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!

running technology

Forerunner 55 vs Pixel Watch: Initial Thoughts

A few days ago I laid out my technology woes, about how I think I incorrectly purchased a Pixel Watch. Well folks, since then I bought a Garmin Forerunner 55 and now I’m worried that my Pixel Watch is about to become a Pixel Paperweight. Here’s why:

The Forerunner is light. Way lighter than the Pixel, and oftentimes I don’t even realize it’s on my wrist. Note: This is kind of different now as I switched from wearing it on my left right to my right wrist — I’m not ambidextrous, per se, but I’m left handed with some things and right handed with others, so I’m trying out this placement to see if I like it better, but it also means that I’m far more aware of the watch now. Also, the Forerunner has a lot more air holes in the watch band than the Pixel. I know these are for sizing for large or small wrists, but I appreciate it way more than the Pixel band, which is mostly closed off and thus was irritating my wrist because that part of my skin couldn’t breathe as easily.

The Pixel Watch feels a lot like something that’s trying to constantly make its presence known. Its Tilt to Wake feature makes me think of some obsequious servant who is always there when you need them. With the Forerunner, it feels more like “You come to me if you need anything.” Which I guess I like? I’m realizing as I use it that I’m definitely an Elder Millennial, because a lot of aspects of this watch that I like are things that I’m familiar with.

Like, for example, the LED screen, as opposed to Pixel’s AMOLED. I know I should probably like the latter more, but honestly the LED screen of the Forerunner makes me feel like I’m playing a Tamagotchi game, except instead of a little dinosaur I have to feed at 7am sharp or else it’ll die1This is an example and something that I literally had to do in 7th grade, with my little t-rex tamagotchi. That lasted maybe two or three weeks., it’s me. I’m the Tamagotchi! And I do have to feed myself. Hell, the watch even prompts me to move and has a little “move bar” which starts to turn red if I don’t move. Fitbit does this too, but it’s much more of a pleasant, “You’re an adult” chime coupled with a graphic showing you how many steps you have left that hour. The Forerunner, at least with the watch face I’m using, just shouts “MOVE!” and then when I move enough it says “Move Bar Cleared!” which, I’m telling you, as a gamer, fills a niche in my soul I didn’t know I had.

I got the aqua band because you gotta have some color in your life, you know?

Speaking of watch faces, Garmin provides a bunch as do third parties. I got one that has a “kitchen sink” approach because I like data and I like all of it in one place. The Pixel has watch faces too, but again, they are more elegant and for business people. You can track steps and calories and such through the Fitbit app, but it takes a bit more swiping. It’s all very nice, honestly. Very 2023, very cool and sleek and rounded.

One thing on the Pixel I’m surprised I wasn’t a fan of is the crown on the side. This is a selling point of the watch, that you can press the crown and spin it to go through apps and such, but I really only used it for that and it felt more awkward than just making the whole thing a swipe function. Plus if I bent my hand back enough, which happens occasionally, it would press the crown which was annoying. (Obviously this only happens if you wear it on your left hand.) The Forerunner, meanwhile, has buttons on the side, and I appreciate the tactile aspect of it, which I think is another Elder Millennial thing. I often found when I was running or walking with the Pixel that it was swiping through the screens on Strava on its own and I’m not sure how. Brushing my sleeve or something? But that won’t happen with my Forerunner and I like that.

I think most of all, though, I like that Garmin has a wider array of statistics than Fitbit or Strava. Fitbit was sort of driving me nuts. It’s clearly designed for casual exercisers or people who don’t care as much about stats. Which is fine! Whatever gets you out of the house, right? But I like stats, I like seeing the data progress. I like that Garmin has a coach feature and suggested runs. I like that I can see how terrible my VO2 Max is. I’m not even quite sure what that is, but it’s not great! Garmin also has a better recovery system than Fitbit, which has a more general “Readiness Score,” which is helpful if you just need to know how hard to go the next day, but Garmin uses recovery to help suggest workouts, which I think is better. Fitbit has a bunch of exercise videos that you can watch and follow along with, but it’s not the same. Again, Fitbit is totally fine for a certain type of person, and ultimately I don’t think I’m that person.

The only thing so far that’s been weird with Garmin is the sleep mode, which thought I fell asleep at 9:30pm last night even though that’s just when I went to bed. (Yeah I went to bed early last night, deal with it.) It also said that I never woke in the middle of the night, which is absolutely not true. To be fair, Garmin’s own website says that their sleep profile is about 70% accurate. I think Fitbit was erring too much the other way though, saying I was awake for over an hour every night, which also cannot be true. If I had to choose, I’d rather err on me getting more sleep, because sleep is good.

So what do I do with my Pixel Watch? Well, hopefully I can sell it. That’s the most ideal option. But in lieu of that, it’ll probably sit collecting dust in my drawer, acting as a backup in case my Forerunner explodes or dies somehow. It is surreal to think that I am trading in my $400 watch for my $160 watch, but it’s true. I think overall, except with computer parts, if I can buy the thing for $200 or lower, I’ll go that route. I don’t need a super fancy smartwatch that has a bunch of apps on it, I need a watch that helps me get better at running. The end.

Also, I’m aware of the irony that I got this watch with the LED screen pretty much the day Garmin announced their AMOLED watch series. I don’t really care, because like I just said, I don’t want to pay more than $200 for non-computer electronics anymore, if I can help it.

Alright, that’s it. Time to get back into the swing of things. Parkrun #6 tomorrow!

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    This is an example and something that I literally had to do in 7th grade, with my little t-rex tamagotchi. That lasted maybe two or three weeks.