Haiku to The Rains

We’ve had a rainfall warning the last few days, which, as you might guess, means a whole lot of rain– between 40-90 mm, depending on where exactly you are. It’s been quite wet.

The Rains

The rains fall heavy
Vehicles splash and spray me
My spirit is damp

The rain actually doesn’t bother me–this is definitely the wrong area to live if it does–and I’ve learned to avoid the areas where splashing and spraying can happen.

But I still remember that dark winter day last year when I was learning that lesson, diverting along the one block stretch of Brunette Avenue between the Sapperton SkyTrain station and my place, unable to take the much nicer hospital lane, closed (and still closed until December 2019) due to construction. This section of Brunette tends to be driven at highway speeds. I don’t know what the actual speed limit is here, but I am reasonably certain it’s not highway speed. The combination of excess water on the road and the aforementioned high speed led to me getting soaked with a great wave of water that fanned over the sidewalk. I stood for a moment, trying to register the fact that this little slice of a comedy movie had actually happened to me.

I walked on and got soaked three more times. I was very wet when I got home. In the end I found it kind of funny. And instructive. I’ve never risked the same trip along Brunette again during The Rains. The safe diversion adds two blocks to my trip, a small price to pay in exchange for not getting a metric ton of water sprayed on me at high velocity.

A haiku for a soggy summer start

The rain falls in June
I know the sun will return
Burn my arms again

Which is true. No matter what I do I always end up with some degree of sunburn on my arms, it’s like one of the laws of the universe. This year I’m using sunblock to see if my body is actually resistant to active sunburn prevention.

I will provide photographic evidence as needed in the near future to demonstrate the outcome of this.

Run 562: Ice and fire, except instead of fire, rain

Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 12:19 pm
Distance: 5.07 km
Time: 30:04
Weather: Rain
Temp: 2ºC
Humidity: 95%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 174
Weight: 1621.4 pounds
Total distance to date: 4375 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

This run was grossbuckets. The last time I finished a 5K run with a time over 30 minutes was…never? My BPM was high (more on this in a bit) and I came home cold and soaked.

Wednesday’s run was done in light and fluffy snow. It was fine, even a little pleasant. I kept warm. My pace was slower but that’s expected, you don’t want to go dashing through the snow, Christmas carols notwithstanding, because you can slip and fall and no one writes carols about injuring yourself.

Since then it has been raining almost constantly, so much so that I expected the trail to be pretty much snow-free today.

I dressed a bit differently again, keeping the running pants but swapping out the top layers to a pair of long-sleeved shirts, since I know my running jacket is poop in the rain. I did not take gloves as I could keep the hands tucked in the longer sleeves of my red Nike shirt.

The walk to the lake was dismal and a sign of things to come. Though much of the trail was bare, the parts that weren’t consisted primarily of the crusty old snow that fell before Wednesday and had become hard and slick. In areas where it covered the trail I had to walk along the edges to get away from that “walking on an ice rink” feeling.

At the lake itself I made a tactical error by running clockwise. I did this as a change of pace but forgot that the south side of the lake is much more open than the north and this meant that large sections of the trail consisted of lumpy, frozen remnants of snow that were rather slippery. I ran along the edge of the trail where I could. I moved deliberately where I couldn’t. I walked rather than jogged on my approach to the bridge at Deer Lake Brook to prevent going splat. My feet slipped multiple times, though I stayed upright, like a fully advanced human.

Much of the run was like this, a laborious, tedious series of constant adjustments, slowing down and then speeding up on clear patches, picking through the maze-like sheets of ice-like snow, running down clear lines made by service vehicles that ended in giant puddles and having to navigate around the puddles on very slick surfaces. It felt like work, a chore. Combined with the cold and rain, my BPM edged even higher to 174.

I decided to end the miserable exercise at 5K. This run was the polar (ho ho) opposite of enjoyable and the few others I saw out “jogging” were just as foolish as I for being out there in such awful conditions.

Oh, and it also poured the entire time, too. It’s still pouring now. If I stop typing and listen carefully I can hear the neighbors assembling an ark.

The walk out of the park was almost as bad, with lots of slippery spots, but also with the bonus of walking into the cold wind for about four km.

My pace of 5:55/km is something of a miracle given how terrible the trail was. These were the worst running conditions I’ve seen in eight years and 4375+ km of running. Impressive, in a horrible sort of way.

It’s supposed to dry out over the next few days but not get much warmer. With little sun it’s unlikely the icy mess will be gone quickly, though if the forecast is off, it might not matter as the entire area will probably be underwater, anyway.

In summary: BLEAH.

The Rains

After running in the snow yesterday the temperature rose above freezing and the snow today has turned to rain.

And it rained and rained and rained.

If it had stayed cold we’d be up to our eyeballs in snow right now, so in a way it’s good that it rained instead, even if the entrance to the building I live in is now a growing lake thanks to mostly imaginary drainage.

Only six more months until summer!

If April showers bring May flowers…

The old adage says that April showers bring May flowers. If this is true, I expect to see the following in seven days, based on the current precipitation for the month:

Day of the triffids

Run 484: Rain rain rain rain rain rain

Run 484
Average pace: 5:39/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 5.05 km
Time: 28:34
Weather: Heavy rain
Temp: 7ºC
Wind: light
BPM: 168
Stride: n/a
Weight: 166.2 pounds
Total distance to date: 3810 km
Devices/apps: Apple Watch, iPhone

After 18 days of not-running (I was using the unwelcome lump of something or other to justify the inactivity, then when I saw my doctor I forgot to ask if running was okay. Since the answer almost certainly would have been yes and since I’d obviously been running with the unwelcome lump but just not realizing it was there, I made the call to drag my butt outside once again).

Around 9  a.m. I eyeballed the conditions. A steady rain was coming down. I opted to wait to see if it would stop or at least ease up.

It did not.

Finally, shortly after noon, I got dressed and headed to the river trail under a dismal gray sky. Within a block I was quite wet.

But I would get wetter still.

I crossed North Road and proceeded along the short (roughly one block) stretch to the entrance to the river trail. Cars were flying down the hill from the north, as usual, and I observed that at certain points they would hit copious amounts of water on the pavement, causing the water to spray vigorously in the direction of the sidewalk. I made note of this and timed my movement to avoid getting splashed.

I got splashed anyway.

A bracing wall of water sprang from the road, tiger-like, and fell down my right side, soaking it thoroughly. At this point, I was already drenched from the rain so I shrugged it off and continued.

During the run, the sky began to brighten, which usually signals the storm easing up or even passing. This did not happen. It began to rain even harder, the brighter conditions simply improving the visibility of the rain.

It rained the entire run and on the walk back home. My running short and shorts are still a little damp almost 24 hours later.

But it was 7ºC and wind was minimal so it wasn’t too cold, a small but vital saving grace. I wasn’t burning up the trail but likewise, I never felt I was struggling to finish despite the time off since the last run.

In the end, this was a virtual duplicate of the last run. The time of the two runs was separated by a single second, the average pace likewise, though this time I was a smidgen faster at 5:39/km.

I experienced minimal soreness after, which is encouraging. I’ll try to stick to regular runs again as part of my 2017 HealthQuest.

The week looks depressingly wet. If April showers bring May flowers we’re gearing up for Day of the Triffids next month.

But overall, I’m glad I ran and am pleased that the results stayed the same as my last run.

 Five best things about snow in Vancouver

  1. It’s better than molten lava pouring down the streets.
  2. It makes things ever so slightly quieter outside, creating a pseudo-small town ambience.
  3. There’s no chance of it piling up between May and August (note: this may change in a few decades).
  4. Provides opportunity to build cool forts at no cost (cool forts–get it?!)
  5. As far as we know, snow doesn’t cause cancer.

The current forecast calls for 3-7 cm of snow on Saturday. This qualifies as a moderate amount of snow. Sunday’s forecast is 22 mm of rain, turning the freshly fallen snow into less-than-fresh piles of slush. Fortunately (?) the rest of the week looks wet enough (and above freezing) that it should wash away whatever remnants of the white stuff that survives the weekend.

Running on Sunday is looking a tad dicey, though. I’ve never run in slush and it’s not something that makes my socks roll up and down in excitement, either.

Basically I’m ready for summer.

Run 414: First day of Spring 2016 with bonus rain rain rain

Run 414
Average pace: 5:50/km
Location: Burnaby Lake CW
Distance: 7.45 km
Time: 43:28
Weather: Rain, rain, rain
Temp: 9-11ºC
Wind: low
BPM: 168
Stride: n/a
Weight: 170.3 pounds
Total distance to date: 3355
Device used: Apple Watch and iPhone 6

Today is the first day of spring and I’m pretty sure we hit our quota of rain for the season already. I know because I was there.

As I headed out, it was about 9ºC, which is relatively mild. A light rain was falling from the moment I stepped outside and it did not let up the entire run. It actually started coming down fairly hard toward the end. Fortunately it had not been raining for long before I went out so while there was a good amount of puddle hopping there was only one small spot that required especially dexterous maneuvering.

My lower legs still emerged covered in a spray of dirt and more curiously, a fair amount of bits of bark.

There were few people out given the weather, but the split was even between walkers and runners. Everyone looked very wet. Most walkers eschewed umbrellas for sturdy raincoats with hoods. Most of the runners just got soaked. Like me.

I started feeling a bit of a burn and then a stitch in my left side, a sure sign that my early pace was exceeding my grasp. I slowed down and eventually the stitch subsided. I tried picking up the pace toward the end and the splits bear this out, with the last 1.5 km being a bit brisker. That first km was 5:13/km, altogether too fast for my current level of fitness. Fortunately my body is not shy about sending signals to the effect of “OH MY GOD ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?! YOU ARE, I CAN TELL. SLOW DOWN, IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY, SLOW DOWN!”

My overall pace of 5:50/km is my best of my weekly runs and I even ran a decent bit more than intended, going 7.45 km instead of the planned 7 km.

The left foot was hurting a little but it was pretty minor and I don’t feel it affected my pace.

I am as pleased with this run as I am displeased with the weather during it, so pretty pleased!

I am tentatively planning on starting thrice-weekly runs again by heading out after work on Tuesday, probably on a 5K on the Brunette River trail. We shall see.

Spring, please

It’s the first day of March, I’m ready for spring. Instead it’s soggy and cold outside (admittedly it would be even worse if it was cold and soggy inside). I do not approve.

If this situation has not changed by March 20 (spring equinox) I will be cross. Cross, I say.

The first fall 2014 run with bonus monsoon

Run 354
Average pace: 5:26/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Ran Spruce and Conifer Loops and Piper Mill Trail
Distance: 5.05 km
Weather: Heavy rain
Temp: 18ºC
Wind: light
Calories burned: 374
Total distance to date: 2968

If Sunday’s run was a struggle through the blasted heat of the desert, tonight’s was trying to dodge the flash flood from the once-a-year deluge.

With a very low bar of beating my previous tortoise-like pace of 5:41/km, I was still not looking forward to tonight’s run, given the soggy forecast. On the first full day of fall the first fall storm was sweeping in, with high winds, rain and plenty more rain on top of that.

The forecast was accurate. It poured throughout my run and my dodging skills were given a full workout as I ducked, weaved and just plain leaped over increasingly huge puddles.

Perhaps because of the uncharacteristic need to leap, my left butt cheek actually felt a bit sore toward the end of the run.

I bottomed out around the halfway mark (3rd km pace: 5:37/km) but was overall fairly steady, just slower than average. Even with the torrential rain, the run was an improvement, if still generally horrible. My pace was 5:26/km overall, slow for a 10K, downright sluggish for a 5K but 16 seconds better than Sunday’s run, so I’ll take it.

It promises to be about the same temperature but perhaps a little drier on Thursday so the bar is still set low: beat tonight’s pace.

The very wet mid-August run

Run 342
Average pace: 5:18/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Ran Spruce and Conifer Loops
Distance: 10.04 km
Weather: Heavy rain
Temp: 18-17ºC
Wind: light
Calories burned: 772
Total distance to date: 2867

I dedicate the following songs to today’s run:

Here Comes the Rain Again
Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head
The Rain is Falling

And of course:

Goodbye Blue Sky

I spent an hour this morning trying to out-wait the rain before giving up, going out and getting drenched. The light rain changed to a heavy rain well before I got to the lake and by the end of the run my shirt and shorts were clinging to me like very clingy things and it felt like I had picked up an extra ten pounds from the weight of the water in them.

I ended up a few seconds slower than the previous run, coming in at a pace of 5:18/km. This was likely due to the extra navigation required to maneuver around the copious number of puddles that grew even as I made my way around the lake. At several points the puddles were more pools than I just had to plow through.

I did experience a minute or so of light pain in a muscle somewhere between the left calf and knee but it appeared suddenly and left the same way. The legs felt fine afterward.

The lower temperature–it actually got cooler as I ran–meant I had enough energy to pick up the pace for a strong finish, which was nice to see.

A surprising number of people were out walking the loop, particularly along the Cottonwood Trail and near the start of the Avalon Trail. Regulars, perhaps. It was somewhat annoying because they all had giant umbrellas that effectively blocked any easy way to pass by. The roar of the rain also meant they were oblivious to my approach. I managed to avoid going in the ditch, though.

I also saw about half a dozen dedicated runners getting soaked to their collective hineys. Most were dressed like me in shorts and t-shirts but one was wearing a jacket. That sounds sensible for a run in heavy rain but at 17-18ºC it wasn’t cold so he probably ended up extra sweaty underneath. Kind of a lose-lose situation on a day like this, really.

Here’s hoping Friday’s run is a wee bit drier.

The longer, faster and a whole lot wetter run

Run 320
Average pace: 5:12/km

Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Ran Spruce and Conifer Loops and Piper Mill Trail
Distance: 11.04 km
Weather: Cloudy with heavy rain
Temp: 17ºC
Wind: light to moderate
Calories burned: 849
Total distance to date: 2722

My goals today were:

  • run a full loop around the lake
  • beat the slug-like pace of the previous run while also avoiding actual slugs

As I head off to the lake I noted the sky to the south looked mostly friendly, while the sky to the north looked dark and ominous, with a curtain of rain already falling over Burnaby Mountain. I was unsure which side would win this North vs. South scenario but had not prepared for rain.

You can probably guess how this ends up.

I tried applying a little more gas this time and the hip was again mostly fine, only making its presence felt when the other parts of my legs quieted down, as if they had all agreed that balance was essential:

Hip: I’m feeling pretty good now. Someone want to take over?
Left thigh muscle: I’m on it. It’s only been a few km, I can start throbbing for awhile.
Hip: Sounds good. How about you, Left Foot Pad?
Left Foot Pad: I’m lined up to start hurting around the 8K mark.
Hip: Excellent. We’re set.

I knew my pace would generally be slower since my body is still not tuned for longer runs quite yet but could feel I was ahead of the last run’s languid saunter.

Everything was fine and just as I hit 4K mark the first few drops of rain began to fell. These few drops turned into a torrential downpour that lasted the next four km. For the final three km it eased off into light showers. I was left suitably drenched.

It didn’t affect the run, though. Except for a dip as I neared the 10K mark I stayed on a fairly even pace and finished at 5:12/km, a whopping 15 second improvement over the previous run. I also didn’t step on any slugs to my knowledge. Mission accomplished.

As a final note, the number of puddles I dodged was approximately ten million.