Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lock Up

Not quite, but boy are things ever tight south of the knees. I ran the 7 km loop to 14th Street, and about 3/4 of the way around was when if finally started to loosen up a little. I did some stretching at 10th Street, while waiting for a walk light, and that helped some.

Since I'm working from home today L n K, I tried a noon hour run. Haven't done that in almost two years, and it felt great to be out there in mid day. Lots of traffic, too, which was kind of nice.

I've missed the lunch hour runs. It was fun.

Distance: 6.97 Time: 40:01
Average speed: 5:44 min/km (10.45 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: On the Bayou, Hank Williams.

Weather: Cloudy and 4C.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Springtime in Calgary

Another spring weekend, another spring storm. About the same amount of fresh snow on the ground as last weekend, too. By the time I got out there, the side streets weren't too bad. There'd been enough traffic to pack a couple of tracks down, but not enough to polish it up.

When I switched over to the path down Nony's Awful Little Hill, I was back to prancing through foot deep snow again, until the top of the Centre Street bridge, where the sidewalk plows had left a veneer of soon-to-be-slush snow.

Most annoying was the GPS just wasn't catching a signal at all for the first ten minutes. So I have an accurate time record, but the distance measure is way off. So I'll use last week's distance for the calculations.

Once on the promenade, the north wind made itself noticeable. Not too bad this morning, though. It seemed a lot warmer than the -5C being advertized on the weather websites. That was also about the time my left shin tightened up considerably.

The first walk break wasn't too bad, but from there it began to hurt enough that I was wondering if I was going to be walking back home. I gritted my teeth and pushed through it. By the time I got near the bus terminal, I was half hobbling.

OK, make it to Crowchild and head back, was what seemed to make sense. By the time I was near The Pumphouse, it was finally loosening up, and once across the river under Crowchild, all was right again, though I could still feel some pull.

After that, it was back to normal. I think it was warmer this week than last, where it was freshly plowed, any packed snow was immediately slippery. And mostly what was on the pavement was melting, so a bit splashy in places.

At Point MacKay I was back to normal, and was running at a nice fast pace. I rounded Angel's Cafe, and headed back downtown. The wind was now at my back, but I was feeling the heat, too. It was much warmer now, and the sun was trying to shine a little.

Most of the way to past 14th Street was head down and go. But just as I was coming up to 14th, I also caught up with the Wave Runner so finally got to say hello. Always meet lots of runners, but never meet another blogger. Cool!

After chatting for a bit, I resumed my pace and quickly found myself at The Stairs. Ow. Actually the first three or four flights were OK, but I quickly ran out of steam, somehow just making it to the top without stopping. A short walk break and the rest of the run was over quick.

Distance: 16.42 Time: 1:30:01
Average speed: 5:44 min/km. (10.94 kph)
Rest distance: 1.05 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.47 km. Total time: 1:40:01.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: Sugarfoot Rag, Junior Brown.

Weather: Cloudy and -5C all the way.

Late Again

Darn. From last Thursday...

It was cold and windy. Not very spring like at all. And I was out later than usual, which timing-wise L n K, worked out great. One good thing is that even that late, it's still light out.

Distance: 7.18 Time: 39:35
Average speed: 5:30 min/km (10.88 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: L n K.

Weather: Cold and windy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Snow, Please Go!

A lot of what dumped on us Sunday morning has been moved, but it's still laying around being white and cold. Some places are tricky to walk on, especially on roads, where the slush got packed down.

The breeze has a bite to it tonight, too, out of the east, meaning I was running into it on the last half of the run.

The Path Under The Stairs was clear all the way, with no ice from meltwater running across it like it usually gets. I imagine that will happen in a few days when it begins to warm up.

The foot bridge wasn't bad either, for the same reasons. I took it first tonight, across the island and down the promenade. Pretty quiet, but by the time I got there I was warmed enough not to notice the cold.

All the paths are clear. I think with the minimal sun that we had yesterday, it melted what wasn't scrapped away, and the wind dried it up.

I took the stairs to the top this time, felt every one, though I kept a running pace. Mostly I run out of wind, and it was the same today.

I took to the street instead of trying to navigate the edge of the bluff. It's probably not bad, but it'll be icy in a day or two.

Distance: 6.70 Time: 38:28
Average speed: 5:44 min/km (10.45 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: L n K.

Weather: Cloudy and -2C.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

24 Hours

That's how long ago it was when I was wearing my light fleece, the one on which the wind resistance would be tripled by a single layer of cheesecloth, and I was thinking, it's too warm for it. Twenty four hours later, I'm coming home after a long run, with -10 wind chill and beat from plowing snow as deep as mid-calf.

It you don't need to drive today, it's gorgeous. It would probably also be a good day if you really liked shoveling snow. I've done my walk three times this morning.

I picked my way to the street, where it's packed down a little, and made my way to my starting point. A little bit of traffic had packed some ruts, so it wasn't to bad. I stayed on the street along the bluff, just cuz I wanted to avoid the deep stuff, but once getting to the top of The Path, that was impossible.

I wanted to take the Centre Street bridge, so headed down Nony's Awful Little Hill. With snow at 30 cm or more, I ended up adopting a high-stepping prancing pace, that was more about lifting out of the mire than move forward. Slow going.

At Centre Street, there was evidence of a snow plow's passing, and the going was much easier. Occasional slushy spots necessitated the prancing again, to keep my feet dry, and the ramp down to the promenade appeared to be where they dumped the scrappings form the bridge.

I climbed over that snowbank, and once on the promenade, it was pretty decent. There'd been some plowing, although only one pass so it was a little narrow for a bit.

The wind was a little blowy, but not overly so. I had wondered about wind chill, but never felt it much.

Running was good, until just past the 10th Street bridge (which is at 9th Street on the south side of the river) where the plowing had stopped. I probably should have backtracked and crossed the river, but there had been a lot of foot traffic that had packed a trail through the snow.

It wasn't too bad running, although it's kind of like running a tightrope, since the trail is narrow. And it was a little slippery. By the time I got to the 14th Street bridge, I'd had enough, and plodded through the slush on that bridge to the north side. From there it was all freshly plowed.

Tons of traffic too. I think they were all groups training for various races, and all quite large. By the time I got to Extreme Bean, though, everyone disappeared, and it seemed I was the only soul out there until Angel's Cafe.

The last interval around the turn around was when this speed thing kicked in for me again. The next interval was under 5:00/km as were two more after that, L n K. I seem to get into this kind of head down, narrow focused place, and time and distance just slip by.

The Stairs, of course, slowed me down, but not like I thought they would, and at the top I was running as soon as I was on pavement. After that, it'sa short sprint to my finish line.

Distance: 16.42 Time: 1:29:03
Average speed: 5:25 min/km. (11.78 kph)
Rest distance: .8414 km. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 17.26 km. Total time: 1:38:03.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: But He Don't by Kim Barlow, followed by Sanitarium Shuffle by Tommy Emmanuel, then Cadillac Baby by Colin James.

Weather: Light snow and -5C all the way.

I Remember Shorts and a Tee

And that's about all I remember from Thursday's run. Jeez, I'm gettin' bad at writing these things up. I think it was up around 5C or 7C, and clear and sunny. Lot's of people out running, looking awfully overdressed.

Distance: 6.77 Time: 38:08
Average speed: 5:37 min/km (11.51 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: L n K.

Weather: Sunny and 7C?.

St. Patrick's Day Catch Up

I got home from the run last Tuesday, and was completely unable to get online. Turns out the whole city was off line. So here is what I wrote off line, then forgot to post until now
St. Patrick's Day and No L n K

Right now I'm writing this in Notepad, since I have no access to the internet. A quick call to the tech support line, and I got a message saying if I live in the Calgary area, I may not have access. Duh! All I got on the second try at connecting was a busy signal.

Anyway, it was a pretty good run. Kinda fast, and since it's around the freezing mark, there's no big puddle to pick a way around. However there is a lot of ice and some of it is just wet enough to be slippery.

Otherwise, it was a pretty standard run. I took The Stairs this time, and felt it when I got to the top. All good.

Distance: 6.70 Time: 37:15
Average speed: 5:33 min/km (10.79 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: ??.

Weather: ??.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Almost St. Patrick's Day

I wasn't sure it was going to be warm enough, but after how mild it was yesterday and and looking at the forecast, I thought it would be OK for shorts and a tee. And it was, although it took a short while to appreciate that. The first walk break wasn't bad, and after that I never noticed the cold on bare legs.

Today was the St. Patrick's Day run and I totally forgot about it. I was past the start at Eau Claire, way ahead of the start time. Even so, there were a lot of people out this morning. It was even crowded in a couple of places along the promenade.

Just past the helicopter pad, one seriously big bunny wandered across my path, pretty unconcerned that I was bearing down on him. He was moving slow enough that there was no trace of hop, and he sauntered into the spruce trees across the path. Not the superstitious type L n K, but I figure a bunny crossing my path is a good sign, even a tired bunny not moving too fast.

I had some surprising interval times early on in this run, and was at 14th Street much quicker than I expected. The support people were just setting up for the race, putting together water station for the runners.

It stayed quiet on the path after that. Still lots of people out, but nothing like the crowds I passed on the promenade. That changed after crossing the river to the north side at Crowchild. Once I got on that path, it was almost wall to wall people at times. Big groups were out running, a couple of them of twenty or more people.

I was still fast, and getting faster, with intervals below the five minute pace. I don't know what is going on, but I rather like it. I feel really easy in the legs, and even all that achy stuff that sometimes comes up when I push too hard, isn't there at all these last couple of runs. The limitation has been in the lungs, not being able to get enough air sometimes for the pace I end up at.

Today wasn't all that bad, but it was the lungs that limited the pace. And I felt I had lots of capacity there. I breezed past the race's turn around point and continued toward Edworthy.

Rounding Angel's Cafe, it was at the start of a walk break, and amazingly at 50 minutes into the run. Usually I'm between 55 and 60 minutes at that point.

On the way back, not so many huge groups, but more small ones and solos. At the turn around for the St. Patrick's Day race, it was fully underway, and traffic was thick. I found it interesting that the racers were less inclined to return a good morning than the regular Sunday runners that I usually encounter.

At Crowchild, the crowd crossed to the south side of the river while I continued straight. Again at a good pace, and I was well down the trail for walk breaks, farther than I usually am. By the time I was near 19th Street, it was head down and go. Kind of that zone place where time stops and I find I just glide along, almost not feeling my legs or the pavement or anything.

Finally at The Stairs, I literally bounded up the first two flights and stepped off onto The Path. That slowed me right down, especially the steep first part. Taking the stairs the past few months has left some muscles unused, like the ones used in running up steep hills. But I still made it to the top at a pretty good pace.

And then the usual finish. A slow couple of hundred metres along the bluff until my breathing settled down a little, and then I got on the street and picked up the pace again. Lovely finish, that.

Distance: 16.59 Time: 1:24:29
Average speed: 5:05 min/km. (11.78 kph)
Rest distance: .8868 km. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 17.47 km. Total time: 1:33:29.

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

Weather: A little fog, and -8C to -6C.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring is Back!

Definitely a shorts and t-shirt run tonight. And to think, 36 hours earlier, I was wishing I'd worn a scarf or something to protect against the -30-ish wind chill. I was out the door, and picking my way through the softening hard pack on the street. Not slushy yet, except in a few spots.

Even the edge of the bluff wasn't too bad, but I bet it'll be a sloppy mess by tomorrow afternoon. The Path Under The Stairs was clear, but water was running, and near the bottom there's a lot of mud washed down and piled up. And then there's the lake near the bottom of The Stairs.

I took the ramp down to the trail on the levee along Memorial. Again, not too bad, puddle-wise, but tomorrow it'll be a mess. Typical of running at that time of night, there weren't too many out, but there were a lot of commuters-on-foot heading home, and occasionally slowing things down in the narrow spots by the C-Train bridge.

Across at 14th and back along 4th Avenue, there were some cyclists and walkers. The promenade was pretty quiet, though. However once I got across Prince's Island and on the foot bridge, it was crowded.

I took The Path back up to the bluff, something I haven't done for a few months, and I felt it. Climb stairs takes a whole different set of muscles that running uphill. L n K Still, I kept an impressive pace, I thought.

And then along the bluff as usual, and homeward.

Distance: 7.32 Time: 38:10
Average speed: 5:12 min/km (11.51 kph).

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

Weather: Sunny and 4C.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Time Change

I missed it too. I thought I was waking up at the usual time, and I had actually slept in, with out even sleeping that extra hour. I was up and moving before I actually realized it, and a look outside really didn't excite my enthusiasm. The weather had turned the night before, in fact it was near white out about the time I went to bed, and I could barely see across the street.

I figured the weather would be keeping me in, with that wind chill. I went out for my morning coffee, and was surprised to find that it wasn't that bad. There was the threat of low temps and high wind chills, but not bad at all. So I felt more like getting out.

I got home, and was about to change into my running gear, when a message from the L n K suggested I get my backside out there. How could I argue with that?

There had been enough traffic to pack some of the snow on the side streets, so running there was preferable to the ankle deep powder on the sidewalks. The only moment that really stood out for the run was right when I got to Cresent Road. A lady in mini-van was parked against the curb with her window cracked open, puffing furiously on a cigarette while applying makeup. Not just a little dabbing, but with the big brush, and all the supplies lined up on the dash. At least she'd pulled over first.

I took Nony's Awful Little Hill down to the Centre Street bridge. It was the only stretch I encountered that hadn't been plowed and it wasn't too bad, but I was going down hill at the time.

Once off the bridge and on the promenade, I faced the wind full on. It again wasn't as bad as I expected, but still it wasn't comfortable during the first walk break. And as usual, after that, it didn't bother me much at all.

The run from there wasn't too eventful. Cold and the wind were constant. Coming out from under Crowchild, I hit that stretch that has nothing to slow down the breeze, and I could feel my chin start to get a little numb. Also, the tip of my tongue got a little tingly.

The only other stretch that the wind was troublesome on, was at Point MacKay. Nothing but a nearly empty parking lot between me and the wind. Fortunately, my turn around is right there, the loop around Angel's Cafe.

Like the last few runs, the return toward downtown was when I really loosened up and began to get some speed. I've been getting into some kind of zone, where I have great turnover in my pace and a bit longer stride than usual, so I was running down around 5:10 to 5:15 per kilometre. It makes the second half of the run go by quick.

At The Stairs, I managed to keep the running pace all the way up, but still pretty slow by the top. And then back along Cresent Road for awhile before turning home.

Distance: 16.20 Time: 1:30:00
Average speed: 5:33 min/km. (11.58 kph)
Rest distance: .9661 km. Rest time: 9:30.
Total distance: 17.17 km. Total time: 1:39:30.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: none today.

Weather: Mostly cloudy and -16C.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Chills, No Spills

It was a cold windy evening, with an early March cold snap reminding us that winter is still here. It took some doing, but I convinced myself that I needed to get out there and run a few klicks.

It wasn't so much cold as windy, and that wind was biting. From the north, it was behind me as I started out, and I was hoping that I'd be warmed up enough at the finish to not be bothered running into it.

A cyclist was just ahead of me at the top of The Path Under The Stairs, and played timid all the way down. Not quite slow enough for me to pass, but going just slow enough. At the bottom, he or she (being so bundled up as to hide gender) continued while I turned toward Memorial.

I was still good until I got to the promenade and then turned cross-wind. Yikes. But I was close to being warmed up enough so that I didn't feel it on my face too much.

I was up on the 14th Street bridge in no time, it seemed like. And across and down. This run wasn't a bad run, but the cold and the wind were a bear. I wasn't feeling all that energetic either, and I had stuff to do L n K. At 10th Street, instead of continuing along Memorial, I instead crossed and ran up 10th Street.

I turned at the 2nd Cup toward the C-Train station, and crossed, heading down 3rd Avenue. Deep into Sunnyside, I found the trail that runs along the bottom of the bluff. They built new trails that criss cross the bluff, and I took the one that lead up to 4th Street at Cresent Road. From there it was a short dash to my finish line, and a leisurely walk home.

Distance: 6.35 Time: 36:11
Average speed: 5:41 min/km (10.55 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: None, too cold?

Weather: Cloudy and -13C, with wind chills to -24C.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What Snow?

This morning was pretty messy weather-wise. It had been raining all night, and had turned to snow by the time I got out the door. Big, fluffy, wet, sticky snowflakes coming down thick, and soaking into my coat. I should have worn my rain coat. The snow was almost ankle deep and mostly slush, and the forecast was saying it would be like this most of the day. I wasn't looking forward to running in that. I hate having wet feet.

By mid-morning, the snow had stopped, and shortly after, the cloud started to break up. By noon, it was a sunny, beautiful day, yet the forecast stuck stubbornly to it's original story.

Queue the almost-emergency meeting called for early afternoon, downtown. That was done quickly, and since I was already half-way home, I called it a day. By mid-afternoon, I was starting a run.

The streets weren't exactly dry, but there was lots of clear pavement. I stayed on the street along the bluff rather than try to run in the slush along the edge. Along Memorial Drive, the trail disappeared under small lakes, and it was tricky skirting along the edge where the snow plows had left a ridge, cuz they weren't all solid.

But it was gorgeous out and sunny. I opted for shorts and tee, and then put on a running vest, which I did not need. Also, since I was so early, I opted for the ten kilometre route, since I haven't done that for awhile.

It was just before home time for most people, so there weren't many runners out. Lots of puddles to go around, or occasionally try to leap across. At the base of The Stairs was an especially large lake, which made The Stairs the only way around. Not a lot in the legs for the climb, but I didn't do too bad.

And the run along Cresent Road and torward home was relatively slush free.

Distance: 9.74 Time: 55:23
Average speed: 5:41 min/km (10.55 kph).

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: None, too busy dodging puddles.

Weather: Sunny and 5C.

Monday, March 02, 2009

In Like a Lamb?

I'm finally getting back to my routine, after wussing out due to the weather. As cold snaps go, the last week wasn't really very cold, but cold enough compared with some of the weather we've been having this winter.

Friday's run was bothered by some tightness in the right shin and ankle. Today, there was no sign of that. I felt great by the time I reached the top of the bluff.

I kept to the usual route that I've been following the past few runs, heading down the path to the Centre Street bridge. By the first walk break, on the promenade just past the bridge, my face was feeling the cold breeze. That lasted less than a minute into my second interval.

Even though it was a little chilly, there were a lot of runners out. Quite a few large groups, and lots of pairs and singles. And it started to feel quite comfortably warm , too, although that might have just been from the exertion and there being in the sun with no wind.

After crossing back to the north side of the river at Crowchild, the traffic really began to pick up. There were times when I would catch up with someone, and have to wait for oncoming traffic before passing. But I love it when people are out on the trails.

As usual, I circled Angel's Cafe and headed back downtown. The very next walk break, I unzipped my windbreaker and rolled down the collar.

And again, as in the past few distance runs, I started to pick up speed. In the last half of the run, I find I am pushing hard enough to almost break my breathing. My pace is around 5 min/km or better, and it feels great, too.

I took The Stairs as usual, and that is where things came to a near stop. The night before I was out with friends, and actually dancing for the first time in ages. Apparently climbing stairs and dancing use the same muscle groups, which are different from those used for running. The stair climbing muscles were needing some recovery time!

Still, at the top, I was running right off The Stairs (OK, slowly, but still running...) and I had a rather nice finish.

Distance: 16.21 Time: 1:27:18
Average speed: 5:23 min/km. (11.58 kph)
Rest distance: .8684 km. Rest time: 9:00.
Total distance: 17.08 km. Total time: 1:36:18.

Shoes: Asics GT-2130.
Today's earworm: My Wife Thinks You're Dead, Junior Brown.
L n K
Weather: Mainly sunny and -9C, climbing to -5C.