race reports running

Beaverton 5k & parkrun #24

Location: Beaverton, Oregon
Distance: 5k
Chip Time: 29:28
Pace: 9:27/mi

First thing’s first:

SUB-30 5K, BABY!

I fuckin’ did it. Plus a PR on 1k (5:37) and 1 mi (9:07).

Okay let’s talk about the day. I did the 5k race and then parkrun almost immediately after, because it’s Rock Creek parkrun’s 4th anniversary and there was cupcakes. Was this a good idea? Read on.


Not too much on this one. I drove out to the Beav’ on Friday afternoon to grab my bib and t-shirt. It was at Portland Running Company, which sponsors or is Run with Paula Events, I’m not sure. The two seem in cahoots. (RWP is the … host? of this event? The producer?) The store was nice and chill and outside there were clearance racks with “old model” clothes and shoes, plus you got a 15% discount on top of that for running the race. So, long story short, I have three new pairs of legitimate running shorts.

Unfortunately I did not wear any of my new shorts to the race itself because Nothing New On Race Day.

The only free stuff was a Clif bar and a coupon for a free garlic bread from the Old Spaghetti Factory. Yippee.

Next morning I’m up at 6am as usual, taking my morning PRP1Pre race poop., getting myself ready by prepping an extra shirt and socks for parkrun, and then I’m out the door.


First of all, the parking for this event was probably the best I’ve ever witnessed. Plenty of parking spots across the street and lots of volunteers directing us exactly where we need to go. Seamless, it was.

The atmosphere for this event was pretty chill. All of the different races (5k, 10k and half) started at 8am, which meant that we were all together getting ready. I liked this; it felt like better camaraderie than staggered times.

There were some sponsor kiosks and I visited none of them. In fact, one of them was Geico, which seemed to have a lot of swag, but I switched from Geico to Progressive because Geico was gouging me on my car insurance, so … I’m sure it would’ve been awkward for them to see me.

Another welcome aspect of this race was the streets were well-cordoned off, meaning warmup runs could be done for longer stretches rather than going back and forth. It really was nice, felt big and open compared to the Garlic Fest pre-race, which was more constrained.

The Race

I came into this race thinking I would break 30 minutes. I had gotten close enough with parkrun to know that if I ran on a flatter course, I wouldn’t tire out as much and I’d be able to press on more overall. And that pretty much came true!

My mile paces were 9:08, 9:23, and 9:59. That third mile drop was because I ended up walking about :24 seconds. Really didn’t want to but my heart rate had hit 179bpm slightly before and I just felt like I needed to rest for a bit. Up until that point, my 2 mi time was around 18:31 (another PR), meaning that I would’ve been around 28 minutes if I hadn’t slowed down. But I didn’t come to this race to run 28 minutes, I came to break 30 minutes, and I did that plus 32 extra seconds.

I actually had my Garmin watch set for a 9:00 pace, just to go a bit above and beyond, mainly because I tend to go out fast and I figured if I was going to do that, I might as well go out really fast (for me) and bank some time for the back end.

But really, even during that walking bit my pace only dropped down to around 14 minutes, which is good, as it means even when walking I was walking briskly. My HR never got to 180, which I cannot believe. Also my cadence was good! Average of 173, or about 20 spm more than usual. I guess that makes sense considering I was running faster than usual. Even my stride length is getting longer–hovered around .97m but was at 1 or above several times.

And then, of course, that last tenth of a mile. Perfect little bit for a sprint. People who run in kms don’t get to hear their watch been for mile 3 and then get into sprint mode. It’s too bad, really.

I’m really proud of the effort I put into this race. There’s always room for improvement but the fact that I had a goal in mind and crushed it is awesome. My body and mind were synced up this go around, and it made for an excellent outing.


My post-race time consisted of me catching my breath, getting my medal and some snacks, and then trying to find my car. Then, once I found my car, I had to figure out how to leave without disrupting the entire event. Once I did that, then I drove as fast as legally allowed to Rock Creek Trail for parkrun!

parkrun #24

I arrived 6 minutes late and they let me run anyway–a couple of them were mostly shocked that I came from a run and was going on a run again. I started my watch from my car because I knew I would be hustling to the start line, and was already late so my official time wouldn’t really matter. I figured as long as I beat the tail walker, I’d be fine.

Ended up doing a little better than I thought I would. Honestly, I thought I’d be walking this entire thing. Instead, I ran with my pace all over the place until my heart rate got up to the high 160s, then stopped and walked and cooled down. No need to have 170s for this run. It honestly was over before I realized it. Sort of went on autopilot there.

Maybe there was a bigger hullabaloo prior to the start about how it’s RCT’s 4th anniversary. All I know is that at the end there were snacks and I grabbed one and then left. Not really sure why I didn’t stick around. After runs I think my brain is a tired and affects my decision making. But it was nice to see everyone!

And that’s that. Big run day for me. Some PRs and proof that this is all paying off. I don’t think there will be another 5k PR anytime soon, as I have to get my mind into half marathon focus. But who knows?

After this is parkrun 25! followed by the last Parks & Rec 5k at Gabriel Park. Until then.

  • 1
    Pre race poop.

parkrun #23

Official time was 30:09. This is a great PR but also 10 seconds away from a sub-30 5k is wild. The last two parkruns (#21 and #22) I didn’t write about because they weren’t very interesting. I ran slow on 21 and even slower on 22, mostly to prevent my watch from restructuring my future suggested runs–22 specifically was slow because I had a long run that Sunday that I wanted to be at least somewhat healthy for.

This week I was like, let’s go for it. At this point I know a sub-30 5k is in me. Even when my time was around 31 minutes, I knew, because the first half of Rock Creek Trail is uphill, in kind of a gnarly way, especially right before the turnaround to come back. As long as you can keep pace up those hills, the second half of the run is downhill except for one small uphill which I will talk about in a second. So you can expect a downhill second half, which is very helpful!

My downfall this week was that slight incline before the gradual downhill section called Deepak’s Torture Hill on Strava. It’s funny how that’s just a segment on an app, but like 100 years ago it probably would’ve officially been named that, after some guy named Deepak who keeps running up that hill. But I decided to take a short walk break there. According to Garmin it was only :18 seconds, but it could’ve been the difference between 30:09 and, say, 30:01, or even 29:59.

It ultimately doesn’t bother me that much, as 30:09 is more than a minute faster than my previous parkrun PR of 31:17. I’ll take it. But I know there’s a sub-30 time in me. Maybe we’ll find out … next Saturday, when I run the Beaverton 5k! It starts at 8am so my goal is to run it and then get in my car and try to get to parkrun after, because it’s Rock Creek Trail parkrun’s 4th anniversary! There’ll be cupcakes!

Until then…


parkrun #20

Another PR in the books! This one was a :37 PR; 31:54 last week, 31:17 this week. The last few weeks of parkruns have been wild. And this morning was HUMID. Wildly humid, felt like running in a steam room at points.

I know my jumps in speed are from training and running more, but the amount that I’ve increased is staggering to me. Since my first parkrun in January, my 5k time has decreased by 11:41. An over ten minute difference in eight months! I feel like if I hadn’t been injured those couple of times, I could’ve made this in six months, but whatever.

A lot of what cause this jump was just the knowledge that I could do it. There was a part of me that thought I either couldn’t do it, or that if I did it I would puke my guts out or something. But regular training and interval sessions have shown me that I can keep up a faster pace for longer. My easy run speed is now around 12:15/mi and I’m hoping to get that faster too over the next year.

And this time is with three pretty decent uphill bits! It looks like the Garlic Festival 5k on the 12th is flatter so I can try to push for closer to a 30 minute 5k time.

This is a lot of me putting my mind to it, knowing what I’m capable of and getting a great chance to show it at a community event. I’m thankful that parkrun exists (even if I do wish it was a little closer) and now I’m only 5 away from my first milestone!

Next week: GARLIC.


parkrun #19

My last four parkruns have all been PRs. Despite what Strava says, my actual official time was 31:54, which means I am now sub-32 minutes for my 5k. Last week my PR was almost 2 minutes faster than the one prior, and this week is 27 seconds faster than last week.

I don’t know what’s happened. I mean, I kind of do: I’m running more, longer distances, and different kinds of runs. But the difference between January through May and June-July is astounding. I feel like all of this running and exercise is finally starting to kick in. Like, lately I’ve noticed my HR is lower than usual and my stress levels are also lower. My heart is returning to a resting HR faster too. Why now? Why not two months ago? I’m not sure, other than my mileage kicking up. My heart is just getting better at its job, which is awesome.

I only walked once this entire run, for 22 seconds according to Garmin (I’m pretty sure it was 30 seconds, but whatever). Otherwise, I was running, averaging 10:18/mi! That’s wild for me. Moreover, my HR was way more stable overall this week than last week. Last week, when I was done, Garmin suggested a 61 hour recovery period. This week, it suggested 41 hours. Wild stuff.

I also ran my fastest mile, which was under 10 minutes (9:59 to be exact). Just great work. I’m very pleased with myself and my progress.

After parkrun I even drove to IKEA (after I had gone home, showered, and relaxed for a bit, of course) and bought four heavy furniture things, and lugged them all up to my fourth floor apartment, by myself, one at a time, with barely any issues, except when I dropped the heaviest bit on one of its corners onto the hard concrete. I haven’t built that one yet and god I hope it’s not too broken.

I said I would likely break 30 minutes by the end of the year, but at this rate, I’ll break it by the end of the summer. We’ll see. I wonder if I could do it on a flatter course… track run 5k incoming.


parkrun #18

Well, this happened. What’s this, you ask? Only a nearly two minute PR from my last parkrun, three weeks ago. What happened, you may ask?

I mean, a lot of things happened, so let’s unpack it all.

First, I’ve just been running more. More volume to to have a steady mileage foundation for the Portland (half) Marathon in October. It’s like 9 weeks away. Nine weeks is October! Auuuggghhh.

And these runs have a lot of variety to them. Mainly base runs for mileage, but some speed work, threshold work, and long runs thrown in there as well. All good stuff.

Second, I bought new shoes. I have three new pairs of running shoes, specifically, all Saucony: The Ride 16 as a daily trainer, the Triumph 20 for my long runs, and the Kinvara 14 for speed work and races. So I wore the Kinvara 14s to parkrun. And they worked pretty dang well if I do say so myself. They are about 3oz lighter than my Nike Winflo 9s, have a lighter mesh top for breathability, and the new cushioning had a nice bounce to it that ended up helping propel me forward better, I suppose, than my Carl Winflos. I may have tied them a little too loose though; they felt a little slippery during the run, but thankfully not enough to be an issue.

These shoes are (to me, the novice runner at least) like driving a Lamborghini, in the sense that any little pressure on the gas pedal sends me hurtling forward. 0-60 in 3 seconds sort of thing. So while my idea was to hit 11:00/mi pacing, I ended up starting much, much faster, around 9:45/mi. And felt fine! I walked a few times but whenever I ran again, I was practically bounding.

Third, and perhaps most important: my mentality. I just felt like I could do it. Basically, Garmin was suggesting threshold workouts where I’d run at threshold (10:10/mi) for 17 minutes. And I would get through that no problem. So this morning I thought, “Well, if I can run 17 minutes at threshold, surely I can run 30 minutes at threshold, right?”

The answer is … kinda! I ended up walking a few times because my HR was at around 175bpm and I wanted to get it lower (the 160s) so I wouldn’t run out of energy. But at no point did my heart rate ever feel like it was out of control, which is a great thing. It reminds me of cars: cars are designed to drive fast. Cars like being at around 55mph. Your heart is an engine, and it likes beating fast if that is helping to run the machine, you know?

Anyway, a couple of other things that I did that probably helped are: I ate a bagel with peanut butter and honey about an hour and a half before the run. Just had some fuel in the ol’ belly. And I left my phone in my car and ran only with my car key, my parkrun card, and my trusty Snot Rag (which I ended up not needing). I think staying light overall helped.

This all bodes well for a sub-30 5k by the end of the year. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if I hit sub-30 by the end of the summer. We’ll see if I can sustain 32-33 minute 5ks in the future. (I probably won’t, and shouldn’t expect to.)

The Garlic Festival 5k is my next race and I’m hoping I can take my parkrun times and do that during a race. I haven’t gotten sub-35 in a 5k race yet. I think that will change soon.


parkrun #17

Another PR in the books! A lovely sunny morning at Rock Creek Trail. This morning I decided to do my Garmin suggested run within parkrun, which was a 10 minute warmup and cooldown, with 17 minutes of running at threshold, 10:10/mi, in between. It made sense to adapt this into my parkrun at the time, and in the end it was great for my pace in general, but boy was it tough.

I ran .5 miles as a warmup beforehand, and then went off too fast because that’s just what I do. I was going to slow down when another runner came up beside me and asked me about my bone-conduction headphones. He was going fast too so I kept pace for a bit to talk and then just said “I gotta slow down” and let him go ahead. But even then I was running a little faster than my warmup pace (which is around 13:00/mi). However, this has become a thing now; I’m getting better at running which means 13:00/mi is a little slow, and I’m really going about 12:30/mi.

Anyway, then my warmup was over, and as you might suspect, my threshold run began uphill. There are two hills at my parkrun: the first is called “Deepak’s Torture Hill” on Strava and I have to agree with that assessment. This is where I started my threshold, and I hadn’t really factored hills into the whole thing. The second hill is at the turnaround point and has a boring name on Strava so I’m going to call it “Deepak’s Torture Hill 2: The Reckoning.”

The red circle is DTH, the yellow circle is DTH2:TR.

So I started my threshold going uphill, which was hard. But I made it, and my pacing wasn’t … terrible. But I knew what was coming, so I made a decision to walk a couple of times in between DTH and DTH2 so I could bank a little bit of energy for my pacing overall. This is the legacy of Jeff Galloway, the man who told me that I could walk during my run and it would be okay.

The second uphill was hard, but thankfully, the rest of the course is mostly downhill, since you’re coming back the way you came. And so, when my threshold run ended and Garmin put me back on my warmup pace, a weird thing happened: I couldn’t go slower. I just couldn’t. I tried! I even stopped at one point briefly to wiggle out my numbing foot, but when I started up again, I went faster than I expected. My watch kept beeping at me to slow down but I didn’t, and at the last minute was me running even faster to reach the finish line.

I ended up 34:18 official parkrun time, which is a mind-boggling difference of 36 seconds. That’s a lot in running! It really opened up my mind and my body in terms of what I am capable of doing on a 5k race. I could feel the months of running and walking and exercise finally starting to click into place.

And that was that. I bought McDonalds afterward.

Next up is my first ever 10k race! The Foot Traffic Flat on Sauvie Island on the 4th of July. See you then.


parkrun #16

No photos this week and no friends joining up but I did run the best 5k I’ve ever run in my life, ever. My official parkrun time was 34:54, marking a parkrun PR and a 5k PR in general. Running under 35 minutes has been a goal of mine since I started running 5ks again, and for some reason today was the day to do it.

Still a long way to go to get to sub-30, which is likely going to be my absolute best time for quite a while, if I ever get to it. I think I can, it’s just going to require more running and probably more weight loss. Since I started running parkruns, my time has dropped about eight minutes, over six months. Not. Too. Shabby. But lots of room for improvement.

Not much else to say about this parkrun. Beautiful day, good running. I did it!

race reports running

parkrun #15 & Starlight Run

This week I invited my friend Nate to come out to parkrun. We haven’t talked in a while and when he caught up with me (in text, not in running) I suggested he come out and enjoy the spring air of our local parkrun. He showed up and did great for a guy who hasn’t exercised in a while!

I, meanwhile, managed a 36:38 time. (Strava didn’t count the 10 seconds where I stopped to tie my shoe.) Ten seconds off my parkrun PB so I’m hoping I’ll make that up and more in the coming weeks. I’ve also convinced my other friend Missy to come out to parkruns as well, so soon we will all be fit and healthy and live forever!

Then I went home and played some Tears of the Kingdom for a bit and then walked over the Hawthorne bridge to the Starlight Run.

The Starlight Run is part of the Portland Rose Festival, and I gotta say, didn’t see one rose anywhere. It’s a fun run, not chip timed, and people dress up in costumes and have a good time. My thought was, a couple months ago, that I would run legit for my parkrun, but since Starlight Run is a “fun run,” I’ll take it easy and slower. No big deal, right?

Well, instead I ran 36:35. And that’s with a couple of forced stops due to MAX trains passing by. If I hadn’t been forced to stop it would’ve been more like 36 minutes even. And this is WITH me holding my tote bag with stuff in it.

I won’t do the whole shebang I do for other race posts. The swag was minimal, a t-shirt and a tote bag (to be fair though, this tote bag is FAR better quality than the others I’ve received. It’s like an actual linen or muslin, not cheap woven plastic). I did snag a free Celsius can from people walking by. The atmosphere was awesome, though–lots of people seated along the sidewalks getting ready for the Starlight Parade later on. Kids giving high fives, everyone giving lots of encouragement. Plus costumes and whatnot. It was great.

My only regret is that I didn’t hydrate very well prior to the run. I saw people with plastic water bottles but couldn’t tell where they were getting them from. I assume from the actual Rose Festival event, which I could’ve gotten into with my bib, but didn’t have cash and didn’t care to use the ATM. So I ran a little “dry,” so to speak. Thankfully, it wasn’t as impactful as the Pacific Coast 5k.

The medal is a cheap plastic thing, which is fine; I wasn’t expecting to get a medal at all. Plus water and a protein bar. Nothing fancy, probably because they want you in the carnival part to spend money there.

Overall, I’m very chuffed, as the Brits would say, with my running on Saturday. For a few reasons: first, consistency between both runs. Second, my heart not giving out and me just collapsing to the ground, dead right there. And third, it’s the day after and I don’t feel totally sore or injured! I feel pretty good, honestly.

That said, I will take Garmin’s advice and rest the next couple of days, before I do it all again.

Next race is the Redmond Run in Redmond, Oregon. Until then.


parkrun #V1 & Running Update

CW: there is some weight/food talk in farther below.

That’s right folks, this past Saturday I volunteered at parkrun for the first time.

It was great! I was the barcode scanner, which means that I took all the times the timekeeper got from the runners and scanned them into the results! Had a great time and it was especially helpful for meeting some of the other volunteers and runners. I highly recommend volunteering if you want to get to know your fellow parkrunners! Afterwards I joined some of the volunteer folks at the nearby crepery for the first time, where I discovered that it was probably better for my waistline and my wallet to have not gone to the nearby crepery.

Since the disaster that was the Pacific Coast 5k, my leg has gotten much, much better, to the point where I think it was actually just a muscle strain rather than a tendon issue. I’m not sure why I thought it was a tendon issue, to be honest–I remember learning in some YouTube video or whatnot that tendons are incredibly strong, and to really injure one takes a lot more effort than, say, just pulling a muscle instead. This past week has been some tenuous walks, some not-so-tenuous walks, and finally a longer walk on Sunday that included four quarter-mile, very easy runs, which all felt good.

This week includes more slow and steady running to build back the mileage I’ve lost. Garmin Coach is on the backburner. Sorry Papa Jeff, you bumped my mileage up 200% over the course of one week and got me injured. It’s all your fault! I’m aiming for 6 miles this week and have already gotten about 2.3 in so far. My calf feels a bit betrayed so I’m going to really take it easy and remember to stretch and do my strength exercises, and also get up and walk while working because sitting at a desk is not helpful for all of this.

I also ate a lot last week. I was aiming for getting more protein to help repair muscle but kind of spiraled out a bit. It felt strange to return to a type of binge eating I hadn’t really done since my last apartment. Some of it was the product of being a little depressed because of my leg and because I’m 40 now and my body is withering away like an old banana. But to dive as deep as I did with the sort of behavioral self-awareness that I have now was very interesting. It was Rational Brain watching Lizard Brain take over for a bit. “You’re hurt and you’re an old banana? Don’t worry, I gotcha. Just sit back and relax and here’s All The Food.”

A prior version of me probably would’ve spiraled all the way down, but I contextualized this moment as part of the 80/20 philosophy. Sure, 80/20 can be a weekly thing, but it can also be a monthly thing, or a yearly thing. Eighty percent on track, 20 percent deviation. An easy thing to accept when it’s walking down a trail in the forest, right? Stay on the trail but sometimes you wander out to sniff a flower or take a shit behind a tree. So I try to approach food in that manner as well. Get your chicken and rice and veggies but sometimes you eat a pizza or a bag of Doritos. C’est la vie. I’m never going to be perfect on nutrition. I don’t want to be perfect on nutrition. I want the cauliflower and the cannoli. If that shaves a few years off my life, so be it.

My next 5k is a fun run, the Starlight Run, and it’s not until June 3rd, so my intent over the next couple of weeks is to rebuild mileage very slow and very easy. I can bring speed in later. Now it’s just getting back to a 10 mile or so foundation before I build (SLOWLY) onto that. You hear me, Coach Jeff?!


parkrun #13

No photos because I didn’t bring my phone with me.

Nice warm and sunny morning with a TON of runners, 67, which I think is a new record for Rock Creek Trail. I intentionally ran this one slow, to try and keep my heart rate in Zone 3. My new Forerunner 265, aside from being very cool and shiny, has a Load Focus feature which was telling me that I wasn’t getting enough Low Aerobic runs in, so I focused on that. Did it help? Probably, yeah, in the long run, but at the time I just felt like I was running really slow. I will say, when I finished I felt like I could keep going, which is a good sign. Lots of walking and running mixes.

I’m not sure that I will keep doing weekly logs of parkruns. It feels weird to do it unless I’m getting a PR or a milestone. We’ll see!