Run 606: Slower, stinkier

Run 606
Average pace: 6:12/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 2:14 pm
Distance: 5:02 km
Time: 31:02
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 16ºC
Humidity: 53%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 162
Weight: 168.1 pounds
Total distance to date: 4610 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

The conditions for today’s run were different in a number of ways compared to last week’s:

  • warmer (16º vs 9º)
  • windier (it was a tad breezy at times)
  • at the lake running clockwise (ostensibly harder than clockwise) vs. running the river (which is inarguably easier)

I headed out and was pleased by a decent pace on the walk to the lake. I was less pleased by having to pee twice before starting the run, using every available public toilet along the way (which was both of them). I had decided ahead of time to run counter-clockwise, but this time I started the run on the south side of the dam, at the official 0K marker.

I headed off and at first it felt like I was running too hard and I kept pulling back, but it still felt hard. When I finished and saw the average pace of 6:12/km, I was not surprised–it nearly matches my previous run at the lake. The total run time is only separated by a mere second. It always creeps me out a little when that happens. How can I be that incredibly consistent from one run to the next over a distance of five km? Weird, I say.

Because I felt like I was working harder, I was also not surprised to see my BPM up a bit, but only a bit, and well below the threshold I prefer staying away from.

The big surprise came when I looked at the splits:


As you can see, I was doing the opposite of pushing to hard at the start, as I was muddling along at a decidedly average pace if 6:14/km. I did succeed in slowing down, though. as I dropped to a slug-like 6:33 in the next km. I recall feeling especially slow right around the midway point of the run before finally finding something of a second wind, or maybe just a moderate second breeze.

Whatever it was, it allowed me to pick up the pace, so my last few km were actually run at a decent pace. But by the end I was tired. I spent the first km after the run recovering and thinking about how much more my knees were aching compared to most runs (they seem no worse for wear now). After that one km of recovery, though, I ended up finding a new reserve of energy and managed ro run/walk the rest of the way around the lake. Overall, I’m not thrilled with the result, but I’m not really upset, either. It felt harder than it should have, but maybe the uptick in temperature was enough to drag on me.

The trail was quite busy. I didn’t see too many runners going by (and none dealt me the psychological blow of sprinting past me from behind), but one was jogging with a German Shepherd on a leash and I thought it was cute and then the dog barked at me–once–as I passed by and I no longer found it cute.

There were multiple cyclists out, all of them wearing that “I’m pretending I don’t know I shouldn’t be riding here when I totally know I shouldn’t be riding here” look. You fool no one, naughty cyclists!

The stinky part is in reference to the skunk cabbage, which is nearing peak skunk cabbage aroma. It is not a delicate bouquet.

Fortunately, despite the people, dogs, cyclists and geese, there were no near-collisions or fancy dipsy-doodling required to navigate around anyone. The section near the fields was festooned with several large puddles, and these did require a bit of coordinated footwork to avoid getting soaked from the ankles down. If they do any resurfacing on the trails this year, I hope they do this section first, even if I’d really like to see all the tree roots on the Cottonwood trail covered up. At least that trail never gets submerged.

I’m tentatively planning on another run on Monday, as it’s a holiday, but I will see what my knees say (“Hell no” or “Well…okay” seem the likeliest responses) before deciding. Also, if it’s pouring rain I may lean toward the “Hell no” even before consulting the knees.

Fun fact: I set a new Move record on my Apple Watch today, with 1840 calories burned (it’s up to 1912 as I write this):

Run 605: Faster, colder

Run 605
Average pace: 5:47/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 1:36 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:04
Weather: Overcast
Temp: 9ºC
Humidity: 63%
Wind: moderate
BPM: 158
Weight: 166.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4605 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

I was a little leery going into today’s run because the last time I ran at the river it was cool–7ºC–and my BPM was crazy high, as in so high I was actually a bit afraid to run outdoors again under similar conditions.

Although the temperature was similar today at 9ºC, I have been running at least weekly for some time now, both on the treadmill and outdoors, so I was thinking I’d probably be okay. I set out for a modest pace under cloudy skies and a small threat of rain. The wind of the last few days eased up, so temperature-wise it actually felt decent during the run.

There were many people on the trail, most of the dog walkers had their dogs unleashed (boo) but the dogs were well-behaved (yay). I generally stuck to my plan and the only issue of note was some discomfort right around the bump in the orthotic in my left shoe. This is somewhat odd, because that bump is specifically there to keep the left foot from getting sore when I’m walking and especially when I’m running. Is my foot changing? Is it going through foot puberty? I may have to make a trip to Kintec to get them to have a look. Plus I should probably get the orthotic re-upholstered or whatever the term is for getting the padding replaced, as it’s getting old, scruffy and the heels have holes in them from where gravel has gotten stuck (I’ve been wearing my gravel scoops–aka Brooks Cascadia 12s–since I got the orthotics).

In the end, and with a light coat of sweat, I finished with a much faster-than anticipated pace of 5:47/km, which is 23 (!) seconds faster than my last run at Burnaby Lake, and even 12 seconds better than the “my poor heart” run at the river on January 26. Come to think of it, why is the temperature only 2 degrees warmer nearly three months later? I’ll file a report with The Weather Bureau or other appropriate agency.

Overall, I am pleased with the result. I am getting faster, which shows I am getting in shape, but more importantly, my heart rate is back down to a healthy level, after a couple of alarmingly high runs. As a bonus, I don’t really feel the knees are a major factor at this point. I can still feel them when I run, but it’s easy to ignore them. If anything–and despite having done nothing specific to treat them–they seem to be feeling better than they did at this time last year when they first started getting sore. So yay for that.

The first April treadmill run, 2019 edition

Back to the treadmill today, though the weather turned out to be unexpectedly decent, so a run outside would have worked, too.

My goals were the same as last time–maintain pace, hope for no issues, finish with a nice BPM. And I hit all three, woo.

I goofed a bit on the tracking, letting the timer run (ho ho) for over a minute into my cooldown (walking) phase, so my average pace was officially 6:19/km. Using my primitive caveman math skills to eliminate this part of the run, my overall pace was actually closer to 6:12/km, so pretty much identical to the last treadmill run. My BPM was down slightly, as well, to 153.

No issues encountered throughout, it was just a nice, steady run.

The stats, slightly skewed by the aforementioned extra time:

Distance: 4.18 km (4.01)
Time: 26:25 (24:50)
Average pace: 6:12/km (6:11/km)
BPM: 153 (155)
Calories: 314 (283)
Total treadmill distance: 42.72 km

Run 604: Now with less beating and more naked chests

Run 604
Average pace: 6:10/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 12:46 pm
Distance: 5:02 km
Time: 31:01
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 15-17ºC
Humidity: 46%
Wind: moderate
BPM: 157
Weight: 167.3 pounds
Total distance to date: 4600 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

A week between runs and I headed back to the lake, opting to run clockwise. It was a little breezier and warmer, with the temperature more like early summer by the end of the run at 17ºC.

My plan was the same as last week–to go slow and steady, to not push and to keep the heart rate down. I did start to push a little in the last km–sometimes it’s hard to stop yourself–but a stitch in the gut made it easy to pull back. I finished the run exactly ten seconds slower than last week, but more importantly, my BPM went from 163 to 157, matching my last treadmill run, so things are definitely improving. If I can maintain this, I’ll slowly start pushing again, but I am literally in no rush. My mantra this year is to run regularly and run carefully.

To that end I actually did a few stretches before the run. They didn’t seem to have much effect, but the important thing is I stretched and I may stretch again and all the stretching will pay off down the road (or trail).

Also, I saw four (!) guys running shirtless today, which may possibly be peak shirtless for the year–and it’s still March. This is very weird, yet delightful.

Dogs and other pedestrians were no issue and overall, conditions were quite nice. Nearly ideal, in fact. I am pleased with the final result.

I also hit a semi-official milestone tonight, reaching 4,600 km run in total. The actual number is higher because I started tracking after I had been running for a few months, but, like in horseshoes, it’s close enough to count. That I started running at 44 and have kept it up every rear for the last ten years is a nice achievement in itself. I’d clap myself on the back if it weren’t so awkward to do.

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