Friday, December 31, 2004

Resolution Run - I Did It!

What a night! What a hoot! Scary stuff.

I got to the Eau Claire Market about an hour before and looked around. There were actually a few people there before me. Put the final layers on and pinned my number on my front. Then waited.

Some guy was using a PA system to announce stuff, but no one in my vicinity had the slightest idea what he said. From the noise level in the building I would guess not many people cared either. All I could make out was something about flares and chili.

About five to six, I went outside, and got the headsock thing adjusted so I could see and breath (love that thing - thanks, Katie) and stood around, about where I thought the middle of the pack might be.

At the last minute, a whole crowd came out, and some kind of siren noise erupted, and the whole pack took off ahead of me. So I was definitely in the rear.

And they were all so slow. I expected most people in it to be faster. So I had a lot of traffic to try and get through. By the 4 km marker (for which they used flares) the pack had thinned out quite nicely and I was in the bunch that pretty much matched my ability.

The path started from Eau Claire, south a block or two to 2nd Avenue, then back toward the river at 4th Street. From there is was all the way along the river to Crowchild Trail. I didn't even know there was a pedestrian bridge under the Crowchild bridge - cool!

Just across that was the 4 km marker, and we followed the path beside Memorial Drive back towards the east. From that point on, I was pretty much in the groove, where the pace is perfect and everything feels like you could go all day.

At the 10th Street bridge, we were apparently supposed to continue on under it and farther down Memorial. But between the time they set up their orange cones and stuff at mid afternoon, and when we went by, the water in the river had risen a good metre and a half, so the path under the bridge was under water.

So across the 10th Street bridge, back along the river path, then over to Prince's Island. All shale paths there, so unplowed. Even with all the traffic, the snow didn't pack well, and it could be loose and slippery in places.

Then back to Eau Claire and through the gate, which is where I am here:

Then after a few pictures with Val and Katie, I got my bowl of chili and bun and butter. Absolutely perfect way to end. They had so much they were encouraging seconds and I helped out with that.

Didn't win a door prize though.

Shoes performed nicely, had no problems with my foot. However, the mileage now stands at 893 km, so I'll be shopping for new ones next week. Clothing was OK, perhaps I was overdressed. Thank goodness for the technical t-shirts.

Today's run:
Distance: 6.79 km. Time: 44:13. Speed: 9.2 kph.
Rest distance: 1.21 km. Rest time: 11:00.
Total distance: 8.0 km. Total time: 55:13.

Weather: Light snow and -25C. No significant windchill, which was great. And I never had a chance to feel cold.

About the intervals: I couldn't hear the alarms above the noise of several thousand feet crunching in the snow. And the street lighting is not enough to see what the GPS is up to. So I ran through six of the eleven rest intervals. Next time I won't even bother with intervals. Want to re-evaluate the intervals I've been using too.

Now, where was the web address for that St. Patrick's Day run...

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Test Run

Went out this morning in the cold and snow to see if what I've chosen for an ensemble will work for me tomorrow night. It's all in the wash right now. I've got several layers and everything seems to be great.

Just for fun I switched shoes. I bought these Garmont Naghevi day hikers a few months ago, for - what else? - hiking, and I've read some stuff about trail running, so I wondered how they would work in these cold conditions. They have a very stiff sole and a fairly blocky tread. Actually felt really good.

But tomorrow night, I think I'll stick to the Nikes. Get through the evening, then retire them. Near as I can account for, they've traveled about 880 km.

Today's run:
Distance: 4.97 km. Time: 31:02.51. Speed: 9.6 kph.
Rest distance: 622.7 m. Rest time: 7:00.
Total distance: 5.59 km. Total time: 38:03.

Weather: Light snow and -16C, with a wind NNW at 33 kph, and that gives a wind chill of -28C.

Think I'm ready for tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Almost Full Moon Run

I think the moon is two days past full, still huge and still bright. Just going down as I got out to the park right at opening time. Surprised a whitetail in the parking lot, but she wasn't too spooked, I think. Kinda sauntered into the bush, in no hurry at all.

Today's run:
Distance: 5.19 km. Time: 31:41.75. Speed: 9.8 kph.
Rest distance: 653.5 m. Rest time: 7:00.
Total distance: 5.84 km. Total time: 38:42.

Weather: Mainly clear and -1C, though the temperature dropped to -4C by the end. There was a stiff breeze at the start, too, which had me wondering if I was dressed warm enough. I adopted the wisdom of an article on cold weather running that I had read, and started into the wind, which meant going west instead of east. Glad I did though.

Trouble with going west, is there isn't enough paved path. It runs out after about two and a half km, and from there, there are several shale paths to choose from. They plowed the paved path quite nicely, but the shale still has eight or ten inches of snow piled on, with numerous tracks from walkers, runners, dog walkers, snow-shoers, skiers, and the like. Rough and uneven, and not completely solid. I slowed down a lot near my turn around point, just so I would struggle so much to stay straight and upright, and to give my knees a break. You can tell from my interval speeds too, where I ran out of pavement. They're all around 10 kph, but the middle two, on the shale, I was only doing 8.5 kph.

But overall, a good run, fun, and at a pretty time of the day.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Plowing Snow on Boxing Day

We got dumped on yesterday, with I don't know how much snow. Driving back from Medicine Hat wasn't bad, but also not great, with snow piling up on the highway, and blowing pretty good. We stopped to switch drivers once, and getting going was slippy-swipey until we got some speed up. Took our time just the same.

Today, all that snow is just laying there, and the park paths are thick with it. Some places the wind has cleaned down to the pavement of the path, but mostly the grasses have kept it neatly covering everything. Mostly ankle deep, some places a lot deeper. I'd say 95% of the time I was lifting my feet totally out of the snow as I ran.

The toughest part is that the damn stuff just rolls out from under my feet. No traction, no real speed, and it's tiring.

Today's run:
Distance: 4.88 km. Time: 32:46.78. Speed: 8.9 kph.
Rest distance: 674.0 m. Rest time: 8:00.
Total distance: 5.55 km. Total time: 40:47.

Weather: Mainly sunny and -19C. Just an ever-so-slight breeze from the north east.

I worried about the short running socks in the snow, but never was a problem. The head sock thing worked great, except maybe it's too tight a material, or it iced up too much. After a bit of running, it became hard to breath through it. Still, I love it. It's the perfect face and head cover in the cold.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Feeling the Burn

Two and a half hours, twenty one and some kilometres - I'm amazed at myself.

I didn't get out as early as I wanted to, as I had to run an errand or two first thing this morning. I finally got out about 9:30. Beautiful morning, the sun is sort of shining, through a high hazy cloud layer. There was a layer of snow on the path, but it was melting pretty good, buy the time I finished.

The burn: Since it was so nice out, I undid my wind jacket after about an hour. The wind came up out of the west quite briskly, when I had about forty minutes to go, and if I would have been aware of the consequences, I would have zipped up about then.

Good old prairie mountains. They're a lot tougher to climb on a bike, but they still challenge when running. I felt like I was being pushed back with every step, and I was getting pretty tired by the time I got back to the parking lot. Just because of fighting the wind on the last five or six intervals.

I didn't feel the wind burn, until I got in the car and out of the wind, when I could sweat freely without drying. It's not quite as bad as a bad sunburn, but it's gonna hurt to shave tomorrow. I'm red and raw from the collar of my t-shirt to the headband of my ballcap. Gotta love those dry winter winds.

Today's run:
Distance: 18.90 km. Time: 2:00:00. Speed: 9.5 kph.
Rest distance: 2.79 km. Rest time: 29:40.
Total distance: 21.69 km. Total time: 2:29:40.

Weather: To start, mainly sunny and 7C, with west winds at 18 kph gusting to 28. At the end, partly cloudy and 10C, winds west 32 kph, gusting to 41.

After Wendy left yesterday, I went to The Running Room and bought some running socks and a couple of gels. Thought I'd try both today. The gels didn't seem to make much difference. The socks did.

I've had a bit of soreness dogging me since summer, under the right big toe. Usually after ten minutes or so, things warm up and I don't have any problem. With the running socks, I didn't even feel it for the first ten minutes.

And I was thinking as I was running, I should get another three pack, so I don't have to do laundry so often to have clean running socks. And when I got home, I found a birthday present from my brother, Shane - another three pack of socks. Thanks, bro!

Also for my birthday, my daughter got me a hood/head sock thing. Nice and warm, and you can fold it up so it covers your face. Looking at the forecast for the next few days, I'm gonna need just that thing on Sunday if I get out.

And, I got slippers! I was so excited to get them. I've been holding off getting some myself, as my old ones were completely worn out. But every time I thought about doing so, I'd get barked at because I "might get them for Christmas". Now the old ones await their destiny in the garbage can in the alley. Cool.

Lord, I'm getting old. Getting excited over socks and slippers for my birthday. *sigh*

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Slow and Snowy, With Sibling

My sister Wendy is in town for a couple of days, and we've been planning to run since she decided to come. We were going to go yesterday around noon, before heading for some serious shopping, but it was -20C with a wind chill dropping that another 10C. So we figured, "naaaahhh."

Today, it's considerably warmer, so we went out this morning. Snowing big fluffy flakes, and only a little breeze.

Today's run:
Distance: 4.20 km. Time: 32:00. Speed: 7.9 kph.
Rest distance: 740.2 m. Rest time: 7:30.
Total distance: 4.93 km. Total time: 39:30.

Weather: Light snow and -3C, with a light west wind. Much, much nicer than yesterday.

Wendy runs at a slower pace than I do, and I found it challenging to stay with her. I could sure feel it in the shins, where I think I was pushing more off the ball of the foot. Usually, I don't roll forward on my ankle so much, because my forward momentum keeps me from needing to.

Still, was a good loosening up kind of run. And that wicked sprint at the end was totally surprising and not a little challenging to keep up with.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Quick Run Through the Forest

Since my sister Wendy is coming to town for a couple of days, I thought about taking her through the forest in Fish Creek for a run, since she doesn't see much forest out Moose Jaw way. And I'm off work this week and next, too, so I can get out reasonably early.

So I drove to the Votier Flats area of the park (off the end of Elbow Drive for those who know a bit about Calgary) and went west from there, across all those bridges, to see if it would be a good place to show her a run. Not really a fun place at the moment. We've had great weather the past couple of weeks, but yesterday we had rain and snow, and in the forest, the paths are slick. Lots of opportunities for curling slides. Last night's snow fall is like flour on a plate of glass in a lot of places.

Speed was affected, of course, but what was tough was that much of the motion was up and down since there wasn't much to push off from. I'm feeling it in the calves.

Today's run:
Distance: 4.76 km. Time: 31:45.93. Speed: 9.0 kph.
Rest distance: 622.4 m. Rest time: 7:00.
Total distance: 5.38 km. Total time: 38:46.

Weather: Partly cloudy and -8C - a bit cool, but not bad if you dress right. I think I'm finally getting that part right.

Wildlife: two whitetails came down the hill into the picnic area beside the parking lot while I was stretching and warming up. Usually there are nothing but mule deer in that part of the park. The whitetail seem to like it farther east, by the heron colony. The ice on the paths was making it tough for deer, too. at several points where lots of deer tracks crossed, there were signs of hooves slipping and sliding. At one place, one may even have fallen, judging by how the snow was disturbed. Treacherous!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Chinook's Over

Wow, that was some weather change! 24 hours ago it was 1C, then a couple of hours later it was up to 9C. We peaked at 13C at about noon today, dropped to 9C by about 4:30, and an hour later when I went out to run, we were below 2C. And it had rained/snowed.

Today's run:
Distance: 4.66 km. Time: 26:27.82. Speed: 10.6 kph.
Rest distance: 576.8 m. Rest time: 6:00.
Total distance: 5.24 km. Total time: 32.28.

Weather: Cloudy and 1C, winds WSW at 26 kph. There's been a wind warning all day: "Very strong winds of 60 gusting to 100 km/h..."

Saturday, December 18, 2004

70 Metres Short of a Half.

Wonderful day for a run, especially a distance run. I decided to get out first thing this morning, so I was in the parking lot at the park just after 8:00. Then I headed east, along the usual path. Managed to get all the way from Glennfield to Mallard Point, which is pretty much the northern most point in the park.

And the parks people, bless them, had unlocked the Mallard Point bathrooms. Things was getting tense! Cottonwoods just don't grow that thickly, and there's nothing out that way but cottonwoods and grass - nothing to hide behind!

Today's run:
Distance: 17.43 km. Time: 1:52:00. Speed: 9.3 kph.
Rest distance: 2.50 km. Rest time: 27:36.
Total distance: 19.93 km. Total time: 2:19:36.

Weather: Partly cloudy and -5C to start, but getting to about 1C by the end. I was out about a half hour before sunrise (at 8:35) but it was another 20 minutes past that before I was in actual sunlight. I was screened by the bluff across the river with all the monster houses on it. I think the subdivision is called Mountain Park.

Ran the paved path all the way out, and the shale on the way back. The shale path hugs the river most places and in some of those sheltered little draws it stays pretty chilly.

Great morning, great run. I felt great, and still do. Awesome.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Fast night

Didn't get to run a couple of days ago, due to an appointment at Canadian Blood Services for a donation, and later I attended a Conversation Cafe. Blood Services had one of the local radio stations visiting, so there were some great after-donation treats, aside from their usual great assortment.

Great run tonight, with some fast intervals. Just wanted to cut loose. And I got an early Christmas present in the form of a technical fibre t-shirt, so I had to get good and sweaty to try it out. Very nice.

Today's run:
Distance: 5.39 km. Time: 30:17.19. Speed: 10.7 kph.
Rest distance: 686.1 m. Rest time: 7:00.
Total distance: 6.08 km. Total time: 37:17.

Weather: Cloudy and 5C. Very nice evening, with the snow almost gone.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Started in a Rush

I was a bit rushed at the end of the afternoon from doing some pre-Christmas running around, and that carried over into my run. Had some pretty good times on my intervals.

It felt really good, too. When I go faster, I stretch out my pace, and it feels more like I'm gliding than pounding on my feet. Trouble is, it's more strenuous, so I'm huffing and puffing more, too.

Today's run:
Distance: 4.69 km. Time: 26:26.84. Speed: 10.6 kph.
Rest distance: 600.2 m. Rest time: 6:00.
Total distance: 5.29 km. Total time: 32:27.

Weather: Clear and -4C. Lovely evening for a run. Some icy spots on the sidewalk, but mostly just a thin layer of loose snow, or bare sidewalk.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Icy, Treacherous Run

It was a good workout for the knees and ankles, I must admit. We had a chinook blow through between 8:00 and 9:00 last night. According to Environment Canada, the temp at 8:00 was -4c, at 9:00 it was +10C, which is pretty typical. The temperatures started to fall off rapidly about 7:00 this morning, and during all that time it was raining nicely, after snowing late yesterday.

Because of the stiff west winds, I thought I'd go west into the forest, where the trees would cut most of it, and where an article on winter running I'd read in Runner's World said it was best to head into the wind at the start. Unfortunately the article said nothing about running on black ice. (And thanks for the subscription, Shane.)

Some parts were pretty good. There was a long, reasonably flat paved stretch, where the snow gave just enough traction to keep from slipping, but I could easily do the curler's slide if I wanted to (and I did, several times). Some parts were just bumpy and slippery, so I tried to keep to the foot-wide strip of crusty grass between the ice and the bush, when it existed.

There are twelve bridges to cross out that way in the park. I crossed eleven going out and the same back, as two bridges are parallel but on different sides of the park. All but one arc over the creek quite picturesquely, and the approaches tend to match the angles of the ends of the bridges. Say a ten degree slope, iced and polished. Almost every bridge, I had to run/climb down the side of the approach, then climb up on the bridge deck, then climb down the other side. A couple, however, I took slow and skated down the slope. A lot of fun, actually.

I really appreciate the morning excersizes I do, as every slip and slide was accompanied by a thrown arm or flying foot. Six months ago I would have been ripping muscle and tendon to shreds, but now I don't even notice. Sweet.

Today's run:
Distance: 12.4 km. Time: 1:26:21.14. Speed: 8.6 kph.
Rest distance: 1.88 km. Rest time: 21:00.
Total distance: 14.29 km. Total time: 1:47:21.

Weather: Light snow and -1C, with winds N 45 kph, gusting to 54 kph. The snow was pretty off and on the whole time, and the wind swung to the north west by the end.

The reason I only did 12 km was that I ran out of park. I think there was more path that headed north towards and along 37th Street, but I was getting a pretty good workout with the ice and snow and all.

And slushy puddles, did I mention slushy puddles? When you stomp in a slushy puddle, the foot you stomp with stays dry as the slush splooshes away like the ejecta from a meteor strike. It's the foot flying by at the time, getting into position for the next step that gets shlogged. I did this at least a half a dozen times and always stomping with the left foot. My right toes were cold and wet for most of the run.

All bitching aside, it was a fun time. All the achy parts got worked out by the third or forth interval, and only the knees complained occasionally when things got a bit slippy.

Oh, yeah, got myself a water bottle and holster thingy, and it made a big difference.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Out of the Cold

Back into warmer weather today, with nice clear skies. Lots of the snow left lying around though, and it's tricky to run on. Sometimes it's like sand, sometimes it hides ice. It's sticky and tends to lump up under the ball of the foot.

Things hurt tonight, perhaps because of the leftover snow. I tried an ice pack when I got home, but that got messy. It must have been an old one, because it was froze solid, not like a gel pack. And it didn't soften. It sprung a leak after awhile and dribbled whatever that liquid was inside down into my slipper and all over the floor.So gel packs are on my Christmas list too.

Today's run:
Distance: 5.36 km. Time: 33:06.18. Speed: 9.7 kph.
Rest distance: 824.5 m. Rest time: 8:00.
Total distance: 6.18 km. Total time: 41:06.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 1C. Very nice evening.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Cold Adapted

This time I got a little better covering for running in the cold. I put a ball cap under the touque, which cut the wind completely. And I found a scarf to wrap around my face and to breath through. It was pretty loose weave, but it worked perfectly. I had no trouble with cold air in the throat, and even the dryness wasn't a factor, since the scarf got pretty saturated pretty quickly.

Today's run:
Distance: 4.54 km. Time: 31:36.54. Speed: 8.6 kph.
Rest distance: 638.9 m. Rest time: 7:00.
Total distance: 5.18 km. Total time: 38.37.

Weather: Partly cloudy, -17C with winds SE at 17 kph. Which kind of dogged me on my return half as I was running into it.

One minor trouble: today was the day the firm took the admin staff out for lunch, where we eat and drink as we would never be able to afford on our own. Managed it in three hours and I was stuffed. That, needless to say, had an effect on the run.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Wussed out

I originally wasn't going to go tonight because of the cold, but then I started to get antsy, so I thought, why not? Didn't take long before I'd had enough. I think I was OK for clothing, but it was huffing and puffing in the cold that did me in - hard on the throat. And the wind was especially biting too.

Today's run:
Distance: 1.70 km. Time: 11:17.68. Speed: 9.0 kph.
Rest distance: 198.4 m. Rest time: 2:00.
Total distance: 1.90 km. Total time: 13:18.

Weather: Light snow, -15C and winds NNW at 28kph.

Gotta figure out how to breath in the cold without freezing my windpipe. I'll have to go shopping for something, or if this cold snap is over quick, I'll ask Santa. The touque I have is pretty porous in the wind, too.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Starting to Look a Bit Like Christmas...

Seemed like the park was deserted this morning. Except there were lots of cars in all the parking lots, and lots of fairly fresh footprints in the snow. Actually, in the first hour, I met people on the path pretty regularly. It was on the return that everyone seemed to have disappeared, and the foot prints were not so fresh due to the very light snow fall that has been going on all morning.

One thing I like about running in the park is the relative quiet. Sometimes on my short runs I miss one of the alarms because the traffic noise drowns it out, but not in the park. Except along the river. Thousands of Canada geese and various species of ducks all honking and quacking and flapping.

Every minute or so, something would spook the geese and they would take to the air with a great racket, circle around over the park, then drop back to the river. On one stretch, where there are large gaps in the line of trees between the river and the shale path, they come in ten and twenty at a time, about five or ten metres off the deck. Very cool to watch a great clutch of 20 pound birds streaking toward you at horizon level, seeming to whoosh past within arms reach of your head. You almost want to, er, duck.

Today's run:
Distance: 15.51 km. Time: 1:41:13.02. Speed: 9.2 kph.
Rest distance: 2.21 km. Rest time: 25:00.
Total distance: 17.72 km. Total time: 2:06:13.

Weather: Light snow and -2C to start, climbing to -1C by the end. Really nice in that the snow was coming down very lightly so that it wasn't clumpy on the path.

Here's a map of my run from my GPS:
It starts on the left at a parking lot in the Glennfield area of Fish Creek Park, past the Bow Valley Ranch and across Bow Bottom Trail, then around the south end of the sewage treatment plant, and north along the Bow River.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Calmer Day

Must have been a little calmer today, as I ran the same circuit that I've been doing the past couple of weeks at over 40 minutes. Just taking it a little slower on purpose, but then I feel it more. I think with the longer stride it's easier on the legs. With the shorter stride tonight, it felt more plodding.

I also had a more consistent run tonight. All my intervals were close to 630 to 635 m, except for that third one at 661. And I think the explanation for the third is that at the beginning of it I'm finally at the top of the hill and I can stretch out a bit.

Today's run:
Distance: 5.36 km. Time: 33:40.33. Speed: 9.5 kph.
Rest distance: 724.4 m. Rest time: 8:00.
Total distance: 6.08 km. Total time: 41:40.

Weather: Cloudy and 5C. Went with a layer less than I have been wearing, as it was a pretty nice evening. Ah, but only in Calgary: tomorrow the forecast is 9C, but by Sunday the high is forecast at -18C. Given the weatherman's record this past couple of months, I'll believe it when I see it.

And more Christmas lights are up. Probably double the number of houses on this route are now lit as there were a couple of days ago. I like the new LED lights, not very bright, but vivid and deep colours.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Post Party - Back to Work

Was a fab time at the Christmas party, though I think the long run before-hand was not a great idea. The scotch hit fast and hard. Hmmmm...

Today's run:
Distance: 5.49 km. Time: 31:50.81. Speed: 10.3 kph.
Rest distance: 653.6 m. Rest time: 7:00.
Total distance: 6.15 km. Total time: 38:51.

Weather: Mainly clear and 0C, and a bit of a breeze out of the west. Most of the ice is gone off the sidewalks, so we're probably overdue for another snowfall.

People are getting the christmas lights up. I could read the GPS by the lights of several houses I went by.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Snowy Ending

A very nice morning for a run. Everything felt good, although my legs felt used up for the first half hour or so. Then we were really warmed up and it was fun.

Took to the shale path on the outbound leg this time. I don't know if it's the shoes or just the nature of the beast, but I seem to be constantly flipping the odd stone into my shoe. I can feel then around the rim against the ankle, and from there they work their way down under the ball of my foot. Sometimes I can work them around by flexing my foot so they move under the arch, but they don't stay there.

Most of the ones I picked up today were pretty small, sand really, and only bothered me a little bit off and on, but I still had to make a couple of stops to dump them out.

Today's run:
Distance: 14.99 km. Time: 1:34:48.90. Speed: 9.5 kph.
Rest distance: 2.06 km. Rest time: 23:00.
Total distance: 17.05 km. Total time: 1:57:48.

Weather: Cloudy, -4C and NW winds at 13 kph to start; light snow, -3C and NW winds at 21 kph at the end. In fact, during the last 15 minutes wet snow was coming pretty good. Running into the wind like that, it stuck to whatever wasn't nylon on the track suit I wear. Actually felt good to get a wet blast in the face.

Now the hard part comes tonight. It's the firm's annual Christmas party and I've gotta find the energy to do some dancing and carousing. Have I used it all up or can I recoup my energy levels?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Another Run in the Dark

Must have been another one of those days at work, cuz I really needed to burn it off.Averaged over 10 kph, and came in 55 seconds faster than a couple of nights ago on the same route. I don't think it was a conscious thing to go fast, just needed to burn off some frustration. It sure feels good, too.

Today's run:
Distance: 5.47 km. Time: 32:00. Speed: 10.3 kph.
Rest distance: 652 m. Rest time: 7:01.
Total distance: 6.13 km. Total time: 39:01.

Weather: Partly cloudy -1C. Nearly a full moon tonight, peeking through the clouds.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

One of Those Days...

One of those days at work, where things come at you from all angles, and drive you crazy, and just basically bury you. Which explains my run tonight, maybe.

Today's run:
Distance: 5.30 km. Time: 32:00. Speed: 9.9 kph.
Rest distance: 804 m. Rest time: 7:56.
Total distance: 6.11 km. Total time: 39:56.

Weather: Partly cloudy and -5C. Sidewalks were icy in places, packed snow in others.

Must have been really wound up after work to run like that. I ran two of the intervals at 10.6 kph, much faster than usual. A lot of frustration to burn off, I guess.

I've run this route a few times, but always the other way. Long flat start, longer rise of about 60 m vertical, then a fairly fast drop back to the start. Tonight though, I ran it the other way, with a quick climb, then the long descent to the long level part. It was on the descent that I put on the speed.

It felt really good, like I could have gone all the way down without a break, but I try to stay disciplined: four minute run, one minute walk. I use the timers on the GPS to stay with that interval, but the traffic noise was pretty bad tonight for some reason, and it was hard to hear the alarms, so I over-ran a couple of times. But a really good feeling run.

Oh, and just to brag a bit: I bought a new belt about a year ago, nice heavy leather with lots of room to adjust. At the time I was wearing it at the second last hole, and I thought I was moving outward, if you catch my drift. But then I started this adventure, and the adjustments went the other way. I finally caved last Sunday, and went to the leather repair shop in the mall to have them punch another hole in the thing. Now it doesn't droop so much.

But then there's all these dress pants that kinda look like I'm wearing a potato sack. And baggy shirts - geez, they just hang off me.

Anyway, from close to 200 lb back in April, when I first started this, to 172 lb as of last night. I may not get to 160 lb like I was back when I was cycling on the prairies year round, but I'm quite happy about where I've got to.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Closing In on Two Hours

Today's run: Time: 1:26:40 (+ 20 min rest time). Distance: 12.8 km (+ 1.8 km rest distance). Speed: 9.5 kmh. There was also my screwing up at the start with my GPS/timer. The first ten minutes and 1.5 km were run without the interval timer. When I started the interval timer, of course everything started from zero, so the above times and distances are off. Actual distance was about 16.1 km and 1 hour 52 minutes.

Weather: Cloudy and 7C at the start, climbing to 8C by the end.

Lots of traffic on the park paths this morning, lots of friendly hellos and g'mornings. Even the dogs were friendly.

It seemed like I went a lot farther then I thought I would. At the end of the tenth interval, I was at least a half kilometre farther than I had gotten the week before at that point which was my turn around point then. Today it was at 11 intervals. I'm also surprised at my speed. I wasn't trying to go fast, just trying to maintain an even pace so I could last the whole morning. I expected it to be closer to 9 kmh. Even so, I was longer getting back to the start point on the return leg.

As usual, everything hurt until about 4 intervals in, which is when everything finally seems loosened up and it gets fun. I stayed on the paved path all the way out, but just before the turn-around point, the shale path that parallels the paved one joins for a moment, so I used it for my return. It runs closer to the river and threads through some thick cottonwood stands.

The beavers have been busy in these stands; lot's of fresh stumps and wood chips. There are also some really huge trees, that have been wrapped in chicken wire fencing, though occasionally you see one that the parks people have missed and have been chewed on. Here's a picture from an earlier run, about a month ago, to give you the idea.

This tree was about 45 centimetres through.

There are some stands that have been pretty well cleaned out. There's a bench on the west path, that used to be in a nice shady spot, now it's out in the open. That took them all of a couple of days, and they built a pretty big dam right beside. The creek is only 10 metres wide at that point, but the dam must raise the water level almost a metre.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Catching Up, But Dragging My Backside

Didn't get to run on Thursday, due to a couple of things: parent-teacher night at my daughter's school, and the missus was offered full time employment where she's been working as a temp. So after talking with teachers, we celebrated by eating out. Calories in, calories out.

Today I was planning my usual Saturday distance run, but circumstances kept me up until about 6:30 this morning, and I was up again at about 8:00. So running on about an hour and a half of sleep just wasn't do-able for much more than the usual 40 minutes.

Today's run: Time: 32:47. Distance: 5.21 km Speed: 9.5 kmh, average. Total distance traveled: 5.95 km, which includes 8 minutes of walking.

Weather: Sunny, 1C, winds south at 21 kmh. Not too bad.

No wildlife, not even that many people out. Tomorrow's supposed to be much nicer, so if I get a good night's rest, I'll look at a distance run tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

After a nice break

Foot feels fine tonight, just a little achy, but much better.

I tried a different timing on the GPS, using the interval timer. Set the run time for four minutes and the rest time for one minute. So it now only shows the distance I ran, not the total distance. Not sure if that matters, but I would like to know just how far I went overall.

Anyway, today's run: Time: 35:59(not counting walking parts). Distance: 5.37 km (not counting walking parts). Speed: 8.9 kmh (not counting walking parts).

Weather: Mainly Clear, 4C, and really dark.

I think I traveled 6.14 km overall, if I read the graph from the software that comes with this gadget right, and that seems about right. Which means I walked 0.77 km.

Man, you can get downright geeky with this gizmo.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Just signed up for the Resolution Run, happening Dec 31 here in Calgary. As it is happening simultaneously in several centres, my sibs have also signed up in their respective communities. Looking forward to it, having not a clue what I'm getting into.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Almost like summer again

Sparkling day for a run. Started at Glennfield in Fish Creek Park and went east on the paved path. All kinds of people out running, walking, with dogs, or kids.

Today's run: Time: 1:39:37.45. Distance: 13.99 km. Speed: 8.4 kmh.

Weather: Sunny and 7C but it got up over 13C by noon, when I finished.

No wildlife around with so many people out, except a huge flock of gulls circling over the Bow.

Hurts: Still got some soreness under my right big toe. This is the same problem I had over the summer, that kept me from running for about six weeks. I was watching it carefully today, as I was going to stop if it started to really hurt, but after about ten minutes, the pain all but went away. Lots of other transient aches, not unexpected on a long run. Just for the foot, I'm going to skip tomorrow's run, so I won't be out until Tuesday.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Not the greatest

Just not a really good run this time, mostly because I messed up with my timing again. Somehow, I managed to stop the timer for about two minutes, which likely also stopped the distance accumulation. I stopped to let it catch up, sort of, but that probably wasn't the way to correct it either.

The other problem today is, I seem to ache all over. Mostly from the knees down. Or below the knees. Calves and feet hurt. Hope I'm not coming down with something.

Today's run: Time: 39.33. Distance: 5.48 km. Speed: 8.3 kph. But I'm sure I was over 6 km, as I got deeper into the forest than I usually get after 20 minutes.

Weather: Mainly Sunny, 10C, though the sun went down just after I started and it cooled off quite quickly.

Wildlife: Three-point whitetail buck beside Mcleod Trail, and on the way back, just coming up to the storm water ponds, a coyote crossed the path, loped into the trees and sat and watched me go by. First coyote I've seen down there for a couple of years, though I've been told there are lots down there. The owl was hooting in the Glennfield picnic area again, and a couple of minutes after encountering the coyote, I watched the tail of a whitetail deer disappear into the bush. Plus the usual assortment of chickadees and flickers looking for handouts.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A Gray But Pleasant Day

The forecast was calling for wet snow this morning, but we only got rain in the south of town. Fortunately it had stopped when I got out to run.

Got back in the park today. Since I'm off this week, I can get in and out before they lock the gates, which, at this time of year, they do at 6:00 pm. I ran the path with the distances painted on the pavement, and found that those numbers agree pretty closely with my GPS, which means that I really was getting an accurate idea before of how far I was running each time I used that path.

Today's run: Time: 40:43.46. Distance: 6.15 km. Speed: 9.1 kmh.
Weather: Light Rain, 4C, actually rather nice for a run, and as I said, the rain had stopped in this part of town.

Wildlife: two Whitetail deer on the path at about a half kilometre from the parking lot on the way back. A third one was in the tall grasses just a few metres to the north.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Top o' the world

I've moved this post here.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Foggy Day in Calgary Town

Conditions: Light Freezing Drizzle, -1C - from Environment Canada's web site. However those conditions are at the airport, some 25 or so km from here. More like just heavy fog down this way.

Run time: 38:41.14. Distance: 5.57 km. Speed: 8.6 kmh.

Felt cold out, but probably just from the humidity. With the fog, visibility was down to almost nothing. Ran up the hill again, then all the way back down to 5th Street. Last time it took me over 41 minutes, so tonight I was really moving. Well, I was really moving for me.

No wildlife, and only one dog walker.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Fun but treacherous

Just finished my weekly distance run, and it was brutal. Since it was cold and wet and a bit windy, I decided to head west from my start point into the forest. Mistake.

The snow we had a couple of weeks ago is still in the sheltered parts of the park, which is pretty much the whole route that I took. It's melted and re-froze, and pitted by hundreds of heels and toes. And to top it off, it's been raining all morning, so not only uneven ice, but wet, uneven ice. Slowed me down a bit.

Still, I feel great after doing it, and I felt pretty good even while picking my way across the ice. One thing I noticed this time, different from any other run, is my knees. I never usually feel any complaint from them, but today, probably because I had to deal with a fair amount of lateral pressure on the lower legs, my knees were just a little achey by the end. The lateral pressure is from the occasional slipping and sliding, and there was some pretty uneven ground along side the paths, between the ice and the bush, when there was enough to run on.

Perhaps brutal is too strong a word, but it was challenging, and in a way, fun.

Got a new toy to play with while I run too. I went out last night and bought a GPS unit for runners, the same one my brother has. Quite the nifty little tool.

Weather: -1C, freezing drizzle, and a bit breezy.
Run: Time:1:29:42.08, Distance: 12.07 km, Speed: 8.1 kmh.

No wildlife to speak of, except just as I was starting, a red-headed woodpecker landed on a tree by the path, not ten feet away. Beautiful bird, and a lot bigger than I thought they were.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Still Dark, But Not Nearly So

I took a different path tonight: straight west up the hill on Millrise Drive. Close to the top, it curves south and connects to Shawnessy Boulevard. West on Shawnessy, up and over the top of the hill, then north on James McKevitt Drive, which has a long slow curve toward the east, and over the hump of the hill. Then it's a straight descent to McLeod Trail. I go as far as 5th Street SW, which I take south to Millrise Drive, then it's just a short walk up the hill to my alley.

Time: 41:12. Distance: about 5.3 km. About 10C and windy.

Tonight I ache a bit, possibly from the long up and long down of the hill. My right calf feels a little stretched. I'll see what it's like on Saturday for my distance run. If it's still bothersome, I may cut back to a regular 40 minute run, or even skip a day.

I met half a dozen people out walking dogs tonight. I wonder how often these people meet others out walking. It's like the dogs have never seen other people, the way they growl and bark. Maybe it's the car-driving society I live in - no one walks any more.

Or maybe they don't like the way I smell.

So, on my off days, I try to do some walking. I have night classes Mondays and Wednesdays right now at the University of Calgary. I've been walking to the first C-Train station out of the downtown, which is probably a couple of kilometres at least. It's a nice walk across the river and through the picturesque community of Sunnyside. Fridays, I just get out and walk, either in the park or around the community.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It's Dark Out There!

Since the change back to Standard Time, it's pretty dark out at the time I usually run. It's not a problem for running, but my timepiece is a mechanical stopwatch, bought circa 1980, so no backlighting or anything like that. I had a heck of a time tonight trying to determine how long I was running. I think I did OK, I just counted the times the second hand went around. I couldn't see the minute hand at all most of the time.

Another complication I've run into, is that they now lock the gate to Fish Creek Park at 6:00 pm, which is minutes after I would usually get there. I could park at the gate, and a lot of other people do that. There's usually three or four cars parked there, runners and dog-walkers, I imagine.

But tonight, I started from my back gate. Screwed up the time by not zeroing the clock again, but this time I noticed it at the end of the alley, so about 30 seconds missed.

My time was 40:58 from the point I reset the clock, and this time I didn't do the usual out and back thing. I actually ran a whole circuit: south along the C-Train track to 162nd Avenue, west to Shawinigan Drive, which goes north, then west, then north again, to Shawnessy Boulevard. East on Shawnessy back to Millrise Boulevard, and I'm home. Just over 5 km, if I measured the map right.

Conditions were decent weatherwise, 7C, so I was a bit overdressed again. This also wasn't a flat course. Shawinigan Boulevard was uphill all the way, no idea how much, and it kinda meandered along. Shawnessy is just straight down the hill, so I came down faster than I went up. And I felt it, too.

Now I'm going to check on some timing gear. Something with backlighting, maybe a couple of alarms or something. My brother has a GPS gizmo that I'm going to check out.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

All Hallow's Eve

Whooooo, scarey!

About 4C, and windy, so I decided to go east from my starting point at the Glennfield parking lot in Fish Creek Park. That takes me into the forested areas and out of the wind a bit.

Time was 39:32, so a bit faster on the return, which surprised me since I thought I was lagging. No one else out at the time, except for one lady with a rambunctious Irish setter.

And after a bowl of my frabjous chili, which has been simmering all day, we welcomed the little scaries at our door. Hmmm, 11 so far. I think we're up from last year. And hardly a dent in the box of Cheezies, box of Nachos, and two boxes of Cadbury treats. Betcha my face breaks out tomorrow.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

A long Saturday run

Got out earlier than usual today. I usually head out in the late afternoon, but I got started early this morning and got everything done I wanted to do. And it being such a sunny, cloudless day, it seemed like a great idea to get out at noon. And it was.

Today was my distance run. I headed east from the parking lot in the Glennfield area of Fish Creek Provincial Park, then past the Bow Valley Ranch and got as far as the picnic area at Burnsmeade. Here's a trail map that shows the area were I was running.

No wildlife today. I usually don't run into any unless the weather is really crappy, or unless it's after sunset. The was a guy with a grumpy dog, that growled a bit as I went by and that's as wild as it got.

Total time was 1:20:27, so a pretty balanced run - 40 minutes out, and 40:27 back. And as I said, sunny, calm and about 10C. Did some measuring on a map and figured I did about 10.5 km. Lots of people out running, biking, walking or exploring the creek with their kids. Just a great day.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Got a run in

Nothing in the way of getting out tonight. Went east from Glennfield in Fish Creek Park. I was 29 paces short of the 3 km marker before I turned around. Stopped the clock at 20 minutes and paced it out. So except for that little bit, I'll claim to have run 5.9 km, assuming, of course, that the markings on the path are accurate.

Done in 40:15.

6C and very little wind. I have a problem with over-dressing. I probably could have left a layer in the car without any problem.

I found a great pace - a nice slow stride with a good knee flexing. Had trouble keeping my stride down, though. I found I was almost reaching at times. But a painless run, nice and smooth.

There was a single whitetail deer out in the open area on the way out. Coming back, there were four on the hillside by the 1 km marker. On their way up to browse through Midnapore? Gonna hafta take a camera one of these days.

Schedule out the window...again!

My schedule has gone to heck again. I was planning to run last night. No, really...

Anyway, the law firm that employs me had their student party last night, of which I saw the very first few minutes. Then it was home to spend the evening with my daughter and grandson, as they are heading back to Saskatchewan today.

I run tonight for sure.

And my sister has got her blog going, you can see it here.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Busy, busy, BUSY! Got to run last night, but too much happening to get around to this update, so I'm sneaking it in at work.

My brother's got one of these going too, check it out.

Out at 6:00 last night, just as the sun set. I realize I need a time piece with backlighting.

I went east from my starting point, which takes me under McLeod Trail and into a mix of descidious (sp) and coniferous forest. Also I get to cross a couple of bridges over Fish Creek. The paved part of the path was just fine, but when I hit the shale paths, there was lots of ice and packed snow. The packed stuff is uneven, and I could feel it in the ankles after. Close to 0C, and the mud on the shale trails were stiff but not solid. Puddles went crunch, which was kinda neat.

The return was magical. Full moon rising up through the forest - beautiful.

Time: 39:02. But I messed up on my time keeping - forgot to zero the clock and didn't notice until about a minute or so in to the run. I thought I went farther than usual for the 20 minutes out, so I was surprised that the return was only 19 minutes. But I did stretch my stride on a couple of the return intervals.

Wildlife count: One muledeer by the stormwater ponds, one by the creek near McLeod Trail, and heard but not seen, an owl in the Glennfield picnic area.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


Let's see how this works out.

This was created to keep tabs on my running, and maybe on other things. My brother and sister are both veterans of the marathon, whereas I just started metamorphosing from couch potato status about seven months ago. The three of us recently began sharing running info, tips and lore, and well, here we are.

Today was my first run of the week, and it was pretty standard for me. I do 40 minutes - 20 minutes out, turn around and come back. The coming back can vary from 18 to 25 minutes, depending. I figure the closer I get to 20 minutes on the return trip, the better. It's about the only metric I have for now.

One of the paved paths I run has been used for fun runs, half and full marathons, and like that, so I have some measurements painted on the pavement. Where I start, there is an orange 0 K and a red 2.5 K, so I can count up or down. I know the orange numbers got to at least 3 K, but the red stops where I start. And when they did the red, they started out marking every 100 metres for the first 1.5 K so you can fine tune your measurements in that area.

Anyway, I ended up pretty close to half way between the 2.5 and 3.0 orange numbers, and my return trip was 20 minutes, 17 sec. So: about 5.5 K in 40:17.

Sunny,but cool (3C) so I should have worn my gloves. In late afternoon at this latitude and time of year, some of the path is in shadow, so there was ice to deal with.