Sunday, July 30, 2006

Where the Heck is Summer Going?

It's the end of July, almost, and it seems like I haven't accomplished anything yet this summer. Not that I had planned anything to accomplish, but you know...

Today I did the usual long run to Edworthy Park. Same scenery, same run. Still a lot of fun. I seem to be enjoying the runs a lot more the last couple of months, and I'm not sure why. I think it's because of the people out there - lots of smiles and good mornings and hellos.

The return was by the Centre Street bridge. With the Calgary Folk Festival going on Prince's Island, there were too many people to easily get across that way. And it was busy down there. Even by late morning, the crowds are big, and performances are underway.

One cool thing that I didn't get a close look at due to the crowd, was a man on a horse. He was Indian, with a beautifully embroidered gold suit and turban, and the horse was decked out in a similarly ornate blanket. I didn't notice a saddle, but something must have been there to hold up a huge umbrella, embroidered in the same way. Hindu or Sikh wedding? I'm afraid I'm much too ignorant of Eastern customs and celebrations to tell. But he was attracting quite a crowd, many armed with cameras.

It was another great run. Not only am I having fun on these runs, but I have a lot of energy on them, and it shows in the stats.

Today's run:
Distance: 16.89 km. Time: 1:28:11. Average speed: 11.5 kph.
Rest distance: 943.6 m. Rest time: 9:00
Total distance: 17.84 km. Total time: 1:37:11

Weather: Cloudy and 16 C at the start, and climbing to 19C by the end. Just enough of a light breeze, too. Perfect summer running weather!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Morning Run

Not at work this morning, so I decided to get out a little early. It's a beautiful morning again, but a little too early for the crowds.

I was only going to go as far as 14th Street this morning, but I felt good enough to keep going so I ended up going to Crowchild. No GPS this morning, as I left it at work. So I'll borrow some stats from an earlier entry.

(July 7, 2006) run:
Distance: 10.05 km. Time: 56:54. Average speed: 10.6 kph.

Weather: Cloudy and 20C.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lunch With Carla

Well, not lunch exactly, but we did run some. It was a slow one, as she has some tightness in her back, and it's been bothering her for awhile. It was nice for me, too, since I have some stiffness from Sunday's hike (surprisingly little, though).

We met at the Eau Claire Y and headed up to 14th Street. At the C-Train bridge we crossed back to the promenade. The path near the foot bridge to Prince's Island is all dug up and you have to cross Memorial to get on it for now.

Anyway, it was a slow run/walk, and a nice time to connect and catch up with each other.

Today's run:
Distance: 4.73 km. Time: 33:52. Average speed: 8.4 kph.

Weather: Sunny and 25C. Beautiful day!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Another Hot Friday

I've run through a couple of these. Just a short run tonight, down to 14th Street and back. I challenged the heat, since I had some frustration to run off. There were a few other runners out, but mostly it was cyclists and walkers.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.08 km. Time: 38:37. Average speed: 11.0 kph.

Weather: Sunny and 29C. HOT! but I rather like running in the heat.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

To the Zoo

I ran the long zoo circuit today, just for a change of pace. It's a nice run, but there aren't usually too many people out that way. Most stay on the promenade or go west.

I seem to be staying fast. I feel full of energy when I get out there lately, and everything feels stong. And I like being fast. Of course, there's always someone out there who'll pass me, but there are far fewer than there were a few months ago. It's been like this since the half marathon, that I've felt fast and stong, and just really, really good. I rather like it.

Today's run:
Distance: 6.94 km. Time: 36:06. Average speed: 11.5 kph.

Weather: Partly cloudy and 20C.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

After the Stampede

The city is a little quieter now, and people seem a little grumpier. With no more Stampede parties to go to, everyone is back out on the paths along the river. I kinda like that. It seems pretty dead out there last week.

I did my usual run down to Crowchild and back, feeling strong but not so energetic for some reason. Even so, I had a good fast run.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.90 km. Time: 39:07. Average speed: 12.1 kph.

Weather: Cloudy and 16C.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It Just Gets Better And Better

Today was kinda wonderful out there. I didn't take to the paths right away, but had a great breakfast, then wandered down to the Starbucks with my newspaper. The coffee and the time to let breakfast settle helped to centre. And then, while I was stretching, just for fun, I did some visualization and deep breathing. I walked out the door calm, centred and ready to run.

And did I ever. I think this was one of the best runs I've done. Really calm and present, feeling strong and fast. I hope it's repeatable.

I did the usual Sunday route, down to the river and across Prince's Island, then west to Edworthy Park to cross back to the north bank. After a quick stop at the bathroom there (the reason I go that way so often) I came back eastward and up The Path Under The Stairs and homeward.

In other words, the usual. I never tire of it though. The people out there are always ready to say good morning, and it's just fun chugging along under the forest below Spruce Cliff.

Today's run:
Distance: 16.14 km. Time: 1:23:50. Average speed: 11.6 kph.
Rest distance: 1.24 km. Rest time: 9:00
Total distance: 17.38 km. Total time: 1:32:50

Weather: Sunny and 14C at the start, up to 16C by the end. A perfect sunny summer day.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Post Pancake Breakfast

I found one close by this morning. I thought I'd better get to one somewhere while I had the chance, before the Stampede ends on Sunday. Yesterday was donuts at work (as another employee was leaving), then the firm's Stampede party with beans and beef on a bun, and beer. It's been a nutritionally challenging 24 hours.

Needless to say, I was out to burn off some calories today. I did the usual run down to Crowchild and back, and you can sure tell it's Stampede. It's just beautiful outside, and yet the river paths are nearly deserted. But it was another fun run just the same.

Today's run:
Distance: 8.22 km. Time: 42.07. Average speed: 11.7 kph.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 21C.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Southern Run

Tru has had problems with her knee, and hasn't been out for a run for awhile. Last night she decided to give it a go, so we did an easy run out into the country from her place.

We got out onto James McKevitt Road and headed south. We quickly got to the crappy part of the run, which was trying to cross highway 22X without getting killed, but since we had a bit of a late start, we missed rush hour traffic. We continued south along the east side of Spruce Meadows, quiet and deserted now after the North American competition that ended on the weekend.

Eventually we came on a set of mailboxes, and turned west. We found ourselves in a rural subdivision containing some of the biggest houses I've ever seen. All new to me, but Tru knows the area well since they boarded her daughter's horse in the area for years.

After twenty five minutes, we turned around and retraced our steps back to her place. And meanwhile, throughout the run, the sky was dramatically decorated with building thunderheads and potential rain squalls. We didn't get any rain, but we welcomed the cooling air. And after, we relaxed on Tru's deck with beer and her most excellent barbequed burgers.

Today's run:
Distance: 8.39 km. Time: 50:54. Average speed: 9.9 kph.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 20C.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hot Solo Run

That's hot as in fast, although it's a little warm out too. I got the Brooks shoes on and headed down to Crowchild and back. Not a lot of people out for some reason, maybe they're all Stampeding somewhere. The building I work in is surrounded by a line up for free beef and beans, and there are likely lots of other freebies around.

Today's run:
Distance: 8.20 km. Time: 42:57. Average speed: 11.5 kph.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 18C, but it's gotta be warmer than that.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Official Time on the Half Marathon

I was 651st overall out of 1965 runners,
417th out of 789 males
62nd out of 114 in the men's 45-49 category.

My final (gun) time was 2:01:41.7,
My pace was 5:42/kilometre.

My chip time was 2:00:07.6.

So close to breaking the two hour mark, but still a really fun time, and I had another really strong finish. The official results are here. I can't wait to do it again!

The Calgary Half Marathon

Beautiful day for a run. I was at Mewata Armoury shortly after 6:00, and wandered around. Mostly pacing, probably due to a little nervousness, but I was no where near as nervous as I was last year. I managed one bathroom visit soon after I got there, and then the lineups grew exponentially as people began to arrive.

I eventually got into the start area and waited while the clocked ticked down to the start time. I kept looking around for friends who were running, but no sign of them. And at 7:00 the shotgun went off (an actual shotgun, by the way).

With over five thousand people running, it took a while for the traffic to thin out. I was almost at the Stampede grounds (at 3 km) before there was enough room to maneuver. Even then, the crowd would gather and dissipate off and on.

Once through the Stampede, we made our way to Ramsay, over to 12th Street, and through the zoo. They changed that route a little this year. Last year we went past the tiger cage, and then on to some service road in the bush. This year they lead us through the North American habitat, past cougars, and bears, and bison and mountain sheep and goats. The path was really narrow at times, and that got a few people complaining when some walkers got in the way. But it was rather nice to see the exhibits.

Down that service road (no avoiding it) and under Memorial Drive to the zoo parking area, and they had a water station on St. George's Avenue, at the top of the hill, where I met with Peter-Mark. He was running the half as well, having already done two marathons this year, the Vancouver and the Ottawa. Down the hill toward 4th Avenue, and at the corner of 4th and 12th Street was the half way point, where a guy with a stop watch was counting off the seconds. He was at 62 minutes and 40-some seconds as I passed him. Not bad for a split time.

After that, we were out of the hills, and it was down 1st Avenue, and then over to Memorial by way of Edmonton Trail. Memorial was straight running until the turn around point just past Crowchild.

I found my sweet spot after that, and did the hard push for the last couple of kilometres. Up onto the 14th Street bridge, and then onto 9th avenue and the finish line. I pushed really hard on the last couple of hundred metres. Lots of people cheering and all, it was great. I crossed when the clock was at about 2:01, which is a great time for me. I should see an official time later today.

And then I got my medal, and they cut off the chip, and that's when I saw Tru cheering from the sidelines. It meant a lot to see her, and that moment entirely made my day.

Today's run:
Distance: 19.72 km. Time: 1:47:33. Average speed: 11.0 kph.
Rest distance: 1.42 km. Rest time: 11:00
Total distance: 21.14 km. Total time: 1:58:33

Weather: Sunny and 16C to start, climbing to 19C about the time I crossed the finish.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hot Friday

But a fun run nonetheless. I rather like running in the heat, and as far as I can tell, it doesn't affect me too much. I had good energy from start to finish, and my hydration levels were good.

But it was quiet out there tonight, with just a few commuters on bikes and the odd runner. Closer to downtown there were a few people out walking, but nothing like I've seen when the weather is this nice. The reason is probably because it's the first day of Stampede.

I wanted to do one more decent bit of a distance run before race day on Sunday. I was going to run last night, but ended up walking Tru's dogs instead, and getting caught in a downpour. So I headed down to the river, then off to Crowchild and back. Used the new shoes too, and they still feel OK, but I think I'll stick to the Saucony's for anything over 10 km.

Today's run:
Distance: 10.058 km. Time: 56:54. Average speed: 10.6 kph.

Weather: Sunny and 25C, although the sign in front of the CBC building said it was 28C. The breeze was just enough, and the shade was cooler. Very nice evening.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

New Shoes

It's a hot one today, but fun. I found some new shoes at the Eau Claire Running Room the other day, where they were having a clearance sale, and got to try them out today. They are Brooks' Axiom model, a light stability shoe, which is what my Saucony's are. I found them a little stiff in the padding, though that might change as they wear a bit. And much lighter, weight-wise. The have a very different feel, yet the cushioning and support are very similar to the Saucony's. I think I like them.

Today I wanted to get a little bit of distance in, so I ran down to Crowchild and back. Lots of people out, to where there was a little congestion on parts of the paths, traffic-wise.

Right now I'm feeling my wrists. I tend to tense my hands when I run and I have to really be aware of when I'm doing that. But today, I'm kinda achy in the fingers and wrist of the right hand.

Today's run:
Distance: 8.13 km. Time: 43:48. Average speed: 11.1 kph.

Weather: Sunny and 26C - almost hot!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

One More Distance Run

The Calgary Marathon is just a week away, so this is the last chance for a good run. I don't think I mentioned here that I signed up for the half marathon. I'm looking forward to it, especially since the long range forcast has changed from a high of 33C for that day to a high of 24C at the moment. And that high will be long after we're done. In fact I expect it to be much like today.

I met Byron at Eau Claire and we headed west. It was a fun but uneventful run, except Byron had to stop after about 13 km. I left him back by 14th Street and finished strong about fifteen minutes later. And then it was guzzle water and wait for him at the Good Earth for coffee.

I felt strong throughout the run, just the usual aches that crop up as I run, stay a little while and fade away. And a perfect day for it too. But you can tell it's the long weekend, cuz the crowds were pretty thin. The big training groups are gone, too. I imagine all those runners are tapering now for next week's marathon.

Today's run:
Distance: 13.81 km. Time: 1:18:03. Average speed: 10.6 kph.
Rest distance: 897.3 m. Rest time: 8:00
Total distance: 14.71 km. Total time: 1:26:03

Weather: Sunny and 16C at the start, rising to about 20C to finish. And hey, another severe thunderstorm watch is in effect.