The Other Murray Ave

Murray Hill Ave – much quieter than that other Murray Ave

Today’s run took me across Squirrel Hill back into Friendship where I started yesterday. It was a relaxed Sunday run with no real target other than to see some new territory and get a few miles. With that relaxed theme in mind, I traveled up Murray Hill Avenue, which reminded me of a story.

When I first arrived in Pittsburgh, exactly 1 million years ago, I lived in a studio apartment in Shadyside. I lived in that one big room, galley kitchen and tiny bathroom for a couple of years. It was on the first floor of a large Victorian house. As I began to learn more about the city, I kept hearing about “Murray Ave” and “Squirrel Hill”. In school and without wheels, I explored on foot. One day, breaking out the Rand McNally map of Pittsburgh, I noticed that Murray Avenue was very close and decided to go see it. I crossed Fifth Ave and walked up a rather hilly street with big gray Belgium Block pavers and large, rambling houses on either side. After a half mile of this, I was not impressed. Sure, the houses were architecturally interesting, but where were the stores? The restaurants? The bars? This was not nearly as cool as everyone had made it out to be.

Turns out, of course, that I was on Murray HILL Avenue, not Murray Ave. Silly me, I didn’t think there would be such similar street names! But today, I knew where I was and rather enjoyed the quiet Murray Hill Ave instead of the bustling Murray Ave, with all its restaurants, coffee shops and bars. I continued into Friendship, covering some new territory, like Olga Way, pictured below. In many of my blogs, I’ve commented how some Pittsburgh streets are like being on country roads. Not so with Shadyside and Friendship, they are pulsing with urban life. This is the heart of a living city, with varied houses, businesses, people and traffic. I love it. Well, not the traffic.

Flowers along Olga Way
Route of run #00112 through Squirrel Hill North into Friendship

Point Breeze on New Year’s Day

Outline of the Point Breeze Neighborhood in Pittsburgh
Point Breeze (click on map for more info)

So, this run actually started in Shadyside and ran through parts of Squirrel Hill North, but followed most of Point Breeze’s borders. This “Resolution Run” was a group run organized by the Steel City Road Runners Club. Luckily for everyone who put New Year’s Eve to good use, it started at 11 am in the morning!

I have run with Steel City for a number of years and the crowd was friendly and festive. I was able to catch up with several runners I had not seen in awhile; from the Cincinatti ex-pat who’s always up for a quick one to a 20x marathoner I haven’t talked to in a year. My running peeps were also there. Running can be a very solitary sport. Group runs combat this with encouragement and camaraderie. You get the endorphins from the run, a positive social setting and a little bit of competition – it’s really a wonderful thing.

Group runs often bring out the fast runner in me. This day was no exception. As a running route, it starts as a speed demon’s dream. Penn Avenue is flat – perhaps a 50 foot elevation change in the first two miles. Forbes, along Frick Park and Homewood Cemetery is a more challenging, a 200 ft change in about a mile. But then you get a nice downhill along Shady Avenue for a strong finish.

RunAllTheStreets 0003: Resolution Run