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.

Polish Towns

https://www.strava.com/activities/3029416056
Bloomfield Run: RATS #00172

Pro-Bike had a group run from Caliente’s Pizza at 6:30. While the days are noticeably longer, its quite dark by 6:30. It’s even darker at 6:40, when I got there. I looked into Caliente and didn’t see anybody, so I took off to chart some new streets. This section of Bloomfield is adjacent to the Bloomfield Bridge, a half-mile bridge which soars 185 feet over the ravine below. My first turn, down Panama Way, directly dead-ended into a ramp wall leading to the bridge. It wasn’t an auspicious start, but then I noticed something.

In between flaking white paint were dozens of neatly painted coats of arms, presumably of Polish towns. WTF! I had always considered Bloomfield to be an Italian neighborhood. They stretched all along the curving ramp. A little post-run research turned up this article from the Pittsburgh Orbit about the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern. My impression is that the owners painted those coats of arms. Impressive. This also cheered me up a bit. This is why running ALL the streets is worthwhile. You just don’t know what cool little nuggets you’ll find.

This area still gave me the creeps, and I heard some shouting and screaming, so I moved on. Turning left, as the bridge rose up, the area was fenced in with ten-foot high black chain link-fence, Bloomfield Park. It has a Dek Hockey rink, a basketball court, a swimming pool, all nestled under the bridge. But those loud shouts were disconcerting. Sounded like a few teens haranguing each other. I needed to get going. This area has small streets, smaller alleys and tightly packed houses.

Bloomfield

I crisscrossed some alleys. I saw the entrance to some stairs, but decided not to venture down in the dark. Finally I got to the other side of the park. The group of “teens” I had been so worried about was just a toddler testing his lungs while riding a tricycle and his Mom trying to corral him. They weren’t so intimidating after all.

From here, I just ran in and out of the small streets and alleys from Liberty Avenue up to Penn. Finishing in front of Caliente’s Pizza, the Pro-Bike group was just finishing too. Time for a beer.