Fruitless running does tire me so … Mr. Darcy

I have a lot of jobs and because I have a lot of jobs my days are scheduled down to the hour and sometimes the half hour.

Half an hour for this job. Half an hour for this one. An hour doing stuff for the restaurant. Write a post for my blog. Write a post for the magazine blog. Meeting here. Meeting there. Oh, my column was due 21 days ago, you say? I guess I should get started on that. Tee-hee.

So my crazy life means I forgot to tell you about my column from last month so you might get to read two new columns at once!

1.  The first is from last month’s edition and it is all about my tour of Clayton, the restored house of Henry Clay Frick — and if you think that sounds boring, you clearly don’t know me at all.

A snippet:

While the other members of my tour group took in the big picture, scanning the rooms with generous sweeps of their gazes, I was absorbing every single inch of your space. I imagined myself as a young belle gracefully descending the stairs to greet a visiting suitor. My gaze down. My demeanor coy.

“So amiable of you to call at such an hour … Mr. Darcy.”

I really can’t explain to you what it’s like for me walking through that house. I was trying so hard to imagine living in it. What it must have been like. What Henry Clay was like at his darkest hours. And he had a lot of dark hours. The deaths of two children, the awful events at Homestead, etc.

Also, a few things that got cut for space (WHY, GOD, WHY DO YOU KILL MY WORDS?!):

I’m a romantic – a closet romantic, I should say. I’ll admit my romantic nature in public as sort of a trifling thing … “Oh, I’m a romantic.” But I have never admitted the excessive degree of my romanticism because I don’t have enough cats to back up such crazy-cat-lady behavior. If I had the time, I would read historical romance novels until I unintentionally began talking like Jane Austen the way Madonna “unintentionally” began talking all British-like.


As I read the spine of every book I could in Henry’s library, I wondered, what was he like behind the beard and cold eyes? Did he ever sit there at the desk in his study and mourn the events that took place at Homestead? Did he regret the loss of lives or did he justify the means to an end?

Visiting that house has me currently reading two books about Frick and Mellon and my God, Pittsburgh history is better than any Mexican telenovela EVER. I assume there is a slap fight coming up pretty soon.

Anyway, moral of the story is this: I’d like to do seven minutes in heaven with Mr. Darcy in a closet at Clayton.

Read the column here.

2. This month’s column is all about how I can’t run, where can’t doesn’t mean won’t, it means I suck so bad at it that I just can’t. At all. Like I look at people who run for pleasure and I wonder what exactly is broken in their brains that they find joy in such deliberately sought out torture.

A snippet:

I fared no better in distance races, probably because I considered 200 yards to be a “distance race.” I wondered why there weren’t any water stations at the 100-yard mark. Or why no one covered me with a foil blanket when I deliriously collapsed across the finish line.



By the middle of the second lap, the barrette that had been precariously clasped around my huge, curly, Chaka Khan-ish mane would burst open with an audible snap and land on the track behind me. So instead of looking like a girl running laps, I now looked like a crazed, asylum-escaped lunatic fleeing her demons.

Go have a read here. And whatever you do, don’t you dare try to convince me that I TOO could learn to enjoy running.

Unless I’m running after a Nutella truck being driven by Mr. Darcy, I just can’t see the end being worth the means.


  1. Kristin
    April 25, 2012 1:43 pm

    I read your running column last night, and it was so nice to find a kindred spirit! It seems all I hear about anymore is running – on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc., and everyone’s doing it thanks to C25K. Everyone except me, that is. I am simply not, and never will be, a runner, and it annoys me that everyone else seemingly is. Glad I’m not the only one!

  2. Emily
    April 25, 2012 2:14 pm

    I loved this article and found myself nodding in agreement with you the entire time… except I’m a non-athlete that “runs” (aka pants like a fat man walking up lothrop street). Which either makes me incredibly stupid or stupidly determined or both. Either way I won’t talk you into it. (and don’t worry Kristin, I’ll never post on facebook my race status or future pregnancy bumps or combination pregnancy bump crossing the finish line)

  3. Butcher's Dog
    April 25, 2012 2:45 pm

    I ran, too, but the elliptical at the gym is so much better. Low impact, there’s TV in there, and you can stop whenever you want to stop. Far less chance of getting hit by a car, too.

  4. gunnlino
    April 25, 2012 3:44 pm

    Mention Clayton and you’ve won my heart . We live in a house built by Frick for the Superintendent of Clairton Steel works which Mr Frick owned . While it is by far not as opulent or luxurious as Clayton , after all the Superintendent was a working stiff , we love just the same .
    Two books you may someday have time for, Henry Clay Frick , An Intimate Portrait and Helen Clay Frick , Bittersweet Heiress . Both written by Martha Frick Symington Sanger .
    Good reads .

    And even as a kid I never ran after the ice cream truck !

  5. Rebecca
    April 25, 2012 7:55 pm

    Oh my goodness, I have the very same thought patterns when I visit a historical house! I love to imagine what it was like to live there in its time, what the people were like, what kind of music they played on that piano, what the original occumpants thought about and talked about. And I like to touch the doorways and imagine the people who have touched that very same spot. It’s so much better than just looking at painings and learning the facts!

  6. Suzie-Q
    April 26, 2012 12:16 am

    The key to enjoy running: 1. Do not do it every day…. 2. Sign up for a 5 K with GREAT refreshments and prizes (wings, beer, tickets to events). 3. Do a combination trot, waddle, run to the finish…time doesn’t matter because EVERYONE gets to eat afterwards.

    I now enjoy running….

  7. Lauren
    April 26, 2012 12:40 am

    1. Own that crazy cat lady behavior. Mr. Darcy is truly a dreamboat and should be a part of any well read female’s idealistic fantasies about men. Husbands/boyfriends/significant others should roll their eyes that you are bringing them up AGAIN.

    2. I am one of those running people. I admittedly have a few screws loose. That Boston Marathon that was 90 degrees last week? I ran in that. And THAT is why you do it. Not because you enjoy it while you’re doing it. But because you get the self satisfaction knowing that you did it afterwards. Also, that whole jar of Nutella you just consumed? Totally already burned all those calories.

  8. Clair
    April 26, 2012 1:09 pm

    I too look at those who run for fun and think “what?!?!” I have tried it. It sucked. I tried to do the Couch to 5k thing on the treadmill at the gym….I got to week 6 out of 9, and it told me to “walk 5 minutes, run 30 minutes” and I was like “no, I quit!” I could not do it. I did not enjoy it when I did run. I am glad I am not the only person to feel this way!! All these “13.1” and “26.2” stickers on the back of the cars around here (northern VA) were making me feel inferior LOL.

    I will run a little…I took a couple of the weeks of the Couch to 5k thing and turned them into interval training. S0 walk 1 minute, run 1 minute…walk 3 minutes, run 3 minutes. THAT I can do. But that is about it, and about as much as I can tolerate it! :)

    • Butcher's Dog
      April 26, 2012 1:58 pm

      The biggest thing about all those 13.1 and 26.2 things is the enormous amounts of time they take to train for properly. Unless you want to do the whole thing on a treadmill, too, you have issues of darkness and weather to deal with as well. Easier to get a half hour on the elliptical, another half hour on the bike, and get out of Dodge healthy.

  9. Beth
    April 27, 2012 10:34 am

    I don’t get the running thing either. I’m with Butcher’s Dog…I would much rather be on the elliptical in a climate-controlled environment. I get enough fresh air while walking my dogs.

  10. tony clifton
    April 27, 2012 11:10 am

    Have you seen this?

    Historic Pittsburgh is a comprehensive collection of local resources that supports personal and scholarly research of the western Pennsylvania area. This Web site enables access to historic material held by:
    Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh
    Carnegie Museum of Art
    Chatham University Archives
    Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center
    Monroeville Historical Society
    Northland Public Library
    Oakmont Carnegie Library
    Pitcairn Historical Society
    Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
    Point Park University Archives.
    The project represents a model of cooperation between libraries, museums and institutions of higher learning in providing centralized access to selections of their respective historic materials.