Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cold, Then Warm, Then Cold, Then Warm Again

Temperatures are going up and down quite a bit the last few weeks. We have a wind today, but otherwise a nice day. Clear skies, and even the sun is up when I get out for a run.

In fact, it didn't set until I got to 14th Street. Nothing special about today's run, just not in the dark anymore, and windy. And I only did the 14th Street loop.

I thought about taking The Path rather than The Stairs, but I was up to the challenge. Ran the whole thing, although I was still too winded to run right off the top. Besides, the path along the ridge is pretty icy.

Distance: 6.78 Time: 38:39
Average speed: 5:42 min/km (10.53 kph).
L n K
Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: None - same again.

Weather: Sunny and 1C

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Damn Cold Run

Not so cold, but that wind was nasty. I layered up pretty well, and got the scarf out as well. I didn't feel it too much, until I got across the Centre Street bridge and started down the promenade. That was directly into the wind.

For the first fifteen minutes of that stretch, I felt the cold on the face, and had to keep adjusting the scarf to keep my face covered. By the time I got near The Pumphouse I was feeling pretty warm.

And then I crossed the river at Crowchild. Terribly exposed to the wind under that bridge, and the stretch of trail along the river up to the Kensington intersection. Even after that, there was really nothing to slow down the wind.

The wind was pretty insistent at the long straight stretch past Point MacKay, and even snow was drifting down the path.

I charged around Angel's Cafe and finally got some relief, with the wind behind me. After that I settled in, pretty much in a zone. Haven't had that for a long time. For the rest of the run, at least until the stairs, I was just running, nothing in my head except the earworm, just cruising along. The Stairs were very soon in front of me, and I had felt little passage of time.

I tackled The Stairs fairly well, managing to run the whole 167 steps. Of course, at the top, I could only walk for fifty metres or so until my breathing wasn't quite to ragged. And then running along the bluff, and enjoying that beautiful horizon, with the mountians all white again.

Distance: 16.14 Time: 1:31:08
Average speed: 5:38 min/km. (10.63 kph)
Rest distance: .9237 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.06 km. Total time: 1:40:25.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: I Want to Come Over, lnk Melissa Etheridge.

Weather: Sunny and -17C, climbing to -12C, with wind chills dragging it down another 6 or 7C.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Still In Shorts

I'm loving this weather for running, though it feels kinda weird to be so warm in January. I think I would rather it stay January-ish in January.

The side streets are getting better, with the ruts down to bare pavement, and the sidewalks aren't too bad, since the snow has receded enough to let the melt water drain away a little instead of pooling and freezing on the walk. The path on the bluff is still well covered, and it stayed packed today, not softening like the last couple of days.

I ran along that to the top of The Path and headed down. It's nice that any melting is draining away from that path. It can be awfully treacherous on that slope. This time I headed straight across to Prince's Island and the promenade. Nothing too exciting going on, but there's still lots of light in the late afternoon now.

I took it easy tonight, climbing up the approach to the 14th Street bridge and crossing. On the other side, pretty non-descript as well. Still, it was a wonderful feeling to be out and moving.

At The Stairs, I managed pretty well. I kept a running pace all the way up. And at the top, I managed to keep running, though with the heavy breathing, I wasn't going really slow. Still, I stopped for a moment.

The sunset was arrestingly spectacular. I haven't seen such colour in a sunset for ages, and it was beautiful. And a lot of people seemed to agree. At least half a dozen were just standing on the bluff, facing west. One of them was busy with a big camera. Of those that I made eye contact with, we traded smiles. Just lovely.

Distance: 6.57 Time: 38:59
Average speed: 5:55 min/km (10.11 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: None - still preoccupied.

Weather: Partly cloudy and 4C
l n k

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Vitamin D Run.

Well, not quite, maybe. The sun is so low, I wonder how much UV-B rays are getting through all that atmosphere. But the promise of double digit temperatures got me out in shorts and tee.

I did expect to be a little chilled for the first few minutes, though, and I wasn't disappointed. The weather web site said calm winds, but that's measured at the airport. I was feeling a brisk breeze from the west.

Along the bluff, the snow was still hard packed and solid, not too slippery. I got to the top of the paths and onto dry pavement, taking the Awful Little Hill down to Centre Street bridge.

The breeze was chilly out over the river, and even when I got down on the promenade. But I was warming up fast, so it wasn't too uncomfortable for long. The fun moment was when a big rambunctous Birnese Mountain dog decided he'd rather run with me that his master. Gorgeous pups, those.

At the C-Train bridge, I crossed to the north side of the river. There was a fair bit of traffic on the trails, probably groups from both the Eau Claire and Kensington Running Rooms. The wind wasn't bad, until about 19th Street, when the trees, bare as they are and affording very little wind resistance, thinned to nothing. But still not bad.

Just past Crowchild, it got busy again. Someone going the other way, taking a walk break, while crowds of other runners chugged in the same direction. It took a few minutes to register, but I coulda swore that was Wave Maker. If I wouldn't have been so foggy, I would have said hi.

Now, where did all this energy come from? My intervals were seriously faster than usual, and everything felt so good. Breathing good, hips and hams feeling good. None of the usual aches that begin when I stretch my stride. I love that kind of running.

I looped around Angel's Cafe and headed back, still moving very well, and a few minutes earlier in the run than usual. With the wind behind me now, I was warming up an awful lot, too.

I planned to cross the river at Crowchild, but completely missed it, so crossed at 14th Street. Pushed hard down to the promenade and to where I cross Prince's Island to The Stairs.

And I even ran The Stairs. Not really fast, but all the way up. Running much slower at the top along the bluff, of course, but I wasn't slowing to a walk. The rest of the run was getting slippery, with the temperatures rising.

Great fun run.

Other news: I signed up for the Police Half last night. Usually I don't think of it until it's sold out and that usually happens pretty quickly. It's about time to get back into some races.

Distance: 16.62 Time: 1:30:25
Average speed: 5:26 min/km. (11.03 kph)
Rest distance: .9701 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.59 km. Total time: 1:40:25.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: Jingle Bells, of all things.

Weather: Sunny and 3C, climbing to 6C.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Little Treacherous

It's been melting all day, but was beginning to freeze when I got out. Not the side streets - they're ankle deep in soft mush. But any cleared pavement with melting snow on the ecges, is slippery with the temperature dropping like it was.

Here I am again, finishing this two days after I started it. So it goes.

The Path Under The Stairs was especially bad, not because it was icier than anywhere else, but because it slopes so steeply. A couple of long stretches, thirtly metres or so, were covered with a thin coat of wet ice, so I was picking my way along the edges. A coupke of runners going up hill were doing the same.

After that, it wasn't all that bad. Typical spring running in this town, or chinook running. The flats aren't much of an issue, if you stay aware of the ice, but on slopes you had to watch. I was especially wary of the steep approachs to the 14th Street bridge, but they were actually clear.

The promenade is also completely dry, so no problem there, either. At the Jaipur bridge the slipperiness that was there on the walk home was actually drying up a little, possibly the transition to below freezing was actually drying things up a little.

The Stairs started well, but by the upper landing, I was down to plodding. The city has been replacing the risers, changing from wood to metal, and the newest set has a decided bounciness to it. All new steps, too, but with so much traffic, those will be worn out within six months

The trail along the bluff that used to be hard packed snow, is softening, and slippery, but not excessively so. A short run up slushy 4th Street and I'm done.

Distance: 6.46 Time: 37:30
Average speed: 5:48 min/km (10.43 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: None - kinda preoccupied.

Weather: Clear and -1C

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Slacker, I Am

Not about running, though I have still been unable to get back to a full schedule. I'm talking about the writing. I got home last night after work, and went right out again. There's already some light left at that time of day, so perhaps spring is more than a distant fantasy.

The streets are a mess, and there's no way to run in that stuff. It's like loose wet sand, and it slow me down like crazy. Once I got on The Path Under The Stairs, it was much better. Mostly clear pavement for the rest of it.

I took the ramp to the Memorial Drive trail, and plodded along in only semi-darkness. I felt good about running, and also thought I had some good speed. Over the 14th Street bridge, and back towards downtown.

Not much happening out on the trails, though there were lots of runners for that time of day. Lots more cyclists. At Eau Claire, I decided to keep going and take the Centre Street bridge. It wasn't too bad, but there was some loose snow on it that slowed me down a little. Nony's Awful Little Hill was a quick climb, even with the odd ice patch on the steepest part.

Of course, once on the bluff, I was in the softening snow pack again. Then across Cresent Road and northward to the finish.

Distance: 7.56 Time: 43:30
Average speed: 5:45 min/km (10.43 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: Come Fly With Me, Frank Sinatra.

Weather: Clear and -1C.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


The weather gods are toying with us again, I think. It is a beautiful day, sunny and very warm. And a lot of runners were out this morning, taking it in.

My start was slow. I slogged through snow churned up by traffic and well mixed with whatever it is they spread on the streets. At just below zero, the stuff is like dry sand, and it's almost impossible to run in. Even sidewalks this side of the bluff were a little bit like that.

Once across the street and actually on the hard packed snow on the edge of the bluff it was much better. For fun I went toward Centre Street again, and took the bridge across. I'd deliberately under-dressed for what I thought I should be wearing, so the first fifteen minutes were a little cold.

I took the promenade past Eau Claire and followed it to the C-Train bridge where I crossed to the north side of the river. And right in front of me was Peter Mark. From 10th Street, we chugged along yakking about stuff and generally catching up. But after thirty minutes, he waved me on. His pace was a little slower than my usual, and I had energy to burn this morning.

So near the Extreme Bean I went back to my usual pace, and left him to his. The paths were wonderfully clear, and there is even bit of hard packed snow on the sides, over the grass. I used that a lot as a break from the frozen pavement, though in places it was a little like the sand again.

I rounded Angel's Cafe and started back downtown, meeting Peter Mark again a hundred or so metres back. After that, it seemed my pace was quite fast. The couple of times I checked, it was under 5:10 min/km, a pace I'm usually not able to sustain.

At Crowchild, I crossed to the south side of the river. The breeze was even up enough to get some tunes out of those home made wind chimes that have beeen in the trees by The Pumphouse for the past few years.

After that, hard running all the way to Jaipur bridge, across Prince's Island and to The Stairs. I tackled them with some energy, but half way up, I was done. I managed to finish the climb, but without the bounce that I had at the bottom. I managed to go right back to running at the top, but very very slow.

After that, a short trip up 4th and I was done.

Distance: 16.39 Time: 1:31:31
Average speed: 5:34 min/km. (10.75 kph)
Rest distance: 1.03 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.42 km. Total time: 1:41:31.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: I'll See You In My Dreams,; Chet Atkins and Merle Travis.

Weather: Sunny and 2C, climbing to 5C.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A Stunning Morning

It's just gorgeous out there.Clear and cloudless again, and warmer than yesterday. There's a dark grey mass brooding behind the mountains in the west, but that's a hundred kilometres away.

I made sure not to over dress this time, just a light cotton tee between the technical and the windbreaker. And a running cap. The first ten minutes were very cold. My ears were freezing and I was a little chilled.

The second ten minutes were much better, and after that, it was perfect. I was running into a headwind, just a light breeze, but I could feel it. But it was great.

There's lots of ice on the river, and there are channels where the fastest water cuts through it. Very shallow and very noisy, as it's a very fast current. Places are like rapids, where water tumbles over rocks and ice.

At Angel's cafe I just turned and retraced my steps. I thought briefly about crossing to Edworthy and taking the trail below Spruce Cliff, but I'd beat myself up enough last week back there.

At Crowchild, I crossed the river to the south side, and continued on toward the promenade. I continued on to the promenade, and at Jaipur bridge, decided to continue on to Centre Street. It adds about four hundred metres to the run, and Nony's Awful Little Hill is a way easier climb than The Path Under the Stairs.

Still a beautiful run, and a great morning.

Distance: 15.72 Time: 1:32:09
Average speed: 5:51 min/km. (10.24 kph)
Rest distance: 1.04 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 16.77 km. Total time: 1:42:09.

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

Weather: Sunny and -11C.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

First Run of the Year

It must have just started snowing, when I got out. Coming down rather heavy for Calgary, but still, it was that fine stuff, very small flakes. Almost sleety but without the wind.

The thing about hosting a New Years Eve event, is you don't have to worry about driving home. Bed's just down the hall. And well, those two wine bottles, ya know, no point leaving anything in them.

So this morning was a little shaky. Got up, got coffee, had a nap. By mid afternoon, I needed to do something, so out I go. Lovely how the headache flared as I was getting into my running gear. I really wondered if I was going to get much of a run in at all.

But by the time I was down beside the river I felt quite good. It certainly wasn't my fastest run. It's been years since I have done a run at a pace over six minutes. But I needed to run, and I done it.

Distance: 6.57 Time: 41:06
Average speed: 6:15 min/km (9.59 kph).

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

Weather: Light snow and -9C.