East End Runners

So many decisions could have been bad!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Day run: Commonplace at 7:30 AND November 30 Run: 61C Cafe on Murray at 7

First, Thanksgiving (in 2 days!) - Virginia will "lead a Thanksgiving morning run (for anyone not doing the Turkey Trot) that starts at Commonplace Coffee at 7:30 a.m.  It is a 6 1/2 mile run that goes thru the golf course, around Schenley Plaza and around Cathedral of Learning, back thru Shadyside and Point Breeze to Squirrel Hill." 

Second, next Sunday - we didn't really settle on anything special, so we will start at our new home at 61C Cafe on Murray Ave., and will be surprised.  However some plans are being made for a Troy Hill run soon, to pay homage to the largest collection of relics outside the Vatican, and probably also outside of the early bird movie at the Manor. (I can say that because I have been known to be there myself and actually fit in pretty well.)

This past Sunday was delightful, as the frigid temp had finally fled, and Frick Park was almost bare so that you could easily see the tiny fairy doors in the tree trunks, that we looked for as we ran through. Looming hawks and atmospheric crows brought Audubon to mind - evidently the Univ. of Pittsburgh has one of the few remaining sets of original prints.  But even more delightful was coffee at Wendy and David's house afterwards - we didn't want to leave, even after the fabulous treats from the hot new bakery across the street had dwindled to crumbs on the plate.

The aforesaid bakery, 5 Points, on Wilkins!
Whidbey Island and Deception Pass near Seattle
Friendsgiving - escaping from the family mishegas
Book:  Michael Chabon's Telegraph Ave. - almost as good as his Kavalier and Clay

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 23 Run: Meet at the Frick Park gatehouse on Reynolds Street for an enchanted run through the woods.

Next Sunday, meet on Reynolds Street at the Frick Park gatehouse for a magical, enchanted run led by Wendy to search for the "fairy doors" and "gnome homes" hidden within trees along Tranquil Trail.  This is a run not to be missed!  Wendy is also kindly inviting us all to her and David's home afterward for coffee (6425 Wilkins at Beechwood; park on Beechwood).  We're hoping the new Five Points Bakery next to Wheel Deliver will be open for us to purchase treats, but if not, Wendy will have backup treats.

Last Sunday, we met at Riverview Park for a combination trail-road run led by yours truly.  We began at the Allegheny Observatory and took in the views of the Downtown skyline (unfortunately the Observatory is closed for tours for the season), then circled back to the trails.  We explored the winding trails and steep topography of the park, blinking off snowflakes from our eyelashes, and stopped to check out some ruins (Watson's Cabin, behind the group in the photos, on the "to-be-refurbished" list).  We then admired the beautifully restored Chapel Shelter (nice spot for a wedding!) and the Bear Pit, which is now a Public Works storage shed, but once had actual bears living on the ground level while spectators could watch from above on the next floor (!).

Endorsements from during the run: Orphan Black now available on Netflix; also Twin Peaks' reunion coming up!  Coffee was back at 61C, but I didn't write down any further endorsements on a napkin (still Roye's domain!), so I will leave it at that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 16 Run: Meet at the entrance to Riverview Park (near Riverview Avenue and Rt 19-Perrysville Avenue)

Next Sunday, we will explore--for the first time, I believe, in EERunners' history--Riverview Park, one of the City's beautiful parks and home to the Allegheny Observatory.  I think the leaves on the trees may have fallen enough for us to catch some great views of the City as well as the surrounding hillsides.  I will lead us on both the trails (weather- and light-permitting) and the roads, to show the group some of the secrets the park has to offer.  Park along Riverview Avenue (near Perrysville Avenue) near the entrance to the park.  From Squirrel Hill, it's about a 15-20 minute drive.

I don't have a summary for last Sunday's run because I wasn't there, and many others were running various races.  The EQT 10-Miler, Clarkston Backroads Half Marathon, and I believe a Chesapeake Bay Bridge race were all represented by EERunners!

I hope we can all reunite soon, including Roye (I think she's returning stateside soon!!!) and those on our injured list.  Hopefully my well-researched Riverview Park run will be just the ticket to bring everyone out.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

November 9 Run: Meet at 61C Cafe- Someone will have an idea

Next Sunday meet at our NEW default location, 61C Cafe, and hopefully someone will think of somewhere fun to go. I will miss the run (free RAD day at the zoo, oh the life of a toddler mom!), plus it's the day of the EQT 10-Miler (not sure who will be running that), so plans for a run were not made.
Speaking of the EQT 10-Miler, Virginia has announced that she will no longer be needing her bib and wants to offer it to someone for free:

...please see if anyone wants a free entry for the EQT 10-miler. Rather than formerly transfer the number, which is hassle, I'll just pick up the T-shirt and bib and deliver it to the home of anyone who wants this. It's a $60 value -- for free! -- Thanks, Virginia

So, we had a large-ish group meet up at Tom's house for a pleasant jaunt through Oakland, CMU, and Schenley Park. Beautiful, perfect running weather! We welcomed new and old runners (so good to see alternate run runners Tom, Jonathan, and Paula!) and we continued to wish those on our injured list to get well soon-- we miss you!

Stay tuned for a new upcoming run I will lead the following Sunday-- no spoilers, but I'm going to do some reconnaissance tomorrow to check mileage, views, points of interest, etc.!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

November 2 Run: Meet at Tom's House- on Aylesboro near Forbes- and turn your clocks back

Next Sunday, we'll meet at Tom's house (on Aylesboro just before Forbes) to run the "alternate Sunday run."  Don't forget to turn your clocks back Saturday night for the end of Daylight Savings!

This past Sunday, a small group of us patiently waited for the sun to come up so that we could enter Frick Park and enjoy the beautiful fall colors.  Until it was bright enough, we ran through Summerset at Frick Park neighborhood, then linked up to the trail in the valley, past the Irish Center, and into the park.  The trails were gorgeous, and we crossed a new trail that we will have to run sometime when we're feeling a little adventurous: the Rollercoaster Trail.   Tammy, who has toured it before, assured us that there are lots of downhills to make up for the uphills!  After considering an exit from the park down a leaf-covered trail onto Forest Glen, we decided to continue on and exit near Blue Slide Park.

Post-run coffee was at 61C because, honestly, we love the baked goods there!  We facetimed Roye in Uruguay and chatted with her, as she regaled us with stories of the slower pace there, as well as the locals' favorite transportable drink, mate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mate_(beverage), where everyone is carrying around thermoses of hot water to refresh their mates!  Roye seemed to be equally enjoying and frustrated by the slower pace of life there.  We miss you, Roye!

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 19: 61B Cafe in Regent Square for a Frick Park Run

Next Run, we will meet at 61b Cafe on Braddock Avenue. We might head down into Frick Park to enjoy the fall colors!

Thanks to our newest runner, Tammy, for summarizing the run!

Homewood Cemetery run
Started at Commonplace Coffee in Squirrel Hill, cutting through Smithfield Cemetery, where we admired the sunrise, before heading over to Homewood Cemetery. In Homewood, we observed graves and tombs of individuals Pittsburgh streets are named for such as Baum and Negley.
Stopped at a grave with a lengthy humorous epitaph and proceeded toward the North where we paused again at the pyramid memorial for Robert A. Woods and his wife. A quick search online turned up this article: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1915&dat=19361212&id=EHwtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=aHEFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3652,3841637

Because I'm a sucker for a good pun, I have to mention Chris's explanation of the next tombstone on the tour enscribed with the surname FRIED. Apparently, this is what you get if you're not good. heh.

Afterwards we scaled a hill back up to a line of mausoleums (Tomb Alley) where moguls in Pittsburgh's steel industry were laid to rest, including Peacock and Frick. Peacock was a sales manager at Carnegie Steel Co. Frick took over after Carnegie left and was so unpopular that the Fricks are actually buried under an extra stone slab to protect them.

We passed a couple of beautiful sculptures in this area: Schoonmaker and Mellon. I couldn't find information identifying any special meaning of the angel other than it being a guardian angel. Link to info about Schoonmaker himself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Martinus_Schoonmaker
A number of us were struck by the sadness of the Mellon sculpture entitled "Motherless" but in this article under the question, "Is there one thing on the tour that people react to the most?" reveals it's not what it seems.
After admiring the sun illuminating the apex of the pyramid tomb of successful coal shipper William Harry Brown, we jogged around the outside, observing the Jewish and Chinese sections (with a herd of deer in betwixt!) and launched up a hill for some hill work before getting back onto Forbes en route to Commonplace.

Coffee Convo:
How long the running group has been around (~22 years!) and how cool it would
be to create a map of participants and who brought them in, etc.
Book recommendation: Women Don't Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

Teaching: KWL defined. What do you KNOW? What do you WANT to know? What did you LEARN? (Quiz next time)
The importance of a good night's sleep and that it's totally ok to go to bed at 9 or 9:30 to make it up super-early for a great workout!

Lots of good lucks given to Sarah who will be heading to Columbus, OH for her marathon this weekend and to Aimee and Kristen who will be running the Buffalo Creek half marathon.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Oct. 12 Run: Meet at Commonplace Coffee for a special run led by Chris Horowitz

Next Sunday (Oct. 12), meet at Commonplace for an unprecedented run led by Chris Horowitz.

Last Sunday, we enjoyed a run around Wilkinsburg led by Aimee's friend, Michael Lefebvre.  We started and ended at the lovely Biddle's Escape and enjoyed the crisp fall morning, which made for perfect running weather.  Because the route was similar to the run he led a year ago, here is the summary from last year:

Borough Councilman and Third Ward resident Michael Lefebvre led the group on a wild and hilly adventure through the streets of Wilkinsburg, that brought us to hope, despair, and hope again!  Running past abandoned, dilapidated structures with broken windows, we also ran past beautifully renovated historic residential and commercial buildings, community gardens, and many, many churches, all glimmers of hope in a borough with a shrinking tax base.  The borough was historically known as "The Holy City," with its unusually high concentration of churches, seceding from the City of Pittsburgh in 1876 to maintain the religious integrity of the community.  http://www.wilkinsburgpa.gov/about/history.aspx
Efforts by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation have transformed both residential and commercial buildings in the central part of the borough.  We marveled at the dramatically restoredCrescent Apartments and Wilson House:
Scaling a steep hill, we found ourselves admiring the Singer Mansion, which has been continuously occupied since it was built for $75,000 in 1864.  See page 20 for a picture of the mansion. 
After returning to the Regent Square part of Wilkinsburg, we found a house that was recently featured on the inaugural Wilkinsburg House Tour a few weeks ago.  It was originally purchased for $6,600, fixed up, and resold a year later for $363,000!!!  While the house was purchased through a Free and Clear sale, "flipped" and re-sold, good tax opportunities exist for those who occupy the house for at least 10 years. Here are the details on the borough's TaxBase Expansion Ordinance (which provides a nice tax abatement).

An addition to the route this year was a jaunt along the Linear Park:

Since I had to log a few extra miles, I didn't stay for coffee.  Here's what Wendy had to say about the coffee discussion:
Endorsements: digital pianos, advantages of being an employee rather than a boss, jewish-hindi funk music, sweating vs. not sweating while running, missing people who are out on injured list, where was Sandy?!, big welcome to Tammy; hoping Molly can join us soon.