Run 644: Down by the riverside

Run 644
Average pace: 5:45/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 2:58 pm
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 28:52
Weather: Partly sunny
Temp: 7ºC
Humidity: 76%
Wind: light
BPM: 170
Weight: 1706. pounds
Total distance to date: 4830 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (190 km)

After messing around on the treadmill for a few weeks, I could not deny that today the weather was perfectly fine for running outside. I did deny it, a little, and as a result got a late start, not beginning until almost 3 p.m. Because of this, I opted to run at the river, rather than the lake, but compensated a little by walking to the far end of the trail before starting.

Conditions were actually pretty similar to the last run back in November, with little wind and partly sunny skies. I made no plans to push, I just wanted to complete 5K without any embarrassing pratfalls. Or falls.

And I did! Perhaps the workouts on the treadmill have made a difference (though the river vs. lake is generally a faster, easier run), but I lopped an entire 17 minutes from my previous pace, coming in at an average of 5:45/km. I experienced no cramps or other issues, just a general sense of still not being in great shape. But it was okay.

Being outside reminded me of how different it is than the treadmill. It’s cold. You have wind resistance. Did I mention it’s cold? You never know what that giant unleashed dog is going to do. The river trail kind of stinks a little. But when it isn’t stinky, it’s nice to run on a course that actually has turns, to feel that breeze, even if it freezes your cheeks, to see other people, even if they have giant unleashed dogs.

And I was pleasantly surprised by the pace, though the BPM is right on the edge of what I’m comfortable with.

In all, though, a nice return to the great urban outdoors.

Run 642: Two weeks later, two seconds slower

Run 642
Average pace: 5:52/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 10:33 am
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 58:47
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 6-7ºC
Humidity: 84%
Wind: light
BPM: 160
Weight: 169.1 pounds
Total distance to date: 4820 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (180 km)

I did not run last weekend for various reasons that I sum up as runner ennui, a term I just made up now. The weather was nice, I just lacked any motivation at all. I can’t even say I was feeling lazy, I just felt a total lack of ambition.

This weekend, the weather was again nice, but chilly, so I donned my layers and headed out, taking advantage of the (still dumb) switch back to Pacific Standard Time. Although I left around 9:45 a.m. it felt more like 10:45 a.m., which worked to my advantage.

As it was sunny, the lake was packed full of people, including a large number of runners, many running in pairs or small groups. I generally navigated most of these groups fine, but there were a few near-misses thanks to the ever-baffling lack of situational awareness that some people exhibit, even though they have functioning eyes and presumably functioning brains. In one instance two girls stood off to the side of the trail. A half second later I would have passed, but one of the girls, even though she saw me, still chose to step out into my path rather than wait that half second, then seemed confused about what she had done. Baffling!

A group of four runners were running abreast of each other, taking up the entire width of the trail. The one on my side moved very slightly in, giving me barely enough room, because falling back for a moment is apparently an inconceivable horror. I don’t understand people.

A family of cyclists were camped out on the Still Creek bridge with one of the kids having some issue or another. They were close to the trail exit, so I said nothing and just moved around them. Another cyclist, riding fast and not paying much attention, caught me by surprise at a corner and left me sufficiently stunned by the near-collision that I didn’t even know how to react. I finally turned my head around and mumbled something about no bikes allowed. He was long gone.

But enough about the weird, crowdy people. As mentioned, it was cool, but I wore two layers and warmed up quickly. I chose a modest pace, stuck to it and only felt a bit of a stick in my lower-left side for a few minutes early on, before it went away. My fastest pace was the final km, at 5:41, edging the start by one second. Generally I felt good and the trail was in good shape, other than the marshy area past the fields, which was filled with puddles and generally damp despite no recent rain. Maybe the swamp is backing up. This is one of the last areas that really needs to be resurfaced.

The best part may be my BPM dropping back to 160, which is a full 21 beats lower than the previous, rainy run. I can’t say for sure with only a single data point, but it would seem cold + rain = heart works a lot harder, where cold alone doesn’t have as much effect.

Overall, a solid effort and about what I was expecting. I am actively looking at treadmills, so here’s hoping I can continue runs indoors now that the standard time perpetual dark mode™ has been enabled for the next four months.

Run 639: The pause that fertilizes

Run 639
Average pace: 5:43/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 12:55 pm
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 57:15
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 10ºC
Humidity: 46%
Wind: light
BPM: 168
Weight: 166.1 pounds
Total distance to date: 4790 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (150 km)

After missing a week of runs due to illness and in one case poor planning/laziness, I finally set out today on a rare mid-week afternoon run, since I had to take the day off for workers to put tape on and then paint our condo door and drill a hole above said door for a new fiber drop (fiber drops are being added to all suites).

Upon waking up it was an unseasonably cold 0ºC. Yes, actual freezing in the second week of October. I planned on running around 10 and by then it was up to 6ºC. I was delayed for a variety of reasons (laziness not being one this time) and finally headed out around noon.

One of the delays was sensing I had to use the potty before heading out and wanted to make sure I got that out of the way first, because running and having to go, especially when the going is pooping, is a bad combination.

By noon the temperature was a relatively balmy 10ºC, but I still opted to wear my gray long-sleeved shirt. In retrospect the lighter Nike shirt would have sufficed, or even a regular t-shirt, as I only felt a bit cool on the walk back and that was mostly fixed by keeping my hands in my pockets. Even a decade later, I can still manage to overdress.

I opted to go counter-clockwise today and set a moderate pace, not wanting to go all crazy post-recovery and post-not running for a week. I had no real issues and despite the incredibly nice weather–a perfectly clear sky and little wind–the trail was not particularly crowded. But.

But around the 2K mark I spied a group of four women walking ahead, just past Piper Spit. Further beyond them the trail splits three ways, one to the Nature House (closed), one continuing the lake loop, and the third leading to the Piper Mill trail, which was my destination. I figured they would stick to the main trail and if they got to the intersection first, I would not have to navigate around them.

This did not happen.

Instead, I closed the gap and as I approached (the trail is narrow here, so I knew I could not dip of to the sides to go around), I cleared my throat and stomped my feet a little more forcefully to let them know I was approaching. This, it turned out, was an error. I should have just yelled, :Behind you!” As it was, the two women in the back were to the right, so I could pass them on the left. The two in front were on the left, meaning I would need to deke over and pass them on the right. There was not a lot of room, but enough to do this.

Except the woman on the right suddenly decided to shift to the right, putting herself directly in my path. I moved as much like a ninja as I could to avoid a collision, and ended up putting both hands on her shoulders to keep myself from plowing her over. Without stopping I apologized and kept going. She stood frozen as if she had seen some cosmic horror. Maybe I look that bad when running.

Anyway, it was unsettling, but didn’t really throw me off, and though I encountered others after, they all obligingly moved out of the way when they were blocking my path.

I had no issues during the run and was never in any doubt I’d manage the full 10K–until about the midway point. My stamina was still fine. My knees were behaving. My legs and feet were cooperating. So what was the issue?

In a word, my bowels. I suddenly had to go…again.The halfway point us by the fields and I thought of pausing the run to use the washroom at the nearby clubhouse (the door even says JOGGERS on it). I decided I could wait–a wait that would be about 27 minutes before the Jiffy John was at hand at the end of the run.

I was wrong.

Around the 6K mark I began to question the wisdom of skipping the washroom. By the time I was hitting the first boardwalk I was actively looking for a place to duck off the trail to do my business, not unlike a bear in the woods. I spotted one just past the boardwalk, made my way into the brush and behind a large and hopefully concealing tree. I did my business, avoided using leaves as surrogate toilet paper because I imagined what it would feel like later if I wiped my butt with poison ivy, and returned to the trail, lighter, but not faster. In fact, this coincided with my slowest point in the run. I picked up the pace a bit, fell back again, then made another effort on the final stretch to finish with a respectable overall pace of 5:43/km, pretty much right in the middle of my first two 10Ks.

The cold definitely had an effect on the run. While I felt fine my body was clearly working harder, both being a bit off and due to the cold. My BPM was 168–still below the 170 threshold, but not by much. Still, I felt fine, never winded or creaky.

Overall, a good run, despite the unwanted call of nature butting (heh heh) in.