Monday, November 30, 2009

After the Blizzard

Such as it was. It snowed Friday night after it rained and then it froze and driving was apparently not fun. There was some melting the next day, but it was mostly overcast, and not all that warm. So by Sunday morning there was still lots of ice and packed snow.

I started down the street toward the bluff and it was treacherous, with a good coat of ice and the temperatures warming up to well above freezing. I stayed on the sidewalk rather than run on Crescent Road, much better but still slippery.

Nony's Awful Little Hill wasn't bad, with just one short stretch where I opted to pick my way through the weeds on the side, and the Centre Street bridge was also a littel icy. But once I got off the bridge and on to the promenade, there was no ice at all.

My big problem was just keeping going. I felt shin splints, not debilitating, but hurting. And I had no energy. My pace was way off. I usually try to at least stay to less than 6 minutes per kilometre, but that was a far off goal.

I kept plodding. I felt I had the stamina, just not the strength for my usual speed. The shin splints stayed with me, against my hope that they would disappear if I just kept moving.

By the time I crossed under Crowchild, the legs felt better, and I was feeling a little bit looser. But still my speed was staying down. I stayed on the bike path on the way to Edworthy, as it had been cleared some and there was lots of packed snow where it wasn't bare pavement. By the time I passed the Extreme Bean the shin splints were history.

I think it's partly the shoes. They have just under 700 km on them and they feel heavy and have no bounce, so I think the cushioning in the insole is pretty much gone. On top of that was a night of celebration, though it was low key, and I certainly wasn't hung over, just very tired.

I rounded Angel's Cafe at least five minutes slower than usual. I switched to the pedestrian path, which isn't cleared in the winter. The snow was packed and there was a little more of it, but just fine for running. Further evidence that my shoes had reached their end was how jarring each step felt. I wasn't hurting by this time, but just felt the fatigue.

The rest of the run went by. I just wanted to get to the end. The Path Under The Stairs wasn't any more onerous than usual, but I was already done before I got there. Running along the top of the bluff, I just wanted to get to the end, and never thought to check out the mountains.

About 15 minutes longer than I usually run this one. I was very glad to be done this run.

Today's run:
Distance: 16.51 Time: 1:45:47
Average speed: 6:28 min/km. (9.36 kph)
Rest distance: 0.89 km. Rest time: 11:30.
Total distance: 17.34 km. Total time: 1:57:17.

Shoes: New Balance 769.
Today's earworm: All the Hits on L n K.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Still Being Nice Out!

Can't beat this weather. It's almost the end of November, and we really haven't had any major snowfalls, except for a couple that didn't stick around. Also no real cold snaps, except for a couple of days in October when I dropped to -15 or so. Leave's ya with a feeling that something is just around the corner, waiting to pounce.

I took a break from work, actually getting out a little earlier. Down to the path along the river and it was pretty quiet, as the lunch time crowd wouldn't be coming out until I was almost done.

The chill kinda followed me until I got part way down Cresent Road to the top of The Path. By the time I was at the bottom, I wasn't feeling cold at all. The light breeze that had been biting a little was unnoticeable.

The run was a run. Nothing notable about it, and I plodded down to 14th Street and the Metawa bridge. On the other side, a few lunch time runners were beginning to show, though it was still pretty quiet. I think the fair weather runners were staying in, even though it was a calm, clear, sunny day.

By the time I was on the south side of the river, my shins were burning. I did do some stretching before starting out, but those hurt. It didn't slow me down, just hurt. By the time I got to crossing Prince's Island, I was fine.

I was up The Path not fast, but steady, and not breathless. At the top, as I turned the hairpin to head west, I noticed the western horizon. Wow, clear all the way, with just a few grey blobs behind them. They were mostly dark because of the angle of the sun, but had a few gleaming white parts that were still in the sun.

I took that in until I got to the break in the guard rail where I head north and homeward.

Today's run:
Distance: 7.09 Time: 41:57
Average speed: 5:55 min/km. (10.14 kph)

Shoes: New Balance 769.
Today's earworm: Easy L n K.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 4C

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beat the Sunset

Rushed home so I could get a run in before dinner, and perhaps even before sunset. Man but it gets dark so early.

The weather is still holding out this fall, and I probably could have run in shorts, but opted for the running tights. Seems like a lot of people walk to work downtown, too. The bridge was busy, though not crowded.

On the promenade, lots of leaves blowing around and the ducks in that little bit of river that flows between the promenade and Prince's Island were making a quite a racket. The trees are naked, of course, but there's squirrels out and they're busy.

Along Bow Trail, nothing exciting. Same as when crossing the Metawa Bridge, and even along Memorial. The Path was the usual challenge, but at the top I had lots left and my breathing was quite even. That's never happened before, so was kinda cool. No slowing up a little to let my breath catch up with me.

Anyway, a good finish, and I was home before dark.

Distance: 7.17 Time: 40:31
Average speed: 5:38 min/km. (10.62 kph)

Shoes: New Balance 769.
Today's earworm: Lovin' L n K.

Weather: Sunny and 7C

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Wicked Wind from the West

Jeekers, it's some kind of windy out there! Warm enough for shorts and tee, so that was nice, actually spectacular given that it's mid November. But approaching the intersection where I usually start running, there seemed to be a permanent dust devel whipping leaves and other detritus into the air.

I was out at noon again, and it was busy. The Path Under The Stairs and The Stairs themselves were busy, but the start was good. I ran up on the bridge and took the ramp down to the trail beside Memorial Drive.

It wasn't too bad in the trees, but in any clear space, it was a battle against the wind. And I was never sure which way it was coming from, only that it was coming from in front of me.

Someone had pulled in behind me as I took that ramp and they were drafting me, too. It's a little weird having someone just hanging a few feet back off of your shoulder. The awareness that someone is behind you kind of dominates the run, and I find I'm wishing they'd just pass me already.

Anyway, up onto the Metawa Bridge at 14th Street, and down the other side by Bow Trail. Really busy with lots of runners along there. My shadow seemed to fall back a little with the traffic.

After passing the C-Train bridge, and with the widening of the promenade, there was more maneuvering room, but the shadow still took it's time catching up. Finally, just past the helicopter pad, she passed. And I slowed. It was like a pressure valve was suddenly release. Silly, but that's some of the psychology of running.

After that, I crossed Prince's Island and the bridge. I took the two flights of steps up The Stairs to the landing that empties out on The Path. That was slow, with the crowd climbing in front of me. The Path was a slog but I was pushing it, and was breathing hard at the top. The rest of the run was recovering from that effort, trying to get my breathing evened out.

Distance: 7.00 Time: 40:19
Average speed: 5:45 min/km. (10.42 kph)

Shoes: New Balance 769.
Today's earworm: Easy L n K.

Weather: Sunny and 12C

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chinooky Run

Windy as heck out there this morning, and the temperature had been on a steady climb since late last night. Not super warm but the trend was typical of a chinook.

I wandered westward from my front door toward the nearest mailbox, dropping in a couple of envelopes. And from there I walked south for about a block before the GPS finally found itself. This put me almost half a kilometer farther from my usual start.

Out on to the bluff, with a brisk and slightly chilly wind at my back. There weren't a lot of people out up there, and it was quiet all the way to the Centre Street bridge. Even there, there was no one around.

I passed a couple of guys doing tai chi by Sen Lok Park, then past the dam and duck pond to find orange cones across my path at Eau Claire. I was about an hour and twenty minutes ahead of the Last Chance Half Marathon. I wasn't sure of the start time, but hoped I would be out of the way when it started.

The wind was pretty fierce while running west. Open stretches along the south side of the river past the promenade were where it really got in the way, and I was happy to get into the bush near The Pumphouse.

At Crowchild, the race cones directed traffic onto the footbridge across the river. I kept going straight. I thought that any ice in the sheltered stretch below Spruce Cliff, left from the snows we had a few weeks ago, would be melted by now. I forgot about the natural springs.

The usual drainage for the springs was iced up and blocked and flow is crossing the path. Ice is building up in a few places and it's wet with new water flowing over it. Extremely slippery. I hugged the fence and kept to the strip of leaves piled against it, but still managed to get one foot wet.

After the ice it was clear and almost windless with the bush close into the path. The only spot where the wind made itself felt was just before crossing the tracks into the picnic area of Edworthy.

Across the river, the wind was at my back, and I began to feel a little overdressed. Without the wind, it would have been a good day for shorts. The few trees along the river bank did little to block the wind, so I was glad to have it behind me.

Near Crowchild, I passed the turn around point for the race, and one of the lead runners was just arriving. And nearing Crowchild itself, I met two more coming off the ramp up to the footbridge. Those two too a little while to catch up to me, but not really that long. I can't even imagine keeping up a pace like that for 21 kilometres.

Walkers must have started much earlier as I began to pass many with the racing bibs. Meanwhile across the river, the path was positively crowded. The three kilometre marker was about half way between 14th Street and Crowchild, so the field wouldn't have had time to spread out too much by then.

I kept passing walkers and being passed by runners as I continued along Memorial Drive. At the ramp to the foot bridge to Prince's Island, there was a small crowd. They cheered and clapped as one of the runners that had just passed me trundled by them. They were conspicuously quiet as I came up to them, although there was one guy self consciously clapping with a subdued woohoo to go with it.

The Path Under The Stairs was, as usual, strenuous and so not my favourite part of the run. At the top I was glad to see the chinook arch had moved significantly eastward. The mountains were unobscured and in full sunlight, stark against the pale blue of the sky near the horizon.

I was running full on into that blasted wind and was glad to finally turn northward toward my finish line.

Today's run:
Distance: 17.02 Time: 1:37:32
Average speed: 5:43 min/km. (10.47 kph)
Rest distance: 1.08 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 18.10 km. Total time: 1:47:32.

Shoes: New Balance 769.
Today's earworm: L n K.

Weather: Cloudy and 7C.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dark Already???

Man, the time change really twisted things. Suddenly it's dark almost as soon as I get home. Well, not quite, but if I go for a run as soon as I get home, it's almost dark by the time I finish. And now sitting here after a shower after the run, it is dark.

Today was one of those days. A chinook came up, and we could almost be back in mid summer, except for the naked trees. I didn't wear my jacket coming home, and it was perfect for shorts and tee shirt.

The sun was still up when I got to the bluff, and there were some interesting and dramatic cloud shapes on the horizon, back lit by the setting sun. A few minutes later, they were out of sight as I was down by the river.

I swam upstream against the flow of people coming home from downtown, crossing the bridge to Prince's Island. West on the promenade after that, and lots of people deciding to walk home. Not crowded but busy. Almost like a lunch time crowd on one of those gorgeous summer Fridays before a long weekend. That kind of density.

Mostly though, it was a pretty standard run. Lots of crunchy leaves blowing around a bit. And getting darker and darker. I hit The Path Under The Stairs and powered upward, not totally flat out, but I had a good pace. At the top, I ran toward the light, sort of. Westward along the top of the bluff, and then turning toward home.

Last Sunday's run (Nov 1):
Distance: 16.55 Time: 1:35:41
Average speed: 6:02 min/km. (10.18 kph)
Rest distance: .97 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.52 km. Total time: 1:45:41.

Last Tuesday's run (Nov 3):
Distance: 7.13 Time: 38:50
Average speed: 5:27 min/km. (10.32 kph)

Tonight's run:
Distance: 7.23 Time: 39:58
Average speed: 5:32 min/km. (10.32 kph)

Shoes: New Balance 769.
Today's earworm: L n K Blues.

Weather: Mainly sunny and 15C.