Today's Mighty Oak

Week 3 is in the books! Everythign is going well, and I feel like I’m getting back into the groove of ultra training. I’m running the Sarasota Music Half Marathon in a few weeks, so Might shuffle some weeks around to accommodate that, I need to decide before tomorrow…

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 7 miles. The Frontrunners headed to Cinderlands Warehouse to food and drninks after, so I headed down a bit early to get 3 in, before running the 4 mile route with Joe.
  • Wednesday: 7 miles, speedwork. VO2 max: 2 sets of 2x1200m, 1x800m at 5K pace (9:05).
  • Thursday: 5 miles. Return of the tiny loops (1/3 mile) around my neighborhood.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 16 miles. Return of the jail trail loops! Met Steve and Liz from my Ultra Team, had a new Oreo flavor (coconut caramel) and enjoyed the company and 40 degree temperature swing to run in 70 degree weather (I’m kidding, I was not ready for that swing and it was humid. Warm and humid in January, ugh).
  • Sunday: 6 miles.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar.
  • BWF/Core work: Did the BodyWeightFitness Recommended Routine twice this week, still on target!
  • Stretching: Still room for improvement, but getting back into the habit of doing my stretching routine after every run.

We’re just a short bit into 2020, so it’s time for a quick look back at 2019 and a look ahead. I’m working on finishing up my year in review video for 2019 (as well as 2018), so those will be done soon. In the meantime, here are the two that I really enjoyed, first up from Google:

And secondly, the year in music from DJ Earworm:

As I have done the last few years, I like to make resolutions at my birthday, not the new year, but I have a few, very attainable, things I’d like to work on this year:

  • Purchase more music. I tend to make lists of music that I hear and like, and then never do anything about that.
  • Cook a wider variety of dishes for game nights. Specifically, I want to use the cookbooks that I have!
  • Clean at least one thing a month. By thing, I mean, a filing cabinet, a closet, a chest of drawers, etc. I have too many ‘things,’ and I need to declutter a bit, so we’ll go bit by bit!
  • I signed up on Goodreads for a reading challenge, but again, kept it attainable: hoping to finish 7 books this year! I have a big pile next to my bed, but just hoping to make a dent.
  • I’m also working on my birthday resolutions which include things like swapping out an outlet, installing a new thermostat, those kinds of things. Like I said, very attainable!

Happy new year, everyone: may it be better!

Had to do some shuffling again this week due to New Year’s, but got everything in.

  • Monday: 7 miles. Was scheduled as a rest day, but due to the holiday, I moved things around.
  • Tuesday: Rest (New year’s Eve).
  • Wednesday: 7 miles, speedwork. VO2 max: 6x1000m at 5K pace (9:15).
  • Thursday: 5 miles. Timed my run to finish as the Frontrunners were taking off, so it was nice to (albeit briefly) see everyone.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 5 miles. Was supposed to be my long run, but ran into some GI distress and called it early.
  • Sunday: 14 miles. Still a bit of GI distress, but was near a bathroom. I think the Nuun energy I was trying to use up from last year may have been making me sick, either that or I’m just getting over something. Still got the miles done though.
  • Long run fuel: Aforementioned Nuun Energy before I switched to just water. Bobo’s bar.
  • BWF/Core work: Did the BodyWeightFitness Recommended Routine twice this week, still on target!
  • Stretching: Still room for improvement, but getting back into the habit of doing my stretching routine after every run.

And we’re off (much like a herd of turtles as my high school biology teacher would say). Week 1 is in the books!

  • Monday: 7 miles. Was scheduled as a rest day, but due to the holiday, I moved things around.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles. Hit up the Westmoreland Heritage Trail with a friend, found a janky looking rope swing and ended at the ice cream parlor where the trail currently ends.
  • Wednesday: Rest day (Christmas)
  • Thursday: 8 miles. Thought I’d get down to Schenley early enough to beat the rush, but the crowd from Phipps is bonkers (and worse each year). A good run doing two Frontrunner loops, but I hated the crowds. I also restarted listening to Critical Role on my runs, and that’s been a lot of fun so far!
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 12 miles. Out on the Westmoreland Heritage Trail again, more Critical Role.
  • Sunday: 5 miles.
  • BWF/Core work: Did the BodyWeightFitness Recommended Routine twice this week, which is the goal. In the spirit of keeping hard days hard, and fully recovering on rest days, I did this on Thursday and Saturday. I’ll be adjusting as I add in speedwork, but felt good to get back into this!
  • Stretching: I did decent at stretching after each run, did the full routine every time except for one. So room for improvement, but I’m still happy with it!

All in all, I’m really happy with this week, a great start to my training!

Well, it’s the Christmas season, so that means training for Eagle Up has started!

For 2020, my goal is to run the 50/50: 50K and 50Mi, for a total of 81 miles. It’s the next bump up from 100K, this is the only race that I know of that does it, and being able to say I did 5050 in 2020 was too perfect to pass up.

Now, that may change, we’ll see how training goes and how I feel on race day, but I’m once again running an RFP plan. I took both the 100mi on 50 miles per week and 100mi on 70 MPW and split the difference. I’m finalizing the speedwork portions of it, but that starts in week 2.

When I trained for Eagle Up last year, I topped out with one week of 60 MPW, and this will give me (if I remember,) 3 weeks at 60 miles (or a hair over), so a steady increase without a huge jump.

I have my tune up races scheduled: Get Lucky 50K and O24 (where I’m supposed to run either 50M or 100K), as well as a race that I did last year and will once again use as a supported long run: the Spring Thaw (they’re giving away blankets this year!).

Current plan is to do the BodyWeightFitness Recommended Routine twice a week, and while I’ve never kept up with that, I’ve gotten more consistent and stuck with it longer each subsequent training cycle, so here’s hoping. I’ll also be doing my stretching routine to hopefully not repeat the four injured weeks I had last year.

I’m excited for this, and glad I’m back on an ultra plan. The Pfitz plan I did for Philly really increased my speed, but it also took a big toll on me mentally and physically, so I’m excited to get back to some loops and just long steady miles for a bit.

I’ve also started to use my runs as a time to catch up on Critical Role. Last year, I listened to a bunch of audio books, but in my first experiment, I really enjoyed listening to CR, and since I’m so far behind in campaign 2, this will be a good help!

And of course, there’s a good contingent from PRorER heading to Eagle Up, so I’ll have plenty of support, we’ll start planning that as we get closer to it, it will be nice to see some familiar faces and share some miles!

Alright, let’s see what we have today!

First up, the trailer for In The Heights. I saw the show, and am so excited for this movie:

As an independent, I know I don’t (currently) have a say in the democratic primary, but in the last cycle, O’Malley was my pick. And hey look, he’s still feisty!

Speaking of politics, I’ve lost a lot of enthusiasm for Mayor Pete (but, as I wrote about before, I am still really, really proud of his candidacy and his staunch defense of liberal Christianity), and just like before, I don’t think he’ll end up being the nominee. That being said though, he takes a lot of heat unnecessarily for being ‘the wrong kind of gay.’ And that is incredibly hurtful, both within the community and without. There has been some great writing (which of course, I”m missing the link for currently) about Pete and the idea of ‘the best little boy in the world,’ and I think understanding that mentality helps us better understand where he comes from and how he approaches the political realm. All in all though, I’m be voting blue, no matter who.

Dumb Runner knocks it out of the park with their coverage of the 1:59 challenge.

It’s from earlier this year, but still great, the ‘trailer’ for Oscar:

In awesome news from the government (yes, actually), the FCC is setting up a nationwide three-digit suicide hotline.

Someone went through and read every piece of advice Dan Savage has ever dolled out, and they sum up their findings. It’s all great advice!

As we’re in the holidays, if you need a yule log video to cast up to a TV, Nerdist has a good roundup. I typically go with the Darth Vader one.

The amazing mash up of Hamilton and The Mandalorian:

Disney+ is bringing us a Star Wars game show next year!

My friend Nate has an amazing piece about our running team and the lessons he’s learned and how we’re learning from each other (and building each other up). Give it a read.

A reminder from The Oatmeal: be kind.

That’s it for now, have a great one!

In preparation of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker coming out this week, I rewatched all the films. I took a few notes and observations, collected here for my amusement:

Disney+, Movies Anywhere and my phone

  • Disney+ adds a warning for depictions of tobacco (as well a a seizure warning).
  • There seems to be a lot of small changes in the Disney+ streaming versions. The Star Wars movies that aren’t yet available on the service have trailers and the date they’ll be available for streaming.
  • God, Disney+ has a lot of bugs. It takes forever to sync with Chromecast, there’s a ton of time wasted buffering, lots of starts and stops. The content is great, but the app itself still needs some work.
  • Movies Anywhere is really well put together. I had a digital code for a bunch of the movies, so I finally redeemed them, and was able to easily connect my Google Play Movies account for easy streaming.
  • Every time R2 squealed, I thought I was getting an e-mail (as it’s my notification noise), but that’s my fault.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

  • This is so bad.
  • Like really bad.
  • Jake Lloyd is really a bad actor.
  • I will say though, the editing in this movie is horrible, and it made Jake Lloyd look even worse than he was.
  • John Williams is a saving grace. This score is epic.
  • Anakin is so whiney.
  • There was a weird, and I think the only instance in the series, of first person view, with C3P0 at one point, and it was so jarring and out of place.
  • The city of Theed is really gorgeous.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

  • I forgot how amazing of an actor Alan Lee was. I feel like he was underused, although maybe having some space from the awful dialogue in this one helped his character. Either way, he’s missed.
  • Another great score from Williams.
  • The editing is much better compared to Phantom Menace, it’s a lot tighter and that helps.
  • There is however, a lot of bad CGI. All the prequel trilogy suffered from an over-reliance on CGI and green screen technology and it really shows in the effects here (as well as all the acting throughout).
  • Boba Fett is so whiney

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

  • In the opening crawl, they use the line, “There are heroes on both sides.” That has not aged well after Chartlotesville.
  • I kind of like General Grievous, except for his smokers cough. Respiratory afflictions seem to be a thing in this universe.
  • The Senate battle is still a huge highlight and it stands up.
  • Overall, the prequels are weird. Too much CGI, bad writing and acting and really, an overly complicated plot based around trade negotiations. I’ve always said Lucas can tell whatever stories he wants, but aside from Theed, Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan and Williams’ score, there’s not much from the prequels worth going back to see again.
  • The prequels do mirror and follow the original trilogy in some really neat ways. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not, but it at least made for some good writing about the subject elsewhere on the Internet.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

  • L3-37 is the best character in this movie.
  • Holy crap, I forgot how awesome this cast is.
  • It got panned, but it’s a fun heist movie. Enjoy it for what it is.
  • That being said, the story takes a bit of an unnecessarily complicated turn to fit in some fan service and connect it to the animated shows (which I haven’t watched)
  • That also being said, it was also clearly set up for a sequel.
  • That also also being said, this movie is just a ton of fan service and in jokes.
  • As mentioned, I haven’t watched any of the animated shows, but at least from the “legends” (which is worth another deep dive) Dathmoir is not where I would have expected Darth Maul to go.
  • Wait, Ron Howard directed this?
  • Both this and Rogue One had so many reshoots, edits and revisions (and so much stuff from the trailers not used), I’m really concerned about Disney meddling too much.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

  • K2-S0 was the best. Why is it always the droids who make the best characters?
  • Tarkin’s voice was just a little bit off, and it was distracting. He and Leia also had that weird “Polar Express” CGI look to them, although at least Tarkin’s scenes were dark enough to hide most of it.
  • Really, no Jedi? Not even Chirrut?
  • Also, can we talk about the relationship Chirrut and Baze have. It’s something deep, but heaven forbid Disney touch anything queer with any nuance or depth.
  • Visually, this is a beautiful movie. Really, really beautiful.
  • I’m curious about edits. This even more so than Solo. There were so many things left out from the first cut.
  • I’d love to see the story of the ‘many Bothans who had to die’ to get the plans for the second Death Star.
  • Leia looked way too young at the end, again, weird use of technology, just a bit of an uncanny valley situation.

Episode IV: A New Hope

  • Luke is whiney.
  • This has such a 70s feel. God lord this is really hokey.
  • The nostalgia is so strong with this movie.
  • But I got swept up by the Death Star attack, a testament to the storytelling
  • There are a lot of weird, little edits on Disney+, I wish everyone would just leave things alone.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

  • This is a huge change from IV in terms of tone and feeling.
  • This movie still stands up as easily one of the best in the saga, and is probably the one I’ve watched the most.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

  • Ewoks are dumb.
  • Jabba the Hut is listed as playing himself in the credits.

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

  • This movie starts right off the bat with the action, a good choice.
  • This movie is also very much a rehash of the originals and an apology tour for the prequels.
  • Generally I’m meh about this one because so much of it is a rehash and an apology.
  • Kylo is the whiney one.
  • Yeah, Nazis. We get it, the First Order is Nazis.
  • You know what, it’s probably more important than ever that we remember to always punch Nazis in the face. So good on you, J.J.
  • I feel like we needed that deleted scene showing the republic worlds. Otherwise, the First Order destroying that system didn’t seem as consequential.
  • There’s a lot of politics in this, like the prequels, and it could have easily been too much.
  • They do a long one shot in the battle at Maz Kinata’s which is really in vogue, but it was well done and not terribly long.
  • That said, I disliked the last drone/crane shot. It felt like the only one in the series and out of place.
  • There are a lot of legit funny moments in this movie.

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

  • I really like VIII, I love how different it is, and how it subverts what you think a Star Wars movie should be/should do.
  • And it starts with that subversion tone right off the bat.
  • I do wish had shown some of Leia’s training, otherwise, her saving herself is a bit unbelievable (let’s not unpack that sentence too much, shall we).
  • There was one porg scene too many.
  • I’m still sad they killed off Admiral Akbar, but I get it.
  • I want more Maz. Hoping she’s back for IX.
  • Love the knocking down of cis het white men who try to bulldoze their way through life.
  • Remember how they keep going back to the Force being about balance? Yeah, let’s try to keep that in mind in terms of these movies.
  • I liked the bits on class and wealth inequality, a good addition.
  • “Tear down your legends.” Yeah, see my comments about subversion and balance. Remember, it’s just some movies. Get into them, love them, discuss them, find meaning and stories in them. But don’t tear down others because things don’t fit your insurmountable expectations.
  • I liked the cave scene, it reminded me of the similar scene in V.

The Philly half was my A race for the fall. Read more after the break for a full race report and pictures!


Race week! Here we go!

  • Monday: 7 miles: 4x100m strides, 2 miles at race pace (9:35)
  • Tuesday: Rest.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles.
  • Thursday: 3 miles: 3x100m strides
  • Friday: Rest. Travel to Philly via Amtrack. Left 30th Street Station and walked to the Convention Center then south past Rittenhouse Square to our Airbnb. When friends got into town, walked back to the Convention Center and back before turning in for the night.
  • Saturday: Race day! Full race report coming up as a separate post. Also did a two mile warm-up run from the AirBnB to the start area, which was awkward running with our gear bags, but still glad we did it!

Ugh, work has been awful, NaNoWriMo is keeping me super busy and I feel like I just need a break. My left leg is giving me some issues, so I’m working through that. I know I’m beat up from this plan, but in a good way, but I also feel like I’m just skirting that line, and I need to hold out until Saturday before something breaks.

Either way, I’m at least hoping to enjoy some time away (after yet another trip to Cleveland on Thursday), and hopefully just relax a little bit. My last long run went really well, and it gave me back a little confidence that (barring crowds), I have a shot at setting a new PR. But I’m also trying to remind myself that even if I don’t, I’ve gotten faster and I can be proud of this training cycle.

  • Monday: 6 miles: two sets, 6x200m strides
  • Tuesday: Rest.
  • Wednesday: 9 miles: VO2 max: 2x1200m, 2x1000m, 1x800m, 5k pace
  • Thursday: Rest.
  • Friday: 3 miles. Was up at 3:30 to drive to Cleveland and back, then sat in traffic both ways to a Write-In, but got my miles in between events.
  • Saturday: 4 miles. Much like the detours on the roads the day before, detours on the trails.
  • Sunday: 10 miles. Ran on a new (to me) trail, the Westmoreland Heritage Trail from Monroeville (Bel-Aire) to the Cozy Inn Cutoff. I loved it, and I want to go back when I have some more time and I can stop and read all the history signs and whatnot and take pictures along the way!
  • Strength: No time this week to do any workouts. Need to get back into this habit, although I’m proud of myself for staying with it longer than I ever have before! Planning on it after the half.
  • Stretching: Lots more stretching, so that’s a good constant at least.

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