Today's Mighty Oak

Starting a new training plan, so a new series of weekly training recaps! This time, I’m doing a 24 week plan (if I counted correctly) from Relentless Forward Progress.

  • Monday: 6 miles on the mini loop (1/3 of a mile) around my neighborhood.
  • Tuesday (Christmas): Rest day (swapped from original plan with Monday, due to the holiday)
  • Wednesday: 5 miles
  • Thursday: 6 miles (mini loops in the neighborhood)
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 12 miles. Back on the Great Allegheny Passage, and it was such a wonderful run, although a bit windy on the way back, but very enjoyable!
  • Sunday: 5 + 5. Was supposed to do only do five. Because of New Year’s and a doctor’s appointment, I opted to do Wednesday’s miles as a second workout. A bit sore the next morning, but glad I did it.
  • Core/strength: I’m finishing up the TravelStrong intermediate squat challenge (for Buttmas, the follow up to Planksgiving), and on Tuesday, we’re starting Namast-New Year, a 31 day yoga challenge!

Since we’re at the end of the year (and I’m not running tonight), I figured this would be a good time to look back at the year!

My first race was the VeteRun half marathon in West Virginia, which I turned into a mini runcation with my friend Cat and ran with my Aunt! I also set a new PR for the distance, even in the windy conditions!

The year continued with my first full marathon, and then onto the extra long 5K that was Stride for Pride! I finally broke an hour in the 10K at The Great Race, and of course, there were a few virtual races in there.

October was my fall A race, the GAP Trail Relay, and then the next morning, the Mario Lemieux 6.6K (where I exactly tied my PR for the distance) and a 10K in Central Park!

All in all, I ran 1,222.8 miles. I don’t run with Strava or any other kind of tracker, I just use a spreadsheet to track the miles (rounding down to the nearest mile, except for races, where I’ll add in the tenths). After my marathon plan, I made a goal to hit 1,200 for the year, averaging 100 a month, and I’m so glad that I did it!

I also had an amazing year in terms of clubs and teams! PRorER had our official meetup at Eagle Up Ultra (videos located down the page here), we had a mini-meetup in Pittsburgh and continued to grow our little running family through new members and two babies! We’re getting ready to tackle Jackpot in February (as well as a host of other events throughout the year), and a Pittsburgh ultra, dumb run in the woods event over the summer!

Our team from the GAP relay learned we loved running at nights so much we’ve kept doing it, leading to the creation of PRANK: Pittsburgh Runs At Night Klub. And my running group, the Front Runners, heads towards our 35th anniversary with a growing membership and some of the best running friends I could ask for.

What does 2019 bring? Well, starting the second week of my next training plan, and have a bunch of races on my calendar, including my fall A race (at least I think it will be my A race), the Philly Half, so I can get the Keystone challenge medal.

I’m looking forward to another year with wonderful people and using running to see new and exciting places. I’ll probably do the same and set a mileage goal after my spring A race, as a way to keep myself motivated throughout the summer and the rest of the year!

Elections have consequences.  The Justice Department filed a brief to support of businesses being able to fire workers for being trans.

And the presidential administration has fired HIV+ Airmen, because of their status, right before Christmas.

The administration also shut down a study looking to cure HIV.

President Obama is featured on the final Hamildrop:

Steve King says that Nazis from Austria would be Republicans here…and he’s not wrong.

A Florida man was kicked out of his apartment because he’s gay, and has no legal way to fight it, the sad reality most of the country lives in.

The first teaser for Avengers: Endgame has dropped:

A gay professional wrestler in Australia is using his OnlyFans account to raise money for suicide prevention, and I think that’s both wonderful and admirable, as well as a great use of the platform (and his physique)!

And the teaser trailer for the Downton Abbey movie has also dropped:

NASA’s new Mars lander, Insight, has sent back selfies from the surface of the red planet!

And finally, the president of the company that owns Grindr, thinks gays shouldn’t be allowed to get married.

I run with the Pittsburgh Frontrunners, and the name was derived from the book, “The Front Runner” by Patricia Nell Warren.  I’ve never read it, and I’d like to, even though I’ve heard it’s a bit dated at this point.

However, it spawned a global running community, there are Front Runner chapters all over the world, and the International Front Runners participates in things such as the Gay Games.  That group, has awarded Warren an honorary lifetime membership (the first such award) to honor her writing and the birth of a global running organization.

I’m so happy to run with the Frontrunners, having found a great group of friends, both at my pace, and not, all of whom I’ve learned so much from!

Happy Guy Fawkes Day! (one of my annual posts). For the love of all that you hold dear, make sure you have a plan and go vote tomorrow.  Do it for the people you love who at this point don’t see a future.  We’re all depending on you.

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!

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):


(Note: I’m still processing the mass shooting in Pittsburgh from this weekend.  But we all also need and deserve spaces to put the world behind us and have a bit of normalcy.  I’m taking that space.)

First up today, the trailer for Aquaman looks really awesome!

It’s just a teaser, but the live action Aladdin looks neat and I got really excited for it:

In horrific news, a transgender girl was excluded from an active shooter drill at a school.  So not only do we have to have active shooter drills at schools, but they were fighting over where she should go.  The world is disgusting.

An eight year old pulled a 1,500 year old sword out of lake.  I”m pretty sure she is now our Queen.

Randy Rainbow is back with Just Be Best:

Currently, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is hosting the Festival of F1rsts, and I’ve been lucky enough to catch four premiers!

First up, was “Manifold” a live concert and projection onto the side of the Benedum.  It was live after the performance of “The Show That Goes Wrong” and was pretty neat, although sadly, I didn’t realize it was a live orchestra until after.

Just a few steps away, we stopped by to see “Beyond” which I really loved.  You step into this corridor and the screen at the end, as well as the sound, lights and fog surrounding you give you a ten minute show!

Next, I saw Cirque Eloize’s “Hotel.” I’ve never seen a circus show before, and if Beyond din’t make me miss my Burner friends, this certainly did!

And finally, I was able to see Quantum Theatre’s “Chatterton.”  Much like their production of “TAMARA,” you move about the space and don’t see the whole show, following different characters as they interact with each other.  “Chatterton” took place in three time periods, and was a wonderful mystery to piece together, it’s still playing, so if you get a chance to go see this world premier, do it!

As a bonus, not specifically part of the Festival of Firsts, but after The Great Race Expo, I stopped by Rethink Perception, a small, temporary art gallery filled with works from the US Veterans’ Artists Alliance.

To see all the photos and short videos from my Festival experience, you can find the gallery here.

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!

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