Today's Mighty Oak

  • 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

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!

Race week! Or at least, race week for an ultra I crewed! The official 2019 r/running Meetup took on the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in Las Vegas under the name PRorER: Paces Wild.

I’ll have a full write-up about it, but it was a fantastic weekend and I loved it so much. To accommodate travel and the race, I moved some things around, but still got everything in!

  • Monday: 5 miles.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles.
  • Thursday: 6 miles with speedwork: Intervals, 4 x 400. Ran in the morning then grabbed my flight to Vegas.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 14 miles. I ran at night, pacing various team members and trying some new fuel! Full recap coming!
  • Sunday: Rest day. Although most of my 14 miles were on Sunday, I just happened to start before midnight.
  • Core/strength: Plan is to get back to this this week!

I was lucky that this down week coincided with the meetup race, and I’m so lucky we had enough awesome crew that I could step away for a bit and run/pace. Anyway, back at it already with another big push this week!

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!

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!

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.

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