Besides my children and family there are three things I truly love; running, being outdoors, and Pittsburgh. So when you combine all three, it’s like the trifecta of happiness for me.
Pittsburgh has come a long way. We are a city that has had its ups and downs and have been hit hard by the economy time and time again, but the one thing that you cannot take from us is our topography. Pittsburgh is STUNNING. It is also great for running, biking, kayaking, and hiking, sking, snowboarding, paddle baording, everything pretty much that outdoorsy types like to do. It is an outdoor lover’s paradise. We have the feel of a major city, but we have the landscape of a mountainous paradise with rivers, trails, and lush greenery.
So this brings me to yesterday evening. It was a beautiful evening, and I had actually had a child free two hours. That is a rarity for me, so I was going to cease the opportunity and make this two hours of freedom my b*%!. I work in the city and when I found out that I could actually do something for myself for two hours, I was beyond happy. So I decided that I would go for a run on the Heritage Trail, a gorgeous trail the along the Allegheny River.
Check it out.
I keep an extra bag of running stuff in my office. Related: keeping running clothes in a Giant Eagle plastic bag for months, does not smell like roses. I can run, I never claimed to be glamorous.
So stinky clothes and all I head out of my office and go the trail. The trail has parking and a public bathroom, so I knew I could change and be on my way happily and run my little heart out. Well, not so much. The bathrooms were closed. Despite the sign that says open to the public, you have to have a key to get it. Ok. So where do I get the key? Excuse me, Mr. Tree? Do you have a key for the public bathroom?
Ok., So I can’t use the bathroom to change. No big deal, I was a college student many moons ago, I knew how to change in my car. I could do the old over/ under sports bra switch-a-roo.
No. No apparently I can’t. The thing is, I don’t care how much you can run, how fit you are, your body does not contort in the same why it did when you are 21 years old and changing in your car after a night of shanigians. I am stiff, and my joints actually hurt when turned in unnatural position.
So there I was in my car, 87 degrees, with a 100 percent humidity trying to get out of my business casual apparel into my sports bra and running shorts. I was literally stuck. I was overheating and panicking, of course I had my phone in my hand so I was able to capture the event. Take a good long look people. Laugh, its ok, all the people in the parking lot did. Especially the hipsters on their beach cruiser bikes, you know the ones that look like they are from the 50’s. Come on, who the hell bikes in skinny jeans. I guess hipsters do.
I was hot, stuck, maybe flashed a boob. I am not sure. But I was determined to get my run in. I was now down to 1.5 hours of freedom, and I was not going to waste it on this change of clothes mishap.
Well after some serious twisting and pain I managed to change. I get out of my car and hit the trail.
I was happy. For 30 seconds. Then I had to pee. And all Ya’lll ladies know that after two children and after 35 if you got to go, you GOTS to go. And for all my running buddies, I am sure you can relate to running with a full bladder. Its sucks. But I decided to go for it, and hoped I could manage the 5 miles.
Well, I got to abut an 1/8th of a mile and I couldn’t take it. Nature was calling, and she was calling me every name in the book. I had to answer her. So I found a pretty hidden spot off the trail by the river.
I felt 180% better. I walk back to the trail and here comes a hipster on a retro bike, with a super cool haircut. She sees me emerge from the woods like a feral women. I try to laugh and make a joke about having to go. She is not with me. She looks at me and say’s in a hipster voice “you know, there is a port-o-john up there”. Well thank you, thank you for making me feel like the crazy old lady that I already felt like.
But whatever, I was not going to let a snooty hipster doofus ruin my 50 minutes of freedom.
I take off. For about 15 minutes. And I suddenly feel like I am missing something, my hands felt empty. Awwww sugar..my keys!!!!! My freaking keys. So I run at full speed, back to my special spot. And there they were lying on the earth’s floor. I snagged them up, and head back to the trail. And I kid you not, my friends, who comes biking up the trail with her tank top made from an old flannel, and skinny jeans? The same hipster that saw me before. She looks at me like I am a certified crazy person who creeps around by the river relieving themselves. I smile again and told her I lost my keys. She didn’t care her mind was already made up, I will be forever old and crazy in her little 20 year old mind.
So be it. I was not going to let losing my keys take away my 30 minutes of freedom!
So I hit the trail again, Patty Smyth’s Goodbye to you comes on my 80’s Pandora station and I start running faster dedicating my song to my new enemy.
I am going strong, signing to myself and doing what ifs. What if is a game I play with myself when I am running. What if I won the Powerball? What if I ran away and joined the Peace Corps, what if the Lockness Monster was real and it lived in the Allegheny River tried to eat all the people on the trail, and I turned into super women and saved the day! What if…
I am finally 2.5 miles, my turn around point, when the sky turns black. Oh yay! Rain! Well I don’t mind rain. So I pick up the pace. Well of course it couldn’t’ just be rain, nature decided to throw in some high winds and lighting my way as well. I couldn’t even see in front of me. I was completely defeated.
I had to go under the bridge and wait it out. (at this point there is no need to tell you about the dog poo I stepped in) I was cold and wet, and dirty, and only had 15 minutes to get back to the car and pick up my son.
The storm blew by, so I came out from under the bridge and took off like Super Woman. (I really want to be Super Woman) I made it back to my car, the fastest 2.5 miles I think I have ever run.
And at my car there is a family of geese waiting for me. So cute right? No not cute at all. Have you ever experienced city geese? They are like geese on steroids. They are hissing at me and wouldn’t move out of my way so I can get in my car, I had to take my water bottle and throw water at them. And there I am screaming and throwing water at the geese, soaking wet, red faced, and miserable when of course hipster chic and her boyfriend she picked along the way are getting into their Prius, they are laughing at me. I mean pointing and laughing. I hate them.
I get into my car, head to get Zach and make it home safe. My run was awful, my two hours of freedom, ruined, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Because I still love our city, and nature and running. So run, walk, bike on my friends. Just make sure you go to the bathroom, check the weather, and change before you go.