East End Runners

So many decisions could have been bad!

Monday, March 02, 2015

March 8 Run: Virginia's house at 1200 Lancaster Ave. Regent Square

Thanks to Virginia for the following:

For those who have not heard, we're going to lose our running mate Tammy Thompson. But it's good news for her -- she's gotten a job in LA and will be leaving Pittsburgh the second week in March.
I'd like to give her a proper send-off by hosting an after-run breakfast at my house next Sunday, March 8. Tammy said she may not make it to the run, but she'll come afterward for the food!  
So instead of meeting at the 61C Cafe in Squirrel Hill, let's meet at my house: 1200 Lancaster Ave., 15218 Regent Square.  I'm at the corner of Sanders and Lancaster on the Frick Park side of Regent square. This is four blocks off of Braddock Avenue -- turn at the corner at Sanders and Braddock where Vanilla Pastry and Typhoon are located. \
Don't forget the clocks change for Daylight Saving that day. We lose an hour, but I'll have plenty of coffee -- caffeinated and caffeine-free.
See ya then -- Virginia

Last week:  Intrepid souls!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

March 1 Run: Commonplace Coffee on Forbes in Squirrel Hill

Next Sunday - back to basics - we'll start at Commonplace Coffee on Forbes in Squirrel Hill, but probably actually have coffee at the 61C Cafe.  Don't ask me why, though it probably has something to do with pastry.

This is sort of like returning to our comfy home after 2 icy attempts to scale Mt. Dahntahn.  This last time, four of us simply ran from one block to the next, looking out from each corner to find a stretch of concrete in any direction that wasn't a skating rink.  We did find some, mainly in the bike lanes.  We also wandered around the fancy new Hotel Monaco, which kind of hits you in the face with over-the-top decorative touches (forgive the bias of someone in love with the William Penn), though the long, elegant bar was an exception, and we started planning a happy hour there soon.  8 a.m. was certainly a happy hour downtown that day, too, as the lines at both Starbucks AND Dunkin Donuts were immense, so no coffee either.  No wonder we're heading home.  (But we'll be back.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Feb. 22 Re-Run: Omni William Penn hotel downtown - entrance on Wm. Penn Place

Next week:  a re-run of last week, which was to meet at the Omni William Penn Hotel downtown (entrance on Wm. Penn Place) and scope out new and old hotels, and anything else we like dahntahn.

OK, so last week didn't work out too well.  Running Group has been known to go out in all kinds of extreme weather, but this time (17 below wind chill?) was a bit much... except for the valiant and weather-defying Sarah! Our woolen hats (and buffs) are off to you!  Stay tuned for more adventures next week.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Feb. 15 Run: Omni William Penn hotel downtown - entrance on Wm. Penn Place

Post-Valentine's Day, we'll be meeting in the lobby of the William Penn hotel downtown, so we can visit, inspired by Virginia's intriguing description, the new Hotel Monaco downtown which is right next door.  We're going to really get a look inside (unlike last time when we tried to get past the security guard) and see how it compares to our old world favorite.  That will make for an interesting discussion over the Starbucks paper cups (no china! the only thing wrong with that place.)  Will there be hearts and roses?

Last Sunday we avoided the icy paths through the park, and headed down over the former slag heaps, through the shiny new Summerset development (and its gorgeous view) almost down to the Homestead Bridge, but then up, up, and up back to Beechwood with a quick trip past the houses of some neighborhood RG members who we tried to wake up. (Though admittedly some may have been out of town.)  The hills were a bit killer, but this is Squirrel Hill.  (In Spanish, La Colina de las Ardillas - more elegant, no?)  Unaccountably, though we had a pretty good turnout, nobody made it to coffee - which was a little sad.  And just as when a tree falls in the forest with no one to hear it, what of the endorsements when there is no napkin to write them on?

Monday, February 02, 2015

February 8 Run: Blue Slide park at the corner of Beechwood and Nicholson

Next week we'll check out the lay of the land at Blue Slide Park (Beechwood and Nicholson) and the rest of Frick Park from that starting point.  Depending on the ice and/or mud, we can either go through the park or follow Beechwood through it's twists and turns.  We're nothing if not spontaneous.

Last week at Bakery Square we were unexpectedly swamped by our running nemesis, The Fleet Feet franchise, the McDonald's of running groups. Hundreds of them!  Luckily we got off early, and just headed up the newly repaired Penn Ave. past many intriguingly hip storefronts, including the Center for Postnatural History and Los Sabrosos Dance Co. - which seriously made me think we were in Portland.  (Though my idea of Portland is purely imaginary.)  We entered the 19th century dignified calm of Allegheny Cemetery only to turn around and immediately head back to the Coffee Tree before the invading Fleet hordes returned.  In that very comfy space we endorsed:

  • Nail polish - Opi brand Rosy Future and Color Zentury
  • Cashmere sweaters for $4.50 ($3.75 with the over 55 discount!) at Goodwill
  • Goodwill itself, particularly the new location in Lawrenceville and the Murrysville Clearing Center
  • Etsy pattern for sewing mittens out of aforesaid cashmere 
  • Making a quilt out of the t-shirts of your kids' childhoods
  • The Wednesday/Friday fearsomely early morning runs, still going strong!
  • Someone named Pauline downtown who repairs sweaters (I think this is it.)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 25 Run: Strip to Lawrenceville starting at parking lot at 21st and Liberty

Next week will be a "real" (says Virginia) Lawrenceville run, starting at the parking lot at 21st and Liberty, with the traditional Italian stand-up coffee at La Prima.

Last week we had only a moderately-Lawrenceville run, since we ran through it pretty quickly and headed over the longish, scenic and historic 40th St. (aka Washington Crossing) Bridge to Millvale - this time checking out the original Pamela's (we must have breakfast there sometime), the place that used to be the weird acrylic furniture store (things that are not there anymore), the Grist House Brewery, which is next to a canal-appearing waterway evidently called Girty's Run (which has its own Facebook page, updated 7 hours ago!)  Aimee said it was a bit like the Netherlands in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh being the operative word.)  Also spotted:  an inflatable to rival Our Lady of the Inflatables (see earlier post) - Santa and his entourage up on a rooftop.

Various thumbs up for Espresso a Mano cafe where we could set up a long table (great attendance!) and endorse:

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 18 Run: Rite Aid parking lot on Butler at 40th St. in Lawrenceville

Next week we'll have a Lawrenceville run, starting at the Rite Aid parking lot on Butler St., corner of 40th St., to check out its new shops, restaurants and galleries, get some great coffee at Espresso a Mano, and generally get in touch with our inner hipsters.  (We'll deal with our hips some other time.)

Last Sunday we ran through Highland Park, through some frigid temperatures and in some new directions - not all of them deliberate - all of which seemed to go uphill.  At the top, when we reached the icy reservoir, we found our reward:  certainly one of the most glowing sunrises RG has come across, captured perfectly here by Aimee.  More rewards:  passing many tastefully restored old houses, a solid 4.8 miles traversed, and of course a leisurely coffee at the exceedingly cozy Tazza D'Oro.

General exhilaration resulted in many endorsements:
  • The Pittsburgh Hiking Meetup, inspiration for Joanne's aforementioned brave freezing dunk off the Mon Wharf.
  • New and old potty-training methods
  • Honey cardamom lattes and ginger hot chocolates
  • Sweden!
  • Addictive watching: The Returned on Netflix (the French Twin Peaks)
  • Addictive listening:  Serial (this is already so popular that if you Google the word "serial" you will see nothing else for pages)
  • Many books!
    • All the light we cannot see
    • Love in the time of cholera
    • Tomorrow and Tomorrow
    • The Position
    • The Joy of Sex
    • The debt to pleasure
    • The happiest toddler on the block
    • The Boston girl
  • And the new bookstore in Squirrel Hill - Classic Lines - ironically opened by the guy who brought the Internet to Carnegie Library years ago