Run 603: The deliberately slow as a turtle run

 Run 603
Average pace: 6:08/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 2:30 pm
Distance: 5:04 km
Time: 30:51
Weather: Partly sunny
Temp: 11-13ºC
Humidity: 56%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 163
Weight: 167.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4595 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

Almost two months after my last one, I have finally returned to running outside, where there are bears and trees and stuff.

The reason for the long gap is not the usual laziness, but rather the results of the two previous runs, especially the one on January 26th. To recap, the temperature was 7ºC, which is pretty cool, but not actually cold cold, if you know what I mean. Given my relative level of fitness, I expected I would work harder all the same. The river trail is not really a trail, it’s a service road that is mostly used as a trail, but it is wide and flat. Because of this, it is easy to run fast, even when you don’t mean to do so.

These things combined to give me an overall pace of 5:59/km–not bad given my out-of-shapeness, but it came with a terrifyingly high BPM of 185. This nearly scared me from running, but instead I switched to the treadmill at the Canada Games Pool, where the temperature is closer to 7ºC with a 2 added before the 7. It’s actually possible to start sweating before you even start your workout.

After several workouts where my BPM was a nice 153 or 155, I felt ready to brave the outside world again. The temperature today was warmer at 11ºC (and rose to 13ºC), plus I was running at the lake, where the twisty, narrower trail forces you to run slower–or at least makes it easier to fight the impulse to go all out.

And my plan actually worked! I finished with a slow overall pace of 6:08/km (I ended the 5K right on the small footbridge that they replaced last year, which is more than 200m past the actual 5K marker), though the last two km I did dip under 6:00/km at 5:59 and 5:55 respectively. More importantly, my BPM was 163, a full 19 BPM slower than my last outdoor run, and in line with a typical somewhat-out-of-shape run.

For the run itself, there were no real issues. My knees were a bit stiff and sore, but at this point I don’t think they actually have much effect. I didn’t really think about them during the run. I still hope to investigate the knee issue in more depth this year, because it would be quite nice to have them just behave like normal knees again.

It felt good to be outside again, too. I’ve run Burnaby Lake so many times that even with a few months off it felt instantly familiar again. And I was reminded right away how different treadmill and “real” runs are. Even making a deliberate effort to sloe myself, I was probably no more than a minute in before I could feel the burn in my lungs as I, well, pushed myself.

The trickiest part of the run came in the final km. I started my approach to the athletic fields and noted a number of poop monsters (Canada Geese) present. They appear to be pairing up for mating season, the rascals. A pair of them were in fact on the trail as I approached, one slightly ahead of the other. It looked like I was going to have to thread a goose-shaped needle. I did not cherish the idea.

I went in, reducing speed and trying to look non-threatening and project thoughts about how I don’t really regard geese as foul (fowl?) pooping hellspawn. It worked, as the forward goose picked up the pace only very slightly, but enough to let me squeeze between them with no pecking, hissing or biting from any of the parties involved.

I will probably do my next outdoor run the following weekend, but you never know, it’s now light enough after work that I could try one at the river. But it may be back to the treadmill for mid-week.

Overall, a decent return to the great outdoors.

The five days later treadmill run

In which I feel it a little more than last time, but stay on-track for the full 25 minutes.

This time the timer was set to the standard 30 minutes, so I got the cooldown at the expected 25 minute mark. Unlike Thursday’s run, I did not particularly get a second wind tonight, and I also supped from my water bottle several times during the run. Still, I ran the full 25 minutes, then walked during the five-minute cooldown. I stop tracking the run when the cooldown begins, so the pace doesn’t get thrown off by all the lazy walking.

My BPM was slightly higher at 155, but that was because I was working harder–my average pace dropped from 6:16/km to 6:11/km. You may wonder how you improve your pace on a treadmill that moves at the same speed for the entire time. So do I, a little. Really, though, it’s easy to recognize when I’m over or under-performing. Under performing = moving farther back on the treadmill. Over-performing = running into the grips at the front. I did a bit of both tonight.

Overall, though, an effort I am happy with, and no issues to note.

Stats (note the 2+ minutes difference in time vs. the last run):

Distance: 4.01 km (4.39)
Time: 24:50 (27:34)
Average pace: 6:11/km (6:16/km)
BPM: 155 (153)
Calories: 283 (297)
Total treadmill distance: 38.54 km

The treadmill run run

Off to the treadmill again!

Tonight I wanted to go farther between intervals as my main goal. I focused at the start on two things: my breathing and how I generally felt. And I felt pretty decent.

Once I got to about the 14 minute mark I knew I could push to 20 without slowing to a walk, and probably go right up to the cooldown at the 25-minute mark.

Which I did, though the cooldown mysteriously did not begin at the 25-minute mark. I discovered after that the previous user had set the total time to 32 minutes (signs near the machines ask you to limit workouts to 30 minutes as a courtesy if others are waiting). That meant the cooldown didn’t stop until the 27-minute mark.

It was at that point that I switched to a fast walk and I walked for the last five minutes. I ended the run to keep my average pace up, then switched to an indoor walk for the walky part. Then I forgot to turn it off, allowing me to test the Workout app’s ability to sense when a workout has ended and ask if you wanted to stop. It did do this, albeit about two minutes after I stopped.

In terms of results, I felt a mini version of the runner’s high midway through, which was spiffy, brought my average pace down, and despite running the entire time, also brought my heart rate down. When you compare the distance and calorie counts below, keep in mind that this run was about two minutes shorter than the previous.

If you add the distance of my walk after, I hit exactly 5 km (and burned another 59 calories, for a total of 356. Woo.

And here are the stats (note I am now tracking total distance for treadmill runs and will go back and start numbering the treadmill runs, which I am too lazy to do tonight):

Distance: 4.39 km (4.38)
Time: 27:34 (29:26)
Average pace: 6:16/km (6:43/km)
BPM: 153 (157)
Calories: 297 (327)
Total treadmill distance: 34.53 km

The exercise-bike-turned-into-a-treadmill run

Tonight I tried the exercise bike, to see if it would torture my knees as the elliptical had two night earlier.

The answer is: Yes! Not as badly, but still enough for me to bail out after 45 calories (five minutes) worth of pedaling.

I went back to the treadmill and managed to run longer between walking and walked less overall. It all went fine. The stats, with previous run in brackets:

Distance: 4.38 km (4.22)
Time: 29:26 (29:35)
Average pace: 6:43/km (7:01)
BPM: 157 (156)
Calories: 327 (327)

Yes, even though I ran harder, had a significantly better average pace, I still burned the exact same number of calories. Or so my Apple Watch says. Perhaps it is a big fat liar. BPM remaining virtually identical despite the harder push was nice, though.

The started-as-elliptical-turned-into-treadmill run

Tonight at the pool I got on the elliptical, intending to do a full workout.

Six minutes and twenty seconds later I stopped because my knees were hurting too much I won’t say I suffered a thousand agonies, but it was probably at least 600. I tried adjusting the machine multiple ways, but it made no difference. I have a pretty high tolerance for discomfort, but could not abide this.

I did manage to burn 64 calories before packing it in.

I switched over to the treadmill, which went much better. The workout there was almost a mirror image of Friday night. I say almost because I walked a little longer during the cooldown period at the end, which slowed my overall pace. I also felt a bit tired to start (probably from the elliptical) and this made me want to drop to walking more often, but I checked my BPM, it was good, and I pressed on.

The stats, with Friday’s in brackets:

Distance: 4.22 km (4.24)
Time: 29:35 (29:28)
Average pace: 7:01/km (6:57)
BPM: 156 (157)
Calories: 327 (330)

The March “Last of the snow?” treadmill run

I was actually planning on using the elliptical tonight, but they were all in use when we got there and I was too impatient to wait for one to free up. On the other hand, a bunch of treadmills were free, so off I went, planning to do the same interval thing as the last few times (which I duly executed).

Here are the stats, with the previous treadmill run results in brackets:

 Distance: 4.24 km (4.10)
Time: 29:28 (29:05)
Average pace: 6:57/km (7:06/km)
BPM: 157 (159)
Calories: 330 (330)

The calorie burn likely stayed the same because I was up a bit in weight vs. last time. Overall I saw minor improvements in each category, so I am pleased, but not doing cartwheels because the improvements are quite modest. Also, I’d probably seriously injure myself attempting a cartwheel.

Jeff wants to go more often, so we’ll see if that happens. If it does the stats should continue to get better and when my average BPM drops low enough, or it stops being so unseasonably cold, I’ll resume runs outside.

The free treadmill run

It’s Family Day and with Jeff away, I decided to hit the treadmill at the Canada Games Pool. I need to work on my sexy summer figure, you see.

I was going to walk, so I consulted Google Maps for the most efficient route, which turned out to be an estimated 23 minutes.

I created a different route that would take me past a spooky cemetery and require fewer twists and turns along the way. Google Maps told me it would take me 30 minutes.

I got there in 23 minutes.

To my surprise and delight, there was free admission, probably because of the holiday. It did indeed appear that numerous families were in attendance. They even had the big slide open. I did not ride the big slide.

Instead, I followed my previous treadmill run, hitting certain milestones (distance or time), at which I would check my heart rate, and if it was peaking, I’d fall back to a brisk walk until it had settled to just a little above my normal brisk walk pace, then I’d resume running. This means that in the time I normally do a 5K I noyl cover about 4K, but it’s easier on the body (and heart). Given how out of shape I am, this feels like the prudent thing to do until I start to see improvements in stamina and BPM.

I never felt bad and experienced no discomfort during the run, save for a slight bit of soreness in my left foot. I wore my cross trainers, which have little support, and used the regular insoles, rather than the orthotics. It was a nice reminder of how much the orthotics actually help to reduce pain and discomfort.

Here are the stats:

Distance: 4.10 km
Time: 39:05
Average pace: 7:06/km
BPM: 159
Calories: 330

The average pace was virtually identical to the last treadmill run, but the BPM was up a little to 159 vs. 153. This is a bummer, as I was hoping it would at least not be higher. It was peaking around 169 during the running parts, which is at least below the 170 mark.

I’m going to try to get out again within the next three days so I can see how the next run compares. If it’s even worse, I will be a sad, slow panda.

The first February treadmill extravaganza

Today, as a few winsome flakes of snow fell for the first time this winter, we headed out to the Canada Games Pool for some exercise and relaxation. My original plan was to run in the snow, which can be strangely delightful if it’s not waist-deep or turning to torrential rain, but given how light the snow was and how high my BPM was on last weekend’s river run, I chose to hit the treadmill once again.

I ended up falling into an interval pattern based on my heart rate after seeing how high it was getting even on the treadmill. I would run until it reached 164 or 165, then switch to a fast walk until it got down below 140, then start running again.

It worked out decently enough and I feel a bit better not pushing quite so hard as I normally would. I’ll see if the BPM starts trending downward as the runs get more frequent (it should), because if it doesn’t I may need to See a Doctor before continuing on with more rigorous or rigorous-like exercise.

When compared to my last treadmill run, the distance is shorter (because I walked more), but the calorie burn was higher and my BPM was exactly the same at 153, which means it was actually higher than last time, as I walked more, so my overall heart rate should have been lower. This is not great, though I feel fine now and felt fine immediately after the run, too, apart from that usual moment of vertigo when you step off a treadmill onto a floor that doesn’t move at all

The stats:

Distance: 4.27 km
Time: 30:14
Average pace: 7:05/km
BPM: 153
Calories: 342

Run 602: Down by the riverside

Run 602
Average pace: 5:59/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 11:34 am
Distance: 5:04 km
Time: 30:14
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 7ºC
Humidity: 79%
Wind: nil
BPM: 185
Weight: 167.9 pounds
Total distance to date: 4590 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

It took 11 days, but I finally ran again outdoors. Woo.

This time I accepted that I am out of shape and scaled things back a bit. Instead of a walk and full loop around Burnaby Lake (over 18 km in total) I walked to the river trail–about 1.5 km–ran the 5K and walked back, taking roughly an hour total.

Good news: Nothing broke, there were no cramps or other issues, though a stitch in my left side threatened, but never materialized. Pace was unsurprisingly improved over the previous run, as the river trail is a lot broader and flatter than the lake’s. I came in at 5:59/km. Or if you check the time on the phone app, it’s rounded it up to an even 6:00/km, being a complete party pooper. Despite numerous dogs off leash, none came over to sniff/jump/accost me. Finally, the lack of serious sweating by running in the cold continues to please me. I mean, you still sweat, but it’s not exactly the same as running in 30º C temperatures in the middle of August. Now that I’ve said that, I am pining again for the return of warm weather, despite the copious sweating.

Less than good news: If accurate, my BPM was up again. This is in itself not surprising, as the easier trail here encourages me to push a little more, but it topped out at an average of 185. That’s kind of really high. Yikes. I may need to focus on less strenuous treadmill runs until I am in better condition.

Weather-wise, it was virtually identical to the last run, with cloudy skies and close to zero wind. Perfect weather for a winter run, really.

Overall, I’m pleased to complete another outdoor run on my slow climb back into being in shape, though the high BPM is a concern.

Run 601: On the run again

Run 601
Average pace: 6:08/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 1:16 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 30:52
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 7ºC
Humidity: 76%
Wind: nil
BPM: 177
Weight: 169.2 pounds
Total distance to date: 4585 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone 8

Nearly three months after my last outdoor run, I finally returned to Burnaby Lake, eager (?) to see how the long layoff would affect my effort.

And it did affect my effort. But there was good news and bad news.

Good news: I finished the full 5K without any difficulty. I never felt like I was pushing too hard, never had any cramps (one on the abdomen threatened at one point, but never materialized) and my first km was a reasonably zippy 5:41/km. It was also cool, but sunny and with no wind at all. Once I got underway, it actually was quite comfortable. Best of all, my knees behaved. The left knee did start to twinge a little about two-thirds of the way through, but this was more of a “not used to running like this” thing and not related to the sore knee tragedy of 2018. I also picked up steam, with the last two km being faster than the first three.

Bad news: My BPM was up to 177. Yikes. That is a lot higher than I’d like to see. By comparison, my run on October 20, 2018 had a BPM of 167. I am also nearly four pounds heavier than that run, too (working on it). My overall pace was a sloth-like 6:08/km, a full 14 seconds off the October run, but about what I expected.

As noted, conditions were good, though I was heading into the sun at the start and the Avalon Trail was covered with a glistening mud that was shining so brightly I actually had to shield my eyes. Once I got onto the main part of the loop, it was fine, and the trail overall was in good shape,. with only a bit of a muddy stretch leading up to the athletic fields.

After, the knees still seem to be holding together. though I’ll see how everything feels tomorrow. It could be a thousand agonies, or one agony or maybe no agony at all. I really can’t say. But I am pooped. It’s a lot (when you also add the 14 km or so of walking) after only a handful of treadmill runs leading up to it.

Still, I am pleased that I managed the full 5 km without any difficulties. I kept a more deliberate pace and it seemed to work. As I get in more runs, I expect my BPM to drop, but it’s definitely the thing I’ll be watching closest over the new few runs.

Treadmill run 2019

Well, the first one of 2019, anyway. I’ll run outside one of these days (but maybe not tomorrow, as they are forecasting winds gusting up to 70-90 km/h).

I spent about five minutes out of the 30 doing a fast walk, with the pace set to 4.0 on the machine, which is…I’m not sure. I don’t really know what the numbers represent, exactly. The rest was jogging at a pace set to 6.5, which is a bit slower than an outdoor jog, based on heartrate and just generally how it feels. I’m more comfortable pushing myself outside because I don’t have to worry about flying off a fast-moving mat below my feet.

My best km, which did not include any walking intervals, was 5:58, which is actually pretty decent. The knees were again not an issue and my stamina is perhaps a very tiny bit improved.

The overall stats:

Distance: 4.62 km
Time: 30:03
Average pace: 6:30/km
BPM: 153
Calories: 336

This is slower than the previous run, but I spent a bit more time walking, especially during the 5-minute cooldown period when the machine automatically drops the speed to 3.9 (I raised it back to 6.5 for a few minutes of the cooldown, as I’m a rebel).

Here is the previous treadmill run for comparison:

Distance: 4.31 km
Time: 27.03
Average pace: 6:16/km
BPM: 157
Calories: 354

Treadmillin’ again

This afternoon I spent three minutes on the elliptical.

(That’s how long it took for a treadmill at the Canada Games Pool to open up. Not surprising on a Sunday afternoon. My watch detected a workout just as I stepped off. Is it ironic that my watch has poor timing? I say yes.)

Today’s effort went better than last Friday’s. I only switched to a walk a few times and only breifly, so it was less of an interval-style run and more of a run-style run. The knees held up fine, my pace was about on par for being indoors and out of shape (6:16/km–this includes the walking. I was closer to 6:00 if you only count the running bits). My BPM was also decent, at 157 (I tend to run harder and faster outdoors, so it’s unsurprising to see the BPM here be lower. But it’s still nice).

Overall, I found it encouraging and sweaty. I’m thinking of perhaps jogging outdoors in the next few days to see how that goes. Mind you, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and Tuesday is Christmas, so I’m not sure if I’ll run or just stay home, drink eggnog and get fatter.

But I’ll definitely get out sometime this week. Almost guaranteed.

The full stats for the treadmill run:

Distance: 4.31 km
Time: 27.03
Average pace: 6:16/km
BPM: 157
Calories: 354