East End Runners

So many decisions could have been bad!

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 21 Run: Commonplace Coffee in Squirrel Hill- someone will have an idea

Next weekend is up for grabs; nobody called it, so we'll just go with our default location at Commonplace Coffee in Squirrel Hill.  I'll be out of town, so it's up to all of you!

Yesterday we truly did come to grips with summer's end:  autumn mists covering Frick Park and long-sleeved jackets covering us.  We zigzagged around the park trails, coming upon the surprisingly large construction site of the brand new Environmental Center - remembering the time over a decade (!) ago when we came across the old Nature Center the very morning it had burned down - still smoldering at 7:20 a.m. according to the PG.

Just Cheryl, Judy and I at coffee (still delightful) so I'm tacking a few items:
  • shout out to Jacquie in Iowa - thanks for posting the photos - we miss you!
  • running group librarian tip for classics lovers:  thousands of books published before 1923 have a totally free Kindle version on Amazon, which you can then read with a free Kindle app on any tablet, phone, or PC - i.e. Babbitt, The Forsyte Saga, any Dickens or Trollope, etc. etc.  (I'm also mad at Amazon's monopoly practices, but this isn't sending them any money.)  Brand new e-books similarly for free from CLP of course.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 14 Run: Blue Slide Park at Beechwood and Nicholson

We'll meet at Blue Slide Park at Beechwood and Nicholson, and possibly find a new route through Frick Park (or not.)  At any rate, we'll surely be surrounded by early signs of autumn.  Already!

If I might say so, last week's run was glorious.  From the brilliant chandeliers inside the William Penn, to the sparkling waters of the Mon, to the glowing gold of Steelers t-shirts for sale every 10 feet, we traversed new bike paths, crossed rivers, circled Heinz Field, visited the Mr. Rogers (bad) and the WWII (good) memorials, attempted to catch a train at the new Allegheny T Station, and viewed the gushing Fountain at the Point from at least 3 different angles.  The weather was perfection.

Back at the William Penn, we were met by several rather festive Steeler-watchers (one posing here with Sarah) and settled down in the Starbucks there, more elegant than most (but why don't they have real cups?) where we covered the following:

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

September 7 Run: Meet at William Penn entrance downtown

Well, since nobody called a run for next week, I get to pick:  where else but dahntahn?  We'll meet at the entrance to my favorite hotel - the William Penn -
on William Penn Place (and have coffee in the resplendent lobby afterwards.)  But mainly - yes, it's that time again - we must run our magic circle around Heinz Field as a charm for the Steelers' opening day! Just call us...

Last week our two runs were East End specials with great back-from-vacation turnouts:  a drizzly but refreshing Frick Park foray and then somewhere around Squirrel Hill (not sure since I just showed up for coffee.)  A few of us on the DL inspired some talk about having a parallel bike ride - starting and ending at the same spot with the runners.  In fact it could be tried this Sunday - if some people want to show up with bikes and ride around on the trails for an hour - could be an interesting development!  RG never stops evolving.

Speaking of which:  a marvelous invitation from Jan - a running group trip to her peaceful forest cabin in the Laurel Highlands the weekend of Sept. 13 - just email her if you're interested - janetrw@hotmail.com.


  • Wholistic Acupuncture - for heel pain
  • Almond flour at PennMac - gluten free baking
  • Not using sexually explicit words in online Scrabble with strangers
  • Yoga on Youtube - you can get almost any kind of class!  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 31 Run: entrance to Frick Park at Reynolds and S. Homewood AND Labor Day holiday run at 7:30 from Commonplace

End of summer run!  We'll meet at the gracious stone entrance to Frick Park for a run through the park led by Karen, who always finds the best trails, and who forgives us for inadvertently running off without her last week while she was being a good samaritan.  And of course the holiday run on Monday, meeting at 7:30 at Commonplace Coffee on Forbes, allowing a whole 30 minutes of extra sleep.

A perfect classic Schenley Park run last week - clear skies, leafy paths, lots of gab - just right.  We happened on the two major improvements to the park that are underway:  new separated bike paths around Phipps and new meadows on Bartlett.  And after I lamented the dearth of endorsements last week, the group certainly stepped up to fill the gap this week:

  • Quantum Theater's production of Tamara - unorthodox, unforgettable, and somewhat wild theater experience where your running training will come in handy, trust me.  There isn't much time left, though - call soon if you want to go.  Advice:  follow Mario.
  • From the sublime to the...   How to deal with bloating:  Beano, peppermint, or charcoal.  (You eat charcoal?)
  • For joint pain:  Glucosamine & Chondroitin which needs to also have something called MSM
  • Or, a chiropractor!  Preferably one with some kind of knife that she/he pulls over your skin in some way that was described enticingly as "excruciating."  
  • Capetown as the most beautiful city anywhere, from another of our global voyagers
  • The Renaissance Fair - not tacky, huge fun.  
  • Movie:  Boyhood - apparently still at the Waterfront
  • This one cannot be spelled out too clearly for fear the appointments will fill up, so it's just:  Lynn, nails, Forward, across from bowling alley.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 24 Run: Wendy Bennett Trailhead at the bottom of the Schenley Oval for a park run

We will meet at our favorite Wendy Bennett Trailhead, which is located at the beginning of Overlook Drive, intersection with Bartlett St:  map.  The run planned is our classic Schenley Park trek, with coffee to follow at Commonplace.  Something to be said for continuity in this dizzying world.

 Last week we enjoyed another classic, the Three Rivers/Three Bridges run downtown, which never fails to showcase our delightfully picturesque city center.  OK, so it's not the Brooklyn Bridge, but really, just try to get a free parking spot near that one.  The skies were grey, but the rain held off, and the city and its rivers still had a monochromatic beauty which we saw from many vantage points.  Everyone had places to go right after the run, so no coffee chat, hence no endorsements.  Hopefully that will correct itself this Sunday!

(Photo used with Creative Commons license from Flickr.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 17 Run: PPG Place downtown for the famous 3-Rivers 3-Bridges run

On Sunday we'll hope for good weather to show off the gorgeous views from 3 bridges - Smithfield St., Fort Duquesne, and West End -  downtown - starting at the fountain at PPG Place.

We certainly had good weather last Sunday as we headed down from the now infamous Blue Slide Park (I mean 22 million views?)  into cool, deep Frick Park.  It wasn't until we reached the very bottom and crossed Commercial St. that I remembered we were aiming for Duck Hollow (which has its own admittedly sparse Facebook page - in this case, 532 views - there is no justice in the social media world) which was as adorable as ever.  Then of course the long, long trek up - passing through the eerily uniform Summerset development, where not a soul was in sight and the gardens look regimented. But it does have a spectacular view. We discussed where we all might want to live after moving out of the family house and looked favorably on the venerable Maxon Towers, which we discovered a) Wendy's Mom wrote a song about, and b) is a NORC.

Later over coffee we endorsed:
Transcendental meditation - may be a road to bliss or at least something different
Tin Front Cafe in Homestead - recently enjoyed
Podcasts:  60 minutes, Story Collider, Freakanomics

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

August 10 Run: Frick Park's Blue Slide Park at Beechwood Blvd. & Nicholson St.

Next week: Meet at Frick Park's Blue Slide Playground at Beechwood & Nicholson for a Park and Duck Hollow run.

Last week, a small group of us braved the 95% humidity and gloomy, threatening skies to run in Highland Park.  Unfortunately, the trails were too muddy, so we stayed on the roads encircling the reservoir and lake.  We passed the inviting City pool, looping around the park, reservoir, then along a little traversed road with secret City steps.

We enjoyed coffee at delicious Tazzo d'Oro, which never seems to disappoint.


City Events:
Highland Park's Reservoir of Jazz and Summer Soul Line Dancing Sunday evenings through August
First Fridays at the Frick

Movies: Philomena, The Grand Budapest Hotel
TV: This Old House- Jersey Shore post-Sandy season