Today's Mighty Oak

The last of three big weekends, so it’s nice to get past this and get these miles on the books. I dealt okay with the heat, which honestly, is a big improvement for me! I still don’t feel entirely comfortable going to a gym (and in my case, finding a new gym), so I’m forced to run outside, which in the long run is a good thing, but I hate the heat, humidity dust and sun.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 10 miles. Neighborhood loops
  • Wednesday: 6 miles. Moved my speedwork to this day: Tempo: 18min/4R/12min.
  • Thursday: 7 miles. Yet more loops.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 10 miles.
  • Sunday: 22 miles. Got up super early to get this in before it got unbearably hot. Still had a lot of dust and sun to deal with, but very proud of myself for knocking this out.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Skratch, Bobo’s bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: No workouts this week.
  • Stretching: Slowly getting back into it (with thanks to Netflix)
  • Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000K progress (1021K): 357/634 miles. Over halfway! I also passed the other Crane! I’m heading into a down week, so he might leapfrog me, but I’m super excited to have made up this distance in my fake rivalry!

    I also used this run for two virtual 5Ks, Stride for Pride (so my Strava route turned rainbow colors) and the Saint Vincent College Student Emergency Fund 5K.
  • Runnsylvania 283 progress: 32/283 miles. Started June 20, so only weekend miles counted this week.

First off, mid-week 10-milers are bullshit. I know I said this before during Eagle Up training, but it still holds true. This week was also super hot, so I ended up splitting some of these runs up. I know it messes the benefits of the plan up a bit, but when it’s 94 and humid, we do what we have to.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 5 miles. So hot.
  • Wednesday: 6 miles. So hot.
  • Thursday: 9 miles. Speed work: Tempo: 18min/4R/12min. Finally cooled off and I did one of Zombie’s Run!’s new adventures!
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 10 miles. I went up to camp to help with the Pre-Camp Inspection (no full summer program, but still required to do a safety inspection) and afterwards did two circuits of the lake. I picked up different parts of various trails, so it was a really good time!

    This was also the Mostly Harmless Running Podcast’s Festapalooza! I ran, but didn’t compete, as I didn’t want to keep taking my phone out to take pictures of the items on the scavenger hunt, but I still had blast being on the lookout for things and planning a route to hit a couple things on the list!
  • Sunday: 21 miles. My normal parking area is open again after the power lines have been fixed, so headed there and did two out and backs. I added the trail in Duff Park for a nice change, as well as a good way to get out of the sun for a stretch.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Skratch, Bobo’s bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: No workouts this week.
  • Stretching: Not nearly as much as I wanted to, I need to get back into this more seriously.
  • Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000K progress (1021K): 302/634 miles. This has really been helping me get out there and running, even on days I don’t want to, which is why I signed up for this in the first place. I’m also secretly racing the other Crane, and I’ve closed the gap to 15.5 miles now!
  • Runnsylvania 283 progress: 0/283 miles. Starts June 20.

When I stayed out of the sun, things started to feel better this week, so that’s good. My stomach was giving me some trouble, but I think a lot of it had to due with not enough fuel or hydration, so I’m making a big effort to really be on top of those.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles. Ran with a friend in a local park, and it was so good to be back running with another friend!
  • Wednesday: 9 miles.
  • Thursday: 8 miles. Speed work: Tempo: 18min/4R/12min.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 10 miles. I thought I got up early enough to beat the heat, but the relentless sun stopped me after three miles. I did the other seven that night when it was getting cooler and felt so much better.
  • Sunday: 20 miles. There’s construction near the trail head I normally park at, so I went to a different one, so I basically just shifted my run from last week down two miles. Stopped another runner from a collision with a rat snake, got yelled at by a driver who slowed down to let me cross, just to then yell at me while I was in the crosswalk, but generally had a good run. I really made sure to dial in my hydration, which helped a lot, as did the shade from the trees. I also got to try a new Skratch flavor (strawberry lemon) and I really loved it!
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Skratch, Bobo’s bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: Two workouts this week, seeing a bit of a plateau, but that’s okay, I’m still so much further than where I was!
  • Stretching: Not nearly as much as I wanted to, I need to get back into this more seriously.
  • Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000K progress (1021K): 251/634 miles.
  • Runnsylvania 283 progress: 0/283 miles. Had my dates wrong, this doesn’t start until June 20.

Things just still felt off this week and I was really slow. I’m sure part of it is a combination of the heat/humidity/sun, and I also need to do a much better job with both my sleep and my nutrition. I tried upping my calories before longer runs, but I’m still bonking a bit.

I keep trying to remind myself that this year is anything but typical. Right now, I don’t feel like I’d be ready to run an ultra in a week (had Eagle Up not been cancelled), but I also don’t have the benefit of the end of that training plan and its taper. Throw on all the psychological craziness and the heat and I need to remember to be more forgiving to myself.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles.
  • Wednesday: 7 miles. Speed work: Tempo: 14min/4R/12min.
  • Thursday: 8 miles.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 20 miles. Ran two out and backs on the Westmoreland Heritage Trail, and actually met someone from my gym who was volunteering at one of the trail heads! The run felt good, albeit a little slower than I hoped, but not out of any ordinary realm, so maybe I’m more on track than I thought.
  • Sunday: 14 miles. My friend Joel was running his virtual marathon so I joined him for two (socially distanced, masked) loops. I specifically ate a bit more and that seemed to help, but about three miles from the end, I caught a huge whiff of diesel fuel from the Parkway and it turned my stomach in a bad way. Joel ran on and I walked/ran in the last bit of it as best I could. The beginning of the run felt good, and was faster than I expected, so not a total loss.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Nuun, Bobo’s bar, Gu, Justin’s honey peanut butter packet.
  • BWF/Core work: Just one workout this week, I might add in some of the Zombies, Run! Home Front workouts for something different.
  • Stretching: Much better this week, although I still need to get back into the habit of this every day.
  • Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000K progress (1021K): 200/634 miles.
  • Runnsylvania 283 progress: 0/283 miles. This challenge starts today, I figured since I’m running across Tennessee, might as well also run across my home state!

So, one of my PRorER teammates tagged me in a fun running challenge:

It definitely took me a while to whittle it down to 10. I have a lot of good memories at a lot of good races (and a lot of bad ones as well), but I think this is a good list:

Pittsburgh Marathon 5K 2014

My very first race! I got a weird start to running, I was a Kickstarter backer for Zombies, Run!. That came out, and it still felt beyond me, so when they came out with their Couch to 5K app (Zombies 5K), I finally picked up the sport in a healthy and sustainable way.

I remember being in the start corral and my friend who went down to run with me being surprised when I raised me hand as the DJ asked if anyone was there for their very first race (a lot of us were). She was so proud of me at the end, and this began our tradition of meeting at ‘Lost Child’! This is also my favorite medal the Pittsburgh Marathon has done that I have.

EQT 10 Miler 2016

This was the first race that I trained for with a plan (thank you Hal Higdon, although I will say, his 10-miler plans are not great in terms of weekly to long run mileage ratio; stick to his half and full plans). I remember how proud I was after my last long training run of eight miles!

My friend Sean paced me for this race, and he was amazing for doing so! I also had it in the back of my mind that if I could run 10 miles, I could run a half that spring (spoiler: I did)!

Zombies, Run! Halloween Virtual Race 2017

ZR is the absolute gold standard for virtual races. While most are virtual time trials where you pay for a medal and some swag (I’ve signed up for many based on the medal or the cause, I won’t lie), ZR races have a story, interactive elements, training ‘missions’ and a vibrant community obsessing over the characters.

I ran this race with a friend at a local park. We timed it so the sun was going down and we would finish just as it was getting really dark, and the sound editing and story made it such a surreal experience, it was the perfect way to enjoy the Halloween themed race!

Veteran Half Marathon 2018

This race sticks out for three reasons. One, it was run on a motor speedway. And not just a big oval, but over three really winding courses.

Two, I got to run this with my aunt! My aunt lives outside of Harper’s Ferry, W. Va. and has been a runner for a long time, so I went down with a friend to run this race with her. The wind was brutal, I actually had windburn on my face and hands after this race, but still came away with a PR.

And thirdly, this was also my first experience with a ‘runcation,’ which I’m a big fan of! Getting away to see a new city on foot (or in this case, a city that has changed a lot since I had been there), or for a destination race, is such a great way to see the country and a nice change of pace, it’s highly recommended!

Eagle Up 2018

Crewing at Eagle Up 2017 was amazing. And when r/running decided to go back in 2018, I was even more prepared. This is what solidified us as a running family (and team), under the banner PRorER.

Helping to get my friends to their goals, as well as the absurdidty of what we put together, was amazing on every level imaginable. This was also the origin of my ultra/running name “Tent Daddy,” which honestly, is a point of pride for me.

Crewing takes a lot out of you, when you do it right; maybe even more so than running. I know that at the end of each event I’m crewing, I’m under a fog of both physical and mental exhaustion, but also gratitude for being allowed to serve. I hope that the runners I’m supporting see that: I may be more reserved and inwardly focused, but it’s all out of a quiet service and love, as well as utilizing the time to work on my own personal improvements, even when taking care of the needs of those running.

I love my running family, they’ve seen me through so much, and I’ve welcomed them into my home and my heart. I could not ask for a more wonderful family to run with.

GAP Relay 2018

I had a lot of issues with how this race was managed, but it helped me find a community of night runners that continues to this day. Shared toil can bring people together, and this race certainly did. We had a great time, despite a lot challenges, and I’m proud of us for that!

Eagle Up 2019

My first time running an ultra. After crewing a few times, I figured it was time for me to give it a shot. I had a blast, was supported by an amazing team, made new friends on the course, and even finished in the top third for my event, far exceeding my own expectations!


A two-day, last person standing race put on by a friend and member of my ultra team. Friends from all over the country in a county park, their families, a big cookout feel, the most amazing raffle prizes, and lots of running loops, what more could I ever ask for?

This weekend is such an idyllic memory for me, not only the feel of the entire weekend, but also setting up and tearing down the course, building and installing a literal bridge and the camaraderie from this amazing group.

Philadelphia Half Marathon 2019

I went in hoping to PR and I worked my ass off to do so. The goal was to break 2:10, with a stretch goal of sub 2:05. I came in sub two hours! I remember not even believing it, even as I was staring at my results on my phone. The crowd support in downtown was phenomenal, and I got a chuckle that everyone from Philly died on the two hills as I just passed them all with ease. Getting cheered on by the Philly Frontrunners at the very end was just the icing on the cake.

This was also a runcation with amazing friends. I got to explore a new city, ride the train for the first time (and finish up my NaNoWriMo novel while on board at the end of the weekend) and enjoy a real vacation for the first time in a long while.

Pittsburgh 30K

My first trail race! This was a fatass race put on my the local outdoor store. I made some scones to share and got lots of compliments on them, but the aid station winner was the Pittsburgh cookie and pierogie table!

A group of four of us from PRANK ended up running together and we got to see parts of Pittsburgh I’ve never dreamed of seeing (and might not be able to again based on planned development, which was the impetus of the event).

While it may not be my favorite, I’m glad I dipped my toe in the trail running world, this was the perfect way to do it.

Except for ‘that’ hill.

You know the one.

Temperatures got hot. I melted a bit. Also, my one foot is feeling a bit off, so I’m going to rest a bit more and then get back at it as I can. Bit of a setback, but again, I’m reminding myself that I would be in taper mode at this point.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 8 miles.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles.
  • Thursday: 7 miles. Speed work: Tempo: 14min/4R/12min.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 10 miles
  • Sunday: 6 miles. Slept in after a socially distanced party/campfire for my goddaughter’s first birthday, so didn’t go out until the heat of the day. Part of me thought it would be great heat training, but I went out too fast and there isn’t much shade on my loop (I think I might have been okay on the trail). I’ll try for that 20 mile this upcoming weekend.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind.
  • BWF/Core work: Just one workout this week, again, just feeling down.
  • Stretching: In need of a reset here too. Back at it this week.
  • Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000K progress (1021K): 147/634miles. There’s one other runner with the same last name, so I like to think I’m chasing him. He’s still ahead, but I closed the gap a bit this week!

Temperatures swung from snow last week to 70s and maybe even some 80s this week. Glad I’m doing the GVRAT to force myself into summer miles, but this is a learning experience for me for sure!

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 7 miles.
  • Wednesday: 4 miles.
  • Thursday: 7 miles. Speed work: VO2: 5K pace, 2×1200, 2x1000x 1×800.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 12 miles
  • Sunday: 18 miles. Met a friend for a socially distant walk/catch up for about an hour afterwards on a couple park benchnes, and it was so, so needed.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: Two workouts this week again, so on track.
  • Stretching: Back into the habit of stretching, but still room for improvement.
  • Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000K progress (1021K): 111/634miles. There’s one other runner with the same last name, so I like to think I’m chasing him. He’s still ahead, but I closed the gap a bit this week!

Back at it this week, had to dodge a few rain clouds (and snow on Saturday), and looks like that will continue this week.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 7 miles.
  • Wednesday: 4 miles.
  • Thursday: 8 miles. Speed work: VO2: 5K pace, two sets: 2×1200 1×800
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 6 miles
  • Sunday: 18 miles. Hit up the Jail Trail, which was mostly empty since I got there early and it was still cold. Made a detour to the Point to round out my mileage for the day.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: Two workouts this week! Felt good, but sore to get back to it.
  • Stretching: Back into the habit of stretching, so we’ll keep that going.
  • Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000K progress: 63/635 miles. I’ll have to double check, I think this race is 635 miles, but that number may be a bit off. A 1000K is 621, but the course is a bit longer than that, as is the case with many ultras.

First week of real training for O24, and feels good to be back. I’ll be adding in BWF work this week, bt I’m back on the stretching train, so that helps a lot!

My long run was tough, it was really humid, warmer than it had been all week, and the trail was packed, mostly with people fishing in the stream that runs next to it. Sadly, so few people were wearing mouth coverings, but it’s at least wide enough to keep my distance.

  • Monday: 7 miles.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles.
  • Wednesday: Rest.
  • Thursday: 6 miles. Ran the Zombies, Run! Spring virtual race, which was a ton of fun, one of their best!
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 5 miles
  • Sunday: 14 miles.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s bar.
  • BWF/Core work: Took the week off, restarting next week.
  • Stretching: Back into the habit of stretching, so we’ll keep that going.
  • Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000K progress: 19/621 miles.

So here’s where we are. Eagle Up is cancelled until 2021. O24, which was supposed to be this weekend, has been delayed to the first weekend in October. In a cruel twist of fate, that means that I could do the same training plan starting at that point (the week I log below) and it would line up perfectly.

However, that would mean that I’ve been ‘in training mode’ since Christmas for a race in October. Yes, this training cycle has increased my speed and I’ve made some great progress, but that’s a lot to take on, mentally.

I took the whole week off, mostly as a mental reset, but did participate in the virtual Doc’s Blow Out Yore Butt challenge on Friday. The idea was to tackle one of your soft PRs and see if you could break it.

My softest PR is probably 50K, but I wasn’t going to go after that, instead, I decided to run a 10K. My previous PR was 59:19.

So, I adjusted a bit, jumping into week 4 of my plan (a mix of two RFP plans and the speedwork from Uncle Pete) and then adjusting/repeating around week 12 and 13 so it all works out pretty well. This puts me back into VO2 speed work which I’m dreading, but also know it will make me a better runner.

I’m also dreading all the summer running I have in front of me. To help with that, I signed up for laz’s 1000K virtual race across Tennessee. We have four months to log 1000K, and since this is probably my only chance to run a laz race, I figured, it’s a good way to get some inspiration.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: Rest.
  • Wednesday: Rest.
  • Thursday: Rest.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: Doc’s Blow Out Yore Butt challenge – 10K: 54:08, new (unofficial) PR!
  • Sunday: Rest.
  • BWF/Core work: Took the week off, restarting next week.
  • Stretching: Should have stretched, but didn’t. Back at it.
  • 1000K progress: Starts May 1.

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