Run 634: A sort-of 10K run

Run 634
Average pace: 5:30/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 12:05 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 27:39
Weather: Drizzle, cloudy
Temp: 14ºC
Humidity: 90%
Wind: light to nil
BPM: 161
Weight: 165 pounds
Total distance to date: 4750 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (110 km)

My Saturday run streak has ended at one. I slept in yesterday and ended up not running, so it was another Sunday run today.

The forecast was not promising–rain was expected and not just rain, but thunderstorms. Scary! And while it was a bit drizzly/misty to start, the precipitation stopped early on and it actually brightened up. The sun even poked out a few times post-run. We have officially entered the time of year where predicting the weather becomes tricksy.

After some contemplation, I opted to not go counter-clockwise and experience the freshly resurfaced side trails. I’m not sure why, maybe I thought the Cottonwood trail would be all slick with wet leaves from the earlier showers.

I had no issues during the run and with the temperature hovering around 14-15ºC and little wind, conditions were actually pretty nice. It was quite humid, but the lack of sun and cooler temperatures kept sweating to a minimum, though I would have been fine wearing a regular t-shirt rather than my long-sleeved one. My heart rate was up a little, as befits lake runs, but my average pace was a solid 5:30/km.

One of the things I had thought about before the run was pushing beyond 5K. In the end I didn’t do this for a couple of reasons. Somewhere between the second and third km I heard footsteps behind me. This is pretty rare, so I glanced behind and sure enough, another runner nimbly sped past me. At first I was content to let him go, then I decided to challenge myself and maintain pace with him for as long as I could. This turned out to be not long. I gave up, but consoled myself with the fact that he was probably 30 years younger than me–likely early 20s. Will he still be running when he’s 54? Will he be as fast as me? Perhaps. The extra burst of speed to maintain-ish pace tuckered me out a bit, and then I did a push toward the end to end the run at 5K. I just didn’t feel like going farther.

But then a funny thing happened. I began my walk out of the lake and after a few minutes I started to run. And I did not stop until I reached the dam. So I did a 10K of sort,s just with a few minutes break at the halfway point. Because I wasn’t running for speed or anything, my pace kept dropping from a low of 5:39/km to a high of 6:18. If I average it all out with my actual 5K run, my overall 10K pace would have been around 5:44/km, which is actually pretty decent considering my 5K runs were slower than that at the start of the year.

Next weekend I’ll try a formal 10K and see how it goes. In terms of stamina, I had no issue extending the run and while my knees felt a bit stiff as I kept going, they certainly didn’t present enough of a problem to stop me, though it’s possible they could have slowed me down a tad.

With the forecast gloomy there weren’t that many people on the trail but being Sunday there were still some out and aboot, with a few other joggers, and mostly people walking dogs.

I did end up running on the resurfaced side trails and they are still very nice. The Cottonwood trail was not covered in leaves, as I had feared, though that will change over the next month. I did have to do some puddle-dodging, particularly along the fields where the usual flooding was occurring. As much as I’d like them to resurface the long, tree-root covered Cottonwood trail next, this much shorter section clearly needs it more, as it floods when a kid spills his can of Coke.

An unexpected delight was the work on the Cariboo Dam wrapped up a month early (it was expected to be done by October 15). This means I can now come in through the regular entrance, which is more convenient and I like convenience.

Overall, a good run, especially with the unofficial 10K test. Here’s to going all the way (heh heh) next time.

Run 633: Here and back again

Run 633
Average pace: 5:27/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW then CCW)
Start: 2:56 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 27:28
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 21ºC
Humidity: 63%
Wind: light
BPM: 154
Weight: 164 pounds
Total distance to date: 4745 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (100 km)

Today I was not feeling great–headache, queasy stomach and let’s just say me, the bathroom and the number 2 got to know each other really well. But it was a run day and I didn’t want to skip a run, so I perhaps foolishly headed out.

At first I planned to do a river run, but after walking to the far end of the river trail I had yet another strong urge to go to the bathroom, so I headed to the Jiffy John™ at the lake and after that, I figured I may as well run there, too.

In order to be as efficient as possible, I opted to run clockwise for 2.5 km, then turn around and run counter-clockwise back. I’ve done this a few times in the past, but this may have been the first time I specifically chose to do it.

Conditions were decent. It was cloudy and showers overnight meant it was quite humid. The air actually smelled earthy at times, which was not entirely unpleasant. I didn’t have to dodge any puddles, luckily, though slugs, beetles and one rather plump garter snake were out on the trail. In fact, I probably saw more slugs than people, a consequence (or perk) of running on a weekday.

I felt like I had a good start (pace turned out to be 5:13/km) and never had any problems at all, finishing with a zippy 5:27/km, my best pace for the lake this year, though it feels mildly like cheating because of looping back on the same part of the trail.

Overall, then, and especially considering how it might have gone given the way I felt today, this was a very good run. On to Thursday and the river and (checks forecast) and what is currently showing as a 100% chance of rain. Yikes.

Run 632: Cloudy with intermittent shirtless men

Run 632
Average pace: 5:37/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 10:52 am
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 28:13
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 18ºC
Humidity: 73%
Wind: light
BPM: 161
Weight: 162.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4740 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (95 km)

Today’s run was done as if in reverse. I started out actually behind the average pace of 5:37/km, coming in at 5:39/km, and ended well below with the fifth km being 5:26/km–faster than my average on Thursday. Weirder still, I didn’t particularly notice any of this, I just felt good throughout.

But being slower on the first km is also interesting because I did run the side trails, now with the closed signs removed and the protective boards on the foot bridges removed. You’d think I’d glide along the super-smooth, root-free section of trail, but apparently I was so dazzled by the resurfacing that I slowed down to admire it.

Starting from the third km, I continued to pick up the pace, with the clouds shielding me from the sun, the temperature much lower than last weekend’s lake run, but humidity quite a bit higher–enough to ward off dry mouth, but not so much that I sweated like all get-out. Conditions were decent, in other words.

This is also the first time in awhile that I planned on a Saturday run and then actually ran on Saturday, so hooray for me!

The shirtless men thing was a bit odd. I had finished the run and was walking out from the lake when one of those tall, impossibly lean runners went past me, his shirt tucked into his shorts, the better to showcase the fact that his body had no fat at all on it. A short time later a similarly lean guy sans shirt passed. This summer I have not seen many guys without shirts (alas), so seeing two in a row was rather unusual. And they kept coming, sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs or threes. Not all were topless, but many were. I figured they were part of some group, but I none were wearing anything to identify the group. I call them The Mostly Shirtless Runners Club.

I ran a lot on the way out, but not as much as I could have because I also had to go potty and as I’ve established before, running and having to use the washroom is not a good combo.

Overall, this was a good run, with no issues of note to report. I was 10 seconds off the river run’s pace on Thursday, but nine seconds better than the last lake run, which feels about right. I may try for a 10K when I’m next running at Burnaby Lake, or at least try running more than 5K. We’ll see!

Run 631: Warmer and faster

Run 631
Average pace: 5:27/km
Location: Brunette River
Start: 6:39 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 27:22
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 26ºC
Humidity: 54%
Wind: light
BPM: 152
Weight: 163.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4735 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (90 km)

When I got home from work tonight I was tired enough that I flopped on the bed for 15 minutes and contemplated not running. I then decided to change and at least head down to the river trail, thinking I might do a one hour walk/run thing instead. But in the end I opted to do an actual 5K and emerged with one of my best times of the year.

It’s weird how that happens.

It was quite warm tonight, and fairly humid, but it was another one of those equilibrium things where each element mostly balanced out the other, especially with the sun not actually beating down on me for more than a couple of seconds, though the sky was clear. This kept sweating to a minimum and decreased the effort needed, as reflected in a snazzy BPM of 152.

My overall pace was 5:27/km and I did not start like a rocket,. I just hit near the overall pace early and kept at or near it for the entire run. My right ankle felt a little creaky for the first km, probably due to bad posture sitting at my desk at work, but after five minutes or so it sorted out and was fine. I had no other issues.

Overall then, an unexpectedly good run.

Run 629: Moving muggy

Run 629
Average pace: 5:30/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:11 am
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 27:38
Weather: Sunny, clear
Temp: 26ºC
Humidity: 44%
Wind: light
BPM: 153
Weight: 164.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4725 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (80 km)

I was not expecting much more than a standard sort of run tonight, as it was quite a bit warmer than the last few runs, but lo and behold, despite the mugginess, I was somehow still moving along and finished with a pace of 5:30/km and a surprisingly low BPM of 153.

My left foot was a tiny bit sore at the start, but it smoothed out quickly, and a stitch in my gut threatened, but never materialized, so other than it feeling kind of sticky, the run was fine.

In fact, I can’t really think of anything to add. Thursday looks to be about the same weather-wise, so we’ll see if the run follows. My prediction is I will be slower as the week wears on, but maybe not.

Also, that raccoon was not at the river today, which makes me happy, both for myself and the raccoon, because raccoons kind of scare me, really.

Run 627: The fourth km blitz

Run 627
Average pace: 5:26/km
Location: Brunette River
Start: 6:07 pm
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 27:22
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 22ºC
Humidity: 47%
Wind: light
BPM: 155
Weight: 164.5 pounds
Total distance to date: 4715 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (70 km)

On the way to the start of tonight’s run I was thinking about how sometimes I’ll feel tired before a run and then go on to turn in a good performance, and other times the run will reflect that same sluggish level of energy. The latter actually doesn’t happen that often and I kept that in mind as I got ready, as I was not feeling super-invigorated.

It turned out I was secretly super-invigorated because I ended up turning out my fastest run of the year, finishing with a pace of 5:26/km. A large part of this came about due to a burst of speed in the fourth km, something I’ve noticed happening in several other runs recently, as if I’m catching my second wind or finding the perfect stride right around that 20 minute mark. In this case my fourth km was a blazing 5:04/km, the closest I’ve come to breaking the five-minute mark this year. And I emphasize that I was not trying to do this, I just felt good and kept the pace up (or increasing it, as it turned out).

I didn’t really push at all until the last stretch and by then I was slowing, with my pace dropping to 5:22/km. But it was the only time I felt even a little burn–and it was little. The rest of the run there were times where I felt genuinely light on my feet, as if I’d found that perfect rhythm or zone. My mind bounced over a succession of topics and in this case, a wandering mind is a sign of a good run.

My BPM was also low at 155. The conditions helped, too, as it was warm but far from hot after yesterday’s rain, and the sun was low, so I only got a few minutes of it. Humidity was reasonable, so sweating wasn’t excessive and I never felt dehydrated.

I’m surprised and kind of delighted by how well the run felt. The next one will be at the lake and I suspect it will not feel as effortless as this one, but I’ll bask in the glow for a few more days, at least.

Run 626: A cool effort

Run 626
Average pace: 5:41/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 12:16 pm
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 28:33
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 19ºC
Humidity: 67%
Wind: light
BPM: 160
Weight: 163.4 pounds
Total distance to date: 4710 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (65 km)

First, the strange news: Today’s run took me 28:33 minutes. The previous 5K run, which I did on the river trail, took me 28:34 minutes, a difference of one second. How I can manage such precision while running in two different locations is baffling and a bit unnerving. But yay for consistency when the result is good!

Now, the good news: It was much cooler and cloudy for today’s run, which made for a refreshing change of pace. Sweating was minimal and my energy felt strong throughout. I was actually a tad disappointed that I came in at the same overall pace as the previous run at 5:41/km. I was hoping I’d be faster–though the lake is a more technical run than the river, so there’s that.

After some contemplation, I chose to go clockwise yet again, as work continues on the side trails. There is more progress, though, as I could see the Conifer Loop has been resurfaced, complete with the top layer being smoothed into place. Hopefully they’ll wrap it up by next weekend.

I did not get off to a zany fast start this time, and the pace from one km to the next was a little more consistent–in line with how I felt. I thought of running more than 5K, but in the end wanted one more direct comparison, especially after missing a run. Post-run, I walked the first km, then ran the entire second km, with a pace of 5:41/km, matching my overall pace for the run. This is encouraging. I actually ran a lot on the way out, with no issues at all.

Overall, this was a nice effort. I felt good, had lots of energy, had no issues and it was not busy on the trail, likely thanks to the cloud cover.

Run 625: Made in the shade

Run 625
Average pace: 5:41/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 6:16 pm
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 28:34
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 26ºC
Humidity: 45%
Wind: moderate
BPM: 156
Weight: 165 pounds
Total distance to date: 4705 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (60 km)

I was going to run on Saturday but did some errands and then had a kind of lazy day after that (I did go for an hour-long walk, so not totally lazy). Sunday the weather was showery, so I waited for a break, but the weather never really changed, so I ended up having two lazy days.

Monday was Monday. I only run on Mondays when it’s a holiday.

Which meant I ran today, Tuesday, with a four day break in-between runs. Longer than I’d like, but on the edge of being acceptable. This was a post-work run, so I set off to the river trail.

It was not four degrees warmer than Thursday’s run, and humidity was lower, but the balance was pretty close, which meant I sweated, but not a lot, and my mouth did not turn into a mini-Sahara. It also helped that the sun was lower, so most of the run was in the shade. Yay shade.

My left foot was a bit sore to start (probably a posture thing–as I sit here typing this, I have my feet on a foot rest, but had my right foot resting on top of the left one, smooshing it in a way that’s probably not great), but it settled down quickly, and there were no issues after that.

BPM was similar to Thursday, but my overall pace was faster at 5:41/km. Curiously, the fourth km was by far the fastest, a zippy 5:08/km. I’m not sure why I was moving so swiftly at that point. Maybe I slipped into “must finish quickly so I can eat dinner” mode. By comparison, the previous km was 6:06/km. That difference is kind of crazy. Maybe I was so slow in the third km that I ended up being well-rested for the next one.

Overall, a fine run, with no apparent side effects from the four days off.

Run 622: Like a speeding bullet, then like a regular bullet

Run 622
Average pace: 5:42/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 11:02 am
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 28:39
Weather: Sunny, veiled cloud
Temp: 23ºC
Humidity: 57%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 159
Weight: 166.3 pounds
Total distance to date: 4690 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (45 km)

When I got to the lake this morning, I was planning another counter-clockwise run, but knowing I’d have to skip the first two side trails, I planned to start on the other side of the dam, near the 0K marker, for that all-important psychological boost of finishing the 5K at or before the 5K marker. Then I thought, “Why stop there?” and opted to start at the 10K marker, giving myself an extra 300 meters to play with.

But as I walked to my start point, I thought about the noise and stink of the work around the dam, and the torn-up main trail that I would have to navigate right at the start, then decided to run clockwise, so I made my way back to the fountain near the dam (still ahead of the 5K marker, but not by as much) and set off.

Conditions were nearly as humid as Monday and it was a little warmer, so I was sweating even before the run started. Then I sweated a whole lot more. I didn’t push hard at the start, but I also didn’t hold back or try to set a steady pace, I just ran at whatever speed I felt comfortable with, then slowed down after.

As it turned out, my first km was a relatively blazing 5:14/km–this is the closest I’ve come to breaking the 5:00/km mark in a long time (and is something I doubt I will break, unless I specifically set out to do so). I’m not sure why I was so zippy, but that first km is why I ended up with an overall improvement of five seconds on my average pace, because every other km ranged between 5:41 and up to 5:58. My slowest km was the third and to be fair, I did improve in the following two km, so after burning hard and fast to start, I found some reserves to pick the pace up a bit for the back half of the run.

There were no issues otherwise, and the trail was relatively quiet, just a few other joggers and walkers, not even many people out walking their dogs. I managed to run a good bit after, even beating my average walk pace (8:02 vs. 8:28) vs. Monday.

I did actually rest after the run on the bed for about 20 minutes or so, because did I mention it was humid? I felt a little more tuckered, as a result, though I am up and aboot now.

I’ll probably run clockwise again on Friday, but we’ll see. They are predicting light rain, so that would be a relative novelty for a summer run. It might be refreshing, or horrible. Hard to say.

Run 621: Sweaty, tricky feet, snakes, gravel in shoes

Run 621
Average pace: 5:47/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:30 am
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 29:07
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 21ºC
Humidity: 61%
Wind: light to moderate
BPM: 159
Weight: 165.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4685 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8
Shoes: Saucony Switchback ISO (40 km)

It turned out that since smoothing down the damaged part of the main trail leading to the Spruce Loop, still being resurfaced, the park workers have since resumed work and have re-damaged the main trail again, which made the first minute or so of today’s run a bit tricky, given that the trail was filled with unexpected ruts, piles of dirt and was also in one of those sun/shade areas where your eyes don’t have time to adjust to the ever-changing lighting.

But my tricky feet somehow got me through and I completed a counter-clockwise 5K today, surprising myself by coming in six seconds faster than Saturday’s run and proving that I am not as freakishly consistent as I could be. My pace was 5:47/km and this time the only issue I had was sweat and plenty of it. It was 21ºC, so actually a bit cooler than the last few runs, but humidity was way up, so I sweated early and often. No real dry mouth, the one benefit to a sticky, humid run.

My BPM was up, but only slightly, and I had a very steady pace, save for the second km, where I dipped a little before resuming my previous pace. Overall, I felt good, and managed to do a fair bit of running post-run as well.

I saw a snake ahead of me on the second boardwalk and as I approached, the snake slithered between the boards and out of sight. I wonder if the snake had any idea where it was going or was just confident that anywhere but under my approaching foot would be a better place to be. I saw another snake on the previous run, doing that “slither across the path in a panic as a human approaches” thing. I have not seen any pythons so far this year.

As for the gravel in shoes, it appears the new Sauconys share the same property the Brooks Cascadia 12s have in how they can effortlessly scoop gravel up and deposit it into the shoes. Like the Brooks, it happens almost exclusively while walking, so clearly there is something about my exercise walking gait that makes this a lot more likely to happen than when I run, which is preferable if it has to happen at all.

But today I stopped and emptied gravel and grit out of my right shoe three times post-run. It’s getting a bit silly. I still like the shoes, though.

I’m starting to think about trying a 10K soon, maybe before my vacation ends. I’ll see how the next few runs go before committing, as any 10K will have a horrible long time and will leave me a little depressed, even if it goes as well as can be expected. Basically, my body is probably ready now, I’m just not sure if my mind is.

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.