Today's Mighty Oak


PRANK this weekend gave me a great chance to try out some food!

I had jelly beans, which worked really well, much better than I expected, actually. So I’ll be keeping them in the standard rotation.

Before our last loop (we were running until about 1 or 1:30 a.m., after a day of work), I had about half of a dark chocolate bar with espresso beans. As long as it’s higher quality dark chocolate (so no Hershey’s), I can eat it, and I usually go for the mint ones. However, having the espresso beans, and whether it was enough caffeine to make a difference or a placebo, was amazing! Will be keeping this in rotation as well!

Remember last week when I wrote this:

After my first and before my last loop, I had half a Bobo’s bar. This was really good! Easier to chew with a Clif bar, filling, but also sat really well. Each half was about 85 calories, so I’ll need to supplement with something else, but it was a really good find. Easy to eat while walking, didn’t make my jaw sore from chewing, tasted good and sat in my stomach well!

Well, turns out I read the label wrong, and half the bar is 170 calories.

Still great to eat, and if the ‘goal’ for most people (at least before you start to fiddle and figure out what your actual goal is), is to eat 200 calories/hour in an ultra, maybe that’s why this works so well for me!

Either way, good to know for my own calorie counting (both for weight loss and ultra fueling)!



  • Monday: 5 miles. My schedule was borked this week so I ended up not taking a rest day until the middle of the week.
  • Tuesday: Speedwork. 8 x 400, then an additional 2 miles for a total of 6 miles.
  • Wednesday: Rest day, Camp Staff Alumni Association board meeting, and then the meeting after the meeting, right after work.
  • Thursday: 4 miles, then Lenten book study with the young adults at church.
  • Friday: 20 miles, PRANK. Pittsburgh Runs At Night Klub returns! We got one of our members to her longest run ever and did three awesome loops starting from near the P3R Garage. First we went up to Herr’s Island then up to Polish Hill, Hill District and downtown. Second loop was the edge of the Strip then downtown and Point State Park. Third loop was to Alcosan/Western Penn and back. A great time was had by all, even with a bit of rain and wind mixed in at times.
  • Saturday: 4 miles. After a successful PRANK run, I had the intention of rounding out a stupid weekend. However, my knee was giving me a lot of pain, so I called what was supposed to be 9 miles after 4 and decided to rest the next two days.
  • Sunday: Rest day.
  • Core/strength: Same as last week, only got one workout in, but still working on that!

Race reports owed: Jackpot.



Race information

Goals

GoalDescriptionCompleted?
A20 milesYes
BThank the volunteersYes
CHave funYes
DHigh fives3 out of 4

Pictures

Splits

MileTime
552:06 (10:25 pace)
101:43:46 (10:23 pace)
152:35:02 (10:20 pace)
203:26:07 (10:18 pace)

Training

This race wasn’t on my radar at all, but it happened to fall perfectly into my training schedule, so I figured I’d use it as a supported long run. There is an asterisk next to the distance since when you sign up for the race, you indicate what you what to run, but you can change on the fly as you run. It’s a five mile loop around a lake, so you can drop or add loops to get 10, 15 or 20 miles.

Pre-race

The website predicted doom for parking, and I hadn’t been to North Park in a long time, so I ended up getting there about 45 minutes before registration opened. So I ended up helping them get set up. Setting up coolers of hot chocolate, roaster pans full of soups, that kind of thing. One of the guys was nice enough to give me one of last year’s hats as a thank you!

This race is also awesome in that you don’t get a shirt, instead you get a knit hat! If you complete 15 miles you get a pair of gloves (I opted for baby blue, the other option being black), and if you complete 20 you get a jacket! We were able to try on jackets, and they’ll be embroidered and ready to pick up in a few weeks, but they’re nice lightweight wind breakers.

Race

I didn’t intend to race this, just a long supported run, but hey, that changed! There was no 10:30 pacer, so a bunch of us put ourselves between 10 and 11 and made the best of it. Parts of the course were more windy than others, so overall, I was a bit cold, but nothing I couldn’t deal with. Running in shorts was wonderful though. There was also one weird spot where it was always drizzling. Apparently mother nature did not want the people playing tennis to enjoy their games.

I’ve been listening to audio books lately on long runs, and I got a good chunk of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” completed. There were some really good and really hard-hitting moments (also filled with high school drama). I have a bit to go, but there’s a lot of great stuff in there. Also, pro tip: check with your local library to see what they offer. I use an app called Hoopla and with my library card, I can borrow audio books for free!

As I am wont to do, I was just chatting with everyone around me (one earbud out, popping into the book when it was quiet), and ended up chatting with an older (than me, maybe late 50s), gentlemen about ultra running. We ran together for about two miles as we chit chatted, but as soon as I mentioned that I run with the Frontrunners (the gay running club), he immediately stopped talking and took off. I won’t say I didn’t smile when I passed him later (and never saw him again).

At the beginning of the second lap, three of us ended up falling in together, and we kept each other going the rest of the race! Our little pack was awesome! Amber was on her last run before the Shamrock Full in Virginia Beach and Rita kept seeing coaches and friends from her running club so we got lots of cheers! We chit chatted, and all commented at various times about how the group was keeping us going. Also, big shout out to them for holding my water bottle as I retied my shorts, I figured the people behind us didn’t want to be mooned!

As we were finishing the second loop, two guys joined us for a bit, both of them struggling, but enjoying the temporary company. I told them some bad jokes, and cheered them on, and I like to think that I brought some joy to their 15 miler.

The third loop was of course, the most arduous mentally, but we powered through. At one turn, I had gotten high fives, but the woman there said she was waiting on her husband, so I knew I probably wouldn’t see her again. On loop three I commandeered a random guy out on his morning run to give me a high five.

As we started the last loop, Amber put on music and told us she’d probably speed up, but to stop her if she did. We did the first time, then she was just in her zone, so we let her go. We could still see her, but she was looking great! No high five on the last lap, but I powered through the emotional defeat. I stopped at a water stop and Rita went on, so our little group became a line of three of us. I got to cheer on Rita as she finished, and Amber was waiting for us both!

Post-race

Walked across the street to grab some hot soup and bananas. Super excited I ran as far and as fast as I did. This training cycle has really increased my speed and confidence a little bit too! It’s a fun race, and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone. I had originally been looking at the race they put on the next month, but that gets about three times as many runners (but also gives out shorts instead of a shirt), so I have to decide if I want to do that.



Another weekend of loops which means another chance to try out some different fuel! First up, I had some candy orange slices. These were a lot better than the Swedish Fish from last week, but I feel like they didn’t stay with me for long and I was hungry quickly after eating them. Plus, I then had a bunch of extra slices after I was done running so I just kept eating them. Will do in a pinch, but I don’t have the restraint to stop.

After my first and before my last loop, I had half a Bobo’s bar. This was really good! Easier to chew with a Clif bar, filling, but also sat really well. Each half was about 85 calories, so I’ll need to supplement with something else, but it was a really good find. Easy to eat while walking, didn’t make my jaw sore from chewing, tasted good and sat in my stomach well!



  • Monday: 7 miles and then dinner at Blaze pizza. Sometimes you just have to scratch that itch, and they have vegan ‘cheese.’
  • Tuesday: 7 miles. Back to the gym.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles. Another day in the gym, just grinding out miles.
  • Thursday: Rest day.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 22 miles. This was a big deal for me. During my first marathon training cycle, I bonked hard on my 22 mile run. In the long run, that was a good thing, so I know what it feels like, and how to make sure I avoid that again, but running this was a huge mental boost for me.
  • Sunday: 6 miles. Ran around my neighborhood, the time change messed me up, before I headed downtown to the symphony!
  • Core/strength: Back on the r/bodyweightfitness train! Only got one workout in, and man do I need to work on my chest, and boy did my arms hurt, but it’s a good start!

Race reports owed: Jackpot. Spring Thaw



Another weekend of loops which means another chance to try out some different fuel! First up, I had a Kind Pressed Fruit Bar, banana chocolate. It was good, although it was very, very banana-y. Not really a problem, but good to know the future.

I also had Swedish Fish, which I expected to really like, but I have never been more wrong. Granted yes, it was cold so they were tougher than normal, but chewing them and getting bits of them stuck in my teeth was awful. My jaw was sore, and my stomach didn’t enjoy them either. So they’re getting crossed off the list!



Race week! Again! This time, an impromptu race that fit in well for my training plan!

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 10 miles. Ugh, mid-week medium runs are still the worst. Did tiny loops in my neighborhood (30 of them) and listened to the end of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.” Lots of thoughts and feelings about that book.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles. Still suffering from a sinus infection, and after this run, went to the doctors. I was actually feeling a lot better, but still couldn’t shake it, but even then, she said it was pretty bad. A Z-Pack, nasal spray and a prescription mouth wash called “Magic Swizzle” later, I was finally on the mend.
  • Thursday: 7 miles with speedwork: Hill repeats in Schenley Park, three times up to the overlook at the disc golf course. These are on top of the regular hills on the route. Some days I’m thankful for the hills in Pittsburgh, other days, I torment myself with them.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 12 miles. Slept in and by the time I got down to the Color Park, met up with Steve and Liz unexpectedly! Did a loop with Liz before they took off and I did the second, as well as the out and back by myself. Also got to wave to a friend I had made the week before at the Spring Thaw!
  • Sunday: 10 miles, set a new treadmill distance PR! The weather report was doom and gloom, so I headed to the museum, then back to the gym since I just didn’t want to run outside in it. The 10 miles was still a good mental workout though.
  • Core/strength: I’m the worst and didn’t start his up again, trying again!

Race reports owed: Jackpot. Spring Thaw



Race week! Again! This time, an impromptu race that fit in well for my training plan!

  • Monday: Rest day – flying back from Vegas
  • Tuesday: 10 miles. Ugh, mid-week medium runs are the worst. Got it done, just not happy about it.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles.
  • Thursday: 7 miles with speedwork: Hill repeats in Schenley Park, three times up to the overlook at the disc golf course.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 20 miles. The Spring Thaw fit perfectly, so I attempted to approach it as a long, slow, supported run. Ran faster than I should have, I need to make sure I work on that. Definitely feeling it now, but still really happy with the race. If this is any indication, speedwork and increased mileage are working and I’ll be able to take a big chunk off my marathon time!
  • Sunday: 5 miles.
  • Core/strength: I’m the worst and didn’t start his up again, trying again!

Race reports owed: Jackpot. Spring Thaw



Alright, let’s see what we have today. First up, Randy Rainbow is back with the Cell Block Tango:

The new president of Nintendo of America is named…Bowser.

A puppy gets emotional over the death of Mufasa in The Lion King.

Kim Davis must pay the victims of her bigotry, a court has ruled.

I had no idea there is a new biopic about JRR Tolkien coming out! See the trailer here.

Postmodern Jukebox takes on Pinky and the Brain.

And finally, the trailer from the Super Bowl for Avengers: Endgame:



On my long run this weekend at Jackpot, I made sure to try out two new bits of fuel! First up, I tried Tailwind. Normally I run with Nuun, which has basically no calories (especially since I use half a tablet, not a full one), so having Tailwind was way different. I liked it, although I could tell I was consuming calories. I believe we had some kind of mixture of all the flavors, and I have a sample of the orange to try on another run, so that’s good!

For chewable fuel, I could not be more excited for a PRorER tradition: Nuggies! We had a nug run and I made sure to set aside a box for myself for later. Every two laps (so every five miles), I snagged a few, and honestly, even cold, they were amazing. Good amount of salt (I didn’t take any salt tabs), easy to eat, would highly recommend!

Social Links

Archives

How I’m Resisting

What I’m fighting for

What I’m running from

What I’m reading

What I’m drinking

What we’re writing

What I’m writing