Started the week off right. On Saturday night, a co-worker asked if I would switch shifts, which would mean I’d be off work early in the afternoon as opposed to my usual 5-6 PM end. I’m a coffee roaster by trade, in case the odd schedule left some confused. I jumped at the opportunity to start the week off right with a solid, Sunday afternoon run. It also gave me a chance to play with me new piece of gear, the Apple Watch.
I’m planning on writing a full review on the Apple Watch in terms of running, but let’s just say day one didn’t go so smooth. I was very surprised that perhaps the most intimate piece of technology Apple has released is the least intuitive. I didn’t realize that you need to adjust most of the watchOS (the operating system) defaults otherwise you can kiss your first full charge goodbye in less than six hours. The Apple Watch barely made it a mile into it’s maiden run before dying. Other than that little speed bump, the run itself was great.
It was a cold and gray Sunday afternoon. The only thing missing were my gloves.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. Strava rules! I’ve used a number of run tracking apps in the past, but Strava blows them all out of the water. The amount of data is pretty incredible. If you hop onto the Wildwood where I do, from Aspen Avenue up the demoralizing Holman Lane and head northwest-ish, I’ve no doubt you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say the first mile and half are soul sucking. Yes, I know it’s only about 300 feet of climbing, but I’m keyed up to be pretty let down if I can’t get up at the minimum of a 9:00/mile. I don’t know why, but if I’m very far behind a 9:00 mile I’m fucking bummed the whole way.
Not to toot my own horn, but I was very pleased as the robotic, female Strava voice announced my minute-per-mile times. This was my first run after the unholy calorie fest my Thanksgiving was, so I was a little nervous there would still be some mashed potatoes or stuffing sloshing around my guts somewhere. Whether that was the case or not, I felt like I pulled off a pretty decent run. Good job, self.
The Apple Watch saga continued on Monday. I decided to dedicate the bulk of my weekly running to the Springwater Corridor. With limited daylight and finishing work in the latter part of the afternoon, the prospect of running the Wildwood in the cold, dark, and rain didn’t sound very appealing. I know this is Oregon and very soon I will have to suck it up, put on a headlamp, and deal with that, but I wasn’t feeling it this week. So I chose the road. Because of my fidgeting with the Apple Watch, I split my 10.8 mile run into two-parts.
And if you notice the latter photo, the Eastbank Esplanade/Riverfront loop over the Steel Bridge makes your route look like a dick. This is the bane of Portland Strava users who share their maps on social media. No one notices you ran 10 miles, they just notice your route looks like a dick. Anyways, I was pleased to find I still have a decent speed on the road. Listening to interviews with the likes of Hayden Hawks and Cody Reed made me realize how important speed work is to a runner’s repertoire. I was still a little discouraged about my Apple Watch snag, but overall I felt good about the run.
I rode my bike. This will probably be my Tuesday ritual going forward, unless the weather is totally fucked. This was great for recovery. The Hokas on my feet helped with any soreness I may have felt in my knees, but I could tell the muscles in my legs were sore. After both the commute rides, 9 miles total, I felt great and ready to hit the pavement again.
Finally got that goddamn, new-fangled Apple Watch to track a full run. I hit the pavement again with a repeat of the same loop the day before, penis shape and all.
I’ll spare you the phallic map of my run and introduce you to something that’s new for me. Look at that red “75” in the upper right hand corner of the Strava breakdown. I’ve never heard of a Suffer Score, but it relates to heart beats per minute.
This is a nice bonus of the Apple Watch! I’ve noticed most runners on Strava don’t use a heart-rate monitor. The built-in one on my Apple Watch was at the top of my list of reasons to want one. I plan on attempting a 50-mile run in the next year, whether it’s race or self-supported, and I know I have some fitness work to do. Any information that could help me fine tune my pace for longevity in miles is like gold to me. The fact that Strava quantifies this information and breaks it down from aerobic to VO2 Max is extremely helpful. Suffer Score is a number I’m going to try and find a balance with over the next couple weeks as I continue to learn the widgets of my new Apple gadget.
Oh, yeah…and not all road running has to be concrete and cars.
This was a tricky one. Due to some unpleasant noises in my car, I dropped it off for an overnight at my mechanic. Because I had the opening shift (5:30 AM is the start time) it was back to the bike commute. My goal was to get at least four substantial runs in this week. By the time 2:00 PM rolled around and it was time for me to clock-out, the weather in Portland was well chilled with a touch of wind and rain.
The bike ride home was a stark reminder that the charming crisp in the air of fall was no more and it was officially December. That, coupled with the disappearance of my running gloves, made the desire to head back out the door and run the exact route I had just ridden (literally) a lessened one.
I managed to squeak out 8 miles and was a far cry from the runs earlier in the week. Overall, the times weren’t that far off, but I was not feeling it. I was actually relieved when my mechanic called to tell me my car was ready for pick-up. Some quick math told me if I tried to go the full 10+ miles I had done days earlier I would not be back in time to pick up my car.
Still, for feeling mighty dogshit about Thursday, I guess the ride/run combination is something to be happy about.
Friday was spent sitting on my ass in my car, in traffic, driving from one store to the next in an attempt to try and knock out some holiday shopping. The night before I took a pretty nasty spill down my stairway, leaving me with a big bruise on my left thigh and a bit of a limp. My wife checked my head to make sure I wasn’t bleeding out of my brain…believe me, after my 20’s, I really don’t have brain cells to spare. I planned on dedicating Friday to commerce anyways, but now I wish I would have done a little bit of a walk or something rather than sitting in the driver’s seat of my car for hours.
The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3’s showed up on Friday. I ordered these because the Clifton 3’s have been such a great road shoe, so I figured why not try out the ATR 3, as they are essentially the same shoe, only with lugs and grips. I was pretty excited to test these out, but after my run, I think I’m going to be sticking with Altra’s for the trail. I may give them another shot before returning them, but the toebox on these felt super tight. The narrowness and tightness that’d made me hesitant to open my wallet to Hoka in the past is not an issue at all in the Clifton 3. They are a little snug, but nothing noticeable. I think what it comes down to is my stride on the trail and how my foot lands. The section of the Wildwood I run, as mentioned earlier, is very hilly. I tend to lean forward and land on my forefoot more than the fairly even landing I have on the road. I think my caveman feet thrive in the #embracethespace toebox of Altra on the trail and get tamed by the Clifton 3 on the pavement.
This run was…well, it actually sucked ass. Let’s see, the throbbing I felt in my left thigh when I woke up Saturday should have told me it might not be such a good idea to test run a pair of shoes on a very slick trail. I was determined, so I broke the golden rule of “listen to your body” I hear so many accomplished runners preach in interviews. Should have listened to my body. The run, for the most part, was a trudge. I managed some decent minutes-per-mile, but the left thigh kept giving me the middle-finger for having broken thy golden rule. The left thigh was not going to let me get away with the shit I was trying to pull, so I tried to fight back by adjusting my posture, another of thy golden running rules broken. Between the aching thy, the posture modifications, and the new shoes, I was cooking up trouble. That came when I hit a slick patch of rock and mud and SMACK right down on the already injured thy. Sparing the gory details, the bruise got bigger and I’m hobbling around humbly this afternoon.
Really disappointed those Hoka Challenger ATR 3’s didn’t work out. I’ll never accuse Hoka of making a shoe that slows me down, as my Suffer Score from the Saturday run blew all others out of the water.
Yeah, Zone 4 is sublactate threshold and if it hadn’t been for that shitty fall I took Thursday night, I would have felt fine and probably would have gone longer. It’s encouraging progress.
These are the kinds of weeks I want to have moving forward. I want to try and get 5 days in, but realistically, at least until the holidays are over, I’ll take 4. I’m going to try and write more about this and whenever I formulate some sort of training plan for a 50-mile distance this spring or summer.
Listen to your body, kids.
For all 12 of you that have viewed the blog, there may be some changes coming in the next couple weeks. A gentleman reached out to me letting me know he had purchased wildwoodrunning.com before I started this blog. My bad for not checking, but it turns out he’s a really cool guy and we may be getting together in the near future to collaborate on a grand Wildwood Running site. I was stoked to hear there was a fellow Portlander interested in writing about running here in Portland. Stay tuned, the future of Wildwood Running is looking bright!
Also, I’m very excited to announce that I will begin posting interviews with people in the running community here in Oregon and abroad. The first person gracious enough to grant me an interview is none other than Brett Farrell, founder of Territory Run Co. I’ll wait to gush about Territory Run Co. until the interview, but I was thrilled that he would be the first person to kick off these interviews with.
There may even be a podcast…someday…