Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vitamin D Run

First run in shorts this year! It's wonderful out there. Wish the run was better, but it was still pretty good.

I started to stiffen up again in the lower legs, and felt that heaviness too. It felt like each foot strike was a lot harder than it should be. It was very much like the runs in early December. I was stiff and sore for the first thirty minutes, but was sure I'd eventually loosen up a little.

Just after crossing the river at Crowchild, I finally did start to loosen up. There was a breeze that I hadn't noticed earlier on my naked pasty white legs, and shortly after I noticed that they didn't hurt much any more.

With the temperature climbing and the sun in a clear sky, the paths were full of runners, and a lot of walkers. Not crowded, but busy. The occasional patches of ice were already turning into slush, and skirting the couple of really big ponds meant picking my way across near mud rather than frozen ground.

At the fifty minute mark, I noticed I was pretty much where I usually am, which meant I wasn't being slow. My pace was quite respectable. I rounded Angel's Cafe as usual, and started back home. As usual, the next couple of intervals were my fastest. For all the achy start, it was a very normal run.

Ran along Memorial, climbed The Path, ran the edge of the bluff and then home.

Sunday's run:
Distance: 16.54 Time: 1:34:11
Average speed: 5:41 min/km. (10.54 kph)
Rest distance: 0.95 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.49 km. Total time: 1:44:11.

Shoes: New Balance 769 (blue).
Today's earworm: Sunny L n K tunes.
Weather: Sunny and 3C at the start, 5C at the finish.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grumpy Run

Dunno what that was about. I felt kind of down and crabby for the whole run. Maybe I needed to be out there, burning off whatever negative vibes I was carrying.

There's a lot of dry pavement out there now, also lots of puddles and small ponds here and there. I ran on the street almost all the way to the top of The Path, just to avoid the slush and water. It was still interesting to pick a path across the snow at one point. It was very wet underneath, and soft and easy to sink into.

I felt heavy and slow too, perhaps that was a physical manifestation of the grumpiness. Along Memorial, I found I was running head down, pulling inward. My focus was not at all where it usually is.

I have the Olympic skating going. Edvard Greig, I think. Love that piece.

Anyway, the run passed uneventfully, my head down, focused on the path five feet in front of me, oblivious of the rest of the terrain. I managed to climb The Path, but felt used up almost before I started. It was grumpy crabby shuffle up the hill, and then on the street along the bluff.

The last couple of blocks I started to wake up a little, but was glad to be done.

Tuesday's run:
Distance: 10.16 Time: 59:07
Average speed: 5:49 min/km. (10.31 kph)

Shoes: New Balance 769 (Blue).
Today's earworm: Grump, grump, grump.
Weather: Sunny and 7C.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Running In the Late Afternoon

It's so nice to have sunset getting later now. I got home from work a bit later than I wanted to, and went right back out again. I dressed lighter this time, actually about right for the temperature and the wind. I was actually debating whether or not to wear shorts.

The street to the bluff is almost clear down the middle, and the sidewalk along Cresent Road has only a couple of big puddles to skirt around. The trail on the bluff wasn't quite slushy, but it was soft.

The Path Under The Stairs was clear, but the big puddle that forms at the bottom of the stairs was big as ever. I tiptoed around that OK too. Even on the trail along Memorial there were a few big ponds, and I had to skip along the edges to get around them.

Mostly though, it was just good running. I didn't feel wonderful great, but good. A comfortable run, not too many aches and pains, none memorable. Good speed, good feeling.

I was pretty focused though, mostly head down all the way. It's OK running like that, but I like to be more awake. Runners can be so inward focused sometimes. I sometimes think I'm like a tourist, and gotta look around and take stuff in.

I'm typing this as the Ladies Short Program runs in another window. My internet connection is too choppy to enjoy something like figure skating. Great music though; I love Prokofiev. German girl is skating, I think.

The run was pretty standard for me all the way back to The Stairs. I climbed the two flights as usual, but instead of taking the landing to The Path, I just kept going. I managed to run all but the last three flights, about three quarters of the way up. I thought that was pretty good considering I've not been on The Stairs for a couple of weeks.

At the top, I scruntched along the top of the bluff, then crossed to the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Lots of wet ice in places so I was seeking some clear pavement. More puddles to skip past too.

A good night, and a good run.

Tuesday's run:
Distance: 10.12 Time: 55:55
Average speed: 5:31 min/km. (10.86 kph)

Shoes: New Balance 769 (Blue).
Today's earworm: L n K in La La Land.
Weather: Mainly sunny and 2C.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Seems Like Spring

In fact there isn't even that much ice out there. The top of the bluff is still all packed snow, of course, and later in the day it'll get slippery with a little melting in the sun.

Approaching the bluff was to be greeted with a magnificent view of the western horizon. The sky was a washed out blue close to the edge, but not a trace of haze to obscure mountains. I turned my back to them and plodded toward the Centre Street bridge.

I was wondering if I'd be over dressed for this run. It felt wickedly chilly when I was out earlier, and I dressed in an extra layer or two. Crossing the Centre STreet bridge, was to feel the cold wind from the west, and it was biting all along the promenade. However, by the time I reached the Louise Bridge I wasn't noticing the cold.

I didn't feel this was all that great a run for the first while. I was back to feeling heavy and plodding and slow, although the GPS was mostly saying otherwise. Passing the Pumphouse, I decided it was going to be a slow run and that was OK.

Actually, after I crossed to the north side of the river at Crowchild, I felt I was moving a little easier. Meanwhile, the Sunday crowd was moving with me or coming at me. Such a sunny day, it had brought a lot of people out. There was a couple of big groups by the Extreme Bean, one of which had a member kneeling in the middle of a circle of runners doing their preparatory stretches with a Canadian flag tied on like a cape. Olympics enthusiasm, I guessed.

The rest of the run outbound was good. I rounded Angel's Cafe and made a quick stop at the public washroom. And as usual the return trip seemed to be when I was warmed up. My pace picked up and I pushed hard all the way to 10th Street.

It wasn't an easy push though, I felt it and started to develop a little ache just below my waist, just a little left of my spine. Meanwhile my left leg was feeling heavier and felt like I was hitting the ground harder. Still I persisted, not sure if it was something developing or just one of those little aches that come and go as I run.

Nearing the ramp up to the footbridge at the curling club, I was feeling pretty used up. Fading a little and having to push it to keep moving. At The Stairs, I did not bound, or skip up the stairs. It was more a slow laborious climb, only two flights to get off on The Path. On The Path, I was merely shuffling, head down, not really paying attention to where I was, until I passed the transition to young pavement, the fifty metre stretch at the top that was replaced last year.

At the top, I switchbacked on to the trail along the top, still feeling like I was shuffling. I managed to pick it up a little as my breathing settled, but I was glad when I approached my finish line. Hopefully this one will get easier as I get back into long runs and it gets closer to spring.

Sunday's run:
Distance: 16.52 Time: 1:35:05
Average speed: 5:45 min/km. (10.42 kph)
Rest distance: 0.95 km. Rest time: 10:00.
Total distance: 17.47 km. Total time: 1:45:05.

Shoes: New Balance 769 (blue).
Today's earworm: Sleepy bunny tunes.
Weather: (Been forgetting this part lately) Sunny and -11C at the start, but up to -3C at the finish.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Crisp Friday Morning

I was out for dinner last night, but unlike what I usually do, which is skip the Thursday night run, I decided to get it in this morning. Yet I'm still fighting off the lethargy that's been dogging me since November.

I felt slow and wheezy, but still did a pretty respectable job. It's icy as heck, but as I started, it hadn't warmed up enough to make things slick. Lots of crunching. It had started out as a clear sunny day at sunrise, (now happening before 8:00 am - spring is a-comin'!) it had clouded over with that high altitude haze that just obscures the sun.

The run outbound was quiet, a couple of people out. I seemed to catch up to a relative crowd just before the Crowchild bridge of about five or six runners and walkers. Across the bridge is was about the same, only more spread out.

I like the ice patches on the trails when it's leaning toward spring. They are flat and smooth, and in the morning when they are cold and still dry, they just the right slipperiness for a bit of a slide. Usually they are about two paces long, so they fit perfectly into the rhythm of my running.

I wasn't fast on this run, but I was still under 6 min/km, which has been my goal to stay under this past month. Even with the long plod up The Path Under The Stairs, I managed to keep my average pace below that line.

The run finished crunching along the top of the bluff and then picking my way along the crusty ruts of 4th Street.

A belated thanks to RevRunner, Alexandra and ChrisC for their comments. It's good to hear from other runners when motivation and illness slow ya down. Cheers! I finally cracked 100 km cumulative distance for the year so far, too.

Tuesday's run:
Distance: 10.17 Time: 1:00:31
Average speed: 5:56 min/km. (10.08 kph)

Shoes: New Balance 769 (Blue).
Today's earworm: La-la-la, la-Lo-la, L n K.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Trying to Get Serious

I'm back out there, and will be trying to stay to a schedule again, and also to get back into some serious distances. I ran a lot of 7 km runs last year, which seems like a bare minimum for bothering to get out and run. So I'm going to try and get more 10 km runs in this year. No more slackin'!

Right after getting home from work, I was changed and heading toward the bluff. It's been melting a lot, being way too warm for February. A few puddles and lots of slushy spots to dodge. The path along the top of the bluff was soft, but not so much as to be slushy.

The Path Under The Stairs was mostly dry and there was the usual monster puddle at the bottom of the stairs to skirt. I trotted up on the bridge toward Prince's Island, but took the ramp down to the path along the berm once I crossed Memorial Drive.

There were a few puddles along the way. At the City Parks office at the north end of Louise Bridge, the detour around all the construction mess was a little muddy, but I managed to skip across most of it. After that, it was straight through running.

I almost hesitated at the Metawa Bridge, but I'm determined to get distance in now, so I continued past it, crossing at Crowchild less than ten minutes later. Running felt good.

Nothing eventful happened after that, just straight running along Bow Trail and then to the promenade. I crossed Prince's Island and the foot bridge, and then bounced up the two flights of The Stairs to The Path.

And the sun came out. Just for a bit, it was sunny on the slog up The Path. At the top, I turned into the sun and ran along the bluff to 4th Street, picked my way through the slush to cross the street and tip toe along the sidewalk to my finish.

Tuesday's run:
Distance: 10.15 Time: 59:28
Average speed: 5:51 min/km. (10.24 kph)

Shoes: New Balance 769 (Blue).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Recovery Mode

Man! It's been a crummy couple of weeks. I'm still not one hundred percent, but much better than I was a week ago.

Back on January 30, online registration opened for the Police Half Marathon at 8:00 am, and by 8:20 I was signed up. And while I was at it, I signed up for the Calgary Half Marathon, and oh what the heck, signed up for the Mother's Day Run too.

Within an hour of all that my throat got scratchy and my chest got heavy, and by evening I was completely stuffed up. Now, two weeks later, I still feel a little heavy in the chest, but it was still good running.

The fog we've had here for the past week is still hanging around, the trees are all frosty and the upper reaches of the downtown skyline is lost in the clouds. As I crossed the Centre Street bridge, there was a spirited crowd of runners crossing below me, running along Memorial.

The promenade wasn't too exciting, but at the C-Train bridge there was a car parked in the middle of the promenade and someone standing beside it, waving a stream of runners crossing the bridge to turn west. I caught up to one runner for a few minutes and discovered it was the Hypothermic Half Marathon. I had tried to sign up for that a few weeks ago, but it was full up, and considering how my running has been stymied by this cold the last couple of weeks, that's probably not a bad thing.

The crowd was directed up and over the Metawa Bridge at 14th Street, while I continued along the river. I was hoping I could manage a 10K run today, but was prepared to cut it short if I felt I was pushing it. Passing the Metawa committed me to ten kilometres unless I turned around and retraced my steps. There were moments when my chest felt a little heavy but mostly I was feeling good.

After crossing the river under Crowchild Trail, I found myself swimming upstream against the half-marathoners. I think I was catching the last of them, as the crowd petered out by the time I was along side the CBC studios.

This wasn't my fastest run, but it was much better that I had any reason to expect. The Path Under The Stairs slowed me down lots and at the top of that long hill, I decided to shortcut home by 2nd Street. I was done.

Tuesday's run:
Distance: 10.33 Time: 1:02:49
Average speed: 6:04 min/km. (9.87 kph)

Shoes: New Balance 769 (Blue).
Today's earworm: Wistful sad songs.