East End Runners

So many decisions could have been bad!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 21 Run: Annual downtown holiday run, starting at PPG Place Skating Rink

Sorry guys - it's Hanukah!  And pre-Christmas!  Crazy-time!  So this is a little late.

Next Sunday's run is the long-awaited Annual Downtown Holiday Run - starting at the PPG Place Skating Rink (map) at which we will tour dahntahn's glorious festive decorations and hope against hope that those crappy PVC-pipe menorahs have been upgraded to something decent.  Also that the captivating sound sculpture on Strawberry Way is operational.  Coffee most likely at the Market Square Starbucks.

Last week was further proof that, despite all appearances, it never rains on the run - o ye of little faith!  And just to symbolize the faith that we did have, it was highlighted by the largest inflatable Mary possibly ever seen.
Cheryl led our trusting group on a magnificent art-and-architecture-studded run through the Mexican War Streets, California-Kirkbride (I think), Manchester, and Allegheny West.  Too many adorable and fascinating things, and views,  to catalog here - you'll just have to come along the next time.  Except I will mention RandyLand, which gave us the chance for only a slight trespass as we climbed up to peer through the gates - below.  Relaxing coffee but the holidays have me too frazzled for endorsements - will be more relaxed by Sunday, so remember to bring some.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

December 14 Run: Mexican War Streets starting at Crazy Mocha on the North Side

This coming Sunday, Cheryl has graciously offered to take us around her new neighborhood - the North Side Mexican War Streets and maybe a bit of Manchester, and we'll meet at the Crazy Mocha on 2 E. North Street (map.)

Last Sunday on the strip our run started under the flight of hundreds of crows across the early dawn sky, and ended with the sight of a giant transparent moon setting by the river.  We ran down Penn Ave., crossed the 31st. St. Bridge (reportedly the longest bridge... somewhere?), visited the homes of random Steelers on Herr's Island, followed Laurie through our customary trespass to get on the trail back to the 9th Street Bridge and a straight shot (tip for future runs: top notch restroom at the Hampton Inn on Smallman) to the promised La Prima, amazingly busy at 8 a.m. on Sunday, as we squeezed in around a stand-up table, helping ourselves to just-baked almond meles.  This produced many endorsements:
  • Kukicha Tea, only available at the East End Food Coop, provides more calcium than just about anything
  • S&D Polish Deli for all things Polish, including fabulous pirogies and pierogi-making classes
  • Dreadnought Wines has a Casual Friday night wine tasting event that sounds delightful - suggestion was made for RG to attend en masse - how about the 19th??
  • Movies:  Interstellar (the future) - Moonstruck (the past, including Cher!)
  • Brass Quintet concert at Phipps
  • Nationality Rooms annual holiday event - the afternoon after the run - belly dancing, African drumming, guys in Lederhosen, bagpipes, samosas, strudel, and a once-a year tour of a hidden secret room based on the House of the Seven Gables - don't miss it next year -

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Dec. 7 Run: 21st and Liberty for a Strip Run

Next up:  meet at the parking lot at 21st and Liberty in the Strip District.  We'll try to weave the themes of Pearl Harbor Day and Pierogies into this run.  Maybe things that start with P, which includes Pastry, of course, at La Prima!  For the hardiest among us, there will be a run to the run, starting at Wendy's house at Wilkins and Beechwood, at 6:15, I think - please send a correction if needed.  (RTTR times recorded in 2007 say 1 hour from Wendy's house to the Downtown Hilton.)

For the Thanksgiving holiday week we had two runs, the first to take the edge off the day beforehand, and the second to recover and burn off some of that butter afterwards.  I don't know about you, but several pounds of butter that had been in the fridge on Wednesday were gone by the time we sat down at the table.  On Thanksgiving, Virginia took us up and down 6.5 cleansing miles around Squirrel Hill, and on Sunday it was the bird run of RG lore, now getting its name from a trendy backyard chicken coop spotted off Beechwood.

Endorsed:  more trends, going local (are we turning into Portland?)

Preview: Dec. 14 run is a tour of the Mexican War Streets and Manchester, starting at Crazy Mocha (also local) on 2 E. North St., led by our newest Northside resident, Cheryl.  Then, on Dec. 21, the annual Christmas and Hanukah Holiday run downtown, more details to follow.

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.!