Parkrun time: 37:30
The last gasp of winter stretched across the Willamette Valley these past couple of days, and my drive from Portland to the Rock Creek Trail parkrun was like driving from a reasonably cold early Spring morning to Hades clawing for Persephone as she returns to the overworld. Thankfully, it wasn’t freezing or too windy and ended up being pretty good weather for a run.
So let’s get this out of the way: this was the best 5k I’ve run since 2013, timewise. I might argue that it’s the best 5k I’ve ever run, because back in 2012/2013, Runkeeper’s GPS was very erratic and would often screw up for me. That said, I think the first half of 2013 was probably my best in terms of running, as I was doing a lot of heavy lifting too, which added necessary core and leg strength. Plus, if you extrapolate my 11:44/mi pace from the 8k Shamrock I ran back then, it comes out to 36:27 for a 5k, which you could argue would be faster since it would be a 5k rather than an 8k, blah blah blah, I was faster back then. But not by much!
I attribute 75% of my faster pace to my new shoes. Whenever I watched videos of people reviewing new running shoes, I would scoff because aside from some basics, like weight, how can a shoe on its own make you faster? Well, the answer is: I don’t know, but these Nike Winflos did it. The pep and push I felt from these shoes were undeniable. The cushioning is great; just enough to let me feel the road beneath me but not too little to hurt. The balls of my feet did NOT go numb this run, which is a big win. My footfalls felt neutral and not too turned out. My instincts were right–the stability shoes were hindering me, not helping me.
At the start of the run I noticed I was behind many people who usually disappear away from me early on. When I checked my watch, I discovered that I was running a 9:35/mi pace, and I did not feel like I was doing that! A lot of this run became me trying to figure out how to run with these shoes, in a manner that wouldn’t leave me exhausted early on. That turned out to be a lot more walk breaks than I would’ve liked, but my pace never dropped below 13 minutes, which is a good thing.
I attribute the other 25% of my success to eating better and exercise. You know, the basics. I had a lot of protein thanks to those lime & pepper chicken breasts I cooked up earlier in the week, plus I’ve been trying to count my calories so I don’t stuff my face and can lose some weight. That plus some lower body strengthening exercises and stretches have helped me all around. I’ve become one of those people who stretches while watching TV.
My IT band continues to give me trouble but during the run itself it wasn’t bad. The stretches and strength workouts are helping and I know it is getting better over time.
Good parkrun! Next week is #10, which would be my first milestone if I was a kid. Unfortunately, I only act like a kid.
See you next week.