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.

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