Run 532: It’s not the humidity, it’s the bug you just swallowed

Run 532
Average pace: 5:40/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 9:45 am
Distance: 10.02 km
Time: 56:50
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 24-26ºC
Humidity: 55%
Wind: light
BPM: 160
Weight: 156.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4144 km
Devices: Apple Watch, iPhone

It’s Labor Day so I went out and labored on a 10K run.

It was warmer than yesterday but my early start saved me from having to run in 30ºC+ temperatures. It was 24ºC at the start and 26ºC by the end of the run. It was also more humid so the sunny stretches found me sweating like some kind of machine designed for maximum sweating.

I didn’t experience any issues on this run, I was just generally a little slower, given the extra heat and humidity. My pace was 5:40/km, four seconds off Saturday, but consistent with the yuckier conditions.

The trail was fairly busy but unlike the last run there were no near-collisions. On the Cottonwood Trail I was humming along and doing fine in the shade of the canopy. The long version of “Disco Inferno” had just started playing (that song is long enough to last several km of running) when I felt a sudden catch in my throat. While grooving out I had swallowed a bug. Knowing a coughing fit was bound to ensue, I summoned up as much saliva as I could (sort of ew, sorry) and swallowed hard, twice. Better to just down the thing that try to spit it back out.

This did not work. Instead I started hacking fiercely and, strangely, I actually did manage to spit the bug out and was immediately fine after that.

I am uncertain if the bug survived. Sorry, bug!

The run went otherwise without incident, though the conditions were definitely eating away at my strength. I’ve been running just long enough in more seasonal temperatures that this Africa hot-stuff is throwing me off. It’s expected to last a few more days then the possibility of actual precipitation is in the forecast. I’m not running tomorrow and have a bike ride planned for Wednesday so my next run will likely be Thursday after work. The current forecast is calling for a pleasant high of 23ºC and cloudy skies. Good running weather!

The first day of fall run plus BUGS FROM HELL

Average pace: 4:38/km
Location: Burnaby Lake, CCW
Distance: 11.36 km
Weather: Low cloud
Temp: 14-15ºC
Wind: light
Calories burned: 771
Total distance to date: 1897 km

Ran Piper Mill trail, Conifer and Spruce Loops.

Ah, the first day of fall. Temperatures were appropriately cooler and the sun was tucked away behind some low cloud. Conditions were actually quite nice for running.

And in terms of the actual running part, today’s run was fine. I expected to be a bit slower than Wednesday’s zippy pace and was but finished a respectable 4:38/km. I had a much slower start (off by seven seconds) as my body clearly preferred the idea of sleeping in on Saturday morning over getting up and jogging.

If you read the previous entry you may note I had complained about the proliferation of flies. Today was like that multiplied fivefold. I already complained about this at length on Broken Forum so I’ll just repeat it here in slightly modified form:

Have you ever wished for the extermination of an entire species? I haven’t — until now!

The last few runs at Burnaby Lake have been a bit buggy, with the occasional cloud of those itty-bitty black flies hovering in place across the trail in such a way that they are impossible to avoid. Except today the clouds were mega-clouds and instead of occasional they were omnipresent. At times I felt like I was jogging through a driving rain and the rain was flies. At one point I looked down to my right arm and more than a dozen flies had glued themselves to its sweaty surface. Every time I wiped at the sweat on my forehead my finger came back with the corpse of a fly stuck to it. I lost track of how many landed on my glasses, dancing around in front of my eyes in Blur-O-Vision. I ingested more than I’d like to have.

I audibly gagged. I thought of abandoning the run, finding the quickest escape route from the lake. But I pressed on.

Once I got out of the infested area and into the last few km where it was just pleasant woods and not some insect-flavored take on Hitchcock, I began to relax a little and focus back on the run. That’s when the left lens of my glasses popped out. The tiny screw holding the frame together simply decided it was not going to work anymore. The lens fell onto a section of trail that consists of mixed gravel and leaves, the perfect camouflage for concealing anything. I retraced my steps and to my surprise, I actually found the lens in less than thirty seconds. The screw remained lost so one can legitimately claim that I now have a screw loose.

I pocketed the errant (and undamaged) lens and continued for the last km of the run. I walked home sans music as the mood did not lend itself to such entertainment. I wanted to stew in silence.

I am quietly dreading the next run. My only hope is that the flies really hate late afternoon and early evening.

Sinnick over on Broken Forum found the perfect animated summation of my run, courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada. I present it below.

UPDATE: A kind fellow at Visions Optical at Lougheed Town Centre fixed my glasses for free. Nice! They have decent prices so I may look there for a new pair of glasses soon and pay it forward.

Chart (records are in pink)

Date Average Pace
September 22 4:38 (11K)
September 19 4:34 (11K)
September 17 4:44 (11K)
September 15 4:39 (11K)
September 13 4:37 (11K)
September 11 4:36 (11K)
September 9 4:35 (11K)
September 8 4:33 (5K)
September 5 4:40 (5K)
September 3 4:39 (11K)
September 1 4:43 (17K)

The head-down, cramped-up run

Distance: 11.02 km
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 24ºC
Wind: none
Calories burned: 770
Average pace: 5:16/km
Total distance to date: 944 km


It was quite warm tonight and there was no wind at all at Burnaby Lake so the canopied sections of the trail were especially humid. This alone would have likely shaved a few seconds off my pace but what really did me in tonight was a cramp that showed up early and persisted through about 3 km. My start time was fine — 4:51 through the first km, then it dipped by 3, 5 and 5 seconds over the successive km, torpedoing any chance of finishing with a decent time. Once the cramp cleared my pace held up much better and in fact I generally only lost a second per km over the second half, which is pretty good, especially given that the southern part of the trail is more uphill.

Given the pleasant (for walking) weather, there were a few more people out but no incidents to report. The buggy section of the run was indeed super-buggy but keeping my head down managed to spare me ingesting a hundred gnats, though I felt a few plink off my forehead and face as I pushed through the clouds of ’em.

Here’s hoping the next run is a little more in-line with what I expect. Also, note to self: no Coke Zero an hour before a run.

Chart (blue indicates the run was done clockwise; purple = Burnaby Lake):

km Aug 4 Aug 1 Jul 27 Jul 20 Jul 17 Jul 14 Jul 11 Jul 9 Jul 6 Jul 4
1 km 4:51 4:51 4:56 4:53 4:56 4:45 4:54 4:58 5:08 4:58
2 km 4:54 4:52 4:54 4:56 4:54 4:47 4:56 4:58 5:11 5:02
3 km 4:59 4:56 4:55 4:55 4:58 4:56 4:51 4:58 5:03 5:08
4 km 5:04 4:58 4:56 5:00 4:58 4:54 5:01 5:07 5:17 5:12
5 km 5:07 5:00 5:00 5:01 5:00 4:54 5:03 5:10 5:20 5:14
6 km 5:09 5:01 5:02 5:02 5:02 4:59 5:03 5:12 5:22 5:15
7 km 5:11 5:04 5:04 5:03 5:04 5:00 5:04 5:15 5:25 5:17
8 km 5:13 5:06 5:06 5:05 5:06 5:02 5:06 5:17 5:27 5:19
9 km 5:14 5:07 5:07 5:06 5:08 5:04 5:08 5:19 5:30 5:21
10 km 5:15 5:09 5:09 5:06 5:09 5:06 5:10 5:20 5:31 5:21
11 km 5:16 5:10 5:10 5:10 5:01 4:59

Random little things that bug me

I like to think I am a pretty mellow guy and the feedback from others seems to support this. For example, I can’t recall the last time someone asked me to stop yelling.

But like anyone, there are random little things that bug me. Not in a frothing angry hate-the-world sort of way, just in that “oh yeah, this kind of bugs me” sort of way. Here’s an incomplete list:

  • the sidewalk drifter: this is someone who walks slowly in front of you on the sidewalk. As soon as you decide to pass by, the person will drift in the direction you are attempting to pass on. If you move left, they drift left. If you move right, they drift right. They also always walk straight down the middle of the sidewalk so as to maximize the space they occupy. I have seen several drifters whose actions lead me to believe they are calculated and therefore, evil.
  • people who think they are clever by referring to Canada as Canuckistan.
  • The Pet Shop Boys video for “Go West”. The song, originally performed by the Village People, is a blatant gay anthem. The video tries to repurpose it as an east vs. west thing (Russia vs. the U.S.) in order to make it suitable for mass consumption. It’s intellectually dishonest, especially considering Neil Tennant had officially come out around the same time.
  • the flaps on cargo shorts. They always curl up. I actually iron mine after washing them to keep them flat and I don’t iron anything.
  • full page ads on the front page of a newspaper. You typically only see this on the free dailies like 24 Hours or Metro but still, it’s as good as them admitting that the news therein is secondary to anything else, which doesn’t make a newspaper seem all that valuable a resource.
  • ATV strollers, especially on buses. There has been a trend in recent years toward strollers becoming the baby-toting equivalent of an SUV, with huge knobby tires and reinforced seats seemingly more suited to some 4×4 driving in the mountains than taking little Billy downtown to playschool. I have watched several people struggle to simply get these monstrosities onto a bus.
  • running a pedestrian-controlled red light. Hey jerk, the light is red because a person is crossing the intersection. Running the light to save you precious seconds on your oh-so-important tasks is not really a fair exchange for seriously injuring or killing someone.
  • employees who smoke at the entrance to the store they work in. Why do managers let them do this? Do they think walking through a cloud of smoke is the best way to welcome someone into their shop? Also, people who don’t butt out their cigarettes and instead just leave them burning on the sidewalk. Lazy would-be cancer victims!

And many, many more. Again, these are little things. I don’t gnash my teeth and write angry letters to editors over them, I just note them here because I like lists.