Run 537: A bear-able run

Run 537
Average pace: 5:41/km
Location: Brunette Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:29 am
Distance: 8.04 km
Time: 45:47
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 20-22ºC
Humidity: 33%
Wind: light
BPM: 157
Weight: 155.2 pounds
Total distance to date: 4182 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

On Friday afternoon as I was madly strolling to the SkyTrain station after work I noticed a sudden tweaking sensation in one of the muscles in my upper left leg, a little above the knee. This is one of the muscles that comes alive when I’m doing my lunch power walks but not one I notice as much when running.

The tweaking turned to actual pain when I made my way down the stairs into the station. Each time I stepped down I felt it sing a little. This seemed ominous.

Going down the stairs into the condo complex later was not as bad but it was clear a muscle was very stiff/sore in my upper left leg. I chilled out for the night and planned on a regular–if less intense–run today.

The muscle was still stiff but I headed out and my walk to the lake, deliberately slower, went without incident. I started the run, promising myself to a) keep the pace slower and b) stop if the leg started to hurt.

For the first 5K things went okay. The muscle was stiff but tolerable. By the time I was in the second half of the run the stiffness was getting worse and it was getting more difficult to maintain pace. At the 7K mark I figured if the stiffness stayed where it was I would finish, otherwise I’d stop early.

Alas, the stiffness continued to get worse so I stopped just after the 8K mark and walked out. I then walked up the the Production Way SkyTrain station to save myself about 3 km on walking back home, the better to rest.

The muscle stayed fairly stiff through the rest of the day.

This morning (note that while the date for this post is Saturday the 16th I am writing the entry on Sunday the 17th) I can still feel the muscle but the stiffness is pretty much gone when just casually walking around the condo. I’ll be heading out soon to do some errands, so I’ll see what it feels like when walking close to a normal pace. I’m hopeful that as I’m in my two-days-off period from running that it will recover enough to at least allow for short runs and that it isn’t hurt more seriously.

It would be the height of irony if an injury from walking ended my running early for the year. It would also suck corn dogs.

As for the actual run itself, conditions were nice–pleasantly warm, with low humidity. Energy-wise, the slower pace kept me feeling comfortable and the area around the 5K marker (still missing) wasn’t closed off. They had added a layer of finer gravel on top of the other new gravel and steamrolled it, making the surface much nice for walking and running. I expect they will finish the entire stretch over the coming weeks.

When I came into this stretch I noticed two people stopping to talk to a runner ahead of me. I had no idea what they were saying but the runner jogged back toward me and signaled to get my attention. She informed me that there was a bear up ahead. If you’re going to see bears on the trail, this is probably the best place, because being next to the fields gives you lots of room to steer a wide path around said bear.

I’d had this happen before but never seen the alleged bear. Today was different.

Strolling causally maybe 50 m up the trail from me there was indeed a black bear. I scooted out onto the field (a soccer game or other ball-oriented game was taking place just a short distance up the same field) and made sure I had enough space between me and the bear to insure that the bear didn’t think I was running away from it (which would be bad). The bear didn’t seem to notice, though. It just kept walking slowly along the trail, keeping to itself.

I saw a few people taking pictures, of course. I paused briefly before ducking out of sight around the corner, to assess the bear’s trajectory. I felt I’d be safe for the rest of the run. I hoped it wouldn’t eat all of the soccer players.

Did I run farther to create more distance between myself and the bear? It occurred to me to do this, actually, but no, I just ran as far as I could comfortably manage.

My pace was a slothful 5:41/km, which was expected given the bear hijinks and the stiff leg. To illustrate how cautiously I started, my first km was 5:43/km. My fastest came during the 6 km mark and it was still only 5:31/km.

Overall, a weird and eventful run. I’m hoping that the stiff muscle in the left leg is only just that–stiff, not actually pulled. I’ve applied some stinky Rub-A535 to it this morning and will see how it holds up when I’m out and aboot today.

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