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.


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.


parkrun #9

Parkrun time: 37:30
Pace: 12:04/mi

The last gasp of winter stretched across the Willamette Valley these past couple of days, and my drive from Portland to the Rock Creek Trail parkrun was like driving from a reasonably cold early Spring morning to Hades clawing for Persephone as she returns to the overworld. Thankfully, it wasn’t freezing or too windy and ended up being pretty good weather for a run.

So let’s get this out of the way: this was the best 5k I’ve run since 2013, timewise. I might argue that it’s the best 5k I’ve ever run, because back in 2012/2013, Runkeeper’s GPS was very erratic and would often screw up for me. That said, I think the first half of 2013 was probably my best in terms of running, as I was doing a lot of heavy lifting too, which added necessary core and leg strength. Plus, if you extrapolate my 11:44/mi pace from the 8k Shamrock I ran back then, it comes out to 36:27 for a 5k, which you could argue would be faster since it would be a 5k rather than an 8k, blah blah blah, I was faster back then. But not by much!

I attribute 75% of my faster pace to my new shoes. Whenever I watched videos of people reviewing new running shoes, I would scoff because aside from some basics, like weight, how can a shoe on its own make you faster? Well, the answer is: I don’t know, but these Nike Winflos did it. The pep and push I felt from these shoes were undeniable. The cushioning is great; just enough to let me feel the road beneath me but not too little to hurt. The balls of my feet did NOT go numb this run, which is a big win. My footfalls felt neutral and not too turned out. My instincts were right–the stability shoes were hindering me, not helping me.

At the start of the run I noticed I was behind many people who usually disappear away from me early on. When I checked my watch, I discovered that I was running a 9:35/mi pace, and I did not feel like I was doing that! A lot of this run became me trying to figure out how to run with these shoes, in a manner that wouldn’t leave me exhausted early on. That turned out to be a lot more walk breaks than I would’ve liked, but my pace never dropped below 13 minutes, which is a good thing.

A bonus pic of me at the finish line!

I attribute the other 25% of my success to eating better and exercise. You know, the basics. I had a lot of protein thanks to those lime & pepper chicken breasts I cooked up earlier in the week, plus I’ve been trying to count my calories so I don’t stuff my face and can lose some weight. That plus some lower body strengthening exercises and stretches have helped me all around. I’ve become one of those people who stretches while watching TV.

My IT band continues to give me trouble but during the run itself it wasn’t bad. The stretches and strength workouts are helping and I know it is getting better over time.

Good parkrun! Next week is #10, which would be my first milestone if I was a kid. Unfortunately, I only act like a kid.

See you next week.


parkrun #8

My first sunny parkrun! Rock Creek Trail is fuckin’ gorgeous, bro.

Today I opted to run with my compression sleeve on for the ol’ knee’s sake. It’s doing pretty well overall; I ran about half of the 5k today and walked the other half, and while it was giving me trouble nearly the entire time, it wasn’t enough to stop me. In fact, I used it as an opportunity to work on my running form, trying to run in a way that would mitigate bouncing up and down while also taking more steps. It kind of worked at the end.

There were cupcakes and like fudge brownie things at the end. Both very good. I’m still trying to figure out how to be social again. I’m pretty bad at it. I might have always been bad at it.

Afterwards I went to Vancouver to get my bib and swag for the Couve Clover Run, which is tomorrow. The event looks cool as hell on paper. After it’s done we get to drink on a hotel balcony? I will report back for sure.

Then back home, hobbled up some stairs, and my knee/leg started feeling better pretty quickly. I ended up taking a walk a couple hours later and was shocked at how normal it felt. I’m hoping I’ll be back to around 100% in a couple of weeks.

That’s about it. Good parkrun! A++ would parkrun again.