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.