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Wordless Wednesday

25 Jun

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Stranger Things Have Happened

11 Oct

Well, I did it.

After weeks of complaining and inactivity, I finally just forced myself out of bed early and did it.

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I re-joined the Athletic Club at the Carnegie Library of Homestead.

I’ve all ready had 3 people ask me if I’m crazy.  See, my community has a less than stellar reputation because of high crime rates in recent decades, pockets of low income populations, and stunted economic development.  I find this reputation to be unwarranted and unfair.  I love it here.  I live, work, and play in this area and I have never once felt scared or threatened by anyone.  Except for this one lady who sucker punched me in the face during a road rage incident.  I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble but, there is crime in even the wealthiest community.  There are junkies running dry everywhere people.  But I’ve done a lot of research into gyms in my area, comparing the pros and cons that go along with each.  I’ll get to what went into my decision in a second.

First, let me show you the place.  The Athletic Club takes up the second floor and the basement at the Carnegie Library of Homestead, which is nestled in an idyllic historical pocket of Homestead.

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Those wooden doors will take you into the actual library, but if you head upstairs you will see this door:

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I’ve been in a bit of a rush the last 2 mornings due to other things going on, so I didn’t take the time to take photos inside.  I will make sure to give you guys an inside look/tour over the next few days!

So, why the Athletic Club at the Carnegie Library?

1.  Proximity.  The library is almost exactly 1 mile away from my house.  Christina has the car?  No problem.  I can just walk over there!  The next closest gyms were 4.5 miles away (LA Fitness)  and 5.5 miles away (Fitness 247).

2.  Price.  The AC is $35 a month.  So, for $420 a year (it actually goes down to $300 if you pay the year in advance) I get access to a fully equipped gym, a heated swimming pool, a 6 hoop basketball court, an indoor track, and unlimited classes.  LA Fitness would have been $459 with $99 down.  Fitness 247 has a special right now for $300/year if paid in full – $348 if paid monthly – but like I said, its 10.5 miles round trip.  No contract, no initiation fee, nothing like that.

3.  Amenities.  No, there isn’t a tanning bed included in my membership, but I am fine with that.  There is a newly renovated heated pool, though, which none of the other gyms can offer.  There is a big room with cardio and weight machines, another room with just free weights, and like I said before – a giant basketball court with 6 hoops and an indoor track above it.  There is non-metered parking all over the place.  I like that it’s not busy.  I’m going to get my sweat on and get out, not to have social hour.  In the morning, there are maybe 4 people in their 20s-30s and 2-3 elderly people working out.  It is glorious.

4.  Pride.  The Carnegie Library of Homestead, includes not only the athletic club but also a gorgeous music hall, is a non-profit.  I respect that the facility is there for the right reasons and has remained open for the betterment of the community since 1898.  That’s 109 years of being continuously open and helping keep our community to prosper.  She’s seen a lot of shit go down, too.  The economic prosperity that Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills brought, and the devastation that came when those mills closed.  Two world wars, the Great Depression, and now the modern day recession, throughout the years mourning when neighboring libraries closing their doors due to lack of funding.  Andrew Carnegie himself founded the library and designed it to overlook his steel mill site.  He was quoted as saying:

“The building has rightfully in the center as the focus ‘The Library’– Music Hall upon the right and the Working Man’s Club upon the left. These three foundations from which healing waters are to flow for the Instruction, Entertainment and Happiness of the people. Recreation of the working man has an important bearing upon his character and development as his hours of work.”

You know that the nerd in me couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be a part of this region’s living history.  You can keep your LA Fitnesses and your tanning and your overpriced saunas.  I am happy right here in the Steel Valley, supporting my community while I work to better myself.

Speaking of, it felt really really good get back on the treadmill.  I am waaaaay out of shape at this point.  I have spent the better part of a month eating complete crap and moving very little.  I feel like I’m starting back at square one, but that’s okay.  Momentum is better than inertia!  Right now, I’m being realistic about my goals and just working on building my base back up 30 minutes at a time.

Yesterday (Thursday), I warmed up with a 15 minute power walk, jogged at my usual pace for 10, and then did a 5 minute cool down.  Built up a nice sweat, stretched out, and went home with no shin splints or leg issues.  So today I shifted to a 10 minute power walk warm-up, a 15 minute jog, and a 5 minute cool down.

Proof!

Proof!

If you do something 21 times consecutively it becomes a habit, right?  19 more workouts to go!  With this gym membership also comes the opportunity to integrate real strength training and free weights into my program.  Access to the pool and other equipment gives me a variety of cardio options if I ever need a break from running.  I am considering taking a few of the classes that they offer, schedule permitting!  I’ve been taking a really good multivitamin I bought down at Vitamin Shoppe and I have a few other changes I want to make.  For example, I need to take stretching so much more seriously than I do now, especially considering my history of shin issues. I’ve been following Housewife Glamour‘s stretching routine and it’s awesome:

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Weekend Recap

10 Mar

2.0 mile run: Steel Valley Heritage Trail

Let me start at the beginning.

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I live in the Steel Valley area of Pittsburgh, named so because it used to be home to one of Andrew Carnegie’s great steel plants called Homestead Works. In fact, a few miles down the river in Braddock, one of Pittsburgh’s only running steel mills is located.  Below, you can see it in the background of this urban farm.

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The mill in Homestead closed in the 1980s, which sent this community straight down the tubes. People couldn’t find work and the local population fell into poverty or moved away. Sometimes, when I’m walking, I think I can catch a glimpse of what it may have looked like when my grandparents were children, or even before.

History

In the 2000s, though, a development company purchased up the brownfield site and turned it into an expansive shopping center called The Waterfront, now home to stores, restaurants, (unfortunately) parking lots.  This was a jolt of energy that my community needed, but we are still waiting for it to trickle into the old neighborhoods.  Change is happening, but more slowly than the rapid development near those old smokestacks.

One thing that Pittsburgh is great at? Honoring our history. Every where you look there are pieces of things that aren’t there anymore.

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Our region is proud and our roots run deep. I love that about us. It makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger, without even trying. It makes me feel like I’m part of this great story which is still unfolding. Everywhere I look, there are lessons which teach me how we got to where we are.  We are a city of bridges.  Bridges connecting communities, people, families, and also connecting us to our history.

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Those lessons are the ones that teach us how to get to where to want to be. When you live in a place where history is still very much a part of the present, you take the reminders for granted. You get so used to seeing all of these amazing landmarks and you forget to ask why they are even there. Not me. I’m a history nerd, and I take every opportunity to find out why and when and how things became and are. There isn’t a neighborhood in Pittsburgh that I’ve visited and not had this experience, but I still feel special living in such a historically relevant neighborhood.

If you’ve ever been to The Waterfront, you’ve seen the smoke stacks from the old steel plant. They are our community’s main landmark, preserved forever as a testament to the people who built this neighborhood. If you look hard enough, you can see lots of other historical landmarks which have been preserved. Most notably, the Carrie Furnaces and the Pump House of the old Homestead Works, the place where workers on strike defeated an attack by Pinkertons in what we now call the Battle of Homestead.

Luckily for me, there is a trail that runs parallel to the beautiful Monongahela River called the Steel Valley Trail.  Its well maintained, never crowded, and runs close enough to parking lots that I don’t feel paranoid of being in the movie Taken3.

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It’s actually part of the greater trail system called the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile trail that runs from Pittsburgh to Maryland.

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Once a connector is completed, the trail will allow Pittsburghers to travel 344.5 glorious vehicle-free miles – all the way to Washington D.C. For now, I think I will just stick to the few miles nearest my house. 🙂

Wordless Wednesday

23 May

BNBs ♥

10 May

This scorekeeper is getting pumped up for the game tonight!

I feel like its our night!!

Our Bad News Bears, err Bluejays warming up

 

 

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