Today, I’ll combine a couple of runs, done on consecutive days in roughly the same area. Of course, they conquered separate streets, but otherwise were very similar. These were both run in that wedge of the city between Butler Street and Liberty Avenue, as they diverge from 34th Street.
In addition, my run on St. Patrick’s Day was my 200th RATS run! Soon, I’ll update my official map and databases. I’ve made a lot of progress recently. CityStrides claims I’ve run 33% of the city. It’s not 100% accurate but pretty close. Does that mean 600 runs? Ha! I think it’ll be closer to 350.
Monday’s run, RATS #00199, started on Liberty Avenue, with a specific goal of covering Saint James Place and Mintwood Street. This area is a tight grid of small streets and packed alleys. But the grid is haphazard at times, with alleys stopping and small streets only going a couple of blocks.
On Monday, my run continued as dusk settled into night. Kids, off of school and still energetic, giggled and laughed as they wandered the streets in small groups. I came across some cool doors, even on the darkest alleys. In the dark, the slightest glimmer of light is artistic and wonderful.
On Tuesday, I ran by flaming entrance complementing the dark trees of the back exit. It was St. Patrick’s Day, so I donned festive green regalia. Clanging green beads set off dogs throughout Lawrenceville, reminding me of the “Twilight Bark” in 101 Dalmations.
“Arf! Arf! Woof! Woof! Yip,yip, yip!”
I got a kick out of this “Kiln -N- Time” studio and was struck by this impressive cross on a back-alley. But all, in all, the big orange alley cat was my favorite.
All in all, a good run, helping deal with the ongoing cyclone of upheaval. There’s lots of good out there.
This was a short little run in the narrow, flat streets near 43 1/2 Street in Lawrenceville. This area is choked with traffic during rush hour and on Friday and Saturday nights. Just off the 40th Street Bridge and Butler Avenue, this maze of streets is in transition. The two pictures below were taken from the same spot. New, shiny development stares across the street, literally, at older row houses.
The alleys here are slightly smaller than the streets, but are important access points. They are populated by garages, backs of restaurants, front stoops and aliens.
With the resurgence of investment in the area, some older buildings have taken on a new shine, like the one below.
And just like that, the run was over. Just over three miles with less elevation than some single hills I’ve done.
In the midst of the holidays, Sami got a few of us together for a Thursday night run. Starting at Full Pint Wildside in Lawrenceville, we were dismayed to find it closed. Nonetheless, we bolted out along Butler Street toward downtown. Zipping along the appointed route, we covered a few new streets; the little stretch of 34th between Butler and Liberty; the upper end of Hatfield Street; 50th Street between Hatfield and Butler.
Coming back to Full Pint, I recalled some of the fun times I had there with friends watching the local band Vertigogo Surf. Just a week ago, I ducked in here during the Infamous Lawrenceville Icy Streets Event of 2019. Alas, it is no more. Stricken with grief, we went to a bar up the street.
The map below has the route, in case you, too, want to make a memorial run.
What an evening for a run! My original plan involved driving to the east corner of the city, doing a short run and then meeting up with my daughter. But as the winter sun started drooping in the sky, a band of snow showers blew across Pittsburgh, and Lawrenceville, in particular. The snow wasn’t much, maybe a half-inch or an inch. However, with temperatures in the mid 20’s and a brisk wind, any snow which melted soon re-froze. In no time at all, the streets were sheets of ice. I found myself on a small street in Upper Lawrencville, with nowhere to go, so I got out and went for a jog. At times, it was no more than a walk.
I went up the hill toward Stanton Ave, branching off on McCandless. At the top, where a three car fender-bender was still being sorted out, the street was so icy, a woman extended a helping hand so I didn’t fall. That was very nice, seeing as she was one of the drivers. Up top, on Carmelia St, Celadine St, and Alford Way, the roads were mainly snow covered and pretty much deserted. This is an interesting area. High above Lawrenceville, it is in Stanton Heights, but has a couple of streets and stairs connecting it to the neighborhood below. You can see the tops of downtown buildings and the cliffs above Route 28. It is almost like a rural community in a hidden corner of Pittsburgh.
At any rate, I jogged up and down the snowy and icy streets, eventually coming down the 54th Street Stairs. I was taking an awesome picture of the footsteps in the snow on the descending stairway when my phone literally froze. I was glad to get the run in. Eventually, salt trucks came by and the roads became passable enough to drive again. Whew!
This is my first RATS run since the Indianapolis Marathon. It was through the streets of Upper Lawrenceville on a sunny, but chilly, Saturday morning. Here, there is a mismash of small, older, row houses and fabulously renovated houses. Even the alleys have houses opening up on them. Towards Butler Street, the area is flat, but rises quickly when you go up the numbered streets; 52nd, 53rd, 54th. At the top of 54th Street is a moderately long and winding stairway which leads to Stanton Heights. In the shadows, the light dusting of snow we had earlier in the week persisted.
The starting point for this Saturday run was from Caffè d’Amore Coffeeshop in Upper Lawrenceville. It was organized by Corbin for HPRC. By the time I met up with the group, I had done a quick warm-up through two miles of Lawrenceville alleys. The HPRC group had ten to fifteen runners and I fell somewhere between the faster runners and the slower ones. I decided to ad-hoc it, running roughly the suggested route, but on streets I had never been on before.
My first detour was going up 44th St instead of 40th St. This took me up a slightly longer hill with nearly the same elevation from Butler St to Children’s Hospital. Then, fearing both that I had shortchanged myself on distance and that I would run into the faster runners (who might assume I was taking short-cuts), I zigged-zagged down an alley and then went down 42nd St to Butler St at the bottom of the hill. Hill climbing again, I went up tree-lined Fisk St to finally reach Penn Ave, or rather an alley parallel to Penn. This alley was wishfully named Garden Alley. Finally I did emerge onto Penn in front of Children’s Hospital. BTW, Children‘s is ranked in the top ten children’s hospitals in the country.
Ironically enough I did pass Kristen, Cathy and Dayana who had just come out of a water stop at Children’s. We just shouted at each other as runners do and I chugged down Penn Ave. My next detour was to venture into Garfield instead of staying on Penn and Negley. I had a thought of going down Broad, but that felt that would take me too far out of the way. So I started up Negley meaning to take an early left before Stanton and take one of those streets across Garfield. Alas, I was one street too far east – North Fairmont would have been a good choice, but North Negley only had a few little dead-end streets on the left. Then, I saw Columbo! Aha! Whew, I have never driven on Columbo and never had run on this section of it. The elevation chart below shows why. Heart-pounding indeed.
Near the top and off to the right a big blue water tower stalks on stilts above the houses. These large brick houses are on steep wooded hillsides. Broad, undulating swaths of pavement plunge off the left, streets eventually intersecting Penn Ave and continuing into Friendship. Staying on Columbo brought me past North Atlantic and North Pacific, and onto Schenley Ave. Where Columbo meets Schenley Ave, new housing has sprouted. This surprising subdivision of beige bungalows is nicely kept. From here, I wanted to get to Stanton without retracing too many streets. Little Aisbette Way appeared on the right. It looked like a driveway beneath large trees, heavy with un-pruned branches nearing the ground. From my memory of the map, I was pretty sure it went through, but it looked touchy. About 50 yards in, as Aisbette Way makes a sharp left, slouched a dilapidated house on the corner. Turning the corner, instead of pit bulls and angry residents which my mind had conjured, I found the street opening up and winding down the hill, lined by a couple of quiet houses, tall and narrow. Whew!
From there, I caught the curve of Mossfield until it became Black St and eventually made a left onto Samantha Way. Since my daughter’s name is Samantha, I had to see where that went. It went far. It was flat. Eventually it landed me on Wellesley Ave in Highland Park. I made my way back to Stanton Avenue, then diverged once more onto McCandless Ave, circling around a little, just for fun. I finally landed on Butler and Caffe D’Amore where a few HPRC people were still hanging out. Got a coffee and chatted for awhile.
Looking back, I went through five large neighborhoods and ran mostly on streets I had not covered, I saw cool views, neat houses and nearly always friendly people. Nice run!
This was a fun run organized by the HPRC. It was from Espresso a Mano on Butler Street. With Steel City Road Runners going through some re-organization, HPRC picked up a number of new runners that morning. It didn’t hurt to be from a popular coffee shop. I ran easy with no intention of doing huge miles or a lightning fast pace. Spoiler alert; I was successful on both counts.
I ran with the 9:30-10 mile/min pace group, pretty much the same people I run with on Wednesday. We crossed the 31st Street Bridge, did the loop around Washington’s landing and had a photo op on the Southwest corner of the island, from which you can see downtown. We came back on the 40th Street Bridge, which is emblazoned with coats of arms every twenty or thirty feet. All of this part of the run was a standard route. Then, coming back to Lawrenceville, the planned route diverged from the normal. Sasha and Dayana busily crisscrossed streets to snatch low-hanging mulberries. We passed by one of the remaining Busy Beaver stores in the area and headed back to Espresso a Mano. Dayana wanted a few more miles and I wanted to cover a few more streets, so we ran together.
Lawrenceville is a neighborhood along the Allegheny River. The area closer to the river is dominated by warehouses, railroad tracks and other artifacts of its manufacturing and distribution history. Many of these warehouses are still in use, either by older businesses (olive oil, construction supply, tires) or by newer industries (restaurant distributors, Uber testing, auto garages). As the streets rise in elevation, newer Lawrenceville emerges. This area has yoga studios, bars, coffee shops, and at least one candle making store. The residential housing is being transformed from tall narrow row houses to large condo complexes, with gleaming glass facades.
Dayana and I ran in the older, warehousing section. Even though we did another four miles, we didn’t go far. We ran alleys like Mulberry Way, and down long broad streets like 36th Street, which are heavily rutted and end at railroad trestles. We ran past the place where I interviewed to be an Uber Test Driver and the fenced area where they keep their fleet of self-driving vehicles. We ran up to the railroad trestle, rising fifteen feet above the road. Dayana was a good sport, taking pictures and insisting on completing even the smallest alley. We covered many new streets that day.
Afterwards, the group gathered in the coffee shop. Corbin insisted that we all sit together which was a nice touch and helped welcome the newer HPRC runners.