Today's Mighty Oak


  • Monday: Rest day.
  • Tuesday: 7 miles plus speedwork: hill repeats. Went down to the Frontrunners early to grab some extra miles and get my speedwork before seeing them all at the end. Ended up seeing two harps as well as a race friend from the 20 miler!
  • Wednesday: 10 miles.
  • Thursday: 5 miles. Had a meeting right after work, skipped the meeting after the meeting to get in my miles.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 5 miles. Saturday morning was the Harvey Milk Day of Service, so Gay4Good was out with Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership, this time, cleaning up the Mon Wharf. Hit the gym after before seeing a show that night.
  • Sunday: 12 miles. Oh god, all hail broke loose. It was supposed to drizzle a bit, then clear up, then pour all afternoon. I hit the trail just as it was drizzling a bit. Then it hailed. The temperature fell and it stayed nasty for the entire jail trail loop. The rain got worse on the second loop, and I ended up not being able to move my fingers. I stopped for the traffic crossing, and my knee screamed out when I started up again. I stretched and got back to the car, going slow for a while, but still running. Stopped again to assess, and my knee yelled at me as I took off down the trail. The rain got worse, and I decided to call it. Had 24 planned, but that didn’t happen.
  • Core/strength: None this week, back at it next week.

It was a great week of training until my long run. I’m really, really trying to not let that get me too down. I was prepared for what the weather was supposed to be, but the combination of cold and my knee made the decision the smart one, it took me longer than I care to admit to actually warm up, even after I got home.

I did spent more time with the TENS unit, and am planning to continue that, as well as to keep on stretching my legs and rolling my muscles. I’ll keep moving forward I suppose and see what happens. If I feel up to it, I’d like to take this long run and do it next weekend, that would still give me a two week taper to my marathon and help me get the mileage in for Eagle Up.

Race reports owed: Jackpot.



  • Monday: 3 miles. Just going slow and feeling things out. IT Band is feeling better, still have a weird knot/dead spot in my calf, but had a session with a TENS unit, which seemed to help.
  • Tuesday: 6 miles, ‘increaser.’ For my speedwork this week, I did what Higdon refers to as a tempo run (but no other coach does), and my team lovingly calls an increaser: increasing the speed consistently throughout the run. Felt good to open up a bit, and my leg held up.
  • Wednesday: 4 miles. Just getting some more miles in at the gym.
  • Thursday: Rest day.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 14 miles. My first big test of my leg after these two weeks. A few aches and pains, but nothing out of the ordinary (especially when I realize I did five miles in two weeks, and then came back into a 40+ mile week). No real IT band pain, so I just need to keep up on everything.
  • Sunday: 10 miles. Got some treadmill miles in, partially so I could catch up on some TV, but also, I’ve found I have to slowly acclimate myself to heat, and as it seems we might be skipping spring again this year, I didn’t want to push my luck with the weather and allergens.
  • Core/strength: BWF Recommended Routine once, would like to keep it up at at least twice a week, so I’ll keep working on that.

I’m so glad I’m back at it, and as much as I know I didn’t lose that much fitness in two weeks, combined with the quickly warming weather, it certainly feels like I have.

I’ll be confident in my return after this upcoming week’s long run (24 miles), but I’m really happy with how far I’ve come. The marathon is less than a month away, and yes, I’m treating it as a supported long run, but in the back of my mind I did also have a goal time in mind. I’m not confident I’ll make it, but I just need to work on making myself okay with that.

The Pittsburgh Marathon is tough, both in terms of weather and course. It’s also a great experience with amazing crowd support, so maybe with just a little bit of believing in myself, I’ll be able to make it happen, but I won’t be too bent out of shape if I don’t; the real goal is completing some ultra distance at EU the month after.

Race reports owed: Jackpot.



  • Monday: Rest day.
  • Tuesday: Rest day.
  • Wednesday: Rest day.
  • Thursday: Rest day.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: Rest day.
  • Sunday: 5K – Around the Pond virtual 5K. Legs sore from not running, and still some slight knee pain, but nothing like before. Took it easy and when I wasn’t thinking about things, seemed to run fine. Calf is still tight, so working on that.
  • Core/strength: BWF Recommended Routine twice, so glad to be getting back to that. Left my upper body sore, but in a good way!

I spent this week stretching and strengthening, and it helped a lot. I’m still not back to 100%, but I’ve at least made some good progress. This is a down week for me, so I’m easing back into some mileage as I continue all the work on my legs to rehab them.

This has been really frustrating because I was making such good progress and was really hoping to not only go into my first ultra with a solid training block, but to also knock 20 minutes off my marathon time. A bit ambitious, but depending on the day, based on how my running was going, totally doable.

I’ve let that goal go a little bit, and I’m focused more on Eagle Up, but I’m still really hoping that I can get healthy and back to a better spot.

It’s also been tough for both my weight loss and mental health. I’ve found a good balance of running and eating to let me slowly lose, and without the running, having to reconfigure has been tough, I’m still used to eating like I’m training. And of course, I’m going a bit bonkers without the extra time for my mind to work on things, but at least I’m more cognizant of that lately, which has helped I think.

Race reports owed: Jackpot.



  • Monday: Rest day.
  • Tuesday: Rest day.
  • Wednesday: Rest day.
  • Thursday: Rest day.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 5 miles. First two miles felt great, and I went out deliberately slow. After that, wheels fell off and I did some walk/run. Got to five miles, but still a lot of pain.
  • Sunday: Rest day.
  • Core/strength: Nothing beyond lots of rolling and stretching

So guess who got injured? This guy.

There’s a lot of self-pity going on right now, and I realize that. I’m also trying to give myself some time to wallow in it, acknowledge it, and then move on, but damn does it suck.

I seem to have ITBS problems every other training cycle or so, so I should be used to it by now, but holy hell is this bad. I took just about all of this week off to rest and to roll and stretch, usually twice a day. My run on Saturday was good, but I need more time off, so I’ll be back at it this week, and taking the entire week off, no running until Tuesday, April 2.

I’ll be adding in some additional strength exercises and stretches, augmenting what I’ve done in the past, and really, really hoping I don’t need to go to a doctor.

I know that part of it is that I wasn’t doing enough stretching and strengthening, and I know another part of it is just luck of the draw. I’m prone to ITBS and sometimes, even when training is going so great, it just pops up in runners (or some other malady will).

I can look back and realize my first 12 weeks (literally the first half of my plan) were awesome. I got faster, I did two 20’s and one 22 mile run, all feeling stronger than anything I ran last year. Two weeks off isn’t going to erase all my improvement, and I’m lucky that if I had to miss two weeks, these are the two to do, they basically repeat themselves, so I can jump back into a down week and then ramp back up.

I’ll miss out on hitting my 200-mile month, which was something I really wanted to hit, but I have to keep my eyes on my goal race (and the Pittsburgh Marathon, I’d love to, and I was on track to, knock significant time off of that).

I think part of why this is so hard is that running is therapy for me. I need that time to let my brain let go and process. That, combined with not being able to see my therapist for a longer interval than normal, has been messing with my head, even if I’m actually okay right now.

So I’ll wallow today for a bit longer, but realize that this is also part of mental training. Shit goes wrong, and we accept it and then deal with it. Writing has always been another refuge, so writing all this out has helped. It’s still tough, but at least acknowledging it all, seeing it down on paper (well, screen), helped me realize that yes, my plan is halfway over, but that is still halfway to my race. I’m a strong runner and people have run further with much less training, so maybe I got this!

Race reports owed: Jackpot.



  • Monday: 5 miles. My schedule was borked this week so I ended up not taking a rest day until the middle of the week.
  • Tuesday: Speedwork. 8 x 400, then an additional 2 miles for a total of 6 miles.
  • Wednesday: Rest day, Camp Staff Alumni Association board meeting, and then the meeting after the meeting, right after work.
  • Thursday: 4 miles, then Lenten book study with the young adults at church.
  • Friday: 20 miles, PRANK. Pittsburgh Runs At Night Klub returns! We got one of our members to her longest run ever and did three awesome loops starting from near the P3R Garage. First we went up to Herr’s Island then up to Polish Hill, Hill District and downtown. Second loop was the edge of the Strip then downtown and Point State Park. Third loop was to Alcosan/Western Penn and back. A great time was had by all, even with a bit of rain and wind mixed in at times.
  • Saturday: 4 miles. After a successful PRANK run, I had the intention of rounding out a stupid weekend. However, my knee was giving me a lot of pain, so I called what was supposed to be 9 miles after 4 and decided to rest the next two days.
  • Sunday: Rest day.
  • Core/strength: Same as last week, only got one workout in, but still working on that!

Race reports owed: Jackpot.



  • Monday: 7 miles and then dinner at Blaze pizza. Sometimes you just have to scratch that itch, and they have vegan ‘cheese.’
  • Tuesday: 7 miles. Back to the gym.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles. Another day in the gym, just grinding out miles.
  • Thursday: Rest day.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 22 miles. This was a big deal for me. During my first marathon training cycle, I bonked hard on my 22 mile run. In the long run, that was a good thing, so I know what it feels like, and how to make sure I avoid that again, but running this was a huge mental boost for me.
  • Sunday: 6 miles. Ran around my neighborhood, the time change messed me up, before I headed downtown to the symphony!
  • Core/strength: Back on the r/bodyweightfitness train! Only got one workout in, and man do I need to work on my chest, and boy did my arms hurt, but it’s a good start!

Race reports owed: Jackpot. Spring Thaw



Race week! Again! This time, an impromptu race that fit in well for my training plan!

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 10 miles. Ugh, mid-week medium runs are still the worst. Did tiny loops in my neighborhood (30 of them) and listened to the end of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.” Lots of thoughts and feelings about that book.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles. Still suffering from a sinus infection, and after this run, went to the doctors. I was actually feeling a lot better, but still couldn’t shake it, but even then, she said it was pretty bad. A Z-Pack, nasal spray and a prescription mouth wash called “Magic Swizzle” later, I was finally on the mend.
  • Thursday: 7 miles with speedwork: Hill repeats in Schenley Park, three times up to the overlook at the disc golf course. These are on top of the regular hills on the route. Some days I’m thankful for the hills in Pittsburgh, other days, I torment myself with them.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 12 miles. Slept in and by the time I got down to the Color Park, met up with Steve and Liz unexpectedly! Did a loop with Liz before they took off and I did the second, as well as the out and back by myself. Also got to wave to a friend I had made the week before at the Spring Thaw!
  • Sunday: 10 miles, set a new treadmill distance PR! The weather report was doom and gloom, so I headed to the museum, then back to the gym since I just didn’t want to run outside in it. The 10 miles was still a good mental workout though.
  • Core/strength: I’m the worst and didn’t start his up again, trying again!

Race reports owed: Jackpot. Spring Thaw



Race week! Again! This time, an impromptu race that fit in well for my training plan!

  • Monday: Rest day – flying back from Vegas
  • Tuesday: 10 miles. Ugh, mid-week medium runs are the worst. Got it done, just not happy about it.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles.
  • Thursday: 7 miles with speedwork: Hill repeats in Schenley Park, three times up to the overlook at the disc golf course.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 20 miles. The Spring Thaw fit perfectly, so I attempted to approach it as a long, slow, supported run. Ran faster than I should have, I need to make sure I work on that. Definitely feeling it now, but still really happy with the race. If this is any indication, speedwork and increased mileage are working and I’ll be able to take a big chunk off my marathon time!
  • Sunday: 5 miles.
  • Core/strength: I’m the worst and didn’t start his up again, trying again!

Race reports owed: Jackpot. Spring Thaw



Race week! Or at least, race week for an ultra I crewed! The official 2019 r/running Meetup took on the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in Las Vegas under the name PRorER: Paces Wild.

I’ll have a full write-up about it, but it was a fantastic weekend and I loved it so much. To accommodate travel and the race, I moved some things around, but still got everything in!

  • Monday: 5 miles.
  • Tuesday: 4 miles.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles.
  • Thursday: 6 miles with speedwork: Intervals, 4 x 400. Ran in the morning then grabbed my flight to Vegas.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 14 miles. I ran at night, pacing various team members and trying some new fuel! Full recap coming!
  • Sunday: Rest day. Although most of my 14 miles were on Sunday, I just happened to start before midnight.
  • Core/strength: Plan is to get back to this this week!

I was lucky that this down week coincided with the meetup race, and I’m so lucky we had enough awesome crew that I could step away for a bit and run/pace. Anyway, back at it already with another big push this week!



I headed to Cleveland for work on Tuesday, so that shifted some days around, and the weather was a bit wonky again. But still got everything in, even if not exactly as I had planned it.

  • Monday: 5 miles. Headed to the gym right after work then early to bed to wake up and drive to Cleveland the next morning.
  • Tuesday: Rest day.
  • Wednesday: 7 miles. At the gym, just totally checked out and hated this run. Worked through it though.
  • Thursday: 7 miles with speedwork: Intervals. Redemption from the day before, and getting my speedwork in for the week, 6 x 400.
  • Friday: Rest day.
  • Saturday: 6 miles. Swapped with a day from next week to still give me a recovery run of 5 miles after my long run.
  • Sunday: 18 miles. Did three loops, the first with three of us, the second with two, and the last by myself. It was a good run, and I was dressed well for the cold. The friends I ran with, plus putting in more miles and speedwork have really pushed me faster than I expected to be going, which is great, although might require a bit of recalibration in my mind.
  • Core/strength: Plan is to get back to this next week, after Vegas. I need to be held to this!

I leave Thursday for Vegas and the 2019 r/running meetup! I still have to pack and of course I’m freaking out about it, but I’m so excited to see everyone! I should be able to get all my runs in this week and just will need my long run while I’m out there. It’s a down week, so that means only 14 miles, which I hope I can get in while I pace someone from the team!

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