A Running Update on Running #5

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.

These squiggles aren’t as helpful when they’re just a screenshot. Oh well.

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!

race reports running

Five Fifty Fifty

Distance: 5k
Chip Time: 36:39

The GPS shortchanged me on miles, likely due to cloud cover and tree cover.

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.

The Swag

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.

The Atmosphere

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!

The Race

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*

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    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.

parkrun #11

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.

Hi Josh, it’s me, your new grandfather, Jefferson Galloway! You’re the best grandson I’ve ever had. I’m proud of you and your progress. Keep on keeping on, as we used to say in the 1970s!

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.

betterment personal


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.

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    Tangent: Is a blood test the only place where people use a deciliter as a unit of measurement?
betterment food & cooking personal


18,000 cattle were killed in a dairy farm explosion and subsequent fire in Texas on Monday. That’s … mind boggling, but according to that article, that’s around 20% of the cattle who are slaughtered every day in America.

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.

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    I know you can get iron in plants (what up spinach) but heme iron is supposed to be much easier for us to absorb.
coffee reviews

Bean Juice Review: Cerberus

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

race reports running

Lacamas Hop Hop

Distance: 5k
Chip Time: 36:57

The Hop Hop had a petting zoo. That’s all you need to know.

This marks the beginning of my “race season,” in which I run … far too many 5k races than I should. This morning I drove out to Camas, Washington, my nemesis, to partake in the Lacamas Hop Hop, hosted by Foot Traffic, a local running store. The name annoys me but god damn was it not the cutest race so far. Petting zoo! Cute artwork! Old men playing golf! Yes, the 5k took us around the Camas Meadows golf course, while those running farther went … farther. I don’t know this area very well.

My morning began with me waking up at 5:30 am, realizing that if I got up when my actual alarm went off, 6:30am, I probably wouldn’t get to the venue in time to secure a parking spot. There wasn’t a lot of parking and Foot Traffic was basically pleading with us to carpool. But as we all know, I have no running friends so I wanted to get there early, so I compromised with my brain and slept in until 6am. Then, I got up, got ready, took a shit (taking a shit before a run is VERY IMPORTANT okay), and was off by 6:30am, reaching Camas by 7. Drive was fine except when I took a wrong exit and went the complete opposite direction, towards Vancouver instead of Camas. It wouldn’t be me driving if there wasn’t a wrong turn somewhere!

Fun fact: the place where we parked had two buildings: Logitech, and Oregon Ice Cream. Those two must have a fun parties together.

The Swag

Honestly there wasn’t that much swag for this one. My bib pickup was just the bib and my t-shirt. After the race there were little things to pickup, like treats, a free mimosa (this was a bougie event, see Atmosphere), and some baubles and doodads like those annoying bells, cups, etc. There was a booth for what I think was window painting service? Not the window itself, but the trim and all that. Very strange, nobody went to that booth. Why would you? Are people thinking about their windows before a race? I think every race has one sponsor who gets bamboozled into sponsoring, and this race was the window painting place.

I didn’t snag much (aside from the food of course) because it wasn’t that appealing to me. I did keep the mimosa flute, and I can’t tell if I was supposed to or not. The flutes had the Hop Hop artwork on it, I presume we were meant to keep it. I also grabbed a snood/headband thing from the Why Racing Events booth (they did the Clover Run) which, now that I’ve taken it our of the packaging and looked at it, is from their Reflection Run, which honors military for Memorial Day. Now, I’m not here to slag on military personnel1Except those who are bad and have done bad things, fuck those military personnel. Fuck you Andrew Jackson!, but wearing a thing that says “sacrifice,” “freedom,” and “bravery” all over it is … not my style. No offense!

The Atmosphere

Camas is bougie as hell. We’re running a 5k at a golf course. The porta potties were well kept. (I took another shit at the actual event.) There was a big event tent that wasn’t a blustery, cold, muddy mess like the Shamrock Run. The drive to Camas was an exercise in the nuance between “rich” and “kinda rich.” Big, expensive houses on one street, then expensive looking duplexes and triplexes nestled in a walled off complex on another. And then you’ll drive by and see some shitty houses with people who refused to take a payout to move. Good for them. Houses in this city can get into the millions of dollars range, especially around Lake Lacamas. (The highest I’ve found is $8 million, which is a 3 bed, 3 bath sitting on 18 acres of land.)

So there were mimosas because of course there were. Runners are alcoholics. It was a pretty great post-race recovery drink though, I gotta say.

The Race

I feel kind of on the fence about this race, honestly. On the one hand, I did good! I ran fast! I believe this is my fastest 5k to date, and is about 13 seconds faster than my parkrun last Saturday. I’m also 30 seconds away from my absolute fastest time (based on my 8k pace of 11:44/mi). When I am running, I am running pretty fast.

On the other hand, I’m walking a lot more than I’d like. The most frustrating thing about it is that if I had run a steady 12:00/mi pace the entire time, I would’ve been a minute faster overall. But I don’t want to be a 12 minute miler, especially now that I know I can run a 10:33 mile according to Strava. Let’s go to the tape, Ted.

The cool thing is that when I do run, my cadence is unfaltering. I don’t think I dropped below 150spm the entire time I ran. My upper limit was around 165spm–lower than the recommended 180, but the difference in speed is something. 150 is around an 11:30/mi for me, while 165 is about a minute and a half faster. My average stride length was .93 meters, or slightly over 3 feet. I suspect that’s the upper limit to my stride; any longer and I might be overstriding. In fact, I think once I am able to sustain 180spm my stride length might go down a bit. We’ll see.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’ll be a lot longer before I can fully run a 5k at a pace that I feel good about. (Faster than 12 min/mi.) It’s not that I’m distraught about it or anything, it’s more a reminder that progress is not linear, nor is it always what you are expecting. I am running faster, and better, than I was even six weeks ago, and my new shoes are killing it and besides some knee fatigue, the IT band issues I was dealing with recently are all but gone. That’s progress! It just doesn’t feel like it during the race, when I’m constantly walking, and now where I can see that if I continued running, I would shave minutes off my 5k time. Ah well.

The course itself was interesting. Mostly road with a bit of gravelly trail (and I suspect trail runners wouldn’t call it a trail). Some brief but sharp inclines, and the starting point itself was on an incline, which was a first for me. It meant that the finish was on a decline though, so you could really speed through to the end. Some of the race was on the shoulder of a road, which was weird, but thankfully there weren’t a lot of cars coming through so it wasn’t a big deal. It was also a bit narrow at points, which made it hard to pass people. Again, nitpicky kind of stuff.

Overall, this was a fun race with a chill atmosphere and mimosas and goats. What else do you need?

Next week is an impromptu 5k I picked up that benefits mental health services. See you then.

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    Except those who are bad and have done bad things, fuck those military personnel. Fuck you Andrew Jackson!

A Running Update on Running #4

Now that my legs are more-or-less cooperating with me, I’ve decided to start up my Garmin Coach training plan for my July 10k. Yes, it’s time for me and my buddy Jeff Galloway to reconnect.

“Hey Josh, it’s me, Jeff Galloway! You’re my favorite runner, did you know that? I love you.”

How could you not trust this guy? (He did go to the Olympics, so I guess you really should trust him.)

This week is focused on cadence drills. The plan updates as you go along, so I’m presuming that Mr. Galloway thinks that I’m not taking enough steps per minute, as he (it, whatever) scheduled two of the exact same cadence drills for my weekday runs.

The plan is this: 10 min warm up, followed by 3x :30 running at 150-200spm with :30 recovery in between, then 3x :30 “acceleration glider” drills, which are basically just helping you transition from walking to running. Lastly, a 10 min cool down.

I (of course) had never thought about cadence in my running. In fact, my only thought about my feet touching the ground was practically the opposite–that I should take fewer steps and that each step should sort of bound me forward. I should note that, as a slow ass runner, my concept of running forward as opposed to running upward (i.e. bouncing up and down too much) was very nonexistent. It’s hard to have a good run form when running slower. Think about walking. You walk heel-toe, right? That’s a perfectly acceptable form when walking, but it would destroy your knees if you did it when running. In fact, any sort of “feet in front of body” landing when running is a big no-no. But if you push forward with each step, you will run faster, and if you run faster and you’re not used to running faster, you won’t run as much.

Now that I think about it, this is kind of the whole point of gradual progression. It’s about your form as much as it is about your breathing and your leg strength. (And really, these are all basically the same thing.)

Currently, if I am running at a steady pace that feels alright, my cadence is about 150spm. The ideal is around 170-180 for a recreational runner, and when I push my pace up to a level that I can’t keep for very long, I hit that. So my goal (and I guess Jeff’s goal) is to do some interval training that helps me feel that 170-180 step pace without wearing me down. This is Jeff’s whole deal, folks; his training plan is called Run Walk RunĀ® and YES he did trademark the phrase “Run Walk Run.” His idea is that walking is crucial for runners and that walking actually improves overall time for longer distances. I’ve already seen this in action with parkrun, where I take more walk breaks (though shorter) and end up finishing faster. And, moreover, I think these short walk breaks coupled with the cadence drills will improve my pace when I’m running, which is key. If I have to walk every so often, but my pace when I run is around 9-10:00/mi, then I will finish faster. Because, math.

On Sunday is my first Run Walk RunĀ® run. The app said nothing about what this run entails until today, when it was finally revealed to me: it’s running, and then walking. This whole time I’ve been thinking, don’t I already do that? The answer is yes, but not like this:

I did not expect the program to include so many intervals! I have to run 2.5 miles like this on Sunday. It’s going to be so weird to be walking and running so much. I’m aiming for that 10:45-12:15 pace, but we’ll see how that works out. This really is just an extension of the Couch to 5k program, except Jeff just trademarked the first couple of weeks. Kind of awesome, really. I also appreciate how you can start this even if you’re a newbie with those 5-10 second intervals.

I added another 5k race(ish) to my calendar. This one is the Five Fifty Fifty and is in honor of mental health, which is right up my alley. It is also taking place at Laurelhurst Park, which is very close to me! This will be one of the few times I can just jog over to my race. It’s a run/walk and I don’t think it’s timed, which makes sense if it’s in Laurelhurst, but it’s for a good cause an I get a t-shirt. You know how much I love t-shirts.

This means that my next three weekends have a 5k race in them. I would’ve signed up for one on the 29th but I missed the cutoff for t-shirts and medals, and you know I gotta get those t-shirts and/or medals!

My real hope for April is to approach the 35 minute 5k time. That’s an 11:16/mi pace, which is within my reach.

Lastly, my family are heading to Shady Cove, OR in June for a little trip and that will coincide with my last full week of non-tapered training before my 10k at the Foot Traffic Flat. It’ll be very interesting to try and get some much needed runs in while on vacation. I’ve done it once before, back in Idaho, and the elevation difference was a hell of an upgrade.

No parkrun this weekend because I’ll be at the Lacamas Hop Hop, and boy do I hate that name. See you then.


parkrun #10

Oooh, look, fancy 3D map.

My official parkrun time was 37:10, with an average pace of 11:58/mi. That, in itself, is very cool. I think I can whittle my pace down to under 11 minutes by the end of the year. I walked a lot during this run, especially in the second half. Ate too much for breakfast, I think, so my stomach was being a little sloshy. Plus I had to tie my shoe at one point. But also, my heart rate was threshold practically the entire time, so I stopped purposely a few times to get it down below 160. Clearly I can tolerate a 170-180 bpm for 3 miles (my average was around 165), but it’s a reminder that I need to do more slow runs. I’m sure if I ran slower overall I would’ve gotten a faster time. It’s nice to see a 9:30/mi pace but clearly I can’t sustain it.

In fact, comparing this run to my track run on Thursday, where I ran 2 miles and all but 30 seconds of it was running and I’m basically proving my point, as my average pace for that run was 11:32 but was a consistent 11-11:30/mi pace, rather than the serious ups and downs of this parkrun. To be fair! the parkrun course does have a couple of uphills, which the track does not.

For some reason WordPress won’t let me caption these image, so I’ll do it here: the top is my pace for the track session, the bottom is today’s parkrun. You can see how, for parkrun, when I was running I was generally running much quicker than I usually do (again, because I was keeping pace with other people). But it really does tire me out.

The message overall is good: run slower and you’ll run faster.

My first parkrun time was 42:58. So, over the course of four months my 5k time has gone down by a little under 6 minutes. If that’s not progress I don’t know what the fuck is.

That’s my pace for parkrun #1. Look at all those troughs of walking, whereas now they’re more like spikes.

Next week I am running a race. I’ve got a lot of races lined up but will have more parkruns in between them. So … see you then.

poetry writing

cold shower

went for cold shower this
morning, one knob twisted
until i could bear it; so
you seek the lurch in your
throat, the one that cripples
armies bound for moscow.

think of mason jars,
perched under the eaves
& filled with every last
thought you're waiting to
ferment into something useful.

i would've crossed the alps
for you, on elephantback,
were it not for the condition
of my shoes.

& then i wrenched my spirit
out of permafrost & set
in front of the hearth, &
waited, & waited, until it
bloomed again.

still see frostbite along the
petal edges, reminders of cold
showers & cold winters.