Run 527: Even newer new shoes plus bonus detour

Run 527
Average pace: 5:38/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 10:31 pm
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 56:33
Weather: Sun and cloud mix
Temp: 20-21ºC
Humidity: 56%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 160
Weight: 156.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4104 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

Yesterday I exchanged the foot-killing Hoka Stinson ATR 3s for a pair of Brooks Cascadia 12s. I’ve had Cascadias before and found then generally fine but ended up not using them for running, as the shoes were a bit heavy for my liking. This year’s model is notably lighter.

With my new new shoes on, I set off almost on time this morning with conditions much better for running–around 20ºC and with a mix of high cloud and sun. The walk to the lake was promising, as there was no pain, just a very slight sense of discomfort in the left shoe which I can chalk up to that new shoe thing.

For the run itself it was the same. I aimed for a bit more conservative pace, hence my average of 5:38/km (which is still respectable) but completed it without issue. The walk home was also uneventful, so the new shoes get the proverbial thumbs-up. They felt snug, but not tight and it never felt like they were going to come untied, one of my major pet peeves with running shoes.

Two weeks after it went up the detour sign where the trail splits at Spruce Loop was gone and curiosity got the best of me, so I ventured down the main trail to discover that two foot bridges had been replaced, hence the longer-than-usual detour. My curiosity sated, I looped back up onto the Conifer Loop and resumed my usual router, aware that the boardwalk work that didn’t happen on Monday might be happening today.

And it was.

The detour sign was literally right in front of the boardwalk, with a handy arrow pointing to the right. I followed it up a trail I’d never been on before and quickly emerged onto a paved road, Glencarin Drive. Fortunately it’s a very quiet road and not an eight-lane superhighway. The road only went for maybe a hundred feet or so before ending at the start of the Freeway Trail. Shortly after getting onto it I reached the first entrance to Burnaby Lake, scooted down and was back on the main trail again. As detours go it was fairly short and uneventful, just the way I like ’em.

I did encounter one cyclist on the trail–and he was walking his bike. Weird! He seemed to be doing it as a deliberate choice, too, not because he had a flat tire caused by a rabid goose. Also weird.

Overall, this run was reassuring more than anything. I managed to complete the 10K without difficulty, had a decent pace, and broke in a new pair of shoes without also breaking my feet.

Run 526: When new shoes go bad

Run 526
Average pace: 5:35/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 2:33 pm
Distance: 6.38 km
Time: 35:40
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 24-26ºC
Humidity: 40%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 155
Weight: 157.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4094 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

Today I got new running shoes. They were on sale!

They made my left foot hurt so much I stopped my 10K run at 6.38 km. It didn’t help that the temperature went from 24-26ºC, either, but it was mostly the shoes.

I picked up a pair of Hoka One One Stinson ATRs, which provide a good amount of support and a more pronounced rocker motion than my Speedgoats. As a bonus, there was also no color-bleeding.

But problems emerged quickly. On the walk to the lake my left foot started to hurt. The new shoes were impressively defeating my orthotics, something no other shoes have done. I got to the lake and started out and even my first km was sluggish. After awhile the left foot began to hurt quite a bit more. The toes even began to feel numb. I thought maybe the orthotic had slipped forward somehow and the pronounced bulge was sitting directly under my toes instead of just behind them, where the toes connect to the foot. After the run I checked but the orthotic was right where it should have been. I planned on bailing on the run at the 6K mark, went a bit further, toyed with going to 7K, then just stopped, figuring running more would yield no useful results.

The only other good news is the repair work on the boardwalk scheduled to start today was nowhere to be seen, so I didn’t have to do some fancy detour to get around it.

But to add the proverbial insult to injury, while the left shoe didn’t hurt my foot as much on the way back, the right shoe started to squeak and pretty loudly at that. The squeaking of the last pair is what doomed them.

The Stinsons are going back to the store tomorrow. I’ll either get a different pair or put up with the Speedgoats a little longer. Squeaking is bad but it’s better than squeaking plus murdering my foot.

My overall pace was a dismal 5:35/km. Because I was getting the cursed shoes in the morning I didn’t run until the afternoon and it was warmer than expected, which was an unpleasant bonus. Also, a bug bite on my right calf itched for the entire run.

At least there were no cyclists.

Total 86% eclipse of the heart sun

Today there was a solar eclipse, where the moon passes in front of the sun, blotting it out and making things darker (or just plain dark, depending on where you are). Back in the good old days people ran around in terror because they thought the world was ending.

That still happened today but it’s because Trump is president, not the eclipse.

At 86% totality, the eclipse over the Vancouver area was both neat and disappointing. The disappointing part is that even with only 14% of sunlight getting through, it was still bright enough (on a clear day) to only be a little dimmer than normal, similar to what you might see on a gloomy cloud-covered day.

On the neat side, the dimness did have a surreal “this ain’t right” quality to it, and shadows were even darker in relation. Trees were casting weird crescent-shaped shadows as the moon traversed across the sun’s path. I forgot to take pictures. Also, the temperature got noticeably cooler–not cold, but more pronounced than just steeping from the sunshine and into the shade would be.

Inevitably you see people do dumb things. As I headed downtown on the SkyTrain one guy wearing glasses with clip-on sunglass lenses (that did not appear to be special protective lenses) kept looking out and up at the sun, squinting and shielding his eyes with a hand. At one point he stopped and rubbed both eyes a good bit. That’s because you are damaging your sight, you dum-dum! When the rear-facing seat at the end of the train became free, he shifted to that so he could continue to stare at the sun. I seriously think he did damage to his vision. How can people be so utterly stupid about this? There was information about safety precautions all over the place.

Speaking of idiots, guess who else looked directly up at the sun?

It was still a spiffy, science-y event, though it has to take second place to the one I witnessed as a 15-year old in Duncan in 1979. That one was a total eclipse and having the day go from complete daylight to night in moments was very unsettling (but cool). This eclipse, though not total, still comes in ahead of the Bonnie Tyler song, though.

Run 525: Unplanned 5K with fresh cut giant trees

Run 525
Average pace: 5:19/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 3:18 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 26:50
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 23-24ºC
Humidity: 40%
Wind: moderate
BPM: 148
Weight: 157.2 pounds
Total distance to date: 4088 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

I traded in my new-but-not-worn Nike shorts today at the Nike store in Metrotown. Although these are the latest version of the shorts I currently wear, I had mistakenly bought a size medium and when I got home I found my other Nike shorts were size small. A return fixed that and when I got home I thought, “Hey, with my shiny new shorts and shiny new sleeveless t-shirt, I should go for a run just for the heck of it!”

And so I put on the new shorts and found them to be rather…snug. Snug as in they have somehow reduced the size of the small to really mean small and the medium size shorts I traded back without ever trying were probably the right size all along. Grr. I’m not sure what to do. Can I do a double return or will they accuse me of being an incurable shorts addict? What I might do is buy another pair in the medium size–but in a different color!–and see if they fit, then maybe think about trading in the small shorts for the original medium. This plan actually makes me sound like an incurable shorts addict, doesn’t it?

Hmm.

For the run I put on my old and stinky but fits-just-right shorts, with the new short, and headed off, undecided on whether to do a 5K or go for more. I opted for a 5K partway through and tried to adjust my pace accordingly. Although sunny, there was a good breeze and humidity was lower so I stayed fairly peppy and only had minor sweating throughout. Even my BPM was much lower, at only 148.

In the end my pace was 5:19/km, which is one of my better 5K runs this year. Not bad following up only a day after a 10K. I didn’t experience any issues and the trail was surprisingly not too busy, given the time and conditions.

The “trail repairs” next to the athletic fields was finished and my careful examination of the trail revealed…absolutely no changes I could see. But lo, at the ends of the trail were several freshly-hewn (and formerly honking big) trees, cut up and piled alongside the trail. I’m not sure if they were cut because they had become old and menacing or, being on the ends, if they were cut to better accommodate further work on the trail. In any case, they are now ex-trees.

On the walk out a kid ahead of me defiantly walked through the detour while I obeyed the sign and took the Spruce Loop out. The kid emerged not far ahead of me on the other side, so whatever is in the blocked-off area is not a kid-eating monster. I wanted to ask him what they could possibly be working on that is taking so long but figured the reality would prove suitably mundane.

The other thing of note–and a squeaky note it is–are my shoes. While the color-bleeding of my Hoka Speedgoats is long past, the right shoe is squeaking so loudly I can hear it while running with music playing. It’s somewhat maddening. Getting new shoes, preferably before my next run, is now top priority.

Run 524: Strangely familiar

Run 524
Average pace: 5:36/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:05 pm
Distance: 10.02 km
Time: 56:18
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 18ºC
Humidity: 69%
Wind: moderate
BPM: 159
Weight: 157.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4083 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

Today I ran the same distance but in the opposite direction compared to Wednesday and managed an identical pace of 5:36/km. Not only that, even the total time of the two runs was basically the difference in a rounding error. Today it took me 56:18 minutes and on Wednesday it took me 56:17 minutes, a whopping one second difference.

What’s even more interesting (to me, anyway) is that I arrived at the identical pace through very different means. Wednesday’s run felt harder and I was tired by the end. Today’s run, under cloudy skies and a steady 18ºC was much more comfortable, so in theory today’s run should have been faster–in fact, I was expecting it to be.

The difference?

On Wednesday I started out a lot faster for the first three km and flagged a lot more for the final three. Today I started out slower but then fell into a much more even rhythm over the length of the run. The stronger finish, though, wasn’t enough to compensate for the slower start so the two runs, with greatly varying lap times, ended up with the near-exact same result.

I was a little disappointed but 5:36/km is still a good pace so I’m not exactly hopping mad over it. Also, the humidity was quite high, so despite the cooler temperature I still sweated more than I’d have preferred.

The usual trail closure at the Spruce Loop fork was in place but there was a second detour waiting for me near the 5K mark. “Closed for repairs” said the sign directing me away from the trail along the athletic field, right on the first corner. Over yonder I could see similar signs directing people away. Trucks and people were milling about at several points on the section of the trail. This struck me as curious, as they had just resurfaced the stretch just days ago. Maybe they did it wrong. I’ll find out soonish!

It meant I had to run across the field itself to continue on. Fortunately there was neither a soccer match in progress, an unexpected marmot hole waiting to snap my ankle or any other impediments. I did have to run past a nearby gathering of poopmonsters and one honked a few times, perhaps as a gang warning of sorts. I ignored it’s menacing squawk.

Running on grass actually feels a little weird when you’re used to gravel and dirt.

With the weather being worse there were fewer people out. Only one wayward dog today and no cyclists–hooray!

Except for the aforementioned sweating, I encountered no issues, so Week 2 of 10K runs is now done. I’m hoping to start Week 3 with a new pair of shoes as the right shoe in particular is starting to honk like a poopmonster.

Run 523: Steady with left-side runners and tooting trains

Run 523
Average pace: 5:36/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 12:08 pm
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 56:17
Weather: Mainly sunny
Temp: 20-22ºC
Humidity: 54%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 151
Weight: 158.0 pounds
Total distance to date: 4073 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

After a copious amount of running and cycling the last few days (I did a 9.76 km ride last night–no falling, yay!) I decided today’s run–started a wee bit late again because my stomach was feeling off–would be a bit more on the slow and steady side.

It was both sunnier and breezier today, with the latter insuring the former wasn’t an issue, though it only got up to 22ºC, which is perfectly cromulent for this time of year.

I had to use the Jiffy John® yet again before the run so I’m pretty sure my body clock is now syncing my bowel with my running. I would prefer it to not do so. At least I didn’t have to wait this time.

I headed out clockwise and almost immediately encountered a cyclist just exiting off the trail. Hopefully her bike tires got punctured by rabid geese on the way out.

After that things settled into a semi-comfortable routine. There were stretches where I even felt that certain sort of Zen one can achieve when running and my lower BPM of 151 reflected this. I did encounter a runner on the left side of the trail approaching me. Clearly one of us would have to move to avoid collision. I saw it as a teaching moment for the wrong-side runner and she shifted over. Hooray!

Not long after that I was heading toward the bend leading onto the Cottonwood Trail when I was startled by the unexpected tooting of a train horn. It was unexpected because while the track parallels the Cottonwood Trail, there are no crossings, hence no need to toot. It turned out workers were gathered with digging equipment on the other line and the train was tooting to warn them to stay on their side to avoid being smooshed by a billion tonnes of metal or however much a typical train weights.

The trail is still blocked off where it splits at Spruce Loop but more piles of gravel near the trail entrance suggest work is being done. What’s weird is it’s been a week already, which is longer than it took them to replace the entire foot bridge on the Cottonwood Trail. Maybe there was a sinkhole or something.

With my pace of 5:36/km only being three seconds off Monday’s, I am perfectly happy with today’s result, with no real issues other than the legs being a wee bit stiff from all this nutty activity.

Run 522: Cloudy with a chance of cyclists

Run 522
Average pace: 5:33/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 12:32 pm
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 55:44
Weather: Mainly cloudy
Temp: 19-21ºC
Humidity: 51%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 162
Weight: 157.4 pounds
Total distance to date: 4063 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

I spent the morning contemplating whether I would do my regular Monday run or consider Sunday’s run in lieu and just resume again on Wednesday, but as the time ticked on by in its usual way I feared LMS (Lazy Monday Syndrome) might kick in, so I headed off shortly before noon, planing on not quite putting the proverbial pedal to the metal today, given only 24 hours of rest.

I arrived to conditions very similar to yesterday, but perhaps a little more cloudy–a good thing for running. When I got to the lake I felt the need to visit the Jiffy John®, which at this point is hardly unexpected. At least I didn’t feel the need to visit it at the 5K mark. As I approached yonder potty I noticed a red truck parked right in front of it? Who parks right in front of an outdoor potty? They’re generally thought of as stinky ans yucky.

Someone who is using it, it turns out. Using it very thoroughly. While a woman walked a dog back and forth along an adjacent bush, I waited–almost ten minutes. And it was already occupied when I got there. The only way I would spend ten minutes or more in a Jiffy John® is if I was forced to at gunpoint or something.

Anyway, the guy finally finished, they got into the red truck, and left. The potty had a Devil’s Tower of toilet paper covering up the business. I hate when people do that. The rolls they put in are not intended for Devil’s Tower emulation. It’s wasteful and silly. It’s a toilet. It’s going to have poo in it. Hiding it under ten pounds of toilet paper is fooling no one–but it is insuring someone is going to need to use the loo and find all the toilet paper is already stuffed into a great heap inside the potty.

Unlike yesterday I did not start the run by nearly plowing into someone. Instead, the theme of the day was the old favorite dogs unleashed/cyclists. The cyclists were paired off and the second pair came along at an especially inconvenient time. They were heading toward me, but I was also just about to pass a slow-moving couple on the right. Would I defer to the cyclists and let them go by first? I would not! Instead I moved left to pass the couple and forced the cyclists to nearly ride completely off the trail (which would technically have made their presence within the boundaries of the bylaw, I suppose). As always, I hope these jerks got flat tires, chased by rabid geese or some combination thereof.

Despite not intending to run as hard as yesterday I ended up with a similar pace–5:33/km vs. yesterday’s 5:31/km. I slowed through the 7-9 km stretch but put a little zing in for the final km.

There were more people out than I expected, possibly because I was running right around noon.

The main trail where it splits with Spruce Loop was still closed but I saw a small clue on what the issue might be, as a little putt-putt gravel truck trundled past me later on, heading in that direction. Possibly some repair work or shoring up around one of the footbridges. Still odd that the detour is there without any explanation, though.

The only complication during the run was a bit of discomfort along the right edge of my right foot, but I think this was caused by twisting the foot inward on a tree root before starting the run. It seems to be fine now.

Overall, this run was a solid follow-up to yesterday’s return-to-form. I might be a tiny bit sore tomorrow but as compensation my legs will look like tree stumps! Yes.

Run 521: Unplanned and with real weather

Run 521
Average pace: 5:31/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 1:47 pm
Distance: 10.02 km
Time: 55:27
Weather: Partly cloudy
Temp: 19-21ºC
Humidity: 57%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 156
Weight: 158.7 pounds
Total distance to date: 4053 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

Today is not a run day but I whimsically ran anyway, for two reasons:

  1. After doing some tidying up of the junk in the living room, I feared I would be hit by LSS (Lazy Sunday Syndrome) and spend the rest of the afternoon sitting on my butt and doing very little of anything besides fulfilling basic bodily functions (more on those later).
  2. With an actual shower last night and cooler temperatures today it was a chance to run in Real Weather™ and I just couldn’t resist.

So off I went in early afternoon (wholly inadvisable during the heatwave), first thinking I’d do a 5K on the river, then a 5K at the lake and finally what evolved into a full 10K at the lake.

My start was much stronger than the last few runs, though I almost collided at the first corner thanks to a shirtless jogger ignoring the “run/walk on the right” rule. I had to get out of his way. I saw him later and he was on the right side of the trail, so he may be one of those joggers who cuts in to take a corner, which is actually more dumb than just running on the left side of the trail. Also, being topless did not make him sexy.

Not long after that I encountered a dope on a bike (I now reflexively tell these people, “Bikes aren’t allowed on the trail” as I run by. I expect it to have no effect, but even if it makes them feel a tiny bit bad, it’s worth it). At this point I’m thinking maybe running on an “off” day was not a great idea. And indeed I encounter still more cyclists later. I chalk this mostly up to it being a Sunday. I haven’t run Sundays for awhile and today provided some guidance on why I would not miss doing so.

My improved pace did mean I was pushing hard, with a slightly higher BPM, and by the last few km I was slowing down, but my overall pace was still 5:31/km, not only besting my previous 10K by ten seconds, but also making it my best 10K of the year. All I had to do was wait for the terrible weather to end!

Speaking of weather, it was still fairly humid but it was a clean humidity, for lack of a better word. I sweated but not nearly as much as I have been, and the only effects I felt were those from simply putting in a good effort. The sun poked out from time to time but it was mostly cloudy, which was nice, and there was often a good and slightly cool breeze blowing, which was just as nice. It was a doubleplus nice run, a great day for an Orwellian jog. Or something.

Something strange happened after I began walking back, though. Almost immediately I was hit with cramps all through my lower abdomen, all weird and gassy and rumbly and unpleasant. I had no idea why it was happening, but glad it happened after I’d finished the run. By the time I got onto the river trail it became clear–my bowel was at it again. Somehow my bowel has tuned itself so that running = pooping. This is not a good combination. Today it was off, which allowed me to finish the run without the runs (ho ho), but instead I suddenly found I had to go RIGHT NOW and without a restroom in sight. Just trees and such. You know, nature. Desperate, I channeled my inner bear, spotted a path leading down to the creek under the bridge and shambled down as quickly yet carefully as I could.

I picked my way through branches, careful not to go into the drink (it wasn’t deep, but why soak your feet if you don’t need to?) and found a spot that was sufficiently out of view from the bridge (I had spotted someone in the distance approaching from the other direction and felt no need to give them a full viewing). I barely (bearly?) had time to yoink down my shorts before a full scale evacuation commenced. In retrospect I may have eaten something that disagreed with me because the word “diarrhea” occurred to me later. Running + diarrhea is also not a good combination. I also realized that the spot I picked did in fact have an unobstructed view back to the bridge. Oops. I guess I could have pretended I was doing squats. No one saw, fortunately.

I felt much better after that but I admit I’m getting a little paranoid now. This is almost becoming a pattern now. I don’t want my body to associate running with relieving myself. I want the two to remain separate, as nature intended. I will have a stern talk with my butt and see how it goes. Or if it goes.

Still, this run was a nice return to seasonal conditions. Now I need to decide if I take a day off tomorrow in lieu or head out again and stick to my normal schedule.

New bike! New injury! (Not a coincidence)

To be fair, the injury is nothing more than some abrasions on my left arm.

It seems I have developed a weird and unwelcome tradition where each summer I find some way to hurt myself. In 2015 I hurt my hip on the first run of vacation. In 2016 I snagged a foot on a tree root and went down hard on a gravel path, with appropriate lacerations and cuts down the right side of my body.

And today I kind of tipped over on my new bike and fell off a ramp into some bramble. I got a long but shallow scratch on my otherwise sexy left calf and about a 10 cm swath of abrasions on my lower left arm. On the plus side, my new gloves kept my hands in pristine condition!

But let me back up a bit.

For awhile I’ve been thinking about getting a bike again–my last was stolen from Tim’s garage by a safety-conscious thief (he took the helmet, too). I rode that one to work and really, it was okay for urban riding but even going over a curb made it feel like the frame would bend like a pretzel. After a suggestion from Jeff, I perused the selection of bikes at MEC and settled on a Ghost Kato, which sounds cool, of nothing else. There was a choice between 26 and 27.5″ tires but it became obvious quickly that 26″ is passe–you know, “Grandpa tires,” while 27.5″ is sexy and happening.

I’ll include a picture of my bike soon but here’s a generic shot for now:

Ghost Kato 27.5"

I picked up a bunch of other things to take advantage of the 10%-off-with-purchase-of-bike deal:

  • stylish black helmet which I look dorky in, anyway
  • fingerless gloves
  • padded undies because I’ve been on bikes without padding for my butt and my butt was very cross with me after
  • water bottle and holder
  • a small kit bag for holding repair doodads (it goes behind and under the seat)

After a few adjustments and a couple loops around the guest parking at the condo, we headed out and up SFU, then rode down two trails. The first was wide but very much a downhill thing. I used the brakes a lot and found out they worked well. I only had one brief moment near the beginning where I hot a patch of loose gravel and felt the tires start to slide, but I maintained control.

Then we moved onto the second trail, which Jeff described as not as steep but more narrow. This seemed like a fair trade-off to me, so we ventured onto Dead Moped.

I almost immediately ran into trouble because although not steep, it was still downhill and very twisty and turny, requiring a degree of coordination that only existed in my imagination. I tried to channel my imagination into reality but the bike was firmly on the side of reality. I muddled along and then got to a point where somehow I was in the lead (I’m still not sure how that happened) and was navigating one of those narrow plank bridges, which are sometimes directly on the ground and other times elevated about a foot or so off of it. They look like this (this is actually taken from Dead Moped):

I went to the handy trailforks.com website, which has several nice photos and videos of the trail. I found one video and managed to grab a blurry still which you may gander at below:

Just past that tree on the left, where the bridge turns to the right…I turned to the left. I didn’t plan it that way, but somehow my combination of speed, balance (and lack thereof), and inexperience combined to where I could not correct quite enough. I very nearly stayed on the bridge, but in the end my balance shifted a little too much to the left and gravity took over. I had a moment to consider if I could put out my left leg to somehow brace myself but this bridge is elevated and my legs are not freakishly long, so I just toppled over onto my side.

A guy came up, seemingly out of nowhere and asked if I was okay. He offered a hand to help me up. I thanked him and said I was okay (except for proving what a noob I am when it comes to two-wheeled transportation). While it may be true that you never forget how to ride a bike, I can verify that it is quite possible to forget how to ride a bike well.

And here’s the damage, nothing a little Polysporin can’t fix:

Pretty minor, especially compared to actually embedding gravel into my hand last summer.

I walked my bike the rest of the way out of the trail (it wasn’t that far), not willing to risk finding another way to separate myself unexpectedly from the bike.

The ride along the rest of the route home (a little under 7 km) went without incident.

Overall, it was actually pretty fun, if terrifying from time to time. I’m flattered that Jeff (who rides these trails with the ease that most people would walk them) thought I could manage it. I later learned that Dead Moped is rated Blue–intermediate difficulty. At this point I’m probably best to stick to whatever color they use for “can barely stay upright on a bicycle.” But I’ll improve.

And maybe wear more padding.

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The sky is blue, hooray!

Today the sky was blue. This may seem like no big thing in the middle of August, even in Vancouver where the weather is known to be a bit on the soggy side.

What makes today’s blue sky so amazing and wonderful is that it’s the first time in about two weeks that the sky has been anything but a dull, yellow-tinged gray, thanks to the interminable smoke haze from forest fires a-far. The combination of a very strong high pressure ridge and smoke finally broke today with some southwesterly (re: normal) marine wind moving in. The haze isn’t 100% gone yet but it’s very minimal–the North Shore mountains are visible again. It’s like coming out of The Mist to discover the world is still there, which also happens to be an ending that is a thousand times better than the movie version.

With the promise of overnight showers, the rest of that stupid fine particulate matter should hopefully settle to the ground, which means the run on Monday should be much more pleasant–even if it’s raining!

Run 520: Kind of tired of fine particulate matter

Run 520
Average pace: 5:41/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:02 am
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 58:03
Weather: Smoke haze, sun
Temp: 23-25ºC
Humidity: 51%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 150
Weight: 158.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4043 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

Once again conditions were very similar to previous runs this week, though the sun seemed a bit brighter. With a more substantial breeze at times I’m wondering if we’re seeing the first tenuous change in the weather. If so, it hasn’t done much with my new favorite nemesis, fine particulate matter. In fact, today’s run was worse in terms of my eyes–and for the first time, my sinuses–being irritated. I started out slower for some reason and as a result was off Wednesday’s pace, coming in at 5:47/km.

On a positive note, the South Shore trail resurfacing is now complete, with the entire trail from the entrance to the Avalon trail to the first boardwalk covered in sparkly fresh gravel. They still have the, uh, “gravel buffer” out but the gravel itself is at least flat now and now piled into mounds down the center of the trail.

Work on the Avalon trail appears to be mostly pending, though, so I’m expecting gravel mounds to start popping up there soon.

Also on the positive side I managed to go potty both before heading out and upon arrival at the lake (I did not go potty in the lake, I used the loo, which is actually named Jiffy John, not Johnny Potty, though the latter is way more awesome). This meant that while the run felt a bit like a slog at times I did not face the complication of “Hey, really really need to use the bathroom right now!”

The main trail was still closed off where it forks with the Spruce Loop. I still have no idea why. Did a tree fall? Giant sinkhole appear? It is a mystery.

Other than sweating a lot and the irritation of yet more FPM, I didn’t encounter any issues otherwise (though I did sweat a lot). Here’s hoping that the next run on Monday will be cooler and cleaner. Who knew I’d be yearning for rain on vacation?