Healthy Lifestyle; Cycling in PA

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This past weekend, hubby and I went to Pittsburgh and rode the Steel City portion of the Great Allegheny Passage with my daughter Marla and her husband Tony. If you want some exercise and fun on a weekend, Rails to Trails is a great healthy lifestyle choice.

Marla and Tony rented bikes at Waterfront Bike Rental. We brought our bikes from home and Ian at the bike rental place was kind enough to pump up our tires to the correct pressure.

 

Cycling is a healthy way to see the city
View from the GAP Steel city Rails to Trails

The Great Allegheny Passage is a healthy way to see Pittsburgh!

This part of the trail is unique in that you are riding on a wooded trail. Rabbits and squirrels are peeking out from either side of the bike lane, but if you look left, you see the city in all it’s steel glory. Railroads run along beside the trail at some points and a remaining steel mill with fire belching from a pipe is visible in the clearing. You can also spot the back of Kennywood Park at one point. It’s truly a look at Pittsburgh from a totally different perspective. Of course you can’t do anything in Pittsburgh without crossing some bridges. We rode over train yards on bridges and over the Monongahela river.

healthy living
View of the city and steel mill from the trail

We started at Waterfront and rode to McKeesport which is 8 miles away. About 6 miles in, it started to rain. This was almost an hour before the forecast predicted. Since we were going to get wet either way, we elected to continue our ride to the end and then turn around to go back.

Healthy way to cross a bridge
You can’t cycle in Pittsburgh without crossing a bridge!

We almost made it to the end of the 8 mile mark when we heard thunder in the distance. At 7 3/4 miles, we decide to head back. Even though we were pretty squishy and sandy at the end of our ride, we all had fun and we’ll definitely do it again! Marla and Tony are thinking of getting their own bikes soon. There may be a lot more Pittsburgh rides in our future. Yay!

A healthy way to watch trains
View from the train bridge

If you go…

Take your camera
Expect a few hills (made by the train bridges)
Prepare for rain (we didn’t!)

What are your favorite healthy ways to see a new place?  Leave a comment below.

 

Healthy fun day
Drowned rats, but we had fun!

Color Me Rad 5K in Pittsburgh

This past Saturday, my sister and I decided to have one last hurrah before the summer ended.  We signed up to walk in the Color Me Rad 5K in Pittsburgh.  For all you 5k lovers, here’s a rundown of what it was like.

This 5k is not really for serious runners. A quote from the promoters info. packet said “we don’t even own a clock”. It is for anyone who wants to come out and have a healthy, fitness oriented party  without the alcohol.  We arrived at 7:30 a.m. The music was already pumping and the promoters were whipping the crowd into a frenzy.  At the start line, there was more music while color packets and t-shirts were being shot from a gun.

We started in waves every 10 minutes (at least 100 people to a wave) and this went on most of the day. There had to have been at least 10,000 people at this event. We were a sea of white when we started, but at each of the color stations, volunteers dubbed the “color bomb squad” blasted you with colored cornstarch powder or a water/powder mixture.  On this warm day, the water stations were welcome relief. The course was very hilly (another drawback for serious runners, no PRs here). It  was crowded so sometimes you had to stop and wait your turn to go through a color station. This didn’t bother me at all since all the Pittsburgh hills were giving us a good workout. I even saw a former student in the race.  I don’t know how in the world she recognized me with a rainbow of colors all over me, but anyway here’s a shout-out to Amy Mack!

At the conclusion of the race, you got your own color packets to bomb people who were still finishing the course.  Our “after” pictures are quite colorful. If you ever do a CMR run, make sure to bring old sheets or towels to cover your car seats.  You will not be a happy camper if you don’t! They remind you to bring some in your pre-race packets.

It was touch and go getting out of the parking lot. There were not nearly as many folks directing traffic on the way out as there were on the way in.  This is a problem the promoters say they will work on for next year’s run. Back at the hotel it was scrub-a-dub-dub to get all the powder off before heading home to Central PA. On Sunday we soaked our tie dyed clothes in vinegar and ironed them to set the colors.

This was a fun way to end our summer for sure.  In the fall Pittsburgh is hosting a Zombie run.  Hmmm… Have you participated in any out-of-the-ordinary 5ks/runs? Fill me in!

Online Fitness Coaching: A (Healthy) Trip to Pittsburgh

This past weekend we combined a trip to see our daughter in Pittsburgh with a trip to the Apple store in Shadyside to get an iPad 3 (yippee!) Since hubby and I are trying to keep it on the healthy side we combined (kind of) skinny dining out, exercise and walking. We didn’t leave until early Saturday morning so I got my ChaLean Extreme weightlifting in on Friday night.  I took my water bottle in the car and made sure I packed two Pure Protein bars to ward off those nasty Sheetz convenience store snacks.

We were at at my daughter Marla’s house in about three hours and from there we walked to the Apple store. It was close to her house in a funky little neighborhood filled with boutiques, shops and restaurants.  I sat in on an iPad basics workshop while hubby talked business with an Apple “genius”. If you have never shopped at an Apple store, it’s a pretty positive experience. Within about an hour we had purchased an iPad 3, had it all set up to use and knew the basics on how to operate it. (Stay tuned for reviews on health and fitness apps for you to try.)

After our big purchase, we all headed for Mercurio’s, a cute little restaurant just around the corner. They serve salads, sandwiches and pizza cooked in a wood fired oven. I ordered a “fungi”. It had mushrooms, marinara, fresh mozzarella and a tasty thin crust. We treated ourselves to some gelato, a Mercurios special. It had half the butter fat of ice cream and was delicious.

Now it was time to check in to our hotel and hit the gym for a workout. The kids decided to hang out in the room and relax. Hubby brought a circuit workout from his trainer. I decided to take advantage of the really nice gym and did 40 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes on the recumbent bike. Now we were ready for our complimentary free drink!

Next we headed for an old school restaurant in Greentree Marla found on the Internet. It was decorated in warm wood and featured Italian food. I had pasta in vodka sauce (ok not real healthy but definitely delicious). After dinner we hung out together in our room. Since I rarely sit still at work or home, this was heavenly.

Sunday was brunch at the Cheesecake Factory with my college roomie, Wanda. She and I both opted for the energy breakfast: egg whites, chicken breasts and mushrooms. Yum.  After some relaxing and lots of great conversation, it was time to head back home.  Hubby and I had a (mostly) healthy weekend, a great visit with our daughter and my roomie and a new tech toy to play with.  What could be better?