FitLabPGH is a podcast about movement and movement opportunities in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Once a week we also highlight a FitLabPGH mover…someone who understands that movement is a lifestyle…not just an activity. The questions are lightly edited to allow for easy readability. Click FitLabPGH Features for more info if you want to be featured/know someone who should be featured.
This Week: Jackie Baker
Are you a Pittsburgh native? If not, what brought you to the Pittsburgh area? We moved here when I was a baby, my dad worked for PPG. I’ve been here my whole life!
What are your three favorite movement activities in the Pittsburgh area? Yoga and climbing at Ascend is my daily grind; after work I try to get a mountain bike ride or run in on the numerous trail systems within an hour of the city; weekends you can find me climbing, SUPing, hiking or xc-skiing at the many recreation areas we have within a three hour radius.
Describe your fantasy movement-focused vacation…cost is not an object…where do you go and what do you do? I would love to summit more mountains, traverse more long trails, bike across the country, explore more waterways. International travel is high on the list, but so are Alaska, Hawaii, the southwestern desert, the Pacific Northwest…
What is your go-to weekday breakfast? Your weekend breakfast? Banana and yogurt with walnuts and cinnamon, and coffee. Weekends I like to sauté a ton of veggies with my eggs and eat a giant bowl of it with cottage cheese and hot sauce. Also, all the smoothies, every day.
What is your favorite thing to eat in Pittsburgh? Note: it does not need to be healthy. Gooskis Jamaican Jerk wings. Polish Hill represent.
What is the most unusual and/or challenging movement activity you’ve done? Would you do it again? This year I participated in the MS150 Escape to the Lake charity event. We cycled 150 miles on backroads from Moraine state park to Erie over the course of two days. It was awesome! It was the first time I’d ever rode more than 70 miles in a day, and though I’d been training for it for a month, I probably didn’t give myself enough time to train or vary my training terrain enough. It kicked my butt but I’d definitely do it again! Though I’d like to switch up the course next time – I have my sites set on the RAGBRAI in Iowa, or hitting the newly opened Great American Rail Trail.
What movement activity/event are you looking forward to in the next year? A major goal of mine is to be accepted into the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh’s mountaineering school next fall and summit Mount Whitney in the winter of 2021. I plan on working on my technical rope, anchor and rescue skills during the climbing season next year in preparation for this. I’m also looking to get back into whitewater and feeling a little bit more comfortable paddling after a hiatus this year. Also, is it ever going to snow again? I’d like to do more cross-country skiing this winter and I only got out a couple times last year!
Would you rather go scuba diving or skydiving? Scuba. I want to look at all the pretty things!
What is your favorite recovery or self-care practice? I love just relaxing with a movie and a jigsaw puzzle and a homecooked meal. Sometimes I just need to recharge my batteries and let my mind wander.
What is the one place visitors to Pittsburgh “must” see? McConnells Mill State Park, or the Laurel Highlands. I really don’t spend that much time in the city
Contact info for Jackie Baker: