East End Runners

So many decisions could have been bad!

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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October 5 Run: meet at Biddle's Escape coffeehouse at Biddle and South Trenton, Wilkinsburg

Meeting at Biddle's Escape coffeehouse, Wilkinsburg, for a very special run arranged by Aimee.  Wilkinsburg Council Member and fellow runner Mike Lefebvre will lead our group around his neighborhood to show its highlights and new developments.  This is the second chance for anyone who missed this great run the first time (and I'm completely bummed that I'm going to miss it again.)

Speaking of which, I'm a little short on time these days, so will only say about last week's run that it was a gorgeous early fall Frick Park and cemetery run, that it actually may have been somewhere else but we were talking so much I didn't notice, that we delved deeply into existential questions like:  why are the electrical plugs in other lands all different shapes?, and that we were maybe the first to cross the starting line for the Great Race.  Kudos to all of you who both started and finished it!

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.