A shot in the arm (literally)

I got my fourth COVID-19 shot today. Not the fourth one today, but the fourth since this whole kooky pandemic began. I opted for Pfizer, the devil I know.

The jab was quick and inconsequential, as usual, and my arm is a bit sore as I type this late in the evening. I did get a headache in the afternoon, which is a possible side effect, and was new for me. Not too bad as side effects call, so I merely grumble about it.

The clinic ran things very efficiently–I was in and out before my actual appointment time. Masks were still mandatory, of course, and they made me wait 15 minutes to see if I’d mutate into a super-being (I did not), but there was no real effort at physical distancing, unlike previous times. A decent amount of people were there (I had to stand in line waiting for the clinic to open), but I overheard staff say that this was pretty normal–most go in the morning and the afternoons are quieter.

I want to make a joke or use some metaphor about how the clinic is an old Best Buy, but nothing comes to mind. Have a picture instead.

It was also a warm and sunny early fall day. Having the weather continue to be summer-like is going to make The Rains that much harder to endure when they arrive. Maybe.

Also, here’s a photo of a flower at nearby Holland Park that I took when I realized how absurdly early I was.

Run 719: Malfunctions of machine and man

Today’s run was sponsored by Meh. Or maybe Metamucil.

I headed out early to beat the relative heat, with the forecast calling for a record-breaking 28C today. It was 15C when I headed off, 17C at the start of the run and 20C by the end, so temperature-wise it was fine. There was intermittent sun and high cloud, which was also fine. I sweated a bit, but not excessively. Fine.

Not fine:

  • Heart rate monitor issues at the start again. I paused the run 17 seconds in to run the heart rate app. It took a rather long time to find a heartbeat, but once it did, it seemed fine at first, then the heart rate did that weird “to the moon” thing, so I pulled back hard on my pace to get it down into a normal range, then increased my tempo to my usual running pace, after which the BPM behaved normally, pretty much for the rest of the run. No idea what is happening here, other than the hardware may be bugging out after three years.
  • Also during the first km, my right ankle was cranky. I have no ideas why. It went away. I have no idea why.
  • Around the 4K mark, the skin under the watch was so itchy I paused the run, took off the watch, saw that there was a red spot, scratched it, broke the skin, then wondered if the heart rate sensor would be more or less accurate if my blood was on it. Also, I adjusted the watch to fit a tiny bit more snug and the itching stopped.
  • Around the 5K mark I had to use the loo, with no loo in sight. This meant the second half of the run was me asking myself repeatedly, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
  • The 7 km segment was unusually slow. I have no idea why.

Overall, I am nonplussed. It wasn’t a bad workout per se, but it just felt very blah. Maybe it’s just Monday. At least the bear signs are gone now. That means no more bears, right?

Oh, and completing the run did give me this:


Run 719
Average pace: 6:00/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 9:50 a.m.
Distance: 10.06 km
Time: 60:21
Weather: Sun and high cloud
Temp: 17-20ºC
Humidity: 75%
Wind: light
BPM: 149
Weight: 158.4
Total distance to date: 5292 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Brooks Caldera 5 (400 km)

The worst people ever

The people who currently reside above my condo baffle me with the noise they make. I don’t understand how people can be so indifferent to others, so absolutely awful.

But I guess humans are just like that.

EDIT: Someone was cranky when they wrote this! Understandably so, perhaps. But let me amend the above to “some humans.” I haven’t lost all hope for humanity…yet!

Run 718: Cooler, faster, glitchy

Conditions were quite different for today’s run. It was an unseasonably cool 15C (which is actually aces for running) and cloudy, with no real chance of the sun coming out. Wind was light. In all, very nice conditions, if the rain held off.

The rain held off. It actually started to shower about half an hour after I got back.

I was determined to do two things today:

  • Run to a BPM of 150
  • Make sure my heart rate was being tracked from the start of the run

On the former, I averaged 151, which is pretty close. But there is an asterisk to go alongside that, in part because I found it strangely challenging to maintain 150 in the first half of the run, and then there was the start, which ties into the second thing. To better insure tracking of my heart rate right from the get-go, I ran the heart rate app, got my heart rate, then started the run. This initially seemed to work.

Later, when I checked during the first km, the BPM was grayed out at the last reported rate and the little heart symbol was spinning. I stopped, did the routine with the heart rate app and resumed my run. As I hit the 2K mark I saw it had stopped again, so did all the steps yet again and just as the day before, it finally seemed to lock in and was fine after that.

But it now reports a BPM of 109 for the first km, which is too low. I mean, I did pause during that time, which would have lowered the overall rate, but I think it’s just missing a lot of data. I don’t know if the watch is going hinky (it’s three years old) or if it’s watchOS 9 shenanigans, since I updated it a few weeks ago. Blergh. I don’t really want to get a new watch, especially as I consider a Garmin for running. Blergh, I say.

As for the run, I actually sweated more despite the cooler temperatures, due to the high humidity, but it still felt quite comfortable. I wore my long-sleeved shirt, too, which is a tad warmer than my usual t-shirts. I felt pretty comfortable throughout and was thinking how I haven’t mentioned the left hip lately. I did feel it a bit toward the end, but more in a “Remember this old war wound?” way, not actively hurting. It’s fine now.

I ended with a pace of 5:49/km, which is much better than I expected for the given BPM (even if it may not be entirely accurate), so I am pleased with this workout. I’m also happy to have done all three runs this week. Go me!

I checked the heels of my Brooks again. I may need a new watch and new shoes soon. The heels are worn to the point that I probably shouldn’t use them much longer. The 390 km below is strictly for runs, but they probably have a few more hundred km from walking.


Run 718
Average pace: 5:49/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:04 a.m.
Distance: 10.06 km
Time: 58:32
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 15ºC
Humidity: 85%
Wind: light
BPM: 151
Weight: 159
Total distance to date: 5282 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Brooks Caldera 5 (390 km)

Good thing I kept that writing quote on my blog

My fortune from last night’s Chinese food:

Maybe I’ll do National Novel Writing Month this year and finally write that Great Canadian Novel that has long dwelled in my mind.

Or maybe I should be insulted because the fortune is implying I’m not already an accomplished writer, when I’m sure I could pay several people right now to insist I am!

Or perhaps I’ll play those six numbers, win the lottery and find inspiration in my newfound riches, and become an accomplished writer once the financial pressures of life are gone.

So many possibilities, such a tiny piece of paper.

The Chinese food was not bad, either.

Run 717: The wind and the spike

I looked at the soles of my shoes before heading out. I think I need new shoes. Time to read a billion reviews, then buy something on sale and regret it later!

This was an odd and unsatisfying run. My goal was to run at a pace of 150 BPM, so I expected a slower time. My first km, during which I did my best not to run fast at all, came in at 5:35/km, which is pretty zippy. Annoyingly, the Apple Watch did not show my heart rate during this first km, a problem that seems to be happening more often lately (possibly a bug with the watchOS 9 update?). It didn’t silently record it, either–there is no data in the summary of the run. As I started the second km, I could see the heart symbol spinning, trying to determine heart rate, but it was still getting nothing. I was pretty sure my heart was still beating.

I then paused the workout and opened the heart rate app. This app does a single thing: it shows your heart rate (weird, I know). After a few moments, it said my BPM was 148, which seemed about right. I then went back to the workout app and sure enough, this managed to get the heart rate showing in my workout. I resumed running.

Then something strange happened. Even though I was maintaining a moderate pace, my BPM kept going up. It went from 148 to 151 to 158, then 161 and at this point I started mildly freaking out, because there is no way my heart should have suddenly started beating that much harder. I slowed my pace even more and eventually saw the BPM drop down to around 153 and settle. I have no idea if this was actually happening (as it’s never happened before, that I’ve noticed) or if the watch was just glitching out. You can see the spike here:

Fun fact: The sudden drop and resumption in BPM at 12:22 is when I paused the run because I could not manage all the swiping to change the music without going off into the trees.

It was also much windier than normal so for the first half of the run, I was running into the wind, which slowed me down a little. Temperature and humidity were fine–21C and 46%–and there was only a modest increase in sweating. But I did feel kind of blah. There were also more people on the trail than expected for the middle of the week, though it is admittedly a gorgeous day for the last day of summer.

I suppose I can’t complain too much. I did finish with a pace under 6:00/km despite things. Friday is looking cooler and a bit soggy, which is perhaps appropriate for the first run of fall. We’ll see how it goes.


Run 717
Average pace: 5:58/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 11451 a.m.
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 59:55
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 21ºC
Humidity: 46%
Wind: moderate
BPM: 152
Weight: 160.3
Total distance to date: 5272 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Brooks Caldera 5 (380 km)