Run 642: Two weeks later, two seconds slower

Run 642
Average pace: 5:52/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 10:33 am
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 58:47
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 6-7ºC
Humidity: 84%
Wind: light
BPM: 160
Weight: 169.1 pounds
Total distance to date: 4820 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (180 km)

I did not run last weekend for various reasons that I sum up as runner ennui, a term I just made up now. The weather was nice, I just lacked any motivation at all. I can’t even say I was feeling lazy, I just felt a total lack of ambition.

This weekend, the weather was again nice, but chilly, so I donned my layers and headed out, taking advantage of the (still dumb) switch back to Pacific Standard Time. Although I left around 9:45 a.m. it felt more like 10:45 a.m., which worked to my advantage.

As it was sunny, the lake was packed full of people, including a large number of runners, many running in pairs or small groups. I generally navigated most of these groups fine, but there were a few near-misses thanks to the ever-baffling lack of situational awareness that some people exhibit, even though they have functioning eyes and presumably functioning brains. In one instance two girls stood off to the side of the trail. A half second later I would have passed, but one of the girls, even though she saw me, still chose to step out into my path rather than wait that half second, then seemed confused about what she had done. Baffling!

A group of four runners were running abreast of each other, taking up the entire width of the trail. The one on my side moved very slightly in, giving me barely enough room, because falling back for a moment is apparently an inconceivable horror. I don’t understand people.

A family of cyclists were camped out on the Still Creek bridge with one of the kids having some issue or another. They were close to the trail exit, so I said nothing and just moved around them. Another cyclist, riding fast and not paying much attention, caught me by surprise at a corner and left me sufficiently stunned by the near-collision that I didn’t even know how to react. I finally turned my head around and mumbled something about no bikes allowed. He was long gone.

But enough about the weird, crowdy people. As mentioned, it was cool, but I wore two layers and warmed up quickly. I chose a modest pace, stuck to it and only felt a bit of a stick in my lower-left side for a few minutes early on, before it went away. My fastest pace was the final km, at 5:41, edging the start by one second. Generally I felt good and the trail was in good shape, other than the marshy area past the fields, which was filled with puddles and generally damp despite no recent rain. Maybe the swamp is backing up. This is one of the last areas that really needs to be resurfaced.

The best part may be my BPM dropping back to 160, which is a full 21 beats lower than the previous, rainy run. I can’t say for sure with only a single data point, but it would seem cold + rain = heart works a lot harder, where cold alone doesn’t have as much effect.

Overall, a solid effort and about what I was expecting. I am actively looking at treadmills, so here’s hoping I can continue runs indoors now that the standard time perpetual dark mode™ has been enabled for the next four months.

Run 641: People ‘n puddles

Run 641
Average pace: 5:50/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:35 am
Distance: 10.05 km
Time: 58:44
Weather: Rain
Temp: 8ºC
Humidity: 92%
Wind: light
BPM: 181
Weight: 165.7 pounds
Total distance to date: 4810 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (170 km)

I once again planned to run Saturday and ended up running Sunday. The weather today was predicted to be cats and dogs so I arranged the day before to have Jeff gently push me to head out in the morning when it would likely be pouring and I’d likely be thinking about how warm and dry it was inside.

This is exactly what happened. After about half an hour of gentle persuasion I changed and headed out into the rain.

I wore shorts and two layers up top–a sleeveless t-shirt with the long-sleeved Nike short over top, as it was an unseasonably cool 8ºC. This turned out to be a good choice. Yay for dressing for the weather.

As per the forecast I didn’t expect the rain to stop and it didn’t, though it varied in intensity over the course of the run. Luckily the wind was nearly calm, so it didn’t feel even colder. I had a surprisingly sluggish start, with the first km coming in at 6:01/km, and finished strong at 5:40/km, with an overall pace of 5:50/km. This is a bit slower than the last run, but given the weather and slow start, pretty decent overall.

There was a running event earlier in the morning and they still had their tents set up on the south side of the dam, so rather than starting over by the 9K marker, I began on the other side of the dam. This meant my run went “long” and I didn’t hit 10K until I was actually running across the dam. If I’ve finished a run on top of the dam before, it’s been long enough that I don’t remember. The top of the dam is always covered in puddles when it rains, so it was a splashy end.

Speaking of puddles, this was definitely a run where I had to dodge and weave frequently around puddles large and small. At the athletic fields, the usual part of the trail that floods was flooded as usual and after a quick assessment I realized there was nothing to be done but to go straight through, so my feet got dunked good just shy of the halfway mark. They seemed to be fine after. I would have liked to have seen how the runners in the race handled that part. It’s not an insubstantial puddle (the parks people should really fix the whole stretch one day, there is essentially no drainage at all).

Speaking of parks people, I encountered a putt putt car on the Conifer Loop, something I wasn’t expecting. Maybe the driver was trying to avoid the main trail out of courtesy to the other runners. And speaking of people, for the first few km I encountered far more than expected. A few were running, a few had dogs, but most were just out walking, many without umbrellas, and all very wet. As I exited the Conifer Loop I saw a pair ahead of me that I’d have to dodge, then another pair approaching from the other side, so I had to navigate between all four. I was not expecting this on such a crappy day. Why were these people not home, safely warm, and getting drunk while playing cribbage? I don’t know.

For most of the run after, people were few and far between, and my pace picked up toward the middle of the run, then see-sawed after until a strong finish on the dam. The one area of concern was my BPM, which shot way up to 181. That is high, but perhaps just reflecting the cold and wet. As I get used to the conditions I should see that come back down. If not I will be alarmed and consider staying home and getting drunk while playing cribbage.

Overall, this was a good run for a couple of reasons. I experienced no issues during the run, and just as importantly, I did the run, knowing how bad the conditions would be.

Run 640: A properly prepared stat holiday outing

Run 640
Average pace: 5:44/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 12:25 pm
Distance: 10.01 km
Time: 57:27
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 11-12ºC
Humidity: 71%
Wind: light
BPM: 164
Weight: 166.2 pounds
Total distance to date: 4800 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (160 km)

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada and the weather was cool, but clear. Knowing how past runs have gone on stat holidays, I expected crowds and planned for it. And my planing paid off!

Yesterday I wasn’t sure I’d be running at all. I was congested, had a pressure headache and was certain I was coming down with something. My legs had that “wet noodle” feeling that usually means the onset of a cold or worse. But today the noodles were firmer, though the congestion and sinus pressure persisted, so maybe just allergies?

I took a blast of decongestant spray to my nose, then set off around 11:45 a.m. I wore my long-sleeved Nike shirt and while a short-sleeved t-shirt might have been fine, I didn’t feel overly warm in the Nike shirt. There was a light breeze and the sun was out, though it is already not providing much in the way of summer-like warmth anymore.

I chose to run clockwise, which worked out especially well today, as most people travel the lake in the opposite direction, meaning I’d be running toward most walkers and unless they were strolling with their eyes shut, they would see me approaching and presumably do something to let me by (I can report all did). For those I approached from behind, I switched to calling out, “Behind you!” to those who gave no indication they didn’t see/hear me coming–and it worked! Yay.

For this run, I opted to maintain a steady pace throughout, unsure how I would feel. Indeed, by the 6K mark I was feeling a bit tired, but pressed on, got my second win and finished with a near-identical pace compared to Thursday, at 5:44/km. Even better, my BPM was down to 164. Other than getting a bit tired midway through, I experienced no issues or complications, despite the heavier-than-usual traffic.

It doesn’t escape me, either, than I’ve been rather lucky with the weather being so nice for these runs. I know one day it will be raining and I won’t want to run, but the rain will persist and I’ll have to. Then I’ll grouse about it here. :P

I saw another snake on the trail, and like the one on Thursday, it may no attempt to move as I jogged by. This must be “fall snake” behavior, where they are too preoccupied soaking up rays to keep warm to bother getting out of the way unless they really have to. Or a bunch of snakes are slithering onto the trail and lapsing into comas or dying. I’m not a snakeologist, I don’t know.

The next run will likely be on the treadmill at the Canada Games Pool, as sunset is happening around 6:20 now, which is before I usually finish my runs. Plus the weather this week looks stinky. But I might try one more during the week before declaring them done until the spring.

Run 639: The pause that fertilizes

Run 639
Average pace: 5:43/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 12:55 pm
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 57:15
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 10ºC
Humidity: 46%
Wind: light
BPM: 168
Weight: 166.1 pounds
Total distance to date: 4790 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (150 km)

After missing a week of runs due to illness and in one case poor planning/laziness, I finally set out today on a rare mid-week afternoon run, since I had to take the day off for workers to put tape on and then paint our condo door and drill a hole above said door for a new fiber drop (fiber drops are being added to all suites).

Upon waking up it was an unseasonably cold 0ºC. Yes, actual freezing in the second week of October. I planned on running around 10 and by then it was up to 6ºC. I was delayed for a variety of reasons (laziness not being one this time) and finally headed out around noon.

One of the delays was sensing I had to use the potty before heading out and wanted to make sure I got that out of the way first, because running and having to go, especially when the going is pooping, is a bad combination.

By noon the temperature was a relatively balmy 10ºC, but I still opted to wear my gray long-sleeved shirt. In retrospect the lighter Nike shirt would have sufficed, or even a regular t-shirt, as I only felt a bit cool on the walk back and that was mostly fixed by keeping my hands in my pockets. Even a decade later, I can still manage to overdress.

I opted to go counter-clockwise today and set a moderate pace, not wanting to go all crazy post-recovery and post-not running for a week. I had no real issues and despite the incredibly nice weather–a perfectly clear sky and little wind–the trail was not particularly crowded. But.

But around the 2K mark I spied a group of four women walking ahead, just past Piper Spit. Further beyond them the trail splits three ways, one to the Nature House (closed), one continuing the lake loop, and the third leading to the Piper Mill trail, which was my destination. I figured they would stick to the main trail and if they got to the intersection first, I would not have to navigate around them.

This did not happen.

Instead, I closed the gap and as I approached (the trail is narrow here, so I knew I could not dip of to the sides to go around), I cleared my throat and stomped my feet a little more forcefully to let them know I was approaching. This, it turned out, was an error. I should have just yelled, :Behind you!” As it was, the two women in the back were to the right, so I could pass them on the left. The two in front were on the left, meaning I would need to deke over and pass them on the right. There was not a lot of room, but enough to do this.

Except the woman on the right suddenly decided to shift to the right, putting herself directly in my path. I moved as much like a ninja as I could to avoid a collision, and ended up putting both hands on her shoulders to keep myself from plowing her over. Without stopping I apologized and kept going. She stood frozen as if she had seen some cosmic horror. Maybe I look that bad when running.

Anyway, it was unsettling, but didn’t really throw me off, and though I encountered others after, they all obligingly moved out of the way when they were blocking my path.

I had no issues during the run and was never in any doubt I’d manage the full 10K–until about the midway point. My stamina was still fine. My knees were behaving. My legs and feet were cooperating. So what was the issue?

In a word, my bowels. I suddenly had to go…again.The halfway point us by the fields and I thought of pausing the run to use the washroom at the nearby clubhouse (the door even says JOGGERS on it). I decided I could wait–a wait that would be about 27 minutes before the Jiffy John was at hand at the end of the run.

I was wrong.

Around the 6K mark I began to question the wisdom of skipping the washroom. By the time I was hitting the first boardwalk I was actively looking for a place to duck off the trail to do my business, not unlike a bear in the woods. I spotted one just past the boardwalk, made my way into the brush and behind a large and hopefully concealing tree. I did my business, avoided using leaves as surrogate toilet paper because I imagined what it would feel like later if I wiped my butt with poison ivy, and returned to the trail, lighter, but not faster. In fact, this coincided with my slowest point in the run. I picked up the pace a bit, fell back again, then made another effort on the final stretch to finish with a respectable overall pace of 5:43/km, pretty much right in the middle of my first two 10Ks.

The cold definitely had an effect on the run. While I felt fine my body was clearly working harder, both being a bit off and due to the cold. My BPM was 168–still below the 170 threshold, but not by much. Still, I felt fine, never winded or creaky.

Overall, a good run, despite the unwanted call of nature butting (heh heh) in.

Run 638: It should have rained

Run 638
Average pace: 5:36/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 10:54 am
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 56:08
Weather: Partly cloudy, sunny
Temp: 13ºC
Humidity: 40%
Wind: light
BPM: 161
Weight: 164.2 pounds
Total distance to date: 4780 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (140 km)

I don’t mean it should have rained because I wanted it to rain, the trail was just so packed with people today that a little rain would have kept most of them at home playing Jenga, drinking beer or both. But it was mostly sunny and not too terribly cold, so there was a lot of people.

To be fair, most were quite obliging at making room for me as I passed by. There were a few occasions when a group of three would span the trail and become confused as I got close (“Which way do I turn to get out of the way? Aiieee.”) and one little kid almost tottered right into my path because dad was too busy watching something fascinating on his smartphone, but generally it was fine.

An off-leash dog (almost all were off-leash today) managed to avoid poking me with the gigantic branch it was happily carrying clamped in its jaws, so that was good, too.

As for the run itself, although I had some dips in pace, this run felt a lot more natural in terms of where I was faster or slower. Speaking of faster, I came out of the gate flying. I wasn’t really aiming for that and suspected it would catch up to me quickly (it did) but still, the opening km was 5:07/km, the closest I’ve come to dipping below the 5-minute mark in a long time. I did not experience any of the creakiness starting out as I did on Thursday, so perhaps I was excited at being able to run without restraint.

The second km my pace drooped to 5:34/km–still faster than Thursday–then further still to 5:48/km. But over the next four km my speed improved until I finally started to tire at the 8 km mark. I flagged a bit at 9K (5:55/km) but finished the last km with a pace of 5:43/km and an overall pace of 5:36/km–just one second slower than my 5K three days ago.

I was very pleased with this.

Other than feeling a bit tired around 9K, I actually felt pretty good throughout, with no discomfort or other issues. Stamina was fine. Everything was fine, really.

I chose to wore my heavier long-sleeved shirt, thinking it might be a bit cool and breezy. It was on the walk to the lake and the temperature stayed around 13ºC or so, which is actually fine for running. When the sun came out, I was a smidgen too warm, but not terribly so. The lighter long-sleeved shirt or even a regular t-shirt would have been fine.

On the river trail heading to the lake I saw what I think were the same gaggle of runners I’d seen going topless some weeks ago at the lake. None were topless this morning. The clothing was all over–most had t-shirts and shorts, but some opted for long pants or long sleeves, and one also had a jacket. The guy with the jacket was definitely overdressed. I imagine he runs in a parka in December. At the lake I saw a guy wearing a muscle shirt…and gloves. I mean, even when it’s cool, my hands warm up and start sweating in minutes. With gloves? Yuck.

Walking back from the lake I passed a large group of cyclists, which seemed to provide a kind of symmetry to the runners. I liked that. Plus none of them rode too close or cut me off or anything. Nice cyclists.

Tuesday’s forecast looks good so far. I’m wondering just how gloomy it will be by the time I finish my run. The sun sets at 6:50 p.m., which is about five minutes before I get home (and roughly five minutes before I finish my run). The days of after-work runs are drawing to a close for another year…

Run 637: Also inconsistent, but with bonus being slower, too

Run 637
Average pace: 5:35/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:23 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 28:14
Weather: Clear
Temp: 15ºC
Humidity: 68%
Wind: light to nil
BPM: 168
Weight: 166 pounds
Total distance to date: 4770 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (130 km)

Conditions for tonight’s run were good, with the temperature only slightly cooler than Tuesday, but still dandy for running. I knew almost as soon as I set off that this run was not going to proceed as well, though.

For whatever reason–perhaps the shock of doing a full 10K, followed by a 5K and now another run–my legs were creaky and sore. Not just the knees, but the shins and upper leg muscles, too. It took a few minutes to warm up, but they were okay after that. This early stiffness convinced me to maintain a moderate pace–helped even more later by a stitch threatening to develop–and I correctly predicted I would end with a pace over 5:30, coming in at 5:35/km.

A few puzzling aspects, though. For one, my BPM was the highest its been in awhile at 168 and I’m not sure why. Because it was cooler and my body was working harder to stay at the same level? That seems like the likeliest explanation. I’m curious to see what BPM will be after the next post-work run (though there won’t be a whole lot of those left for the year, it was already noticeably dimmer running tonight vs. just two days ago).

The other puzzling part was a repeat of the wild inconsistency. As I said up top, I did not fire the afterburners or put in any extra effort, I just keep going steadily–and indeed, I felt fine stamina-wise–yet my pace is all over:

First km: 5:22
Second km: 5:42 (a whopping 20 second increase)
Third km: 5:49
Fourth km: 5:25 (a 24 second decrease)
Fifth km: 5:39 (14 second increase)

I would not have guessed that my speed shifted up or down so dramatically at any of the above points. It’s weird.

I’ve had two anomalous results now with the Series 5 watch, but maybe it’s just a coincidence. The overall pace for both runs seems about right, so in the end it looks okay, but the huge shifts in pace are strange. I’m curious to see how this will play out at the next run, which should take place at the lake. If the forecast stays accurate, my luck will hold and I’ll get another run free from rain. And I won’t complain. (I’m a poet.)

Run 636: Good but weirdly inconsistent

Run 636
Average pace: 5:29/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:18 pm
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 27:32
Weather: High clouds, partly clear
Temp: 17ºC
Humidity: 69%
Wind: light to nil
BPM: 163
Weight: 166.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4765 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (125 km)

Three days after my first 10K run in over a year and a half and I set out on my first post-dinner 5K in awhile.

Although it was 17ºC it felt a bit cooler, another sign that fall is here. Running-wise, the temperature was fine, of course. The sun is also low enough now that even when it’s clear I don’t encounter it on the river trail past 6 p.m.

I started out unsure of how the run would go, then felt like I was hitting my stride later on before giving a good, final push in the final km.

While I encountered no issues (yay) the results–the first using my new Series 5 watch–were strangely all over the place (note that the GPS reading still comes from the phone, which remains my iPhone 8).

My overall pace was pretty good at 5:29/km and my BPM, while higher than the 10K, was still well under 170, coming in at 163. But the km to km pace was…weird.

First km: 5:25, about what I’d expect, coming in under the average, all fresh and zippy. Second km I drop to 5:32, which is not huge, but notable. Third km is 5:37, so another smaller drop–again, this is not unusual. But the fourth km my pace switches up to a blazing 5:11. I do not recall turning on the afterburners for the fourth km, so have no explanation for this, other than if I really was moving this fast, I must have felt pretty good while doing it.

The final km, where I deliberately started pushing harder, came in at…5:38, the slowest pace of all. Weirder still, at about 4.3 km in, I glanced at the watch and my current pace was 5:26–which in retrospect seems about right. Since I pushed after that, I am puzzled as to how that pace kept dropping all the way to 5:38.

In the end the overall pace was decent and seems about right, but the wildly shifting numbers are odd.

Overall, then, a good if somewhat baffling effort. There was still plenty of daylight left at the end of the run, though the stairs connecting Lower Hume Park to Hume Park were a bit gloomy. I suspect they will be gloomier still on Thursday when the sun will set within 15 minutes of the run being completed.

Run 635: An actual 10K run

Run 635
Average pace: 5:51/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:19 am
Distance: 10.02 km
Time: 58:36
Weather: Clouds and sun
Temp: 15-17ºC
Humidity: 75%
Wind: light to nil
BPM: 158
Weight: 164.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4760 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (120 km)

I set out to do an actual 10K run today and I did, yay.

My last 10K was before all the knee business started last spring. I checked and found it happened on February 3, 2018–594 days ago. Yikes.

On the encouraging side, my pace today of 5:51/km–which is almost exactly what I was expecting–is actually six seconds faster than that run 594 days ago. BPM and weight are both lower now, too, so it seems I am heading in the right direction.

This was also the first run after my birthday. I think 55 is still considered early retirement age, so perhaps I should be waving a cane and yelling at clouds, but the run went fairly well instead.

I started on the south side of the lake, just before the 0K marker. I did this because I expected to be slow and wanted to avoid the possibility of having to start a second loop to hit 10K. My devious plan worked. Because I had to run uphill and over a slippery dam and down narrow wooden stairs, I did not come flying out of the gate. In fact, it wasn’t until the third km that I actually came in close to my overall average pace. My best km was the last one at 5:32/km, when I applied a little gas to end on a high note.

I debated on how to dress before the run. The temperature was forecast to be around 17ºC, which was accurate, but there was also a chance of rain. I opted to risk that by sticking to a short-sleeved shirt and was glad I did because a long-sleeved shirt would have been seriously overdressed.

With high humidity but lower temperatures, I didn’t have to worry about dry mouth and though I was sweaty around the forehead, my upper body stayed surprisingly dry. Stamina was not an issue at all–I deliberately avoided pushing at any point, choosing to stick to a comfy pace and as I moved past the 5K mark where I’d usually end a run I was confident I could go the full 10K.

The knees did not hurt exactly, but I could feel them, especially on the back half of the run, but the stiffness was pretty minor. I even did some running on the shorter walk back from the lake.

The sky was cloudy at the start of the run, but the weather improved as I kept going and the sun eventually came out. Although we are still a few days away from the official start of fall, the sun has already lost that “gonna make you sweat like crazy” feel. It felt a bit warm, but that was all. A few more signs of impending fall are also on view–the lily pads are starting a slow retreat that will accelerate over the next month, and some trees are sporting copious numbers of yellow leaves, though The Great Shedding has not yet begun.

Despite being a weekday morning, there were a fair number of people on the trail, though there were no traffic issues, save for one jogger coming toward me on the same side of the trail. I was on the right side (in both senses) and did not alter course. She switched over, but seemed to do so reluctantly. Escalator rules, lady! Also, one big dog off-leash came up to me but fortunately did not impeded my progress. I was too in the zone to even offer a look to the dog’s owner.

Overall, I am very pleased at how the run went and now realize I could have been doing 10Ks earlier. I don’t regret the wait, though, because you have to be physically and mentally ready and the mental part was definitely not there yet. I am tentatively planning another 10K on Sunday, though the forecast is calling for rain and a 10K run in the rain would be poopy. But we’ll see.

Run 634: A sort-of 10K run

Run 634
Average pace: 5:30/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 12:05 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 27:39
Weather: Drizzle, cloudy
Temp: 14ºC
Humidity: 90%
Wind: light to nil
BPM: 161
Weight: 165 pounds
Total distance to date: 4750 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (110 km)

My Saturday run streak has ended at one. I slept in yesterday and ended up not running, so it was another Sunday run today.

The forecast was not promising–rain was expected and not just rain, but thunderstorms. Scary! And while it was a bit drizzly/misty to start, the precipitation stopped early on and it actually brightened up. The sun even poked out a few times post-run. We have officially entered the time of year where predicting the weather becomes tricksy.

After some contemplation, I opted to not go counter-clockwise and experience the freshly resurfaced side trails. I’m not sure why, maybe I thought the Cottonwood trail would be all slick with wet leaves from the earlier showers.

I had no issues during the run and with the temperature hovering around 14-15ºC and little wind, conditions were actually pretty nice. It was quite humid, but the lack of sun and cooler temperatures kept sweating to a minimum, though I would have been fine wearing a regular t-shirt rather than my long-sleeved one. My heart rate was up a little, as befits lake runs, but my average pace was a solid 5:30/km.

One of the things I had thought about before the run was pushing beyond 5K. In the end I didn’t do this for a couple of reasons. Somewhere between the second and third km I heard footsteps behind me. This is pretty rare, so I glanced behind and sure enough, another runner nimbly sped past me. At first I was content to let him go, then I decided to challenge myself and maintain pace with him for as long as I could. This turned out to be not long. I gave up, but consoled myself with the fact that he was probably 30 years younger than me–likely early 20s. Will he still be running when he’s 54? Will he be as fast as me? Perhaps. The extra burst of speed to maintain-ish pace tuckered me out a bit, and then I did a push toward the end to end the run at 5K. I just didn’t feel like going farther.

But then a funny thing happened. I began my walk out of the lake and after a few minutes I started to run. And I did not stop until I reached the dam. So I did a 10K of sort,s just with a few minutes break at the halfway point. Because I wasn’t running for speed or anything, my pace kept dropping from a low of 5:39/km to a high of 6:18. If I average it all out with my actual 5K run, my overall 10K pace would have been around 5:44/km, which is actually pretty decent considering my 5K runs were slower than that at the start of the year.

Next weekend I’ll try a formal 10K and see how it goes. In terms of stamina, I had no issue extending the run and while my knees felt a bit stiff as I kept going, they certainly didn’t present enough of a problem to stop me, though it’s possible they could have slowed me down a tad.

With the forecast gloomy there weren’t that many people on the trail but being Sunday there were still some out and aboot, with a few other joggers, and mostly people walking dogs.

I did end up running on the resurfaced side trails and they are still very nice. The Cottonwood trail was not covered in leaves, as I had feared, though that will change over the next month. I did have to do some puddle-dodging, particularly along the fields where the usual flooding was occurring. As much as I’d like them to resurface the long, tree-root covered Cottonwood trail next, this much shorter section clearly needs it more, as it floods when a kid spills his can of Coke.

An unexpected delight was the work on the Cariboo Dam wrapped up a month early (it was expected to be done by October 15). This means I can now come in through the regular entrance, which is more convenient and I like convenience.

Overall, a good run, especially with the unofficial 10K test. Here’s to going all the way (heh heh) next time.

Run 633: Here and back again

Run 633
Average pace: 5:27/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW then CCW)
Start: 2:56 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 27:28
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 21ºC
Humidity: 63%
Wind: light
BPM: 154
Weight: 164 pounds
Total distance to date: 4745 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (100 km)

Today I was not feeling great–headache, queasy stomach and let’s just say me, the bathroom and the number 2 got to know each other really well. But it was a run day and I didn’t want to skip a run, so I perhaps foolishly headed out.

At first I planned to do a river run, but after walking to the far end of the river trail I had yet another strong urge to go to the bathroom, so I headed to the Jiffy John™ at the lake and after that, I figured I may as well run there, too.

In order to be as efficient as possible, I opted to run clockwise for 2.5 km, then turn around and run counter-clockwise back. I’ve done this a few times in the past, but this may have been the first time I specifically chose to do it.

Conditions were decent. It was cloudy and showers overnight meant it was quite humid. The air actually smelled earthy at times, which was not entirely unpleasant. I didn’t have to dodge any puddles, luckily, though slugs, beetles and one rather plump garter snake were out on the trail. In fact, I probably saw more slugs than people, a consequence (or perk) of running on a weekday.

I felt like I had a good start (pace turned out to be 5:13/km) and never had any problems at all, finishing with a zippy 5:27/km, my best pace for the lake this year, though it feels mildly like cheating because of looping back on the same part of the trail.

Overall, then, and especially considering how it might have gone given the way I felt today, this was a very good run. On to Thursday and the river and (checks forecast) and what is currently showing as a 100% chance of rain. Yikes.

Run 632: Cloudy with intermittent shirtless men

Run 632
Average pace: 5:37/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 10:52 am
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 28:13
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 18ºC
Humidity: 73%
Wind: light
BPM: 161
Weight: 162.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4740 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (95 km)

Today’s run was done as if in reverse. I started out actually behind the average pace of 5:37/km, coming in at 5:39/km, and ended well below with the fifth km being 5:26/km–faster than my average on Thursday. Weirder still, I didn’t particularly notice any of this, I just felt good throughout.

But being slower on the first km is also interesting because I did run the side trails, now with the closed signs removed and the protective boards on the foot bridges removed. You’d think I’d glide along the super-smooth, root-free section of trail, but apparently I was so dazzled by the resurfacing that I slowed down to admire it.

Starting from the third km, I continued to pick up the pace, with the clouds shielding me from the sun, the temperature much lower than last weekend’s lake run, but humidity quite a bit higher–enough to ward off dry mouth, but not so much that I sweated like all get-out. Conditions were decent, in other words.

This is also the first time in awhile that I planned on a Saturday run and then actually ran on Saturday, so hooray for me!

The shirtless men thing was a bit odd. I had finished the run and was walking out from the lake when one of those tall, impossibly lean runners went past me, his shirt tucked into his shorts, the better to showcase the fact that his body had no fat at all on it. A short time later a similarly lean guy sans shirt passed. This summer I have not seen many guys without shirts (alas), so seeing two in a row was rather unusual. And they kept coming, sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs or threes. Not all were topless, but many were. I figured they were part of some group, but I none were wearing anything to identify the group. I call them The Mostly Shirtless Runners Club.

I ran a lot on the way out, but not as much as I could have because I also had to go potty and as I’ve established before, running and having to use the washroom is not a good combo.

Overall, this was a good run, with no issues of note to report. I was 10 seconds off the river run’s pace on Thursday, but nine seconds better than the last lake run, which feels about right. I may try for a 10K when I’m next running at Burnaby Lake, or at least try running more than 5K. We’ll see!

Run 631: Warmer and faster

Run 631
Average pace: 5:27/km
Location: Brunette River
Start: 6:39 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 27:22
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 26ºC
Humidity: 54%
Wind: light
BPM: 152
Weight: 163.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4735 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (90 km)

When I got home from work tonight I was tired enough that I flopped on the bed for 15 minutes and contemplated not running. I then decided to change and at least head down to the river trail, thinking I might do a one hour walk/run thing instead. But in the end I opted to do an actual 5K and emerged with one of my best times of the year.

It’s weird how that happens.

It was quite warm tonight, and fairly humid, but it was another one of those equilibrium things where each element mostly balanced out the other, especially with the sun not actually beating down on me for more than a couple of seconds, though the sky was clear. This kept sweating to a minimum and decreased the effort needed, as reflected in a snazzy BPM of 152.

My overall pace was 5:27/km and I did not start like a rocket,. I just hit near the overall pace early and kept at or near it for the entire run. My right ankle felt a little creaky for the first km, probably due to bad posture sitting at my desk at work, but after five minutes or so it sorted out and was fine. I had no other issues.

Overall then, an unexpectedly good run.