Run 864: Baby runner, Part 2

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run

Whoops, it took me two weeks to do the second part of my split 5K. I think I am paranoid about the knees now. Or at least the right knee, aka The Bad Knee.

But today I went out and did the other 3K, and now my total run distance is a nice round number again, my OCD satisfied.

Also, my knees survived. As with the last time, it was more about the stamina and less about how my legs were doing. I started out with a fine pace of 5:42/km, then surprisingly maintained that pace for the second km, flagging a bit at the end at 5:51/km, for a still decent overall average of 5:46/km. I didn’t detect any issues while running, nor any immediately after, as I type this.

Conditions were very similar to two weeks ago, though there was a bit of puddle-dodging after it rained all day yesterday. It was once more an afternoon run, because I both hemmed and hawed before finally heading out. I was planning on taking the side trails and looping back on the main trail, but did the opposite because a person was jogging ahead of me, but was moving slower, so I knew I would pass her, but she was turning off onto the Spruce Loop and there were three people ahead of her, forming a big ol’ bottleneck. I opted to bypass the whole mess by sticking to the surprisingly free main trail.

I am doing weekday birding again on Friday, so unsure of the exact day I’ll head out next, but I’ll be doing a full 5K. We’ll see if my knees explode, implode, or just stay attached. For now, I am cautiously optimistic.

Shot from the starting location of the run. Squint and you can see the distant towers of Metrotown.

Stats:

Run 864
Average pace: 5:46/km

Training status: Maintaining
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW, short loop)
Start: 2:54 p.m.
Distance: 3:03 km
Time: 17:28
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 16°C
Humidity: 57%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 153
Weight: 168.9
Total distance to date: 6195 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (335/626/961 km)

Run 863: Baby runner

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run

Today was finally the day! After my last run on April 12th, I discovered a new (but not improved) Baker’s cysts behind my right knee, almost exactly a year after the last one. The training status for that run was Strained, which I found alarming. I had to take some time off, to let my right knee heal.

The bumpity-bump is still there, though it’s a tad smaller, and it doesn’t actually hurt or anything. The past week, I’ve been building up to running again by doing a series of exercise-type walks, working on more and more stretches of running. Today, I decided it was time to just run.

But then I balked, a bit. I opted, instead, to split my usual 5K run in two, doing a 2K today and a 3K on Friday and, assuming nothing explodes, implodes or falls off, I will resume regular 5K runs next week.

When I got to the lake, I found the parking lot was closed.

Weed whackers everywhere. Also the name of my upcoming autobiography.

As I did not come by car, nor am I a car myself, this was not an issue, but there was a guy on the trail near where I had wanted to start with a weed whacker, so my original plan of going counter-clockwise reversed to clockwise.

Although I felt trepidation, the run itself was fine. 2K seems really short. It’s just a little over 11 minutes, which feels like completing the warm-up part, then stopping. But I stuck to the plan. My first km was a brisk 5:35, then I slipped to 5:44/km, as the reality of running more than a few minutes hit me. My shins were tender to start, but as mentioned in the last walk-run post, this is normal for having not run in a long while.

But my BPM was a nice 150, the weather was pleasant, and I feel fine now. My training status went from Maintaining to Tempo, and after the walk back to the lake, is now back to Productive. Woo.

Random note: I tried to “fix” my sagging SPI-Belt (which I really ought to replace) by tying a knot into it and…it worked! It didn’t budge at all during the run. But I should still get a new one.

Semi-annual accidental photo. You can probably guess where I was at the time.

Stats:

Run 863
Average pace: 5:38/km

Training status: Tempo
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW, short loop)
Start: 2:23 p.m.
Distance: 2:03 km
Time: 11:27
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 17°C
Humidity: 51%
Wind: light
BPM: 150
Weight: 170.5
Total distance to date: 6192 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (332/618/950 km)

Run 862: Left knee, right knee

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run
GRISLY UPDATE: Well, not really grisly, I just wanted to be dramatic. I noticed after getting home that my right knee felt...funny. I gave it a good look-see and alas, there is an unmistakable Baker's cyst lurking in the back. It is a mystery how it developed so quickly, as my running has been very spotty lately. But maybe they do that. Anyway, we'll see how it evolves over the next few days while I not-run.

Also, who would want a cyst named after them? I mean, yuck.

Weirdly, I started today’s run at nearly the exact same time as Wednesday. Although it promised to be cloudy and slightly cooler, I opted again for a t-shirt and, again, was fine.

Conditions actually turned out better than expected, with the sun regularly appearing from behind the high cloud. At times, it even felt a tad humid, given the showers earlier in the morning.

There were two issues today: my left knee and my right knee.

The left knee felt a bit janky early on (I stretched before the run), in a way that made me feel like everything wasn’t quite in the right place. This sorted itself after a minute or so. Later in the run, something similar happened with the right knee, and it also sorted itself out in a minute or thereabouts. I’m very wary of knee issues after last year, but I don’t think these incidents are a cause for concern. I note them here just in case, so I can point to them and offer myself a Nelson Muntz-style, “Ha ha!” in case this is the beginning of another long episode of When Knees Go Bad.

Other than that, the run went well. I had the same middle sag, but turned in a better overall pace because I only lost a little speed on the second km. The trail was mostly clear and puddle-dodging was minimal. The “Strained” training status is likely a combo of my HRV status taking a nosedive in the last few days, along with my sleep score from last night saying I was awake too much and might not feel rested today. Or something. Who knows how all this stuff fits together.

And now, a weekend to rest ‘n recover.

View of Burnaby Lake from turtle nesting area, post-run.

Stats:

Run 862
Average pace: 5:46/km

Training status: Strained (!)
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 11:03 a.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 28:59
Weather: Sun and cloud mix
Temp: 10°C
Humidity: 81-79%
Wind: light
BPM: 152
Weight: 168.8
Total distance to date: 6190 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (330/610/940 km)

Run 861: Birb crazy

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run. Definitely looking more spring-like than 11 days ago.

This was my first run in 11 days. If you read the previous post, you’ll see I had both good and bad reasons for missing the last four or five runs. Today, it promised to be sunny, mild, and I had no real excuses, so out I went.

And it was fine!

I opted for a t-shirt and with the wind low and the sun mostly out (and feeling a tiny bit warm now that spring is here), I was not at all cold or uncomfortable. I walked to the lake and did a short loop going counter-clockwise, starting by the fountain and then turning back right at the 3K marker. I ended my run just before reaching the 1K marker.

After being in a glum mood for a while (also see the previous post), I found it darkly amusing that these three songs popped up in consecutive order as I started my run:

  • Goodbye Cruel World (Pink Floyd)
  • It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (R.E.M.)
  • Everyday is Like Sunday (Morrissey)

(For those unaware, “Everyday is Like Sunday” regularly calls for the coming of Armageddon and atomic bombs.)

Despite the downer tunes, the run went well, with no issues, even after the week-and-a-half layoff. I started out OK with a pace of 5:47/km (I was keen to not push things) and ended strong with 5:38/km, while being a bit pokier in the middle. My BPM was actually the same as the last run, which is actually not bad at all.

As for the birbs, they were indeed everywhere. I swear the same song sparrow I nearly stepped on was on the trail ahead of me again. It really didn’t want to move and instead just keep flying low and stopping a short distance ahead of me. I’d get close, it repeated, until I finally actually moved over to the left to give it more room, and it seemed content to stay. It was still pecking around the same area when I looped back later. I also saw a pair of Steller’s jays at the same spot I’d seen a pair before (the intersection of the main trail and Conifer Loop). There are clearly shenanigans happening.

I also saw a pair of squirrels either fighting over a log or doing a squirrel courtship over a log. I am not a squirrelologist, so I couldn’t tell.

I also saw lots of robins, towhees, juncos and what I think was the rump of a Northern flicker heading into some trees. To clarify, the entire bird headed into the trees, I could only see the rump part of it. I even saw a pair of hooded mergansers drifting down the river post-run. Everywhere you go, it’s gonna be birds.

As a bonus, Metro Vancouver was finally convinced spring is here and the water fountain by the dam is open again. I sampled its deliciously cold water.

Hooray! (until October)

Another sign of spring: little bitty lily pads are starting to dot the surface of the lake again.

It was nice to be out again.

A squrrel atop a stump, post-run. (Post-run for me, not the squirrel.)

Stats:

Run 861
Average pace: 5:49/km

Training status: Maintaining
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW, short loop)
Start: 11:06 a.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:17
Weather: Sun and high cloud mix
Temp: 11-12°C
Humidity: 57-55%
Wind: light
BPM: 153
Weight: 168.9
Total distance to date: 6190 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (330/610/940 km)

Run 860: A trail less taken

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run. Calm and mild.

I did run on Monday or Wednesday. I sort of had an excuse on Monday, but Wednesday was just me not feeling like it (the weather was bad, too). Today, even though it’s a stat holiday, I headed out. It helped that the weather was mild and pleasant–actually feeling warmer than the reported temperature.

Because it’s Good Friday, I expected more people than usual on the trail and as I started out, running clockwise, I had a wacky idea, which was to head down the Avalon Trail and then, instead of turning onto the South Shore Trail and the usual loop around the lake, to keep going straight onto the Freeway Trail, which is noisy and not very scenic.

And I did!

I ran around 2 km, basically the entire length before it becomes paved, and turned off at the second-to-last point to get back onto the main loop. I encountered two people walking and a giant group of cyclists, though they passed by without incident. I was otherwise by myself, save for the constant roar of the traffic from the highway, which is surprisingly close to the trail at some points.

As for the run itself, I started strong at 5:35/km, then flagged to 5:53/km. I got my proverbial mojo back and finished at a perfectly cromulent 5:44/km, an improvement over my last pace. Unlike the last run, I didn’t experience any issues. The weather probably helped.

It was nice to get back out.

Still Creek, post-run. The ripples are from a diving cormorant.

Stats:

Run 860
Average pace: 5:44/km
Training status: Maintaining
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 12:26 p.m.
Distance: 5:02 km
Time: 28:49
Weather: Partly cloudy
Temp: 10-11C
Humidity: 69-65%
Wind: light
BPM: 153
Weight: 169.0
Total distance to date: 6185 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (325/602/927 km)

Run 859: Wet and not wild

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run. It looks nicer than it was.

I missed Wednesday due to petition sign-ups (don’t ask) and skipped Friday because I was feeling lazy and ennui-ish. I paid for it, though, because yesterday the weather was fairly benign, if not pleasant, and today it was rain, rain, rain.

I opted to wear my light rain jacket and on balance I think it was the right call, though I dislike running with a jacket of any kind. Better than getting soaked, though.

I knew things were going to be a bit dodgy when my pace for the first km was a lowly 5:52/km. I trudged on, got a bit faster, then slower, then finished by getting faster again, enough to keep my overall pace to a not-terrible 5:51/km.

I did experience a minor issue for the last few km, a mild stitch in my lower left abdomen. It was weak enough that it didn’t affect my pace, but was enough to at least notice. No other issues, though, other than just getting wet and not really enjoying it.

As expected, the weather kept the trails pretty clear. I probably saw more joggers than pedestrians, plus a few ducks and a goose that was sitting in a weird spot really close to the trail, because that’s what geese do.

In the end, I’m glad I got out, despite the weather. I will celebrate by eating an entire carton of ice cream1In my imagination. That stuff is expensive.!

Turtle nesting area, post-run. Accurate depiction of conditions.
Run 859
Average pace: 5:51/km
Training status: Maintaining
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW, short loop)
Start: 1:00 p.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:23
Weather: Light rain
Temp: 10C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: light
BPM: 152
Weight: 169.0
Total distance to date: 6180 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (320/589/909 km)

Run 858: My SPIbelt is now a DIEbelt

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run. Clear and calm.

Also, this was the last run of Winter 2023-24, as tomorrow is the first day of spring, woo.

I got out early and the run was much better, as 12-14C is only slightly warmer than normal for this time of year, so my body wasn’t having to adjust to weird, summer-like temperatures. I was still able to comfortably wear just a t-shirt and shorts, though.

I got off to a good start, then managed to keep pace for the second km, then flagged a bit in the middle, picking up again for a solid finish and one of my best overall times in a while at 5:42/km. My BPM was also a nice 151. I admit I did feel like I was pushing in terms of my current stamina level, but this is good, because it should help me to improve my overall fitness, as long as my knees don’t suddenly explode (they have been fine so far this year).

But the real nice part was the lack of crowds. Mid-morning on a Monday and I only saw a few people walking and some others jogging (more the latter). It was nice to have the space again. The sunny weather was a bonus.

As for my SPIbelt1The official name is Small Personal Items Belt, hence the whole SPI thing, the elastic is all but shot now and the belt, even when I have the phone nuzzled into the small of my back, no longer holds securely, so it’s time to get a new one. I realize, looking back, that I’ve had this since I got an iPhone 6 back in 2014, so it’s not like I didn’t get good mileage out of it. I guess I’m just cheap. But now I must overcome my cheapness, because having my phone bobble around while running is not desirable. I could skip the phone and load music onto my watch, but I’ve never been fond of the limits there, either.

But overall, a good run to start the week. Wednesday is looking cloudy and slightly cooler, so should be fine. We will see.

Brunette River, post-run. Some more green, and it isn’t just moss!
Run 858
Average pace: 5:42/km
Training status: Overreaching
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW, short loop)
Start: 10:39 a.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 28:42
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 12-14C
Humidity: 67-63%
Wind: light
BPM: 151
Weight: 169.5
Total distance to date: 6175 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (315/581/896 km)

Run 857: Mid-March summer preview

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run. 19C and sunny. Very weird!

Today was a weird run day:

  • I don’t normally run on weekends
  • I don’t normally run in the afternoon
  • The temperature was 19C, which is something that would happen more commonly in June than in March
  • For all of the above reasons, the trail was fairly packed full of people

The reason for running today is I missed Friday’s run due to birding and wanted to keep to my usual three-times-a-week cadence, so today was the day to go. I put in over 24,000 steps yesterday while birding and ran on Thursday, so I was starting to push a bit on the ol’ exercise. Sure enough, my training status went from Productive after the run to Overreaching for the walk around the rest of the lake. Whoopsie.

The run started much the same as last time, which an opening pace of 5:36/km, but after that my body began to soak in that 19 degrees and the rest of the way felt a lot harder. My times began edging closer to the six-minute mark, but I found enough reserve to bring my pace in the final km down again to 5:45/km, giving me a respectable 5:50/km overall average. I was definitely feeling more winded than usual at the end.

I also silently cursed two cyclists, who studied a map of the lake loop for some time before deciding they decided to just ignore it and ride around the lake anyway. I told them as they rode by me that bikes weren’t allowed on the trail, but they were wearing their WE CAN’T HEAR YOU LALALA faces and kept going. They were among the million or so people on the trail, though the only ones I encountered on bikes.

And really, even though it felt nice to run in the warm sun again after so many cold morning runs, I would take the cold and attendant solitude of running on a weekday morning over what I experienced today–just without the rain, thanks!

Monday is looking like another unusually warm day, with a forecast high of 20C, but I’ll run in the morning when it will be a more civilized 12-14C.

Overall, this was an odd run, with the combination of the crowds and the surreal weather proving a bit much both mentally and physically. I didn’t encounter any real issues, though I felt what might have been a ghost of a stitch as I neared the 4K mark, but it ultimately didn’t amount to anything.

The skunk cabbage is starting to bloom, but is still pre-stinky.

Stats:

Run 857
Average pace: 5:50/km
Training status: Overreaching
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW
Start: 2:04 p.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:21
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 19ºC
Humidity: 48-46%
Wind: light
BPM: 152
Weight: 170.0
Total distance to date: 6170 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (310/573/883 km)

Run 856: The warmth of the sun

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run. Sunny! Mild!

Today was the latest start to a run in a long time–2:21 p.m.! But I had a reason for this: I was tired of running in the cold. Spring is still officially five days away, but I’m ready now. With a high forecast to be 12C today, I decided to wait and lo, it was indeed 12C and mostly sunny when I went for my run. I wore a single layer! Crazy.

The sun felt nice. Did I have more energy? Maybe a little. Maybe I was just pleased to not be in the cold, with pouring rain. I started out strong, kept going, flagged a bit midway, then kept going again, pushing gently and finishing with a solid 5:44/km. BPM was up there at 157, but still well below what would make me uncomfortable.

Conditions were pleasant. I did a short loop and on the way back to the start, a mild breeze was blowing–and it felt nice, instead of chilling me to my core. Humidity was lower, but not enough to cause DMS1Dry Mouth Syndrome. Overall, it felt good to be out and to be running.

Birding is taking the place of my usual Friday run, but I do plan on going out on Saturday (yes, the weekend). The high temperature is currently forecast to be a whacky 20C, which is not only twice the average high, but would break the previous record by a hefty 5 degrees. I haven’t decided when I will run on Saturday, but 20C might actually feel a bit shocking to my body in mid-March. We’ll see.

Brunette River, post-run. A little more green.
Run 856
Average pace: 5:44/km
Training status: Productive
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW, short loop)
Start: 2:21 p.m.
Distance: 5:04 km
Time: 28:51
Weather: Sunny, with some high cloud
Temp: 12ºC
Humidity: 58-56%
Wind: light
BPM: 157
Weight: 169.8
Total distance to date: 6170 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (305/560/865 km)

Run 855: Bonus calories due to dog

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run (and pre-rain).

My hands are still numb as I type this.

After skipping Friday’s run (my bad), I went out this morning, under threat of rain. It stayed dry on the walk to the lake, and initially on the run, but soon the rain started, a light shower that continued for the rest of the run.

It wasn’t too bad, thanks mainly to little wind. After the run, the rain continued, got heavier, and the wind picked up. And I had a 9 km walk home. I almost wished I’d had gloves with me.

But as mentioned, the run went fine, and I actually improved my pace over last Wednesday. I originally was going to do a short loop, clockwise, but around the 2K mark I passed a couple with a largish dog that was off-leash. The woman grabbed its collar as I ran by, but I thought about how I’d be approaching them by behind a short time later and how I could get tangled up with that off-leash dog. This prompted me to keep going, adding a bonus 5 km of walking to my workout. And that was fine, except for the poopy weather.

The run itself was again blessedly free of incidents. I started and ended strong and while I faded a bit at the 4K mark, I was able to improve my pace without feeling like I was overdoing it.

The environs around the lake are also looking increasingly spring-like. Now we just need that spring-like weather. Soon™.

Still Creek, post-run. A moody late winter scene.
Run 855
Average pace: 5:48/km
Training status: Productive
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 11:28 a.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:12
Weather: Light, steady rain
Temp: 6-7ºC
Humidity: 85%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 157
Weight: 170.5
Total distance to date: 6165 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (300/551/851 km)

Run 854: Whoopsie again

Brunette River, pre-run.

I kind of missed three runs in a row. I am a bad runner.

I made amends today!

I waited till early afternoon to hit the river trail, where it was still only 5C, as winter is determined to go out with a big ol’ hissy fit. At least it wasn’t raining (or snowing).

My expectations were to just get in and out without any complications. Success! I started with what would be my average pace of 5:51/km, then dropped to a lowly 6:03/km. This incentivized me to pick up the pace enough that my last lap was a brisk 5:37/km.

Everything remained in working order and despite the nine days between runs, I felt pretty decent throughout. I am pleased.

Friday is calling for a high of 6C with rain, so I am not overly enthused about that, but we’ll see. Maybe the forecast will completely change to something delightful in the next two days.

The river, post-run, dressed for the last few weeks of winter.

Stats:

Run 854
Average pace: 5:51/km
Training status: Maintaining
Location: Brunette River Trail
Start: 1:32 p.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:25
Weather: Mixed cloud and sun
Temp: 5ºC
Humidity: 62%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 152
Weight: 170.7
Total distance to date: 6160 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (295/542/837 km)

Run 853: A song sparrow chooses life

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run: Actual ripples on the water!

I didn’t run for the past week, but I have reasons!

  1. Last Wednesday I was dealing with condo nonsense and had no time.
  2. Last Friday I went birding because the weather was good. And I also walked over 28,000 steps, so it’s not like I was lazing on the couch eating Ding Dongs.

Regardless, as I headed out this morning, my training status had sunk to Detraining. Ouch.

By the time I had walked to the lake I had already lifted myself back up to Recovery mode and at the conclusion of the run I was back to Maintaining. Yay.

For a week off, the run went quite well. I had no issues, felt fine and while my pace was slower at 5:49/km, it’s still perfectly respectable, especially given the conditions. While it was sunny, it was also cool–only 4C–and unusually windy, with gusts up to 25 km/h. It definitely made the walk to the lake a little chillier than normal. The run itself wasn’t too bad, though.

The trail was surprisingly busy for a Monday morning, but I suspect the nice weather drew out more people than normal.

There was one odd moment during the run. I was on the main trail and ahead of me was a song sparrow, pecking around on the trail, as they do. Normally as I approach birds on the trail, they scatter as I get near, because I am a lumbering giant moving at a higher-than-normal speed. The song sparrow did not move. I entered what I considered its personal birb space, and it still didn’t move. At the last second, I cut sharp to the left, because if I hadn’t, there seemed a good chance that my right foot would have come down either on top of the song sparrow or very close to it. Just as I did this, it finally flew off.

I cannot remember ever having to alter my course to get around any kind of songbird. It happens regularly with Canada geese, because they own the place and you want to avoid the geese, not the other way around, but little bitty sparrows? Never!

Until this morning.

Anyway, it was a good run to start the week, even with the wind and the near-smooshing of an innocent song sparrow.

View of the lake, post-run. Still more ripples!
Run 853
Average pace: 5:49/km
Training status: Maintaining
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW, short loop)
Start: 10:20 a.m.
Distance: 5:04 km
Time: 29:18
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 4ºC
Humidity: 70-66%
Wind: moderate, gusts up to 25 km/h (!)
BPM: 157
Weight: 170/9
Total distance to date: 6155 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (290/538/828 km)