Adrienne is off and running: week 1 of the Train Like a Mother Half-Marathon: Finish It Plan done as she trains for her first half-marathon. If you have no idea what I'm typing about, check out her introduction here.
I’ve moved around a lot. I was born in Wilmington, DE—yes, my Dad did work for DuPont, which seems to be that city’s main employer—then lived in Atlanta. I started kindergarten in Chicago. By first grade, we’d moved to Pittsburgh, where my Dad went to work with a guy he’d grown up with.
In da ‘Burgh, I lived in at least six different houses in a couple of different neighborhoods. After I graduated from high school, both of my parents left: one for Ohio, one for Florida. I bounced up near Erie for college, then down to Austin, Texas, and Knoxville, Tennessee, before putting down real roots in Oneonta.
What I'm saying is I’ve gotten around.
Despite all of the moving, Pittsburgh is the city I claim as my hometown, even though I wasn’t born there. It’s the city whose skyline is as familiar to me as my kids’ faces: always changing but also always the same.
Besides, a chunk of my college friends and father’s family live there, which means I can always find a place to stay when I head there.
When I toyed with running a half-marathon, Pittsburgh was the first really catch my fancy. These are neighborhoods I know and running through them will give me a new way to see them. Plus, there’s something about the notion of being cheered in Pittsburghese.
Pittsburgh is a city of bridges and hills. Big, fat, steep hills that you can’t get away from. I’m not too worried about them, because my current town’s name translates to “City of the Hills.” Seriously. Our annual Pit Run, a 10K is kind of a big deal; we’ve been known to have a Kenyan runner or two show up. The website boasts about its mile-long climb that ascends 350 feet. It’s not Mt Everest, I know, but it’s not a stroll through a very flat park either.
I took some pictures on my Week 1, Day 1 run. It’s my standard 3-ish mile route and follows some of the Pit Run route. For the record, this isn’t when my town looks its best. Mid-winter is hard on us all.
The first mile is more or less at this grade: like I said, not Everest, but not easy.
And we’ll go up some more before this, which is a half-mile of blessed down. It levels out right around the 2-mile mark.
In the summer, there is always a knot of older Italian guys in front of this building shooting the breeze and drinking coffee. I love to listen to them as I go past. It’s too cold for them now, though.
This is the sidewalk in front of my house, which you can’t see because I didn’t get the angle quite right. It’s just on the other side of the white one. I’m still not 100 percent clear on what a “stride” is so I just ran as fast as I could from corner to corner.
Barney, one of our cats, watched all four strides from the safety of our front porch. I let him in after I was done. I’m sure he wrote a little kitty blog post of his own about the nutty human who kept running back and forth for no discernible reason. She wasn’t even chasing a laser pointer.
The rest of the week went well, with one exception: the long run. I kept my eye on the weather all week. When I went to bed on Friday, Saturday, long run day, looked like it would be clear and cold. Cold I can handle.
I made plans to go to the high school track. I love doing long runs on the track because I don’t have to think about traffic and can really let my mind wander.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, the weather folk told me I’d have four inches of snow by 2 p.m. I shook my fist at the sky. Even with YakTrax, footing would be dicey. I’d hate to be sidelined by a snow-related injury.
No problem, I thought, I’ll go to the indoor track on campus. Then discovered that there was a basketball game, which would render the track a no-go.
So I did what I did not want to do (and what I spent more than a few minutes grousing to my husband about), which was slog through 6 miles on a gym treadmill. The hour-and-some felt like a week—or three—no matter how much I played with the incline and pace. While I am grateful to have the good old YMCA as an option, more than 40 minutes on the ‘mill makes me want to chew my arms off.
Anyone have any suggestions for taking the edge off of the treadmill tedium?