(That darned snow) day

The not so sneaky snow returned today, starting to fall just after 9 a.m. By 11 it was looking like this outside the college library:

At 12:45 p.m. an announcement was made that the college was closed and GO HOME.

Which I did.

The SkyTrain was unsurprisingly crowded and despite being a bit slower than usual, I got downtown without issue. The Expo Line was unaffected by the snow and most places were still open, so I didn’t face any big pre-rush hour crowds. It was nice getting home hours before daylight ended.

The snow continued on and off (but mostly on) for the rest of the day and most of the night. This morning it is a veritable winter wonderland out there, though most sidewalks have been thoughtfully shoveled. The ones around the condo have not been shoveled and I have no doubt the Facebook page for Copperstone condo owners is rife with strife over the snowy sidewalks. I wore my boots.

The forecast for the week ahead promises low temperatures just below freezing, which will make the snow crisp ‘n icy, but daytime highs will be above–it’s 4ºC as I type this–so the big snow will still steadily melt until an early spring magically starts.

Yes, an early spring. You read it here first.

Not so sneaky snow

Right now at 1 p.m. it is snowing. Did I bring this on by talking about “sneaky snow” falling overnight in my previous post?

I’m going to think positive and say yes. Yes, I have mastered unknown powers of the universe.

As it turns out, the lottery ticket I bought for tonight also contains all of the winning numbers. I’ll update this post later as a multi-millionaire to confirm.

UPDATE: Somehow I am not super rich today. An oversight, obviously. I’ll keep working until it’s addressed.

It also stopped snowing and is sunny today. Hooray for sun.

UPDATE #2: The jackpot for the 6/49 draw is now up to $9 million. Nine is my favorite number (well, it was when I was a kid and it seemed important to have a favorite everything), so this obviously means I am meant to win tonight. As always, I promise to use the money wisely and carefully and not on 10,000 Klondike bars.

Sneaky snow

Saturday it snowed overnight, just as it had earlier in the week. I call this sneaky snow, coming in quietly after you’ve gone to bed, waiting to surprise and possibly delight you the next morning. Except the sun and warming temperatures usually make short work of this ninja-like snow. the next day (it’s just above freezing now, so the sun is slowly doing its thing)

I’m okay with this.

Also, in the interest of not being all complaint-like I’m going to rename the damn snow tag to that darned snow, which makes it sound kind of cute. I’m not opining on whether I think this is accurate because that could possibly violate the no-complaint thing.

Snow use complaining

Yes, terrible pun. I’m pretty sure I’ve used it before. Sorry.

As the weather prognosticators foretold (yesterday) it has indeed started snowing tonight and is sticking, with 10-15 cm expected in time for the morning commute.

But I am not complaining, as weather happens and until I can magically control it, I will accept it. Plus I don’t have a walk to shovel.

My only concern is whether this will impact my running, as snow has only had minimal impact this winter on my runs, and has even at times been a bit delightful. The forecast suggests it won’t stick around, so one last blast of winter is fine by me.

I expect flowers to be budding next week, though.

Run 561: Snowbound

Run 561
Average pace: 5:55/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:10 am
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 59:25
Weather: Cloudy, light snow
Temp: 0-1ºC
Humidity: 92%
Wind: light
BPM: 172
Weight: 161.6 pounds
Total distance to date: 4370 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

It was snowing this morning, which was actually good for the run. While that may sound like crazy talk, hear me out.

The snow on the ground now is getting more compacted and turning slick, which is bad for traction and good for falling on your face. The new snow piling on top is providing more traction, making for a grippier, less falling-on-your-face experience.

I dressed a bit differently this time, choosing a long-sleeved shirt and my running jacket. This turned out to be wise as the jacket’s lining provided enough insulation to keep me toasty warm–almost too warm, in fact. When zipped up all the way, the collar stands up and helpfully keeps snow from going down the back of your neck, too.

Even though it was only slightly warmer than Sunday’s run, I ended up doffing the gloves around 2 km in and didn’t put them back on until I was around the 7 km mark.

One brave runner was wearing shorts. I wonder if he regretted it later. I saw him at the start of his run so he was still all smiles with his partner (who was all bundled up).

There were more people out than expected, but it wasn’t too bad traffic-wise.

The snow had mostly stopped by the start of the run, which is good, because snow and glasses don’t mix well. I had this emphasized when it began snowing again around the 8K mark and my glasses grew clumped with blobs of snow. Also, feeling the very tiny specks of snow bapping your face is a weird sensation.

The trail was caught between having too much compact snow and not quite enough fresh snow, so traction wasn’t as good as it could have been. I only felt a foot slip about two times but I was constantly making adjustments in foot placement and stride. The extra effort showed in my BPM, which was back up. The bridges were again kind of bumpy and unpleasant and the first boardwalk was especially bad, the snow so crusty and uneven it was difficult to exceed a walking pace without losing my footing.

The left knee got a bit stiff but leveled out and was not bad for the latter part of the run. The other lower left butt muscle did start to make its presence known in the last km or so, but it never got painful.

The overall pace of 5:55/km was slower but unsurprisingly so. The snow kept coming down at a decent pace on the walk back, so if I’d started the run an hour later it probably would have been easier.

Still, this is the first time in about seven years that I’ve run in a real snowfall and while it slowed me down, it didn’t stop me. Damn snow.

Run 560: A wintry first run of winter

Run 560
Average pace: 5:51/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 10:42 am
Distance: 10.04 km
Time: 58:53
Weather: Cloudy, compact snow
Temp: -1ºC
Humidity: 79%
Wind: light
BPM: 158
Weight: 163 pounds
Total distance to date: 4360 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

As the year winds down, so does the temperature. Or at least this week it does.

Heading out to the lake this morning, the temperature was below freezing, making this my first sub-freezing run at the lake in either a very long time or possibly ever, with it staying firmly at -1ºC throughout on a cloudy day that mercifully had little wind.

I dressed accordingly and was reasonably comfortable:

  • two layers on top
  • running pants with sexy running undies
  • a form-fitting toque instead of my usual cap–this worked well in keeping my ears partly covered and warm
  • my olde Nike running gloves–I could have doffed these partway though but probably only briefly and I only experienced light sweating wearing them. They otherwise proved very handy (ho ho) in keeping my hands toasty instead of frosty

I was curious what the trail would be like as the Brunette River trail is a mix of bare patches and compact snow a little under a week after our latest blast of wintry weather. It turned out that while there were some clear patches, particularly in areas where the trees were close to the trail or the opposite where the trail was completely exposed (like along the sports fields), the majority was covered in compact snow. I had to adjust my gait and pace a little to insure optimal traction but the only genuinely slippery section was the small straight stretch leading to the bridge at Still Creek. My feet lost traction a few times there, but there was never a great risk of going splat.

All of the bridges were covered with crunchy, uneven snow, including the boardwalks, which made them strangely uncomfortable for running across. Not slippery, just odd and unpleasant.

The Spruce Loop and Conifer Loops had the most snow, with almost no melt at all. Because of this, they were actually pretty good to run on, as the snow was thick enough to provide grip, rather than having turned into a more icy surface seen elsewhere.

The trail was fairly quiet, with only a small number of walkers and other joggers out. No one was wearing shorts.

The more measured pace meant my time was back up to 5:51/km, but it also meant my BPM was significantly lower, at 158 (vs. 173 last week). I felt almost relaxed at times, and never really pushed, because pushing on snow usually means falling on snow when you’re running.

The tendons around my left knee started to make their presence known about halfway through and they’re still a bit stiff now. This seems to be a long term thing at this point. I wonder if one of those knee things would help. You can tell how often I’ve used them because I can’t even recall the proper name without searching the internet (compression knee sleeves/braces, it turns out). On the one hand, it could prove to just be a placebo. On the other hand, if it still worked, that’s good enough for me. I have to admit I’d feel a bit like a dork wearing one. Or maybe I’d look manly. “Look at that dedicated runner, going out even when injured!”

Something to think about.

Overall, though, this chilly went surprisingly decently, given the condition of the trail. We may get snow tonight, so that could complicate runs in the near future. Damn snow.

Damn snow, December 2017 edition

Hopefully this will be the only post I make in this particular series.

Yesterday I went to work in pouring rain. This is not terribly unusual in December. However, the temperature got tricksy and started going down instead of up as the morning progressed, and by 10 a.m. the rain turned to snow and it snowed a fair bit, then it warmed up, turned back to rain for awhile, then back to snow again and then finally it stopped in the early evening.

Today it was clear and it’s not as bad as I make it sound. Most sidewalks and roads are clear or clear-ish, with some slippery sections. The trail around the golf course is jog-worthy (several were out during my noon walk today).

The 10-day forecast calls for a mix of sun, clouds and some showers, so we may get through the rest of 2017 without more of the infernal white stuff. Hooray.

Here’s a picture taken from the Langara Trail looking toward some trees, behind which is Langara College. I’m posting this shot because it says damn snow more than the others I took.

Langara Trail, Dec. 19, 2017. Come for the snow, stay for the giant slush puddles.

Damn snow, November 2017 edition

There was a thin layer of crunchy snow on the ground this morning. It disappeared quickly and it was actually sunny for much of the day after, but the mountains are still bedecked with the white stuff, even if it’s now gone from down here.

But the point is it’s November 3rd and we’ve already had snow.

I forbid any more snow this fall or winter. It can go to the same place as pumpkin spice. That place is not here.

Damn snow.

Goodbye, winter, I’ll miss you least of all!

Today is the last day of winter 2017. Well, I suppose to be more precise it would be winter 2016/17 since it’s the one season that nuttily starts in one year and ends in another.

This winter we had more snow than we usually see in about five winters combined. Maybe ten winters combined. I am not exaggerating. Some winters we get a dusting or two, maybe a couple of centimeters for a Lower Mainland “blizzard.” Just as often we can get no snow at all and maybe a handful of days where the temperature drops below freezing.

We had so many snowfalls this year I actually lost track. It snowed on probably ten different days, if not more, and most of those days the snow was significant to pile up. Two of those days it was enough to shut down my workplace early. I couldn’t run at Burnaby Lake for nearly three months because the snow and ice would simply not go away.

So now, with temperatures closer to normal, trees beginning to bud and the first flowers starting to blossom, I bid this horrible sneaked-in-from-back-east winter adieu, and welcome spring, even knowing it is probably going to be soggy as all get-out for the next two months.

But at least it won’t be snow.

Here’s hoping my next “damn snow” post is in December, or better yet, 2069. I’ll be 105 years old then so I’m secretly hoping we will be able to control the weather then and also have discovered the secret to eternal life, otherwise I’ll just be a very old man yelling at (snow) clouds.

Writing group week 7: Productivity gains and yet more snow

Where the snow previously saw a huge boost in attendance, today’s writing group saw attendance drop to a mere four amid what Dave described as “ornamental snow” (that same snow eased up for most of the day, only to begin again with renewed fury tonight. Spring officially starts in 15 days).

I was the first one there and early. The group that has the room before us had vacated early so I took advantage and moved in and began writing before 11 o’ clock. By the end of the three hours I’d written just under 4,000 words, all of it on the new Chapter 2b, which is still not complete.

I don’t really have anything to add. I’m pleased with the output and am staying nearly completely away from editing mode. I look forward to hacking the writing to bits later.

Oh, and the snow can bugger right off. After six (or is it seven? Or eight?) major snowfalls I’ve had enough, thanks. I want flowers and t-shirt weather now, not sub-seasonal temperatures and weather you have to be under 10 years old to enjoy.

Trail assessment: Mostly no snow, running possible but possibly unpleasant

I went a-walking today down the Brunette River trail and counter-clockwise halfway around Burnaby Lake to Still Creek. The purpose was to see if there was still too much (damn) snow to make running infeasible.

The verdicts:

Brunette River trail: Long sections are now bare but three others feature enough snow to still span the entire width of the trail. In some cases, it’s possible to skirt along the edges and avoid the snow, in a few spots it is unavoidable.

The trail (which technically is a gravel service road) is in bad shape now, riddled with puddles and muddy, soft dirt lined with long ruts from bikes passing through. These ruts have all filled with water.

Overall this would be okay for running but not great. The last of the three snowy stretches is at the far end of the trail, an especially awkward spot.

Burnaby Lake: The first km has a few snow patches but they’re relatively short. The second km is for some reason significantly worse, with a lot of patches that are unavoidable. The remainder is almost completely bare save for the straight stretch just before getting to Still Creek, which features a somewhat avoidable stretch of snow. In all areas, the snow is slightly mushy or pliable, making it a little slippery but not treacherously so.

Overall this seems better than the Brunette River trail. I am actually mulling a run after the write-in tomorrow. Timing-wise it should work because the write-in ends at 2 and by the time I get to the lake it’s likely to be past 3 p.m, which still gives me plenty of time to run before the sun sets at 5:37 p.m. It looks to be soggy and cool with a high of 7ºC but hey, it’s not a treadmill!

Also, two days of the extended weather forecast are calling for snow overnight as temperatures drop below freezing. A third day calls for 3-7 cm of ice pellets. It’s like a parody of the weather. A very bad and unwelcome parody.

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