Today's Mighty Oak

Alright, let’s talk about the GAP Relay!  Our team had a blast.  The organization of the race was a total shit show.  So let’s get to it!  More after the break (it’s a long one):


Race week!  My last couple runs, picking up of rental cars, packing of bags and vehicle totes and hitting the road for a new adventure!

  • Monday – Four miles
  • Tuesday – Eight miles, as well as getting all set up for the Smartr Study, so I got my FitBit and Nokia scale.  The nutritionalist I met with answered a lot of questions, and as I found out, she’s a runner too!  She wanted to hear all about the GAP relay after, and she’s heading out to California to run her first half pretty soon!
  • Wednesday – Three miles – My last miles before the race, just an easy shake out run.
  • Thursday – Rest – Drive down to Cumberland for packet pickup, runner social, safety meeting and trying to find some sleep the night before the race.
  • Friday-Saturday – GAP Trail Relay.

I’ll be back with a full race report!

This week was bonkers.  I was running (literally and figuratively) all over the place, but somehow, I managed to get just about everything in.

  • Monday – No miles, but had a team meeting for the GAP Trail Relay and put myself at ease.  We have a great team (and a great late addition after one member had to drop due to some injury issues).  Finally really looking forward to just getting out there and running!
  • Tuesday – Rest day – Another hectic day, but a friend came to visit from Paris, so I was more than happy to not run and spend time with him before he flies back to another continent.
  • Wednesday – 10 x 400 – My last speedwork of the plan.  I am really proud of myself and how I’ve gotten faster, even if it’s just a little bit.  While I try not to compare myself to others (especially since it seems everyone around me is getting faster quicker than I am), but looking back, I’m so incredibly proud of how much I’ve been able to improve.
  • Thursday – 6 miles.
  • Friday – 6 miles – Nothing too exciting, just getting in the miles.
  • Saturday – 15 miles – Let’s talk about the weather (not like “Welcome to Nightvale” weather, although if you want, please turn on some music).  I got out of the car at the trail and was like walking in soup.  By the time I was done, it was 82 degrees and cloudless.  This was October 6.  Sigh.  It was a rough run, and I walked when I needed to, my stomach was not happy with the weather and sun, and I should have put on sunscreen.
  • Sunday – Cross training – I was originally going to run, but after Saturday, my left leg was not feeling great.  It’s given me problems in the past, so I at least know it’s not completely out of commission, just need to be careful on it for a few days.  Because the world is awful and everything is terrible, I did some self-care and took a hot bath (with a bath bomb) and the heat helped a lot, so I’ll be running again tonight.
  • Cross training – I got out of the habit of doing any body weight work, and I can feel the difference.  We’ll see if I can get some planks in this week, and I’ll be hitting the r/bodyweightfitness routine again after the race.

I started packing the totes for each van over the weekend, we’re finally to race week!  I’m excited to just be out there running!

A fulfilling week, and also the calm before the storm!  This week is going to be absolute hell and it’s going to be a struggle to get everything in, but let’s keep our fingers crossed!

  • Monday – 6 miles – Swapped Monday and Tuesday and ran after I got back from Cleveland.
  • Tuesday – Rest day – did my cross training on the previous Saturday, so had the day to rest!
  • Wednesday – 40 minute tempo run
  • Thursday – 3 + 4 – Another double day, which I enjoy, and really like how it’s preparing me for the GAP relay!
  • Friday – Rest day – Went down for The Great Race expo.  Picked up my favorite flavor of GU that my running store doesn’t carry (chocolate mint) and met up with some friends.
  • Saturday – 7 miles – I was scheduled to do 15.  I woke up and just couldn’t stomach doing that long of a run, mentally it just wasn’t going to happen.  I took care of some things that needed done and that helped clear my mind a bit, and I went out with the intention of doing 8.  Got some weird pains (clothing issue, at least partially), so I called it at 7, which all in all, was the smart choice.
  • Sunday – 10K, The Great Race – Went into this just to have a happy run with my racing partner.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and we had such a great time on the course.  We negative split the whole thing, and we both got PR’s, breaking one hour for the first time!  I also got a 5K PR on the second half of the course, so that’s pretty awesome as well!  Grabbed a couple pics with both the Frontrunners and PRorER and headed home.

    Also got in some cross training with a bunch of walking and stair climbing during Quantum Theater’s world premier of “Chatterton.”  Much like “TAMARA,” you move around the space (this time a cathedral) to different scenes, following characters as the story unfolds.  The audience is split, so you don’t see the entire play, but you do get the opportunity over dinner at intermission to discuss what has happened with who you’re following.

  • Cross training – I got out of the habit of doing any body weight work, and this week doesn’t look promising to start back up.  I’ll try to fit some planks in if I can, those are a big help and that’s a good place to step back in.

This upcoming week is bonkers with a friend visiting from Europe, doctor’s appointments, working a career fair, and all kinds of other things.  I have beer waiting for me as a reward!

This week’s update is late, but it’s been a crazy week.  Spent the early morning hours of Monday driving to Cleveland and now I’m filling in for the receptionist the rest of the week as well.  Training is going well, but that, combined with the extra work, horrible allergies and just a lot on my calendar is leaving me ragged.  Hopefully I’ll get some good sleep this weekend before my last big long run!

  • Monday – 35 minutes cross training – Back to an oldie but a goodie, walking/stepping with my Wii Balance Board as I watch TV.  Not the most entertaining, but it gets it done!
  • Tuesday – 3 + 4 miles – This was my first doubles day!  Woke up early to do 3 miles at the gym, then did 4 miles that evening with the Frontrunners.  It’s good simulation of what I’ll be doing in the GAP, so even though it’s tough, it’s good practice.
  • Wednesday – 9 x 400 – The next step up in my speed work.  Had a blast, felt good, and I’m super excited that I was able to do these repeats at the speed I wanted to, which is faster than last year!
  • Thursday – 6 miles.
  • Friday – 7 miles (night) – Went down to Schenley park to run and did three loops: the one mile CMU loop, the four mile Frontrunner loop and two mile Cathedral of Learning loop.  About halfway through the final loop the skies opened and I got caught in a downpour.  I ducked under a tree for a bit, but that wasn’t helping, so I just sucked it up and finished.  Had to take my glasses off since I couldn’t see a thing, which made for some harrowing running, especially through the ponding water.
  • Saturday – 14 miles – I went downtown to run, on a neat route that took me through the Strip District, the North Shore, Point State Park and the Cultural District, as well as down the Riverfront Trail, where I passed two of my teammates who were out with SCRR!  We grabbed a quick photo and we were off (in different directions).

    After my run, I took advantage of being parked downtown and got in my cross training for the next day, walking the Strip District and stopping at Penzy’s Spices and grabbing some loose leaf tea.

  • Sunday – Rest day
  • Cross training – I did planks on Thursday, but that was it.  I’ve been so busy I’ve fallen off doing my cross training, but I need to get back to it.  Maybe a week off is a good mental break, but time to hit it once again.

This week has been just as crazy (hence why this is posted on Thursday), but hopefully things calm down after this weekend.  Long run on Saturday and then The Great Race on Sunday!

I can’t believe it’s week 8 already!  Got housing nailed down for the night before in Cumberland, now the last big piece of the puzzle is the vans.  I know I’ll get one, just have to figure out who will get the other one down there.  This week also put me over 900 miles for the year!  I never thought I’d get anywhere near 1,000 miles, but marathon training in the winter/spring put that within reach, and I’d like to see if I can possibly stretch it out to 1,200 for the year.

  • Monday – Cross training – Did a lot of walking, mostly due to having to keep running all over the enormous store At Home, but I found some great additions for the chandeliers I’m building for the Burn!
  • Tuesday – 6 miles – Stupid hot week, so back to the gym.  Literally nothing changed from the previous week, sigh.
  • Wednesday – 8 x 400.  Met friends at a local high school track to once again do speedwork during their football practice.  The heat and humidity made it tough, but it felt great to be out there doing this.
  • Thursday – 6 miles.
  • Friday – 21 night miles.  Once again the team met up for some night running!  Had an absolute blast doing some even more scenic running including a trip down the Hazelwood Greenway which was just single track through the woods (with some amazing views) and a group of people just off the trail at a campfire ring.

    The numbers fluctuated a bit, and it ended up being the same three of us that went the longest last time doing it again (from our ultra team).  Throughout the night, we found a monument to the Pittsburgh Marathon and Great Race, as a group got catcalled by a 15 year old, got encouragement from some drunken Frat Bros on a balcony, saw some epicly drunk student stumble around Schenley and generally just had a blast.

    Sadly, as we were wrapping up and packing up to go after our third loop, one of our cars got egged.  It cleaned up, and they missed hitting any of us, but was still disappointing.  Driving home that night at 3 a.m. I did see another runner out there on the streets, so that was cool to know there are other people just as crazy as us!

  • Saturday – Rest day
  • Sunday – Rest day
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Monday and Wednesday.  I was sore after the long night run, so Saturday I just did the planking section of the workout,

I was stuck in my mind something heavy at the beginning of the week, but my mood significantly improved after the crazy miles Friday night.  Something about doing something pretty destructive to myself either distracts me or just helps me work things out (or most likely, a combination of both),  The long run, combined with me just not getting enough sleep anyway, made me pretty useless on Saturday, and that’s what happened last time too.  I’d like to continue doing these long loops once a month or so, I’ll just need to work on that a bit.  Plus, it’s great ultra training, so wins all around!

Week 7 and it feels like we’re getting a lot closer to the race, because we are!

  • Monday – Cross training – Did my fall landscaping, removing all (or at least most) of my old flowers and replacing them with some mums!
  • Tuesday – 6 miles – Stupid hot week, so back to the gym.
  • Wednesday – 35 minute tempo run.
  • Thursday – 6 miles.
  • Friday – Rest day.
  • Saturday – 6 miles and two new pairs of shoes!  Through a combinations of sales, coupons and gift cards, I was able to score two new pairs of shoes.  I ran these six miles in the Brooks Revel 2’s.  Felt good on my feet, although boring as hell (all gray/black).  It was a woven upper, which is new, but overall I liked them.

    Also got a pair of Brook’s Ghost’s (I forget the number), will be running in them this week and will report back.  These are black and bright freaking orange, so more fun!  Although both will be getting some rainbow laces for sure.

  • Sunday – 12 miles in the rain.  Really, really rainy.  But it was fun to see the few other runners out there putting in their miles the same time I was.  The weather was cool and I wore shorts and a long sleeve shirt, and it felt amazing.  I did four different loops around Schenley (4 mile Frontrunner night course, 1 mile CMU loop, 2 miles Cathedral of Learning loop, 5 mile Frontrunner day/night hybrid course).
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Saturday.  I was sore after the long night run last week, so Monday and Wednesday I just did the planking section of the workout,

Overall it was a good week, although I wish the cooler temperatures would stick around, it felt like it was a tease the little bit we got over the weekend.  This upcoming Friday we’re back out for our second night run with the team, I’ll be playing it a little bit more by ear that night since I have a game day planned for the next afternoon.

Week 6 and back at it!  This week included a really awesome and unique group run!

  • Monday – Rest – I did the cross training at yoga after my run on the previous Saturday.
  • Tuesday – 6 miles – Ran with the Frontrunners, doing two miles ahead of the normal four mile route.
  • Wednesday – 7 x 400 repeats – Met members of my Ultra Team at a local track and we ran repeats while the Football team practiced.  The problem was that it was about 90 degrees and almost zero cloud cover.  Went slower than I wanted to, but the heat was killer.  Still got all my repeats in.
  • Thursday – 6 miles – Ran in the gym due to schedule.
  • Friday – 18 miles – Six of us from our team for the GAP relay met at 8 p.m. to run some loops to practice running at night and on tired legs.  We would run a loop, get back to our cars and take some time to get more water/food/etc.

    Our first loop was about 8 miles, we headed out from East Liberty and went through Frick for a while.  Our second loop took us to the Bloomfield bridge and back, along with a stop at a GetGo.  After that loop, which brought us to about 13 miles, three of the six called it a night.  I needed a total of 17 miles for the weekend, so I did the final loop with the two members I did speed work with on Wednesday, taking us around the Highland Park reservoir and bike path.

    We got back to our cars (which we had moved) a little before 2 a.m.  It was a ton of fun, and I’m really glad we did it.  Which is good, considering we’re doing it again in two weeks!

  • Saturday – Rest
  • Sunday – Rest
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Monday and Wednesday.  I was sore after the long run on Friday, so Saturday I just did the planking section of the workout,

This week is also incredibly hot, so it will be a lot of running indoors.  Still anxiously awaiting fall.

The long, overnight run was a blast, but left me drained for sure.  Even though I went to bed tired and late, my body still decided I should get up at my normal time.  I’m just about recovered now, but that part has not been fun.

Week 5 was my first down week in the plan.  Maybe it was having a four week climb, maybe it was dropping down, or maybe it was the fact that I’m not great in my day to day hydration, but everything felt tight this week.  Oh well, we carry on.

  • Monday – Cross training – 30 minutes of the AMT trainer at the gym.
  • Tuesday – 4 miles
  • Wednesday – 30 minute tempo run, then met up with friends for some early drinks.
  • Thursday – 4 miles – I ran early, but met the Frontrunners as they went off for their run.  A friend from the club is back to defend his dissertation, so it was good to see him, albeit briefly!
  • Friday – Rest.
  • Saturday – 7 miles – This was a busy day!  I headed downtown to run and then afterwards attended a free yoga class being held at PPG Paints Arena (Iceburgh was there too!).  After that, headed to the Strip, then home before heading back downtown again to see Aladdin!
  • Sunday – 4 miles – Hit the gym on my way to dinner with my family.
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  Not my normal days, but due to scheduling, it worked for me.

This week I’m heading to Ohio for work, and summer has once again popped up, so that will make things interesting to say the least.

We also got an e-mail last week (Wednesday, maybe?) about two in-person meetings and two webinars for this week about the GAP relay race.  I think most, or maybe all, of our team will be attending one of them (although not all together), so hopefully that will help to clear up some confusion.

Week 4 was my last big push before a down week, which I’m very happy for.  This also coincided with a mini PRorER reunion, so I got my weekend runs in with some teammates!

  • Monday – Cross training – 40 minutes of walking.  I’m part of a research study at Pitt, so I made sure to park far enough away to get a good walk in on the way to my appointment and back.  This was the last session of the study, but I was happy to be a part of science!
  • Tuesday – 5 miles – Ran an extra mile before meeting up with the Frontrunners and then did the normal four.  Was a great time catching up with my running partner!
  • Wednesday – 40 minute tempo run.
  • Thursday – 5 miles – Had to get this run in right after work, so I hit up the gym.  Afterwards, spent the rest of the night cleaning and getting my house ready for guests!
  • Friday – Rest.  Friends from my team who were staying with me got in and we headed out to a delicious Japanese dinner.
  • Saturday – 10 miles through Frick, Schenley and the East End, ending at Duck Hollow.  The faster group headed out for what turned out to be either 10 or 16, myself and another member of the team (who is also on my GAP team) and I enjoyed a wonderful morning running through parks and neighborhoods of the East End!
  • Sunday – 5 miles downtown.  Same groups again, and then a quick trip to the Strip District before heading home.
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  Not my normal days, but due to the research study, as well as the ultra team reunion, this is when it fit in the best.

Social Links


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