Today's Mighty Oak


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!



This week was a bit of a blur. Work is as busy as it has ever been, and these last two big pushes of the training plan are all falling right as other events are happening and it’s taking a toll on me a bit. But, I’m super excited I did a self-supported 50-miler!

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles, tiny loops.
  • Wednesday: Rest.
  • Thursday: 4 miles, tiny loops
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 50 miles. See below.
  • Sunday: Rest.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Skratch, Gatorade, Bobo’s Bar, GU, Pringles, Complete Cookie, Ginger Ale, Diet Coke, vanilla double decker Moonpie.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: No yoga this week.
  • Stretching: Stretched after every run and on my rest days!

To do 50 miles self-supported, I drove out to park at a different trail head, putting me in a better position to refill my bottle and not go 10 miles on one bottle (which I know when it gets warm and after mile 20 or so, isn’t enough liquids).

The weather was cool in the morning (60’s!), which was a great change, although I certainly went out too fast to start with. My first two out and backs, I ended up going further than I originally expected, but it saved me from having to deal with the most dangerous road crossing even more times later in the day.

As it got closer to noon, the clouds went away, and the sunlight definitely took it out of me, but not as bad as I had expected, due to the temperature being lower. I tried out two new bits of gear on this: the first was a hat shield that you soak and water and then hang from your baseball cap, covering your neck. It was certainly cooling and helped, and I’ll be making sure to keep it in my gear going forward.

The second, was a ridiculously oversized, large-brimmed hat, a recommendation from a friend and teammate. I had to get used to the sounds it made when I moved my head and it hit my back, but it was a really big lifesaver and I’m glad I had it!

Seen here in said ‘ ridiculously oversized, large-brimmed hat ‘ cheesing for the camera around mile 40.

Fueling was pretty much normal, although I was pleasantly surprised that my stomach cooperated. I kept in front of it with some premptive ginger ale, which helped a lot. I used Tailwind for the first 37 miles or so, and Skratch for the rest, which was a nice change in flavor, and I’ll need to pick up some more Skratch.

My legs got a little achy around mile 36, and again around 43, but it passed, and wasn’t anything unexpected. I did use TrailToes for the first time, and while I’ve never had a blister problem before, I’m not sure if it helped much or not. I did end up with one blister that has already healed, I felt the hot spot around mile 46, but I was so close to the end (and away from my car) that I just powered through.

Speaking of, I had tried to run a self-supported 50-miler last year, but a tree had fallen, blocking the trail and mentally I was just done after 31 miles, so this was a goal I really wanted to get done. Heading out for my last six miles, I turned on some music and sang along, and I was super pumped to be reaching my goal!

After getting back to my car for the final time, I sat down for the second time that day (the first was for the picture above), and relaxed a bit before I packed up and headed home (with a stop at McDonald’s for nuggies). All in all, it was just under eleven and a half hours to run 50 miles. Strava has my moving time at 10 hours. When I ran 100K at Eagle Up, it was just under 16 hours and moving time of just under 13 hours. So, much to my surprise, faster than both I expected and my pace at Eagle Up.

Eagle Up, of course, had a crew and pacers and an aid station, so ninety minutes or so of my own self-crewing time, as well as a bit of rest and bathroom breaks here and there, seems pretty efficient, or at least, more efficient than I was expecting for myself (maybe it’s my chart, seen below, that keeps me focused). And yes, I was a bit over-anxious with my pace for the first 20 miles, but the cooler temps made a huge difference.

I learned a lot, and I’m so glad I finally got this distance done by myself, but I’m very much looking forward to a race with friends and teammates. I know that a big portion of the day will come down to the weather, which is beyond my control, so either way I’m going to enjoy it. My A goal is going to be a 100K PR and then I’ll go from there. I’m interested if I’ll make it through all 24 hours, would be fun training for O24 next year, but we’ll see what happens.

I use a little chart to take notes during the run and make sure I’m getting everything I need each time I’m back at my car (the first aid wasn’t really, it’s where I swapped out headphones, so not to worry about my chicken scratch).


It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of July and that the race is coming up so quickly. I’m so very tired of running in the heat, humidity and sunlight, and I know a bit worn down right now. But seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is both awesome and terrifying at the same time!

I’m also at the point (well, probably past the point, if I’m being honest) in a training cycle where trying to do all the training and everything else in my life (household chores, cooking, shopping, two jobs again, as well as a backlog of catching up and seeing friends due to the pandemic) has really worn me down. Training for an ultra is tough no matter what, and training for an ultra, and still being a functioning human in society as a single person is even tougher.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 9 miles on the trail
  • Wednesday: 10 miles. Back on the trail.
  • Thursday: 5 miles, tiny loops
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 8miles. Ran with my friend who stayed over for my Opening Ceremonies Bingo party the night before!
  • Sunday: 15 miles. Ridiculously humid, sunny in quite a few places as well, but glad I got it done.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: Between all the errands and running around, missed doing yoga this week.
  • Stretching: Stretched after every run!



Back at it after my week off. I told myself I’d go easy and be open to reduced mileage just to make sure that I didn’t hurt myself. I did end up skipping Sunday’s run, after a week of not sleeping well, it finally caught up to me and I just could not do another long run on that little sleep. This was supposed to be one of my two peak weeks, although looking back at this cycle, what was planned (60) has been less than four miles more from two of my previous weeks, so I’m trying not to be too terribly concerned. Anyway, here’s what my week looked like:

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles. Tiny loops.
  • Wednesday: 10 miles. Headed to the trail.
  • Thursday: 8 miles, back on the trail.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 10 miles. This was supposed to be 20, but was interrupted by something that precedence. As I was on my way back from my first out and back, about a mile and a half from the parking lot, I spotted a woman ahead holding her arm up at a 90 degree angle. I thought, ‘wrists don’t normally look like that,’ and as I got closer, I asked if she needed help.

    Turns out, she had stepped off the trail to let some cyclists go by, she slipped and tried to catch herself, breaking her wrist. She asked if I thought it was broken, and I replied, that it probably was, ‘but let’s just get you back to the parking lot.’ I took her dog, who was pulling on her and jostling her whole body, causing her a lot of pain, and I spent the next mile and a half taking care of both of them. I kept the dog moving and from tripping up the woman, and kept her talking to keep her distracted and calm.

    She had tried calling her husband who didn’t answer, and both me and another guy in the parking lot offered to drive her to the hospital, but she insisted, multiple times, that she would drive herself one handed. I was certainly happy to help as much as I could, but with literally only a water bottle with me on the trail (besides my cell phone, and we walked back before an ambulance would have reached us), this was all I could do. She was very appreciative, and I hope to see her again on the trail (and maybe sign her cast)!
  • Sunday: Rest.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: Did my favorite Yin Yoga class working on my legs
  • Stretching: Back on track, stretching every day.


Well, what a week this was. Took the entire week off, which was a nice mental break, and was needed for my leg. Spent most of it wrapped in an Ace bandage, which helped tremendously, as well as some ice packs and kept it elevated. Hit the stretching really consistently and made a huge effort to increase my water intake.

While it’s a little tough to now get back into it, it was really the right thing to do. It’s just frustrating that the heat took so much out of me, but it had been (and continues to be) hot and humid, with little relief. It’s all great training I suppose, but still rough.

It did help me to remember that in the grand scheme, between this, and one missed run in week 17 (more on that in the next post), I’m still hitting 95% of my mileage, and it’s better to be a bit undertrained at the start line than injured.



Ugh, my legs are trashed after this week. I was at mile 16 of 21 on Saturday and my left leg out of the blue just started aching like I had run into a coffee table with my shin repeatedly. I think it’s the heat and humidity, plus the sustained, high mileage (for me) that just wore me down. Weird pains and tight muscles in both legs that I’m working through, and will probably cut a bunch of mileage next week (thinking of just cutting everything in half). We’ll see, this isn’t great for my confidence both for Miakonda and upcoming long runs.

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday: 3 miles. Heat was over 90, so I walked this to try to get some acclimation. Good choice not to run, but still brutal.
  • Wednesday: 10 miles. Storms rolled in, the temperature dropped and I headed to the trail. Got caught in a bit of a downpour, but it was kind of nice.
  • Thursday: 8 miles, on the trail.
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 21 miles. At the turnaround of my last out band back my shin started aching. I’ve since added pains to the other leg as well. Doing my best to dig in with sticks, foam rollers, lacrosse balls and my hands to loosen things up, as well as extra water and electrolytes.
  • Sunday: 3 miles. The Sixth Annual Pittsburgh Frontrunners Back of the Pack Fourth of July Run and Brunch! It was my turn to host so we went to B-Y Park in Trafford and ran a bit on the trail before having a lovely potluck brunch! Such a fun tradition!
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically this week.
  • Yoga: Did my favorite Yin Yoga class that specifically focuses on hips!
  • Stretching: Doing well, just need to keep it up, especially really getting into my legs and seeing if that helps.


Made it through, and even surprised myself with how well I felt after the 50K on Saturday (ended up just shy of 33 miles). Still need to readjust a bit, including expectations, especially in the heat, but at least it seems like I have my nutrition, salt and hydration dialed in (or much improved).

  • Monday: 5 miles. Tiny loops.
  • Tuesday: Rest.
  • Wednesday: 4 miles. More tiny loops.
  • Thursday: 9 miles, on the trail. Stopped for a frozen coke on the way home, my new favorite treat for less than $1!
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: 50K.
    Started super early as the heat was climbing and so was the humidity, so actually started right before dawn. Nothing felt too bad, just some tired legs by the time I got to around mile 22. Thankfully, that is when Moly and Alex, teammates from PRorER joined me for my last out and back!

    It was so great running with them, definitely a big, boost! We took it easy and read some of the historical signs and played in the creek a bit, as it was a brand new place to run for both of them. I also really appreciated Moly encouraging me through the heat and humidity (her favorite).

    While I feel slower than I was last year, my training has been solid so far. It’s wild to me to realize I only have ten weeks left until Miakonda, but watching my teammate finish Western States this weekend was such an amazing experience (and our team that went to crew/pace), I’m very excited to have a goal race on the horizon!
  • Sunday: Rest.
  • Long run fuel: Tailwind, Bobo’s Bar, Gu.
  • BWF/Core work: None specifically, I’m failing at this.
  • Yoga: Also failing at this, ugh.
  • Stretching: Was good until the 50K, then missed it for a day or two, so need to work on this too.

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