Lost in Schenley Park

Written by Bill Brink on .

I've spent a week in Pittsburgh now, and when I wasn't working most of it has revolved around shopping and running errands. For food, on which I spent too much; for hangers, for a closet full of work clothes; and for aloe, because I'm an idiot and spent three hours under a cloudless sky yesterday on assignment and left my sunscreen at home.

Not much time has been spent working out, so come Monday evening it was time to get back on the wagon. I went running in Squirrel Hill, south from my house to Schenley Park. A good idea, I thought at the time. Besides running on a beach, what's better than running in a park?

I'd been to Pittsbugh before, even run here before, but it never occurred to me until yesterday how hilly this place is. I'm used to running in the middle of Indiana, where I went to school.The largest hill we have is about a 13-foot rise from the trail around the lake up the road behind the gym. We don't do hills.

I get there and hang a right onto a small trail heading into the woods. It's downhill, and I'm thrilled. Until it doesn't stop: I'm on a winding switchback trail that makes it seem like I'm running down the side of a canyon. Trees cover any possible view up top, so I haven't a clue where I've gone.

Perfect. I'm now faced with a corollary of Newton's Law: for every run downhill there is an equal and immensly harder run back up the hill. Just as I'm about to turn around, the trail spits me out onto Schenley Drive. Sounds familiar. I may or may not have driven there before.

I run into a golf course and, realizing I definitely have not been there before and may be heading to the north side for all I know, turn around. I try another road and run into another jogger. I flag him down.

"How do I get to Bartlett Street?" I pant, whipping my iPod headphones out of my ear.

He looks at me like I'm crazy, like there's no Bartlett Street anywhere in this zip code. Fantastic.

"Bartlett Street?" I try again. "Near Wightman?"

A lightbulb clicks on, he gives me directions and I'm on my way.

I've been lost running before, and it can be fun. I got lost in LA once and ended up running right up Rodeo Drive, getting some sightseeing done while I was at it. I've been lost in neighborhoods and found new streets, new places to check out in the future. My uncle and I got lost running in Cape Cod and used the beach to find our way back home. All good. But also all flat. 

Which brings me to my point, fellow interns or readers: Does anyone have any favorite running routes in the area? Or any interesting things they've stumbled upon while lost?

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