The final Cathedral of Learning stair climb before the Fight for Air Climb

Today, members of Team Ferlee met for a final stair climb at the Cathedral of Learning before we race in the Fight for Air Climb. I originally had not planned to attend, because I am still in a state of recovery from all the running I’ve been doing, and had hoped to rest up till tomorrow before doing my own final stair climb. In fact, because I had not intended on a stair climb, I had done a run this morning already as my exercise for the day. Read On →

My second ever blindfold chess game

I spent much of the time at Henry’s St. Patrick’s Day party playing music.

When I decided to take a break, I went to the chess room and thought I’d just sit down and watch some of the kids play chess. I hadn’t played any chess at one of these parties in a long time, because it’s just too one-sided.

But it turned out that when I sat down, people were leaving the chess board. So I said to Henry (who was also taking a break from music and socializing), “I’ll play you blindfolded!”

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Only one easy rep of the Cathedral of Learning stair climb

Team Ferlee met up yet again for a Cathedral of Learning stair climb workout. I originally had not planned to even attend this time, for more than one reason: recovery from the crazy tough 18 mile Steel City Road Runners training run yesterday, of which I actually ran around 16 miles having a Pittsburgh Recorder Society meeting to attend having a St. Patrick’s Day party to attend after the recorder society meeting But I missed not having seen the team since last week, when I crazily did four reps. Read On →

Finally doing some Latin music jamming on flute; also Irish and French

St. Patrick’s Day weekend means, of course, a party at Henry’s. Last year Abby and I even went to two of his St. Patrick’s Day parties! At the first, I played tin whistle for the first time, and I played some easy recorder music at the second.

This year, I reflected on how far I’ve come musically, and as usual, wanted to do something new and challenging.

And I did.

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18 miles in Vibram FiveFingers: training for the Pittsburgh Marathon through a St. Patrick's Day parade

Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day preparation

My second Saturday group training run with the Steel City Runners happened to be on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and therefore took place just before the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day parade, which starts at 10 AM.

Overtraining and knees

Last week I mentioned that I was having problems because of overtraining; I ran five days one week only to have to scale back to three the next. This week I consciously got in four days of running, with higher total mileage than either of the previous two weeks (when I did 26 and 23). This week, I got in 29. It wasn’t easy, especially given that I ran last week’s long run too hard and therefore had left knee oddness that actually lasted three days! It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t run, but I clearly had to let it heal up, which it did in time for another long run.

Unfortunately, both of John’s knees were in serious pain the day after last week’s training run, and a week later, he is still waiting for them to heal up, and therefore did not join me for today’s training run. Oops.


For today’s run, I decided to run only the first 16 miles and then walk the last 2 miles. Also, I joined the 10-minute pace group.

It turned out that a lot of things went “wrong” on this run, but I got back to the start OK in the end!

Read On →

Now at four reps of the Cathedral of Learning stair climb!

Today I joined a Team Ferlee group stair climb workout at the Cathedral of Learning for the second time. Two weeks ago I did two reps and ten floors total.

I am still in recovery from doing yesterday a really tough 12 mile Steel City Road Runners training run for the Pittsburgh Marathon, so I didn’t know what exactly I planned to do.

It turned out that thanks to Bill, with whom I finally climbed for the first time today, I did more than I had originally intended. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have, but I did, so what’s done is done.

Here’s what happened.

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11 Pittsburgh bridge crossings in one 12-mile run

View from Mount Washington

My first ever Steel City Road Runners Saturday morning training run was a 12-mile run. My office mate John went with me.

The last time I ran as far as 12 miles was in February, so I expected to do OK. The important difference is that I have been increasing my weekly mileage. I had a monster training week last week, going up from 13 miles to 26 miles last week, the largest training volume I have had in a single week in years. I’ll confess that this has taken a toll on me.

As a result, I have backed off this week, such that including this 12-mile run (I will not run tomorrow), this week I will have 23 miles. In the long haul, overtraining is a huge waste of time and energy. Unfortunately, in my attempt to “catch up” some because of the marathon coming in less than two months, I did in fact overtrain to an extent; last week I ran five out of seven days in order to reach that mileage of 26. This week, I tried to up the mileage but felt tired and wisely decided to rest when I needed to, even though that meant this week I ran only three days! Obviously, in retrospect, it would have been wiser to run four days last week and four this week, with better overall training.

However, I did enjoy today’s training run. It involved the most bridge crossings I have ever done in my life in a single day (by foot or otherwise): eleven!!

Here is my report on the training run, including, of course, photos of bridge crossings.

Read On →

Finally moving up from two to three Cathedral of Learning reps

It’s been over a week since my last Cathedral of Learning stair climb, which I did with other members of Team Ferlee. Apart from being very busy generally, I’ve been focusing on getting my Pittsburgh Marathon training going. But today after work I had some time to squeeze in a stair climb workout. I ended up finally going to three full reps! The reason I felt ready to do this was that I have started to find it easier to recover from two reps, and also I have found ways to reduce my boredom, by really getting deep into monitoring the physical sensations of stair climbing: not only the details of efficiently lifting my leg and pushing up, but also even how to make turns effectively. Read On →

My first Steel City Road Runners winter 5K race

Today was the first time I ever ran Vibram FiveFingers for a winter race! As planned last week, I ran in a Steel City Road Runners 5K race to gauge my current fitness level while training for the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon.

I was a little disappointed by how “slow” I ran, but actually, given the amount of training I’ve had so far this winter, I’m not doing too badly.

Franklin finishing 5K

(explanation of misleading clock time below)

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Pittsburgh Geek Out Day #8: "Learning"

Today was the eight Pittsburgh Geek Out Day. I hadn’t been one in a whole year, because of big changes in my life that have affected my use of time and energy. A topic I proposed that we discussed was “test-driven learning”. A session summary is here. (Update of 2014-01-16) This is an unfinished post that is one of many in the past two years that lay unfinished because I had originally planned to write a very detailed report but never got around to it. Read On →