Today's Mighty Oak

Another weird week schedule-wise due to the holidays, as well as having to pull one run from next week into this week due to shifting schedules to see an art exhibit (the Van Gogh experience)

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 5 miles, tiny loops. I’ve found my watch overcounts if I go counter-clockwise (also, as I just learned, known as widdershins) around my neighborhood, and undercounts if I go clockwise. Trying to figure out what’s going on.
  • Wednesday: 7 miles, tiny loops.
  • Thursday: 5 miles, tiny loops.
  • Friday: 7 miles on the trail. Had the day off so headed to the trail for my speed work: 12-15 (ended up ~14) minutes VO2. Certainly I lost speed since my last training cycle, but that’s to be expected, but not as much as I thought at least!
  • Saturday: 5 miles, tiny loops.
  • Sunday: 14 miles. Hit up the Westmoreland Heritage Trail. It was chilly, but great running weather.
  • BWF/Core work/Yoga/Meditation: Did the BWF routine once this week, so staying on track with that!
  • Stretching: Stretched after each run!

I’m actually not one for new year’s resolutions. Typically I set out some very manageable goals for me at my birthday, and work on those for the year. So what did I do this year? Set some more new year’s resolutions.

A lot of these are continuations of what I was working on last year, and that’s fine, I’m happy with that! Anyway, here’s what I’ve been working on:


I wanted to restart the Wheel of Time series, as well as finish a few other books. Here’s what I read:

  • Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks. Great read about surviving a Sasquatch Massacre.
  • You Suck at Cooking. An amazing cookbook and YouTube series!
  • How to Wash the Dishes by Peter Miller. A friend bought this for me and I’m so glad she did, a meditation on washing the dishes.
  • Welcome to Nightvale by Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink. The first novel from the world of Nightvale, companion to the podcast.
  • New Spring by Robert Jordan. Prequel to The Wheel of Time.
  • Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. A great resource and turned out to be a great inspiration for NaNoWriMo
  • The Eye of the World. Originally I wanted to read the first three Wheel of Time books, but I only got through this one (plus the prequel above). I forgot how much these books can be a slog at times. When they’re great, they soar, but sometimes they just drag.

Other books and audio books

So, I’m not counting audio books for this challenge (hot take: it’s not actually reading. Not saying it’s not great, it’s just something else), or a couple other books that were very short:

  • Mostly Water by Sam Pittman. Collection of poems from a friend of mine from the Frontrunners!

Clean spaces

In a general sense of decluttering and cleaning, I’d like to clean or organize 12 small spaces, one a month. These are things like closets, bookshelves, dressers, etc. I had a couple spaces identified ahead of time, the rest I chose as I saw they needed attention. I got to 10 this year, and that’s pretty good! I’ll be doing this again next year!

  • Hall closet
  • Belt rack
  • Shower head and kitchen sink sprayer nozzle
  • Glove box
  • Bathroom countertop
  • Clean the exterior doors of my kitchen cabinets
  • Good scrubbing to kitchen counters
  • Dusting/cobwebs in stairs (I have floating stairs so this can be a problem if I forget about it, ha)
  • Nightstands
  • Running clothes dresser

Watch some TV and movies

I’m behind on some media I want to watch, so I’m going to try to get a bit caught up. This was all on top of things like the MCU series that came out, Survivor, and a few other movies and things:

  • Restart Arrow, two seasons
  • MCU phase 1 (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers)
  • Get caught up on Critical Role (at new years I’m less than 20 episodes behind, starting at Campaign 2 Episode 101). As of April 14 I am caught up! There will be times I’m a week or two behind, but I made it!
  • Three seasons of Supernatural

Well, I’d say I was successful! Didn’t do quite as much as I wanted to do, but that’s okay! The trick for me is to set reasonable and attainable goals, then I gain momentum to do more! (Side note, just surviving this year is enough. Don’t let anyone tell you differently).

I have some ideas for what I’ll be working on in 2022, including a lot of cleaning those same spaces again!

Here’s to a great year!

Oh boy, back at it! At this point, I’m training as if I’ll go to Eagle Up (had to use my registration), but with the pandemic, I will be playing that by ear as we get closer. I also had to use my registration for O24, which is the month before EU, but it’s also much, much smaller, so much like Miakonda (at least right now), I feel comfortable going there.

Either way though, back at it, after a fall of not much running. It’s nice to be back on a schedule, although I’m already sick of running in the rain, and it’s only the first week! This week, and next week are also a bit strange due to the holidays, so while I got all my runs in, the days they happened was all over the place, and will be again.

And of course, I still have my notes from Miakonda that I need to turn into a race report. It was a tougher race than I expected in a few different ways, and I’ve had trouble finding all the right words, but I am still working on it. Anyway, back to it, here’s what I did this week:

  • Monday: 7 miles, tiny loops.
  • Tuesday: Frontrunners Holiday Light Run! Joined everyone downtown as we ran around looking at the lights! Always a great time, and I’m so glad we did it this year after not having it last year.
  • Wednesday: Rest.
  • Thursday: Rest.
  • Friday: 7 miles, tiny loops.
  • Saturday: 5 miles, tiny loops. Then headed to my parents to celebrate Christmas all day.
  • Sunday: 13 miles. Hit up the Westmoreland Heritage Trail. I just have to be careful with this, as they pulled all the port-o’s from the trail, so I have to plan things around the bathrooms at Blue Star (and there might be port-o’s at the parking lot in Duff Park, I’ll have to check). But nice to have a long run on the trail again.
  • BWF/Core work/Yoga/Meditation: This time around, I’m going to be mindful of doing this type of cross training, but I won’t let myself feel as guilty for missing it as I have in the past. I did do the BWF routine (on Festivus, for the joke about feats of strength), but I also need to make sure I’m giving myself a break and some grace to take care of my mental health as well.
  • Stretching: Stretched after each run! This will be super important, especially these first few weeks as I’m a bit creaky and my hips (just like always) are very uncooperative.

In shocking news to no one, extreme mental distress among LGBT people increased during Donald Drumpf’s political rise and presidency, according to new research published in the journal Economics & Human Biology.

One of my favorite bits from The Beef and Dairy Network, the jingle for if you need to remember the number to call Beef Call (UK):

An ancient asteroid impact may have inspired the story of the city of Sodom.

Something that hasn’t happened before, each of America’s top five sports has an out player!

Jamie Lee Curtis and Ryan Murphy are making a miniseries about Glen Burke, the man who invented the high five and the first out, gay MLB player!

A teacher in Taiwan is uploading calculus tutorials onto PornHub.

The Wheel of Time has an amazing trailer:

A new study shows that sharing memes during the pandemic helped mental health.

Dr. Rachel Levine adds another title: Four-Star General.

The French President is pushing for a global end to the death penalty.

In huge medical news, the WHO has approved the first malaria vaccine!

Same, Anderson, same. And of course, we’re seeing this in the research now too.

The trailer for Tick, Tick, Boom:

We have a new phone number to text for suicide prevention: 988

The Pens and the Sabres once again teamed up for a Pride game, even bigger than last year’s!

Why the phrase “who cares” about queer athletes is actually weaponized hate:

The fact of the matter is that these people care very much. They care enough to take the time to respond to a Facebook post they don’t like. It drives them batty that gay, bi, lesbian and trans athletes are coming out in droves. And there’s nothing they can do to stop it.

All they can do is share their hatred for these athletes in code. Thankfully the sports community ready to embrace these athletes is exponentially larger.

Here’s the trailer for The Book of Boba Fett:

In other Star Wars news, using a scientifically accurate laser from the Death Star just isn’t as fun visually.

In more sports news, a duck ran (parts of) the NYC Marathon! It’s adorable!

Also news from the NYC Marathon, this (ridiculously photogenetic) athlete is the first to win the new non-binary category! I’m hoping that more races adopt the practice!

Amber Ruffin is a national treasure:

Alright, that’s it for now, have a great one!

Happy Guy Fawkes Day! (one of my annual posts). It’s a good reminder of how easily violence can be perpetuated, why we should never forget those seek to use such means to instill fear and hatred and the power of ideas.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,

I know of no reason

Why the Gunpowder Treason

Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent

To blow up the King and Parli’ment.

Three-score barrels of powder below

To prove old England’s overthrow;

By God’s providence he was catch’d

With a dark lantern and burning match.

Hulloa boys, Hulloa boys, let the bells ring.

Hulloa boys, hulloa boys, God save the King!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope.

A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.

A pint of beer to rinse it down.

A faggot of sticks to burn him.

Burn him in a tub of tar.

Burn him like a blazing star.

Burn his body from his head.

Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.

Hip hip hoorah!

Hip hip hoorah!

Race week! Still hot and humid, hoping that trend breaks for the race. Lots to pack, even though I’m running, I’m still bringing out gear like I’m crewing!

  • Monday: 2 miles, tiny loops.
  • Tuesday: Rest.
  • Wednesday: 9 miles on the trail. Last run before packing and heading out, figured it was appropriate to do it where most of my training had been.
  • Thursday: Rest.
  • Friday: Drive out to Toledo.
  • Saturday: Miakonda Trail Ultra 2021. Race Report coming soon.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: No yoga this week, but my favorite local class is starting back up and I registered for that for the second half of September and all of October.
  • Stretching: Got all my stretching done.

Another disgustingly hot and humid week, but maybe if it times it so the heat snaps for the race, I’ll be okay. Also dealing with utter incompetence on the part of the camping department at the Boy Scout camp this is taking place. You wouldn’t think basic information about the cabin I paid them to rent would be so hard to find, but here we are.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles, tiny loops.
  • Wednesday: Rest.
  • Thursday: Was all dressed and about to head out when I heard the huge rumble of thunder. Huge downpour and storm for the next few hours meant an unexpected rest day.
  • Friday: 11 miles on the trail.
  • Saturday: 10 miles on the trail.
  • Sunday: 7 miles. Went to an art exhibition opening the night before, so slept in (which was needed), and ran this in the afternoon. It poured for about two miles of this run, which dropped the temperature by 15 degrees, and made for an interesting time.
  • Long run fuel: –
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: No yoga this week.
  • Stretching: Missed on stretching session.

I ran a bit extra throughout the week, knowing my schedule would be tight over the weekend. Well, I just couldn’t fit in my long run, and that’s okay I think. Crunching the numbers, even with the week off for injury, I’ve still run 85% of the miles in this plan, and I keep reminding myself that showing up at the start line undertrained but healthy is so, so much better than trained but injured.

And then of course, there is the question, ‘what constitutes undertrained?’ This is a training plan I cobbled together from three others, but I haven’t been as flexible as I should have been with myself. All of this plan has been through a hot and humid summer, while dealing with the stress of a pandemic. Sure, I wish I would have hit all the runs, but life gets in the way, and that’s okay.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 6 miles, tiny loops.
  • Wednesday: 9 miles on the trail.
  • Thursday: 9 miles on the trail. For whatever reason, this felt so difficult. The humidity was higher and there was no cloud cover, but even with those factors taken into account, I just struggled.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 6 early miles before the rest of my weekend got super busy.
  • Sunday: Rest.
  • Long run fuel: –
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: No yoga this week.
  • Stretching: Got all my stretching in!

My last peak week, and my first time reaching a training week with 60 miles! This was a big mental boost for me to reach this, and doing it in such awful weather is also a nice boon as well. Now I finally enter my taper and pray for overcast and cool race day conditions!

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 9 miles on the trail.
  • Wednesday: 6 miles, tiny loops.
  • Thursday: Rest. The weather went from unbearably hot to severe thunderstorms so I didn’t have a chance to get out.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 25 miles. My god, the humidity was just oppressive. It’s been bad all summer, but this seemed even worse. Slogged it out though.
  • Sunday: 20 miles. More humidity, and trashed legs. But got the mileage done, which was a huge mental boost for me!
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: No yoga this week.
  • Stretching: Got all my stretching in!

First off, how the hell is this already week 20?! Oh boy, getting down to it now. We even ordered our team shirts for the event:

One of my PRorER teammates was kind enough to send me his old Garmin, so now I’m also trying to figure that out as well. It’s been really nice, but I’m sure there’s a ton of features I’m not using, but it’s nice and weird to not have to run with my phone if I’m not listening to music!

This week I also took it easy, the humidity and heat shot back up, plus my legs needed the break from my 50-miler last week.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles, tiny loops.
  • Wednesday: 9 miles on the trail.
  • Thursday: 4 miles, tiny loops
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 10 miles. To get my mileage, I should have headed out for another loop of 10, but it was so humid and my legs were still trashed from last week, I called it early. A teammate did his own wonderfully stupid thing, running across the county, so I actually met him about 5 miles in with scones as his first aid stop, before I headed off to do my own mileage.
  • Sunday: 5 miles: The Lake Loop. A bunch of ultrarunners (including a wonderful friend who came in for the run across the county) took on Pittsburgh Track Club’s inaugural race! We had a great time together (of course, that was never a question), had three of our other teammates cheering us on, and giggled a bit at how out of place we were compared to the ‘former DI track athletes.’ But hey, they do stuff we can’t, and vice versa! A great job in terms of graphic design on the shirt, a delightful crossing guard and honestly, a very supportive group of runners!
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: No yoga this week.
  • Stretching: Missed a day of stretching, but otherwise I was good!

This upcoming week is another peak week (this plan had two 60 mile weeks and one 58 mile weeks, which included my 50-miler). Getting the mileage in under my belt will be a huge mental boost. Of course, it’s the most hellacious week at work in a long, long time (I’m covering two jobs as well as working on a bunch of really big projects, all at once), but just getting through these seven days and then heading into my taper will be really good!

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