Uphill, both ways

Uphill, both ways

When the weather is forecast to be 45 degrees in February, you can bet I’m running!  And run I did, and was shocked to come  home and check the actual temperature — 60 degrees!  It felt great to be outside and I ran into very few issues.  There was somehow some ice on some sidewalks but it wasn’t too bad.  About a mile into it, about 1/4 mile after one of those hills that is so steep the sidewalk is stairs, I was just overcome with fatigue in my calves.  I checked my pace and it was a ridiculous 6:39 minutes/mile. I felt a lot of pride to be physically able to engage is such folly, even if it was not without pain.  In the end, I ran 3.26 miles in 43 minutes, which is a slow 13:10 minutes/mile pace, but that’s an improvement over my previous run’s pace, and longer to boot.  There were also a few minutes recorded as a 0:00 minutes/mile so I don’t know how much faith I put into that number.  I looked at a run I did last year at this time (February 7) and I ran it i 38:59 for a 11:59 minute/mile pace — so I’m slower but not heartbreakingly slower, given my indolence since the half marathon this past May.

But I felt good.  I felt strong and capable.  I ran past two of three schools where my kids are.  Maybe before the end of the school year I’ll make it up the hill to my youngest’s school and make that loop even bigger.  When your neighborhood is bordered on one side by Stanton Heights and on the other side by Highland Park, you can anticipate some hills.  Both ways.

Yup.  In Pittsburgh, it really is uphill both ways.

I have tried to run up at the Highland Park Reservoir which has the benefit of being flat, well-maintained, and has facilities.  It’s a 3/4 mile loop so it’s easy to keep track of your distance.  At all times of the year there is something beautiful to see.    What’s not to love, right?

Well, the thing is, you can see the WHOLE THING at once.  And it looks huge.  It’s expansive and you can barely see the other side.  All I can think about is how far I have to go.

3/4 of a mile sounds a lot less far when it’s the distance between my kids’ schools.

Instead of 4 times around the Reservoir Loop I ran past my oldest’s bus stop, past Althea’s old house, I really miss them,  here’s a little downhill, past the Catholic Church where we’ll get take out Fish Fry this Friday, past the playground where my daughter practices soccer, up a big hill, past a former doula client’s house, up to my son’s school, past the house of another friend, now here’s a downhill, past the church where my daughter goes to Brownies, gah, stretch out those calves on the steps at St. Andrew’s, careful of that ice, past my daughter’s school, back up the hill, oh good there’s a red light, past where my daughter took a ceramics class and made us awesome gifts, up up up up the hill, over those slate sidewalks that are eroding in a really fascinating way, keep going up the hill, why would you stop to walk now?  Now here’s Katy waving and asking me if I need a little drink of water!  And yes, I do!  I will happily hold your cutie baby whose birth I was honored to witness while you go to the bathroom unaccompanied and I have a drink of water!  And now I have the ability to sprint (such as it is) the last 1/4 mile home (up another, last, fucking hill).

So, the reservoir might be the place to go for a run with a friend or if I ever do speed work, but for where I am right now, at this place where I’m working on the brain a lot more than the body, the long and winding road is absolutely where I need to be.  Without a doubt, it’s the process, not the product, when it comes to my running right now.

Thus ends my musing on exercise for today.  It’s supposed to be snowing tomorrow so enjoy my lecture on the Philosophy of Running while you can :)

Actually — tomorrow and Wednesday are going to be those busy kind of mornings. Tomorrow I’m going to be helping run a rehearsal for the Chinese New Year Dragon Parade at my daughter’s school, and then doing an interview with a principal at a different K-5 school in the afternoon for a public education advocacy group. I’m pretty excited about that.  The fight for excellent and equitable education is one that I am just beginning to look at participating in, and I have a lot to learn before I decide if my brain agrees with my gut.

My daughter and I went to a rally for public education yesterday organized by the folks associated with Yinzercation and it was very powerful.  There were a lot of excellent points made about equality in public education, about the methods that educational policy makers are using to leave a void in public education for private corporations to fill, the role of standardized testing (including the movement to opt out).  There were fiery words spoken and beautiful voices raises and a lot of enthusiasm from a true grass-roots organization.

On Wednesday I’ll be going to school with my daughter to volunteer in her classroom in the morning.  This is the first time this year I feel settled enough to do this!

So I’ll plan on doing an exercise video in the morning before I get the kids ready.  Tomorrow I hope to make time to write between obligations and on Wednesday, my writing time will probably be after lunch.


  • Run: 3.26 miles
  • Words written: 1000+
  • Weight: 145
  • Job I Don’t Want: The Pope.
  • Deck Check: Come as Melody, Trey Anastasio (Shine)  I love Trey, like, a lot.  Last February we saw him play on Valentine’s Day with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  February before that, we saw him on my birthday at Stage AE where he opened his solo acoustic set with Backwards Down the Number Line and sort of changed something about me on a level I didn’t understand at the time.  This February, it’s just a little bit of a downer to not have a Trey or Phish show on the horizon.




3 Responses »

  1. I think like your run, looking towards the next familiar spot, rather than the end of the run, or how long you’re running, is really something you can apply to life as well. Don’t focus on the goal, or the distance. Focus on what the next step is, and what the next step after that will be. You can flesh out the steps as you go, or work out a rough plan or route that you may or may not follow, but don’t start your run thinking “i have to run 4 miles”. Start your run thinking “i have to run to the corner, then turn left.”

    And do the same for life and work as well. If you start running eventually you’ll get somewhere. Same with life and looking for a career.

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