Sunday, December 31, 2006

Resolution Run 2006

Another year done with! It was a good run, too. I did miss Carla and Peter-Mark, though. They were running as well. Hope they got there.

It was a pretty packed field at the start, but then I guess it always is. I started a little closer to the front this time, but still had lots of people to pass. The first half kilometre was pretty slow with all the traffic. After that, I was able to make great time. I wasn't up to the speeds we were at last year, but it was a good hard run.

The router was the same as in past years. From Eau Claire to 2nd Avenue, to 7th Street, then on to the promenade, and west to Crowchild. Because the path under the 10th Street bridge was underwater, they had us cross back to the south side at 14th. And then it was the riverside path from the C-Train bridge, and over onto Prince's Island, as usual. The snow was decently packed on the island this year - a nice change. Then across the bridge to the promenade, a jog east, at back to the finish at Eau Claire.

Distance: 7.63 km. Time: 41:02 Average speed: 11.2kph.'s supposed to be an 8 km run.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Clear and -2C.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Not an Easy One

All that energy that my runs have had since June deserted me today. I felt tired and stiff, no energy, no flexibility. It's probably because I had an early lunch, and was planning on heading out for errands, with a run scheduled for after. But I lost my ambition for it somewhere, and finally got fed up with vegging and just headed out.

The 14th Street loop was about all I was up for. I just missed the lunch break, so the path was nearly deserted. A couple of runners and walkers, and one of those rotating snow brush things that bounced off across the 10th Street bridge.

Even The Path Under The Stairs was tense. Going down, it felt like my shoes were sticking, and the legs felt stiff. Coming back up, it was just hard, slow plodding to the top. Sheesh!

Distance: 7.03 km. Time: 40:09 Average speed: 10.5kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Mainly sunny and -7C at the airport. In one of those indications of how big this town is, says -1C at the COP, and a couple degrees warmer than that on top of Signal Hill.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Snow Day

I was hoping to try running in Medicine Hat today, but no chance of that now. My ride fell ill and is pretty much out of it, and besides, the highways are not in very good shape because of all the snow. A snowfall warning is still in effect.

So I was out doing the usual Crowchild loop. The snow is a little sticky to walk on, so any ice wasn't too bad. I imagine it's a totally different story if you're driving.

There were a few more people out today, but once I got back toward downtown, the paths seemed deserted. Nice run, good energy, good speed.

Distance: 9.98 km. Time: 53:57 Average speed: 11.1 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Light snow and -4C. Gonna hafta shovel the walk.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day Run

Just a quick 10K in the early afternoon. I was a little sluggish, too, probably since I headed out not too long after having lunch. But I imagine the last three days of non-stop eating haven't helped either. I think I've built up a rather substantial calorie surplus.

Way too nice to stay inside today, so I headed off on the usual Crowchild loop. I was kind of plodding along all the way.

Some runners do capture your interest. On young lady chose a dog for a running companion - a Chihauhau that seemed to be running flat out to keep up with it's owner. And while not a runner, another lady stopped by the side of the path with her stroller, and lifted a Scottie out of it. I think it may have been rather elderly by the way it moved.

Not too many out, but I may have missed the crowds. Or they're torturing themselves in the malls.

Distance: 10.13 km. Time: 54:40 Average speed: 11.1 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Mainly sunny and 5C.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Twas the Day of The Night Before Christmas...

...and there's lots of runners stirring. It was a magnificent morning, and clear and cloudless from horizon to horizon. The view to the west from the top of the bluff was breathtaking.

Chilly to start, though. I did a repeat of last weeks run, heading up the hill toward Bow Trail once past Crowchild, and then through Wildwood and down the road to Edworthy. By the time I past 14th Street, I was warm enough.

It's a much nicer run in the morning, with the sun shining, than it was last week, running after sundown. There were lots of dog walkers along Spruce Drive. The downhill leg, while long, was fast and fun.

Past Edworthy and back toward downtown, and the traffic picked up. The sun was low and in my eyes and I didn't mind at all. The ice was floating in chunks scrunching and crunching against the ice along the bank, and it was actually piling up a little against the 14th Street bridge.

Fast and fun, but not an eventful run. Just a lovely morning, lots of sun and lots of people.

Today's run:
Distance: 18.59 km. Time: 1:40:53. Average speed: 11.1 kph.
Rest distance: 1.08 km. Rest time: 11:00.
Total distance: 19.67 km. Total time: 1:51:53.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Blue)

Weather: Sunny and -5C to start, warming up to 0C at the end.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Another Late Afternoon Run

Same again, but different. I was about ten minutes later than yesterday, and there were hardly any runners. More cyclists, and windy. Otherwise, the same.

I did have a lot more push today, it felt like. I felt good, but I also felt like I was pushing hard. And in trying to turn on the backlight on the GPS, I managed to turn it off instead, but I just restarted it, and it picked up right away.

Distance: 9.99 km. Time: 51:54 Average speed: 11.6 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Clear and 3C.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wind Chimes

Tonight's run was a repeat of yesterday's, with the same route, same energy, same fun, at the same time of day. I was startled to see the time on the CBC clock when I went by was 4:26 again.

I wore gloves this time, as it was also the same temperature, but the wind wasn't there. I actually felt a little over-dressed, but not by much. And there were a very few more runners out and a lot less cyclists.

I mentioned some time ago about the home-made wind chimes that hang from a tree branch on the river side of the path along Pumphouse Road. It's made from four lengths of rebar hanging from a piece of scrap sheet metal. Some months ago, I found a second one near a group of benches on the other side of the path. Today, as I came around the corner, I noticed that the one I originally saw was the last in a series of four, hanging from a line of trees along the edge of the river bank. I imagine they rarely make a sound, since the rebar is pretty heavy, and not easily pushed around by anything less than hurricane force winds. Perhaps on windy summer days when the trees are full of leaves?

A strong run all the way around, and lots of go left for The Path Under The Stairs. I still feel ready to go.

Distance: 9.85 km. Time: 54:28 Average speed: 10.9 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Clear and 5C, but the CBC sign said -2C.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My 400th Post

I've been doing this since October 24, 2004 - twenty six months, almost. I'm still having fun doing it, too.

Tonight, I ran to Crowchild, since I haven't run that loop for ages. It was a little colder than I thought, and I was wishing I would have worn my gloves. It was much warmer earlier in the day, but events kept me from getting out until late afternoon. Just in time to watch the sunset.

It was fairly quiet on the outbound leg. I only passed half a dozen runners and a couple of guys on bikes and a couple more walking. I finally noticed the new time and temperature sign at the CBC building on Memorial. It's been up for a couple of weeks and they keep mentioning it, but for some reason I've been missing it.

The traffic was much heavier on the south side of the river, as I headed back toward downtown. Lots of cyclists tearing along the path, but still not too many runners.

It was a good run, lots of energy and decent speed, too. Except for my right hand getting cold, I felt great.

Distance: 10.09 km. Time: 53:31 Average speed: 11.3 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Clear and 0C. It was up around 8C a couple of hours before.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hello, Darkness...

Didn't get out until pretty late today. In fact, I think the sun was setting as I got out the door. By the time I got to 14th Street, it was getting pretty dark.

I continued west along the south side of the river, past Crowchild, and decided to climb up toward Bow Trail at 24th Street. At the top of the hill there's a little parking lot, and a street - Sovereign Cresent - that jogs over to 28th Street. Then the Shaganappi Golf Course gets in the way, and I had to get on Bow Trail to get around it.

OK, that was tricky. There's no sidewalk on the north side of Bow Trail, and while there is space between the curb and the fence around the golf course, it's barely wide enough for one person. I didn't meet anyone along there, but the street lights were obstacles that made it tricky to stay off the road, and all that traffic.

I was glad to get to Spruce Drive and on to a real sidewalk. By now, it was getting quite dark. This street seems to go on forever, for some reason, but eventually I was at the top of the road down to lower Edworthy Park. This was really neat. I've always loved being out in the dark, and there was just enough twilight to see quite well. I headed down the middle of the road, ready to dodge to either side in case of traffic, but only met one car. At the bottom, the parking lot was deserted.

I crossed the tracks and headed toward the bridge across the river. Ten metres past the tracks, it was like walking from the fridge to the freezer. There was a definite boundary that I crossed, moving into colder air. I'd say the temperature dropped five degrees over a couple of metres. It was quite startling.

Across the river, it stayed cold. I could feel a chill settling in, and the darkness was almost complete as well. But by the time I got to where the path sidled up beside Parkdale Boulevard, I had worked the chill out.

One of the things I love about my Sunday distance run is all the people out on the paths. But I've always been out in the morning, and this was an entirely different experience. There were very few people out at all at that time of day. So while it was fun to be out in the dark for the novelty of it, I don't think I want to change from my usual morning runs.

Running up through Wildwood (the neighbourhood Spruce Drive runs through) added a couple of kilometres to the run, but at the end I had lots of drive for The Path Under The Stairs. A great run. I may have to take through Wildwood more often.

Today's run:
Distance: 18.83 km. Time: 1:42:54. Average speed: 11.0 kph.
Rest distance: 1.21 km. Rest time: 11:00.
Total distance: 20.04 km. Total time: 1:53:54.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Clear and -2 at the start, dropping to -8 at the end.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Post Christmas Carol Run

Last night the gang went for dinner and then to see Theatre Calgary's performance of A Christmas Carol. Very cool. Afterwards, Mike and I agreed to meet up again for a run at the south end of the Jaipur Bridge, so named as stated by the plaque afixed to the bridge, that I haven't read. I think this web site explains the significance of it. And here's a picture.

Mike showed up right at noon, with Jason, a co-worker, who is just getting into running. We started off slow on the short zoo loop. We had a nice easy run, more social than exercize, but that's the point. The day was not a cool as it looked, so we warmed up quickly.

At the bottom of the new ramp up to the foot bridge to Prince's Island, I went that-away, while Mike and Jason continued on to cross at the C-Train bridge, which is close to their work.

Distance: 8.63 km. Time: 49:30 Average speed: 10.5 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Cloudy and -1C, which is quite a drop from the 5C an hour before. Those temperatures are from the airport, though, which is several kilometres to the northeast.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Meeting Up

Mike and I decided last night to get together for a run today, so I ran down to meet him at the Y. He'd invited Chris to join us, too, and after a short wait for her, we were off.

We decided on the 14th Street loop. Chris hasn't been able to run for awhile due to illness, so we didn't push really hard. It was a nice run and a chance to catch up with friends. Coming back through Prince's Island, they decided to branch left toward Chris' workplace, so I said goodbye there, and headed home.

Distance: 7.77 km. Time: 43:19 Average speed: 10.8 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Mainly sunny and 3C. And none of the wind they were promising with this morning's forecast.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Little Harder Today

It seemed to take just a little more effort to keep going today. I don't know if it was the weather or maybe the fact that I did a heck of a lot of walking this morning. On the way home I ran up The Stairs, too, so maybe I was a little depleted. Breakfast was a long time ago.

This was the usual 14th Street run, just cuz. Actually, about the four kilometre mark, I started feeling not bad at all, and The Path Under The Stairs wasn't the usual impediment. Something must have kicked in.

Distance: 6.99 km. Time: 39:03. Average speed: 10.7 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: A bit cloudy, 4C and gusty winds, up to 45 kph. About an hour before that, the winds where up to 70 kph, which of course shovelled all the trash that has accumulated in various alleys up into the sky. Bleah.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Another Fabulous Sunday Run

It's a gorgeous day out, and I can't imagine spending too much time indoors today. I headed out into the crisp air about mid morning, and ambled toward the bluff. The air is exceptionally clear and the mountains on the western horizon are big and bold and beautiful.

I did the usual route, down to Eau Claire and then west. Someone had been out marking the paths with flour. I later found out it was the Catch The Elves 10K, though it hadn't started when I went by.

Past Crowchild, the path was clear for a short way, until it branched up the hill toward Shaganappi. From there it was packed snow where city vehicles, or possibly the CPR, drive in to do whatever it is they do. That gives two narrow tracks that are reasonably easy to run on.

After crossing the tracks (right where 37th Street would cross, according to my map), there's that closed gate with the sign warning of coyotes and avalanches and "unsafe conditions". A coulpe of hundred metres past that is the Spruce Cliff Ice Fields (as I'll call them), where the natural springs run across the path. This week there was a good hundred metres of ice to pick my way across. It wasn't really slippery; the running water made it more sticky than slippery.

Only two people on the whole stretch, a runner and a walker. I guess not too many are crazy enough to cross the Ice Fields. After that, it was across to the north side of the river and all the way home on clear paths. Lots and lots of people out running, and quite a few walking.

Just as I was passing where 19th Street met Memorial, I caught up to another runner and we struck up a conversation that carried me all the way too the Prince's Island foot bridge. Then a hard push up The Path Under The Stairs, and I was home.

Today's run:
Distance: 16.12 km. Time: 1:29:04. Average speed: 10.9 kph.
Rest distance: 1.01 km. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 17.13 km. Total time: 1:38:04.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Blue)

Weather: Mainly sunny and 0C to start, warming to 5C at the end.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dark Run

It was late before I got out tonight. The sun was just going down, and the light was fading all through the run.

I wanted to do the long zoo loop, but given that it goes by East Village, and remembering the mugging that happened behind the Fort a couple of months ago, and that it was getting dark, I changed my mind. Instead, I went east only as far as Edmonton Trail, where I crossed to the south side of the river and continued west.

At the C-Train bridge I crossed again, and went back to the Prince's Island bridge. And home.

Today's run:
Distance: 8.22 km. Time: 44:47. Average speed: 11.0 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 7C.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jeekers, That Wind is Cold!

It looked like a nice enough day, and it was pretty nice this morning when I was out and about. But dressed lightly for running, and the wind seemed to go right through everything. Since it was out of the south east, I did the short zoo loop.

The river is up now. Yesterday on the 14th Street loop, I had to cross the street at the 10th Street bridge, since the path under it is under a couple of feet of ice. Today the path under Centre Street on the north side was closed, too. I couldn't tell if it was under water yet, but it was close. I imagine that warmer weather we had a few days ago did some heavy melting in the foothills. The next couple of days are likely to melt a lot more out there, so high water levels will continue, I imagine. But the ice should disappear.

On the way back it was much better with the wind behind me. I was a little low on energy the whole run, but it was good, nonetheless.

Today's run:
Distance: 8.39 km. Time: 46:56. Average speed: 10.7 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Sunny and -4C with a brisk 25 kph south wind.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Burnout Run

The morning was emotionally draining and a bit edgy, so it was good to get out and burn off some physical energy. This was the usual 14th Street run, nothing special.

Today's run:
Distance: 6.81 km. Time: 38:53. Average speed: 10.5 kph.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Yellow).

Weather: Mainly sunny and 4C.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Back to the Long Run

Finally managed to get out and do a long one. It's been three weeks since the Last Chance, my last long run. And maybe it wasn't the best idea, given how I feel at the moment, a few hours after completing it. But in the middle of it I felt awesome.

I toyed with the idea of doing a different route, but there's that washroom issue. I've done two half marathons this fall where it wasn't an issue, so I'll have to consider what I did that's different from my regular Sunday mornings.

Anyway, out and down to the river, across Prince's Island, and west. Great running until Crowchild, west of which the paths aren't cleared. Actually they're closed, and signs are posted saying to stay out, don't go, because there's ice, and avalanches, and coyotes, oh my!

I've never seen coyotes along there though I don't doubt they're around. It makes sense that they'd hang around a forest, but then I see them along the bluff in the open. Hmmm. And the avalanche danger is real, I suppose, but more likely it would be a landslide. They did considerable work shoring up the top of the cliff at one point where it's been collapsing.

The ice is real. It's not really bad yet, but will build all winter. There are natural springs in the cliff that run all the time. In the summer, water runs along the side of the path to a drain that carries it under the path toward the river. In the winter, the channel is full of snow, which gets wet, freezes and blocks the flow so water spreads instead across the path for several metres. If it was colder the ice would be wet and very slick. Today it was kind of slushy and a little sticky, though spots were more treacherous than others. But right now it was only that way for twenty metres or so. In a couple of months there might be wet ice for a hundred and fifty metres or more, and its tricky to navigate while hanging on to the adjacent fence.

The snow on the path slows me down, too. Often it's not that well packed and it slides out from underfoot. It's a great workout for the ankles, though. Much of it is mostly packed snow, which is a little more stable, and the whole mess stretches from Crowchild to Edworthy, at least three kilometres.

Across the bridge at Edworthy, a quick pitstop at the afore-mentioned washrooms, and it's all clear paved paths almost all the way home. I had tons of energy, and I opened up, keeping clost to five minutes per kilometre (12 kph) all the way to Prince's Island.

I started to lose some of it, at that point, and The Path Under The Stairs was a bit of a bear to climb. The run along the bluff was more partly packed snow, and the streets were icy for the last few blocks. Not the greatest finish.

And to top it off, friends called to meet for lunch just as I walked in the door, so I just showered and changed and was off. I feel the effects of skipping the post-run stretching at the moment.

Today's run:
Distance: 16.48 km. Time: 1:29:56. Average speed: 11.0 kph.
Rest distance: 973.8 m. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 17.46 km. Total time: 1:38:56.

Shoes: Saucony Grid Phoenix (Blue)

Weather: Cloudy and -2C for the duration. A little bit of a breeze, but nothing significant.