I’m “from” a bunch of different places, depending on who is asking or in what setting their asking. Manhattan – where I was born and spent a good amount of time during my preteen years (one of the very few perks of having divorced parents). Brooklyn Heights – where I spent the first few years of my life. Connecticut – my real home. The longer I’m away (and it’s been way too long) the more I miss it. Western Massachusetts – where I began my college career, and probably one of places that defines me the most. Newport, RI – where my family has a home. This is my personal retreat. I also lived there during the summers between college. Vermont – 3 words: summer horse shows :-) Washington DC and now my current home of the past 4 years, Bethesda. If I don’t feel like picking anyone of the above, I’ll just say New England. That’ll usually suffice. But lately there’s been an addition to this list, which is weird because I’ve never actually lived there: Pittsburgh.
I’ve gotten to know the ‘burgh pretty well the past five years. It’s where Pete grew up and we make the easy 4 hour drive a couple times each year. I’ll admit that I wasn’t too enthralled with the city I deemed to be in the Midwest (I’m from New England. Yes, to me Western PA seems like the Midwest.). With all those yinzers, forever stuck in the 80’s with their mullets and fashion, and those hills that will give any runner a panic attack, how could an East Coast girl who’s used to the ocean – not the Allegheny River – gravitate towards this city?
Turns out Pittsburgh is filled with culture. Not just sports culture, although there is plenty of that, but there’s quite a bit of an intellectual scene there. And it’s absolutely beautiful. Yes it’s nicknamed the Steel City, but besides being set
right in the mountains, did you know that it’s also called the City of Bridges? There are 446, slightly more or slightly less depending on who you ask, edging out Venice for having the most bridges. It’s pretty cool, and let me tell me tell you, it’s a blast to run.
Which kind of leads me into my whole point here: This past May I ran my first half marathon. In Pittsburgh. Honestly, I chose that race mainly for logistical reasons. And now I’m running the full there in a few months. And this time it really has nothing to do with logistics. I fell in love with the city that day. It’s hard to explain, but for one the crowd was incredible. I also went through a very personal transformation/realization during the race, and because that experience was in Pittsburgh it meant that much more. I told Pete after the race that I felt a connection. My sweat is on those streets. So are my fears and triumphs. It’s no longer just Pete’s hometown. I find myself telling people I’m going home for the weekend, and mean Pittsburgh, without realizing it. In a few months I’ll be running those streets again, through Oakland, over even more bridges, always near the water. I used to say I’d never move there, I could never live so far away from the ocean, but with the possibility of that move becoming more of a reality I’m beginning to welcome it. It’s funny what helps define “home”. I guess for me it’s family, friends, horses, and now where I run.
Oh, and did I mention…Go Steelers!