Run 657: The sweaty detour

I dithered a bit on getting out today and wasn’t sure if I’d walk, run or do some crazy combo. As is the case when I face this sort of indecision, I walked to the end of the river trail, hoping to find an answer along the way. And I did!

I decided to do another looping 5K run at the lake, this time going clockwise because of variety and all that.

I got to the lake under partly cloudy skies–nice for running! I started out, thinking about where I’d be on the trail when I hit the 2.5K mark and had to turn around. I noticed it was very humid.

Setting down the Avalon trail, I passed a few people and off in the distance noticed someone walking down from the Freeway trail. No one walks on the Freeway trail pretty much unless they have to, because it is completely exposed and, true to its name, within sight of the highway, which is not really the most scenic thing to look at when out for a nice run.

This turned out to be the case, because when I got to the spot where the trail splits, the turn-off for the lake loop had a big ol’ sawhorse blocking it with a TRAIL CLOSED sign on it. Fooey.

Having no choice, I continued on the Freeway trail. The sun also came out. Combined with the high humidity, I began sweating like crazy and felt like some invisible energy vampire had suddenly arrived to take my energy, because that’s what they do.

When I reached the first fork leading back to the lake loop, there was another sawhorse, but this one was pushed aside, so I tentatively set down the path. The parks people were doing some kind of remedial work at Ramsay Creek, and I could see equipment parked on the bridge. Another runner (or at least I think he might have been as he was drenched in sweat) was walking ahead of me and seemed to get through, but I decided to head back, along the forbidden part of the trail that was CLOSED, thinking I would not encounter any work, equipment or things of that nature due to the CLOSED part.

I was right! In fact, the trail was blissfully empty right up until I approached the first sawhorse from the other side. I zipped around it, feeling a little naughty about the whole thing.

Since I was going to come up short on 5K, I had to cross over the dam and run a ways counter-clockwise to make up the difference. I found a tiny bit of gas to finish and ended up with a pace of 6:15/km, only one second slower than my previous lake run. Not bad considering how humid it was. Did I mention the humidity? It was very humid.

Other than the energy-sapping humidity, I encountered no issues while running, so overall I’m pleased to have gotten out and continue to build on my 5Ks. I don’t have any great plans on where to take this, I’m just going to keep running regularly for as long as I can and take any improvements in stamina and increased leg sexiness as they come.


Run 657
Average pace: 6:16/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 3:29 p.m.
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 31:25
Weather: Sun and cloud
Temp: 22ºC
Humidity: 62%
Wind: light
BPM: 152
Weight: 178.1
Total distance to date: 4895 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12
Shoes: Brooks Caldera 5 (20 km)

Walk 56: Premature exit

It was a beautiful summer day today–sunny and 27C. Probably the last summer day we’ll have that is this warm. It’s all showers and snowstorms after this.

Or at least the high teens and low 20s for the next few weeks.

It was a nice day for a walk.

My left foot felt a little creaky heading out. It doesn’t really feel like the plantar fasciitis of yore, so maybe the foot is just perpetually dumb now. Maybe I can get it encased in titanium.

As I walked and then ran it did feel better and seems to have warmed up to a state that is more or less fine.

The run part went well, with both km coming in under the six-minute mark. The premature exit came when I doubled back to round out the second km and instantly ended the workout–because that’s what I do at the end of a run, and I’ve been running more than walking lately. But I still had 1.6 km to go. Whoops. So I started a second walk, and you get double the stats, but not really double the fun.

My pace was even zippier than last time, though if you add it to the extra 1.6 km it probably works out about the same. I’m not using any extra math to find out, though.

Interestingly, my heart rate is higher after the running parts–probably due to the stairs and hills I climb near the end. At least, I hope that’s what it is.


Walk  56
Average pace: 8:01/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 6.01 km
Time: 48:16
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 27ºC
Humidity: 42%
Wind: light
BPM: 122
Weight: 177.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 427.92 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12
Walk  56b
Average pace: 9:09/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 1.60 km
Time: 14:41
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 27ºC
Humidity: 42%
Wind: light
BPM: 131
Weight: 177.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 429.52 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12

I don’t know where the nearest McDonald’s is

I consider this progress in my quest to eat healthier and better (no offense to McDonald’s, which does have healthy choices on its menu).

But now that I think about it, I could really go for a Sausage and Egg McMuffin. I love those things.

I have now used internet technology to find the closest McDonald’s, and it’s apparently a 29-minute walk from my place, or five Starbucks away. How is this even possible? What sort of world do we live in that I need to walk for almost an entire half hour just to get a McChicken? This is way beyond impulse purchase territory for me.

Which is for the best, really. But still.

Run 656: Planned and prepared

I returned to the lake today and ran a 5K clockwise in what I used to refer to as the “easy” way around the lake, because it seems to slop somewhat more downhill. In retrospect, I don’t think it’s much different. Visually it’s more interesting because you’ve got boardwalks, some close-ups of the lake itself, plus fields and the possibility of encountering a horse.

I did not see any horses today.

The weather was pleasantly warm, but a tad humid, so I was both sweating and feeling a bit parched by the end. I felt a stitch threaten on my left side at one point, but kept a steady of somewhat sloggy pace, and emerged unscathed.

Because today was Labor Day, the trail was packed full of people who apparently say the following to themselves on every stat holiday: “Well, I guess I should go out and see nature or something.” Fortunately, all dogs were leashed, people with bikes were pushing them instead of riding, and everyone was generally aware and polite, save for one guy walking with what may have been his son and wife and was utterly oblivious to my presence and completely blocked my way around him until I was almost literally breathing down his neck. Technically that doesn’t count, as I had already finished the 5K, but even though the run felt like it took a lot of effort, I found enough gas to run on and off as I made my way to the end of the lake loop.

The two runs at the lake have been remarkably consistent–pace has been very similar, and my BPM has been exactly the same each time. This also marks my sixth run of the year, now putting me ahead of all 2020. Woo for clearing an admittedly low bar!

Not to go all TMI, but I went to the bathroom before heading out due to the Embarrassing Incident on the previous run. This was smart, but I know my body and felt there was a good chance I’d have to go again when I arrived at the lake. Sure enough, I had to make use of the Jiffy John™ after getting there. I was unsurprised to find the loo had no toilet paper. But I had anticipated this and brought my own! (Not a whole roll, just enough.)

I did cheat a smidgen by pausing the run to take a few photos of the lake, but it was probably no more than 30 seconds. And the shots look nice.

Here’s one. The yellow is the lily pads starting to put on their fall colors–yes, already!

Burnaby Lake from the bridge at Deer Lake Brook


Run 656
Average pace: 6:14/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 2:23 p.m.
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 31:17
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 23ºC
Humidity: 49%
Wind: light
BPM: 155
Weight: 178.3
Total distance to date: 4890 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12
Shoes: Brooks Caldera 5 (15 km)

A soggy trip to Reifel Bird Sanctuary, September 4, 2021

The showers arrived hours early, roughly starting at the same time we arrived. For the most part it wasn’t too bad and I was able to use my non-water resistant camera, but by the end it was pretty much a steady rain–the first in months!

Run 655: Unplanned lake run with bonus embarrassing public moment

Today I did not feel like running, but I headed out, thinking I’d walk to the end of the river trail and at least run back to the entrance (2 km). If I felt more up to it, I’d do a full 5K.

What happened next was a bit weird and pretty much my own fault.

As I walked through Lower Hume Park, I thought, “Hmm, I may have to go to the washroom.” There is a washroom conveniently in Lower Hume Park. I even had a mask with me, something I normally don’t carry when running. But I opted to bypass the washroom because it was more just a feeling (not more than a feeling). This was a bad move.

By the time I got to the river trail a few minutes later, I definitely had to go, curse my easily agitated organs. So I decided to duck up the first of two service roads that leads off the main trail and up to the train tracks. After climbing a short hill, the road bends, then there’s a short straight stretch before it bends again and then exits out to the railroad tracks and environs. I have rarely seen CN vehicles use this side road and can’t recall the last time I saw a person walking it. I had ducked up here before without incident.

As I positioned myself, I looked both ways to insure no one was strolling along to see me do my business. Now, this is an actual road, albeit a narrow gravel one in not-great shape, so if someone did come along, they would pretty much see me.

Which is what happened. Two guys on one bikes (one lower, apparently on a recumbent bike) suddenly rounded the corner, coming from the track area. I quickly pulled up my shorts, even though I was not finished and my bladder was about 10 seconds from exploding. I hopped and jogged back to the main trail, found a large tree just off the trail, and finished there. Why I hadn’t done this to begin with is a very good question. I waited behind the tree, to see if the bikers would go left (exiting the trail) or right. I did not want to have any sort of interaction with them, for obvious reasons.

They went left. Hooray. I waited another minute, then came back onto the trail and looked in their direction–they were near the exit, but their bikes were facing me. Apparently they were coming back. Curses. I decided to just walk to the end of the trail as planned, looking behind me periodically to see if they were following or, worse, following and closing the gap.

I did not see them.

And then I did. They were still far behind, but were clearly on the move. I thought I heard someone let out a loud hoot. One of them? Maybe. I kept walking, but did not see them again after that.

But I wasn’t chancing anything, so I decided to keep going on to Burnaby Lake. I didn’t want to do a full loop, considering I wasn’t really feeling like running at all, so I opted to take the side trails and hit the 2.5 km mark, then turn around and return to my starting destination by the dam to complete the 5K. After I hit the 2.5K mark I paused the run, walked a little farther up to make sure I would definitely hit 5K on my return, then resumed.

My pace was sluggish. My mind was frazzled, and my tank o’ gas felt empty. I actually started decently at 5:33/km, but fell off quickly after that and never regained my pace. But in a way I was just happy that I managed it at all.

And I will remember to always squirrel myself completely away from view if I ever need to go while I’m out in nature. Curse my tiny bladder.

(I also had to go again when I got to the lake. Fortunately, it has a Jiffy John™ right there by the parking lot.)

On a more positive note, I have now matched the number of runs I did in all of 2020 (five), in the space of about two and a half weeks. So that’s nice!


Run 655
Average pace: 6:12/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 4:31 p.m.
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 31:09
Weather: Cloudy, a smidgen of late sun
Temp: 22ºC
Humidity: 42%
Wind: light
BPM: 155
Weight: 178.7
Total distance to date: 4885 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12
Shoes: Brooks Caldera 5 (10 km)

Walk 55: Somewhat planned

Somewhat, in that Thursdays are not normally run days, so it makes sense to walk instead.

Today was a return to actual summer-like weather, but not scorching hot like early summer, more like a nice, “Hey, it’s still summer” sort of thing, not “Why does the air make my eyes feel like burning?”

The walk was fine, and although I briefly wondered if I would run the full length of the river trail coming back, I knew I had no excuse, since I’m now running 5Ks again. And not only did I do that, I even turned around again to make sure I got in a second full km–and that one at a brisk pace of 5:43/km (5:52/km for the first).


Walk  55
Average pace: 8:06/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 7.78 km
Time: 63:04
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 26ºC
Humidity: 42%
Wind: light
BPM: 131
Weight: 178.7 pounds
Total distance to date: 421.91 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12

August 2021 was not so hot

I say this for two reasons:

  1. The weather simply wasn’t as perpetually scorching as it was in July, and today it barely climbed to 17C, which is below average for this time of year. We’ve had some actual precipitation. The bit of rain has been enough to revive lawns and take everything from tinder dry to just dry. Fittingly, the weekend promises more showers, so the FIRE DANGER signs may at last come down.
  2. In other not-so-hot news, COVID-19 numbers have been way up. The only good part here is that almost all infections are unvaccinated people (meaning the vaccines are working), and the numbers may have already plateaued. It’s still a bummer because we have clearly regressed when many thought the pandemic was finally beginning to wane when we moved to Step 3 on July 1st. Eventually we’ll be able to go back to something similar to how things were without requiring vaccines, vaccine cards, masks or deep sea diving helmets.

August 2021 weight loss report: Up 1.9 pounds


Now let me explain how I almost but not quite completely wiped out my gains from July.

Basically two things:

  • Two weeks of vacation where I did not overly pay attention to my calorie count
  • Various and random indulgences to celebrate breaking free of a job that I had come to no longer enjoy after many years

I feel bad, but not really bad.

September should be better, though, as I now have lots of time to exercise, I am already running again, and will be paying more attention to what goes in my gullet.

I remain donut-free.

The stats:

August 1: 176.2 pounds
August 31: 178.1 pounds (up 1.9 pounds)

Year to date: From 174.2 to 178.1 pounds (up 3.9 pounds)

Body fat (year to date):

January 1: 22.4% (39.1 pounds of fat)
August 31: 24.1% (42.9 pounds of fat) (up 3.8 pounds)

Run 654: New shoes, faster feet

The weather was quite nice for running today–pleasant and cloudy, with a light breeze. I wore new shoes, Brooks Caldera 5s (I previously wore and still have the Caldera 4s). The main difference between them is the 5s have a much more cushioned sole, which is what I wanted as I resumed running. I can go pseudo-minimalist once I confirm my left foot won’t explode or something.

The new shoes were fine. The laces stayed tied, which is always nice, and the toe box, though smaller had enough wiggle room. I did opt for a size 9 instead of my usual 8.5, though.

As for the run, I felt strangely winded after the first km and happened to see it just as it came up on the watch–my pace was a zippy 5:36/km. I could not sustain this, so eased up. The good news is other than feeling especially sloggy midway through, I still managed to ramp up toward the end and finished under the six-minute mark, with a pace of 5:57/km. Not bad for only my fourth run of the year.

When I do my next run (tentatively set for Wednesday) I will equal the number of runs I did in all of 2020.

Overall, I am pleased at how this went, especially given that my faster pace still had a lower BPM. Woo.


Run 654
Average pace: 5:57/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 12:57 p.m.
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 29:57
Weather: Cloudy, some sun
Temp: 16ºC
Humidity: 59%
Wind: light
BPM: 156
Weight: 178
Total distance to date: 4880 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12
Shoes: Brooks Caldera 5 (5 km)