Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another Chinook

Holy cow, is it slippery on the side streets. All that polished, packed snow is now getting a thin melt layer on it, and it's pretty greasy. Meanwhile, the main drags are brown mush. Ick.

I did the usual - 14th Street - but at the start was this incredible view from the top of the bluff. The sky is clear, and the air is transparent, and the mountains on the western horizon are breathtaking.

There is not too much melting yet on the paths, but they're mostly clear anyway. The only trouble spot I can see developing is The Path Under The Stairs, which is half covered with packed snow. That could become ice if the sun can get at it.

The new ramp off the Prince's Island foot bridge to the path along Memorial Drive is really nice, too. Having to stop and climb stairs in the middle of a run always muddled my rhythm. Those stairs are gone now, and I don't know if they're building new ones or what, but they're having fun digging holes and moving dirt and other guy stuff. We'll see what develops.

I paid attention to distances today, too, at the end. From the bottom of The Path Under The Stairs, where the part the bends back toward The Stairs is, to the top is three hundred metres. From the top of The Path to the top of The Stairs is another two hundred, and from there to the end of my run is five hundred. All plus-or-minus ten metres. I was wondering, and now I know.

Today's run:
Distance: 6.85 km. Time: 37:46. Average speed: 10.9 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Drifting snow (according to Environment Canada) and -3C, with winds around 50 km and gusty. But sunny!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Weather Breaks

Finally, it gets a little warmer. Well, less cold, I'll say. The last couple of days have been unpleasant for getting around on foot, with windchills pushing -40C.

I got out to a beautiful sunny day, and just did my usual 14th Street loop. Lots of packed snow and no ice, except on the streets. It's pretty treacherous for driving right now, except on the main roads.

Pretty quiet as far as other runners, too. But then I was a little late getting out so I missed the lunch time crowd.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.03 km. Time: 38:48. Average speed: 10.9 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Sunny and -14C.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

After the Snow Dump

It kinda buried this town this morning. I wouldn't think it would be too bad, but I don't have to drive in it. Downtown was a little quieter than usual, but not really. There are radio reports of people taking two hours and longer to get to work. Nanner, nanner, nanner.

The snow did make a difference in the run today. At the start, all I had were ruts in the street where the snow was sort of packed. It still rolled out from under the foot like sand. The Path Under The Stairs was OK, with a fairly well packed path down one side of it. It was only at the parking lot at the bottom where I got to cleared path.

They now have the new access ramp to the foot bridge to Prince's Island open, while the old stairway is closed. Very nice, but it seems narrower than it looked while it was under construction. They still have a lot to do on the path around it, that goes on top of the berm along Memorial.

For the most part, there was just a little packed snow here and there. No ice to speak of. Not too many runners either, but then I was out an hour early in order to make a meeting early this afternoon.

The return was pretty slow once I got off the cleared path. The snow isn't really packed and in places it just rolls out from under foot. One nice thing, is my entire block is already shoveled off.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.05 km. Time: 41:08. Average speed: 10.3 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Light snow and -12C.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Cold is Back

Just about was underdressed, but it turned out just right. I think I'll have to dig out my wind pants for another layer.

For the sudden cold, it was surprisingly busy on the paths today. I just ran the usual loop across the 14th Street bridge. The bridge was cleared recently, but the paths had a little build up. I think the snow has been steady all night and morning.

My knees were a little achey off the start today, and I can't think of why. I don't remember running hard on any downhill stretches, or being on anything uneven. But they were really noticeable on The Path Under The Stairs. I think it was a psychological thing with the snow on that slope. The Path has been clear of ice for a week, but with the snow on it, I kept expecting to find some hidden under it. Consequently, I was running quite stiffly until I got to flat ground again, and that was a little jarring, knee-wise.

If it's colder tomorrow, and the forecast says it will be, I'll definitely be adding another layer.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.04 km. Time: 39:32. Average speed: 10.7 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Light snow and -11C.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


At least until tomorrow, when the weather is supposed to get nastier. It's been two days since I've been out, and it felt great. I really needed it, too.

I headed out and down the bluff, across the river by Prince's Island, then went east on the short zoo route. I felt strong and fast all the way around.

Coming back to the foot bridge, I decided to keep going, and crossed at the C-Train bridge. Then back east along the promenade, across Prince's Island and home.

Today's run:
Distance: 11.03 km. Time: 58:45. Average speed: 11.3 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Mainly sunny and 5C. And I was way overdressed again.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Canmore Run

I decided to get out of the city for a couple of days, and I ended up in Canmore for the weekend. Yesterday, I drove down to a little parking spot just where the road toward the Nordic Centre crossed the Bow River. I think it's actually called Bridge Road.

I went northward along the river on the path. It very quickly comes to a power station, at which a bridge crosses east. It looks like an old train bridge, and it leads to a raised bed that goes straight through town toward the main rail line.

There's a second bridge, and then a crossroad with a path going either way along the river. I eased past the wedding party being photographed on the bridge (it's a lovely setting, and the bride wore a strapless gown with a white fur wrap).

From there I continued north along the river to the end of town. Up to that point was what Tru and I explored back in April. We had often talked about coming back and running this path.

The path ended not much past the last house at a gate into a golf course. But it looped around the end of the subdivision, and down the other side of it, between it and the golf course. It was a pretty run through the forest, along side a dry creek bed and across a couple of foot bridges.

I ended up on a street for about a block, and then at the next intersection it plunged back into forest again. It was very scenic and fun, as it kind of wound around and up and down behind a long row of houses.

Eventually I found the other end of that railbed, and took it west through town to that first bridge. I turned south where the wedding party had been, and then crossed back to where I was parked.

Since I had only run about 6.75 km, I thought I'd keep going for awhile. So I kept going south along the river, and eventually I found the sculpture that has all the locals upset. It ain't much, but it's out in the middle of an open space that is otherwise surrounded by trees. That seems to be the point of contention for people, that it's intruding on this natural space.

A little farther past that, and past a playground, I got to another bridge. At this point I decided to turn around and head back to the car. It was a very nice run, even a special run, and I'd love to do it again.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.94 km. Time: 45:02. Average speed: 10.6 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Cloudy and about 4C. There was a wind, but in the forest, it was unnoticeable.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Let's Try the Crowchild Loop

Which I did. I felt good all the way through it, and I haven't run that circuit for a long time. (Well, last week, but that was part of the Last Chance Half.)

Not a bad day out, but the crowd was a little thin, given it's Friday. Fridays seem to be the schmooze-at-lunch day, so the outdoor crowd is pretty small. Even so, I ran into a little traffic crossing Prince's Island and ended up walking behind several groups spread across the bridge.

I had lots of energy on The Path Under The Stairs today, as I have had for the last few weeks. Running has been very easy and smooth, even given those occasional days like yesterday, where things take awhile to loosen up.

And all the ice is gone.

Today's run:
Distance: 9.98 km. Time: 56:28. Average speed: 10.6 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Partly cloudy and 7C.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Magically Disappearing Ice

The chinook that blew in last night made short work of all the ice that had built up on the paths. All are just about clear now, except for a few shaded spots, and those are melting pretty fast. There's even standing water in a few spots.

I was thinking about trying for Crowchild today, but by 14th Street, I new it wasn't going to happen. Right off the start, the legs were stiff, and the left leg ached for the first mile or so. My knees were even a little achey. Perhaps I'm still recovering from Last Chance. But I had good energy.

Anyway, I was out earlier than I usually am, so I missed the noon crowd, though there were a few coming out toward the end. The chinook is still present, too, although the temperature was down from last night's high of 12C and the wind has pretty much blown itself out.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.00 km. Time: 39:59. Average speed: 10.5 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Mainly sunny and 2C, and the wind has dropped to almost nothing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

That Was Long Overdue

Or it seemed like it. I haven't run since Sunday, about three days. And I had a bit of a bad nutrition thing happen last night (cravings, Old Dutch...don't ask). Mr. Tummy wasn't at his best.

Michelle and I had talked about running together today, but she bailed at the last minute. So I was off, picking my way solo through the icy bits. Actually all the icy bits are close to home, being the side streets I travel on my way to the bluff. The Path Under The Stairs was almost clear, and where the was ice, there was also a slice of wet pavement slipping by it.

By the time I got to the bottom, I still hadn't decided which way to go, but I turned east at the promenade. I thought I'd try going to Edmonton Trail and crossing the old iron bridge. Daydreaming made me miss the turn, and backtracking added a half a klick to the run.

On the other side, I planned to go to at least the C-Train bridge. I played with the idea of going as far as 14th, but seeing as how I'd run five and a half km at the C-Train bridge, that was enough. So onto the south side and the promenade, then back across again at Prince's Island, up the bluff and home.

Today's run:
Distance: 8.47 km. Time: 48:39. Average speed: 10.4 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Mainly sunny and 4C.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Last Chance Official Results

You can find them here.

I was 140th overall out of 475.
24th out of 54 in the men's 40-49 category.
108th out of 201 men.
My chip time was 1:53:11.
My pace was 5:21/km.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Last Chance Half Marathon

This is the last big one of the year, hence the name. I was there an hour early, such is my jittery nature. I spent most of that time pacing, stretching, going to the bathroom.

Five minutes before start time, I was out there jogging down the street and back, jumping up and down a little. It was a bit chilly, but not particularly so. I had enough adrenaline to keep me warm until start time. After the gun went off (or somebody yelled, "go!" - I couldn't tell what got it going), it took about half a minute to get to the start pads, and then after that we were out and west down the promenade from Eau Claire.

The path was clear for the first three kilometres or so. Just past 14th Street is when the ice started. It really wasn't too bad, and it was not much different than when I used to run in winter in Fish Creek park west of Macleod, a couple of years ago. What made it hard to run on, was that the temperature was close to melting, so it was almost wet ice in places.

I managed quite well, though, and passed the first water station at 14th Street on the north side. They were a little short of volunteers for this one, I think. There were only two people at the water station, and they were a little overwhelmed.

Out from under the 14th Street bridge, and there's a bit of a downward slope for less than a hundred metres, and I slide down it on the ice. It wasn't really slippery, so I could control it easily. And then good running to 10th and beyond.

At Prince's Island, my GPS was just over 40 minutes, so the Resolution Run should give a PR on eight kilometres, if I can do that pace again. Thinkin' ahead, dontcha know.

Just past Centre Street, I saw the only casualty due to ice. A guy in front of me went down, but not hard at all. He was up and running again by the time I got to him.

The dips under Edmonton Trail were treacherous, so much so that a volunteer was there to warn us of the ice. I slid down the first one, but it was a fabulously long slide, and I had some fun in trying to maintain control and to stay upright. The second one I just went around it, onto the ankle deep snow on the grass.

I found myself on new paths, once we got to the zoo. I had tried to run this way last year, in preparing for the Calgary marathon, but much of the path system was closed due to flooding after all the rain we got back then. So this was pretty cool. At one point I looked left into the cougar's cage and right, across the river, into the lion's cage. Neither was out in the cold, though.

There's a suspension bridge that crosses the river giving zoo goers another way across the river, and right under it, I hit the nastiest ice of the day. It wasn't obvious, I wasn't ready for it, and I flailed a bit in trying to stay upright. Mercifully it was a small patch, so I hit pavement pretty quick after I started sliding, and managed to recover. I could feel my shoulder for awhile after, though, after flinging my arms out for balance.

Once past the zoo, we were also past the plowed paths. The ices was no longer a problem, but the snow was soft and difficult to run on, like running on dry sand. I think I maintained good speed, but I was beginning to feel my knees, ankles and hips by the time I got to 17th Avenue.

We crossed the river there, and looped around under the bridge, continuing south to the bird sanctuary, where we turned around at the last water station. Paths were clear for the rest of the way, and by then, at about fifteen and a half km, it was pretty much head down and keep slogging.

About the only thing that I noticed after that was how much gravel was on the path. Some of the bigger stones felt a little sharp through the soles of my shoes. Once I passed Sein Lok Park, at about half a km to go, I did my usual: lengthen my stride and push hard. I passed a few people toward the end, and crossed the finish line around 1:53.

Then I chugged the bottle of water they handed me and headed for the buffet inside Eau Claire Market. Big trays of penne and tomato sauce, ravioli in cream sauce, gobs of salad, and huge trays of fruit slices and sweets. Since I'm always ravenous after a long run, I made a fairly respectable pig of myself.

Today's run:
Distance: 19.62 km. Time: 1:43:36. Average speed: 11.4 kph.
Rest distance: 1.41 km. Rest time: 11:00.
Total distance: 21.03 km. Total time: 1:54:36.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow) I gave the blue ones a rest since they're pretty much at end-of-life.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and -1C, warming up a little, to 1C. No wind, so very nice running weather.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Night Run

Haven't been able to get out for awhile, it seems like. It's actually been only forty eight hours, but it seems longer. The last couple of days have been busy.

I met my running neighbour just as I was locking my front door. She said the paths were pretty slippery. I thought they might be, but I didn't run into any problems until I started down The Path Under The Stairs. It was very icy and extremely treacherous on the upper half. The lower half, which is much steeper, was curiously clear of snow and ice.

Once on the river path, I did the usual 14th Street loop. It's pretty quiet out, what with the weather and the ice and it being Friday night. I saw no more than a dozen people on the paths the whole way.

One the return, I continued past Eau Claire to Centre Street and the bridge. I felt it would be a lot less trouble on Nony's Awful Little Hill. When I got to it, I found it almost completely clear of any snow. So I charged up and over and then home.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.43 km. Time: 44:28. Average speed: 10.0 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Cloudy and -3C.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Fading Chinook

Funny how much the weather figures in running. But I guess when you run, you spend a lot of time experiencing the weather.

It's cooling off out there. It was sunny but cool and there was a bit of a breeze from the southeast. I wondered if I had underdressed this time, but by the time I was half way around, I was pretty comfortable.

I ran the reverse short zoo today, since I was a little late in getting out there. To finish, I took the Centre Street bridge home. Great run, but the snow is coming.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.95 km. Time: 40:30. Average speed: 11.8 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 4C.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Chinook Run

The temperature rose ten degrees in an hour last night, and we hit our daily high at 4:00 in the morning. Definitely shorts weather for running.

I trundled out the door shortly before noon, and met Michelle in front of the Y at five after. She was looking for a workout, so we did the long zoo run. Lots of people out today, enjoying the warm weather. The zoo routes were pretty busy, so I imagine the westward paths were jammed.

It's nice running by the zoo, but I so rarely see any animals. The tiger enclosure is close to the path around the west end of the zoo. With the trees all bare, I can see right into it, but nothing was around today.

We headed back toward the downtown, and Michelle said she'd let me do the talking. Apparently she was having to work a little at staying with it, but that probably means she needed to get out there. I don't think she got out at all last week.

After I walked her back to her building, I headed back home by the Centre Street bridge, and fairly sprinted up Nony's Awful Little Hill. I think that's due to my running up The Stairs lately (the ones over The Path). And then I pushed hard to the end, cuz it felt good.

Today's run:
Distance: 11.24 km. Time: 1:00:22. Average speed: 11.2 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow)

Weather: Cloudy and 6C when I stepped out the door, but an hour later it was up to 9C.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


What an incredible morning! Why am I sitting here writing this when I could be outside enjoying this amazing weather? Well, I was out and in it, and it was wonderful and sunny and there were lots of people, but now I'm sweaty and stinky and really, really need a shower, so right now I'm gorging on fruit and eggs and PBJs while I cool off a little before I jump in the shower.

This is one of those amazing days when I get to the bluff and the sky is clear and the sun is out and you can see all the way to the mountains, and they're snowy and white, and really beautiful.


So that was a cool way to start. I headed down and across the river to the promenade and the usual path west all the way to Edworthy. Past Crowchild and the paths got tricky, as there's no plowing or snow clearing, so the snow sort of packs but not a lot, and it's all pockmarked with heels and toes, so you need strong ankles to run in it. And hardly nobody from Crowchild to the Edworthy parking lot, and the ice is starting to pile up from the natural springs that come out of the cliff and drain down along the path to culverts that channel the water toward the river, except the culverts plug up with ice in the winter so the water runs across the path, and you have to pick your way across while going hand over hand along the fence.

No coyote this time.

Nothing special about the return trip, except there were so many people out, all the way to the Prince's Island bridge. And The Path Under The Stairs was tough, except the last third where I found some reserve and pushed quite hard. And then I got that magnificent view again.


Today's run:
Distance: 16.48 km. Time: 1:29:51. Average speed: 11.0 kph.
Rest distance: 896.2 m. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 17.38 km. Total time: 1:38:51.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Blue)

Weather: Sunny all day, 5C to start, but up to 9C by the end. Actually I think it was pretty close to zero at the start, and the temperature sign at one of the car dealers said so, too.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Slushy, Melty Run

It's warming up. Not enough to melt much, but the roads and sidewalks have so much salt on them that they're turning into goop. The paths on the river are almost clear, though, probably because the snow doesn't get packed too much before they get those spinning brushes pushing it all over.

Got an almost immediate satellite lock out there, so I was moving right away. Along the path on top of the bluff, which is uneven and not really packed. Good ankle workout if you don't damage one. I had great energy today, so the speed was there, and I was flying down The Path Under The Stairs. I worry only briefly about not being able to keep my feet moving fast enough to keep them under me.

Once I got to the river I just settled in and ran hard. Not the hardest I've ever ran, but steady. The crowd wasn't huge, which is expected given that it's a little cool, and it's Friday. I took the pedestrian path from 10th to 14th, but should have stuck with the bicycle path. They don't clear the pedestrian paths in winter, and so runners and most walkers share the bike paths that run parallel.

I felt great after crossing at 14th Street, and it was steady running all the way to Eau Claire. And once I crossed to the bluff, I had all kinds of energy for The Path Under The Stairs. And just for fun, I sprinted to the finish.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.11 km. Time: 38:00. Average speed: 11.2 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow)

Weather: Fog and -4C.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Less Ice Today

There was enough melting on The Path Under The Stairs that it was almost clear today. And they salted the foot bridge to Prince's Island pretty heavily as well this morning.

It was another early run so I could get Kate to school. She was all tuckered out from handing out the goodies last night. We had a grand total of one (1) trick-or-treater. Now I have a bowl full of those little chocolate bars in the fridge (cuz they're out of sight in there)

So naturally, I have some extra calories to burn off today.

I did the usual 14th Street run, but managed to go slower today. Usually when I feel like I'm going slower, I'm really not, and the stats on the run will surprise me. But not today.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.08 km. Time: 42:23. Average speed: 10.0 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow)

Weather: Mainly sunny and -5C