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…

every park in portland race reports running

Parks & Rec/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!

personal running

Heart to Start

Another month, another 5k. This was the Providence Heart to Start, part of the Hood to Coast … family? of events? Collective of jaunts? I don’t know. It took place at Cook Park in Tigard, Oregon, about 20 miles southwest of Portland. It was a lovely day for running, overcast, temperature in the mid 40s, the tiniest sprinkle of rain at times.

Getting here was easy, so I don’t have to belabor you with any commute issues. Cook Park is lovely and has lots of trails that I would like to walk on someday, but today is not that day! Today we race!

Atmosphere was chill, not a lot of people for this race. Sometimes races feel like a Big Deal (Shamrock Run) and others feel like a group of folks getting together for a thing (Tar n Trail). This one was kind of in the middle. There was a kids run before the 5 and 10ks, so lots of little warblers running around.

When I got my bib a couple days before, there was no swag. I think there were free passes to one of the big athletic stores, but neither of the women at the station were like “Here these are free things,” so I just left with my bib. At the event though, they had a few bits of free stuff, which included:

  • Protein bars. Lots of different kinds of protein bars,
  • A stress ball in the shape of a heart (remember, this race is for heart health),
  • A pin that read, “Think With Your ❤️”, which, I’ll be honest, I personally think is a bad idea,
  • A beer or seltzer after the run (10 Barrel Brewing IPAs or Michelob Ultra Seltzer, to be precise). Probably could’ve had a lot of beers/seltzers if you wanted to, I dunno,
  • Bottle openers (there were no bottled beers or seltzers, only cans).

I think that was it. Not too shabby, but not my favorite group of swag. Again, I really do think you should think with your 🧠, not your ❤️. Lots of bad decisions have been made thinking with your ❤️.

Anyway, the Big Discrepancy! I started Strava right at the start line and I had this corroborated with two friends of mine who were at the race: the race was likely only 3 miles [but probably was actually a full 5k]. I know, I know. Please sit down. We’ll get through this, together.

When I passed the finish line, Strava showed 3 miles, so I stopped briefly to grab my medal and then started running again, to pick up the other .11 of a mile, but was flagged down by a guy who needed the chip tag thing on the bottom of my bib, so I gave that to him and then proceeded to run the additional .11 of a mile. Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is that I think my time would’ve been slightly faster if I didn’t have to stop. I’m not mad at the event for short changing us a 5k, but it is frustrating to get your results and see that they are 38:01, only to discover that that’s your 3 mile result.

Although … if you reverse calculate a 12:15/mi pace (which is on my official results) into a pace calculator, for a 5k, the result is 38:04. So … maybe Strava fucked up on this one. WOULD NOT SURPRISE ME. I wonder if Strava gets nervous out in the woods or something? I mean, chip time is literally just the time between when you cross the start line and when you cross the finish line. I can’t imagine it being out of whack, especially since it’s a company that has set it all up and whose job is to set up chip timers. I think Strava’s GPS just screwed up somewhere.

Either way, I’m taking the chip time. 38:01! A very good run!

Running-wise, I think I did pretty good. Obviously we can’t completely rely on the damn Strava app for this, but we’ll use it anyway.

I really hoofed it out the gate, mainly to get around all the slow people walkers. The “track” was a thin concrete trail, maybe 5ft wide at most, and was a nightmare to deal with for the first 8th of a mile. A lot of us ended up running around in the grass, and I think I ran on some parts where plants usually grow, which probably was a bad idea. The start of the race is always a clusterfuck like this, but this one seemed especially annoying. I appreciate the Shamrock Run, which organizes runners based on their pace, with slower runners towards the back.

I only stopped three times, with the longest gap being a suddenly sharp hill that I absolutely did not want to run up or down. You can also see that dip at the end of mile 3, where the race ended [which was probably actually 3.11 miles, maybe]. Annoying. Meanwhile, when I run my pace is all over the place, which is something I’d like to work on, but I’m glad that the difference between the first mile and the third mile is only little more than a minute. That’s progress; my first mile pace at Race for Warmth was 11:53, while the 3rd mile was 14:13, a 2:20 difference. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say.

The weirdest part was at the end: when I decided to run the extra .11 of a mile, I felt like I could keep going. That’s dangerous territory, folks. That’s long run territory. Maybe we’ll talk about that some other time.

A very good idea I did before the race was massage my feet, specifically my left foot. Doing this virtually eliminated the numb foot I’ve been getting around mile 2. Plus it just felt good! I also moisturized my feet a couple days ago. This was nice, but I think it also made my feet slightly slippery this morning. Could be my imagination though. My feet were happier with me overall though, which was good!

After the race and the little extra run I chatted with a friend and commiserated over Strava, and then I went to the taqueria truck that was making burritos and ordered a big and delicious chorizo burrito with the works and a champurrado. I always forget how weird champurrado is. It’s good, just different. Could’ve gotten a horchata, but a warm drink felt like a better option.

And then I drove home! The end. See you at the Shamrock Run!

betterment personal running

Race for Warmth

*sports announcer voice* “And oh what a race for warmth it is today, Todd!”

“That’s right, Jerry, it’s colder than a witch’s tit out here.”

“It’s colder than the balls on a brass monkey.”

“It’s cold as fuck Jerry!”

This morning I left my apartment at around 8:15 am. The Portland air was crisp and cold. I drove to Vancouver, Washington, which took about 15 minutes. I then parked at a high school parking lot. Upon exiting the vehicle, I discovered that Vancouver was WINDY AS HELL.

And that was my opening impression of the Race for Warmth, a 5/10k out in the Couv, put on by Clark (County) Public Utilities to benefit Operation Warm Heart which helps low-income families pay their heating bills during the cold months (or just in general, I guess). The race began and ended at the Clark Public Utilities building, which is right off the I-5 bridge, making for an easy trek. The packet pickup the day before was a drive through event, which reminded me a lot of when I got the covid vaccine, except this time I got the vaccine of … future exercise. How about that.

The “swag bag” (remember when swag was a thing the youths would say?) consisted of some free and discount coupons, two tickets to see a Ridgefield Raptors baseball game in June (hell yeah, why not), and one of those emergency blankets and a hand warmer, which I think people used during or before the race but seems to be more intended for an emergency kit for your car.

The atmosphere of the event was great. It wasn’t too crowded, everyone was fucking freezing, and there were a couple of tents with free stuff. Relevant Coffee provided the morning bean juice, which was very good. They also gave away a $5 gift card in the swag bag, which I fully intend to use in the future. Meanwhile, a tent for Why Racing Events gave away some stuff, including my favorite free thing, some old PDX carpet sunglasses. They had some other stuff too that I totally forgot to grab.

“I make this look good.” Remember Men in Black?

They seem to do a lot of triathlon races but also noticed I was wearing my Shamrock Run hoodie and suggested I run sign up for their version, the Couve Clover Run, which happens a week after the Shamrock Run. Maybe I will, Why Racing Events … maybe I will.

(Side note: I always thought it was “Couv,” not “Couve.” Both are colloqualisms, so who cares, but maybe I ought to trust the Washingtonians.)

The tent next to theirs was for NW Personal Training, also based in Vancouver. They gave out INCREDIBLY HELPFUL drawstring bags so I could carry all of my free shit. This was very good. Also, some sunglasses and the Weirdest Free Thing, a license plate frame.

Lastly, there were Franz cookies, which of course were delicious.

As for the race itself: I did good! I managed to run the entire first mile without stopping, which was one of my two goals for the race. According to Strava, my first mile was 11:44 and I was a 25:33 for two miles, both of which are current PRs. I knew running the first mile like I did would cause me to lose energy toward the end. My pace dropped pretty significantly during miles two and three, which is not really what I want, but I wanted to go faster overall and I guess I made that sacrifice.

My other goal was a sub 40 min 5k, which I didn’t hit, but I think I was only about a minute over. My Strava time was 40:54, but that was for 3.07 miles because Strava does that sometimes. I thought I started the app with ample time to hit 3.1 but I guess not! Regardless, I think that’ll be about my chip time. If there was a gun time, it will be about a minute or so slower, because the start was a goddamn choke point, and also because there were a surprising amount of people walking. It was a walk/run event but it seemed like most people around my area were walkers. Ain’t nothing wrong with that, except it was like running through a minefield trying to dodge walkers left and right.

UPDATE: My chip time was 40:44, 10 sec faster than Strava, which is weird. Gun time was as expected, 42:24.

There were some slight uphills along the way, which I tried to run every time. You won’t get better at running inclines unless you actually run them. My grandaddy told me that once. (This is untrue.) Also a nice stretch along the Columbia River and this Vancouver Waterfront section that I think is fairly new. I don’t remember the drive into Vancouver being so nice. Is Vancouver nicer than Portland now? That would be wild.

So, for next time, I think the goal is to actually slow down my first mile pace so that my second and third miles are steadier. Like, if they’re all 13 minutes, that would be great, plus I’d get under 40 minutes. I think the adrenaline of running a race with people made me start out a lot faster. But who knows? Maybe in a month or two from now, 11:44 will be my 5k pace. Here’s hoping.

After the race there was an after party with a live band (god bless you musicians for playing in the cold), some turkey stew which was alright, cans of Michael Bubly, and more cookies. I had a sit and ate my stew and then promptly left. One of these days I’ll make some runner friends, but today is not that day!

Overall, a nice race that I would absolutely run again next year.

See you in a couple weeks for the Providence Heart to Start!

betterment personal running

The Inaugural Josh Belville Christmas 5k Extravaganza

My trainer.

Here’s the story: a couple months ago I missed the signup for the December Holiday Half. At the time I thought, Oh that’s alright, I’ll just run my own 5k in December. So I’d have a 5k every month, right? Ain’t no progress without repetition.

In between then and now, my leg was giving me some serious guff. What with the hurting and the muscle seizing up and whatnot. By the end of the November my revised thought was, You know? I think I’ll just rest my legs until next year.

Then, a week ago I decided to incorporate strength training into my exercise routine. Specifically, I started a bodyweight routine I found on the goddamn Red Bull website. To be fair, these were exercises you could find on hundreds of websites, but the fact that I found one I liked on the Red Bull site was funny to me.

So cut to yesterday: I’m up, I’m feeling energized, I think, Hey, let’s go to the track and run a couple of laps. I figured I would run a mile or until my leg started hurting, then call it a day.

This is not a shot from that day. That pole is where I start my runs.

I get to the track. There are always soccer games happening on the weekends, I think high school games? So there was a nice gaggle of people to make the experience feel wholesome. And I ran. And I ran two laps entirely (three laps is about a mile). The third lap I ran 75% of. At that point, after hitting a mile, my leg was feeling a little stiff, but otherwise fine, and I decided to keep going, splitting the track 50/50 for running and walking. When I got to mile two, I realized I could do 5k. So I did! That’s the end of the story.

My time was a full five minutes (and twelve seconds) faster than the Turkey Trot. I am amazed by this. My pace was 1:47 faster. I attribute this to the 50/50 splits, because when it got to the running portion, I pushed myself to run as fast as I reasonably could. Definitely going to incorporate this into future runs because I think it was very successful.

I also side note own a Pixel Watch now so I was able to track my BPM as I ran. I was, as you might say, running a bit hot, especially with those running splits. I think my highest was around 170, going down to about 130-140, then back up, etc etc. Not terrible but I’m hoping to lower that a bit as well. I’ve got some work to do.

All in all though, strength training! It’s good for you! Building muscle helped my body protect the parts that weren’t doing as well. Ice and rest helped too, of course, but I truly think the squats and stretches were the key factor. Felt good, bro.

Anyway, next year hopefully I’ll A) get to do the Holiday Half and B) actually do a half marathon. (This is a 2023 resolution.) Until then, it’s 5k races and getting my pace down.