parkrun #V1 & Running Update

CW: there is some weight/food talk in farther below.

That’s right folks, this past Saturday I volunteered at parkrun for the first time.

It was great! I was the barcode scanner, which means that I took all the times the timekeeper got from the runners and scanned them into the results! Had a great time and it was especially helpful for meeting some of the other volunteers and runners. I highly recommend volunteering if you want to get to know your fellow parkrunners! Afterwards I joined some of the volunteer folks at the nearby crepery for the first time, where I discovered that it was probably better for my waistline and my wallet to have not gone to the nearby crepery.

Since the disaster that was the Pacific Coast 5k, my leg has gotten much, much better, to the point where I think it was actually just a muscle strain rather than a tendon issue. I’m not sure why I thought it was a tendon issue, to be honest–I remember learning in some YouTube video or whatnot that tendons are incredibly strong, and to really injure one takes a lot more effort than, say, just pulling a muscle instead. This past week has been some tenuous walks, some not-so-tenuous walks, and finally a longer walk on Sunday that included four quarter-mile, very easy runs, which all felt good.

This week includes more slow and steady running to build back the mileage I’ve lost. Garmin Coach is on the backburner. Sorry Papa Jeff, you bumped my mileage up 200% over the course of one week and got me injured. It’s all your fault! I’m aiming for 6 miles this week and have already gotten about 2.3 in so far. My calf feels a bit betrayed so I’m going to really take it easy and remember to stretch and do my strength exercises, and also get up and walk while working because sitting at a desk is not helpful for all of this.

I also ate a lot last week. I was aiming for getting more protein to help repair muscle but kind of spiraled out a bit. It felt strange to return to a type of binge eating I hadn’t really done since my last apartment. Some of it was the product of being a little depressed because of my leg and because I’m 40 now and my body is withering away like an old banana. But to dive as deep as I did with the sort of behavioral self-awareness that I have now was very interesting. It was Rational Brain watching Lizard Brain take over for a bit. “You’re hurt and you’re an old banana? Don’t worry, I gotcha. Just sit back and relax and here’s All The Food.”

A prior version of me probably would’ve spiraled all the way down, but I contextualized this moment as part of the 80/20 philosophy. Sure, 80/20 can be a weekly thing, but it can also be a monthly thing, or a yearly thing. Eighty percent on track, 20 percent deviation. An easy thing to accept when it’s walking down a trail in the forest, right? Stay on the trail but sometimes you wander out to sniff a flower or take a shit behind a tree. So I try to approach food in that manner as well. Get your chicken and rice and veggies but sometimes you eat a pizza or a bag of Doritos. C’est la vie. I’m never going to be perfect on nutrition. I don’t want to be perfect on nutrition. I want the cauliflower and the cannoli. If that shaves a few years off my life, so be it.

My next 5k is a fun run, the Starlight Run, and it’s not until June 3rd, so my intent over the next couple of weeks is to rebuild mileage very slow and very easy. I can bring speed in later. Now it’s just getting back to a 10 mile or so foundation before I build (SLOWLY) onto that. You hear me, Coach Jeff?!

race reports running

Pacific Coast Running Festival

Location: Long Beach, Washington
Distance: 5k
Chip(?) Time: 37:32
Garmin Time: 37:08
Pace: 12:05/mi or 11:30/mi

The medal’s a little busy, but it’s still pretty cool.

Well, if you were looking for a race report where it “all went wrong,” this is the one. Let’s just dig in shall we?


Since this was my first real “getaway” race, I had to get all my ducks in a row before I left. I failed at this in a fun way that I’ll explain in a bit. I also had to make sure my cat, Jowers, had enough food for when I was gone. I was a little worried about leaving her but I’m back now and of course she’s fine. It’s almost like nothing changed. I did forget to fill her water dish when I left so she was out of water when I got back, which I am disappointed in myself about.

This race is part of the Pacific Coast Running Festival, which hosts a lot of runs including a “sand marathon,” which is apparently the longest sand marathon in the U.S. and maybe the world? I don’t know. It’s along the coast of Long Beach, which has at least 20 miles of unbroken coastline. There’s gotta be longer coastlines in California though, right? Whatever.

I chose to drive in on Saturday afternoon and leave Sunday morning. I got a hotel room which was WAY too big; I wanted to splurge since it was my birthday weekend, and ended up getting the “family suite,” which was basically a single story room with two beds and a whole kitchen and everything. ENTIRELY too much for me. If anything it made me feel super self-conscious about being there on my own. The city was full of tourists, which were mostly big families, and I felt like the only singular people I saw were locals. I don’t mind getting away on my own for trips and such, but there was something about this trip that made me feel like it would have been better experienced with a significant other.

Also, I splurged on this hotel room which looked nice from a distance but the closer you got, the shittier everything was. Just little aesthetic details, mostly, like the place got built or renovated quick. There was also a door in the kitchen that was locked from the other side, which was unnerving. I suspect it was just full of cleaning supplies, or murdering supplies. Or both!

I walked around and bought stuff, like you do. Kitschy souvenirs and such.

You laugh but I’ve always wanted a Swiss army knife. This one has my name on it!

One crucial thing I forgot to do all Saturday was take in some amount of caffeine. Yeah, I’m not one of those people who is a slave to coffee, but I do have a cup every morning, and not having a cup on Saturday coupled with a long day of driving and looking at stuff gave me a nasty headache while I slept. Awesome!

Swag & Atmosphere

(I didn’t get any photos of the event itself because I didn’t have my phone with me because … of reasons I will explain in the next segment.)

I’m lumping these together because there wasn’t a lot of swag and there wasn’t a lot of atmosphere. T-shirt, sure, and a couple of little things, SmarTea and some hydrating mix powders. Another issue of Vancouver Family Magazine, taunting me for my lack of children.

The morning of was kind of … lacking, in a way. People just kind of showed up, 20 minutes before the gun went off. It was very casual, which is nice! I prefer casual to the juggernaut of stuff like the Shamrock Run. The 10/5k was the last race event though so the event crew was probably ready to wrap it up. Not a lot of 5k runners, just 83. The 10k had 61, the half had 88, and the Sunset Sand 5k (a 5k ran on the beach) had 84. The results site doesn’t have anything for the marathon or any of the bike rides, I guess they didn’t time those? Anyway, doesn’t seem like a lot of people overall, and some of those people probably signed up for more than one event because you get a special “beast” medal if you do.

I will say that they had a “kids dash” right before the 5/10k time and it was so dang cute watching the little kids run to the finish line. One of the last kids (maybe the last) was running as we were setting up at the start line, and a bunch of people made a little path with their arms tented above for her as she passed the finish. It was great.

The Race

Alright so let’s talk about everything that went wrong first.

First: Slept terribly.

Hotel was cool but not that cool and the only AC was a standing fan because it’s the beach and it never gets regularly hot enough for AC. I had a headache from caffeine withdrawal. Also, someone who had rented the room before me set the clock alarm for 4:09am. So I was rudely awoken by that. Just bad sleep all around.

I took ibuprofen the morning of (side note: I am so thankful to remember to take ibuprofen with me) and it subsided pretty much before the race began, but it still sucked.

Second: Forgot my running shorts.

This one makes me so mad. I triple checked all of the gear I was going to take with me the morning of and completely forgot about my running shorts. So I had to run in the shorts I drove in on, which are very definitely not made for running. I clearly looked like “guy who forgot running shorts” too, everyone else was wearing suitable kit but I looked like a dunce. This is like if you were a ballet dancer and forgot your ballet shoes for your opening night of … Ballet Show. I can’t think of a popular ballet right now. Swan Lake? I think Swan Lake.

Third: I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Okay so the first half of this 5k I was doing really well. I was able to fully run the first half and my pace was even pretty good: my average for mile 1 was 10:44. The race itself was a kind of grueling I can only explain as a warm morning coupled with sand particulates in the air. My mouth felt like the Sahara in more ways than one. This all coupled with my lack of quality sleep and just the whole thing in general made me do a very stupid thing.

So to preface this I need to explain: there is a boardwalk next to the big arch that is the entrance to the beach. It is a big, obvious boardwalk and goes on for some time. It is a walk, made of boards.

Okay so after running on the road path for around 2.5 miles, we are dropped off onto a little section of the street. There is a sign with a left arrow for half marathon runners and a right arrow for 10/5k runners. There is also a man there. The man says, “10k and 5k runners use the boardwalk!” He says this very clearly. However, my brain sees an arrow pointing right and, rather than heading toward the obvious boardwalk, I turn right and start walking up the street. My brain is like, “The boardwalk must be up that way.” I run this for like, well, for as long as the picture above before I’m like, Where is everyone? and then turn around and see all the people I lapped, now lapping me. So I hustle back, wasting precious time and, more importantly, running faster to get there, which I think hurt me in the long run.

Speaking of hurting me…

Fourth: I fuckin’ hurt myself dude.

Everyone sprints towards the finish line and I am no exception. The boardwalk declines a bit to the road and I pick up the pace, literally: my pace goes from about 11:00/mi to under 7. Pretty cool, and Garmin is like “Yeah this is the good stuff” but then as I am running to the finish I feel a sudden pain in my right achilles tendon. Yep, the one that’s been bothering me. I manage to run to the finish but barely, and I’m hobbling for the last few steps.

This felt worse than my usual tendon hurt and will probably lay me up for the next week to heal. I’d rather abandon my Coach Jeff training for a week or two than get seriously injured. Thankfully the pain subsided after I stopped running, so it’s likely not something serious but … it hurts, and I want it to stop.

Also, I’m not 100% on the chip time on this race. The the timing results website says my gun time was 37:32. It doesn’t mention my chip time at all. (Gun time is the start of the race from the moment the guy says “Go,” basically [or when the starter pistol goes off {they get it josh} okay sorry].) Garmin, meanwhile, says my time, which I started as I crossed the start, was 37:08, and I would argue the difference in time as the amount of time it took me to get to the start line from the back of the pack. But our bibs had chip tags on them, so I’m not sure what that’s about.

I checked the other runners and they all have gun times, and I even checked the race timer’s website, which has live results for the half marathon and shows gun time and chip times as the same. I feel like I was shorted some seconds there, and I would complain about GPS but it was literally a clear day at the beach, one of the most open spots around. Obviously GPS isn’t 100% accurate but still, I feel like something is off.


After the race I got to the hotel, showered, got my stuff, and got the hell out of dodge. I didn’t even use my snack or beer ticket. Partially I was worried about Jowers, but moreover I was just annoyed with all the mishaps coupled me just being there on my own, feeling alone among all of these couples and families and whatnot. Makes me feel like I’m an alien or something.

I’m not sure I’ll do this again next year alone.

The drive home was lovely, especially the early bit to Astoria, with the sun glinting off the Columbia River. Also the Megler Bridge is such a cool bridge. I ate a homemade Moon Pie from a candy shop while I drove. It was … too much. Good, but too much. Then when I got home I quickly went to Burgerville for some incredibly disappointing chicken tenders. I just wanted some quick protein! The whole meal was kind of disappointing–they have deep fried asparagus which was kind of gross. Just give me regular asparagus please.

Anyway now I’m here typing this and so thankful that my next race isn’t for three whole weeks and it’s just a fun run.

Until next time…


parkrun #13

No photos because I didn’t bring my phone with me.

Nice warm and sunny morning with a TON of runners, 67, which I think is a new record for Rock Creek Trail. I intentionally ran this one slow, to try and keep my heart rate in Zone 3. My new Forerunner 265, aside from being very cool and shiny, has a Load Focus feature which was telling me that I wasn’t getting enough Low Aerobic runs in, so I focused on that. Did it help? Probably, yeah, in the long run, but at the time I just felt like I was running really slow. I will say, when I finished I felt like I could keep going, which is a good sign. Lots of walking and running mixes.

I’m not sure that I will keep doing weekly logs of parkruns. It feels weird to do it unless I’m getting a PR or a milestone. We’ll see!

every park in portland race reports running

Parks & Rec 5k/EPIP: Fernhill

NE 37th Avenue and Ainsworth Street
Neighborhood: Concordia
Portland Parks & Rec Page

Ladies & gentlemen & everyone in between, we’ve got a rare crossover episode, a mashup of Every Park in Portland and a running recap! (Sort of.)

In researching new potential 5k races to sign up for recently, I discovered that Portland Parks & Recreation hosts five 5k races over the spring and summer, from May until September. They only cost $5 per event and you can buy a t-shirt for the season for only $8. So, for the cost of less than one 5k event, you can run five and get a t-shirt! Sign me up! (I did. I signed up for all of them.)

The first of these five events took place in Fernhill Park, way up in Northeast Portland, a couple of blocks north of the Kennedy School McMenamins. (Which is famous for being a school that was turned into a restaurant/hotel campus that also has lounging pools because why not.) I ended up walking this 5k because of tendonitis in my achilles that I absolutely did not want to aggravate. Hence, no time listed. But even if it was timed, I probably wouldn’t list it for reasons I’ll get to in a second.

It was a fun little event, extremely casual and family friendly. They had a timing clock (no chips or anything though), but the clock itself wasn’t working, so you had to rely on your watch, or on the host guy who hyped everyone up and was very exuberant about it, which I appreciated. He also called out your time when you crossed the finish line, which was nice! They gave out ribbons instead of medals, a first for my running career.

After and during the race there were a couple of booths, one for raffles and one for general Parks & Rec info. Foot Traffic was surprisingly there as well, though I never got close enough to that booth to figure out if they were giving stuff away. Apparently there were bananas for finishers but by the time I finished, there were no bananas. I’m find with this, we all know I hate Post-Race Bananas.

The park itself is gorgeous. Huge and picturesque, with a track, two baseball diamonds (baseball and softball), a tennis court, soccer field horseshoe pit, and huge open fields for running your dogs around. There’s even a little Nature Patch garden among the park itself, a lovely addition. There’s even a splash pad for splashing around! I don’t think that section in the south of the map is part of the park, and it looked like they might be building something there. There were Portland Community College buildings being built across the street, so who knows.

The whole neighborhood reeks of “There is a Catholic high school nearby,” which is so say: wealthy. But unlike other wealthy parts of Portland, this place felt a lot more “within our means” wealthy, if that makes sense. Narrower streets than Irvington, a little more salt of the earth-y rather than trust fund/stock trader-y, if you get my drift. Apparently the park used to be an old stripping parts spot for car thieves back in the day.

Aesthetics: Beautiful, open, very nice. 10/10

Function: Sports haven. Track! I wish Buckman Field’s track was like this track. Plus you can run your dog around and get a decent run around the park itself. I’m really not sure what else you would want. 10/10

Sketchiness: There were a couple of tent homes or maybe storage at the fringes of the park, but I didn’t see any sketchy behavior at all and this just doesn’t seem like the spot to engage in that kind of behavior. It’s close to Killingsworth, which can feel a little sketchy in parts, but honestly, I’d be surprised if stuff went down in this park. 10/10

(Also, I’m changing my Sketchiness rating so that lower sketchiness results in a higher score.)

Lovely park and lovely little 5k race! Check it out if you get the chance.

race reports running

Cinco de Mayo

Distance: 5k
Time: 36:20
Pace: 11:34/mi

“Mm, made of pancakes, I am. Eat me, you will. Eat me … you will.”

Well, this was a rough one. All of my additional mileage over the past couple of weeks has led to a sore achilles tendon, which I honestly haven’t paid as much attention to as I should have. My goal was to try and get a sub-35 minute 5k but it just wasn’t in the cards. I’m honestly surprised I was able to get the time that I did.


Not much to say about this one. I ate a small breakfast of oatmeal, almonds, and coffee, waited until I felt like pooping, then did that and then waited until it was time to go. This race took place in Milwaukie, Oregon, at the Elks Lodge, which reminded me of all the times my dad’s band would play at the Moose Lodge back in Nampa, including that one time they played and when I came to help them unload their equipment afterward (at like 11pm), a shootout happened just down the street. My van was parked in the direction of the shootout, which was fun. Here’s a tangential diagram:

The Elks Lodge was waaaaay less sketchy.


Bib pickup was a hoodie which is a little too tight already and probably will shrink in the wash and a can of caffeine seltzer or something that I haven’t tried yet. This was also one of those races where they give you the medal at bib pickup, which I kind of hate, mostly because at the end of the race, nobody had their medals on because it’s not like they’re going to run with them. I ran with mine in my pocket though, mostly because I forgot about it.

After the race were pancakes, beer/cider/yerba mate drink (which is what I got, and it was good). There were a couple of tents for local businesses, like usual, but they were SO FAR AWAY from the general camaraderie that it almost felt like they didn’t exist. I don’t even know if they were giving away anything, because I didn’t walk over there.

Honestly not a lot of swag. The hoodie is very nice though, if a little cheaply made, and I hope it does not shrink in the wash.


Pre-race of the post-race space. That peach-ish colored tent toward the left of this photo was a sponsor/vendor tent. See how far away that is?!

Suitably festive for Cinco de Mayo, which is, like St. Patrick’s Day, one of those holidays that Americans have completely stripped the meaning from (or did know the meaning of in the first place). We’re good at that. We like to party and culturally appropriate things but god forbid we know why. You could probably just say that Cinco de Mayo is a Christian celebration of the five times Jesus ate bread and most Americans would love it and shoot an AR-15 in the air.

I do appreciate that since it’s a Cinco de Mayo race, the DJ was only playing Mexican music. Also, I forgot to get a picture of it but there were banners hung up that read “This way to the fiesta” and those banners were hung in front of the entrances to the toilets. BIG fan of that.

The Race

Eugh. This was a bad one. I still ran well, but my right achilles tendon hurt nearly the entire time. Basically, my right leg is a mess overall. It’s the black sheep of the family.

That said, I did get a 1 mile PR of 10:12, and the first mile honestly felt pretty good. My pace was all over the place for that mile though, which I think was just a desperate attempt to slow down, something I ended up not doing. I really didn’t feel too bad (other than my achilles) and managed to eke out 1.2 miles before I had my first walk. The rest was just me battling my achilles and my breathing. My perpetual battle with my VO2 max, which feels a lot more like a VO2 min.

This was also a race that went across active streets, which I am not a fan of. At one point running back from the loop I saw a car waiting to turn left and it looked like there was a gap between the runners, so I slowed down and gestured for him to (quickly) pull in. But I guess some guy behind me was going faster than I realized because he ran by me and just said “NO” as he did. I was honestly kind of mad at him for sounding like a dick at the time but thankfully I had about 20 minutes of running time to think about how the guy probably was running at threshold and literally couldn’t say more than “NO” at that point. Ah well.

Oh, the elevation of this run was mostly downhill, then mostly uphill, which killed whatever momentum I had. By the end I was just clinging onto getting as close to 36 minutes as possible. Overall, not my best race but the fact that I still got the time that I got means that my run training and mileage is working.

I placed 102nd out of 295, slowly but surely creeping past being completely average into slightly above average. My gender place was 49th out of 100–completely average. And my age place was 11th out of 18. So below average there. However, if I was in the 40-44 age bracket, I would’ve been 8th out of 14. Completely average. So there you go.

The guy who won the half marathon is 42, which means that I too could one day win a half marathon at 42. Why are you laughing?


Pancakes! From the same people who worked the Lilac Run. Yerba mate-adjacent drink called Vida Mate, blackberry lemonade flavor. Was pretty good. And that was it. Said hi to some friends there and then drove to Burgerville to get a 1/2lb burger for protein to start healing my damn achilles tendon.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to run the first of four (five? something like that) 5ks put on by Portland Parks & Recreation. But it’s a walk/run so I am going to walk it, for sure. Then, next week is MY BIRTHDAY and also the Pacific Coast 5k in Long Beach, WA. Until then!


The First (Real) Long Run

On Sunday I had my first actual long run. Seven miles. That’s 11.26 kilometers for everyone else. Coach/Grandfather Jeff Galloway marked it as an “Easy Long Run,” and boy did I treat it as such.

Obviously the Garmin text is white on a mostly white background and I can’t change it at all, of course. The text below reads: 7.54mi distance, 1:49:50 time, 14:34/mi pace.

I’ve wanted to run this loop around the river for a long time, from the Steel Bridge in the north to the Tilikum Bridge in the south. I’ve walked portions of it many times over, but never done the whole thing.

According to Coach Jeff, the pace on this is meant to be 3-4 minutes below race pace. That is delving into walking territory for me, and I didn’t want to walk the entire thing. And I didn’t walk the entire thing, but I did run as slow as felt comfortable. In fact, about 3/4ths of my time on this run was running, which is wild to me because I certainly felt like I was walking a lot. But I expected to walk a lot; it is an easy run, after all, and walking is the easiest running you can do.

So, I woke up and made some oats for breakfast. Basically the day before I went out for a smashburger and ended up eating too much or eating something that didn’t sit right and my stomach was killing me the rest of the day. I also think I sort of crashed for the day in general–after parkrun and burger, I was toast. This all made me nervous Sunday morning, as I wasn’t sure if I was physically ready to take on such a long run. Was my stomach going to betray me?

After consuming oats I sat around for about 45 minutes to let them digest a bit. I used the bathroom. I also made a l’il sports drink by adding a teaspoon of sugar to my water bottle. I had researched this the night before because I was just curious. Water good; sugar good. Sugar water good? Turns out it is, more or less. Funny thing though is that lightly sugared water does not taste very good. Maybe add some lemon juice next time, make a lemonade.

Then, I was off. My stomach was a little iffy at the start, but once I got into it my stomach settled and I was fine for the rest of the entire run. I had to stop a couple of times to stretch my feet out because they were going numb early on. Not sure why that’s happening or how I can fix it before running. Other than that, it was a mix of running and walking, with a light drizzle rain at first and nice, cool weather throughout.

I wore a cotton shirt for the run and yes my nipples hurt when I got home, thank you for asking. It’s funny how they don’t hurt when you’re running but once you’re done, boy howdy. I guess it’s time to start putting band aids on my nipples for longer runs.

The only real thing of interest I saw as I was running was a photo shoot with a very scantily clad woman next to OMSI. There was a homeless guy pushing a shopping cart a few feet away getting a good show.

My mile splits were shockingly regular:

Those numbers by Run are laps, not mile markers. 1st lap was the 5min warmup.

I think mile 3 has an extra minute because that’s when I stopped a bunch to get my feet unnumbed. Otherwise, steady pace, which is so surreal considering I wasn’t actively checking pace other than when I felt like I should slow down, and I was walking a bunch.

The most important part, perhaps, for my future 10k training is that my time for my 10k on this run, according to Strava, was 1:28:43, which is a little more than a minute faster than my B Goal time for my 10k, which is 1:30. Now, according to Garmin, my fasted 10k time was my first training session of the week (Goal Pace Repeats), which ended up being 1:21:53. That wasn’t as much of a “slow” run however and included a mile where I just ran all out.

Garmin Coach has a “Confidence” rating based on your progress and mine is creeping dangerously into “lets bump up your goal time” territory.

“It’s me, Coach Jeff! I love you Josh, you are my favorite grandson.”

I have a feeling this week will be a bump up, maybe to 1:10. 1:15 to 1:10 is a difference between a 12:04/mi pace and an 11:16/mi pace, which is insane to me. But I’ll take it, Jeff Daddy!

This week in training are hills, speeds, and goal pace. Speed has been bumped up from 6x 800m to 8x800m, which feels very much like they are testing my pace for a potential bump up. I guess we’ll know by the end of the week!

Oh and I have another 5k, the Cinco de Mayo, on Saturday. At least I won’t have two long runs this week!