It was still warm!

The reward

RATS #00131

https://www.strava.com/activities/2739886985
RATS #00131 Polish Hill

A short run in and around Polish Hill. Lots of narrow streets and stairs in this cliffhanging neighborhood.

RATS #00132

https://www.strava.com/activities/2746325842
RATS #00132

A moderate distance through Shadyside and Friendship. Caught some new alleys in Shadyside.

RATS #00133

https://www.strava.com/activities/2750339505
RATS #00133

Starting in Grandview Park, I ran some of small streets perched over the Liberty Tunnels.

August 2019 Catch Up

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.

Route from Ellsworth Ave to almost the zoo shown on a map.
RATS #00101

Early morning run with Sasha simply going up and down long streets in Highland Park. Euclid Ave was on the outbound.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2602969129
RATS #00104

A rare evening run with SCRRC. We covered a few new streets near Penn Brewery, otherwise a usual route mainly on River Avenue.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2609800854
RATS #00105

Covering more of Shadyside. This time went down Devonshire St, which is a surprisingly quick way to get from Fifth Avenue to Centre Avenue.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2626838114
RATS #00107

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.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2634095350
RATS #00109 – Neeb Street

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.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2639858948
RATS #00110 – A PBR run

This run went down College Avenue in Shadyside, earning its RATS number. With Pro Bike & Run , which is always enjoyable.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2655584176
RATS #00113

This was another morning run in Shadyside. It drizzled a bit, and we went round and round on the alleys.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2667219500
RATS #00114

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.

July Catch-Up

RATS 00079

This was a relaxed morning run including the short length of English Lane.

RATS 00080

Ah, Greenfield again. This time with more purpose and time constraints. The main goals here were completing Flemington and Deely, which I did. Yay! I won’t EVEN start talking about hills!

RATS 00081

This was a run with 3ROC in Regent Square. Mainly trails, but a little in Regent Square as well. That is a nice, tree-lined area.

RATS 00083

This was a pretty adventurous run, exploring Garfield and Friendship. It was the first time I had ever gone into Garfield from that direction. It was also, as I recall, hot as hell that day, AND the hills were significant, culminating at one of those blue water towers you see around Pittsburgh.

RATS 00084

Not to weaponize everything, but doesn’t this look like an ancient ritual dagger from a lost civilization? But its just Greenfield again. The view from the dagger point, Exeter St is surprisingly good.

Strava map showing route
RATS 00085, pre-track warmup

A pre-track warm-up along the tree-lined, yet heavily trafficked Greenfield Rd.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2519347513
RATS 00086 Frick and Regent Square

This was another 3ROC run, with more of Regent Square thrown in.

Strava map showing route
RATS 00087, just one new street

A Wednesday night PBR run. Can you tell the extra street?

Map showing route through Greenfield
RATS 00088

This run was all about covering Winterburn Ave and close-by cul-de-sacs.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2528543377
Pre HPRC RATS 00089

For some reason, I felt the need to run BEFORE an HPRC run. Since it was Upper Lawrenceville, it made for some nice grids. The “Ways” in Lawrenceville are small narrow streets. Unlike areas such as Greenfield, where garages and back yards line alleys, there are often front doors to narrow houses along the alleys.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2536445188
RATS 00092

This run was simply to cover more streets in Squirrel Hill. It is quite the mental challenge to remember a map, then go run it. It doesn’t help that often maps are slightly wrong, such as showing a street as going through when it doesn’t actually. Here’s to you, Colma St!

OpenStreetMap has Colma Way connecting to Irma Way, when in fact it doesn’t.
https://www.strava.com/activities/2538624915
RATS 00093

Some interesting streets solidly in Squirrel Hill North, an area characterized by immense houses with well manicured lawns and driveways to garages in the back. I think about five Lawrenceville row houses could fit in the space of one of these houses.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2544149093
RATS 00094

Just in Point Breeze, catching some streets which keep trying to poke into Homewood Cemetery.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2560757305
RATS 00095

Ah, the little Edgerton Square makes this PBR run qualify to be a RATS run. (BTW, a “qualifying run” is one in which I run on a street I’ve not done before. )

https://www.strava.com/activities/2567292437
RATS 00096

This was a long, quick run with Pro Bike and Run. I tossed in Broad St to add a few miles. Nice running group with auto voice directions (as other runners would shout out the turns as we approached.)

https://www.strava.com/activities/2574213560
RATS 00098

Wendover St was a bit disappointing. It is nestled between Beacon and Hobart, but was lined with large, old apartment buildings in poor repair, instead of cute houses. There could be over 1,000 people living on that street, given the number and size of the buildings. However, I did find a nice little cut-through connecting both sides of Murdoch St as I ran to track.

Long flat streets and alleys in Regent Square: RATS 00099

I almost made it to 3ROC, but instead ran up and down small flat streets in Regent Square, straddling the Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg border. This little 5 mile run took me into three municipalities; Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg, and Swissvale.

That’s a wrap

That’s all for July. I was much more focused on covering new streets. I also ran a lot, slightly more than in June (134 miles), with less elevation (only 11,117 ft). Soon, I’ll be publishing maps showing cumulative progress as of the 100th run. Looking ahead, in August, I’d like to cover more of the southern neighborhoods, but run about the same amount of miles.

June Catch-Up

run all the streets 00066

RATS Squirrel Hill 00066

This run was specifically to cover some streets such as parts of Aylesboro and Northumberland near Homewood Cemetery which I had previously missed. This area is tree-lined with nice, but not palacial homes. There were lots of people out and about, playing with kids or walking dogs.

Run All The Streets 00068

Strava map of a running route through Shadyside and Oakland.
Run with HPRC: RATS 00068

HPRC had an early morning run from the Cathedral of Learning. It was a fun run with a lot of familiar faces, but, oh, so early!!

Run All the streets 00070

Run All The Streets 00070

Another run just to cover some streets and get some miles. The area near the end of Hobart had a surprising number of small alleyways that led to cool houses.

run all the streets 00072

3ROC Run: RATS 00072

Three Rivers Outdoor Company (3ROC) is an outfitter store on South Braddock Avenue, at the end of the Regent Square business district. While they have cool stuff in their store, they also are big into community fitness events, such as their weekly trail run. This run covered a few new trails and maybe a bit of some streets. It was fun!

run all the streets 00073

Run All The Streets 00073

A run up to Pro Bike before their Wednesday night run. I got some little streets in which had otherwise escaped by attention!

run all the streets 00074

RATS 00074

Another run to cover some streets. Gotta catch them all!

run all the streets 00075

Running down a dream in Greenfield: RATS 00075

A double-rarity – a Friday run and an early morning run! As with many of these catch-up runs, this was specifically to cover some streets. I’ve done between 50% and 75% of the streets in Greenfield now.

run all the streets 00076

Run to the Run on Webster Ave: RATS 00076

Down the wide open streets of the Hill District. It was relatively early and quiet, with the UPMC Building looming over me the entire run.

run all the streets 00078

How far from Phipps to Hazelwood? RATS 00078

A final run for June. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, but wanted to end in Oakland and go to the library afterwards, so I started near Phipps, ran down into Schenley Park. One route would have taken me over to the South Side, but I choose to go through Hazelwood and cut through Greenfield, so the mileage and time wasn’t too crazy. Thanks to some stairs which connect the two neighborhoods I was successful.

There were parts of the route which were a little stressful, such as running down Irvine Street in Hazelwood. It had the feel of a street which really wanted to be an interstate but never quite made it. Irvine Street was busy and dirty, with narrow, overgrown sidewalks. Going up into the hills of Hazelwood is always a bit surreal. The hills and steps are steep and the greenery is suffocating (oh, maybe that was the heat). There are parts of Hazelwood where the houses are kept up nicely, but on the streets I ran, mostly the houses were falling apart and often empty. Lastly running along Frasier Street and Swinburne Street was pretty scary. There is not a lot of room to drive, much less run, and the streets are curvy and hilly. Nonetheless, I persisted and found my way back to the car.

Whew! This was the last run of June. I covered lots of miles (132) and climbed lots of elevation (13,400) in June.

May Catch Up

PBR Pre-Marathon Run: RATS 0051

With the Pittsburgh Marathon only days away, this was a short easy run with the Pro Bike and Run Wednesday crew.

Strava map of run 00056
HPRC: Run All The Streets: 00056

Highland Park Run Club Taco Monday run. A fun, quick run with a cool crew.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2389693228
PBR Run: RATS 0057

Wednesday run with Pro-Bike which actually covered a bit of new ground.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2401204085
Early Memorial Day Run: RATS 00059

An easy, early run on Memorial Day

https://www.strava.com/activities/2401909530
Fineview: Run All The Streets 00060

This run in Fineview combined street running, stair running and quite a few dead-ends. Compromise is a dead-end in Fineview. Literally!

https://www.strava.com/activities/2408601960
HPRC Morning Run: RATS 00062

An early morning run with HPRC

Loretto Slog

Run All The Streets: 0046 – Loretta Street Greenfield

Today’s run was very directed, for me at least. I knew I wanted to run Loretta Street in Greenfield. Why? Well, the run needed to be short for schedule reasons, a hill would be good and I knew Loretta was one of those streets I had never completely run. It also passes right by a Giant Eagle in case I got hungry. 🙂

So, with these kinds of thoughts in my mind, I set out for Loretta Street. I cut from Beechwood to Shady on Caton Street, a cute brick street in Squirrel Hill. It has modest homes, probably built in the 1950’s or 60’s, well cared-for lawns and friendly people. Caton led me to the end of Shady, where its rolling hills get out of hand and end in Lilac Street. Lilac Street, while not the steepest street in Pittsburgh, has an 11% grade for a short spell near Minadeo Elementary School.

Whew! I kept upright going down Lilac and waited patiently at the light. Beechwood Blvd was very busy and I was taking no risk of crossing without it. After an eternal wait, the little white man signified I could go and I lit out for Loretta. Above the noise of slow traffic I heard, “You went the wrong way on that hill!”. Turning, I saw Astrid and Michael driving by. They are long time friends, running buddies and world class hecklers.

By then I had reached the foot of Loretta and turned off, safe from further heckles. It was flat for a couple of blocks and then rose. This was harder than I expected. Looking at the elevation profile later, I realized that not only was I going uphill, but the hill kept getting steeper. No wonder I was panting with every step. This was a typical Greenfield neighborhood, with one and two story split level houses and crazy driveways. People were out, a stroller, a few dog walkers. Finally, I reach Loretta’s dead-end and, surprise! There are steps at the end! This short flight led to McCaslin Drive. From there I caught Hazelwood Avenue and then Frank Street as it crosses Greenfield. Frank Street is no slouch either, with a short section having a 15% grade.

Overall a nice run! A couple of new streets and a stair bonus! And the ever present Pittsburgh run community, cheering me on at every step.

On a separate note, Runs 0044 and 0045 will be in the April catch-up.