Treadmill walk: Pandemic edition (5 of an ongoing series)

It’s my third day of being on the treadmill. The idea of running outside is acting as actual enticement to stay indoors, so it’s good in the sense that I am still doing workouts.

Tonight I started out feeling pretty good and fast (9:09/km pace) but by the last four minutes or so I was actually starting to feel blah and tired. I also am experiencing heartburn/mild acid reflux, possibly caused by stress, so while swigging water from my water bottle during the walk helped, it was still an unpleasant thing to endure on and off for 30 minutes.

The stats (BPM was down, so yay for that):

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:19/km (9:18 km/h)
Time: 30:03 (30.04)
Distance: 3.22 km (3.23 km)
Calories burned: 275 (306)
BPM: 137 (141)

Treadmill walk: Pandemic edition (4 of an ongoing series)

I really don’t want to think how high this particular series will go.

Unlike the phantom workout reported here, this one was quite real–and extra late. I didn’t start until 10:40 p.m. after flipping back and forth on whether I wanted to do a workout (I knew I should).

And I was peppier, as the stats show below. I was also wetter, as I forgot to screw the cap of my water bottle on tight enough. Oops. Other than that, things went fine and I am pleased with the result. BPM was about the same, but pace was improved, so yay.


Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:18/km (9:29 km/h)
Time: 30:04 (30.04)
Distance: 3.23 km (3.17 km)
Calories burned: 306 (313)
BPM: 141 (142)

Treadmill walk: Pandemic edition (3 of an ongoing series)

After a few days of being slothful and shamefully leaving my activity rings incomplete, I hit the treadmill at lunch today, despite the sunny weather, as I am still practicing physical distancing (no longer social distancing, because you can still yell hello to the other person on the sidewalk on the other side of the street).

I was a lot pokier than Monday’s effort, but not too bad overall. BPM was accordingly down. I listened to They Might Be Giants (brand new album) Flood and how can it be 30 years since that came out? I just checked and the two Johns are 59 and 60 years old. Time is weird and frightens me. But Flood is a good album for exercising.


Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:29/km (9:09 km/h)
Time: 30:04 (30.03)
Distance: 3.17 km (3.28 km)
Calories burned: 313 (328)
BPM: 142 (151)

The no-run, pandemic edition

This is kind of depressing, but not surprising.

Today started out pretty nice–the temperature got up to around 12 degrees, it was mostly sunny. A beautiful day to go for a walk or, in my case, a run.

I planned to go to Burnaby Lake, and was set to run clockwise, starting on the south side of the lake.

There were a lot of people on the river trail as I made my way to the lake. I feared the worst, but pressed on. At the lake so many people were crowding on the top of the dam that I actually stood back and waited a few minutes for them to clear out before making my way across.

I had to pee. The Jiffy John was, naturally, occupied.

I came out and there were groups of people on the trail near the parking lot (families and such), so I thought I’d walk to the road and actually start my run there, allowing me to go directly onto the Avalon Trail, which is wider and can more readily accommodate more people and the social distancing that is the vogue in these plague-filled days.

Sign at entrance to Burnaby Lake

The idea of maintaining 2 meters on a park trail is largely a fantasy because the trails are often barely that wide to begin with, and people aren’t terribly likely to traipse through the skunk cabbage just to comply. But still, it’s possible to at least spread out and do your best. Besides, Burnaby Lake isn’t exactly the seawall at Stanley Park in terms of popularity.

Except today it kind of was. I looked down the road to the Avalon Trail and it was packed full of people–more than I’ve ever seen, groups moving in both directions, with more feeding in from the trail connecting to it from the parking lot.

And the parking lot? Normally in late March, even on a nice day, the lot would have maybe a half dozen vehicles in it. Today they were parking in the middle, the lot nearly full.

Avalon parking lot. Some of these cars are not maintaining social distance.

The lot is rarely this full during the peak of summer.

Now, I get annoyed at having a lot of people on the trail when I’m running when there isn’t a pandemic. But during one? It’s dumb. These people are basically doing the opposite of what they should be. Instead of staying home, they are going out. That itself is fine. They are going to a park. Also fine.

They are all going to the same park and jamming the trails with huge crowds of people. This is not fine. This is, in fact, how you spread the virus.

Metro Vancouver is partly to blame here. In the city of Vancouver the Parks Board has shut all of the parking lots for parks and beaches. While that won’t stop everyone, you can see by the above photo that it may have stopped dozens.

I was initially looking forward to heading out because the forecast was for rain showers and while some would still be out no matter what the weather, a lot would have stayed inside and watched Frozen with their kids for the billionth time. But the weather changed and instead we got a mix of sun and clouds.

I left without running. The stress of having to push through the crowds was too much. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the experience. Ironically, partway on the walk back it did start to shower a bit, but too little, too late.

My next outdoor run will only happen if it’s raining even before I step outside.

At least I got 8 km of walking in.

Treadmill walk: Pandemic edition (2 of an ongoing series)

On the last day of the first full week of working at home, I chose to not go for a walk at noon–not because it was cool and rainy (that’s oddly nice right now, because it means fewer people are out and aboot), but because I wanted to start getting back onto the treadmill regularly again.

Strangely, I was peppier than expected, especially during the second km where my pace was a zany 8:48/km. I don’t know if the music* got me revved up or if I was working out frustrations, but I motored. And felt pretty good, too.

There’s not much else to say because, well, treadmill. I am thinking of doing an actual jog on the treadmill soon, but I think I want to do a few more outside in the plaguelands first.

Stats below. Compared to the previous walk, my BPM is a lot higher, but again, I was trucking, so no surprise there.

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:09/km (9:22 km/h)
Time: 30:03 (30.05)
Distance: 3.28 km (3.21 km)
Calories burned: 328 (277)
BPM: 151 (133)

* the music was Brian Wilson’s 1988 solo album, which I actually quite like, despite the weird, almost formal-sounding vocals

Run 647: The first pandemic run

Run 647
Average pace: 5:48/km
Location: Brunette River
Start: 1:42 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 29:13
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 12ºC
Humidity: 55%
Wind: nil to light
BPM: 166
Weight: 171.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4845 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (205 km)

Technically today was not my first run since the global pandemic started, but it was the first since, to frame it colorfully, shit got real, with lots of closures and a huge emphasis on “social distancing”, which I will get to in a bit.

First, this was my first run in three weeks. I’m not sure how I managed to go another three weeks without doing an outdoor run. I swear I’m not lazy. Today I headed out in mild conditions wearing my light long-sleeve shirt and would have been fine in a regular t-shirt, as it was not cool in any way (in all senses of the word).

I wasn’t sure if I was going to run at the lake or the river, so I walked to the end of the river trail to give me more time to decide. Given how many people were about, I chose the river trail, as it would be easier to keep some separation between myself and potential plague carriers.

This turned out to be surprisingly difficult, despite the river trail actually being a gravel service road that is wide enough to (barely) accommodate two vehicles passing by each other. Why? Because people are dumb or indifferent. Observe below.

Good people: Walking close to each other, staying on one side of the trail. Lots of room to pass by without getting close.

Bad people: Spreading themselves as far across the trail as possible, making it impossible to keep the recommended safe distance away, which is six feet or two meters, depending on how metric you are. For example, two friends (?) were walking down the trail, but they were walking down the middle and also had some strangely large gap between each other, effectively providing three narrow channels for me to choose from. This would be like if every chalice at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was poison. You can’t help but to choose poorly.

There was another pair that did the opposite, which creates nearly the same issue. One was walking a dog (all dogs were leashed today, which was nice, if odd, to see). One walked on the left side of the trail, the other on the right, with a gap between them that again left me insufficient space to squeeze through as per social distancing recommendations. Why would you even walk like this? It would be like walking on opposite sidewalks down the street. Do they secretly hate each other? Does one of them have dog allergies? These two ended up making me alter my run.

Oh yes, the run. It was surprisingly stressful because I did not want to have to keep carefully dodging around people who could potentially be carrying COVID-19, I just wanted to run. I almost felt like stopping early to I could just get out of there. After going between the two–let’s call them “space” people–I realized that given where they were, I would have to pass between them at least two more times to complete my run. I opted to turn around early before getting to them the second time and when I got back to the entrance I was at about 4.5 km done. I ran off the trail and onto the sidewalk on North Road, figuring I’d do the last 500m by running into and through Lower Hume Park. It was then that I saw directly on the sidewalk a huge group of people. I mean, this is something I never see. It’s like they specifically appeared to induce anxiety in me. I waited a few moments for a gap in traffic, then crossed over to the empty sidewalk on the other side.

I didn’t hit 5K as soon as I would have liked, so had to turn out onto the field and finished as I ran across the baseball diamond. It felt a little weird.

The actual run itself was fine, especially given the three weeks away. My pace was 5:48/km, better than expected (though as always the river trail is more forgiving than the lake), though my BPM ticked up a bit to 166, though it’s possible my general fretting may have contributed there. I was pretty tense the whole way, only relaxing a bit during those rare moments when no one else was in sight.

I actually wished it had been raining so these people would have stayed home to watch Contagion on Netflix.

I’m not sure when I’ll run outside again. Maybe when the weather is miserable, which will ironically make me happier.

Treadmill walk: Pandemic edition (1 of an ongoing series)

Tonight’s treadmill walk was a bit unusual in a few ways. Let me put them into a convenient bullet point list:

  • Despite walking the same distance and same pace as the previous walk, I burned 25 fewer calories–not a huge difference, but notable
  • My BPM was also lower
  • I fell off the treadmill

Let me explain the last one. I felt a bit chilly before starting, so donned one of my sleeveless running shirts. It became obvious a few minutes in that I would get too warm rather quickly, so I opted to remove the shirt–while still walking on the treadmill. It’s not as bad as it sounds, as long as you maintain pace and keep focus.

I did neither.

Instead, after scrunching the shirt up to my chest so I could pull it over my head quickly, it got caught on my AirPods and they started coming out of my ears. This is the only time the much-mocked “stems” have gotten caught on anything. I tried to re-insert the AirPods, a task that distracted me sufficiently that I found myself sliding toward the end of the treadmill. By the time I fully comprehended what was happening, I was off the treadmill entirely. Fortunately I stayed upright, so no damage done–to me, or anything else.

Lesson learned: pause the workout before doing anything not associated with the workout.

Overall, the walk went by surprisingly quickly and I felt more energetic than the last few, as reflected in the lower BPM. So even though the world is collapsing around me, it was a good workout.

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:22/km (9:21 km/h)
Time: 30:05 (30.03)
Distance: 3.21 km (3.21 km)
Calories burned: 277 (302)
BPM: 133 (138)

Run 646: Technically running

Run 646
Average pace: 6:08/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:49 am
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 30:49
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 7ºC
Humidity: 66%
Wind: strong
BPM: 162
Weight: 169.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4840 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (200 km)

Although I have run and done many walks on the treadmill since acquiring it in early December 2019, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a run outdoors. A large chunk of this has been due to having the flu and then almost immediately getting a cold as follow up.

Today I finally headed back to Burnaby Lake for the first time since December 29th, just over two months ago. Yikes.

The weather was a bit brisk (in fact, three degrees cooler than it was in late December) so I wore two layers, which was a smart choice, especially with a somewhat strong breeze also blowing.

I started out slow to keep myself from tiring out quickly, but that turned out to be a formality, as slow is the only speed I could achieve. The back half of the run felt not exactly like a slog, but slog-like. I kept moving. I was glad when it was over. I surprised myself by actually finding the energy to run a bit afterwards on the way back home.

The pace of 6:08/km is very slow but unsurprising, given the long layoff. Oddly, my BPM remained exactly the same as the last run, a bit up there at 162 but well below a level that I would be uncomfortable with. I did not think about my knees at all during the run and only thought of them briefly on the walk out as I felt the entirety of both legs start to stiffen and get sore in real time.

I expect the soreness to persist through tomorrow.

The trail itself was mostly dry, but sections are still in terrible shape, with parts collapsed and marked by traffic cones, others hastily patched up and the usual boggy parts by the fields requiring fancy footwork to avoid the feet getting mud and water-soaked.

Because it was the weekend and not raining, a decent number of people were out. One dog was kind of snippy toward me and another jogger. I didn’t notice so much because the music blocked out its yapping and it was low enough to be mostly out of my field of vision. I did turn back and see it going after the jogger that passed me in the other direction. Dumb dog (owner).

As always when you encounter multiple groups of people on the trail, some seem unaware that others are in fact using the trail, too. Fortunately I never had too much trouble moving around them, but the baffling inability handle interaction with others in a public space will always continue to annoy me. I try to not let it, but it does.

A mystery of sorts emerged just as I was heading out from the lake. My right hip suddenly became sore. It felt fine on the run and the 5K walk out of the lake, so I’m not sure why it turned on me long after the fact. Maybe it’s a trick hip now. I don’t like tricks. It seems mostly fine now.

Overall, this was not a bad run after more than 60 days off. I was tired, but never felt gross and wanting the suffering to end like nothing else in the world. I just kept going and going and then was done. I’ll try to run again next weekend and see how it compares.

Treadmill walk: Day 4 of more

I wasn’t sure I was going to do a workout today. It’s Saturday and without a run scheduled (I’m doing one tomorrow) the default is to be a bit on the lazy side. I did do a fair bit of walking and actually hit both my exercise and move goals by late afternoon. But still, I wanted to get a little more…

So at 9 p.m. (yes, my earliest time this week yet!) I got on the treadmill and did 30 minutes at the usual settings.

I definitely felt perkier starting but with about five minutes to go my arms started feeling like spaghetti (this may sound weird, since you run with your legs, not your arms, but the speed and inclination I use on the treadmill for my walks requires me to hold on to avoid flying off) and my legs even felt just slightly wobbly. But I persisted and finished and as you can see by the stats below, I improved a bit in every area, especially in BPM. This is good and I am pleased.

Tomorrow: Running. Outside. Yikes.

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:21/km (9:27 km/h)
Time: 30:03 (30.03)
Distance: 3.21 km (3.18 km)
Calories burned: 302 (299)
BPM: 138 (144)

Treadmill walk: Third time is not the charm

Yes, for a ridiculous third night in a row, I jumped on the treadmill for a 30 minute workout. I started even earlier tonight–just before 10 p.m.

But today was physically tiring (a little) and mentally tiring (a lot), so I wasn’t feeling as peppy as last night. The results clearly show this.

Also, my finger slipped a bit on the button that controls the incline, so I had it set to 11 instead of 10 for about the first 20 minutes. This may have slowed me down a bit more than otherwise. But I was still just slow.

Still, I’m glad I did it, as exercising is now becoming a routine again, which is where I want it. I am planning to actually run outside for the first time in a hundred years this weekend. Both days currently look amendable, so I may flip a coin–as soon as I find one.

The stats, with last night’s results in brackets. Note how terrible the pace is. Even my best km at 9:19/km was still slower than my overall pace last night. The tank was clearly empty tonight. On the other hand, I burned more calories–because I put on more than a pound of weight overnight. :P

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 11 (20 minutes), 10 (10 minutes)

Pace: 9:27/km (9:14 km/h)
Time: 30:03 (30.04)
Distance: 3.18 km (3.25 km)
Calories burned: 299 (288)
BPM: 144 (143)

Another late night walk in the…room

For an amazing second night in a row I decided to do a workout on the treadmill. I started out a bit pokey (maybe the music was distracting me?) but picked up the pace for the second and third km, and overall felt much peppier than before. Unsurprisingly, my BPM was also higher, but still not too high.

As a special treat (??) I changed the incline from 10 to 12 for the last two minutes. My heart rate immediately jumped by about four, then started settling back down. I could actually feel the increase in the incline, which was a little weird. The treadmill goes up to 15, so 12 is getting pretty steep.

Stats, with the previous workout in brackets:

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:14/km (9:17 km/h)
Time: 30:04 (30.08)
Distance: 3.25 km (3.24 km)
Calories burned: 288 (294)
BPM: 143 (139)

Treadmill walk: Sponsored by guilt

Even though I am mostly recovered from the cold, it still persists in annoying, lingering ways, such as an occasional cough and a still-present feeling of (light) congestion in the chest. Maybe I was using this subconsciously as an excuse to not exercise, but it’s still an excuse.

So tonight, just shy of 10:30 p.m., I got on the treadmill and did a half hour workout with the usual settings.

Results, with previous workout in brackets below. Of note, my pace was a bit sluggish, but this probably helped my BPM to be a bit lower, too. I felt like I recovered faster, too. Overall a bit meh, but at least I did some exercise.

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:17/km (9:09 km/h)
Time: 30:08 (30.05)
Distance: 3.24 km (3.28 km)
Calories burned: 294 (301)
BPM: 139 (142)