Run 615: Bicycles and sprinkles

Run 615
Average pace: 5:42/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:20 pm
Distance: 5.04 km
Time: 28:49
Weather: Cloudy with sprinkles
Temp: 24ºC
Humidity: 51%
Wind: light
BPM: 159
Weight: 167.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4655 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (10 km)

The sprinkles were the rain kind, not the fun kind you put on ice cream. But it didn’t amount to much.

I was bad/lazy on the weekend. After skipping running on Saturday due to sleeping in and other commitments, I vowed to run on Sunday, which was commitment-free. Come Sunday and it rained. Normally I don’t mind, but even though it was a light rain, it was steady, meaning I’d be soaked within minutes of stepping outside and remain soaked for almost three hours after.

The prospect had minimal appeal. By minimal, I mean none.

So I waited for a break in the weather, but each break seemed to only be minutes long. In the end I frittered away the afternoon before the guilt finally got to me. Around 6 o’clock I headed out and did a near-5K walk. It didn’t rain.

All if this means I went four days without running. I went into tonight’s run expecting to be slower, but was unsure how much. Was the last run a fluke? Would the new shoes lead me to a more pedestrian pace on the second time out?

As it turns out, I was slower, but my pace was only off by five seconds–5:43/km vs. 5:38/km. This is within the usual variance from one run to the next. My BPM was up slightly, but still below 160 at 159. Other than that, I had no issues at all. The stitch from the last run stayed away this time and no other problems emerged.

Bicycles? Yes! For some reason there were hordes of cyclists, but they’re allowed on the river trail and it’s flat and wide, so it was more a curiosity than anything.

I also got stopped just moments after starting the run by a cyclist. He said he was new in the area and all the BEARS WILL EAT YOU signs apparently freaked him out. He wanted to know if the area was infested with bears and perhaps demons or other deadly beasts. I told him in eight years I’d seen two bears. He asked me how to act if you see one. I explained, even though the signs he mentioned also explain this quite clearly. He kept going on, then it started to sprinkle. He said he was glad he wore a jacket (it was actually muggy and pretty warm at 24ºC) and the thought of getting wet seemed to motivate him to finally leave.

I also mentioned seeing coyotes and bobcats in the area, but never mentioned the python. He’ll probably never come back.

The new shoes performed admirably again. I am delighted at how easy they are to pop on and off, and how simple it is to “lace” them and never worry about the laces coming untied.

Overall, this was another solid run, proving the last was no fluke. I should get one more at the lake before going away on vacation for a week, so it will be interesting to see how the shoes hold up under slightly trickier conditions.

Run 614: New shoes, apparently with turbo boost

Run 614
Average pace: 5:38/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:26 pm
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 28:18
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 20ºC
Humidity: 63%
Wind: light
BPM: 157
Weight: 169.1 pounds
Total distance to date: 4650 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (5 km)

Yesterday I bought a new pair of trail runners, my first purchase in a long while. Woo, new shoes. Specifically I got the Saucony Switchback ISOs, which come with a wacky lacing system that doesn’t require actually tying the laces, as you use an attachment to wind the tension of the wire-like lace instead. It seems a bit gimmicky, but also makes sense, too. Once the tension is set, the lace is locked until you actually pop the release mechanism, something that would be extremely difficult to do accidentally.

Still, you never know what new shoes are going to be like, and my last two runs, one at the lake and one at the river, have both been on the slower side.

I put on the shoes and delighted in how lightweight they are. The feel is a bit loose, unlike the Cascadia shoes, which fit snug enough to leave almost no wiggle room. In fact, the Switchbacks are so light in terms of weight and material that they reminded me of my New Balance MT100 minimalist shoes from way back when.

One of the best things I can say about them is how shortly after the run I stopped thinking about them and thought of other things.

The weather was mild and cloudy, though it was conspicuously more humid, which meant sweating. Still, even though I pushed a bit at times, I never felt like I was gasping for breath. I was working, but it felt controlled.

I did have one complication near the end, a stitch in my lower left side. It lasted maybe 300 meters or so and I basically ignored it, willing it to go away. And it did, so I clearly demonstrated my superiority over stitches. At least for today.

What surprised me the most about the run was the sheer speed. My walk to the river trail was sluggish, so I certainly didn’t feel primed for a fast pace, yet I ended with a pace of 5:38/km, a full 33 seconds better than Monday’s run at the lake and 24 seconds better than my previous river run. To put this in context, I finished the run almost three minutes earlier than on Monday. My BPM was also lower at 157.

The workout app tracks cadence and with the new shoes it was 172 SPM, which is in range of my usual pace. I suspect that this will not change much with the new shoes. Maybe if I also got new legs…

Overall, this was a surprising and pleasant result. 5:38/km is far better than my usual runs of late, so it’s possible it was a fluke, but maybe it’s the start of a trend. I’ll have a better idea on Saturday when I do my next run at the lake.

Note that since I have new shoes, I am tracking how much I’ve run in them, as I usually just wait until the shoes fall apart to replace them, which is a bit sub-optimal.

Run 613: Warmer, slower and sort of crowded (eh)

Run 613
Average pace: 6:11/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:06 am
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 31:05
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 22-24ºC
Humidity: 49%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 162
Weight: 166.9 pounds
Total distance to date: 4645 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

I only have myself to blame.

I was going to run Saturday morning but got up a bit later than intended and started doing chores. Eventually I decided to run on Sunday instead. Easy peasy.

But I had arranged to meet Nic at 1 p.m. Sunday so my schedule would be tight. And I slept in a little later than intended again. Whoopsie. I could do a shorter run at the river, but it seemed a waste on the weekend, so I further resolved to run today, which is the stat holiday known as Canada Day.

Stat holidays tend to be quite busy at the lake, as I’ve noted in the past. And I didn’t get out until a good hour later than I’d planned, putting me square into late morning.

It could have been worse. The initial part of the run was not bad in terms of crowds but by the time I got to the Cottonwood Trail at the 3K mark it became fairly bonkers, with lots of people in both directions, including a large walking group doing that thing all walking groups do–spread out over the entire trail, making it impassable. As I approached them, I simply chose openings where I could to duck through, then ran off the trail where it was safe. Their leader (?) shouted something to them as I approached (in Japanese, I think) but they didn’t seem to respond. For all I know, he may have been saying, “Who wants my leftover liver-flavored chips?”

After that the crowds pretty much cleared up, so it was an odd concentration.

Yesterday Nic and I traversed the seawall and I ended up with 33,553 steps on that day. This is a lot. I wondered if it might affect my run, along with the slightly-longer-than-average three days off. It did!

I started out slower, but remained fairly consistent. It’s like I just didn’t have enough gas to get up to full speed, finishing with a pace of 6:11/km. On the plus side, there were no issues and I literally did not think about my knees at all. Yay!

The splits show how consistent I was:

6:10
6:10
6:15
6:12
6:07

At least I had a semi-peppy finish. I suspect the hotter temperature also had an effect. I started sweating early on and kept on the whole way. This may also be why my BPM was up, though still quite comfortable at 162.

The BPM chart is interesting. The first half of the run I was around 168, then the second half it dropped down to produce the 162 average. I worked a lot harder the first half and appeared to gain some form on the back half.

Also, the dam is undergoing a three month construction project. For now it remains accessible, though they’ve closed off the north stairs and put in some temporary ones, which I used at the start of the run. They are wooden, which actually makes them nicer than the steel stairs I’d normally use.

While I would have preferred a better overall pace, I can’t be too bummed at this run, given the overall balance of positives vs. negatives. Due to the shorter work week, I’ll probably run next on Thursday to get back on schedule.

Run 612: What goes up…

Run 612
Average pace: 6:01/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:15 pm
Distance: 5:04 km
Time: 30:21
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 20ºC
Humidity: 57%
Wind: light
BPM: 157
Weight: 166.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4640 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

Today’s run was both a disappointment and perfectly fine, even quite good in some respects.

It was just a few degrees cooler than Tuesday and cloudy. Showers earlier in the day meant it was more humid, which meant I sweated more, but that’s all.

A cramp threatened near my right shoulder for a bit, but I focused on staying loose and after a few minutes it went away without fully materializing. I had no other issues otherwise.

Because this was my third run in a week, something I haven’t done in about two hundred years, I deliberately set a slower pace. This led to the one real disappointment, though hardly unexpected: I was, in fact, slower. But I was a full nine seconds off Tuesday’s pace, which surprised me.

Another surprise, albeit a pleasant one, was my heart rate. It was down again, to 157, which is very nice. The surprise was in the heart rate chart. Usually I see a spike near the beginning and end of a run, then a jagged series of small ups and downs through the run. Today’s run was close to a straight line. While my pace per km fluctuated, my BPM remained very steady. Kind of weird.

Other than that, the run was fine. I’d have been happier to have stayed under a pace of 6:00/km, but I still felt good, so I’ll call this a victory, especially since it is the first time in quite awhile that I’ve done three runs within the same week. Onward to the weekend!

Run 611: Faster with no raccoons

Run 611
Average pace: 5:52/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:26 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:29
Weather: Partly sunny
Temp: 22ºC
Humidity: 36%
Wind: light
BPM: 160
Weight: 168.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4635 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

For the first time since 1907–when wearing athletic shorts outdoors could get you arrested–I did two runs in three days.

Even better, I proved Sunday was no fluke, improving my average pace by another six seconds (though the river trail is more forgiving, as I’ve noted before). Even better than that, my average heart rate was drastically lower, from 177 previously to 160 today.

I started out trying to not go too fast and burn out quickly, but still managed an opening pace of 5:31/km, positively zippy compared to recent runs. The second km it caught up to me as I slid back to 6:06/km.The fourth km was my fastest, which is unusual, at 5:28/km. I don’t have any real explanation for why the pace was like the proverbial roller coaster, except that I may have been automatically putting on the brakes when it felt like I was going too fast.

With no issues–no cramps, knees there but not a problem–this was about as good a follow-up to Sunday as I could have gotten. The weather was much warmer at 22ºC and it was a lot less humid, but with the sun mostly tucked behind high cloud, it actually felt fine. If I continue on a regular run schedule moving forward, my next run would be Thursday, where it is forecast to be 17ºC (good) with light rain (not so good). Motivation will be tricky, but we’ll see if I can build on the smidgen of momentum I’ve built up, instead of buying a giant bag of potato chips and snarfing them on the couch.

Run 610: Faster, with bonus racoon

Run 610
Average pace: 5:58/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 10:29 am
Distance: 5:04 km
Time: 30:04
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 14ºC
Humidity: 77%
Wind: light
BPM: 177
Weight: 167.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4630 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

Back on my weekly schedule, I headed out today under very different conditions, with cloudy skies, a high of 14ºC and humidity high enough to eliminate dreaded dry mouth syndrome or DMS as the imaginary experts in my head call it. I also chose to run clockwise for a change of pace.

The results were unexpected.

On the expected front, I thought my pace would be better–the clockwise run tends to be a little easier to navigate, with more inclines heading down instead of up and generally just being a wee bit less technical. I was correct on this part, my pace was better.

What I didn’t expect was that it would be what is likely the best back to back improvement in pace ever–a full 30 second improvement. This is the average pace, so my actual time to complete the run today was 2:26 minutes faster. That is an astonishing difference. I went from a plodding 6:28/km last week to 5:58/km today, the first time I’ve managed to crack the six minute mark in awhile. I am delighted by this.

I am also delighted by having no issues, despite pushing myself harder, save for two: a minor twinge in my right ankle that sorted itself out quickly, and an elevated heart rate–an uncomfortably high 177. Not unexpected given the dramatically faster pace and my general lack of fitness. Curiously the Apple Watch was unable to record the full hear rate chart, claiming there were not heart rate measurements. Maybe this is the first sign that Apple thinks I need to move on from the now lowly Series 2 to something newer and shinier and also by total coincidence way more expensive.

One other less delightful aspects was getting gravel in my shoe less than 10 meters into the run. At least it was small enough to not be annoying (I have provisionally picked out new shoes and will be looking at them this week). Also, weirdly, there was a racoon on the trail right at the start, too. I encountered it twice, actually, the first time walking the trail to the Jiffy John® and the second time when I retraced my steps back to the 0K marker to begin my run. Each time it quickly trundled into the bush and waited for me to pass, which is fine by me. Raccoons are kind of cute but also kind of scary. I tend to think all of them have rabies for some reason. I probably watched some bad TV movie about it when I was younger.

Despite the cool and cloudy conditions–which were delightful for running–it was busier than expected, though no great traffic jams happened. A lot of fellow runners apparently also found the weather to their liking.

I am planning to run Tuesday after work, totally for real this time. The current forecast is pleasant, so I shouldn’t have rain mixed in to further dampen (ho ho) my enthusiasm for running more than once a week. Jeff is onboard for holding back dinner until my run is over. We shall see.

Overall, this run was unexpected in terms of performance, and while I don’t expect to match the pace again right away, it’s nice to know I can still do sub-6:00 minute runs.

Run 609: Two weeks later, five seconds slower and one coyote dashing

Run 609
Average pace: 6:28/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 12:26 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 32:30
Weather: Sunny with high cloud
Temp: 22ºC
Humidity: 54%
Wind: light
BPM: 164
Weight: 167.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4625 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

Last weekend I didn’t run and it wasn’t because I was just too lazy (mostly). I stayed up way too late Friday and Saturday, slept horribly and felt like simply walking around without bumping into the furniture was a big enough goal, never mind a proper run.

Today I was braced for the results to be worse due to the extended absence. And they were!

But not by much.

My pace was 6:28/km, five seconds off the last run’s pace–but still better than the run before that. BPM and other stats were very similar, so the run was not really all that different than the one two weeks ago. I found a comfortable pace early on and stuck to it, experiencing no issues along the way.

I caught a fleeting glimpse of a healthy-looking coyote ducking into the bushes ahead of me on the main trail, probably waiting for some snack-sized off-leash dog to wander along. There was also the remains of a water station from an event earlier in the morning at Piper spit. It’s 2 km into the run, I was half-tempted to grab some water because it was a little dry, though not as much as the previous run. I still need to find some solution for hydration that doesn’t involve some gigantic water bottle.

Speaking of dry, I was walking along the Avalon Trail post-run and a parks putt-putt car came up, leaving a tick cloud of dust that hung over the trail for a surprisingly long time. My shoes were similarly dust-covered, something I’m not really accustomed to seeing in mid-June. Ah, climate change!

Anyway, the run was totally acceptable and the slower time was no surprise. I swear I will start running more often any day now.

Run 608: Back on track(ish)

Run 608
Average pace: 6:23/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 1:58 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 32:06
Weather: Sunny with high cloud
Temp: 23-24ºC
Humidity: 47%
Wind: light
BPM: 163
Weight: 166.9 pounds
Total distance to date: 4620 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

Today’s run was all about consistency. I headed out to improve on, well, every aspect of last Sunday’s not-so-great run and achieved this. Hooray! Here’s how today’s run was better:

  • Faster pace (6:23/km vs. 6:33/km)
  • Lower BPM, 163 vs 166
  • Did not have to stop and walk at all
  • Left foot was not sore
  • Had enough energy at the end to actually do a little running on the way home
  • Only one cyclist on the trail–and he was walking his bike (!)

And here’s a few small ways the run was a tad worse:

  • It was slightly warmer, but drier, and my mouth was so parched I actually thought about how I might want to carry water or gel packs with me during runs this summer
  • A tree had collapsed where the Conifer Loop connects to the main trail, forcing me to clamber over branches to keep going
  • A parks worker in a putt-putt car nearly mowed me down from behind. Seriously, those things are quiet and they are not driven by kindly old seniors.

In terms of pace, I started out at a slower, steadier pace of 6:16 and fell way back on the second km to 6:42. This is why I don’t check my pace until after a run–seeing that number would have crushed my spirit and tossed it into the lake.

But after that I was the model of consistency and apart from a brief stitch in my lower left side along the Cottonwood Trail, I felt fine, if not quite peppy. Today it felt more like just being out of shape vs. recovering from The Worst Cold Ever, so that was actually a positive. For the last three km, my pace was 6:20, 6:22 and 6:22 again. I found my comfort zone and stuck to it.

Overall, then, a perfectly fine follow-up where I achieved everything I hoped for. After last week’s dismal effort, I was pretty sure I would see an improvement this week, so the results aren’t unsurprising. They are still very welcome.

Run 607: A bear, cramps, bikes and a sore foot

Run 607
Average pace: 6:33/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 12:42 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 32:59
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 21ºC
Humidity: 52%
Wind: light
BPM: 166
Weight: 166.9 pounds
Total distance to date: 4615 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

This run was kind of awful, but not entirely unexpectedly so.

My last run was on April 20, 36 days ago. The main reason for the long gap was The World’s Worst Cold, which visited me over three weeks ago and continues to linger on with the occasional cough and stuff clearly still in my lungs. Perhaps I had an actual lung infection and instead of getting it treated with antibiotics, I opted for the old-fashioned cure of a long, painful recovery.

In any case, the weather was dandy today and I felt it was time to get back out there.

On the plus side, I was able to start the initial walk using Siri on the Apple Watch. Of late it usually just fails, no matter what I ask, but today Siri was feeling cooperative. On the negative side,. the pace of my first km walking was over 10 minutes. This is what the imaginary scientists I pay call “really slow.” The pace did pick up, but overall it was clear I was not yet 100%–even just walking. This did not seem to bode well.

The first surprise came as I approached the bridge on the Brunette River trail. A group of cyclists had just gone past me on the left, then came to a stop short of the bridge. There was something in their body language that seemed off. I caught up and saw why they had stopped.

There was a black bear walking down the trail toward them (and me, and another jogger who came up from behind).

A cyclist wonders how tasty the black bear would find him.

Here’s a zoomed-in shot in case the bear does not seem sufficiently bear-like in the above shot:

Woods hard, trails easy.

Some of the cyclists made noise. I wanted to shout out terrible puns like, “This situation is unbearable!” or “Don’t bear with us!” We waited to see what the bear would do, but it kept slowly advancing, seemingly oblivious of us. It went up a side trail before the bridge, but returned shortly, so we continued to move back, keeping us out of snacking range. The bear crossed the bridge, then headed up another side trail. This time there was a pregnant pause and the jogger carefully crept forward on the left to see if the bear was coming back.

It seemed the bear had found something sufficiently interesting on the side trail–perhaps an unleashed dog–and was out of sight. The cyclists pedaled and the jogger and I ran, me keeping an eye behind and to the side, but the bear was not to be seen again.

This seemed like a not-so-good omen for the run and just as I entered Burnaby Lake Regional Park, my left foot began to hurt in the way it would hurt in the pre-orthotic days. I have no idea why this happened out of the blue, but before ditching the idea of running, I went to the loo and on the way back to the starting position, I recalled how it was often easier to run than to walk when the foot got like this, so I started my run.

The run was hard. Not only was I shaking off 36 days of rust, I was clearly operating at less than 100% capacity, because even the opening km was poop, with a pace of 6:36/km. For three of the next four km the pace would only vary five seconds, between 6:32 and 6:37. Somehow in the fourth km I miraculously found some kind of small energy reserve that let me push to a fast-for-this run pace of 6:25/km, before slowing down again for the final stretch.

The sore foot was no doubt a factor, though once running it was not terrible or anything, more a background annoyance. But the lack of energy was palpable. I did not get a second wind. I didn’t get a first wind. Or any wind. I slogged.

I also did something I’ve rarely ever done–twice I paused the run and walked a bit to recover stamina and get my heart rate down, totaling about half a km overall. If I had kept the run timer going, my pace would likely have been a good ten seconds or so slower.

Once I mercifully finished the run, I just wanted to get out and back home. And then I started feeling cramps in my abdomen. Not the kind you get from running too hard (not an issue today), but more like something not agreeing with you, though I had eaten nothing out of the ordinary before heading out. This cramping persisted for much of the walk out from the lake before finally easing up. By then I was so weary it made little difference.

Due to it being a sunny Sunday, the trail was crowded. At one point a bottleneck forced me to stop to let other joggers and walkers pass. I didn’t mind too much because it allowed me to restore a tiny bit of energy. It was so busy that when I stopped at a bench along the second boardwalk to dump the gravel out of my shoes, three joggers passed by from both directions. That may not sound like a lot, but trust me, it is. It only took me maybe 30 seconds to clean my shoes.

Also I’m getting new shoes. They are great gravel scoopers, but I’d like something more comfy and less prone to scooping every jagged little rock it can find and depositing it under my foot.

One of the putt-putt cars went by me post-run and I felt the driver was going a tad faster than needed, given the little room I had on the side. But a minute or so later a family of three rode by on their bikes and the thought of them catching up to the putt-putt car and being told to get off their bikes, at minimum, gladdened my heart.

Just as I was leaving the park, a pair of cyclists were studying the map and somehow reaching the conclusion that they had to go around the lake despite a very large No Cycling sign below the map. I stepped over and confirmed no cycling at the lake and that park officials were out and would likely warn them at best to dismount. I also confirmed the contradiction of the Central Valley Greenway name, as most of it is along blacktop, and directed them to the bicycle lane on Government Street. I left, but as I looked back, I could see them heading off in the direction I’d pointed. Yay nice cyclists.

Overall, then, this run was not great. Lots of complications, the potential to be mauled by a bear, and no energy at all. I have not decided when I will run next, but waiting until next weekend is not without its appeal. This was also the first run in a long time when I wished I had a running watch with more detailed stats on things like blood oxygen saturation, so I could see how off I was with real data to back up how I felt. Somehow it might make me feel a little better.

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:

KmPace
16:14
26:33
36:24
45:53
55:57

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