Run 616: Stinky and warm, with a dash of deja vu

Run 616
Average pace: 5:42/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:28 pm
Distance: 5.04 km
Time: 28:48
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 25ºC
Humidity: 43%
Wind: light
BPM: 157
Weight: 167.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4660 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (15 km)

Today’s run (delayed by one day mainly due to laziness) was essentially a duplicate of Tuesday’s. My average pace was the same, though BPM was a bit lower. My overall time was an entire one second faster, 28:48 vs. 28:49.

That’s the kind of thing I could never deliberately do and it weirds me out every time it happens. Having it happen on back to back runs is maybe even weirder still.

It was warmer today, mainly due to the sun being out, but I experienced no issues other than feeling a bit of a burn in the first km while establishing my pace. The stinky part was the sewer line that runs under the trail being extra ripe and producing a lingering odor that could be smelled at both ends of the run and for a good bit in-between. It wasn’t so bad to really affect me, except to make me note how much stinkier this run was compared to most.

There’s not much more to add. The Sauconys continue to perform well and I am totally grooving on wearing shoes that are genuinely light again. As I was expecting to be a bit slower today, matching Tuesday’s run is a nice surprise.

Next up will be a lake run. I’ll see how the new shoes hold up there.

Run 615: Bicycles and sprinkles

Run 615
Average pace: 5:42/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:20 pm
Distance: 5.04 km
Time: 28:49
Weather: Cloudy with sprinkles
Temp: 24ºC
Humidity: 51%
Wind: light
BPM: 159
Weight: 167.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4655 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (10 km)

The sprinkles were the rain kind, not the fun kind you put on ice cream. But it didn’t amount to much.

I was bad/lazy on the weekend. After skipping running on Saturday due to sleeping in and other commitments, I vowed to run on Sunday, which was commitment-free. Come Sunday and it rained. Normally I don’t mind, but even though it was a light rain, it was steady, meaning I’d be soaked within minutes of stepping outside and remain soaked for almost three hours after.

The prospect had minimal appeal. By minimal, I mean none.

So I waited for a break in the weather, but each break seemed to only be minutes long. In the end I frittered away the afternoon before the guilt finally got to me. Around 6 o’clock I headed out and did a near-5K walk. It didn’t rain.

All if this means I went four days without running. I went into tonight’s run expecting to be slower, but was unsure how much. Was the last run a fluke? Would the new shoes lead me to a more pedestrian pace on the second time out?

As it turns out, I was slower, but my pace was only off by five seconds–5:43/km vs. 5:38/km. This is within the usual variance from one run to the next. My BPM was up slightly, but still below 160 at 159. Other than that, I had no issues at all. The stitch from the last run stayed away this time and no other problems emerged.

Bicycles? Yes! For some reason there were hordes of cyclists, but they’re allowed on the river trail and it’s flat and wide, so it was more a curiosity than anything.

I also got stopped just moments after starting the run by a cyclist. He said he was new in the area and all the BEARS WILL EAT YOU signs apparently freaked him out. He wanted to know if the area was infested with bears and perhaps demons or other deadly beasts. I told him in eight years I’d seen two bears. He asked me how to act if you see one. I explained, even though the signs he mentioned also explain this quite clearly. He kept going on, then it started to sprinkle. He said he was glad he wore a jacket (it was actually muggy and pretty warm at 24ºC) and the thought of getting wet seemed to motivate him to finally leave.

I also mentioned seeing coyotes and bobcats in the area, but never mentioned the python. He’ll probably never come back.

The new shoes performed admirably again. I am delighted at how easy they are to pop on and off, and how simple it is to “lace” them and never worry about the laces coming untied.

Overall, this was another solid run, proving the last was no fluke. I should get one more at the lake before going away on vacation for a week, so it will be interesting to see how the shoes hold up under slightly trickier conditions.

Run 614: New shoes, apparently with turbo boost

Run 614
Average pace: 5:38/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:26 pm
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 28:18
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 20ºC
Humidity: 63%
Wind: light
BPM: 157
Weight: 169.1 pounds
Total distance to date: 4650 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (5 km)

Yesterday I bought a new pair of trail runners, my first purchase in a long while. Woo, new shoes. Specifically I got the Saucony Switchback ISOs, which come with a wacky lacing system that doesn’t require actually tying the laces, as you use an attachment to wind the tension of the wire-like lace instead. It seems a bit gimmicky, but also makes sense, too. Once the tension is set, the lace is locked until you actually pop the release mechanism, something that would be extremely difficult to do accidentally.

Still, you never know what new shoes are going to be like, and my last two runs, one at the lake and one at the river, have both been on the slower side.

I put on the shoes and delighted in how lightweight they are. The feel is a bit loose, unlike the Cascadia shoes, which fit snug enough to leave almost no wiggle room. In fact, the Switchbacks are so light in terms of weight and material that they reminded me of my New Balance MT100 minimalist shoes from way back when.

One of the best things I can say about them is how shortly after the run I stopped thinking about them and thought of other things.

The weather was mild and cloudy, though it was conspicuously more humid, which meant sweating. Still, even though I pushed a bit at times, I never felt like I was gasping for breath. I was working, but it felt controlled.

I did have one complication near the end, a stitch in my lower left side. It lasted maybe 300 meters or so and I basically ignored it, willing it to go away. And it did, so I clearly demonstrated my superiority over stitches. At least for today.

What surprised me the most about the run was the sheer speed. My walk to the river trail was sluggish, so I certainly didn’t feel primed for a fast pace, yet I ended with a pace of 5:38/km, a full 33 seconds better than Monday’s run at the lake and 24 seconds better than my previous river run. To put this in context, I finished the run almost three minutes earlier than on Monday. My BPM was also lower at 157.

The workout app tracks cadence and with the new shoes it was 172 SPM, which is in range of my usual pace. I suspect that this will not change much with the new shoes. Maybe if I also got new legs…

Overall, this was a surprising and pleasant result. 5:38/km is far better than my usual runs of late, so it’s possible it was a fluke, but maybe it’s the start of a trend. I’ll have a better idea on Saturday when I do my next run at the lake.

Note that since I have new shoes, I am tracking how much I’ve run in them, as I usually just wait until the shoes fall apart to replace them, which is a bit sub-optimal.

Run 611: Faster with no raccoons

Run 611
Average pace: 5:52/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:26 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:29
Weather: Partly sunny
Temp: 22ºC
Humidity: 36%
Wind: light
BPM: 160
Weight: 168.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4635 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

For the first time since 1907–when wearing athletic shorts outdoors could get you arrested–I did two runs in three days.

Even better, I proved Sunday was no fluke, improving my average pace by another six seconds (though the river trail is more forgiving, as I’ve noted before). Even better than that, my average heart rate was drastically lower, from 177 previously to 160 today.

I started out trying to not go too fast and burn out quickly, but still managed an opening pace of 5:31/km, positively zippy compared to recent runs. The second km it caught up to me as I slid back to 6:06/km.The fourth km was my fastest, which is unusual, at 5:28/km. I don’t have any real explanation for why the pace was like the proverbial roller coaster, except that I may have been automatically putting on the brakes when it felt like I was going too fast.

With no issues–no cramps, knees there but not a problem–this was about as good a follow-up to Sunday as I could have gotten. The weather was much warmer at 22ºC and it was a lot less humid, but with the sun mostly tucked behind high cloud, it actually felt fine. If I continue on a regular run schedule moving forward, my next run would be Thursday, where it is forecast to be 17ºC (good) with light rain (not so good). Motivation will be tricky, but we’ll see if I can build on the smidgen of momentum I’ve built up, instead of buying a giant bag of potato chips and snarfing them on the couch.

Run 610: Faster, with bonus racoon

Run 610
Average pace: 5:58/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 10:29 am
Distance: 5:04 km
Time: 30:04
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 14ºC
Humidity: 77%
Wind: light
BPM: 177
Weight: 167.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4630 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

Back on my weekly schedule, I headed out today under very different conditions, with cloudy skies, a high of 14ºC and humidity high enough to eliminate dreaded dry mouth syndrome or DMS as the imaginary experts in my head call it. I also chose to run clockwise for a change of pace.

The results were unexpected.

On the expected front, I thought my pace would be better–the clockwise run tends to be a little easier to navigate, with more inclines heading down instead of up and generally just being a wee bit less technical. I was correct on this part, my pace was better.

What I didn’t expect was that it would be what is likely the best back to back improvement in pace ever–a full 30 second improvement. This is the average pace, so my actual time to complete the run today was 2:26 minutes faster. That is an astonishing difference. I went from a plodding 6:28/km last week to 5:58/km today, the first time I’ve managed to crack the six minute mark in awhile. I am delighted by this.

I am also delighted by having no issues, despite pushing myself harder, save for two: a minor twinge in my right ankle that sorted itself out quickly, and an elevated heart rate–an uncomfortably high 177. Not unexpected given the dramatically faster pace and my general lack of fitness. Curiously the Apple Watch was unable to record the full hear rate chart, claiming there were not heart rate measurements. Maybe this is the first sign that Apple thinks I need to move on from the now lowly Series 2 to something newer and shinier and also by total coincidence way more expensive.

One other less delightful aspects was getting gravel in my shoe less than 10 meters into the run. At least it was small enough to not be annoying (I have provisionally picked out new shoes and will be looking at them this week). Also, weirdly, there was a racoon on the trail right at the start, too. I encountered it twice, actually, the first time walking the trail to the Jiffy John® and the second time when I retraced my steps back to the 0K marker to begin my run. Each time it quickly trundled into the bush and waited for me to pass, which is fine by me. Raccoons are kind of cute but also kind of scary. I tend to think all of them have rabies for some reason. I probably watched some bad TV movie about it when I was younger.

Despite the cool and cloudy conditions–which were delightful for running–it was busier than expected, though no great traffic jams happened. A lot of fellow runners apparently also found the weather to their liking.

I am planning to run Tuesday after work, totally for real this time. The current forecast is pleasant, so I shouldn’t have rain mixed in to further dampen (ho ho) my enthusiasm for running more than once a week. Jeff is onboard for holding back dinner until my run is over. We shall see.

Overall, this run was unexpected in terms of performance, and while I don’t expect to match the pace again right away, it’s nice to know I can still do sub-6:00 minute runs.

Run 596: Fire danger low, slug danger high

Run 596
Average pace: 5:36/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 3:45 pm
Distance: 5:02 km
Time: 28:11
Weather: Overcast, some sun
Temp: 15ºC
Humidity: 80%
Wind: nil to light
BPM: 168
Weight: 163.3 pounds
Total distance to date: 4560 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone 8

Last night we had a rare thunderstorm advisory for Metro Vancouver warning people to stay indoors due to the possibility of flash floods. It rained copiously.

It was still raining this morning and I planned on running in the rain for the first time in quite awhile. But I waited to see if the rain would ease up.

I waited and waited.

Close to 3 p.m. the sky had brightened and I figured that was as good as it was going to get, so I put on my long-sleeved shirt, donned my wired Ear Pods (not wanting to risk the non-water resistant Air Pods that cost about seven times as much) and headed out into a light sprinkle.

Weirdly, by the time I got to the river, it stopped raining and it stayed stopped for both the run and the walk back. At times the sun even came out.

Considering I nearly skipped running altogether, it actually went very well. It was about 15ºC, which is, as far as I’m concerned, the Goldilocks temperature for running. I did sweat a little, but only because it was quite humid after the rain. I went clockwise around the lake, thinking the trails on the south side would be in better shape after the rain, but there were only a few puddles in total that I had to deke around. The trail was generally in quite good shape and sparsely populated, though more were coming out after I was winding down from the run.

Speaking of coming out, the slugs were everywhere. For every puddle I dodged I probably dodged ten slugs. It’s to the point where if it rains, I expect to see slugs everywhere I go now.

The run went surprisingly well. I felt good, had no issues, and trucked along, snipping five seconds off the last run and coming in at 5:36/km. My BPM was up a fair bit, to 168, but still (just) below the max I’m comfortable with. I jogged the majority of the walk out of the lake, with one km even coming in comfortably under the 6:00/km mark. I’m probably ready to run farther now, maybe even back to doing a full 10K, but my knees scare me. Stupid knees. Still, they held up well today. Maybe they like the damp.

Here’s where I once again vow to run during the week, but it’s strangely hard to motivate myself. Maybe now that I’ve done a “rain” run it will be easier.

Run 594: Tourist trap and topless runners

Run 594
Average pace: 5:43/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 12:08 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 28:51
Weather: Cloud, some sun
Temp: 19-20ºC
Humidity: 54%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 163
Weight: 161.7 pounds
Total distance to date: 4550 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone 8

Today’s run was mostly a repeat of Saturday’s, but with a few minor differences–it was very slightly cooler, the clouds managed to obscure the sun for the entire run (it cleared up after on the walk out) and I improved my pace by another three seconds. My BPM was also up slightly to 163, but that’s to be expected as I worked a little harder.

A pleasant breeze was blowing for most of the run, providing a nice bit of refreshment along the way.

It was also kind of crowded, as it usually is on stat holidays, with many people out for a walk, as well as a larger than normal number of joggers. This wasn’t really an issue, as even the “oh, I didn’t see you!” people were able to get out of the way before an inevitable collision. Strangely, at least three male joggers were topless. I say this was strange because it’s rare to see any guy running topless, let alone a gaggle of them. The first one zipped by me before I began my run, as I was looking for a place to pee (I’ll get to that in a moment).

He had a perfectly bronzed and perfectly chiseled body, so obviously did more than run. He didn’t have any earbuds or phone with him. He was here to run, not enjoy himself. He looked very serious. And he wasn’t jogging, he was running. He zoomed by. I estimated that I would see him again somewhere on the Cottonwood Trail, once I got started.

I was delayed a few minutes because I had to pee (no surprise) and the Jiffy John® was occupied (also no surprise). But when the occupant vacated the loo, a bee buzzed me and I backed off to prevent getting stung and the like. Then I noticed more bees gathered around the Jiffy John, including some buzzing along the bottom of the door, which has a generous-sized gap (generous for a bee, anyway). I contemplated the possibility of sharing the potty with one or more bees and maybe getting stung before the run.

I decided to pee elsewhere.

There’s a big tree on the other side of the dam and in the summer the surrounding foliage provides ample cover, so I relieved myself there and headed off.

After that it was pretty much smooth sailing, with no discomfort, no issues. I started slower so there weren’t the dramatic swings in the splits like Saturday, bit overall my pace improved. This was even nicer as counter-clockwise is the “hard” way.

I also ran more aggressively post-run, putting in what I estimate as probably about three km of running after officially finishing the 5K. I’m probably ready to try a 10K. My knees are afraid.

Overall, though, another good effort. Yay me.

Run 591: Slightly cheating

Run 591
Average pace: 5:37/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:25 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 28:15
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 25-24ºC
Humidity: 51%
Wind: light
BPM: 158
Weight: 163.2 pounds
Total distance to date: 4535 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone 8

A change in the wind today led to a lot of the smoke haze clearing, which meant that the sun no longer looked like it was being viewed from the surface of Mars. While I was still a bit sweaty on tonight’s run, it was significantly less than Tuesday, so that was nice. It was also a couple of degrees cooler, so it felt pleasant rather than warm and sticky. There are certain things that are nice when warm and sticky–the hot fudge on a sundae, for example. Your body while jogging is not one of these things.

The cheating came at the start of the run. Instead of starting at the entrance to the river trail, I started exactly one km after leaving the condo, which put me on the paved path alongside the dog park in Hume Park. This same path curves steeply downhill into Lower Hume Park, so a few moments after starting the run I was flying so fast my knees nearly popped out and achieved orbit. Granted, the whole super-fast part was only about five seconds total, but it did make my first km pace 5:24/km. To put that in perspective, here are the averages for the next three km:


Starting earlier netted me about 600m before getting to the river trail. I hit 5K after exiting the trail and just before getting to the crosswalk on East Columbia, so it worked out decently. And to be fair, my final km pace was 5:23/km, which was actually the fastest of all and I had no downhill cheaty bits to rely on.

Maybe the best news was my BPM dropping to 158, which I’m a lot more comfortable with than in the high 160s. Although I felt like I was pressing the whole way, I never felt tired or strained. It just felt like I was chugging along. Even the knees seemed pretty well-behaved.

Overall, then, a good run and a rare week where I got all three runs in. Yay for me!


Run 589: So many bicycles!

Run 589
Average pace: 5:54/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 11:51 am
Distance: 5:02 km
Time: 29:42
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 20ºC
Humidity: 69%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 167
Weight: 160.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4525 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone 8

Due to a nasty lingering summer cold, today was my first run in two weeks and I feared the little stamina I’d built up would swirl down some metaphorical drain. I was hoping to come in under 6:00/km again, but as I only managed that by one second last time, I was not optimistic.

But the weather was also drastically different–a mere 20ºC and cloudy. And I did something I never normally do. I checked my pace at each km (except the fourth because I missed the alert for that one). Normally I don’t want to know until it’s over, but I had a goal today and checking my pace would be helpful.

When the first km came in at 5:38/km, I was reasonably confident I could break six minutes. When the third km dipped to an even 6:00/km my confidence wavered slightly, but I pressed on and finished with a pace of 5:54/km, accomplishing the rare feat of being faster after a lay-off. My BPM was up, though, underscoring the extra effort I was putting in.

So overall I am delighted with the results. I experienced no real issues and the knees, while a tad creaky, held up.

Now, the bicycles. :P

After coming off the second boardwalk and onto the lush resurfaced Pavilion Trail, I encountered what seemed like dozens of cyclists. It was a family numbering about six. One of the little boys had gotten too close to the edge of the trail and after resurfacing the edges are quite soft, so his bike folded over and went down in what may have been the world’s slowest bike accident. I had the music playing so I couldn’t hear the ensuing conversation, but the gesturing of the father suggested he was scolding his son for being a dummy. Of course, the accident never should have happened because NONE OF THEM SHOULD HAVE EVEN BEEN THERE. They also completely blocked the trail, forcing me to tackle the soft edge myself to get around them. They seemed oblivious to me.

I then encountered the same group again when I was walking out, but this time at a wider point and with all of them managing to stay upright. I hope they all got flats and then got fined by a parks worker, and were forced to walk their flat-tired bikes off the trail. Yes, even the kids. It’s the only way they’ll learn.

Still, even the cyclists couldn’t take away the pleasant feeling from the run. Showers were originally threatened, but never materialized, so I even got to stay dry. I’ll try to run during the week, but it looks like it may be warmer then.

Also, bonus image time! As I was heading out, I came across a tree that had collapsed just past the 1K mark. Poor, tired tree. It fell probably less than 10 meters from where another tree recently collapsed. Circle of life or secret tree suicide pact?

Tree collapses just past 1K mark. Should have trained more, obviously.

Run 585: Reptiles, roadwork and strange results

Run 585
Average pace: 6:03/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 12:47 pm
Distance: 5:04 km
Time: 30:32
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 19-23ºC
Humidity: 69%
Wind: light
BPM: 163
Weight: 161.4 pounds
Total distance to date: 4505 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone 8

Today I ran the same route as my previous run, with a few differences:

  • I ran in the early afternoon instead of early morning
  • it was more humid
  • it was cloudy
  • it was 19-23ºC instead of 24-28ºC

That last one is the big one.

I actually felt kind of energetic and in fact my first km was under the six minute mark. The rest were not, alas, but I still came in at 6:03/km, a nine-second improvement over the last run and a move (ho ho) in the right direction. My knees are a bit sore after but I really don’t feel they made a difference in the run itself. My right calf is also a bit sore, but not from the last run. I think I pulled it while sleeping, perhaps while dreaming of some future dystopia I may yet live to see.

Overall, then, I was pleased by the improvement (BPM also down to 163), but was left a bit disappointed that I didn’t break the 6:00/km mark..and a bit puzzled, too.

Normally when I run counter-clockwise at the lake I run the three optional loops. Because I start a bit past the official 0K marker, the additional loops help pad the difference, so I usually end a 5K run near the actual 5K marker. But today that didn’t happen. In fact, I finished well past the marker, as illustrated below.

Google Maps put this at about 365 m, which is, well, quite a bit past 5 km. I’m not sure if the tracking just went bonkers for a bit or what, but I remember looking at the watch as I neared the 5K marker and when it reported 4.67 km I was displeased. I was displeased for another 365 m. :P

But overall I’m happy with the run, regardless of how the technology recorded my efforts. I felt zippy enough to do a lot of running on the way back, at one point bringing my walking pace below 8:00/km.

This was the first run of the season where the FIRE DANGER signs were out, ironically on a day that started cloudy and cooler than the past week. The sun came out shortly after the run and it warmed up, but I was fine with the clouds. That and the increased humidity kept my mouth from drying out. Also being a weekday there were few others on the trail. They were doing active work on the Southshore Trail, piling on more gravel. Running clockwise would have put me on this, which would be less than ideal for running. Once they roll this stuff down so it’s nice and compacted it will be a thing of tree root-free beauty.

On the reptile watch another sneaky snake slithered silently into the brush as I approached. It was a black and gold garter snake. I’m thinking there’s one giant black and gold garter snake family here. I also noticed, for the first time, a turtle sunning itself on a log in one of the ponds adjacent to the lake. He looked very content.

I am tentatively planning another run on Friday and the weather looks to be similar, so it shall prove interesting to see how it compares to the last two.

Run 565: Creaky and speedy

Run 565
Average pace: 5:14/km

Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 1:18 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 26:23
Weather: Cloudy, some sun
Temp: 7ºC
Humidity: 92%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 170
Weight: 163.9 pounds
Total distance to date: 4395 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone 6

I wore close to my summer gear today: shorts, but a long-sleeve rather than short-sleeve t-shirt. Even with a bit of a breeze it was fine at 7ºC. The longer sleeves helped to keep my hands and arms warm.

I managed to beat the rain, with the sun actually poking out a few times. A couple of hours later the sky turned gray and scary and The Rains returned. It’s always nice to dodge the rain bullet.

The first few minutes the left knee was creaky again and even the right ankle briefly joined in providing a sort of stereo effect of pain. The ankle cleared up quickly, though, and the left knee was fine after a few minutes of warming up. I think stretching may be beneficial as it occurs to me that the relative inflexibility of my legs may be contributing to the issue or at the very least slowing potential recovery. And maybe I’ll toss in a compression sleeve, as I mentioned previously.

Looking at my splits, I started out at my finishing pace of 5:14/km–much faster than I was planning or expecting–but really took off for the second km where the pace dipped to 5:03/km. Looking back, I can’t think of what inspired me to turn on the afterburners here. I eased up for the next few km before finishing with a zippy 5:07/km for the last stretch. The higher speed also meant a higher BPM, though I managed to hold it right at 170.

The run even inspired me on the walk home, resulting in my first walk under 9:00/km in awhile.

Overall, a good run, though I should probably be a little less zealous and focus more on stamina, a lower BPM and all that. It’s always so weird to run so much faster than I plan to, like my legs have little minds of their own and these minds are all, “RUN FASTER LOL!”

Run 544: Bob, there’s a cat or maybe a lynx

Run 544
Average pace: 5:16/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 10:28 am
Distance: 10.02 km
Time: 52:57
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 9ºC
Humidity: 72%
Wind: light
BPM: 169
Weight: 155.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4232 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

It was actually a bit chilly on today’s run, with the temperature never climbing into the double digits. I do not regret wearing the long-sleeved shirt.

With clouds, cool temperatures, and a small but real threat of showers, I expected the trail to be fairly quiet, but it was actually almost as busy as a stat holiday, with several incidents of traffic clogging up.

The walk to the lake was a bit slower than normal, maybe because I was still trying to get warm. I noticed a commentary of sorts on one of the new STAY OUT signs along the Brunette River trail:

Fine, I’ll just publicly consume alcohol right here.

I chose to run counter-clockwise upon arrival to the lake and was uncertain how it would go with a four-day layoff (I missed a run on one of my usual days due to illness). The first km didn’t feel sluggish, exactly, though my pace was not exactly like greased lightning at 5:23/km. I really think it was cold enough that it took me awhile to warm up and find a rhythm. My pace would prove to seesaw throughout the 10K, with the fastest stretches coming at the third, fifth and tenth km marks. In the end I finished with an average pace of 5:16/km, my best 10K of the year, so I’m pleased with that.

The extra time off seemed to help with the stiffness in the left leg. It did feel a little stiff, but only a little, and it took much longer to get there. The walk after was faster and I had no issues.

The trail, as I mentioned, was busy. There were some runners, but mostly it was people bundled up in parkas determined to enjoy the outdoors. I salute them for that, as long as they don’t get in the way, which for the most part they didn’t. The clogging incidents mentioned above were mainly just people converging from different directions at the same time.

By the sports fields there appeared to be some kind of informal run competition of sorts happening. I say this because I saw no special markers, banners, flags or anything else. I also saw, upon just rounding the corner where I head onto the part of the trail bordering the fields, about a dozen runners heading straight toward me at high speed. A wall of runners. I scooted over to the right to avoid being stampeded and they flew by in a blur. About halfway along the stretch here–so a minute or so later–another similar group came barreling at me, including a young guy cheekily running topless and pretending to not feel the cold. He was not pretending that his upper body was perfectly chiseled, however. Oh to be young and, well, perfectly chiseled. I got about 50% of that when I was his age.

There was one other thing I came across on my run, but it wasn’t a pedestrian or a runner or even an accursed cyclist (none were in view today). I was maybe 20 or 30 meters along the Piper Mill Trail when I rounded a corner and saw on the trail ahead of me a dark orange cat. Not someone’s pet, though, as it was about three times too big. It was a bobcat, making this the second time I’ve come across one at the lake. As soon as it spotted me it darted off into the bush, so I never felt threatened by it. It just looked like a really big housecat without much of a tail, kind of like this:

I sent off an email to the Metro Vancouver Parks people, just in case. I’d hate to have a bobcat eat someone’s baby.

This was the first run at the lake where I’ve used the AirPods and playback was fine until just near the 6K mark when it abruptly stopped. I checked the music app on the watch and it looked like it had paused for some reason. I tapped Play and the music resumed and continued without incident through the rest of the run.

I’m going to blame Siri, just because.

While the double-tap on the left earbud at the start of the run properly paused play, I was never able to get the double-tap on the right earbud to skip to the next song, though it’s worked before. I tried once using Siri instead (“Hey Siri, next song”) and still nothing happened.

I definitely blame Siri on that one.

It’s possible that I may not have held the watch up high enough to turn the face on (which Siri requires before it will listen). I can use the actual music app controls to skip ahead–this requires bringing the watch up, swiping left to get to the music controls, then tapping the Forward button. None of this is difficult, but it takes a few seconds to do and you have to look at the watch when you do it. Taking my eyes off the trail while running is something I’m really hesitant to do, as I’ve got direct experience in what can happen in the span of one or two seconds (it involves falling and bleeding and picking gravel out of your skin). In the end I just listened to everything that came up and thanked myself for not having completely awful taste in music.

I may reverse the control scheme on the AirPods and see if that works better.

Overall, though, this was an unexpectedly brisk run on a rather brisk day.