Tag Archives: schenley park

That Time I Surprised Myself With Awesomeness

25 Feb

Between the weather, work being busy, trying to get the house organized and packed (which I was informed that I am failing miserably at), and PMS, I think I have used up all of my excuses for not sticking to my training plan.  Instead, I have been hibernating, sleeping in, and being a lazy slob in general.

Then, I looked at the calender.  I am running a 5K in 11 days and I have yet to log enough mileage to qualify as even “mildly substantial.”  Womp, Womp.

So in the spirit of failure and un-achieved goals, I forced myself to put on warm clothes and go to the park for a run.  When I left the house, it was lightly snowing and it had just started to cover the streets and sidewalks.  The wind chill was measuring in at 19*F and I was dreading everything that was to come.  Except maybe the iced coffee I knew I would buy on my way home.

I wanted to start out nice and slow, since I feel like I always go hard and then burn out too quickly.  This was advantageous for two reasons actually – the beginning of the trail was covered in patches of ice which were disguised by mud!  Yikes!!

Bridle-Trail-Schelney-Park-Pittsburgh-2

I love the Bridle Trail at Schenley Park.  I love the way it slowly wraps around the side of the hill.  I love how surrounded I feel by natural beauty while at the same time being smack dab in the middle of the city.  The Bridle Trail is never crowded nor is it desolate like the rapey trail by my house.

I think it holds a special place in my heart because I have a lot of good memories here.  When I first moved to the city, I was a mess both emotionally and physically.  I remember coming here for a 5K with my roommate and walking it IN FLIP FLOPS while slightly intoxicated.  I had no idea what I was in for.  That’s so funny to me now for some reason!

Several years later, I did another 5K here – the Greenfield Glide – with some of Christina’s immediate family.  There are actually quite a few cousins missing!  Yes, this is only PART of her immediate family.  Yes, everyone is super close and we see each other all the time.  It is amazing.

Pats-Pack-2012-Greenfield-Glide

We all either walked or ran in memory of her Uncle Pat:  a marathon running, Golden Gloves boxing Irishman with the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.  I will never forget watching his widow cross the finish line last, emotionally flocked by her adoring children and grandchildren.  It brings me to tears just thinking about how powerful that moment was.

I walked that particular race because I was afraid for people to see me struggle.  I was so new to running that I didn’t even know what chip timing was, so I didn’t even have a chip on!   I laugh thinking about how Christina’s dad was breathing down our necks the whole time, power walking right behind us and challenging us not to let him pass us.  At one point I’m pretty sure he was smoking a cigarette and still managed to finish just ahead of us!  I wasn’t laughing about that 20 lbs. ago but it’s humorous now.

I think of these memories almost every time I run at Schenley and it makes my heart happy.  I must’ve spaced out at some point because I ended up missing a turn and making a wider loop than I had intended.  I ended up having to climb a MONSTER hill only to be welcomed by all of the stairs which take me up to Schenley Oval and eventually my car.

Schenley-Park-Oval-Stairs

Miss Negativity (aka the little voice in my head) was bitching HARD the whole time.  She was throwing herself on the ground and kicking her feet and stomping around and sighing and insisting that she just was not going to do the hill or the steps or any of it.  SO THERE.  Hmph.

But…I had to get back to my car.

When I got to the top of the hill, I had survived.  Surprise, surprise.  And so I made it a point to run the Oval as a sort of victory lap/middle finger to show her that I would be the one to determine where we went and how we got there thankyouverymuch.   I actually continued to run the whole way back to my car.  Who knew?  I finished strong on my so very tired legs, with a huge smile on my face, wings in my heart, and an unusual silence where Miss Negativity is usually filling up space.

I chose to become a runner because I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to be active and become a healthier person.  I never could have imagined all of the things that running has given me.  Then again, running hasn’t given me anything really.  Running has proven to me that I am capable of so much more than I can imagine.  Again and again I am surprised at every one of my achievements.  And yet, I continue to improve every day.  So, really I gave this to myself.

I am at a point in my life where I honestly feel like I am the best version of myself that I have ever known – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  And you know what?  That’s a pretty awesome feeling.

Schenley-Selfie

Cold Streak: Day 3

30 Dec

The cool thing about my job is that I have some flexibility.  In my day-to-day life, I’m ashamed to admit that I complain A LOT about how I don’t have time to do anything.  The reality is that I have time for anything I want to have time for.  It’s really just a matter of my own mindset.

Weather.123013

Example:  My alarm went off at 7 AM this morning, at which time I assessed the weather and determined that I would like to try another cold weather run.  Somehow the above temperature reading didn’t seem so bad (am I losing my mind?)!  I volunteered to open Changin’ Time and then make our single delivery, which was in Oakland, so that on my way home I could get in a quick mile at Schenley Park.  See…flexibility.

I’ve found that in order for flexibility to be a thing, I have to make the most out of the hours in my day.  Coffee also helps.  Sure, I would love to (and sometimes do) sleep in until just before Changin’ Time opens at 10AM.  Those unproductive mornings usually turn into unproductive afternoons and days.  For the last few weeks, I’ve been setting my alarm early and it works.

I present to you:  The Butt Crack of Dawn

BeechwoodatBrownsHill

The quality of the pic isn’t the point so pretend you don’t notice it, k?

Every single time I am near the Schenley Oval, I feel compelled to see the view of downtown from the top. I love Pittsburgh!

PittsburghFromOval

It’s prettier in person, I promise.  You have to go there and see it for yourself.

Anyway, I ran down the Bridle Trail and was feeling pretty good.  When I took my first walking break, I stopped to check out my GPS and I had all ready run a little over half a mile!!  I was shocked!

Schenley.BridalTrail

It certainly hadn’t felt like that long and honestly based on the last 2 days, I didn’t think I had it in me.  I told myself that I would run at least 1 mile every day this week, very low pressure and a fun way to ease myself into cold weather running!  I knew I could keep going, but decided to stick to my original plan which was 1 mile.

I headed home feeling very accomplished!  The cold weather makes every little feat feel like the biggest victory and I am really happy with what I’ve done the last 3 days.  Breakfast was  scrambled eggs mixed with some leftover black beans and rice.  My fingers are crossed that I can avoid giving into temptation today (in the form of junk food, Christmas cookies, or soda) and keep my eyes on the prize!

Oh, friends.

26 Aug

I have been so busy that I haven’t even had time to log in to SFTS for days! In fact, I’ve been so busy that I barely have enough pictures for a phone dump post.  Last week, Changin’ Time was busier than ever and I’m also gearing up for a big conference in October. (I’m planning the conference, mind you, so it’s a lot more work than I had anticipated!)  We’ve got our final occupancy inspection at the rental tomorrow along with a tenant moving in later that day.  It’s been hectic!  Last week, I did manage to log a little over 11 miles, but not all of them were running miles.

I found absolutely no balance over the weekend, splitting my waking hours between working at the facility, working at the rental, and then filling up my downtime doing awesome things like attempted matchmaking and fantasy football drafts. Let’s just say that a lot of alcohol was imbibed this weekend and I was certainly in no condition to exercise. Fail. But hey, sometimes a girl just has to let her hair down and unwind before she freaks out and quits life.

This morning I got up about an hour earlier than I normally do, determined to start the week off on the right foot. I drove the 3.8 miles from my house to the Schenley Oval and somehow managed to miss a key turn and ended up in Squirrel Hill. Womp womp. Undeterred, I finally made it to the park ready to tear it up!

phoeberunning

It’s amusing to me now that I thought training on a flat, paved trail would prepare me for a 10K road race through the city of Pittsburgh. Insert face palm here.  Needless to say, the hilly trails of Schenley were challenging today and will be nothing compared to the Great Race course.  They were challenging enough that I got lost for the second time in one morning, just past a gaggle of scantily clad, buff female athletes stretching out on a playground.  They then proceeded to run in a pack while managing to look like a live streaming Nike ad.  I, on the other hand, consulted with a very friendly Hungarian man and his dog on my best course of action to get back to my car.  Red face huff & puff, sweat pouring down my face and neck, with a too-tight long sleeve running shirt clinging to me.  I felt like a total shit show.  But, self doubt is something I am working to overcome these days people!  I am just me and this is the healthiest I’ve ever been <– mantra used to avoid having a sobbing breakdown in the middle of a playground.   I decided the best thing to do was to just turn around and run back the way I came.  No big deal.  Crisis averted, pride slightly less intact.

I think I’ve been improving on my form.  The rest of my metrics (speed, distance, fuel) have all gone to hell.  I need to get my ass in gear!  Sunday will be the halfway point of my training program and I am heartily sucking.

I’m going to try and stick to the park this week for my shorter runs.  I think that the hills will be a nice change and will build strength in my legs that I’ll need for The Great Race.  There are enough people around that I’m less likely to half ass anything.  And, to be honest, I feel safer on the trail there.  The GAP trail is starting to feel a little bit rapey since I noticed there was a homeless person camped out along the trail, just past the eagles.  If I was on a bike I would have no hesitation, but I’m just a chick out there running by myself with no ninja skills.  I’ve seen enough Lifetime movies and true crime shows to feel totally heeby-jeebied out by that campsite.

Sunshine & Schenley

16 Apr

You would not believe the frustration I have had with the internet for the past few days.  We thought dropping internet from our “bundle” would save us money because we could make both of our iPhones Hot Spots for $20 a month.  Well, let me tell you.  I could barely keep a connection on the damn thing, it wouldn’t let me use wordpress or any of the photo editing sites I use to write my blog.  It could barely handle Facebook.  AND Verizon charges you for the data usage for your Hot Spot.

Something smells fishy here and it ain’t the Jersey Shore..

Sorry, I couldn’t pass that one up.

So anyway, we switched internet providers, found a better price and I’m back!  (Which in my opinion, is the most important part!)

Now that I’ve rambled on about my internet withdrawal and frustrations,

Have you ever just needed to unplug?

Or even not unplug, but just take some time outside, with the intent to do nothing at all?

She♥ and I had been feeling the need for some down time for awhile, so a few days ago we took a blanket up to Schenley Park and did nothing.

It was pretty much amazing.

We have two different ways of winding down I think though.  Mine:

And hers:

Whatever works 🙂

I of course got bored quickly because both books I brought have such antiquated tones that I can literally only read for 15 minutes at a time.

Turns out the little section of the park we picked was awesome.  It had a little pavilion (obvi, most sites do), with cool picnic tables:

The pavilion itself of course had the required garbage bin (for parties, etc.) but it made me really happy when I noticed ours also had a big recycling bin too!!

Pittsburgh may be a green city, but its hard to find those damn recycling bins around.  They SHOULD be more conenient, so more people would USE them.

But who asked me, I’m not in charge here – and our little area had one!  Score one for sustainability.

This may seem minuscule to some of my readers, but bike racks are really important for a city to survive in a multi-modal way.  Pittsburgh happens to be a popular city for bicyclists, as it should be.  Our dependence on cars has completely ruined our way of life and our environment (trust me, I know I’m guilty in that as well).  The more things that a city does to encourage multi-modal transportation (like buses, light-rail, bicycle lanes, etc.), then the more people are likely to take advantage.

Just like the recycling bin…get it?

While I was checking out the bike rack like a freak, I happened to notice that we were just below a disc golf course!

 

And it was BUMPIN’!

We pinky-promised to go disc golfing another day, and I gathered some durable sticks which I plan to use as row markers in my garden this summer. ♥

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