Today's Mighty Oak

Alright, let’s see what we have today. First up, the stories behind the names of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.

The stories within stories: the fictional books we wished were real.

The recurring jokes of Arrested Development.

New Looney Tunes are coming to HBO Max and this is making me want to subscribe:

The PG (granted, it’s become a right-wing rag on the editorial side) has a neat interactive site about the bridges of Pittsburgh. Note this may be behind a paywall, I think it was one of my three free articles when I read it.

Dolly Parton secretly executive produced Buffy! And we just now found this out!

A DM and a set designer created a DnD adventure in a dresser! Each drawer is new level of the dungeon!

We’ve all been doing a lot of virtual exploration of place, and the British Museum recently revamped their online collections.

Speaking of, need some peace in your life? Check out the livestream of the Northern Lights!

Because there is such a need for blood right now, the FDA has reluctantly allowed itself to accept blood from gay men, as long as we don’t have sex for three months. They still don’t want our blood, but they realize they need it.

The Atlantic has a great piece about pandemic fatigue, how we should approach it both in ourselves and others. The article also covers the similarities between COVID and the HIV pandemic: they’re very, very similar, just on a different time scale. Be kind to yourself and others, be as smart and safe as you can.

Also in Pandemic related content, CGP Grey’s new video about it. While I will disagree, I think that for many, just surviving is enough (instead of creation of coming out ‘better’ in some way), this video has great tips about how to survive our new reality:

Dumb Runner, The Onion of running, hits it on the head: Local runner cancels backyard marathon, refuses to offer refund.

New research shows that Antarctica used to be a rain forest. Global tectonics and climate history really are awesome!

The voice of Big Thunder Mountain looks exactly how you think he does. And that is comforting.

The trailer for the new Netflix show ‘Hollywood” looks really fun:

Myst is set to become a TV Series….for the third (?) time. I’m excited, but will believe it when I see it.

Slog has great coverage of the white privilege of protesting stay at home orders. Worth a read.

An artist created a chandelier that forms as it collects rain water, and it’s beautiful!

That’s it for today, but I’ll be back soon, have a great one!

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.

My friend and teammate Lauren planned an eight hour puzzle run for her birthday. And while we couldn’t all go to Indianapolis to do it in the park like she originally planned, we were able to all compete virtually!

Each hour, she would release a new clue. You then than three options for getting the second clue to that hour:

  • Run 2-3 miles
  • Walk 1 mile
  • Do some sort of activity for 30 minutes (this could be wiring, cleaning, other exercising, whatever you wanted to do).

After you got the clues, you’d come up with either a three digit code or three letter word to send back. If you were right, you got one of the eight puzzle pieces. First one to assemble all eight puzzle pieces correctly wins!

You could participate as a team, but I was running solo. You could also front-load miles for those who wanted to do a long run; they would get the clues each hour at quarter after. I decided to run three miles each hour, which gave me a little taste of a last person standing race. I set up in my basement with my laptop, some snacks, water and at 9 a.m., I took off for my first run. Each hour I’d be running 9 loops of my neighborhood.

Hour 1 – Numbers. Run time: 30:15

At the top of the hour, Lauren gave us six Sudokus. The second clue showed us which three boxes we needed to turn into her. I copied one of them wrong, so I had to come back to this after my hour two run, but I enjoyed it, it’s been a while since I’ve done any Sudokus! This is where I also learned that doing these kinds of mental tasks after running is harder than I expected!

Hour 2 – Ballroom. Run time: 28:56

This freaking puzzle! This one gave me the most trouble the whole day. We got the image below as the first clue, and then the second was the crossword that showed what letters to send back to her.

I made a word bank, and eventually Lauren released a better word bank, so I was able to figure it out from there. But man, I was googling everything (names of famous hip hop dancers, George Fred Astaire, synonyms for tango, my search history is something else!) and I tried some wild things, even trying to figure out how to use the clock as a clue.

Eventually I finished up Numbers and resigned myself to keep working on Ballroom for the rest of the day.

Hour 3 – Sign. Run time: 28:31

This hour’s first clue was a sign from Bryan’s Family Fish Market. After my run, I got the blank puzzle with a few letters filled in (like Wheel of Fortune). Eventually, I started crossing off letters from the sign and filled in the puzzle, asking me for the number of MPs in the UK House of Commons. Sent that off, got my puzzle piece and stared some more at Ballroom.

Hour 4 – Bar. Run time: 28:04

Hour four gave us a picture of bottles lined up on a bar. After my run, I was asked to make a Moscow Mule, the three digits being the number of each bottle. Stared some more at Ballroom and got some more substantial food from upstairs and refilled my water bottles.

Hour 5 – People. Run time: 27:47

This hour brought us six people with their ages, pointing to each other. After my run, I got an order of mathematical operations. The first solution I came up with (using the order of operations), was a four digit number, and I knew that couldn’t be right, so I went back and did each step as a separate, individual equation. That yielded the correct three digit code!

Still working on Ballroom, but I also took the pieces that I had and started to put them together in Photoshop. I could see what is was going to be, but still had half of the pieces to collect. This was also where the running was really starting to wear me down. The breaks were good for my legs, but the brain keeps going, even when you’re running, so it was quite a workout the whole day!

Hour 6 – Words. Run time: 27:32

This one also took a while to figure out, and Lauren released a bunch of extra hints for it. At the top of the hour we got three columns of three letter words. Our clue was red, yellow and green boxes that corresponded with each of them.

At first, I thought it was finding similar letters in the green box words, and maybe some overlap from yellow. I also tried finding the most used letter from each column, and the most used letters from each color.

Eventually, figured it out that red words had no correct letters, yellow had a correct letter in the wrong spot and from there, I was able to brute force through it all to figure out the answer, but not until after all my runs were done.

Hour 7 – Clocks. Run time: 27:35

This one was ingenious. At the top of the hour we got eight clocks that were missing their hands. The second clue ave us the hands.

So at first, I tried finding a pattern in the times, and looking at the elapsed time between each clock. I tried adding up the total elapsed time, nothing was working.

Hour 8 – Excerpt. Run time: 27:26

I went out for my last run, hoping to get back quick enough to give myself a fighting chance to finish up Words, Clocks and Excerpt. I made it back, grabbed my computer and phone and ran upstairs to see what I could finish.

The first part of the clue was an excerpt from Sherlock Holmes on a very busy background. The second clue was a color wheel with an arrow pointing to cyan.

If you filtered to read the cyan part, you could make out an extra sentence near the end. I saw the word ‘address’ in it an immediately send in the clue of 221, the first part of Holmes’ address. Knowing it was a three digit code, there was nothing else it could be.

I still needed to get words Words and Clocks. Words I was able to work my way through, it just took me until after run eight, leaving only clocks left to be solved.

Staring at it, I suddenly realized that one of the clocks was from Ballroom! I actually made it harder on myself by going back to that clue and trying to read the time off of it. The more simple, and correct answer was to just send in the time that matched that clock from the second part of the clue. That series of texts, sending in the answer for Clocks as my mind worked through those revelations was amazing and I was cheering in my house! That gave me all eight pieces!

I put them together, sent it in, and won the individual race! A four person team finished up very shortly after hour 8, and a two person team didn’t finish until just before the end of the day cutoff, so I’m very happy with my performance!

As sad as it was to not be together to celebrate her birthday, being able to play this amazing game virtually was great! Following along with people working through puzzles and running all day was really awesome.

I can also say that this is the first time I’ve ever won a race! Guess it takes a combination of mental and physical tasks to give me a chance! But I will say, I’m really proud with my running. Getting consistently faster throughout the day was not something I expected to be able to do, and I really impressed myself!

Lauren did such an amazing job putting this together, changing it to a virtual event on the fly, and coordinating us all as we ran. I think there at least 40 people participating which is so awesome to have such a big group, from all over the country playing!

This inadvertently became my last race for the spring, and I’ve taken the next week off (going the same direction for all of my running around my neighborhood tiny loop has done a number on my left Achilles). I have the Zombies, Run! spring virtual coming up, and then I’m gong to do Laz’ The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000K to make sure I keep up my running over the summer and to get ready for the newly rescheduled O24.

This week was filled with highs and lows: Lauren’s (Virtual) Birthday Puzzle Race and then Eagle Up being cancelled until 2021. I’ll have another post up with my thoughts and how I’m changing my training, but for now, here’s my last post for this series.

Wash your hands, stay home, wear a facemask when you go out and let’s all band together (by staying apart) to get through this together.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: Rest.
  • Wednesday: 10 miles.
  • Thursday: 9 miles.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 24 miles – Lauren’t (Virtual) Birthday Puzzle Race!
  • Sunday: Rest. My Achilles was a bit tender from the race the day before, and with EU being cancelled, I needed the mental break.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bars, Honey Stinger Waffle, homemade crusty bread.
  • BWF/Core work: Did the BodyWeightFitness Recommended Routine once this week, still making some good progress, but now I’m out of the habit, have to fix that!
  • Stretching: Out of the habit of this too, but time to make it up!
  • Race report owed: Lauren’s (Virtual) Birthday Puzzle Race

A big week, and I’m feeling beat up by it, but still going. Have a fun virtual event this Saturday I’m looking forward to!

Wash your hands, stay home, wear a facemask when you go out and let’s all band together (by staying apart) to get through this together.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 10 miles.
  • Wednesday: 8 miles, steady state 20 minutes.
  • Thursday: 6 miles.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 10 miles.
  • Sunday: 22 miles. Hurt my Achilles during this run, it’s real tender, so hopefully nothing some rest won’t cure.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bars, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: Did the BodyWeightFitness Recommended Routine twice this week, still making some good progress!
  • Stretching: More stretching, although I did miss it one day.

Artist Mary Button makes a new series of station of the cross paintings each year, and in 2012 (I believe) she created “The struggle for LGBT Equality.”

Having gone to a Catholic college (and even winning a Tony Danza Award, for Best Pacifist in a Violent Scene…in a Jesus Play), I have some exposure to the stations of the cross, but they’ve never been a huge part of my life.

However, I love Mary’s style, and really appreciate the history she put into this series, so I put it goether in a short video below.

Maundy Thursday is my favorite day of the liturgical calendar, mostly because it is so different than everything else, as well as the ‘oh shit’ ending it has (much like, say, The Empire Strikes Back or The Goblet of Fire). Our church going is now all virtual for the time being, but I at least wanted to finally bring some attention to this amazing series.

Still running, which is helping my sanity, but I’m also leaning more and more towards Eagle Up being cancelled. Not sure if they’ll rechedule it, but I’ll at least have a fall ultra on my calendar with O24.

Wash your hands, stay home, wear a facemask when you go out and let’s all band together (by staying apart) to get through this together.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 7 miles.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles.
  • Thursday: 9 miles, steady state 20 minutes.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 15 miles.
  • Sunday: 9 miles.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bars.
  • BWF/Core work: Did the BodyWeightFitness Recommended Routine twice this week. I also did an at-home yoga class, and there is a new Zombies, Stay at Home mission I need to check out.
  • Stretching: More stretching, although I did miss it two days.

Going through a lot of old articles, but also mixing with some new, there’s a few random thoughts I’d like to bring up about Mayor Pete.

One thing that I think got lost as his candidacy went on, was his faith. He brought up the very good point that the left seems to shy away from ideas of faith, and CNN noted that, as an openly gay man, he was the most susceptible to attacks from the religious right, but was happy to spar in that arena.

At a CNN debate in July, Buttigieg blasted “so-called conservative Christian senators” for blocking a bill to raise the minimum wage “when Scripture says that whoever oppresses the poor taunts their maker.”

I appreciate that he sees Christianity as the liberal bastion is it, something that I hope can be better reclaimed.

Much, too much, has been written about Pete’s own sexuality. Writers and columnists have been upset that he’s not gay enough, or too gay. It all showed that there is not one way to be gay, but still, for the first major gay candidate, I suppose that was to be expected.

However, much like Obama had to tread a very, very fine line surrounding race, Pete had to do the same. And part of that spilled over into his entire being, and he often showed so much intellectualism that he seemed devoid of emotion. But policing his own words, especially to such an extreme, is something that gay men have extensive experience with.

We are used to carefully calibrating how much of a “flourish” we give off when we express ourselves. We’ve spent our lives learning, by necessity, to “master” our passions and channel them into action that feels safer than acting on them directly.

I think he easily fell into another gay trope, ‘the best little boy in the world,’ but again, that’s just one ‘way’ of being gay (or responding to the world forcing itself upon you, as a gay man).

One last thing I will mention, is that while I am so grateful that Bloomberg has pledged his money to support the nominee (as have all the dropped out front runners, I believe), Pete has just announced his new PAC, Win the Era, to specifically focus on down-ballot races.

Flipping the Senate and holding the House, as well as finding and supporting Millennial candidates, is vitally important work, and I’m glad to see it being a focus.

All my best,


Getting into a groove of running even more alone than normal, but I’m also dealing with a weird state of my races being cancelled/postponed, so I’m not sure how to train. As of right now, my A race is still on (and it’s honestly on the bubble, depending on how these next two weeks go), so I don’t want to stop, but if it gets postponed, I’ll just have to modify my plan.

My other ultra, which was supposed to be a tune-up race, is being rescheduled for October, so it looks like I’ll have an A race for the fall, although I’m not looking forward to training through the summer. However, if my current A race gets cancelled outright, I’ll at least have something else to make my new A race.

It’s all up in the air and unknown right now, so in the meantime, wash your hands, stay out of groups, and let’s all band together (by staying apart) to get through this together.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 5 miles.
  • Wednesday: 10 miles.
  • Thursday: Rest. Just wasn’t feeling it mentally, so I swapped two days.
  • Friday: 9 miles.
  • Saturday: 11 miles.
  • Sunday: 18 miles. Did 11 miles at the park, which people were generally really good about social distancing, but the pollen, the sun, humidity and some stomach issues made me stop early, so I did the last 7 at home that evening.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bars.
  • BWF/Core work: Did the BodyWeightFitness Recommended Routine once this week, will add another in next week to keep an average of 2/week. I also did an at-home yoga class, as well as the new Zombies, Stay Home at home workout. The ZR workout was cute and fun, and I’m glad they’re doing it, it’s great content for the current apocalypse.
  • Stretching: More stretching, although I did miss it two days. More gentle yoga, which is also helping a bit!

Alright, let’s see what we have. I’m going through a lot of news, and also quite an old back-log of stuff that I’ve e-mailed to myself over the years, so I’ll be adding in some older articles I think are worth taking a look at over the next week or so. But, first up, Randy Rainbow reminds us to stay at home and social distance!

The title of this piece makes me laugh, so hard. And the penguins are cute!

A lot of my races are cancelled and postponed, but Dumb Runner helps me keep it all in perspective. Until we’re back at it, I”m just running a lot of loops in my neighborhood!

Here’s a first look at the new Avengers Campus theme park being built:

Okay, the title of the penguin article above makes me laugh, but so does this: violinists playing in the toilet paper article like the Titanic going down.

This has been the talk of all my friends recently, but it was found out why Triscuits are call that, and no, it’s not what you think, it’s so much better!

And finally for today, a look at You Suck at Cooking’s best time-saving hacks:

Have a great one!

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