March 2nd: Week 7
Hills, hills, hills. For Week 7 we ventured through the South Hills neighborhoods of Mt. Lebanon, Castle Shannon, Dormont, Beechview and Brookline. We met at the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center to begin our run. I knew this was going to be a challenging course, but I also hoped that the impending winter storm would wait till we were done running. It didn't.
One of the first major hills we encountered was East Shady that runs along the trolley line. Fortunately a strategically placed water stop gave us a place to rest midway up the hill.
After passing through Mt. Lebanon we passed through Dormont, Brookline and Beechview, then back to Dormont. Once I reached the Trolley Station in Dormont I realized we were in a full fledged snow storm. It was so quiet and deserted.
By the time we returned to Mt. Lebanon the snow was really coming down. For safety reasons we decided to cut the run short and head back to the Recreation Center. It's always disappointing to end a run early, but in this case it was the right call. Unfortunately, the weather has been interfering with training a lot this year. Even though you want to stick to your plan, you still have to respect the conditions. My motto for training this year has been "Do the best you can, and then call it a day."
After running many miles of hills in the snow we returned to the recreation center. At the end of the run, I took a moment to look at the Mt. Lebanon War Memorial. It looked peaceful and serene. A stark contrast to the battles fought by the soldiers the wall memorializes.
March 16th: Week 8
Finally! No snow, no rain, no large chunks of ice, no ice pellets, sleet or freezing rain. Ok, so there was a dusting of snow on the ground and a few pesky patches of ice, but otherwise it was a beautiful March morning. It couldn't have come at a better time since our mileage was ramping up to a 16 miles. For this long run we returned to downtown Pittsburgh, with our starting point in the Shadyside neighborhood. With a mix of trails, bridges and sidewalks we ran through the city with ease. I felt reunited with my long lost love known as running. It was fun again!
Finally, I could focus on my running and not direct all my concentration on each step that might be into snow or ice. My thoughts could wander. My mind was free.
"I can't believe there will be a baseball game at PNC Park this month."
"Why are there so many seagulls in Pittsburgh?"
"This might be the best Sunday we've had all year."
One of the highlights of the run was reaching the West End Bridge. It's part of the marathon course and offers a stunning view.
And when I'm here I can't help but feel blessed. I'm blessed to run and to enjoy this beautiful scene on a Sunday morning. To me, this is what running is all about: that moment in time when we are at peace with ourselves and our surroundings.
Author: Sarah Warman
I like to run, take pictures and write. I've combined all three in this blog.