Training Week in Pittsburgh, PA

Last week was a week of training for me. That meant another trip to Pittsburgh, which I was looking forward to. I was able to go to some training sessions provided by my new employer, so I consider myself fortunate to have been provided that opportunity. Being in Pittsburgh for a week meant that there would be a lot of opportunities to eat, and I did just that. I’ll be writing quite a few short postings about the different food places in the next few days or so, so I will apologize in advance for all of the emails some of you will be getting.

My week started with me heading to the Wawa’s near me. I ordered a Salted Caramel Mocha Frozen Cappuccino. Try and say that five times fast. It was another good frappe from Wawa’s. The consistency was perfect. The flavor was really nice. The combination of the salted caramel and the mocha worked quite nicely. The fact that it was topped with chocolate whipped cream and chocolate chips made it even better. When I leave early on a Sunday for a 4+ hour drive, I need some sugar and caffeine to get my day started, and this helped kick-start my morning.

The trainings were going to be in the Hyatt House, so I decided to stay there this time instead of the Holiday Inn Express. The Hyatt House is a really nice hotel, and it is in a fancy part of town called SouthSide Works. I arrived around 2PM and hadn’t had any lunch, so I was hungry. I got a couple of recommendations, and decided on Hofbrauhaus, which I will write about separately. I did some walking around and picked up some treats from Bartram House Bakery afterward.

Since the trainings were running from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (plus extra time if needed), I knew that I would need to get some walking done in the mornings. Monday morning was a bit rainy, but I was able to get in a good 30 minutes of walking. I went to a place called Big Dog Coffee for my morning coffee drink. The first day of training was for Google Analytics 101. Very good training. I learned a lot of new things. A lot of information was going into my brain, but it was good and it was an enjoyable session. Lunch was catered, so we were able to have an hour break. I ate quickly and then took the stairs up to my room. This gave me an opportunity to get in some walking, including going up four flights of stairs. This was something I repeated every day that I had trainings, and it was good to get in the little bits of exercise. I decided to go to dinner at Nadine’s, which was one of the places that was recommended to me. I went back to Bartram House Bakery for dessert and called it a night.

Tuesday morning was a really nice one. I walked for about 45 minutes. Part of the reason I needed to do some more walking was because I ate a lot of food at Nadine’s, and felt like I needed the exercise. I got a coffee drink at Cup-Ka-Joe and then took a half slice of a breakfast loaf at the hotel. I wasn’t hungry, so it was a nice, light breakfast. Day two of training was Google Analytics 201. A lot more data going into my brain. All new things to me. The training was done really well and I felt good about learning so many new things. Some co-workers were going to be meeting up for dinner, but by the time they needed to set the reservations, I was still feeling full from my previous night of overeating. When the training was done, I decided to get in a lot of walking. I made my way to a Record/DVD/Video Game store and was able to procure a DVD that I had been trying to find for a long time. Needless to say, I was a very happy camper. I decided on trying another recommendation for dinner, the Double Wide Grill. I finished the evening with a chocolate chip cookie from Big Dog Coffee (I had gotten one the first time I went and really liked it).

Wednesday morning arrived and I was feeling pretty good. I went on a 50 minute walk. I went to Crazy Mocha Coffee Company for a coffee drink and a chocolate chip muffin. Training on that day was for Data Studio. That was a lot more data going into my brain and I was struggling to keep up in the beginning. Nothing to do with the training, just with my brain being on overload. But after I had time to clear my head after lunch, it all went smoothly. I was able to connect the dots from earlier in the day, so things really started to come together and it made a lot more sense. I learned a lot of cool things about Data Visualization that I never knew before. That night, the temperature dropped a little and there was some snow, and then some light rain. I walked quite a bit, trying to decide what to eat. I almost went to a place called The Columbian Spot, but I was drenched and didn’t want to walk in a restaurant like that. I ended up going to The Pita Pit, which turned out to be a very good meal.

Thursday morning came and there was a little rain, but I was still able to get in a 50 minute walk. I went back to Big Dog Coffee for a coffee drink and some banana bread. Training on that day was Search 101. My comfort zone is on the Display side with Campaign Manager and Display and Video 360, but Search is not something I’ve had much experience with regarding the platforms. It was nice to have this training, since this is part of the team I’m on. I was talking with the trainer and one of my co-workers, and they apparently went to The Colombian Spot the previous night. I might have seen them if I went in, instead of walking past because I was drenched. The training went really well and I was happy to learn and see the Google Ads interface. Much more of a hands on experience than I’ve had, so it was good to get a better understanding of how it all works. I decided to go to The Colombian Spot for dinner, and it was good. I got a milkshake at Fudge Farm to finish the night.

Friday morning was cold. And I mean COLD. There was no training that day, so I was going to be walking over to the office, which was about 1 mile away. I still wanted to get in some early morning walking, though. I only walked for about 20 minutes. It was just under 20 degrees outside, but the wind chill made it feel like the single digits. I can usually go without gloves once it’s 30 degrees and up, but my fingers were struggling even with gloves on. I went to Crazy Mocha Coffee for a coffee drink (it was the closest in proximity). and then had breakfast at Hyatt House.

They had an omelet bar, so I asked if they could make me a small one with ham and cheese. It went perfectly with the toasted English muffin, and then I added a side of potatoes. This was a really good breakfast. I was definitely happy with this, and I felt I needed something hearty since I would have to brave the cold for a one mile walk to work. Being in the office was great. I got to see my teammates in person, as well as the other people I interact with during a usual week. Lunch was catered by work, and there was a get together/new employee celebration at the end of the day. I made my way back, and decided to head over to Hello Bistro for dinner. I stopped at Bartram House Bakery for a final dessert and then called it a night (it was getting colder as it got dark).

Saturday, it was time for me to head back. Since I would be driving quite a bit, I knew I wanted to get a little walking in. When I got outside, it was only 10 degrees out and felt a lot colder. So I went to the closest place for a coffee drink, which was Crazy Mocha.

When I was heading back to the hotel, I saw the Planters Nut-mobile. This is not something that I have seen before, so I had to take a picture. I thought it was really cool. I made my way back to the hotel and picked up a couple of cinnamon mini-donuts for breakfast. I wanted something light, since I had plans for food on the way home. I made it over to Twistedoughs in West Virginia and wanted to have a cinnamon roll. They were still cooking, so I had to choose between waiting for 25 minutes, or picking something else. I decided to wait and it was worth it. I walked around the inside Market House for awhile, walked around the outside for awhile, and then got my food. It was a great way to round out my trip to Pittsburgh.

It was a busy week for me. I learned a lot, I walked a lot, I ate a lot. But I got to see a different part of town than the last time, so I had a lot of new experiences. This was a great week and I am happy that I had the opportunity. I hope that I will be able to lead some trainings of my own down the road, but time will tell. I also look forward to the next time I’ll be in town and will be able to try some new things. Definitely a positive stay in Pittsburgh!

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