The free treadmill run

It’s Family Day and with Jeff away, I decided to hit the treadmill at the Canada Games Pool. I need to work on my sexy summer figure, you see.

I was going to walk, so I consulted Google Maps for the most efficient route, which turned out to be an estimated 23 minutes.

I created a different route that would take me past a spooky cemetery and require fewer twists and turns along the way. Google Maps told me it would take me 30 minutes.

I got there in 23 minutes.

To my surprise and delight, there was free admission, probably because of the holiday. It did indeed appear that numerous families were in attendance. They even had the big slide open. I did not ride the big slide.

Instead, I followed my previous treadmill run, hitting certain milestones (distance or time), at which I would check my heart rate, and if it was peaking, I’d fall back to a brisk walk until it had settled to just a little above my normal brisk walk pace, then I’d resume running. This means that in the time I normally do a 5K I noyl cover about 4K, but it’s easier on the body (and heart). Given how out of shape I am, this feels like the prudent thing to do until I start to see improvements in stamina and BPM.

I never felt bad and experienced no discomfort during the run, save for a slight bit of soreness in my left foot. I wore my cross trainers, which have little support, and used the regular insoles, rather than the orthotics. It was a nice reminder of how much the orthotics actually help to reduce pain and discomfort.

Here are the stats:

Distance: 4.10 km
Time: 39:05
Average pace: 7:06/km
BPM: 159
Calories: 330

The average pace was virtually identical to the last treadmill run, but the BPM was up a little to 159 vs. 153. This is a bummer, as I was hoping it would at least not be higher. It was peaking around 169 during the running parts, which is at least below the 170 mark.

I’m going to try to get out again within the next three days so I can see how the next run compares. If it’s even worse, I will be a sad, slow panda.

The first February treadmill extravaganza

Today, as a few winsome flakes of snow fell for the first time this winter, we headed out to the Canada Games Pool for some exercise and relaxation. My original plan was to run in the snow, which can be strangely delightful if it’s not waist-deep or turning to torrential rain, but given how light the snow was and how high my BPM was on last weekend’s river run, I chose to hit the treadmill once again.

I ended up falling into an interval pattern based on my heart rate after seeing how high it was getting even on the treadmill. I would run until it reached 164 or 165, then switch to a fast walk until it got down below 140, then start running again.

It worked out decently enough and I feel a bit better not pushing quite so hard as I normally would. I’ll see if the BPM starts trending downward as the runs get more frequent (it should), because if it doesn’t I may need to See a Doctor before continuing on with more rigorous or rigorous-like exercise.

When compared to my last treadmill run, the distance is shorter (because I walked more), but the calorie burn was higher and my BPM was exactly the same at 153, which means it was actually higher than last time, as I walked more, so my overall heart rate should have been lower. This is not great, though I feel fine now and felt fine immediately after the run, too, apart from that usual moment of vertigo when you step off a treadmill onto a floor that doesn’t move at all

The stats:

Distance: 4.27 km
Time: 30:14
Average pace: 7:05/km
BPM: 153
Calories: 342

Treadmill run 2019

Well, the first one of 2019, anyway. I’ll run outside one of these days (but maybe not tomorrow, as they are forecasting winds gusting up to 70-90 km/h).

I spent about five minutes out of the 30 doing a fast walk, with the pace set to 4.0 on the machine, which is…I’m not sure. I don’t really know what the numbers represent, exactly. The rest was jogging at a pace set to 6.5, which is a bit slower than an outdoor jog, based on heartrate and just generally how it feels. I’m more comfortable pushing myself outside because I don’t have to worry about flying off a fast-moving mat below my feet.

My best km, which did not include any walking intervals, was 5:58, which is actually pretty decent. The knees were again not an issue and my stamina is perhaps a very tiny bit improved.

The overall stats:

Distance: 4.62 km
Time: 30:03
Average pace: 6:30/km
BPM: 153
Calories: 336

This is slower than the previous run, but I spent a bit more time walking, especially during the 5-minute cooldown period when the machine automatically drops the speed to 3.9 (I raised it back to 6.5 for a few minutes of the cooldown, as I’m a rebel).

Here is the previous treadmill run for comparison:

Distance: 4.31 km
Time: 27.03
Average pace: 6:16/km
BPM: 157
Calories: 354

Treadmillin’ again

This afternoon I spent three minutes on the elliptical.

(That’s how long it took for a treadmill at the Canada Games Pool to open up. Not surprising on a Sunday afternoon. My watch detected a workout just as I stepped off. Is it ironic that my watch has poor timing? I say yes.)

Today’s effort went better than last Friday’s. I only switched to a walk a few times and only breifly, so it was less of an interval-style run and more of a run-style run. The knees held up fine, my pace was about on par for being indoors and out of shape (6:16/km–this includes the walking. I was closer to 6:00 if you only count the running bits). My BPM was also decent, at 157 (I tend to run harder and faster outdoors, so it’s unsurprising to see the BPM here be lower. But it’s still nice).

Overall, I found it encouraging and sweaty. I’m thinking of perhaps jogging outdoors in the next few days to see how that goes. Mind you, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and Tuesday is Christmas, so I’m not sure if I’ll run or just stay home, drink eggnog and get fatter.

But I’ll definitely get out sometime this week. Almost guaranteed.

The full stats for the treadmill run:

Distance: 4.31 km
Time: 27.03
Average pace: 6:16/km
BPM: 157
Calories: 354

Return to the treadmill

And it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Back around the start of November I had the flu and ended up being the poster boy for Why You Should Get a Flu Shot. This not only put a crimp in my NaNoWriMo novel, it meant running was right out. I barely had enough energy to sit in a chair, let alone do actual exercise. Then I became wrapped up in writing for a bit, then the weather turned cold and wet and by this point I was making excuses not to run because I had become soft, flabby and lazy.

The longer I held off, the more I dreaded the return, not only because I was getting increasingly out of shape, but also due to this year’s special bonus of sore knees.

On Friday after work we went to the Canada Games Pool and instead of going on the elliptical, I strangely climbed on a treadmill, opting for an interval-style run for half an hour where I’d jog at a good pace, then ramp down to a fast walk for a few minutes, then back to jogging and so on. Intervals are supposed to be a great way to train/exercise and it was easier, which particularly appealed after more than a month off.

And it really wasn’t that bad. I pushed a little at times, but I kept up and burned some 300 or so calories. The knees were a bit sore the next day, but the soreness didn’t persist much longer than that, and I actually kind of want to go back. I’m supposed to hate the treadmill and in a way I still do, but it’s warm inside the pool building and I had my water bottle and music and it was all right.

I may even try running outside again this weekend. The forecast for Saturday is rain showers with a high of only 4°C. This is not especially inviting weather. In fact, it’s yucky. But I will change into my running clothes and convince myself to go instead of sitting on the couch eating shortbread cookies.

I’m pretty sure, anyway.

The important thing is I miss my incredibly sexy legs, which are looking positively ordinary right now. This will not do.

Run 480: Running on a treadmill uphill (both ways)

Run 480
Average pace: 7:13/km
Location: Canada Games Pool (treadmill)
Distance: 4.38 km
Time: 31:41
Weather: n/a
Temp: n/a
Wind: n/a
BPM: 155
Stride: n/a
Weight: 165.3 pounds
Total distance to date: 3790 km
Devices/apps: Apple Watch, iPhone (for music) and Matrix treadmill (for running)

Only four days between treadmill runs this time, though I was originally planning on using the elliptical. Alas, all of the machines were occupied and I was too impatient to wait a minute or two for someone to decide that soaking in the swirl pool beat exercise.

Instead of choosing Manual or 5K Run I went with Fat Burn, same as I choose on the elliptical. As the run progressed (inclination set to 1, speed set to 6) I felt fine…for awhile. My ankles started to feel sore again, though not as much as the previous time. But then I started to feel really tired. I mean, really weirdly tired in a way I never feel during a run.

I dialed the speed down from 6 to 5.5 and eventually all the way to 4, which is a fast walk. I pondered.

I ramped the speed up a few times after, briefly, but switched off between jogging and walking until the end and I didn’t even cheat (mostly) during the cooldown period, which slows the treadmill to a walking pace. This also explains my silly slow average pace of 7:13/km.

It was during one of the running parts when it felt very hard that it dawned on me what was happening–and how dumb I was to not realize it. The hard parts were uphill. I verified this by tapping on the incline control and saw that it was set to 3.5 instead of 1.0 as the good lord intended. Each uphill segment lasted multiple minutes, which is multiple minutes longer than I have ever done uphill running before. It also explains why my ankles were hurting. I am a lousy mountain goat.

Secure in this knowledge, I will never choose Fat Burn again. I’ll burn fat by not eating Twinkies. For treadmill runs, I’ll stick to 5Ks or manual settings in the future.

Run 478: On a treadmill, slowly

Run 478
Average pace: 6:13/km
Location: Canada Games Pool (treadmill)
Distance: 4.93 km
Time: 30:42
Weather: n/a
Temp: n/a
Wind: n/a
BPM: 162
Stride: n/a
Weight: 165.3 pounds
Total distance to date: 3780 km
Devices/apps: Apple Watch, iPod nano (for music) and Matrix treadmill (for running)

Another run on ye olde treadmill at the Canada Games Pool and I am reminded that I really need to bring a water bottle. The humidity in there basically makes every run feel like one at the height of summer.

The run itself started out strangely sluggish. I guess it took me awhile to ramp up. I set the speed to 6.3 and kept it there until about midway through, bringing it down to 5.8 before taking it back up to 6 and 6.1 for the last 1.5 km or so.

Toward the middle, I began to feel rather tired, the kind of “make it stop” tired but after slowing the speed I recovered and finished fairly well, though my times are still tracking slower than my outdoor runs.

While I was still feeling zippy I managed to put myself into a zone of sorts where I was no longer focusing on the readout ahead of me, but instead a vague sport on the treadmill display. When I began feeling tired my eyes drifted back up to the display and I found it very difficult to look away. The distance readout counts down from 5K and while 5K is not a great distance, watching it tick down from 4.65 to 4.64 to 4.63 is exhausting in itself. It’s like someone doing a countdown but being deliberately, infuriatingly slow.

Still, I got out and got a run in, so yay for me.

In a new and possibly intriguing development, a few days of torrential rain have led to virtually all of the snow disappearing, to be replaced by vast, lake-like puddles. I’m not sure if there’s been enough rain to fully clear the trails yet but on Saturday I’m going to check out the Brunette River trail and it just might be possible to do an outdoor run this weekend, which would be my first in six weeks–entirely due to weather.

Run 477: Running to stand still (two nights in a row)

Run 477
Average pace: 6:06/km
Location: Canada Games Pool (treadmill)
Distance: 4.81 km
Time: 29:22
Weather: n/a
Temp: n/a
Wind: n/a
BPM: 163
Stride: n/a
Weight: 163.9 pounds
Total distance to date: 3775 km
Devices/apps: Apple Watch, iPod nano (for music) and Matrix treadmill (for running)

Feeling crazy I decided to do another treadmill run just 24 hours later. It was either that or sit and eat everything I could find. I’m still having a little trouble curbing the urge to stuff my face, though I’m getting better.

I made a few tweaks to my setup. I left the phone in the locker and swapped in my olde iPod nano for music. I last used it for a workout on September 23, 2014. I removed some old music, added some new music, synced and it was good to go. I also opted to just keep my Fitbit One in my shorts pocket instead of clipping it on because it’s not like there are dramatic sweeping movements made while jogging on a treadmill.

Despite all of my careful preparation I forgot to start the timer on the Workout app on the watch until about the 1:14 mark, so it recorded a little under 5 km. Alas.

It was also about that time that I noticed the fan was not working. The fans are mounted ahead and to the left of the machines so there is no way to reach them without stopping or pausing your workout, getting off the treadmill, making whatever adjustments, getting back on and essentially starting your jog over again (but not totally over). I left it and hoped for the best. The difference was noticeable. I was sweating sooner and felt hotter, but not the sexy kind of hot, just the “this is gross and uncomfortable” kind of hot. My mouth also got about as dry as a hotter summer run. I am going to bring a water bottle next time.

On the positive side, I improved in several respects. My BPM was down, from 166 to 163, and my pace dropped from 6:13/km to 6:06/km. Not bad for one day of progress.

My next trip to the pool will probably be back on the elliptical but I may whimsically change my mind and jog again. The elliptical is a more pleasant experience and though I burn fewer calories on it (unless I switch to Mountain Goat Mode or something that simulates stair-stepping up a cliff face) the difference isn’t enough to bother me.

While I like the relative convenience of having a fitness facility nearby that lets me get some exercise in, I miss being outside and running the trails. If you had told me that this winter I’d be unable to run due to snow for at least six weeks (and realistically I’m betting it will be closer to two months) I would have uttered a solid LOL in your general direction because that would be ridiculous. And yet here we are with a semi-permanent layer of crusty, ice-covered snow still all over the place.

Run 476: Dreadmill

Run 476
Average pace: 6:13/km
Location: Canada Games Pool (treadmill)
Distance: 5:15 km
Time: 32:08
Weather: n/a
Temp: n/a
Wind: n/a
BPM: 165
Stride: n/a
Weight: 166.4 pounds
Total distance to date: 3770 km
Devices/apps: Apple Watch, iPhone 6 (for music) and Matrix treadmill (for running)

And so it was that I returned to the Canada Games Pool for my second-ever treadmill run. I spent several minutes just standing on the thing trying to figure out all the options. I finally settled on choosing the 5K Run option and set the speed to 6 (out of 10? 100? I have no idea). I left the incline at 0 because running up hills is unfun when the hills are real so I doubt the experience is enhanced much on simulated hills.

It took me a bit to get to the point where I could let go of the handlebars and jog like I normally would. There’s that moment or two when you first let go and the treadmill is tugging away at your feet, wanting to throw you off like a hapless dolt on America’s Funniest Home Videos. And while I felt my feet shift slightly a few times I was pretty stable the rest of the way.

I still don’t like the treadmill. It captures the mechanic of running–moving your legs back and forth–but there’s none of the verve, the stuff that makes running enjoyable. Instead of seeing the scenery and experiencing an ever-shifting series of dips and curves and variety, you just keep moving in place on that rubber mat that forces you to literally go through the motions to avoid flying off.

My pace was way off but I’m not sure how accurately it reflects my usual running pace when I’m outside. I finished at 6:13/km, which is super-slow. On the other hand, my last run was on December 4th and a month+ of no jogging is going to have an effect.

I’ll try again with similar settings and see how the next pseudo-run compares. Going by the forecast it will probably be weeks still before I can begin running on trails again and then longer still to do it after work when there’s enough daylight.

Have I mentioned before that I’m ready for summer?