Chip Time: 35:41
Oh, Gresham, Oregon. We meet again. Another weekend, another 5k, and boys, girls, and non-binary pearls, this one was pretty great. Felt good, pushed hard, came through with another PR, no, I’m calling it a PB because I watch way too many British running channels on YouTube. It’s a PB!
This was the Lilac Run, and I found out after I got home that the 5k and 10k races had around three times as many women runners as men, while the half had twice as many. I find this very funny. Men, were you scared away by the name of the race? Did you think attending a “lilac” run would turn you to an effeminate mush? You poor, poor babies.
A lot of my pre-race information is going to revolve around eating and shitting, so if you’re not into that, skip ahead.
Basically, I’ve become, to the detriment of my sanity, a bit obsessed with runner’s trots. If you’re unaware (and you will be aware if you keep running), runner’s trots are basically stomach problems during runs, sometimes making you need to shit ASAP. The causes are varied but break down to blood being diverted from the digestive system to your muscles, causing unprocessed food to pass quickly through your intestines and right outcha butt. The constantly jostling from running doesn’t help, and neither does the type of food you eat before you run.
Strangely, I haven’t had this happen during runs, probably because I don’t run very far (it’s more of a problem for longer distance), but I have had it while walking. I thought it was kind of embarrassing but then I did some YouTube searching and after listening to a few people tell stories about their Random Acts of Pooping, I realized it’s surprisingly common. Probably doesn’t help that the American diet is kind of terrible to begin with. But the longer the race, the more the racers are used to the trots. Hence the placement of porta potties throughout the race.
Anyway, to combat il trotto (I didn’t think this would be the Italian translation but it basically is, the singular at least. I trotti is plural. Language is fun.) it’s recommended to eat easily digestible carbs and sugars before you run, and stay away from fiber and things that might already upset your stomach, like dairy and fats. Also, stay hydrated!
I woke up needing to poop, which is a great start because I can get that all out of my system first thing in the morning. Afterwards I ate instant oatmeal (cinnamon & spice, tasty) and some almonds, which is kind of my go-to breakfast for run mornings. I have learned the hard way that cereal and milk is NOT my go-to for run mornings. I would’ve done toast and PB but I had oatmeal in my head so oatmeal it was. If I could go back and change anything I might’ve just had regular oatmeal with a scoop of PB, as I think the sugar content of the oatmeal didn’t quite sit right.
I also woke up with DOMS from a lower body workout I did on Thursday. For some fucked up reason I usually run faster when I have DOMS, and this of course was no exception. Why this is I’ll never know. I think the repetitive movement feels good, like dynamic stretching, but when I’m done and especially after I get out of the car my hips feel like two rusted levers.
So I drive out to Gresham and on the way I feel like I gotta go again. Nothing drastic, just one of those “I should do this before the race starts” sort of things. Once I get to the venue I avail myself of the porta potties for a quick flushing out, so to speak. That one was nerves. My anxiety around shitting my pants, ironically, makes me feel like I’m going to shit my pants. For all our evolution, homo sapiens still has a lot of work to do. Still felt a little iffy stomach-wise after, but it ended up being not an issue at all. I forget that theatre trained me how to do lots of high energy work for several hours without disrupting my stomach too much.
There wasn’t a ton of bib pickup swag for this event. Coupons for things, a can of Tatu protein water which was pretty good, and one of the sponsors, a dentists office, gave us a koozie and lip balm. Wooooo. Oh and it all came in a tote bag which I guess is swag too.
The actual race had pancakes and sausage and coffee/beer afterward though. Very good! Give me more food please. I opted for the coffee, which was a “small” Americano but was actually in a 12oz cup, so it was watered down too much. Look, I don’t want to hyper-judge the post-race coffee. It was good. The pancakes and sausage though? Delightful. WAY better than the pancakes they were serving up at the Shamrock Shakeout a month ago. Like, these ones were actually cooked all the way through, and there was actually syrup and butter available.
There was also the usual cheap kitschy stuff at the event itself–cheap sunglasses, more of those god damn bells, and I think one booth had fidget spinners–but I didn’t take anything. I almost took a fidget spinner. What am I gonna do with this stuff? Throw it away, eventually. Don’t put that on me, booths.
The route was a simple out and back along the Springwater Corridor, which is just a long paved trail throughout the eastern Portland Metro area. A couple of street crossings, which is always annoying, but one was at the refueling station, which made sense because oftentimes people stop or walk through refueling stations, so to have a street crossing there too wasn’t as bad.
By now we all know my strategy: run as far as I can without walking and then just do run/walk splits until I’m done. I had two training settings on Garmin: Estimated Finish Time, which I intentionally set, and a 90 second run/30 second walk alert, which I forgot to turn off before the race. Sorry to everyone around me who kept hearing my watch beep. I think it ended up saving my ass though because if I didn’t have my watch go off after 30 seconds I probably would’ve walked a lot more.
My A goal was under 35 minutes, while my B goal (and the one I set on the event page on Garmin) was 36:15, or an 11:40/mi pace. My B goal was simply to run faster than my fastest pace of 11:44/mi, which I did! And for a really long time, at least two miles of the race, I was set to get under 35 minutes. But, despite refueling twice, my legs just wouldn’t give me more than about 60-90 seconds of running. This is kind of a con of run/walk methods; for me at least they get settled into my mind and body, where my legs run for 90 seconds and then are like “Okay we did it, where’s our 30 seconds of walking now?”
Speaking of refueling, they had a stop with Gatorade and Haribo gummy bears a mile in (and thus two miles on the loop back). I decided I would refuel even though this was just a 5k. My reasoning is that I am eventually doing a half marathon and I need to learn how to refuel during the run. I know, I know, no new things on race day, but here’s the thing: technically nothing was new. Have I drank Gatorade before? Yes. Have I eaten gummy bears before? Yes, many times, maybe too many times. Have I done both of these while in the act of running? No, technically, but … it was fine, okay? It’s not like I ate a footlong hoagie halfway through.
On the first stop I grabbed a Gatorade cup, which was fine, but on the second stop I grabbed a cup of gummy bears as well. There were three bears in there and long story short they were hard as fuck to chew and swallow while running. I ended up having to stop and walk for a bit just to swallow the damn things. But I learned something! I learned that if you want to bring something like gummy bears to refuel you (and I absolutely want to do that), then you should pack them in such a fashion where perhaps they can warm up against your skin or something, thus making them easier to chew and swallow. Or just take a gel or something, I don’t know. There’s no way I’m buying refueling stuff in gel form or whatever, I’m just going to eat food that already exists, like gummy bears. A lady on YT recommended dried pineapple because it also has digestive enzymes. Yes, please!
So, did it help? Probably! I’m not at a point as a runner where I can really feel much difference in terms of a boost of energy, with one exception: the sprint to the finish line. The gummy bears might’ve helped with that, but it’s more likely that I finished the race before any of the refueling kicked in. In fact, if anything I feel the drain of running more clearly now than I did before. Specifically, that damn VO2 max, which refuses to rise above a terrible 39. It’s going to be a while before I can understand that dynamic between breathing and the oxygen fueling my muscles, but I can certainly feel that my breathing doesn’t seem to be doing enough, despite my pretty good cadenced breaths.
My only real regret during the race was leaving my sweatshirt on. I really wish I had left my sweatshirt in the car. It wasn’t devastating but I just think I would’ve been cooler overall if I had just a t-shirt and shorts, which would’ve helped with energy transfer, maybe. Fortunately this will likely be the last race I run for a while where I feel the need for an extra layer.
Another funny aspect of this race is that I was literally middle of the road in my gender and age group placing. 25 out of 51 for gender and 4 out of 8 for age. Not a lot of 35-39 year olds coming out to these things! 66th out of 210 finishers though, so better than average there. (These aren’t that helpful because there were a lot of walkers too.) My sort of inside (my head) joke is that I’m a very average runner, and these results keep proving it.
Pancakes! Sausage! Coffee! The pancake station had TANG. Remember Tang? It was actually very good. The medal is wood! REMEMBER how I was like “It would be cool to have a wooden medal”?! Eat shit Shamrock Run! (Just kidding Shamrock Run, but maybe look into wood medals next year.) It’s actually even more like the Shamrock medal because it’s layers of wood glued together. It’s neat! Probably would’ve looked a little sharper if it was metal, but whatever! We’re trying new things people!
I met a lady from Florida in line for coffee who was just ahead of me in the race towards the end. She is here with her husband and their kiddo visiting her brother. She and her hubby were the only two people in the 5k race who weren’t from Oregon or Washington. For some reason there were more random state people in the half marathon. Also, one of the half runners is from Corbett, Oregon, and another half runner who finished two spots below her is named Corbett. What are the fuckin’ odds, people.
Note to self: I really need to ask people what their names are. I never do this because I assume I’ll forget it, but asking is part of the introduction process!
Anyway then on my way out I noticed that there was a little Japanese garden called Tsuru Island next to the venue! Here are pictures of that.
Next 5k is the Cinco de Mayo on … Seis de Mayo?! ¿Qué chingados? Hasta la vista, baby.