This was my first real warm sunny run of the year and boy did I feel it. My official time is 37:16, slower than usual but an overall pace of around 12:00/mi, which, if you think about my pacing runs for my 10k, seems like I was unintentionally running slower for that. Muscle memory and whatnot. Also my sleep has been a little worse lately due to the warmer nights.
I always pop off a little too fast at these which ends up screwing with me later on, but this time I was still in the 10-10:30/mi range, which is about a minute slower than I start usually. Usually I am bolting out of there almost, a stupid move, and going slower this week meant that I took fewer walk breaks overall–only 8 this go around, all :30 except for two which were both a little over a minute. I’m fine with that.
More good news is that my knees feel alright. My calves are surprisingly sore though, which I attribute more to a weakness somewhere else in my legs (my hamstrings, probably), than to overuse. My calves are beasts, they will not be tamed. Other good news is that I ran all of the hills, which is my one requirement for this course. It has good hills and I use them to help strengthen up the ol’ legs.
Oh, also, this morning was my first time using the Albertson’s bathroom nearby. Good bathroom!
I am still woefully terrible at social interactions though, which makes the end of every parkrun feel awkward. What do you say to a bunch of people after you’ve run with them? “What’s your favorite dinosaur?”
Last night right when I was about to go to bed, I made a change on my phone that changed my life forever.
Is that clickbaity enough?
In short, I’ve had Garmin Coach up with a training plan for my 10k in July. When you set up a training plan, it gives you a “goal” with two basic options: Completion, or Goal Time. Completion is what you think it is. Actually, Goal Time is too now that I think about it.
When I signed up, I opted for Completion because I wasn’t sure how I’d do at running 6.2 miles. In return, GC and my grandpappy Coach Jeff Galloway set me up with a very simple workout routine, consisting of two cadence and “Acceleration-Glider” drills (aka strides) a week plus the trademarked Run Walk Run®, which was never more than 2.5 miles.
This was … fine. Boring, but fine. But I’ve done it for a couple of weeks now and it didn’t seem to want to get any harder, which I was desperately seeking.
So last night, laying in bed, about to go to sleep, I futzed around with GC and decided to enter my Goal Time for my 10k, because I have one now, and it’s slow as hell: Goal A (or ideal goal) is 1:15, which is a 12:04/mi, abysmally slow but something I’m capable of doing. Goal B is 1:30, and Goal C is just to complete it. I’m at a point now where I’m pretty sure I can complete it. So I look up the goal times on GC and discover that my Goal A is the absolute last goal you can pick on the app. So I picked it.
Folks, the app comPLETELY changed my workouts to actual god damn workouts. Look at this:
This is what I did this morning! Cadence drills, strides, plus the “magic mile” for pacing purposes and 6x 800m runs at goal pace with 3 minute recovery periods. An actual workout! With distance!
I feel great. This is my long run, technically (more on that in a second), and being able to run/walk over the 10k distance without feeling it too much is awesome. Plus, according to Garmin, my 10k time for this workout alone was 1:21:53, which means I’ve got 1:15 in the bag and will likely have to move my Goal Time up a bit. We’ll see how the rest of the week progresses.
Meanwhile, I tried to reschedule my long runs to Sunday, the proper day, and ended up fucking up my entire training plan for the next two weeks. Now I have four workouts this week instead of three, and it added another long run this Sunday that’s ELEVEN MILES. And then the next week is all rest days, and I can’t change it and I don’t know why. It’s a mess and I’ll probably have to skip a workout or add unscheduled workouts to my phone or something. I have no idea how I’m going to do 11 miles this week. It’s honestly too much and I’ll likely have to skip it and try to move it to the week after. It’s much more than a 10% leap and I don’t want to injure myself.
Update: GC now shows the long run as 7 miles, not 11. That might be a little more manageable. We’ll see.
In other news, I’ve begun filming a “day in the life” video for YouTube. Why? I have no idea. Just seemed like something to do. My life is pretty boring but I felt like maybe it would be neat to see what I do on a regular day. I have no idea when it will be edited and uploaded to YouTube.
So: This week is going to be intense. Lots of running and significant drills for hills and speed practice. Like, actually training me for stuff. I’m hoping my legs can carry me through it.
This weekend’s just a parkrun and then in a couple of weeks I’m 40. I haven’t dwelled on it at all…
Last night I went a little nuts on the food. This is typical of post-race me, and I think of most runners: you run far or fast and then when you get home you eat everything in the house. Yesterday was kind of strange for me after the Lilac Run, namely in that my stomach was feeling weird for most of the afternoon, plus I had a headache. So I took a nap. But I’ve been craving ice cream lately. Specifically the soft serve ice cream they serve at Cheese & Crack, a little cheese snack shop here in Portland. Aside from the soft serve being the perfect consistency, they also dust it with stuff like chocolate malt or matcha. And you can get a chocolate cowboy hat.
So, I want that, really badly. (I also want the cheese boxes they make, but that’s a different story.)
But I didn’t get it. Instead I went to Safeway and bought Ben & Jerry’s. But I didn’t buy my typical B&J–no, this time I bought a non-dairy flavor, the Colin Kaepernick flavor, which was very tasty but a little Too Woke™ for my tastes! (That was a joke, in case you thought maybe I had suddenly turned into a MAGA hat wearing weirdo.) It’s made with sunflower milk. Hell, I didn’t even know sunflowers had nipples!
Side note: I’m sharing this particular gif because they called him Craig even though his name in the movie is Greg. I just find it funny that whoever made this gif didn’t take the extra five seconds required to learn the name of the main character in this movie which actually has two movies. Two movies to learn the guy’s name is Greg!
As you have learned by now, I am more focused on my diet than ever because running sometimes makes you poop. And the last time I had significant stomach trouble wasn’t actually during a run, but it was during an intentionally fast walk, which, ironically, is what you do when you have significant stomach trouble. I went for the walk right after eating a bowl of cereal (raisin bran) and long story short … I think I’m lactose intolerant.
Or, rather, I think eating dairy prior to exercise makes me more lactose intolerant. If anything, having a big bowl of fiber and milk probably isn’t a good idea. So when I went to get this INCREDIBLY WOKE Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, I thought I’d go for non-dairy just to see how it affected my guts. And the result is that I felt fine. I was definitely full when I went to bed, but that was likely from the bunch of other stuff I ate, including Kettle Chips brand air-fried chips which, I must say again are excellent and so much better than their normal chips. Less greasy, taste better. (I’ve found that most food tastes better with less salt in it. Not all! [Pasta sauce.] But most.)
But this morning I woke up feeling fine and I even went out for my morning run without using the bathroom beforehand and felt fine. It makes sense that I’m a little lactose intolerant, inasmuch as we’re all probably a little lactose intolerant because we’re not supposed to be eating lactose this late in life. Can you imagine like 10,000 years ago when ancient humans first discovered cheese curdling inside the mammoth’s stomach they used to keep some other animal’s milk? And then they ATE it and were like “Oh, this is pretty good?” Man, ancient humans must’ve been desperate for food to eat all the things they ate.
Anyway, I think my intention for this week is to drastically reduce my dairy intake and see how I feel. I still have some cheese around and will add it to things, but will try to keep it to a minimum. I also bought reduced fat cheddar slices which are fine. I don’t think I’m at a point where eating dairy causes me to shit explosively or anything, unless I’m exercising after I eat it. So let’s not do that as well.
Let’s see if I remember to talk about this a week from now!
Oh, Gresham, Oregon. We meet again. Another weekend, another 5k, and boys, girls, and non-binary pearls, this one was pretty great. Felt good, pushed hard, came through with another PR, no, I’m calling it a PB because I watch way too many British running channels on YouTube. It’s a PB!
This was the Lilac Run, and I found out after I got home that the 5k and 10k races had around three times as many women runners as men, while the half had twice as many. I find this very funny. Men, were you scared away by the name of the race? Did you think attending a “lilac” run would turn you to an effeminate mush? You poor, poor babies.
A lot of my pre-race information is going to revolve around eating and shitting, so if you’re not into that, skip ahead.
Basically, I’ve become, to the detriment of my sanity, a bit obsessed with runner’s trots. If you’re unaware (and you will be aware if you keep running), runner’s trots are basically stomach problems during runs, sometimes making you need to shit ASAP. The causes are varied but break down to blood being diverted from the digestive system to your muscles, causing unprocessed food to pass quickly through your intestines and right outcha butt. The constantly jostling from running doesn’t help, and neither does the type of food you eat before you run.
Strangely, I haven’t had this happen during runs, probably because I don’t run very far (it’s more of a problem for longer distance), but I have had it while walking. I thought it was kind of embarrassing but then I did some YouTube searching and after listening to a few people tell stories about their Random Acts of Pooping, I realized it’s surprisingly common. Probably doesn’t help that the American diet is kind of terrible to begin with. But the longer the race, the more the racers are used to the trots. Hence the placement of porta potties throughout the race.
Anyway, to combat il trotto (I didn’t think this would be the Italian translation but it basically is, the singular at least. I trotti is plural. Language is fun.) it’s recommended to eat easily digestible carbs and sugars before you run, and stay away from fiber and things that might already upset your stomach, like dairy and fats. Also, stay hydrated!
I woke up needing to poop, which is a great start because I can get that all out of my system first thing in the morning. Afterwards I ate instant oatmeal (cinnamon & spice, tasty) and some almonds, which is kind of my go-to breakfast for run mornings. I have learned the hard way that cereal and milk is NOT my go-to for run mornings. I would’ve done toast and PB but I had oatmeal in my head so oatmeal it was. If I could go back and change anything I might’ve just had regular oatmeal with a scoop of PB, as I think the sugar content of the oatmeal didn’t quite sit right.
I also woke up with DOMS from a lower body workout I did on Thursday. For some fucked up reason I usually run faster when I have DOMS, and this of course was no exception. Why this is I’ll never know. I think the repetitive movement feels good, like dynamic stretching, but when I’m done and especially after I get out of the car my hips feel like two rusted levers.
So I drive out to Gresham and on the way I feel like I gotta go again. Nothing drastic, just one of those “I should do this before the race starts” sort of things. Once I get to the venue I avail myself of the porta potties for a quick flushing out, so to speak. That one was nerves. My anxiety around shitting my pants, ironically, makes me feel like I’m going to shit my pants. For all our evolution, homo sapiens still has a lot of work to do. Still felt a little iffy stomach-wise after, but it ended up being not an issue at all. I forget that theatre trained me how to do lots of high energy work for several hours without disrupting my stomach too much.
There wasn’t a ton of bib pickup swag for this event. Coupons for things, a can of Tatu protein water which was pretty good, and one of the sponsors, a dentists office, gave us a koozie and lip balm. Wooooo. Oh and it all came in a tote bag which I guess is swag too.
The actual race had pancakes and sausage and coffee/beer afterward though. Very good! Give me more food please. I opted for the coffee, which was a “small” Americano but was actually in a 12oz cup, so it was watered down too much. Look, I don’t want to hyper-judge the post-race coffee. It was good. The pancakes and sausage though? Delightful. WAY better than the pancakes they were serving up at the Shamrock Shakeout a month ago. Like, these ones were actually cooked all the way through, and there was actually syrup and butter available.
There was also the usual cheap kitschy stuff at the event itself–cheap sunglasses, more of those god damn bells, and I think one booth had fidget spinners–but I didn’t take anything. I almost took a fidget spinner. What am I gonna do with this stuff? Throw it away, eventually. Don’t put that on me, booths.
The route was a simple out and back along the Springwater Corridor, which is just a long paved trail throughout the eastern Portland Metro area. A couple of street crossings, which is always annoying, but one was at the refueling station, which made sense because oftentimes people stop or walk through refueling stations, so to have a street crossing there too wasn’t as bad.
By now we all know my strategy: run as far as I can without walking and then just do run/walk splits until I’m done. I had two training settings on Garmin: Estimated Finish Time, which I intentionally set, and a 90 second run/30 second walk alert, which I forgot to turn off before the race. Sorry to everyone around me who kept hearing my watch beep. I think it ended up saving my ass though because if I didn’t have my watch go off after 30 seconds I probably would’ve walked a lot more.
My A goal was under 35 minutes, while my B goal (and the one I set on the event page on Garmin) was 36:15, or an 11:40/mi pace. My B goal was simply to run faster than my fastest pace of 11:44/mi, which I did! And for a really long time, at least two miles of the race, I was set to get under 35 minutes. But, despite refueling twice, my legs just wouldn’t give me more than about 60-90 seconds of running. This is kind of a con of run/walk methods; for me at least they get settled into my mind and body, where my legs run for 90 seconds and then are like “Okay we did it, where’s our 30 seconds of walking now?”
Speaking of refueling, they had a stop with Gatorade and Haribo gummy bears a mile in (and thus two miles on the loop back). I decided I would refuel even though this was just a 5k. My reasoning is that I am eventually doing a half marathon and I need to learn how to refuel during the run. I know, I know, no new things on race day, but here’s the thing: technically nothing was new. Have I drank Gatorade before? Yes. Have I eaten gummy bears before? Yes, many times, maybe too many times. Have I done both of these while in the act of running? No, technically, but … it was fine, okay? It’s not like I ate a footlong hoagie halfway through.
On the first stop I grabbed a Gatorade cup, which was fine, but on the second stop I grabbed a cup of gummy bears as well. There were three bears in there and long story short they were hard as fuck to chew and swallow while running. I ended up having to stop and walk for a bit just to swallow the damn things. But I learned something! I learned that if you want to bring something like gummy bears to refuel you (and I absolutely want to do that), then you should pack them in such a fashion where perhaps they can warm up against your skin or something, thus making them easier to chew and swallow. Or just take a gel or something, I don’t know. There’s no way I’m buying refueling stuff in gel form or whatever, I’m just going to eat food that already exists, like gummy bears. A lady on YT recommended dried pineapple because it also has digestive enzymes. Yes, please!
So, did it help? Probably! I’m not at a point as a runner where I can really feel much difference in terms of a boost of energy, with one exception: the sprint to the finish line. The gummy bears might’ve helped with that, but it’s more likely that I finished the race before any of the refueling kicked in. In fact, if anything I feel the drain of running more clearly now than I did before. Specifically, that damn VO2 max, which refuses to rise above a terrible 39. It’s going to be a while before I can understand that dynamic between breathing and the oxygen fueling my muscles, but I can certainly feel that my breathing doesn’t seem to be doing enough, despite my pretty good cadenced breaths.
My only real regret during the race was leaving my sweatshirt on. I really wish I had left my sweatshirt in the car. It wasn’t devastating but I just think I would’ve been cooler overall if I had just a t-shirt and shorts, which would’ve helped with energy transfer, maybe. Fortunately this will likely be the last race I run for a while where I feel the need for an extra layer.
Another funny aspect of this race is that I was literally middle of the road in my gender and age group placing. 25 out of 51 for gender and 4 out of 8 for age. Not a lot of 35-39 year olds coming out to these things! 66th out of 210 finishers though, so better than average there. (These aren’t that helpful because there were a lot of walkers too.) My sort of inside (my head) joke is that I’m a very average runner, and these results keep proving it.
Pancakes! Sausage! Coffee! The pancake station had TANG. Remember Tang? It was actually very good. The medal is wood! REMEMBER how I was like “It would be cool to have a wooden medal”?! Eat shit Shamrock Run! (Just kidding Shamrock Run, but maybe look into wood medals next year.) It’s actually even more like the Shamrock medal because it’s layers of wood glued together. It’s neat! Probably would’ve looked a little sharper if it was metal, but whatever! We’re trying new things people!
I met a lady from Florida in line for coffee who was just ahead of me in the race towards the end. She is here with her husband and their kiddo visiting her brother. She and her hubby were the only two people in the 5k race who weren’t from Oregon or Washington. For some reason there were more random state people in the half marathon. Also, one of the half runners is from Corbett, Oregon, and another half runner who finished two spots below her is named Corbett. What are the fuckin’ odds, people.
Note to self: I really need to ask people what their names are. I never do this because I assume I’ll forget it, but asking is part of the introduction process!
Anyway then on my way out I noticed that there was a little Japanese garden called Tsuru Island next to the venue! Here are pictures of that.
Next 5k is the Cinco de Mayo on … Seis de Mayo?! ¿Qué chingados?Hasta la vista, baby.
This week is about reining it in a bit. I pushed myself a bit too hard on cadence drills last week and my hamstrings are reminding me of my mistakes. That, plus running a parkrun AND a 5k race, both of which having hills, was enough to create some real soreness in my legs.
This morning’s workout is another Run Walk Run from my grandaddy, Coach Jeff, with a 2 mile run this go around. I opted for 90/30 splits instead of 60/30 this time, just to see how it felt. Turns out, it felt alright. If anything, running 90 seconds instead of 60 helped me develop a better cadence, which was solidly in the 158-162spm range when I ran. This feels like it will become my “easy run” cadence and this training is helping me to find that.
It kind of feels like Coach Jeff’s training plan is just to get me to a healthy baseline, rather than ramping things up for a 10k. This makes sense the more I think about it, as I need to have stronger legs and endurance to run farther, and running longer (at this point) isn’t going to help. Nobody runs the full distance of their race before their race, after all, so me running consistent 2-3 miles for the next few weeks before, I hope, gradually building up to a 4 or 4.5 mile run, feels like what I need.
My only regret is that I wish I had opted for a 4-day training plan and incorporated parkrun into it. I’m not sure if the Garmin Coach thing recognizes that I’m also running on Saturdays too.
Anyway, the rest of the week are drills. I think I’m going to do at least one going east (aka 3% uphill) because I desperately need to train hills, and 3% is a slight enough grade that I don’t think it’ll hinder my progress at all. Next Tuesday is another RWR at 2.5 miles. Not entirely sure why GC isn’t putting these on Sundays, which I marked as my long run day, but whatever.
The plan for drills is easy and slow this week. My drills last week were too fast and my hamstrings are mad at me. My first and fastest split then was 6:15/mi-ish pace–wild!–but I really do think I overstrided and probably pulled my hamstrings a bit. So every subsequent run will be done easily, except I suppose for the Lilac Run, which I may purposely run slow on just because. We’ll see. Race day is race day, after all.
I do hope that GC eventually gives me some alternate workouts. Drills and RWR are fine but I know they have hill workouts and other stuff loaded in there somewhere. Put me in coach! I’m ready to play (clap clap clap) today!
This was an interesting run and an interesting push on my running fitness. I was not expecting it to be timed at all. In fact, I was expecting it to be way more of a clusterfuck, if I’m being honest, if only because the emails prior to the race didn’t offer a lot of helpful information, like where exactly the race started.1The emails listed the event taking place at Laurelhurst, sure, but the address listed the cross streets of Cesar Chavez and Stark, which, technically, are the Laurelhurst annex across Oak St, which was nowhere near where the actual start was. The route map listed on the email had a dot where I presumed the start was, and ended up being true (and if you know Laurelhurst the start is where you would think it would be), but it would’ve been nice to have more concrete directions. But it wasn’t a clusterfuck at all. Instead, it was a very small group that took part and despite the egregious rain and Laurelhurst Park’s hills, it was a pretty good run.
There was no swag other than the t-shirt, which, hooray, I have another green t-shirt.
I didn’t get shirt until the morning of the event, so here I am wearing it after the race, in all my … glory.
At the event itself there were a couple of sponsors that I did not check out whatsoever because there were only two of them and that felt weird, as well as that weird-ass Red Bull Mini Cooper you see parked at universities during finals. They were handing out Red Bulls (obviously) but I didn’t get one. I’m not sure why other than I am trying to deduce my proper nutrition intake prior to races. My stomach has been feeling weird prior and during exercise lately and then I get nervous about it being weird, which makes it more weird, etc etc diarrhea. Fortunately I took a shit before I left my apartment because that what I do now, I’m a runner and runners shit before a race.
I don’t drink energy drinks in general anymore, but I almost never pass up a free Red Bull. Not sure why. Probably because it’s free. They remind me of stocking at 6am at Hastings when I was in my early 20s, except those were Monsters I drank and I drank way too many of them. I also stole candy bars in the morning because I was broke. I don’t mind telling you this because Hastings closed down in 2016 and they sucked anyway.
According to the results, there were 50 runners. Total. Plus staff that puts us at around 60 people, which means this was the smallest timed race I’ve ever run, smaller even than the Tar ‘n Trail last October, which had around 150 runners in total.
That made the whole event feel kind of strange. Not in a bad way, it just felt like another parkrun, except a parkrun where nobody knows each other. So it was kind of chill, and kind of chilly, with all of us huddling under trees trying not to get too rained on while we waited for the start.
Adel “AB” Korkor, the guy who made the foundation who made this race happen, was there and gave a little opening speech before we started, which was nice. He seems like a cool guy who’s just trying to get this thing to become a Thing, you know? He also had to basically shoo people into stepping up to the starting line. It was very strange, normally the start has all the elite runners ready to go, but I think none of us were elite runners and had no idea who should be at the start. This was maybe the only time I was near the starting line of a race? It was a funny moment watching him corral us anxious people to the start.
I hope they get more runners next year. I only learned about this through a random Instagram sponsored post, which is very rare for me. Would be nice to see more people!
There were 50 participants mostly from the Portland metro area and Salem, plus a few from Spokane, Washington, but the guy who won is from Prole, Iowa. He has such a unique name that it was easy to find him on social media–basically, he’s running 5ks in every state. Not in any real time frame, just when he can, it seems. But why this one? Lots of other great (and locally run!) 5ks in Oregon, my dude.
(He also had a Washington State t-shirt on so maybe he went to college there. Go Cougs.)
Also, he showed up like 5 minutes before the race started and the CAR he came showed up in had like a fuckin’ Delorean style back door that lifted upward. I think it was a Tesla because apparently some Tesla SUVs do that. ANYWAY I’m pretty sure it was his dad’s ANYWAY.
Laurelhurst is hilly. Much like Lacamas, the start of the race was uphill, but it was a much longer uphill. We did two laps around the course, up and down hills, while it rained constantly on us. It rained so goddamn much that I had to take my earbuds out about midway through lap 2 because the rain was getting into my ear canal and making the earbud thingy slippery. Ain’t no way I’m losing my Pixel Buds! Or my hearing to an ear infection from rainwater being stuck in my ear canal!
I managed to eke out 11 minutes of straight running, including uphill, before I fell into my normal run/walk pattern. At one point I had to tie both of my shoes, costing me precious time. Also a lady I was running close to got confused about the turnaround point so a couple of us kind of slowed down to help her/get confused ourselves.
I’m not sure how I ran this. My thought was not to run it at all, until I saw the familiar big balloon arch signifying that it would, in fact, be a timed race. Once I knew it was timed I knew I had to run the damn thing. Also, prior to the race I had to do my Garmin 10k training plan workout with Grandpa Jeff Galloway, which I did the bare minimum for and treated like a warmup. It actually probably helped a lot and I should do more warmups before races.
I’m just kind of surprised I made it out relatively unscathed. Yes, my hamstrings hurt, and my knees hurt a little bit, but overall, once I was done, I felt okay. I walked home with little issue besides the usual aches and pains from running quickly. That plus my time, which is only 11 seconds slower than the parkun I ran yesterday, leaves me feeling pretty proud of my accomplishment. I ran a 5k parkrun and then ran a 5k race the next day! And my legs aren’t dying! That’s good news.
And the best part of the whole thing was that I didn’t even need to drive anywhere.
Is this a race I will do next year? I don’t know. Probably not. I’m definitely scaling back next year and by the end of this year will have a better sense of how I feel doing longer races. If I do more longer ones I will absolutely do fewer 5ks because the long races are expensive as hell. So we’ll see. But I’m glad it exists and I am grateful for Mr. Korkor and his desire to ease mental health issues through regular exercises. I hope the rest of his 5ks go as smoothly as this one seemed to.
Next week I am back with another 5k with the Lilac Run in Gresham. Time to head back to my old stomping grounds … East Portland… *insert ominous music here*
The emails listed the event taking place at Laurelhurst, sure, but the address listed the cross streets of Cesar Chavez and Stark, which, technically, are the Laurelhurst annex across Oak St, which was nowhere near where the actual start was. The route map listed on the email had a dot where I presumed the start was, and ended up being true (and if you know Laurelhurst the start is where you would think it would be), but it would’ve been nice to have more concrete directions.
My official parkrun time was 36:28, which means my general pace was 11:44/mi, which means I am officially as fast as I was in 2013 with that one Shamrock Run 8k. This is wild. I was sure that I would be running slower this week due to my hamstrings being sore from cadence drills (that I very likely overstrided on because I was trying to run as fast as possible). Instead, I ran faster than the Lacamas 5k.
The craziest part is that I was going to set up a PacePro plan on my Forerunner for an 11:30/mi pace, but decided against it at the last minute because I didn’t want my damn watch to beep every five seconds telling me I’m too fast or too slow. So instead I just ran and was only 15 seconds off.
Of course, I ran and I walked.
I walked a lot, actually, but never more than 45 seconds to a minute at a time. And as you can see, when I run, my pace is around 11:30/mi or faster. I need to do more hill work, because the hills at Rock Creek Trail get me every time
I’m not worried about walk breaks anymore thanks to my new grandfather, Olympian Jeff Galloway.
If anything, I’ve learned to embrace the bit of 30 second-1 minute relief I get before pushing off again. I know at some point I will be able to run the entire thing without stopping, but we’ll get there. No need to rush.
In non-running parkrun news, I am still socially awkward as hell and have trouble just chatting with people there. That isn’t a parkrun exclusive though, I’ve always been terrible at sparking up conversation.
I think that’s it. There’s not much else to talk about this week. Good run! We’ll see if I run that Five Fifty Fifty run tomorrow though.
CW: Definitely going to be some food and weight talk here.
After I switched over to my new insurance plan (which in itself is just an update to last year’s plan), my insurance said, “Hey, if you go get a blood test, we’ll give you $50.” Didn’t have to tell me twice. The next day I was watching a new hire at Quest Diagnostics stab a needle into my arm. This is what older is: getting stabbed with needles all the time.
A couple years ago, while still living at my old apartment, I got a lipid test at the behest of my PCP at the time, a woman whose first name was Honey, which meant that I had to call her Dr. Marques because saying “Hi Honey” to a complete stranger felt bad. She isn’t even a doctor, really, she’s a physician’s assistant, but even knowing that I still called her Doctor, because what else do I call her? Ms. Marques?
Anyway, that first test, in May of 2021, was bad. Mainly in the triglycerides, but it was all pretty bad. A good triglycerides level is below 150 mg/dL.1Tangent: Is a blood test the only place where people use a deciliter as a unit of measurement? Mine was over 600. I remember shortly before my grandma, a stubborn-as-hell woman who continued to eat sweets and processed foods long after the diabetes had cost her both of her feet, died, had a reading of around 600, and I don’t remember if that was triglycerides or glucose. Both options are bad.
This was a year after covid hit and my second year into what I can only describe as Pandemic Panic, where I had exorbitant amounts of DoorDash delivered to my apartment on a regular basis. Here is a picture I took of my feet in June of 2021:
I took this photo because I thought, “Are my feet super swollen or what?”
They were. At this point in my life I betrayed myself by doing something I swore I would never do: weigh over 300lbs. See, the problem with being 6’5″ and someone who used to do a lot of weightlifting is that 300lbs kind of sneaks up on you, visually speaking. Nobody really mentions weight anymore, which is good!–a very few people in your life should be allowed to tell you you’re fat, and even then they should be nice about it–but it also meant that I didn’t really see the difference in myself at the time, except in my feet. Or maybe I did notice and just didn’t care. I’ve spoken at length about the constant battles between Lizard Brain and Rational Brain, and I think the pandemic lockdown really threw my entire consciousness off balance, to the point where Lizard Brain felt the need to declare martial law.
Doctor Honey was a stern woman, the type of PA you find at urgent care–quick with info, quick to get you out of the door. But she was also kind behind that need for speed, and she offered me a statin medication or lifestyle changes, and I opted for the latter. Three months, she said. Come back in three months.
I went home that day and got my ass in gear. But it was an uphill battle due to my apartment neighbor being a meth-addled psychopath who was maybe one terrible trip away from beating my head in with a crowbar. Gone were my daily walks because I feared running into him. I eventually moved; that was good. I ate better, I walked a bit more around my new apartment neighborhood, I took fish oil supplements.
In August I went in and got another lipid test. It was good, in the sense that my triglycerides went down by half. Still to high, but not so high that I should fear for my life. I don’t think I talked to Dr. Marques about these results, or maybe I did. I had moved at that point and so had she, from that clinic to who knows where.
Since then, my weight ballooned back up to over 300 and has gradually come down by then. As we all know because I won’t shut up about it, I run now and I’m getting more exercises these days than I’ve had since covid started.
So, of course: these results. These new lipid results are essentially the same as from August of 2021. They appear to be slightly better (my cholesterol-to-HDL ratio was 7.6 in May 2021, 6.6 in August 2021, and now 6.0), but it’s all still the same to me. It’s clear that I still have work to do. I may end up getting on a statin if these don’t drop over the summer. Statin or not, I need to watch what I eat and lay off the saturated fats. Most of which I consume as part of breakfast…
I don’t have a moral or anything to end this post on. My cholesterol is too high; welcome to the United States of America. I was hoping it would be lower because of my exercising but I should’ve remembered that it’s your diet which really influences these numbers. I’m going to give myself another three months of running and exercise and eating better to see where I end up. Hopefully with better results.
Tangent: Is a blood test the only place where people use a deciliter as a unit of measurement?
Now, I’ve never been huge on the moral quandaries associated with eating meat. I understand that the meat industry is shady as hell. I understand that male babies are often killed because they’re not as useful as females. (I’ve seen the baby chicks being put in the grinder, thanks.) I’m not sure how you can decouple eating meat with knowing how animals are slaughtered. There was that whole thing a few years back about teaching kids where their chicken nuggets come from, but I think most teens and adults understand slaughter. In fact, more often than not, rural communities understand slaughter way more than urban ones, because they deal with it first or secondhand.
I’ve never lived rurally enough to experience slaughter firsthand, but my family did live relatively close to a now closed slaughterhouse and when I would drive to college every morning I would pass by it and the conveyor belt plopping steaming intestines and other internal parts into a big truck. Man that place stunk.
Truthfully, I think the consumption of animals is crucial for human development. Specifically, it’s theorized that the cooking of meat is what jump started human brain development, tens of thousands of years ago. Cooking breaks down tough fibers into more easily digestible ones, which meant that prehistoric humans suddenly were getting more nutrients from cooked meat than from raw. Plus it was easier to chew and probably tasted good as hell to homo erectus.
That said, at some point our brains got big enough that we became self-aware and empathic toward the thing that got us here in the first place. The moral and ethical issues involved with eating meat, to me, are more entwined with cruel-free practices of raising and slaughtering animals than they are with the eating of animal meat itself. Cows are an animal meant to be eaten. If not us, then wolves or other predators. We’re just very good at killing animals, and, more recently, much more interested in consuming as much meat as humanly possible, it seems.
So, when I see 18,000 cattle dead (and ranchers lamenting about how they’ve lost around $2,000 per cow) due to, arguably, poor living conditions for the animals, it makes me take stock in my own meat, dairy, and byproduct consumption and how possible it could be to make it more ethically and morally appealing in the future. There is no ethical consumption under capitalism, but perhaps I can lessen my impact.
I’m not here to make any promises, but here are some thoughts on forward progress:
Reducing meat consumption.
This one is a no-brainer, obviously, but is also worrying for me mostly because it was meat (I think) which helped get me out of a depressive slump. More specifically, I think I was lacking iron and/or B vitamins that we can only get from animal consumption, and then one day a coworker left and we went to a Brazilian grill for her last day and I ate all the meats and felt better than I had in months afterward. Another friend of mine was basically prescribed a weekly meat meal by her doctor to combat low iron.1I know you can get iron in plants (what up spinach) but heme iron is supposed to be much easier for us to absorb. For me, then, I would prefer to find locally sourced meat once or twice a week, and supplement the B vitamins (B12? Is there another one?) with the multivitamin I already take.
I expect this will be way more expensive than the meat I buy at Safeway, but if I reduce the amount I consume in the first place, it should even out.
Ethically sourcing dairy and animal byproducts.
Again, this is like the above point. I’m slightly less concerned with some byproducts, like honey, which I don’t think is as unethically collected as, say, eggs and milk. But I like eggs and I like milk and I’d like to get them both from local sources. Especially eggs–factory farmed eggs are so shit compared to fresh, free range farmed eggs. Gotta get that orange yolk. Milk is the same. Honestly I think I can fix this by taking trips to Market of Choice instead of Safeway; their commitment to animal welfare page makes me feel more comfortable with purchasing meat and dairy there.
Ethical consumption and/or vegan consumption outside the home.
This one will be tougher. Portland restaurants are pretty good about letting you know where their meat comes from, depending on the quality of the restaurant. But in the end you just never know. So I think outside of my home I’d like to try to consume less or no meat at all, and maybe go vegan entirely. I don’t know if this will stick; obviously I want my restaurant experience to be better than my home cooking, and for me that includes dairy and/or meat. YES there are excellent vegan foods out there and I will absolutely go that route if I see something I like. But I am not a vegan or vegetarian really so I don’t feel the need to limit myself as much there.
Giving back to the community?
If I’m going to eat another animal I feel like I should at least use that energy to better myself or the community. I don’t know if this will be financial or actual volunteerism (I am terrible at volunteering), but I want to try to put the energy I receive from another living being into bettering the world as a whole.
Again, I live in Portland so these things should be easy to implement. At the very least though, having a clear concept of the impact I am having on my environment and how I can adjust it to be more ethical and conscious is a good start.
I know you can get iron in plants (what up spinach) but heme iron is supposed to be much easier for us to absorb.
Cerberus Coffee, Jacksonville, OR Wizard Cat – Medium Roast, Blend of Brazil and Uganda Tasting Notes: Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Balanced Method: Pour over
Obviously I bought this impulsively because of the packaging, right? Cerberus Coffee is the featured roaster for Market of Choice stores for April and May, and it’s well deserved. Great packaging and pretty good coffee too.
Jacksonville is a small town in southern Oregon, a few miles away from Medford. I’m not too familiar with southern Oregon except for the town of Klamath from Fallout 2, but my friends who are from there tend to talk about it in a way that feels like it is a whole different land from the Willamette Valley part of Cascadia. (I’m actually traveling to the Medford area this summer so I might have some more imput later.)
I appreciate that Cerberus puts some of its money back toward the community, especially the LGBTQ community. But how does it taste?!
Well it tastes pretty … balanced. As if they blended two different origins and roasted them just enough to give a blanket taste. Not a bad cup of coffee at all, but nothing jumping out. I got more of the dark chocolate notes than the fruit. When I want a cup of coffee that tastes good and full-bodied without the sometimes pesky nuances of a light roast, this is what I would gravitate toward.
Overall, despite the confusing marketing between a Cat who is a Wizard and a Dog with Three Heads who guards the gates of Hell, Cerberus’s Wizard Cat is a tasty blend that doesn’t try anything too wild. 7/10