Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back to Routine

Hopefully I can find some discipline now. I've been slacking and it's beginning to show. I'm beginning to avoid mirrors.

It was a little cold and I wasn't sure where the wind was coming from or how much. It turned out not too bad, a light breeze from the west.


So I started writing this right after the run, but of course thing come up, yada, yada, and two days later I'm finally getting back to it. No idea what I was going to write.

Oh, well, I'll post the stats and call it a night.

Distance: 6.72 Time: 40:01
Average speed: 5:57 min/km (10.08 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: Nothing stuck.

Weather: dark and cold.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tough Run

I haven't done a long one for awhile. Surprisingly, I did pretty well, making decent time in slogging through some deep snow.

When I got out of the door and down toward the bluff, the snow was coming down so thick the downtown was completely obscured. Not quite white out, but visibility was very low. Quite beautiful, actually.

The path along the edge of the bluff was pretty much unpacked snow, more than ankle deep. The Path Under The Stairs felt treacherous with the snow on it, although I don't think it was really all that bad.

I took the ramp down to the trail along Memorial Drive, where it looked like it had been plowed fairly recently. Mostly a little packed snow here and there, and the stuff coming down was slowly piling up.

At places where the trail gets near the river, the movement of water was loud. It's very low, so the rocks on the river bed are almost uncovered in places.

By Crowchild, the snow had let up some. It was still coming down, though, still building up slowly. The bridge across the river at Edworthy was covered with a thick layer of snow that rolled out from under foot.

Crossing the tracks, it was a narrow trail, partly packed. Stepping off on either side was unpacked snow, almost knee deep in places. I tried to stay on the packed stuff, but it was very uneven, and I would slip into the deeper stuff often. A good workout for the ankles. Probably the hips and glutes, too, cuz I sure feel them.

I pushed hard through the unplowed stuff, and once at Crowchild it was clear again. From there, nothing much different. Just kept plugging until turning onto Prince's Island, where the paths hadn't been cleared for a couple of days.

At the stairs, I did OK until the last big landing. After that I didn't have anything left to do much more than to slog up the last four flights of stairs. A slow run through more deep snow on the bluff trail, then heading northward toward home.

Distance: 16.22 Time: 1:37:01
Average speed: 5:58 min/km. (10.72 kph)
Rest distance: .9198 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.14 km. Total time: 1:43:42.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: Nothing really stuck.

Weather: Light snow and -7C.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day Calorie Burn

An attempt to deal with the calorie surplus. It's warmer today, though still quite cold. But not much wind, and I had to get out. I think I been out three times in as many weeks. Meanwhile the Christmas goodies are too accessible to this weak-willed guy.

Stepping out, I felt the chill. Wondering if I was going to be warm enough, even though I knew I would be. The Path had a few clear patches, though mostly there was a thin layer of packed snow. Not real slippery, but still, it slowed me down.

I took the trail along Memorial Drive. Past the sort-of-island opposite Prince's Island, where the trees thin, the river was steaming east, looking very turbulent because it was probably no more than knee deep at the most. The river bed is rocky, so low water is very turbulent and noisy.

After 14th Street, it seemed more settled. Not many out in the late morning, although the sun was blazing in clear blue. A light breeze from the west kept me from warming up too fast.

After crossing at Crowchild, I found myself surrounded by frosty trees. Steam from the river is carried by the wind into the bush along the south bank, and the trees are covered with a thin white layer.

After that, just sun and snow, and me huffing along. A few people out on Prince's Island, but perhaps still a little too cold in the day for most. Or maybe everyone is still digesting and sleeping off the day before.

A hard push up The Stairs, and a short stretch of walking at the top to catch my breath a little, the rest of the run was done.

Distance: 9.77 Time: 55:31
Average speed: 5:41 min/km (10.56 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: Why Can't He Be You, Patsy Cline.

Weather: Sunny and -17C.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's My Motivation?

Not much motivation to get out there when it's cold. Even tonight, I can't find the gumption. Not feeling well, anyway.

But a couple of days ago, I managed to get my backside out the door and into the dark. It was actually a little late, but I found there were a few others out running.

It was a good run, and I felt good as I always do when I haven't been out for a while.

With the cold continuing, the calorie surplus might become a concern, but so far, my clothes still fit.

Distance: 6.74 Time: 39:53
Average speed: 5:55 min/km (10.14 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: Amazingly, nothing.

Weather: Dark and cold?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Snowy, Snowy

Holy cow, I think I started this way back but got sidetracked. I plead crazy busy with holiday stuff. Kind of a thin excuse, but it's all I got.

Anyway, I remember it was snowing a lot last Sunday. I had a fantastic run, feeling great all day after. Which was a huge contrast from the week before, when I ended up sleeping most of the day after.

And I had to wait for a train to pass at Edworthy. I thought about taking the trail that doesn't cross the tracks, but it's just a trail through the grass, and I think at one point it disappears where the river bank was eroded from the flooding a few years ago. Not the best place to run beside a moving train.

So I paced and stretched and grumbled until it finally finished passing.

It was a great run. I haven't been able to run since, though, but tomorrow is another distance run. Bloody cold, so it ought to be interesting.

Distance: 16.56 Time: 1:33:42
Average speed: 5:39 min/km. (10.72 kph)
Rest distance: .9681 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.53 km. Total time: 1:43:42.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: Borsalino by Tommy Emmanuel.

Weather: Nice, snowy, around 0C.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


So I'm sitting in my reading chair at 4 am, and I hear this chirp every once in awhile. It turns out that after my Thursday run I plugged my GPS in after the run, intending to download and write up later, but then I forgot to do any of that. So, sitting on my desk, it occasionally chrips a message that it can't find any GPS satellites.

So I realized I haven't written this yet. Geez, but I'm getting to be a slacker on this. And now I can't even remember much of the run, other than it was sort of cold, but not really, and it was dark.

I came home, and then scrambled to get presentable to meet with friends. It was a good run, I think.

Distance: 6.69 Time: 39:24
Average speed: 5:53 min/km (10.19 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: The Man With the Green Thumb by Tommy Emmanuel again.

Weather: Dark and cold?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Grumpy Runner

People gotta learn to share the trails. Sheesh.

Good run tonight. No sign of the two horse and carriage combos that were picking people up in front of the Y when I came home. They picked up a few people and then trotted over the Jaipur bridge before turning toward The River Cafe. All kinds of gimics come out for Christmas parties.

I was across the island and heading down the promenade. Cold, windy and not too many out tonight. Also clear, though the forecast has been threatening snow. A lovely sight low in the southwest sky was the grouping of Venus and Jupiter, with the moon a little further south. Last night they would have been quite close together.

I took to the 14th Street bridge and then followed back along Memorial Drive. Nobody out hardly. But there was the usual crowd running up and down The Stairs.

Nice outing.

Distance: 6.72 Time: 39:26
Average speed: 5:51 min/km (10.22 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: The Man With the Green Thumb by Tommy Emmanuel

Weather: Mainly clear and -5C.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November is Just About Over

The last long run of November, and not the best run, but pretty good just the same. For fun, I added a little distance, starting out by running over the Centre Street bridge. I think that adds about 400 metres to the usual route over the foot bridge to Prince's Island.

Hokey smokes, what a chilly start! For the first twenty minutes, I wasn't freezing, exactly. And yet I still felt over dressed. Turned out the extra t-shirt was just a little much toward the end.

This run was pretty typical, as far as timing and pace. And yet it felt tougher than usual. I ran three intervals with a minute in the middle at a really hard pace. It makes a huge difference in distance covered, and overall average pace.

I did this easily, yet, it felt hard. I had to push pretty hard to keep it up. Interesting. I got to The Stairs, and it was a slog, me pushing against my knees to rise up each step. At the top, it was a gasping stagger for a hundred metres or so, but I did finish strong.

And as ever, at the end, it felt pretty good.

Distance: 16.43 Time: 1:31:49
Average speed: 5:35 min/km. (10.72 kph)
Rest distance: 1.03 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.46 km. Total time: 1:41:49.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: Imagine by John Lennon.

Weather: Sunny and -4C at the start, 2C at the end.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dark, But Not That Dark

Thanks to a little bit of cloud reflecting the city lights, it wasn't too dark out. I ran the Crowchild loop after wavering between that and the shorter 14th Street loop. That twenty minutes or so to get to 14th Street is usually enough to get warmed up and ready for the longer run.

But what a quiet evening. There were a few on the promenade, but after passing the 10th Street bridge, it seemed like no one was out. After crossing to the north side of the river and coming back along Memorial Drive, it stayed quiet.

Nice run though, finishing with a sort-of sprint up the stairs, and actually running right from the top step without slowing down to walk it out a little.

Distance: 9.73 Time: 57:38
Average speed: 5:55 min/km (10.17 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Cloudy and 0C.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm Good...

It's been an awesome feeling day. I felt productive at work, even though I was there a little late, and really didn't seem to get that much done. But just a good day.

I got home in the dark, of course. Changed into my running gear and back out on the street in minutes. Really dark.

It might be from the massage I got on Saturday, but the run was great. Not particularly fast, by the look of the GPS, but it felt it. That happens a lot. I would have thought the Sunday run would have used up whatever loosening the massage gave me, but there must have been some left over.

Or maybe its just that lots of good things are happening. How cool is that?

Distance: 6.45 Time: 38:23
Average speed: 5:57 min/km (10.44 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Cloudy and 3C.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Still No Cold Snap

It's been staying remarkably mild, which is very much appreciated by us runners. There were bunches of us out this morning, too. I was out just a little bit later than I wanted to be, due to someone missing a bus and needing a ride to work. No worries about that.

I got home from that, changed immediately, and was out the door in about five minutes. My running neighbour had just walked out ahead of me, so we briefly chatted at the bus stop across the street. She's just starting to taper for the Sacramento Marathon.

Anyway, too cold to chat long in just running tights and a wind breaker, so I got going. As usual, things were a little stiff for the first thirty minutes. By the time I got to Crowchild, I was feeling good.

The trails are in great condition, with either clear pavement or packed snow. Very little ice. I had a stronger than usual start, too, with a strong pace. Lots of runners out, too.

At Edworthy, the bridge had a couple of icy spots. Running traffic really started to pickup, on the north side of the river. Still not like a summer Sunday morning, but busy for this time of year.

I tried a couple of fartlek style fast intervals, and managed to get the average pace down impressively (at least I was impressed.) Of course, that made the last interval tougher, with the stair climb, but I got up that pretty quickly. A short walk to regain my breathing a bit, and I was running again. A couple of minutes later and I was done.

Distance: 16.08 Time: 1:30:00
Average speed: 5:35 min/km. (10.72 kph)
Rest distance: 950.4 m. Rest time: 9:19.
Total distance: 17.03 km. Total time: 1:39:19.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Sunny and -2C at the start, 4C at the end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Late Post

And just a quick one, basically reporting stats.

Distance: 6.69 Time: 38:27
Average speed: 5:44 min/km (10.44 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Mainly clear and 1C.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Snowy Run

What a beautiful morning, although I'm sure anyone who had to drive was thinking otherwise. It's the kind of wet snow, falling at a temperature that freezes it at intersections where it's packed down and polished.

I dressed in running tights and a long sleeve tee under my windbreaker. Temperature-wise, it's perfect weather for running, and no wind either. I was out a little early, so a lot of the paths hadn't been cleared right when I started out. I had to adopt a kind of high kicking stride at times, to keep the slush from splashing into each shoe.

I met one of those rotating brush things near the helicopter pad by the promenade, and from there, it was slush free running for awhile. It was a little quiet until I got past 14th Street, and then I began to pass several walking groups.

The cleared path ended at Crowchild, and the trail was covered with a thick layer of new snow, wet and sticky. Even as fresh as it was, there had been a lot of traffic. The slushy parts were scarce.

This kind of snow automatically makes for an uneven surface to run on. Even so, I made great time. I crossed over the river at Edworthy, and got on the plowed path. There were still a few groups out, more than I expected.

I still do the run/walk thing on the long runs and it seems to work - run nine minutes, walk one minute. For a couple of these intervals, I tried a variation that I had been doing back in the spring, a kind of fartlek training. I would run normal for four minutes, run hard for one minute, run normal again for another four minutes, and then walk for one minute. I think fartleks are a little more variable.

I got to the stairs again and tried to run them. More like shuffled up, with a little more bounce than a normal walking climb. I still need about fifty metres of walking at the top to get my breathing back, but it has been making a difference.

After that, it was a short trot through the slush and I was doing my post-run stretches on my front step.

Distance: 16.01 Time: 1:30:00
Average speed: 5:37 min/km. (10.67 kph)
Rest distance: 916.6 m. Rest time: 9:37.
Total distance: 16.93 km. Total time: 1:39:37.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Light snow and -1C all the way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Under the Moon

A full moon was up about an hour by the time I got out. I still feel ripped off over the time change, but the bright moonlight made up for it some.

I hadn't done a 10 km run for ages, so that was the goal. Just to Crowchild and back. There were lots of groups out, being the night of the Running Rooms group runs.

On top of all that, the weather is amazing. It's still nice enough for shorts and a tee shirt, although the tee shirt is long sleeved, and I wore a running vest over top.

The run felt great, too. I felt fast, and loose. Lately the runs have been like that. The Stairs were a challenge, but even there, I wasn't completely stopped by them.

Distance: 9.59 Time: 53:29
Average speed: 5:34 min/km (10.76 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Clear and 9C.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Indian Summer Keeps Coming Back

And that's OK with me. Every day I can run in shorts and tee shirt is a blessing.

I was out about mid morning, and down to the bluff. Not too many people walking there, and only a couple of people using The Stairs. I headed to the top of The Path and ambled down.

On the foot bridge were red cones. Apparently I just missed the start of the Last Chance Half Marathon. The crowd was already well ahead of me and out of site. The promenade was all walkers, strollers and regular runners.

I made good time to 14th Street, and it was after I passed that that I saw the head of the pack on the other side of the river. There was actually quite a crowd.

And then, I passed Crowchild and lost sight due to the trees. It's all bush on the side of the trail and it's pretty thick. And then I was just lost in the beauty of the day.

Lowery Gardens was lovely. I like the way the trial winds along the edge of the river, with a thin band of trees and bush between. At one place is a recently fallen cottonwood, all broken up and mossy.

Where the trail crosses the tracks and follows the base of Spruce Cliff, the sun hadn't reached yet. The crossing and the trail beyond was frosty, and I could feel the chill. More invigorating than anything.

This stretch was pretty busy, too, not the normally nearly deserted place it usually is. Two young moms with a troop of young kids were watching the train go by, as was a man with a camera, running to find a good vantage for the perfect shot.

The gate at the parking lot on the south side of Edworthy was crowded too, and I took the trail through the grass that goes around it. It was actually kind of slippery with mud that stuck to my shoes, and which I shed in clumps for the rest of the run.

On the north side, it was head down and straight back towards downtown. I started this run not feeling my best, and while I was OK, I still wasn't feeling great.

At the stairs, I gamely tried running up the thing, but only managed the first three or four flights. After that, I walked it as fast as I could, pushing myself off each knee at each step.

I launched back into running at the top, or maybe lurched is a better word. That last half kilometre was definitely slower than usual.

Distance: 15.96 Time: 1:31:22
Average speed: 5:43 min/km. (10.48 kph)
Rest distance: 966.6 m. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 16.92 km. Total time: 1:41:22.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Sunny and 9C at the start, warming to 12C at the end.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Running in the Snow

I think I ran in the rain once all spring/summer/fall, but first snow, and I'm out there. It's a little wet, not really cold enough to stick. But it started coming down pretty thick while I was out there.

I started this time by heading over to Centre Street. I haven't gone that way for awhile, though it only adds a couple of hundred metres to the run. All the fitness groups that are usually on The Stairs seemed to be gone, though there were at least five an hour before.

Across the bridge and toward Eau Claire, which seemed deserted. There were a few on the promenade, but the whole atmosphere has changed. The snow and the time change have made the place a little dismal.

At the 14th Street bridge, I had great power climbing up to the bridge deck, courtesy of an andrenalin shot from some idiot on a bike that almost ran me down.

From 14th Street back to the foot bridge to Prince's Island, there was nary a soul. Another fitness group was making an effort to ignore the snow on The Stairs. I ran up The Stairs, all the way this time, although I had to walk for fifty metres or so at the top until my breathing settled a little.

After that, along the bluff until I turned north on 4th Street, as usual.

Distance: 6.93 Time: 41:53
Average speed: 6:02 min/km (9.93 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Light rain and 0C (but I'd call it snow.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Long One

This weather is unbelievable. It's almost summery, except for all the leaves being on the ground, and the brown grass. I haven't done a long run for too long, so today it had to happen.

I find the best time to run on a Sunday is starting mid-morning. Today was right one. The satellites were in perfect alignment, so the GPS was ready right off. At the bluff I ran east, looking over my shoulder at the western horizon. Lots of cloud hanging over the front range, though it didn't look like there was any new snow.

The cloud was moving out, and by the time I reached 14th Street, it was quite sunny. I'd worn my running vest over a long sleeve tee, and that was probably too much. Past Crowchild and heading toward the trail below Spruce Cliff, there were lots of people out. Several large groups of six or more, some running, some walking.

It's been awhile since I've done any distance, so my breathing was a little ragged. It wasn't laboured or anything, but it didn't have the usual rhythm. Between not running much lately, and still fending off a little chest congestion, I was breathing just a little heavier. But it didn't seem to affect my running.

On the return leg from Edworthy, it was just as straight forward. But by 10th Street, I was feeling a little depleted. I did the rest of the run OK, and just for fun, finished by climbing the stairs. At the top, I was done. The rest of the way was a slow walk home.

Distance: 15.50 Time: 1:29:31
Average speed: 5:46 min/km. (10.39 kph)
Rest distance: 924.1 m. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 16.43 km. Total time: 1:38:31.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 9C at the start, climbing to 13C at the end.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stairs Again

I'm beginning to like the sprint up those stairs as a finish. I wasn't going to do it this time, figuring I would reverse what I did a couple of days ago.

But anyway, I started out like I usually do, running along Crescent Road to the top of The Path and taking it down to the bottom. I weaved through traffic, runners that stopped at the bottom and then just stood in the way.

On to the path along Memorial Drive. Lovely sunset, lovely evening. A little cool, but perfect for running. I crossed at 14th again, as usual, and on the other side by the sculpture garden, I started meeting runners with bibs. I have no idea what that was about.

At the causeway to Prince's Island, at the west end of the island, I crossed over and ran along the water, just for a change. Past the River Cafe, and then back on the usual path. Not much to see, really, but it was a little bit of a change.

When I got across the foot bridge, I did plan on taking the path along the bottom of the bluff, but found myself heading for the stairs. It wasn't a total sprint. I have to admit I walked the landing that's half way up, and there wasn't a lot of bounce to my stride near the top, but I was running it.

I took the path along the bluff, all the way to 6A Street, before crossing over to Alexander Crescent and toward home.

Distance: 7.53 Time: 42:47
Average speed: 5:40 min/km (10.58 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Partly cloudy and 5C.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Trying to Get Back to Routine

The remnants of that cold are still hanging around, but the post-run coughing fit wasn't nearly as intense as last week. I still feel some tension in the chest while I'm running, but there's definite improvement.

A good run tonight. I mixed things up some, too. I started by heading west along Cresent Road until the sharp turn, where it leaves the edge of the bluff. Very near there, a path slashes across the slope down to the paved path that curves around behind Sunnyside along the bottom.

On the paved path, I ran back toward The Stairs, and then joined my usual route across Memorial Drive and along the river.

Very nice out tonight, with warm temperatures and nary a breeze. Definitely shorts and t-shirt weather.

I crossed the river at 14th Street, then back toward the promenade and Eau Claire. By the time I reached the Jaipur Bridge, sunset was about done. It was very dark on the island, with no lights on yet. I got a little way along on the suspension bridge, and they all came on. Kind of really bright after being really dark.

I've been running up the first couple of flights of The Stairs to reach The Path and then continuing up like always. But tonight for some reason, I stuck to the stairs. I managed to run up all but the last twenty steps or so, and then only because of traffic.

It's wonderful to finally get out after a long hiatus.

Distance: 7.50 Time: 42:31
Average speed: 5:39 min/km (10.58 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Cloudy and 11C.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hack, Hack

This damn cold has been hanging on for a couple or weeks now. But I finally felt healthy enough to try a run. Right up until I actually stepped out the door, when a tickly tickle started in the throat and wouldn't let go until I got down the bluff. Not coughing, but a kind of constant 'ahem, ahem, ahem...' Once I got on the path along Memorial Drive, it had settled down into a raspy wheeze.

A long day was in front of this, too. I have been having issues with home internet service, and after calls spread out over the last week, a service person was dispatched for today.

Naturally, they never know when they'll show up. I went into work, gathered up some stuff and brought it home. I was out of touch, email-wise, but I was moderately productive.

The guy finally showed up at 6:00 pm, about the time I was about to call it a day and change into running gear. An hour later I have an new internet modem/router, and a somewhat cheaper access plan. Five minutes after that, I was coughing down the street.

I only ran to 14th Street, and even then my chest was a little achy with the wheezing and stuff. All this darkness, and not nearly anyone on the trails. Cold and windy, too, which made it all the more dismal.

And yet, not really. Once I was moving and warmed up, it felt crisp. And it wasn't entirely dark. I got to catch the last bit of glow from the sunset. People were out. Not a bad evening at all.

Distance: 7.15 Time: 41:18
Average speed: 5:46 min/km (10.39 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Clear and 5C.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Just a Quick One

I was meeting a friend for dinner, so had to get a quick one in. I haven't run for awhile, and I'm starting to miss it. With the hiking, it's not such a big deal to miss a little, but I get a little antsy if I haven't been out there for awhile.

Tonight was cool. The weather has been all over the map the last couple of days, and there is a definite chill. I reluctantly dug out the running tights, and likely didn't really need them, but there ya go.

I found I wasn't the only one either. Some have been wearing warm gear for a couple of weeks. Tonight there were fewer in shorts than not. Even with shorts, the tops were layered. And the west horizon is looking decidedly white.

A good strong run, typical of when I don't get out for awhile.

Distance: 7.10 Time: 39:43
Average speed: 5:35 min/km (10.73 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Cloudy and 6C.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Saturday Morning

It's not often I go out on a Saturday, but I've only run once all week, and tomorrow I'll be heading to the Kananaskis for a hike. So I needed a loosener.

Out the door, and down the street. It took an extra minute or two for the GPS to find itself, and the fall chill was definitely in the air. I had also found my running gloves last week, but forgot to wear them, not even thinking of them until well into the run when my fingers began to feel crampy from the cold.

That didn't last long, of course, once I was good and warm. I find it takes longer to get to that point of being fully warmed up, lately. I attribute that to my increased level of fitness.

It's such a colourful time of year. When running, it's hard to shuffle through the leaves, but every step brought a satisfying crunch (to quote some cereal box from somewhere.)

Saturdays seem quiet on The Stairs, with none of the fitness groups jamming them or the surrounding paths. But there were a couple running up and down - there is always someone on it. Seems like a 24 hour thing, some days.

Nice run, lovely morning. I'm good.

Distance: 7.16 Time: 41:08
Average speed: 5:44 min/km (10.44 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 6C.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

But It's a Good Hurt

After my cross training adventure a couple of days ago, I wasn't sure I was going to be going too far. I planned for the 7 km loop, and stuck to it, but it wasn't all that bad.

Sure, the first kilometre or so was a little rough. Stiffness in the quads and in the glutes, and the knees were a little creaky. By the time I cross Prince's Island, it was good.

Lots of people out, and a couple of rude ones too. It takes all kinds.

Back at The Stairs, which I've been taking the first couple of flights up to The Path, there was the usual traffic jam with all the fitness groups running, jumping, going sideways, whatever. But in the mix, a young black cat, not shy at all, just picking her way up the steps, and stopping occasionally to accept a stroke or quick scratch behind the ear. Neat.

Anyway, but that time, no aches hardly at all, but the legs are still pretty much spent from the hike.

Distance: 7.13 Time: 40:29
Average speed: 5:40 min/km (10.57 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Sunny and 23C.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rainy, Rainy.

Not a lot of rain. It was a little spotty for the first half. The pavement was speckled, and I didn't even feel it for a long way into the run.

But I did feel an ache in the shins. I have no idea where that came from. I was planning to do the 10 km loop, but opted for the 7 km one. It probably wouldn't have been a problem. After about 5 km, things felt good.

Coming up to the 14th Street bridge, the rain got a little more serious about being rain. The pavement began to look evenly damp, and there was a sprinkly feel. It was coming nice and steady when I passed the C-Train bridge.

The post run stretching is on my front step. That was a little drippy, too.

Distance: 7.00. Time: 40:52
Average speed: 5:49 min/km (10.3 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Partly cloudy and 15C. Rather inaccurate, that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cool and Drizzly

Out late again. That's kinda how my schedule is, and will be for the next few months.

The Stairs was positively a traffic jam, with all the people running up and down, in all orientations. But I was past that quickly.

The sun was just coming out as I got to the bluff, and by the time I was across the river and on the promenade, it was bright and low. The rain was very light, just enough to spot the pavement, but with the bright backlighting it was quite lovely.

I toyed with the idea of cutting it off at 14th, but decided to continue to Crowchild. And that was good. I find lately that on the longer run, I get more into a groove. Hardly a runner's high, but the rhythm becomes natural, and the achy bits go away.

And yet, at the end, it's so nice to stop. I got some really good stretching in, and talked awhile to my neighbour, who was also just finishing a run. Gotta say, the cool off was quicker in the cold weather, but the rain at least had stopped.

Distance: 10.06. Time: 54:12
Average speed: 5:23 min/km (11.1 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Light rainshower and 9C.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Too Busy?

Too much going on this week, and I just didn't get out until today. I would have waited until tomorrow to do my usual distance, but Renee invited me out for a hike, and I think I'll take her up on it. It's been a tough summer on the hiking schedule.

Anyway, it's certainly fall weather. All these leaves are all over the streets - when the heck did that happen? But the chill and the slight dampness made it a perfect running morning. The sun just up, and already this town it boppin'.

I went west again, as usual. Down the bluff and across Memorial. It's down to one lane each way as they're rebuilding the median, so traffic is backed up and there's all kinds of activity. A big crowd was blocking the foot bridge, so I took the ramp to the trail on the berm. It looked to be some kind of walking tour thing. Everyone was listening intently to one person, but I was too far away to hear.

After that, just a nice run along Memorial. Some runners out. And nothing else notable. Just a nice run. Even the crowds that have been running up and down The Stairs weren't out.

And then I was home again. Laundry awaits...

Distance: 10.21. Time: 56:50
Average speed: 5:33 min/km (10.8 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Sunny and 8C.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Indian Summer?

It seems too early for that. I remember Indian Summer as being more of an October thing.

But the leaves are beginning to turn, and they're even falling. There are already a couple of trees looking a bit naked.

I was up early, and out the door before sunrise. It was cool, and as usual I was over dressed. But only a little. I wore the SP sweatshirt over a technical tee, which actually wasn't bad for the first half of the run. And it was easy to peel and wrap the sleeves around my waist for the last half.

I used to have a pair of gloves, light and stretchy. There weren't exactly cold weather gear, but for a morning like this, they would have been perfect. I have no idea where they are, but if I could have found them I probably would have been out a lot earlier.

It wasn't real busy on the paths, but there were some people out. With the sun out like that, I would have thought there would have been a lot more.

Something kicked in on the way back from Edworthy. I found that running faster was easier, felt more comfortable. And I was running pretty fast. I had two intervals at about a 4:50 pace. Usually I'm around 5:30, and even at the start this morning, I was barely below 6:00 at one point. I love when that happens.

Distance: 16.28. Time: 1:27:09
Average speed: 5:21 min/km. (11.2 kph)
Rest distance: 799.3 m. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 17.08 km. Total time: 1:36:09.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Sunny and 6C at the start, climbing to 9C at the end.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Right Back Into Warm Weather

And everyone is out there. There's even a troop of kids on The Stairs, with all the other groups going up and down. Plus there seemed to be a heck of a lot of in-lines out, too.

There were even a couple of rafts on the river, including one big one with a dozen or so people on it. What's interesting is the entourage of ducks that were following them. People are probably feeding them.

On the way back, I must have got in the middle of a running clinic of some kind. I've never been passed so often. They must have been doing intervals or something.

Tonight's run:
Distance: 9.84 km. Time: 55:05
Average speed: 5:35 min/km (10.7 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 23C

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cloudy and Wet

And I like it that way. It wasn't really raining much by the time I got out. But nice and cool.

It was a nice smooth run, and felt fast. Kind capped a pretty good day.

Normally I find being drafted a little annoying, and from what I've heard, most runners don't like it. I don't like being the drafter, either. But tonight I kinda got into it. Someone started to come up behind me across from the Science Centre. They matched my pace pretty good, but I kept waiting for whoever it was to pass. And they weren't.

Finally, near the helicopter pad, she managed to get up beside me. And pull a little ahead. At that point, I wasn't going to let her get any farther ahead of me, and kept right with her. We finally parted when I turned onto the Jaipur Bridge.

By then I had settled into a pretty brisk pace, so kept it up all the way home.

Tonight's run:
Distance: 7.45 km. Time: 38:44
Average speed: 5:11 min/km (11.5 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Cloudy and 9C

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Beautiful Sunday in the Fall

But it isn't really fall yet. Technically, it's still summer for a couple of weeks. And yet last Sunday I stood freezing in ankle deep snow, watching pipe and drum bands at the Canmore Highland Games. That was fun, but cold.

Anyway, this morning was lovely. Cool and overcast, so very nice for running. On The Path Under The Stairs, a pair of prairie chickens paced me for a few metres before dodging into the grass to hide.

Across the river and along the promenade, the usual troop of Chinatown elders out for their morning amble. Near the Greyhound station, I passed the crew that ran the Banff Jasper Relay. I believe most are in training for Chicago, which is only a month away.

After that, it got quiet. It was pretty early, I suppose. I did pass a few people below Spruce Cliff. At Edworthy, a few more were out, but it never really got busy.

Something loosened up a little near Extreme Bean. From there to home is about forty minutes, and I just had a ton of energy all of a sudden, and lots of speed (all being very subjective, as I noted in my last post). I had a strong finish.

Distance: 16.21. Time: 1:29:07
Average speed: 5:29 min/km. (10.9 kph)
Rest distance: 1.12 km. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 17.32 km. Total time: 1:38:07.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

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

Thursday, September 04, 2008

About the Same

That's what it usually turns out to be, no matter how fast or slow it feels. The last run felt plodding and slow. Tonight I felt fast and loose. But over the same distance, I ran both within a few seconds.

It's all relative, I suppose.

Tummy was a little upset when I got home tonight. I wondered if I was going to get out at all. But once I was out and moving, I felt fine. Too much coffee, I think. I've been trying to keep that consumption down a little.

It was such a gorgeous evening walking home from work. By the time I changed into my running gear and got back out, the sun was behind cloud and the temperature seemed to have dropped five degrees.

But that made it nice running. I only did the 7 km loop, but felt quite good.

I've come to the conclusion that old runners are not good for every day wear. Since getting the new shoes for regular wear, the aches in the feet have lessened considerably. The Sauconys will be the first to go.

Tonight's run:
Distance: 7.20 km. Time: 39:08
Average speed: 5:26 min/km (11.0 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 15C

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Late Again

Not really tired. Maybe a little lazy. I missed writing up the last run. Although that might not be a bad thing. Sometimes I don't have much to say.

I ran last Thursday, late in the day. A friend drove by just as I was walking up to the door, so after a quick shower we went for a coffee. After that, I just never got around to writing anything. 'Struth!

Sunday I was enjoying 2C temperatures in ankle-deep snow at the Canmore Highland Games. Well, maybe not that much snow, down in the town. It was certainly piling up on the mountains, though. So no Sunday run.

Tonight was just go home, change, go run. Although I did enjoy, and it was a little bit of a wake up just to get out for awhile.

Truth be known, my foot has been troubling me lately. I don't think it's the runners, although running probably aggravates it. There's a little bone in the ball of the foot that kinda floats there. It extents the leverage of the tendon to the big toe, to help in pushing off when walking or running. I slammed it pretty good a few years ago, and it was a couple of months before I could run. Apparently that little bone can fracture, and it can hurt quite a lot.

Anyway, that's sort of what it feels like, so I've been taking it very easy. I have decent shoes now, too, and I find that helps.

So I'll keep the running light and see what goes.

Last Thursday's run:
Distance: 10.08 km. Time: 57:04
Average speed: 5:39 min/km (10.6 kph).

Tonight;s run:
Distance: 7.20 km. Time: 40:01
Average speed: 5:33 min/km (10.8 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 15C

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Where Did Summer Go?

It feels like I missed it. It's already the last week in August. They were taking down the Shakespeare in the Park stage already. It's getting cool in the evenings, and it's dark by 8:00. Bummer

Nice night for running. The temperature never got too high, given that it poured until early afternoon, and the sun, while bright for the rest of the day, never really got things warm. Perfect running weather.

I headed down the usual way, to 14th and back. I was late enough, that traffic was steady on the trails, while not being totally deserted. It was a good strong run.

Distance: 7.20 km. Time: 40:19
Average speed: 5:36 min/km (10.7 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 15C

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shoulda Took the Day Off

It wasn't that bad as far as running goes. But something I had for lunch yesterday did not agree. I felt rotten last night, didn't sleep, and felt rotten this morning. I wanted to be out on the paths early in case it got hot, but couldn't get going until late. Bleah.

But I did get out. Down and across the bridge to Prince's Island, passing a wagon-load of seven very young puppies. Labrador cross, I'd guess, and if they're as young as they seemed, they are going to be very big dogs when they're grown. Cute.

After that I was on to the promenade, and just keeping moving. Not a lot of energy, and my innards weren't in the best of shape. Much of the run was just keeping it moving. It wasn't hard, but nothing memorable enough, aside from the puppies to be noteable. By the time I had gone three quarters of the way, I would have been quite happy to be done.

But I got through that, and finished.

From yesterday, Department of Double Takes:

She stood on the sidewalk, a stunning thirty-something, all tanned legs and blond hair. Lean and athletic, in running shorts, Lululemon top and green accentuated running shoes, she stood tall on one leg, the other pulled tight heel-to-buttock in a perfectly balanced quad stretch. The Nordic angles of her face were accentuated by the hollowing of her cheeks as she pulled mightily on a cigarette.


She looked like a runner, acted like a runner, dressed like a runner. But that cigarette just didn't fit. And for her, it wasn't just a casual puff or two. It was suck, inhale, exhale, suck, inhale, exhale, denying entry into her lungs of any air untainted by combustion particulates.

Three blocks past, I was still glancing over my shoulder. It was a jarring juxtaposition.

Distance: 16.50. Time: 1:33:36
Average speed: 5:40 min/km. (10.6 kph)
Rest distance: 941.0 m. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.44 km. Total time: 1:43:36.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 20C at the start, cloudy and 24C at the end.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Had a Busy Week

A great week - productive and fun. Even a little intense, certainly focused. I love it.

I worked late last night and besides, it rained cats and dogs, so my Thursday run didn't happen. I made it up tonight.

It felt fast, but I don't think I was all that gettin' goin'. The trails were quiet, but then I've found that whenever I'm out during dinner time.

I was drafted along the promenade. Someone came up behind me just as I passed the C-Train bridge, and didn't pass, and didn't fall back. Just stayed behind and a little to the left, so that it felt like she (as it turned out) was breathing down my neck. It's a little disconcerting.

I didn't take The Path Under The Stairs too hard, but once on top of the bluff, I found my stride lengthening considerably.

Lovely run.

Distance: 7.18 km. Time: 39:42
Average speed: 5:31 min/km (10.7 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 19C

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The End of a Very Good Day

A very busy day, too. The new job is getting a little intense, and busy, and surprisingly, fun. My to-do list seemed to grow exponentially, yet I felt productive, and I seemed to get a lot done.

And with all that behind me, a good run was a perfect way to start the evening.

The heat wasn't nearly as intense as yesterday. I got to the bluff to find a veritable traffic jam on The Stairs, with all the fitness groups on it. Even The Path was busy.

I got down to the bottom, weaving through the crowd, and on to the bridge over Memorial, then down the ramp and on the path by the river. It was a quieter run, given the time of day, but still busy. I thought about cutting it short at 14th, but felt good enough to continue to Crowchild again.

At the soccer field by the Boy Scouts clubhouse, there's what I think is an osprey nest on one of the light poles. And one agitated osprey squawking furiously over the soccer game going on below.

On the other side of the river, it was quieter, with a few runners and cyclists. Even the promenade was quiet until I got close to Eau Claire. A big crowd covered the lawn in front of the Shakespeare stage, and the foot bridge back to the curling club was busy too.

I pushed hard up The Path to the top of the bluff. I think I'm strengthening a little as this climb seems to be faster, if not easier.

And then home for dinner.

Distance: 10.25 km. Time: 57:34
Average speed: 5:36 min/km (10.7 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Cloudy and 24C

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Trying to Beat the Heat

Since the forecast is for hot days ahead, I thought I'd try to get out soon as possible and maybe beat the heat. Which works against my philosophy of no alarm clocks on the weekend.

But I did wake up fairly early and was out as soon as I was awake. It wasn't hot, or even warm, but for that time of morning, I would expect it to be a little cooler. Even so, very nice.

It was a fast run, time-flow-wise. I didn't think I was too head-down and focused, but time and distance went by pretty quick. I found myself not really feeling fast, but kind of moving along. Hard to describe.

Along the way someone returned my good morning by name. I have no idea who she was, since I wasn't really focused on her, and she was gone past before I realized I'd heard my name.

They have torn up the pedestrian path from the Parkdale-3rd Avenue corner to the public washrooms at Edworthy. I took to the grass for a while, then on to the other path.

Across the bridge at Edworthy, and over the tracks. The gate was locked across the path, and barriers were up. A sign said the path was closed. I took the detour through the bush, and was on it. Or rather where the path was supposed to be. Several yards had been removed, and a trench made for the new one. There were several chuncks of path missing along the bottom of Spruce Cliff, and a lot of barriers to go around.

Once I got past the rail crossing, it seems to get easier again. I found myself in that long-stride, lopping gait that I used to use when I first started running. It seems easier on the legs, and faster somehow. But I feel it more in the walk breaks.

Just past Crowchild, I began to meet the Sunday morning groups, and it happened again. Someone in one of the groups waved at me and said good morning by name. Again, no idea who.

For the rest of the run, just pushing through, not thinking, not aware, just present and being in the run. Hitting The Path Under The Stairs with almost nothing, so taking it at a long slow shuffle. And then finishing down 4th Street, pushing the long stride even longer.

Distance: 15.82. Time: 1:32:03
Average speed: 5:48 min/km. (10.0 kph)
Rest distance: 1.44 m. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.26 km. Total time: 1:42:03.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Partly cloudy and 15C at the start, 19C at the end.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Couple of Days Late - Again

It's not like I'm super busy or anything. I don't feel all that lazy, either. But here I am two days after the last run.

A lovely evening, as I recall, a little on the warm side. It had been great week so far, and a run was a good way to cap the day.

I remember feeling a little sluggish, though. I was more or less OK along the river and up to The Path Under The Stairs, but The Path dragged me down significantly. I ran the whole thing though.

I find that difficult moments in a run are when I get that "what the hell was I thinking" moment, but after doing this for four years, I can draw on the past experience. I can quick;y replace the defeatist thoughts with "c'mon, I've done this before." It gets me through.

And no matter how hard it seems out on the trail, when I'm done, I know it was worth it. It's always a good run.

Distance: 10.12 km. Time: 58:40
Average speed: 5:47 min/km (10.4 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Sunny and 21C

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Right After Work

And it was great! I was in the house, changed and back out in about ten minutes. And the goal was nothing too strenuous, just a 7K to 14th and back.

Being a little later than usual, I got out into the crowds. That was fun. It's so cool to be out with all these people, all running or whatever. Not quite the noon hour crowds that I remember, but it was certainly energizing.

I didn't do anything much different, but just got running and that was all I wanted/needed. And I think my leg issues were just acclimatization issues with the new shoes. Not much more than a twinge tonight, so I expect I'll not be bothered again, at least until the next new pair.

Distance: 7.14 km. Time: 40:06
Average speed: 5:36 min/km (10.7 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Sunny and 21C.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Evening

Nothing special about this run. I needed to get out for some distance, but with everything feeling a little tight and stiff, I took it easy. I still made a respectable time of it.

They've dug up the walking path from the Edworthy bridge to about where Parkdale meets 3rd Avenue. It looks like it's all prepped for paving, with some kind of liner covered with packed sand.

And the river is almost as crowded as Deerfoot, with all the rafters on it.

I didn't get out until late afternoon. I met a friend for breakfast, that just moved back from Ontario after six years or so. Very good to see her again and catch up on stuff. But of course, a big breakfast ain't conducive to distance running.

Distance: 16.10 km. Time: 1:36:58
Average speed: 6:01 min/km. (10.0 kph)
Rest distance: 1.43 m. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.53 km. Total time: 1:46:58.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Cloudy and 18C.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Lazy II

...And then more stuff piles up and you still don't get to it for some reason, maybe just cuz you don't feel like it? or something?

This was a tough run. My ITB is bowstring tight, which is not unusual, but I never notice it when I'm running. This time, I couldn't ignore it, and about a kilometre from home, I had to stop. Even walking hurt.

Hope it's not the shoes.

From August 7:

Distance: 5.93 km. Time: 32:35
Average speed: 5:29 min/km (10.9 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Nice again.


You ever have one of those weeks, where there's too much going on, and some stuff you just don't have the energy for? And then you get lazy so stuff ends up getting put off for days until you wonder if it's maybe too late to bother with?


From August 5:

Distance: 7:36 km. Time: 42:32
Average speed: 5:46 min/km (10.4 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Nice.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

New Shoes, Finally

I knew I was overdue for new ones, but I don't know how much overdue. Old shoes wear out slowly, so that things start to not feel right, hurt even, without any indication why. But in retrospect, worn out shoes were the obvious reason.

So this morning I got me a spiffy pair of Asics GT-2130 shoes. These I like, even better than the New Balance when they were new. Maybe even better than the second generation Nike shoes I had way, way back. Naturally, there were some little aches and pains to start, while the body and feet adjust, but by the end we were pals.

Anyway, I was out during the noon hour, which is a whole different feel on the weekend than on a weekday. It felt deserted, with even the Shakespeare players almost acting for themselves. It's too nice for the crowds to stay away thought, and it'll get busier this afternoon.

I trucked along the north side, beside Memorial, to start. Easy running, nice and low key. Just the way a weekend run should be. The return was about the same, and it was a little strange even to be out in such gorgeous weather with not too many others about.

Even the promenade was quiet, until right at Eau Claire, at the Jaipur bridge. Much more like it, but not quite. Across the island and up the hill. Along the bluff, then north a couple of blocks. That's it.

Distance: 10.22 km. Time: 56:53
Average speed: 5:33 min/km (10.8 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.

Weather: Sunny and 18C.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Boy, does that feel good! Finally getting out and running at noon with the rest of the downtown crowd is something I've been looking forward to for months. I've missed being on the paths with so many people.

I was out a little early, actually. I couldn't wait to get out and going. It's such a gorgeous day, warm enough, and even a little hot for running. I did the 10 km loop to Crowchild and back.

It's interesting, but I think sometimes I'm on automatic when I'm out there. I've been running that loop clockwise for weeks, and today I recognized that, and ran the other way, staying on the north side of the river to start. Not that it makes a difference, except that the scenery looks different from the other side.

Outside of that, it was just all the people out there. I barely remember anything else about the run. I was too busy noticing things to notice things.

WaveRunner tagged me about medals, and I've given it a little thought.

I have only six - three from marathons, three from half marathons. There is a story behind each, but the story comes to me when I'm out running, when I find myself in a place or situation or with a feeling that I experienced in those races. The medals really don't bring much out.

I haven't even found a place to put them. They currently are in a ribbon-tangled pile on a shelf in my living room. Someday, I'll get them out where they can be seen.

Distance: 10.22 km. Time: 56:53
Average speed: 5:33 min/km (10.8 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Sunny and 18C.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


My 600th post, that is. Running since April 5, 2004, writing about it here since October 24 of the same year. My brother suggested it would be a good way for him and my sister and I to stay motivated. I don't know that either of them even runs any more.

Today is the penultimate day at my current job. The ladies decided to treat me to a Japanese take-out lunch. I've been told not to bring lunch tomorrow as well. And the weekend wasn't the most nutritionally disciplined. (Saturday lunch was a big bag of ripple chips and jalapeno dip.) So I supposed I have a reason for leaden legs and tiny lungs.

Anyway, down to the river, across to Prince's Island and along the promenade. Slog, slog, legs of lead. I seriously considered short-cutting at the C-Train bridge. But I've been worn down worse and finished, so I kept at it.

Even so, the 14th Street bridge was a welcome halfway point. And no breeze, hardly. I was feeling the sun, and the bridge left me exposed to it. Dropping down into the shade on the north side of the river was welcome, as was the chance to run beside the paved path on well-worn dirt.

A skater blew past me near the ramp up to the pedestrian bridge, but he lost all his speed on the ramp so I passsed him. Same with the cyclist who passed me at the bottom of The Path Under The Stairs, who couldn't sustain any speed on the steep part. (That happens a lot, actually.)

At the top I thought about cutting across and shortening the run, but by the time I finished considering such a move, I was alreasy most of the way through the long way. Now I'm writing this and prepping to satisfy a pasta craving. Yum.

Distance: 7.34 km. Time: 39:46
Average speed: 5:24 min/km (11.2 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Sunny and 26C.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Too Much Slacking

I haven't run for over a week, and it shows. I went for a 10 km to Crowchild, and it felt longer. Now, I'm just tired.

But a beautiful day for it. The Folk Festival is going full swing on Prince's Island, and as usual, the temporary fences create a corridor for those of us just passing through.

Lots of people coming and going, and walking along the promenade. At the far end of Prince's Island, beside the promenade is the huge volunteer tent, and several with the orange-yellow crossed vests with signs to direct traffic going to and from the main stage.

Past that, it got quiet, although there were still lots of people out. Crossing under Crowchild, I noticed how much cooler it is under that bridge, out of the sun and over the water. I also noticed how much the foot bridge moves. It definitely bounces a little, since my footfalls were smoothly changing from light to slappy-hard. It wasn't a big difference; I notice it a lot more on the suspension bridge to Prince's Island, but it definitely was oscillating.

About that time I developed a sinus headache that is currently pretty throbby. Perhaps we have some more thunderstorms coming? Anyway, it was pretty straightforward coming home. And now I think I need to lay down and see if this headache will go away.

Distance: 10.26 km. Time: 58:10
Average speed: 5:39 min/km (11.2 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Sunny and 20C.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Early Summer Morning

To bed early, and then I wake up at the usual time. So I actually slept more than usual, sort of, I think.

It left me feeling ready to get up and go, so I did. It was cool and a little breezy, but the sun was up. At the bluff, some of the downtown buildings were in the sun, and there were various points of fire to the west, from windows reflecting the sunrise. In the distance the mountains were a purple grey, almost like they were still in shadow.

Down the hill and across the bridge to Prince's Island. A couple of early walkers were out, as were a couple of homeless types rummaging for empties.

I must have zoned out pretty much for the entire run, not really remembering much about it, and I have no recollection of what I was thinking either. I barely remember crossing the 14th Street bridge.

On the path along Memorial, there was some light traffic, no people, except for one runner near the Prince's Island bridge. Someone was also doing hill work on The Path, and otherwise that was it.

But the morning was lovely, and the run was actually pretty fast, for all of the effortlessness I felt in it.

Distance: 7.57 km. Time: 40:27
Average speed: 5:20 min/km (11.2 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 15C.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Just because!

When I started my run tonight, I thought that maybe I'd call this entry "Good Knee, Bad Knee", but I think the knee theme has gone on enough. The right one still feels a little weak, though.

And stiff at the start! I was almost feeling old or something. By the time I got to Cresent Road I was good. Going down The Path, though, I felt that.

Anyway, once on the flat I just relaxed into it. My pace was close to optimum, a nice pittery-pattery cadence. And I seemed to be passing everyone, not that I was trying exactly. But, ya know, when ya get into that zone, ya gotta pass everything. I even passed a bicycle (yes, it was so moving!)

On the way back, along Memorial, I could really feel my breathing, but it was good. I hit The Path really aggressively and was at the top before I knew it. It broke my breathing rhythm, but only just near the top, and I kept the pace up all the way home.

Distance: 7.37 km. Time: 36:04
Average speed: 4:53 min/km (12.3 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 15C.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shaky Knees

Still not really good with the knees, for some reason. Stairs are not challenging, but I've been feeling it when I climb them.

And I wasn't really in the mood for this anyway, so I thought if I could get a 7 km in, that would be enough. Of course, it was a different mood once I got out there. Starting always seems to be the toughest part. At the bottom of The Path Under The Stairs, 10 km seemed very reasonable.

Still, it was slow going for awhile. But with such a beautiful morning, why hurry. I'd started early, too, so it was a little cool, making it perfect for running. The climb out from under the 10th Street bridge is where the legs felt heavy, even though it isn't much of a slope, and only thirty metres or so.

Traffic was light, too. Too much stampeding going on, perhaps, or people just weren't getting up, or something. But that made it all the more relaxed and unhurried.

I ran up the pedestrian overpass by the Scouts Canada building and down the other side, pushing aggressively on the up side. Across the river under Crowchild, and down past The Pumphouse. I noticed how much all the greenery had filled in everything. The scenery seemed dense and close. I couldn't see the wind chimes at all.

Approaching 14th Street, a woman rounded the path down from the bridge and settled in in front of me, rapidly gaining as we passed the sculpture park. I almost lost sight of her by the time I was approaching 10th.

After passing under the C-Train bridge, I got a spark of something. I don't think my pacing changed, but my stride seemed to stretch. It didn't feel any harder, but at the Jaipur bridge I caught up to and passed the woman who had come off the 14th Street bridge.

I pushed a little harder across Prince's Island and the suspension bridge, and at The Stairs, I took the first two flights to The Path, something I never usually do. On The Path I pushed really hard, enough so that I was feeling it in both the legs and the lungs.

And at the top, I resumed my pace until the last block when I stretched out my stride to finish.

I did some good stretching at my front door, but even so, I feel it. Not really an ance, but a good used feeling. Nice.

Distance: 10.04 km. Time: 56:28
Average speed: 5:37 min/km (10.7 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Cloudy and 20C.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Cranky Knees

I was out on the road almost as soon as I got home, thanks to the need to work off the daily stress quota. It was almost a hobble for the first few hundred metres, until I loosened up a little. But once I was warmed up, all was good.

I wasn't out for speed tonight, just trying to keep loose after pushing hard on Sunday. I hadn't really felt any problems in the knees then, except in the last couple of kilometres when they got a little achy. Nothing to worry about as I've felt that before.

And tonight, that ache was there, very mild and once I was running a little, I stopped noticing. But after crossing the 14th Street bridge, I started down the ramp to the trail along the river. The first step was a little heavy and my left knee complained immediately. I walked down to level ground, actually limping a little.

On the level path I started slow again, and after a few paces it worked out again. At 10th Street, on the downslope of the path underneath I shortened my stride to a shuffle, and that worked fine. I did the same coming off the pedestrian bridge by the curling club.

Other than that, a good run, with only a feeling of being too used up from Sunday for any agressiveness.

Distance: 7.14 km. Time: 40:53
Average speed: 5:43 min/km (10.5 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Cloudy and 20C.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Boy, That Was Quick...

Results are already posted on the HSBC Calgary Marathon web site

I was 491st overall out of 2247,
363rd out of 949 males
35th out of 111 in the men's 50-54 category.

My final (gun) time was 1:52:392,
My pace was 5:18/kilometre,
My time at 10 km was 53:17.

My chip time was 1:51:38 - 95 seconds off my PR.

I'm rather impressed with myself, if I do say.

Calgary Half Marathon

A great run and a very respectable time. It's been a challenge to keep moving afterwards, but here I am.

I was out the door at 6:00, after having not slept much. Dunno what was going on; I'm pretty sure I wasn't stressed about the run. Maybe getting to bed early for a change messed up my sleep schedule.

Anyway, I parked at the usual place and got my number pinned on, then walked to the armoury. There was already a bit of a crowd, and I wandered through the building to the back to join a bathroom line. After that, I went out front again, did a slow jog toward 6th Avenue and back, then back in line. By then, it was about five minutes to start time.

I picked a spot not far behind the 3:45 marathon time pace bunny, figuring that would put in the right place for the time was expecting to run in. A minute later and just behind me, I noticed the 1:55 half marathon pace bunny, so I was pretty much in the right place.

The last couple of minutes I chatted with someone running her first half, and then the horn sounded for the start. No shotgun this year, which was a little disappointing. The crowd surged forward three or four steps and stopped, waiting for those in front to funnel through the start gate.

The woman I talked to surged forward and across the mats, and that was the last I saw of her. Beginner, indeed. There seemed to be a few more people on the sidelines along 8th Avenue this year. Certainly, it was a more sober crowd, with no whooping and staggering like I saw in other years.

8th Avenue is maddening at times, with the crowds not yet thinned out, and the street itself widening and narrowing at random. Construction projects didn't help, and several runners took to the sidewalk at times. My alarm went off for my first walk break, and I ignored it, preferring instead to keep up with the crowd.

At Olympic Plaza, just before turning onto McLeod, someone took to the steps on the side, then dove head first onto the pavement below when they ran out. A collective gasp from the rest of us was met with protestations that he was alright. Well, OK, but it was a pretty spectacular spill.

Around the corner at city hall, and under the tracks. This stretch went fast, and I was turning onto 12th Avenue in no time. Right on Olympic Way, and through the gates to the Stampede grounds. I think it's Family Day, with free admission for families before 9:00, and a ton of people were taking advantage of it.

I took my first walk break on the grounds, and set the pattern for walks for the rest of the run, opting to take only every second one. Out of the south end of the grounds and around the corner to a long hill that I barely noticed. The first water station was there, and I grabbed a cup, slowing to a walk to take a gulp or two.

The trip through Ramsay was done in no time, and we turned onto 12th Street on the way to Inglewood. The crowd was still thick enough to take up two lanes. Across 9th and then the bridge to the zoo. This year the route was back to taking us by the tiger cage, and just as before the only critters to be seen were the flamingos. I guess the smell of hundreds of sweaty, inaccessible prey animals was too much for the tigers, and they opted to sleep in.

Past the new elephant enclosure, the old monkey house, and the African pavilion, we crossed the bridge to the main entrance, then cut around it, first toward the dinosaur park, then on to a service road that carried us toward Nose Hill Creek. At the creek the road took us under Memorial and we climbed the hill back toward the zoo's main entrance and parking lots, then up onto St. George's Drive. I'm hazy about where water station were along here. There might not have been any, but I think there was one at the zoo entrance or thereabouts.

Anyway, up 12th Street and onto 1st Avenue, the trip through Bridgeland brought us to a more vocal crowd. Lots of actively cheering spectators, which I welcomed. Up until then, most of the noise was of running shoes slapping pavement.

Down the short hill of Edmonton Trail and on to Memorial, I finally spotted a marker - 8 km. It had seemed to take no time at all.

This was straight slogging from then on. Just keeping up the pace. At the bridge to Prince's Island I noticed something that had been missing for the first half hour - no music. Dan the One Man Band was doing his thing about there, and it occurred to me that up until then I had not seen any entertainment along the route. Not even on the Stampede grounds.

Anyway, head down and keep up the pace. It was fairly quiet for awhile. At 10th Street, the crowds were thick and even noisy, and somewhere along there, maybe past 14th Street, a steel drum band was rockin'.

About 19th Street was when I was beginning to feel the pressure. There was about 6 km to go, and my pace was still good, but I wondered whether I was going to be able to keep it up. The long climb up and over Crowchild seemed to take forever, and on the other side, the turn around point was lost in the distance.

I think it was 27th Street where we eventually turned. I noticed the field had thinned. On the other side, those that were approaching the turn seemed a thick crowd by comparison. Under Crowchild and out in the open, I think the sun came out for a bit, but I really don't remember.

I was glad to see the off ramp up to 14th Street, and then the ramp to 9th Avenue. At the top there were real crowds, noisy and cheering. I lengthened my stride I as I approached the alley to the finish line.

I don't know where she came from, but she stepped in front of me just as I was about to pass a group of three or four. How rude! But she moved over a little, and I passed her as well, and sprinted across the finish line mats. I think the clocks were at one fifty something. If true, then no PR for me this time, but gosh-darned respectable. I waited while a volunteer untangled a medal from the gob of them she had over her arm, walked to where kids were snipping off the timing chips, and then under a couple of watering wands that were spewing shockingly cold water.

A great run, a great crowd, and I'm done for another year.

The stats are a little skewed on the walk breaks since I really only walked every second break. And I dunno where the extra 460 m came from. I also took a couple of minutes to stop the clock after crossing the line.

Distance: 19.82 km. Time: 1:41:24 Average speed: 11.7 kph. (5:06 min/km)
Rest distance: 1.74 m. Rest time: 11:00.
Total distance: 21.56 km. Total time: 1:52:24.

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Cloudy and 13C to start, ending at 15C.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Moment of Even More Significance

Details to follow in 14 days.

I got hung up at work tonight, an hour late getting home. Not surprisingly, the traffic was still thick, but different. Bleah.

As soon as I was in the door, I was stipping down to change into running clothes. I think it was about five minutes between coming in the back door and heading out the front.

It was not a great start. After yesterday's cross training, the legs were not exactly loose. But by the time I was at the bottom of The Path Under The Stairs, I felt very good, and after crossing the Jaipur Bridge, I was at cruising speed.

Given all that, I figured one more hard, fast run before Sunday was in order. What the heck; I was already pushing hard. I took it all the way to Crowchild and across to the path along Memorial.

It seemed to take no time at all to cover the ground back to the foot bridge, and I was ready to be aggressive on The Path. Aggressive, yes, but hardly fast. Still, I climbed the bluff faster than usual.

At the top, I tried to regain the pace I'd had below, and probably surpassed it, running hard to my finish point. I love the feeling of finishing a hard run!

Distance: 9.95 km. Time: 53:23
Average speed: 5:21 min/km (11.2 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Cloudy and 20C.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Slow, slow run

It wasn't quite pointless, but this run was tough. I'd got home early (which is saying I got home really, really late) after getting some sleep at a friends, had some breakfast, and felt that the best thing for what ailed me was a run.

So I got the running stuff on, and out the door. It was slow going to the bluff and down The Path. I crossed Memorial and took the ramp down to the path on the berm by the river. Not really hot yet, but getting there. I wasn't moving fast at all, although I was running. I tried to stay in shade as much as I could.

There were the usual crowds though there seemed to be not as many people out. Either out of town for an extra long weekend, or wimping out from the heat. I took a water break at Edworthy, then crossed the river.

I'd toyed with the idea of running up the road that comes down from Wildwood to the parking lot on the south side of the river. But all I could remember was how long it was, and opted to climb at the other end, by the road into the Shaganappi. Either way it was gonna be a tough climb, given the way I was feeling.

The trail along the tracks and the bottom of Spruce Cliff was almost all in sun, since they lined up at that time of morning. It felt like I was going slower and slower as time went on, and the heat was becoming a factor.

Near Crowchild, I crossed the tracks and took the trail up the hill. I was barely running by now, more shuffling up the steep trail than anything. I reached the small parking area at the top, and ran the short way from that to the corner. From there it was west up the long hill to the entrance to the Shaganappi golf course, still shuffling.

At 26th Street, I ran toward Bow Trail, and reached it just as the walk light turned, so no slowing down. Half a block further, I aspirated saliva (that inhaling spit), and my run was done. I was only a few blocks from the end anyway, so I walked the remaining distance, choking and coughing. After a couple of blocks, I was down the a raspy wheeze.

I got to my friend's place, picked up my car, and here I am.

Distance: 12.25 km. Time: 1:17:02
Average speed: 6:17 min/km (9.6 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Sunny and 25C at the start, but it ended at 29C.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Moment of Significance

That moment has gelled, but is still tentative, and is 35 days away. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I need to run off the stress and frustration on a regular basis. Lots of that today, but things came together nicely. Now I just have to burn off the excess energy.

And it was a weird energy that got me out running today. Buzzy and jittery, but not directed. I couldn't sit still, but I felt heavy and slow when I got moving. I got to 14th Street and that was about all I could do.

Given the lethargy that seemed to come with this bleah feeling, I don't remember much about the run. It was pretty run-of-the-mill, just me racking up the miles.

Distance: 7.15 km. Time: 40:08
Average speed: 5:36 min/km (10.7 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Cloudy and 20C.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back at Altitude

Back to the rarified air of Calgary, after a long run in the soup in Saskatoon. There's about five hundred metres difference in altitude, and I really thought I would notice a difference, but nope. I was breathing just as hard there as I was here.

But still having fun either way. Tonight was a fun hard run, around the usual loop to Crowchild and back. Lovely weather, even a little on the warm side, bright and sunny. I pretty much got lost in the moving, only having to wake up a little to dodge the bootcampers at the bottom of The Stairs. It wasn't really zoning out, but perhaps just being in the moment.

Distance: 10.18 km. Time: 54:45
Average speed: 5:22 min/km (11.2 kph).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 20C.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Past Revisited

I spent the weekend in Saskatoon, and I was definitely in for my distance run in a different town. Not that running in the 'Toon is new to me. I've been out a few times.

I keep forgetting about the difference of scale in Saskatoon and Calgary. I started near 8th and Acadia, which if I remember correctly is the highest point is Saskatoon, at just over 525 metres above sea level. I headed down Acadia to 14th Street. The idea was to head toward the river and see how far I could get in an hour and forty five minutes.

My first walk break was at Preston Avenue, which surprised me, but as I said I keep forgetting about how relatively small Saskatoon is. The second was at Cumberland, right beside a certain church. The third walk break at the river bank along Saskatchewan Cresent after I had turned north toward the U of S campus.

The fourth walk break was by the Deifenbaker Centre, beside a certain bench overlooking the river. I was beginning to remember how much history I have in this town.

Forty minutes was when I originally planned to turn around. But I felt reasonably good, so I decided to keep going. I ran to the 33rd Street railway bridge and crossed the river. More history.

On the other side, I descended the spiffy new stairway to the parking lot beside the weir and ran toward the Mendel Gallery. The trail beside the weir has been spiffed up considerably. It's almost unrecognizable to me, with the lighting and landscaping that has replaced the cracked weedy concrete apron that I remember.

Along Spadina, then down the short slope to the parking lot behind the Mendel, past the familiar stench emmanating from a sewer manhole by the path. Still there after all these years.

I passed the small sandy cul de sac where the Duck used to be (long since rotted and dismantled.) Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan has their tent up, and just past it, I popped out of the bush beside the Spadina Cresent underpass under the 25th Street bridge (which everyone calls the University Bridge.) I crossed that road, and ran across the grass to the pedestrian under pass, looping around to the walk on the other side of the bridge.

At the top of the bridge, I ran a short block down Clarence Avenue, and crossed to run down University Drive, which turns into Elliot Street after a block, then turned south down Bottomly Avenue. At 14th I turned east past that church again.

At Garrison Cresent I followed its long, gentle curve to the south, then turned east again at Main Street. I crossed Preston, and followed it to its end at Arlington. South on Arlington to 8th, then east to Acadia and my starting point.

This run was hot! I was used up after the ninety minutes it took, sweating like crazy. And I'd forgotten about the annual infestation in the city's beautiful elm trees of the chancre worm, which has a charming habit of dangling from the tops of those trees from a silk thread it spins, after gorging itself on the foliage. Actually I only saw four or five dangling in places where I had to dodge them.

I thought the lower elevation would have made a difference in my stamina, but perhaps whatever I gained with higher air pressure, I lost to the heat. Still, a great run, fun, and even proved that some demons really have been laid to rest.

Distance: 14.48 km. Time: 1:22:38 Average speed: 10.5 kph. (5:42 min/km)
Rest distance: 871.0 m. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 15.35 km. Total time: 1:31:38.

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Sunny and 23C to start, ending at 26C.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gettin' Outa Town!

Gonna be on the road tomorrow; gonna hang with the Loganateur! Woohoo!

So I got a quick run in tonight, after I got laundry going and stuff. Well, not quick. I went 10 km, to Crowchild. Well, sorta quick. I tried to throttle back a little again, cuz I seem to have a speed thing going. I like going faster, but I want to be able to make it home again too.

Such a lovely day, perfect summer day. Except it's still not summer until Saturday. No rain. That's a good thing, since we had a month or so of nothing but.

There were lots of bikes to dodge, lots of runners and skaters out. Even a little traffic jam at the end of the Crowchild bridge. Lots of people at the bottom of The Stairs, too. In fact a big group seemed to decide it was too long to wait for their turn to climb them, and ran off toward downtown. It's an awfully busy corner.

The Path Under The Stairs was like nothing, well, sorta. I was breathing pretty hard at the top, and probably slowed down some (OK, OK, a lot). The path on top of the bluff was just fun.

And then I was home.

Distance: 10.18 km. Time: 55:30
Average speed: 11.0 kph (5:27 min/km).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 20C.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jockying Schedules

Got a short week planned since I'm travelling on Friday. The Loganateur and me are gonna do some hangin' out. I also have tomorrow evening filled, and that's forced me to push the mid week run up a day, so it was a solo.

I got out the door almost as soon as I was home from work, and headed toward the bluff. Tonight I felt like mixing it up a little. When I got to the top of The Path Under The Stairs, instead of doing the hairpin turn on to it, I kept going toward Centre Street.

A nice long downward slope across the river, and then a little switchback near the bottom off the side of the bridge and onto the riverside path. You can tell it's finally summer out. So many commuters are on foot, walking home from work, and I'm a little envious of that.

Anyway, the runs from last week seemed to have set the pace. I was fast and even though I tried to throttle it back, I was pushing pretty hard, for me. More crowded on the promenade than it's been all year, and at 10th Street, a surfer was doing his thing on the river. The flood from a couple of years ago changed the river bed near the shore so that when the water is high like it is now, there's a good sized standing wave. He had a water-skier type trapeze thing anchored to the shore and was surfing the wave. Kinda neat.

I crossed at 14th, bounding up the slope to the bridge. I mean bounding. Breathing was heavy but even, and the legs were feeling strong. On the other side I took to the dirt path by the paved pedestrian one, as usual.

At the C-Train bridge I decided to change it up again, and took the stairs up to the pedestrain overpass across Memorial. On the other side is was under the C-Train and along side, heading deep into Sunnyside. At the train station, I turned onto 3rd Avenue, and then onto the trail along the bottom of the bluff that heads back toward The Path Under The Stairs.

I took a dirt path through the grass, one that slashes across the face of the bluff and pops up at 4th Street. And from there is was a few more blocks before I slowed to a cool-down walk.

Distance: 6.85 km. Time: 35:19
Average speed: 11.6 kph (5:09 min/km).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Cloudy and 22C.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Dry Sunday

No rain this morning, although the cloud is moving in again. It's a nice change from the monsoons we've been experiencing.

People were pulling up as I was this morning at the rendezvous point. The fast group was gone in a hurry, another went solo, and I teamed up with Robert. We did a nice run from The Extreme Bean to Centre Street and back. It was rather nice to be back to a pace more in my usual range.

This guy is a marathoner, though. He's run a couple already this year, and is aiming for another, if I got the story straight. His boys ran with us too, although they pretty much left us in the dust.

Other than that, it was the usual busy paths, full of geese and runners, sunny skys and crazy-high river. The forcast says sun for this week - I'll believe it when I see it.

Distance: 12.14 km. Time: 1:12:17
Average speed: 10.1 kph (5:57 min/km).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 8C.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

On the Edge of Ability

Met up with some of this group again to end the week with an 8 km run. It was looking a little wet, and the rain was pretty heavy when I pulled up to the meeting point on Parkdale Boulevard. The hail wasn't too thick, a little mushy even, since it disintigrated when it splatted against my windshield. And all this while the sun shone brightly.

About the time others pulled up, the rain stopped, and at 6:30 sharp, we started out. Lots of dodging puddles, and the wind was shaking the water out of the trees. Geese were lounging all over the place along the first part of the trail, and they had also left a lot of little "calling cards" all over the trail. Nice that the rain had made that mushy.

At Crowchild, one split off and kept going straight for a 5 km loop to 14th Street. I decided to tag along with the guys running the 8 km, and so followed them across the river. I managed to stay with them for another kilometre or so, but they had set an wicked (for me, anyway) pace. I started to slack off a little as we wound through the bush.

By the time I crossed the railroad tracks they were almost ten seconds ahead of me. A couple of huge puddles slowed them down, as we had to pick our way through the wet and mud around them, but I never really kept up.

After crossing the bridge at Edworthy, they were still well in sight. But another kilometre on, they were long gone ahead. By then, though, we were almost back where we started.

I managed to keep up a rather impressive pace compared to my usual outings. My breathing was even though heavy, and I was feeling my legs. This run was another push against my limits, and really, that's the way that I will be able to expand them.

I rounded the final bend to find everyone waiting. Then it was off to the coffee shop for a quick cuppa.

By the way, the official results of the Banff Jasper Relay have been published. The team I was on, the Extreme Bean Mountain Team, finished in 24:19:08. I finished my leg in an official time of 1:35:12 at a pace of 8:50/mile, or 5:30/km.

Distance: 7.57 km. Time: 38:19
Average speed: 11.9 kph (5:03 min/km).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Light rainshower and 12C.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Woohoo - I Kept Up!

The gang that invited me to run in the Banff Jasper Relay also invited me to join them in getting together for runs during the week. So tonight I took them up on it. I also got to pick up my shirt from the race - a very lovely brilliant green with long sleeves and the spiffy B-J logo. I love it!

I met up with some of them, and we walked down 10th Street to the river. After crossing Memorial, we were on the path and running. We immediately crossed to the promenade by the C-Train bridge and went east for the short zoo loop.

They set a pretty good pace, certainly faster than I usually run. But not so challenging that I was left in the dust. For the first while, I was feeling quite good, and quite happy that I was staying with them.

Time went by quickly. We got to Centre Street, and the path under the bridge was under water. Around that and on toward the East Village. There's a heck of a lot of construction going on there, that I had no idea about. A lot of landscaping and stuff.

Across the foot bridge to the zoo island (it must have a name...ah - St. Patrick's Island) where there's some work going on there in installing some lighting along the path. There were a couple of deep puddles to dodge at the next bridge, then onto the path beside Memorial. That's were I felt my calves. I was a little concerned, but the stiffness went away after a few minutes.

The rain started about the time we passed the Bridgeland train station, but was done about when we crossed Edmonton Trail. That was another underpass closed and under water.

Straight back toward 10th Street, and I was becoming aware of how hard I'd been pushing. Being with a group pushes you a lot more that running alone. Still, my breathing was even, and I was keeping pace. The aches that had popped up had gone away again. I felt pretty good.

At 10th, we all slowed to a walk and hit the stop buttons on our GPSs. Then a quick trip to pick up my race shirt, and across the street for a cuppa tea.

Great group, and a fun run. They've invited me to run again later this week, so I'll be there.

Distance: 8.47 km. Time: 41:23
Average speed: 12.3 kph (4:53 min/km).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Cloudy and 11C.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Playing Tag

I was tagged by She Who Makes Waves

Here are the rules and my reply.
* Just copy the following onto your post.
* The rules of the game are posted at the start of your blog post.
* I'm asking you five questions about running.
* Each player answers the five questions on their own blog.
* At the end of your post you tag other people and post their names.
* Go to their blogs, leave a note saying they've been tagged then to look at your blog for details.
* When they've answered the questions on their own blog, they come back to yours to tell you.

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
Ten years ago, I tried running for a couple of weeks, but gave it up cuz it hurt. A lot. In retrospect, I probably had the wrong shoes and ran too far. Also, I got some really bad advice (see below) from those who I would have thought would have been a little more supportive. My first real run, the one that started all this, was April 5, 2004, for a little under 4 km. It was two months before I told anyone what I was doing.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?
Best - the Harvest Half in 2006, a gorgeous, sunny fall day. I managed a PR of 1:50:03. That's a 5:13/km pace, which for me is fantastic.
Worst - Calgary Marathon in 2007. Everything began to hurt by about 12 km, and it got worse from there. I think I finally stopped feeling those specific hurts sometime last February.

3. Why do you run?
It's something I can do by myself. It's not about winning and losing. I don't have to rely on others to run, join a team, attend league meetings and play to a schedule, and equipment-wise it's relatively cheap. It's also calming, envigorating, and it gets me off my ass and out the door in a blizzard or downpour or whatever kind of weather. There are a whole lot more reasons I could list.

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?
Best - Go slow at the start. Increase my pace and distance in small increments
Worst - I shouldn't even try to run, because I'm not athletic, I'll wreck my knees and spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, and I'm at that age where I'll probably drop dead from a heart attack.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
Not sure how surprising this is, but a very long time ago, I was a radio DJ and news reporter for a couple of years.

I have no idea at the moment who I could tag to carry this on...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Banff-Jasper Relay

That was a long day. A lot of driving, and stressful as well, though mostly from my own ignorance. I needed to be at the Beauty Creek hand off well before 1:00 pm. I thought if I left before 9:00 am, I'd have plenty of time to get to my starting point. Ha!

I went over all the stuff I wanted to bring a dozen times, then out the door. I stopped for a coffee for the road before heading west. Rain had been pouring down since I got up this morning, and it wasn't slowing down. I wondered if I had enough clothes, forgetting (again!) that I usually over-dress.

Just past Olympic Park, the rain stopped, though there was lots of spray from traffic. And not much traffic. It was rather open on the TransCanada for a weekend, and I imagine the rain had a lot to do with that.

I reached the first big stress point at Jumping Pound Creek, when I realized I'd forgotten my Garmin. Gaaah! I cranked the car onto the first turn-around I found, a funky underpass, loop-the-loop thing just past the creek crossing. Back on the pavement I walked on the gas pedal, cursing mightily.

Near the pull-out opposite the big service station by the highway 22 overpass, I started thinking again. I stopped on the shoulder, and went through my bag of dry clothes and stuff, just in case I had actually put the Garmin in the pile. It was already 9:30, and going back for it would cost me an hour.

I could run without it. I did another loop-the-loop on the highway 22 clover leaf and got back on track (though still cursing mightily).

Traffic stayed relatively light all the way to Lake Louise. At the Scot Lake Hill, the deluge started anew and kept up until the highway 93 overpass to Radium. Then dry pavement. Time, meanwhile is ticking by, and this drive is taking forever.

Second stress point - construction just before Lake Louise, meaning 25 kilometres of trudging along at 70 kph. But then I was on the off ramp to 93 north, and suddenly into a Parks Canada checkpoint beside the highway, where they make sure you've got a park pass.

Third stress point - of course the guy in front of me is searching for a wallet or something, and visiting, and just generally taking his time. Back in my car, the type A personality is beginning to boil over.

Fourth stress point - you know those monster RVs, the severely under-powered ones that can't climb a mountain highway at more than a crawl? I believe there were a substantial percentage of the total North American population of them in front of me all the way to Bow Pass.

And then I caught up to the first runner on the south leg. Actually the last runner, since he was at the back of the pack. Before I knew what was slowing us down, I was rapidly approaching a fifth stress point. But yeah, these people were out here for the same reason I was, and it was very cool. I honked and cheered some of them.

It took a long time to get past them all. They were spread out over about thirty kilometres, with lots of support vehicles on the side of the highway. Doing the long climb to the Bow Pass (at almost the same speed as those damn RVs).

It was getting near noon at this point. I wasn't panicking yet. And then the RVs began to pull over one by one to various lookouts and observation points. Things began to go quite fast. At Saskatchewan Crossing, a few more pulled into the service station. I finally got to make up some time, and the Type A was settling down.

From the Crossing it was all new territory for me. I had no idea about what the road was like. I got to the switch-back that started the steep climb to the Columbia Icefield, and was extremely grateful that any RVs in front of me were a long way ahead. Then I realized that there were runners who had to climb this monster. Sheesh!

Twenty kilometres past the Icefield I caught up with the first (last) runner on the north leg. I was slowing down again and meandering past everyone, but I was going to make it before the forced start.

The force start time for my leg was 1:10. I pulled up fifteen minutes before that, hoping the runner before me hadn't been left waiting for me to hand off to. I loped over to the crowd, trying to remember what some of the people on my team looked like, and hoping they would recognize me.

The rain that began to dump at Bow Pass, had stopped just before the Crossing, and the pavement here was dry. Bob and his wife were suddenly right in front of me with safety vest and racing number. It took a couple of tries to get the vest on right, and someone graciously lent me his Garmin. I pinned the number on, made a quick trip to the portapottie, and lined up.

It turned out that the runner I was waiting for was still a couple of kilometres back. So I and a few others kicked off our leg at the forced start at 1:10 sharp.

The run itself was kind of anticlimactic. It stayed mostly dry, a little spitty, and the cloud was quite low. The scenery was pretty monotone - obscuring cloud and trees, and a long line of pavement dotted with runners and support vehicles.

Cherie and her husband Joe (she's the one I see in Starbucks all the time, and apparently he's the one that ran that nasty climb to the Icefield) leapfrogged me up the highway, with one of them occasionally running out with a water bottle. The highway is pretty straight on this leg, with long, gentle slopes. Nothing too challenging hill-wise, and I felt great. The Garmin kept saying I was running way faster than I usually do, and I was struggling to keep my speed down. But my breathing was even, and my legs felt great so eventually I relaxed into the pace.

That was pretty much it. At 15.2 km a guy with a walkie-talkie called in my team number to someone at the next hand off. I think he was supposed to be at 1 mile to go instead of 2 km, but that was OK. When the Garmin said I had about three hundred metres to go, I stretched out my stride a little. It was a long descending curve to the right, and it seemed to take forever to see the handoff gate around the trees.

And then I was at the gate, and some guy was reaching toward me. I slapped his hand, he took off and I slowed to a walk. Another great run!

The distance is listed at 17.3 km, and the Garmin said I had been running about an hour and thirty two minutes, which Bob confirmed. There was a cold breeze and he unfolded a foil racing blanket which I draped around my shoulders. Cherie handed me a water bottle, and someone took a picture. Then we walked back to Bob's car, where he handed me some cookies and a banana. I felt fabulous.

At his car, I realized the foil sheet I was draped in was spattered with the logo of the Boston Marathon. I really want a copy of that picture. Bob invited me to join then on their Sunday morning runs, dropped me off at my car, and that was that. I didn't bother to change, since I had dodged the rain and was still dry.

The drive home was mostly uneventful. I had to stop at the Crossing for gas. $1.63/l, so I put fifteen bucks worth in, and hoped it was cheaper in Lake Louise (it was - $1.31/l). I was home by 6:30, crashed on the couch by 6:35. An hour later, I showered and ate, and then discovered that I had not included pants in my change of clothes. Glad I didn't have to change.

If I do this again, I'll get a hotel room up there. Seven hundred kilometres of driving to run seventeen kilometres makes a long day. But it was worth it. Great fun and I may be part of a new running group, too. How cool!

I'm going to use the hour and thirty two minutes for my stats:

Distance: 17.3 km. Time: 1:32:00.
Average speed: 11.3 kph (5:32 min/km).

Shoes: New Balance 1061.

Weather: Cloudy and 8C.