Today's Mighty Oak

This week’s update is late, but it’s been a crazy week.  Spent the early morning hours of Monday driving to Cleveland and now I’m filling in for the receptionist the rest of the week as well.  Training is going well, but that, combined with the extra work, horrible allergies and just a lot on my calendar is leaving me ragged.  Hopefully I’ll get some good sleep this weekend before my last big long run!

  • Monday – 35 minutes cross training – Back to an oldie but a goodie, walking/stepping with my Wii Balance Board as I watch TV.  Not the most entertaining, but it gets it done!
  • Tuesday – 3 + 4 miles – This was my first doubles day!  Woke up early to do 3 miles at the gym, then did 4 miles that evening with the Frontrunners.  It’s good simulation of what I’ll be doing in the GAP, so even though it’s tough, it’s good practice.
  • Wednesday – 9 x 400 – The next step up in my speed work.  Had a blast, felt good, and I’m super excited that I was able to do these repeats at the speed I wanted to, which is faster than last year!
  • Thursday – 6 miles.
  • Friday – 7 miles (night) – Went down to Schenley park to run and did three loops: the one mile CMU loop, the four mile Frontrunner loop and two mile Cathedral of Learning loop.  About halfway through the final loop the skies opened and I got caught in a downpour.  I ducked under a tree for a bit, but that wasn’t helping, so I just sucked it up and finished.  Had to take my glasses off since I couldn’t see a thing, which made for some harrowing running, especially through the ponding water.
  • Saturday – 14 miles – I went downtown to run, on a neat route that took me through the Strip District, the North Shore, Point State Park and the Cultural District, as well as down the Riverfront Trail, where I passed two of my teammates who were out with SCRR!  We grabbed a quick photo and we were off (in different directions).

    After my run, I took advantage of being parked downtown and got in my cross training for the next day, walking the Strip District and stopping at Penzy’s Spices and grabbing some loose leaf tea.

  • Sunday – Rest day
  • Cross training – I did planks on Thursday, but that was it.  I’ve been so busy I’ve fallen off doing my cross training, but I need to get back to it.  Maybe a week off is a good mental break, but time to hit it once again.

This week has been just as crazy (hence why this is posted on Thursday), but hopefully things calm down after this weekend.  Long run on Saturday and then The Great Race on Sunday!

As part of the 25th anniversary of Myst, Cyan launched a crowdfunding campaign that, among other things, included copies of all the games on Steam.  Being my favorite game, I jumped all over it, and last night finished up playing through Myst ME.  I figured I’d write about each game as I finish them up.

Myst, being my favorite game of all time, is one that I’ve played many times.  So I was able to go through faster than someone figuring out the puzzles for themselves for the first time (Revelation will be tough, I tried to put most of that game out of my head).  But I made sure to take the time to read all the journals and enjoy the ambiance.

It’s a bit dated of course, but for 25 years old, it still holds up, and it’s amazing the type of innovations they were able to figure out to make the game work and make it an immersive experience.

As always, I left the Selentic Age for last, but at least now, my ear seems to be much better trained than the last time I played through.

I think the Channelwood Age is my favorite, but just walking around the island of Myst itself is always such a pleasure.  The bundle includes RealMyst which I’ve never played, so I’m excited for that, and I’ll be doing that last, and at least just wandering around a bit instead of playing the whole game again.

I also, of course, love the look of Stoneship, and Mechanical was actually the first Age I remember getting to.  It also reminds me of Garrison from URU, so it’s neat to see that influence.

The ending is so well written, and such a wonderful way to conclude the game, leaving you with an emotional journey, as well as teasing Riven.  I’ll be starting Riven probably sometime next week, but that’s a much, much larger game, and I think has the hardest puzzles of the whole series, so it will be a while before I”m back writing this again.

I can’t believe it’s week 8 already!  Got housing nailed down for the night before in Cumberland, now the last big piece of the puzzle is the vans.  I know I’ll get one, just have to figure out who will get the other one down there.  This week also put me over 900 miles for the year!  I never thought I’d get anywhere near 1,000 miles, but marathon training in the winter/spring put that within reach, and I’d like to see if I can possibly stretch it out to 1,200 for the year.

  • Monday – Cross training – Did a lot of walking, mostly due to having to keep running all over the enormous store At Home, but I found some great additions for the chandeliers I’m building for the Burn!
  • Tuesday – 6 miles – Stupid hot week, so back to the gym.  Literally nothing changed from the previous week, sigh.
  • Wednesday – 8 x 400.  Met friends at a local high school track to once again do speedwork during their football practice.  The heat and humidity made it tough, but it felt great to be out there doing this.
  • Thursday – 6 miles.
  • Friday – 21 night miles.  Once again the team met up for some night running!  Had an absolute blast doing some even more scenic running including a trip down the Hazelwood Greenway which was just single track through the woods (with some amazing views) and a group of people just off the trail at a campfire ring.

    The numbers fluctuated a bit, and it ended up being the same three of us that went the longest last time doing it again (from our ultra team).  Throughout the night, we found a monument to the Pittsburgh Marathon and Great Race, as a group got catcalled by a 15 year old, got encouragement from some drunken Frat Bros on a balcony, saw some epicly drunk student stumble around Schenley and generally just had a blast.

    Sadly, as we were wrapping up and packing up to go after our third loop, one of our cars got egged.  It cleaned up, and they missed hitting any of us, but was still disappointing.  Driving home that night at 3 a.m. I did see another runner out there on the streets, so that was cool to know there are other people just as crazy as us!

  • Saturday – Rest day
  • Sunday – Rest day
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Monday and Wednesday.  I was sore after the long night run, so Saturday I just did the planking section of the workout,

I was stuck in my mind something heavy at the beginning of the week, but my mood significantly improved after the crazy miles Friday night.  Something about doing something pretty destructive to myself either distracts me or just helps me work things out (or most likely, a combination of both),  The long run, combined with me just not getting enough sleep anyway, made me pretty useless on Saturday, and that’s what happened last time too.  I’d like to continue doing these long loops once a month or so, I’ll just need to work on that a bit.  Plus, it’s great ultra training, so wins all around!

Alright, let’s see what we have today.  First up, in case you forgot, the TEA party didn’t actually care about deficits.  They were just racists.

Also, Debra Messing is not messing around.  Good for her, a fuck Susan Sarandon.

Brett Kavanaugh, who is incredibly anti-gay, won’t say on the record his opinions about same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws.  But his court writings reveal he’s as far, if not further right, than Scalia.

In that vein, 16 states are petitioning the US government to let them fire workers for being gay, after that executive order was struck down.

The Russo Brothers put out an awesome video that goes over all the deaths in the MCU:

Kipchoge broke the World Record in the Berlin Marathon this morning.  Dumb Runner, always spots on, weighs in.

I wrote a while back, at least I think I did, about the article ‘the epidemic of gay loneliness,’ and a recent Savage Love column looks at that as well, a good read for everybody.

In case you need some positive news, a heartwarming letter from a gay man’s little brother went viral.

Okay, that’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon!

Week 7 and it feels like we’re getting a lot closer to the race, because we are!

  • Monday – Cross training – Did my fall landscaping, removing all (or at least most) of my old flowers and replacing them with some mums!
  • Tuesday – 6 miles – Stupid hot week, so back to the gym.
  • Wednesday – 35 minute tempo run.
  • Thursday – 6 miles.
  • Friday – Rest day.
  • Saturday – 6 miles and two new pairs of shoes!  Through a combinations of sales, coupons and gift cards, I was able to score two new pairs of shoes.  I ran these six miles in the Brooks Revel 2’s.  Felt good on my feet, although boring as hell (all gray/black).  It was a woven upper, which is new, but overall I liked them.

    Also got a pair of Brook’s Ghost’s (I forget the number), will be running in them this week and will report back.  These are black and bright freaking orange, so more fun!  Although both will be getting some rainbow laces for sure.

  • Sunday – 12 miles in the rain.  Really, really rainy.  But it was fun to see the few other runners out there putting in their miles the same time I was.  The weather was cool and I wore shorts and a long sleeve shirt, and it felt amazing.  I did four different loops around Schenley (4 mile Frontrunner night course, 1 mile CMU loop, 2 miles Cathedral of Learning loop, 5 mile Frontrunner day/night hybrid course).
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Saturday.  I was sore after the long night run last week, so Monday and Wednesday I just did the planking section of the workout,

Overall it was a good week, although I wish the cooler temperatures would stick around, it felt like it was a tease the little bit we got over the weekend.  This upcoming Friday we’re back out for our second night run with the team, I’ll be playing it a little bit more by ear that night since I have a game day planned for the next afternoon.

Alright, let’s see what we have today.  First up, it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo!  This will be my 13th year!

Dominic Monaghan has joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX!

In case you (for whatever reason) thought otherwise, the SCOTUS nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is opposed to same-sex marriage and would certainly rule against it (if there is a conservative majority on the court, it will be back and I’ll lose my rights).

In other horrifying news, the administration has now directed federal contractors that they can discriminate against LGBT people based on ‘religious beliefs.’  Remember when I said that elections have consequences?  Yeah, this is not good.

The anti-gay baker from the Masterpiece decision is back, and now is saying he doesn’t have to serve trans customers.

2 Political Junkies covers the grand jury report about the Catholic Church:

While the Catholic Church was protecting and covering up the sex-crimes of some of its members, let’s all remember that it was also lecturing everyone else on the evils of:
Birth control
Sex outside of marriage
Not being straight (i.e. being either “L” or “G” or “B” or “T” and so on)
Any number of other issues regarding “sexual morality”

The word you’re looking for is hypocrisy. Huge blatant hypocrisy.

No amount of contemporary apologies will change that.

Okay, onto some better and more beautiful news, there is a fake final image sent by the Cassini probe, which is beautiful (but fake because it wasn’t the last photo sent).  The last photo is also breathtaking:

Week 6 and back at it!  This week included a really awesome and unique group run!

  • Monday – Rest – I did the cross training at yoga after my run on the previous Saturday.
  • Tuesday – 6 miles – Ran with the Frontrunners, doing two miles ahead of the normal four mile route.
  • Wednesday – 7 x 400 repeats – Met members of my Ultra Team at a local track and we ran repeats while the Football team practiced.  The problem was that it was about 90 degrees and almost zero cloud cover.  Went slower than I wanted to, but the heat was killer.  Still got all my repeats in.
  • Thursday – 6 miles – Ran in the gym due to schedule.
  • Friday – 18 miles – Six of us from our team for the GAP relay met at 8 p.m. to run some loops to practice running at night and on tired legs.  We would run a loop, get back to our cars and take some time to get more water/food/etc.

    Our first loop was about 8 miles, we headed out from East Liberty and went through Frick for a while.  Our second loop took us to the Bloomfield bridge and back, along with a stop at a GetGo.  After that loop, which brought us to about 13 miles, three of the six called it a night.  I needed a total of 17 miles for the weekend, so I did the final loop with the two members I did speed work with on Wednesday, taking us around the Highland Park reservoir and bike path.

    We got back to our cars (which we had moved) a little before 2 a.m.  It was a ton of fun, and I’m really glad we did it.  Which is good, considering we’re doing it again in two weeks!

  • Saturday – Rest
  • Sunday – Rest
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Monday and Wednesday.  I was sore after the long run on Friday, so Saturday I just did the planking section of the workout,

This week is also incredibly hot, so it will be a lot of running indoors.  Still anxiously awaiting fall.

The long, overnight run was a blast, but left me drained for sure.  Even though I went to bed tired and late, my body still decided I should get up at my normal time.  I’m just about recovered now, but that part has not been fun.

There’s a couple things I try to do every day: a quick meditation, rolling or stretching my legs, and getting back on track with tracking my calories.  One thing that I was doing daily, for about 10 months or so, was using Duolingo to ‘learn’ French.

My plan had been to attend the Gay Games, which were held in Paris in August.  I ultimately didn’t go, but even after I knew that was going to be the case, I kept with my French practice until my birthday this week.

I learned two things.  One, Duolingo teaches foreign languages in a way that’s not all that compatible with how I learn.  And that’s okay.  I have two friends who are foreign language teachers.  One uses Duolingo as homework for her students to do each week.  The other doesn’t use it, since it’s only based on memorization, not actually learning the grammar rules.  What I learned about myself is that I need to understand the grammar rules, just memorizing vocab and matching up nouns with the right verb form wasn’t helpful.

And two, French is a silly language.  Granted, English is even worse, and I’m sure it was augmented by Duolingo’s format, but there were so many weird quirks that made no sense (and were never explained) that it was frustrating.

So I stuck it out until my birthday, and then with the new year (to me), I decided to drop French.  I was never going to be fluent in it, although I did enjoy picking up a few things, and I hoped that I would have at least been able to not be completely lost while in Paris.

Week 5 was my first down week in the plan.  Maybe it was having a four week climb, maybe it was dropping down, or maybe it was the fact that I’m not great in my day to day hydration, but everything felt tight this week.  Oh well, we carry on.

  • Monday – Cross training – 30 minutes of the AMT trainer at the gym.
  • Tuesday – 4 miles
  • Wednesday – 30 minute tempo run, then met up with friends for some early drinks.
  • Thursday – 4 miles – I ran early, but met the Frontrunners as they went off for their run.  A friend from the club is back to defend his dissertation, so it was good to see him, albeit briefly!
  • Friday – Rest.
  • Saturday – 7 miles – This was a busy day!  I headed downtown to run and then afterwards attended a free yoga class being held at PPG Paints Arena (Iceburgh was there too!).  After that, headed to the Strip, then home before heading back downtown again to see Aladdin!
  • Sunday – 4 miles – Hit the gym on my way to dinner with my family.
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  Not my normal days, but due to scheduling, it worked for me.

This week I’m heading to Ohio for work, and summer has once again popped up, so that will make things interesting to say the least.

We also got an e-mail last week (Wednesday, maybe?) about two in-person meetings and two webinars for this week about the GAP relay race.  I think most, or maybe all, of our team will be attending one of them (although not all together), so hopefully that will help to clear up some confusion.

Week 4 was my last big push before a down week, which I’m very happy for.  This also coincided with a mini PRorER reunion, so I got my weekend runs in with some teammates!

  • Monday – Cross training – 40 minutes of walking.  I’m part of a research study at Pitt, so I made sure to park far enough away to get a good walk in on the way to my appointment and back.  This was the last session of the study, but I was happy to be a part of science!
  • Tuesday – 5 miles – Ran an extra mile before meeting up with the Frontrunners and then did the normal four.  Was a great time catching up with my running partner!
  • Wednesday – 40 minute tempo run.
  • Thursday – 5 miles – Had to get this run in right after work, so I hit up the gym.  Afterwards, spent the rest of the night cleaning and getting my house ready for guests!
  • Friday – Rest.  Friends from my team who were staying with me got in and we headed out to a delicious Japanese dinner.
  • Saturday – 10 miles through Frick, Schenley and the East End, ending at Duck Hollow.  The faster group headed out for what turned out to be either 10 or 16, myself and another member of the team (who is also on my GAP team) and I enjoyed a wonderful morning running through parks and neighborhoods of the East End!
  • Sunday – 5 miles downtown.  Same groups again, and then a quick trip to the Strip District before heading home.
  • Cross training – I did the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  Not my normal days, but due to the research study, as well as the ultra team reunion, this is when it fit in the best.

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