Sunday, October 11, 2009

Runner’s Almanac, Day 56-57, Running in Pittsburgh

Planning for my Pittsburgh trip for a couple of months in advance, I research local running groups to join a Saturday morning run. I find a local club, People Who Run Downtown, but they meet on Tuesday nights. Like any good Pittsburgh group, they incorporate alcohol – or at least meeting and ending in front of an establishment that sells alcohol (and food) – into their runs. If you are looking for routes in Pittsburgh, the group recommends some in a past issue of Runner’s World, also incorporating local bridges into the scenery. Check it out here.

After arriving in town, however, there are so many great activities scheduled for my friends' wedding, that I decide to do a few miles around the hotel instead. Although I lived in Pittsburgh for a couple of years, I didn’t start running regularly until some time later, and didn't explore the city from a runner's perspective. Instead of managing through downtown, I opt for the hotel gym instead. I should mention that Pittsburgh does have beautiful green spaces and parks for walkers and runners, in addition to the grittier city landscapes that some prefer.

So I have the whole gym to myself and run about 3.5 miles on the treadmill. I was a habitual treadmill user over a year ago, and now that I am more accustomed to the outdoors, I find running in one place can get tedious, and even painful – with the discomfort focused in my shins. Thankfully the weather in Southern California is usually nice enough that no rain or snow or sleet prevents us from running outside.

Speaking of running on sleet, I run into my friend Dave at the wedding and we swap running stories. When he was training for the Pittsburgh marathon last year, he slipped and hurts his leg, putting him out of commission for 6 weeks. Although he didn’t participate in the Pittsburgh marathon, he is getting ready for other races coming up and recently ran in the City of Pittsburgh Great Race in September. He also tells me about an interesting encounter the forest with a naked runner from the Hash House Harriers – A drinking group with a running problem – at their annual conference. It turns out that running naked is something they enjoy doing, in addition to drinking. Interested? It is a national group with local chapters. Check it out!

Happy running in the ‘Burgh!

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