Today's Mighty Oak

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of July and that the race is coming up so quickly. I’m so very tired of running in the heat, humidity and sunlight, and I know a bit worn down right now. But seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is both awesome and terrifying at the same time!

I’m also at the point (well, probably past the point, if I’m being honest) in a training cycle where trying to do all the training and everything else in my life (household chores, cooking, shopping, two jobs again, as well as a backlog of catching up and seeing friends due to the pandemic) has really worn me down. Training for an ultra is tough no matter what, and training for an ultra, and still being a functioning human in society as a single person is even tougher.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 9 miles on the trail
  • Wednesday: 10 miles. Back on the trail.
  • Thursday: 5 miles, tiny loops
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 8miles. Ran with my friend who stayed over for my Opening Ceremonies Bingo party the night before!
  • Sunday: 15 miles. Ridiculously humid, sunny in quite a few places as well, but glad I got it done.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: Between all the errands and running around, missed doing yoga this week.
  • Stretching: Stretched after every run!

Back at it after my week off. I told myself I’d go easy and be open to reduced mileage just to make sure that I didn’t hurt myself. I did end up skipping Sunday’s run, after a week of not sleeping well, it finally caught up to me and I just could not do another long run on that little sleep. This was supposed to be one of my two peak weeks, although looking back at this cycle, what was planned (60) has been less than four miles more from two of my previous weeks, so I’m trying not to be too terribly concerned. Anyway, here’s what my week looked like:

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles. Tiny loops.
  • Wednesday: 10 miles. Headed to the trail.
  • Thursday: 8 miles, back on the trail.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 10 miles. This was supposed to be 20, but was interrupted by something that precedence. As I was on my way back from my first out and back, about a mile and a half from the parking lot, I spotted a woman ahead holding her arm up at a 90 degree angle. I thought, ‘wrists don’t normally look like that,’ and as I got closer, I asked if she needed help.

    Turns out, she had stepped off the trail to let some cyclists go by, she slipped and tried to catch herself, breaking her wrist. She asked if I thought it was broken, and I replied, that it probably was, ‘but let’s just get you back to the parking lot.’ I took her dog, who was pulling on her and jostling her whole body, causing her a lot of pain, and I spent the next mile and a half taking care of both of them. I kept the dog moving and from tripping up the woman, and kept her talking to keep her distracted and calm.

    She had tried calling her husband who didn’t answer, and both me and another guy in the parking lot offered to drive her to the hospital, but she insisted, multiple times, that she would drive herself one handed. I was certainly happy to help as much as I could, but with literally only a water bottle with me on the trail (besides my cell phone, and we walked back before an ambulance would have reached us), this was all I could do. She was very appreciative, and I hope to see her again on the trail (and maybe sign her cast)!
  • Sunday: Rest.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: Did my favorite Yin Yoga class working on my legs
  • Stretching: Back on track, stretching every day.

Well, what a week this was. Took the entire week off, which was a nice mental break, and was needed for my leg. Spent most of it wrapped in an Ace bandage, which helped tremendously, as well as some ice packs and kept it elevated. Hit the stretching really consistently and made a huge effort to increase my water intake.

While it’s a little tough to now get back into it, it was really the right thing to do. It’s just frustrating that the heat took so much out of me, but it had been (and continues to be) hot and humid, with little relief. It’s all great training I suppose, but still rough.

It did help me to remember that in the grand scheme, between this, and one missed run in week 17 (more on that in the next post), I’m still hitting 95% of my mileage, and it’s better to be a bit undertrained at the start line than injured.

Ugh, my legs are trashed after this week. I was at mile 16 of 21 on Saturday and my left leg out of the blue just started aching like I had run into a coffee table with my shin repeatedly. I think it’s the heat and humidity, plus the sustained, high mileage (for me) that just wore me down. Weird pains and tight muscles in both legs that I’m working through, and will probably cut a bunch of mileage next week (thinking of just cutting everything in half). We’ll see, this isn’t great for my confidence both for Miakonda and upcoming long runs.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 3 miles. Heat was over 90, so I walked this to try to get some acclimation. Good choice not to run, but still brutal.
  • Wednesday: 10 miles. Storms rolled in, the temperature dropped and I headed to the trail. Got caught in a bit of a downpour, but it was kind of nice.
  • Thursday: 8 miles, on the trail.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 21 miles. At the turnaround of my last out band back my shin started aching. I’ve since added pains to the other leg as well. Doing my best to dig in with sticks, foam rollers, lacrosse balls and my hands to loosen things up, as well as extra water and electrolytes.
  • Sunday: 3 miles. The Sixth Annual Pittsburgh Frontrunners Back of the Pack Fourth of July Run and Brunch! It was my turn to host so we went to B-Y Park in Trafford and ran a bit on the trail before having a lovely potluck brunch! Such a fun tradition!
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: Did my favorite Yin Yoga class that specifically focuses on hips!
  • Stretching: Doing well, just need to keep it up, especially really getting into my legs and seeing if that helps.

Made it through, and even surprised myself with how well I felt after the 50K on Saturday (ended up just shy of 33 miles). Still need to readjust a bit, including expectations, especially in the heat, but at least it seems like I have my nutrition, salt and hydration dialed in (or much improved).

  • Monday: 5 miles. Tiny loops.
  • Tuesday: Rest.
  • Wednesday: 4 miles. More tiny loops.
  • Thursday: 9 miles, on the trail. Stopped for a frozen coke on the way home, my new favorite treat for less than $1!
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 50K.
    Started super early as the heat was climbing and so was the humidity, so actually started right before dawn. Nothing felt too bad, just some tired legs by the time I got to around mile 22. Thankfully, that is when Moly and Alex, teammates from PRorER joined me for my last out and back!

    It was so great running with them, definitely a big, boost! We took it easy and read some of the historical signs and played in the creek a bit, as it was a brand new place to run for both of them. I also really appreciated Moly encouraging me through the heat and humidity (her favorite).

    While I feel slower than I was last year, my training has been solid so far. It’s wild to me to realize I only have ten weeks left until Miakonda, but watching my teammate finish Western States this weekend was such an amazing experience (and our team that went to crew/pace), I’m very excited to have a goal race on the horizon!
  • Sunday: Rest.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically, I’m failing at this.
  • Yoga: Also failing at this, ugh.
  • Stretching: Was good until the 50K, then missed it for a day or two, so need to work on this too.

Today marks the anniversary of the Stonewall/Christopher Street Riots, which launched the modern LGBT-rights movement.

If you’re not familiar with the riots, here’s what happened:

We owe everything to those brave trans-women of color, homeless youth and drag queens who launched the riots and the queer revolution.

People ask why we celebrate pride.  NoFo writes it much more eloquently than I ever could, here is an excerpt:

We’re proud because despite relentless persecution everywhere we turn—when organized religion viciously attacks and censures and vilifies us in the name of selective morality, when our families disown us, when our elected officials bargain away our equality for hate votes, when entire states codify our families into second-class citizenship, when our employers fire us, when our landlords evict us, when our police harass us, when our neighbors and colleagues and fellow citizens openly insult and condemn and mock and berate and even beat and kill us—we continue to survive.

We’re proud because—thanks to the incredible bravery shown by gay people who lived their lives openly in the decades before us—we can live our lives more and more openly at home, at work, with our families, on our blogs … and even on national television.

We’re proud because after all we’ve been through, the world is starting to notice and respect us and emulate the often fabulous culture we’ve assembled from the common struggles and glorious diversity of our disparate lives.

We’re proud because this weekend we’ll celebrate with drag queens, leather queens, muscle queens, attitude queens and you’d-never-know-they-were-queens queens, and together we can see through the “pride” in our parade and enjoy the underlying Pride in our parade.

Quite simply, we’re proud that we have so much to be proud of.

We can take some time, and even in the face of hatred, bigotry and discrimination, we can carve a place in this world, claim it our own and celebrate.

We can celebrate, because this is our party.  We don’t need anyone’s permission to celebrate:

Because even if Pride doesn’t change many minds in the outside world, it’s our PARTY, darlings. It’s our Christmas, our New Year’s, our Carnival. It’s the one day of the year that all the crazy contingents of the gay world actually come face to face on the street and blow each other air kisses. And wish each other “Happy Pride!” Saying “Happy Pride!” is really just a shorter, easier way of saying “Congratulations on not being driven completely batshit insane! Well done, being YOURSELF!”

We can celebrate the community that we have, the radical acceptance that we embody and the fact that we’ve survived.  We have a chance to come together, remind ourselves we belong to a larger community, have some fun and take back our city; just for a little bit.  We know that hatred will continue, but still we march forward.  We have pride because it helps those coming after us.  In the words of Harvey Milk, it gives the next generation hope:

And this is a chance to celebrate the fact that I’ve survived.  A chance to celebrate the fact that I’m a proud gay man.  And even that act, powerful unto itself, has hopefully made a difference.

The most important and powerful action a person can make is to come out to those around them.  Then the LGBT community isn’t a scary abstract anymore, it has a face.  If you know someone who is openly LGBT, you see their humanity.  You can understand that we’re not asking for anything special, just the same rights everyone else is guaranteed by the constitution.  A chance to be happy.  A chance to live the life we want, surrounded by those we love.

When will we stop talking about coming out?

“Many of us want to, and will: when a gay, lesbian or transgendered kid isn’t at special risk of being brutalized or committing suicide.

“When a gay person’s central-casting earnestness and eloquence aren’t noted with excitement and relief, because his or her sexual orientation needn’t be accompanied by a litany of virtues and accomplishments in order for bigotry to be toppled and a negative reaction to be overcome.”

We will stop talking about coming out when it’s not news anymore, when the last barriers have finally been broken down.  We’ll stop screaming for our rights when we’re finally treated as equals by our government.  We’ll only stop telling our stories when they don’t matter.

The anniversary of Stonewall comes just two days after marriage equality came to all 50 states (and the anniversary of decisions in Lawrence v. Texas and Windsor v. United States), a major piece of the equality dream the our predecessors had more than 50 years ago.  In 11 years, we went from no marriage rights to full equality across the country.  We still have a lot to fight for, The Equality Act being at the top of that list, but for now, we can celebrate the ‘thunderbolt’ of equality that we have achieved:

So we keep fighting for progress, wherever we can.  We celebrate our advances and keep chipping away at our obstacles: and this month we can celebrate both, as well as the individuals that make up our amazing community.

In light of the five year anniversary of the Pulse massacre, it’s more important than ever to celebrate Pride.  To not be intimidated by the hate, but to instead keep rising, demand equality and fight for our very right to exist.  What hurts the most about Orlando may be the reminder that even our own spaces, which we thought were safe, aren’t.  Or maybe they never really were, not while hatred and prejudice still exist.  But as we face, united, the epidemics of gun violence and homophobia, we can at least take solace in the fact that we, as a community, know how to win epidemics.

New research has shown that cities with larger LGBT populations fared better during the COVID pandemic: the parallels between HIV and COVID are blatant. COVID saw the same denial, government inaction, stigma and darker sides of humanity. But, it’s also what we, as a resilient community, have fought, just at warp speed. Terms like positive/negative, testing and community responsibility have now been hoisted onto the general population.

We’re proud of how far we’ve come.  We’re proud to keep fighting.  We’re proud.

This was one of those weeks that wore me down. I had to remind myself that I’m over halfway through this plan, I’m supposed to be a bit worn down. But I also look at a 50K I have this weekend don’t feel in any way prepared.

I do think I’m at least tolerating the heat a little better. I’m not used to it or acclimated, but at least I’ve made some progress.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 5 miles. Tiny loops.
  • Wednesday: 10 miles. Back to the trail.
  • Thursday: 9 miles, on the trail.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 15 miles. Incredibly humid.
  • Sunday: 14 miles. Also incredibly humid. Weather said it was going to rain, but ended up being sunny and hot, so a big disappointment. I did stop at Speedway on the way home for an $0.89 Coke Slushie, which was perfect and may become somewhat of a tradition as long as the temperatures stay high.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically, will get back to it next week.
  • Yoga: I didn’t have a chance to do a yoga class this week, hoping to get back to it!
  • Stretching: Missed a couple days, but got back to it at the end of the week.

I feel like every training cycle I have a week like this, so maybe it was good to get it out of the way, but man, it just wore me down (and it was a down week in terms of mileage!). Humidity was through the roof all week, temperatures are climbing and I feel like I’m just not acclimated to the heat yet.

On top of that, had some pretty bad knee pain for a few days. Nothing that some extra stretching, icing and adjusting some sleeping positions didn’t fix, but certainly something I want to keep an eye on. I feel like I usually have some sort of minor injury during a training cycle, but usually it’s my IT Band, not my kneecap.

Part of what added to the injury is running on cement for sure. I’m still not quite ready to go back to the gym (I’d rather wait until a month or so after mask mandates are lifted, just to keep an eye on numbers), plus running outside is the only way to heat acclimate, so it’s better training for me (except on thunderstorm days) to run outside.

I’m really not sure what my goal should be for Miakonda. It’s my first in-person race after being vaccinated, but I choose it since teammates will be there and it has a small attendance cap, a nice way to ease back into races. I know that so much of how the day goes will be weather dependent. A bright, sunny day will end my running pretty quickly, especially with added heat and humidity, so I’ll have to do some goal setting the week/day of. On top of that, I don’t know if I should use this race to train for O24 (24 hours), Eagle Up (81 miles) or maybe see if I can instead PR my 100K.

Lots to think about and lots to plan, and at the same time, so much beyond my control. Either way though, halfway done!

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 2 miles. Planned on doing more, but as I was running (tiny loops), I saw the lightning and called it early. I don’t mess with lightning or ice!
  • Wednesday: 10 miles. Back to the trail.
  • Thursday: Unexpected rest day. Knee felt awful so I took an extra day off for more stretching and some icing. Seems to have done the trick and I’ve added a new stretch into my routine and modified another one. Running on cement (tiny loops) is certainly a factor though, I’ll certainly be aiming to get to the trail even more.
  • Friday: 7 miles, tiny loops. Ran nice and slow and I cut out speed work this week to give my knee a bit of extra rest.
  • Saturday: 21 miles.
  • Sunday: 4 miles.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically, will get back to it next week.
  • Yoga: I didn’t have a chance to do a yoga class this week, hoping to get back to it!
  • Stretching: I did my stretching routine after every run, and added in and modified some stretches to help with knee pain, which seemed to do the trick!

Lots of heat, lots of rain and lots of schedule swaps this week, but I made it all work! Hard to believe I’m almost halfway done with this training cycle. I’m certainly dreading the heat this summer, but know I need to train in it for the race itself, and while I still feel a lot slower than where I was a year ago, I’m honestly not that far behind where I was, so hopefully I can work on the mental side of things a bit as we approach race day.

  • Monday: 10 miles. Headed down to the trail after work.
  • Tuesday: 8 miles. Tiny loops. Speedwork: Tempo – 18min/4R/12min
  • Wednesday: 10 miles. Back to the trail.
  • Thursday: 5 miles. Wasn’t sure I’d be able to get this run in, but the timing worked out just right!
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: Rest, at least in terms of running. Went up to camp to help out with Beaver Day. We got all the canvas up across the reservation, as well as a myriad of other tasks. I spent the morning getting the Camp Freedom office opened before jumping on a tent crew on the Ridge in the afternoon.
  • Sunday: 22 miles. The second half of this was super hot, with limited cloud cover. The day turned out to have a heat advisory as the day went on, so stupid heat training for me.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: Beaver Day provided an ample workout.
  • Yoga: I didn’t have a chance to do a yoga class this week, hoping to get back to it!
  • Stretching: I did my stretching routine after almost every run, I missed one, but otherwise am still doing really well with this.

Alright, first up in just a hate-filled move to distract from ongoing scandals ,the Pope randomly said that priests can’t bless same-sex marriages. Because he’s a monster. The Catholic Church is a hate group, full stop.

And on that note: Republicans hate America. We can’t be afraid to say it, it’s true.

Moving on to happy news, watch the new trailer or In The Heights, it’s so amazing (and early reviews are glowing):

In other amazing news, a man invented a machine to automatically compliment passing dogs!

Tennessee is literally trying to erase gay people from history, passing a bill banning any textbook with LGBT content.

England officially unveils the new 50 Pound Alan Turing note:

Perseverance took a selife with Ingenuity! And in other Mars news, we have video of the first flight ON ANOTHER PLANET!

Check out this cool 3D tour of the great pyramids!

The Pens battled the Sabres in the NHL’s first-ever joint Pride game, which was really cool to watch!

An amazing rendition of “Take On Me” which of course, reminds me of The Magicians:

In a positive move, and a rebuke to the Pope (see above), a group of German priests are blessing same-sex marriages.

And in other happy news, the House approved funding for the National Pulse Memorial ahead of the five-year anniversary of the attack.

That’s it for now, have a great one!

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