Today's Mighty Oak

From what I’ve read and learned from my team, fueling for an ultra is much different than fueling for a marathon. The constant stream of fuel your body needs turns it into an eating contest with running thrown in.

I’m a strange case, but I actually like Gu. Most of it is that I’m highly allergic to dairy, and all of their energy gels are vegan (unlike Honey Stinger, sadly), and it gives me a chance to get some chocolate in my life, something that otherwise, I have very little of. So for marathons and training runs 22 miles and shorter, I know what works for me and how to space out fuel.

But I also know that after so many hours on my feet, I’ll need more than just energy gels. So now begins the fun work of figuring out what I can stomach while I’m running!

Like all good Yinzers, I made a Sheetz run!

I’m sure I amused the clerk after wandering the aisles reading nutritional labels for things that were dairy free!

This past weekend I ran 18 and started trying things. After my first loop I had the RX Bar, which was really good and sat well. My only reservation is that further into a race, it will be hard to chew. That was also about 200 calories, which is what I think I should be aiming for, although I’m used to 100 calorie Gus. Something to think about I suppose.

After my second loop, I grabbed two Oreos. Oreos are wonderful because they’re vegan. They shouldn’t be, there should be some dairy in that filling, but thanks to those sweet, sweet chemicals, I can always have an Oreo! Anyway, those were no problem to gobble down, although they sat a bit uneasy in my stomach, which surprised me.

Anyway, the plan, whenever possible, is to keep trying new foods on runs and seeing what works. Having a looped course works for this, as I’d rather not use a vest or anything like that and having my car as a mini aid station works perfectly. I need to try to find some jelly beans and some non-dairy Pringles (Sheetz only had flavors with dairy), and I want to try some boiled potatoes as well. From there, I’ll be scouring what races list as their offerings at aid stations and see what I haven’t tried yet, and continue to train my stomach to eat solids as I run!

All right, let’s see what we have today. First up, Billy Porter delivers the Queer State of the Union:

A great piece over at Pittsburgh Lesbian Corespondents about the fractions of the local community and how seemingly good causes can actually be a detriment. Also, a reminder that Jackie Evancho sang at the last inauguration: she and her family can be safe, but ignore the plights of other minority communities, and that’s not okay.

The situation is getting worse in Chechnya, and it continues to be horrifying.

Some happy news, a neat queer take on a favorite show of mine, Critical Role!

Why yes, Fox News, that is in fact what racism looks like. Your hosts.

Health and Human Services has granted a waiver to an adoption agency to discriminate because “Jesus.”

Brazil’s only gay member of Congress had to flee the country for his safety.

Can we please just be done with Bernie. Please?

USA Hockey has an great new trans and non-binary policy, they seem to always be out in front of the other major sports.

Related, why is the current administration obsessed with erasing trans people?

Alright, sorry for most of the sad and infuriating news. Only up from here, I hope!

I headed to Cleveland for work on Tuesday, so that shifted some days around, and the weather was a bit wonky again. But still got everything in, even if not exactly as I had planned it.

  • Monday: 5 miles. Headed to the gym right after work then early to bed to wake up and drive to Cleveland the next morning.
  • Tuesday: Rest day.
  • Wednesday: 7 miles. At the gym, just totally checked out and hated this run. Worked through it though.
  • Thursday: 7 miles with speedwork: Intervals. Redemption from the day before, and getting my speedwork in for the week, 6 x 400.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 6 miles. Swapped with a day from next week to still give me a recovery run of 5 miles after my long run.
  • Sunday: 18 miles. Did three loops, the first with three of us, the second with two, and the last by myself. It was a good run, and I was dressed well for the cold. The friends I ran with, plus putting in more miles and speedwork have really pushed me faster than I expected to be going, which is great, although might require a bit of recalibration in my mind.
  • Core/strength: Plan is to get back to this next week, after Vegas. I need to be held to this!

I leave Thursday for Vegas and the 2019 r/running meetup! I still have to pack and of course I’m freaking out about it, but I’m so excited to see everyone! I should be able to get all my runs in this week and just will need my long run while I’m out there. It’s a down week, so that means only 14 miles, which I hope I can get in while I pace someone from the team!

Alright, let’s see what we have today. First up, these adorable parents who play a game of Mario Kart every morning to see who has to put on the kettle for their tea.

This dog responds to Harry Potter spells. Something to strive for in a pet!

A version of Fahrenheit 451 that can only be read when heat is applied to the pages.

Billy Porter is a treasure. He gives it to Kevin Hart and I’m all for it.

Christian Bale credits Satan for him being able to play Cheney. And it’s perfect.

Brazil elected their own far-right politician, and he spent his first day in power stripping rights from the queer community.

For something a bit lighter, here’s the Powerpoint presentation as to why Belle should have picked Gaston instead of the beast. Spoiler: The French Revolution.

The cast of The Magicians talks about their commitment to diversity, another reason to love that show!

Liberty Counsel, a hate group, is lobbying against an anti-lynching bill because it protects the queer community.

And in sweet, sweet hypocrisy, an anti-gay preacher wants you to know that he still hates gays, even though he was caught with sex workers.

Federal courts have blocked the horrific ‘citizenship’ question that was going to be added to the census.

The nominee for the next Attorney General ran HIV internment camps at Guantanamo.

In horrifying, saddening and infuriating news, the gay purge in Chechnya has resumed.

And after all of that horrible news, we need some comedy:

The Polar Vortex forced my running during the week inside. I love winter running, but with wind chills in dangerous ranges, I’d rather take care of myself a bit. Regardless, my hands took a beating with tons of small cuts from dry and stretched skin. The weather is coming back to bearable, so that’s good at least.

  • Monday: 7 miles. Had to shuffle some days around due to a meeting later in the week.
  • Tuesday: 5 miles.
  • Wednesday: Rest day, finally. Had a meeting after work for the Camp Staff Alumni Association, getting that back off the ground.
  • Thursday: 7 miles with speedwork: Intervals. Still brutally cold, so did intervals on the treadmill, ended up doing 6×400. I love intervals, so this was a lot of fun!
  • Friday: Rest day. Brewed beer with a friend!
  • Saturday: 5 miles. swapped my weekend days due to schedule, then dinner with my family.
  • Sunday: 18 miles. I started my run, and then got honked at my two running friends! We did loops together, which was awesome for all of us! Lots of black ice on the jail trail the first loop, but by the next time around, the sun was out, the temperature increased and it was all gone. Afterwards headed to the Death, taxes and/or cake party!
  • Core/strength: More runner’s yoga through the end of February. I wanted to add in body weight work, but it looks like that will have to wait until after Vegas, due to time constraints.

We’re two weeks out from our next meetup race, and between that and lots of work things, it’s pretty stressful, but I’m excited to get to Vegas with my running family!

Back at it, and with an increase in mileage, comes a drop in temperature. I like winter running though, although the ice and snow made things a bit tricky this week.

  • Monday: Rest day.
  • Tuesday: 7 miles. Added some mileage to the Frontrunner loop. College students are awful at not taking up too much of the sidewalk though, and as much as I love running through CMU and Pitt, it’s a bit annoying at times.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles at the gym.
  • Thursday: 7 miles with speedwork: Hill repeats. Added some mileage to the Frontrunners course, and found a pretty steep, quarter mile stretch to do repeats on. Ran up and down it twice, hoping to increase this in the future.
  • Friday: Rest day. Had dinner and yoga with some of the Frontrunners!
  • Saturday: 5 miles. swapped my weekend days due to schedule.
  • Sunday: 16 miles. Actually did 16.5, but the plan says 16, so close enough. Returned to the jail trail/color park loop, doing it three times. The first was cold and snowy, and as it warmed up with each loop, I got to see different parts melt. Also, the jail had pancakes for breakfast and it smelled great. My paces have been increasing a bit, which is great, but I’m still cautious of going too fast.
  • Core/strength: More runner’s yoga each day this week, I did two of the Yoga with Adrienne Dedicate series on Friday with the Frontrunners. I’ll be returning back to r/bodyweightfitness starting in February, so looking forward to that.

Speed work was good, although it was definitely a workout and left me sore, and I really enjoyed my long run this week (although not the snow, that made the run more difficult, too deep in some places, too melty and slick in others). We’ll see how these next two weeks go as I continue to increase my mileage.

My first stepdown week, and was a nice little break that fit in well with the weather, thankfully.

  • Monday: Rest day.
  • Tuesday: 5 miles. Mini loops around my neighborhood. Didn’t trip over any, but trash can lids are hard to see at night!
  • Wednesday: 3 miles at the gym. Finally starting to clear out of the resolutioners, which is quicker than I predicted!
  • Thursday: 5 miles. Tiny loops again, in some fresh snow, which once again let me know which neighbors never shovel their sidewalks. There was some utility work going on, so I got to watch the progress of the electric and gas company (and see a utility worker pee on his truck).
  • Friday: Rest day. Was supposed to a night for drinks with a friend, but he cancelled, so I headed to bed early so I could join some friends in the morning.
  • Saturday: 14 miles. A friend from PRorER was running 31 miles for her 31st birthday, so I met her and her partner at the Color Park and we did 5.5 mile loops! He and I stopped after two and a short out and back, and she continued, everyone finishing before the rain and the falling temperatures! A great loop that I’ll be returning to!
  • Sunday: 5 miles. First though, cross training via snow/ice shoveling. Bitter cold, and headed to the gym, which was really empty, but that was nice. Hoping some of the ice and the chill dissipates before this next week of running.
  • Core/strength: More runner’s yoga each day this week, and I made plans to meet some of the Frontrunners for yoga and dinner on Friday after work, so I’m looking forward to that! I’m also hoping to start back in with the r/bodyweightfitness routine, hopefully twice a week to start. I know I need to focus on my core especially, and the other muscle work will be good for me too.

It was a good week, and the somewhat lower mileage was a nice mental break. I know this next block of four weeks is going to probably be my craziest when I take into account the weather and my trip to Vegas, so as long as I survive, I’m confident for the rest of my plan!

Last week before my first stepdown week, and I am thankful to get there!

  • Monday: Rest day.
  • Tuesday: 6 miles. Went to run with the Frontrunners early to try to time getting my extra two in before we all left for the four mile loop. This time was successful.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles at the gym. Lots of resolutioners, but they seem to leave not too long after I’m there, so I can mostly ignore them, locker room has been super crowded though.
  • Thursday: 6 miles. Once again tried to time it with the Frontrunners, not successful, but it worked out in the end, a couple of them were doing extra, so me getting back early and their extra miles worked out just about perfectly!
  • Friday: Rest day. Became an impromptu game and drinks night with a friend, so I moved things around for the weekend.
  • Saturday: 5 miles at the gym. Had a lot of errands to run, and this was the first stop. Had tried to get a new pair of Ghosts, but the running store is restocking, so hopefully next week.
  • Sunday: 16 miles. Originally I was going to run this on the GAP, but with the snow that came down the night before (just in time for me to drive home in it from downtown), I didn’t want to deal with it on the trail. Headed to Schenley and did the Frontrunner loop four times. I enjoy doing loops like this, seeing the changes each time (and getting honked at by a driver who I inconvenienced for about a second and a half by running in the cleared bike lane versus the ice covered sidewalk; I then flicked him off, which I know I shouldn’t do, but it felt right).
  • Core/strength: I did the next two full classes of Dedicate, the 30-day Yoga with Adrienne series, on the other days, I did her 7-minute runner’s yoga, which I’m finding really helpful to loosen things up. I like that a lot more than the full classes, but I’d like to incorporate both, we’ll see what happens moving forward.

Overall it was a good, but busy week. Glad to have a bit of a down week, but of course that just means I filled my schedule in with everything else I want to get done, but so it goes.

Here we go, week two!

  • Monday (New Year’s Eve): Rest day. Threw a little get together with way too much food, board games and drinks. More on that below.
  • Tuesday (New Year’s Day): 6 miles. Mini loops in the neighborhood. Almost got hit by a car backing out of a driveway, and saw tons of doggos out for their afternoon walks!
  • Wednesday: Rest day, miles added to Sunday of previous week due to doctor’s appointment and catching up with some friends for drinks.
  • Thursday: 6 miles. Still lots of resolutioners at the gym.
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 14 miles. Back on the Great Allegheny Passage. My body couldn’t decide if it was going to be hot or cold, which was annoying. I went out slightly faster than I should have, and although I kept it up the entire run, my hips paid for it the next day.
  • Sunday: 5. Pretty beat up from my long run the day before, so kept it slow, but still walked a bit at the end. Gym still very crowded, especially for a Sunday.
  • Core/strength: I did the first two full classes of Dedicate, the 30-day Yoga with Adrienne series, on the other days, I did her 7-minute runner’s yoga, which I’m finding really helpful to loosen things up.

At my New Year’s party, I had a bunch (too much) of some sliced summer sausage. I’ve used that exact same item while making mujarada at the Burn. This last year at the burn especially, and New Year’s, I was horrified to see my ankles and feet disappear into a wobbly, bloated mess. As in, I could feel the swelling sway as I walked.

I looked up the sodium content in it, and it’s through the roof, so I’m thinking that, or the possibility that there is something in it that I’m allergic to, makes me realize that I need to never eat it again, as well as pay better attention to my sodium intake.

Here’s my yearly roundup of all the yearly wrap up videos. First up, YouTube Rewind. This may be the last year I include it. One, it’s not a great video, and two, I recognize less and less of these creators each year. My bits of Youtube aren’t represented (and that’s okay!).

Next up, DJ Earworm’s United State of Pop:

And here is Google’s year in search:

I’m working on putting together my 2018 year in review video, that will be up sometime soon!

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