Run 643: Harvest of destruction (Also: a slow return)

Run 643
Average pace: 6:02/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:35 am
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 30:17
Weather: Sunny, some cloud
Temp: 9ºC
Humidity: 77%
Wind: light
BPM: 175 (?)
Weight: 172 pounds
Total distance to date: 4825 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (185 km)

Exactly three weeks and two pulled muscles later (one lower back, one upper thigh) I returned for only my second run of November. I was expecting to be slow, generally lack stamina, and so planned on only doing a 5K.

It was a good call.

I started out slow (6:10 on the fist km), got even slower (6:19 on the second) before finding some energy reserves on the third km, where I got my best results, a relatively zippy 5:41/km. After that it was downhill again, with the final km almost exactly mirroring the first.

Other than lacking energy I felt fine–no cramps or other issues. The pulled muscle in my leg didn’t hurt at all while running and seems fine now. I just had no gas in the tank.

Strangely, although the workout app claims an average BPM of 175 (which is high and plausible after three weeks of slothfulness), there is no heart rate data otherwise, just this message:

The heart rate for the walks before and after the run recorded without issue, so I’m not sure why it didn’t work for the run. Maybe I was running so slow it got confused and shut off.

The conditions were okay. It was clear, but felt colder than the 9ºC would indicate. It had rained earlier, so there was some piddle jumping, but the only really bad spot was that one section by the field that always floods. It was flooded and after trying to skirt around it, I gave up and just plunged through. My feet are almost dry now.

The harvest of destruction came as I approached the Cottonwood Trail just past the 3K mark. For reasons unknown, almost every tree between the trail and the train tracks had been cut down. It looked like a clearcut. I expected to see protesters locking arms together. A lot of bramble had been cleared out, too, but sloppily enough that the trail was covered in twigs and other detritus. Further, recent rains had hit this part of the trail especially hard, carving lines and further exposing tree roots in what is already the tree root-iest part of the trail. It’s the worst I’ve seen it in eight years of running here. Hopefully Cottonwood is next on the list for resurfacing, as it’s clearly overdue.

Crowd-wise it was not as bad as expected, though a gaggle of photographers completely and utterly blocked the path on the Piper Mill Trail. I actually had to stop and wait for them to part to get through. Why do people completely block the trail? Do they think no one else will ever use it except them? Perhaps.

Speaking of using the trail, I saw a pair of cyclists on the way in carefully studying the map, the one that clearly states NO CYCLING in multiple spots, and which includes directions to alternate routes. I confirmed that bikes were not allowed and directed them to the alternate route. They seemed displeased and I can’t blame them, because a bike lane on a road is not as nice as a trail around a lake, but they actually turned around and left, so kudos to them.

Overall this run went about as expected. I will cling to that third km where I briefly hit my stride as an example of how I can still run decently, as long as I, you know, actually go out and run.

And now I am off to dry my feet.

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