Day #90 March 20 2019

Weather: Spring-like warm temperatures and sunshine

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Wonderful weather for my last run of the last official day of winter.

90 in a row! This has been pretty awesome to do. I’ll post a bit of a summary in a bit, but for now, back to todays run.

I went out looking for a ‘long run’, and wasn’t disappointed. I got a strava ‘PR’ for 30k, which isn’t surprising considering how often I do them. On the other hand, the last time I did one was a couple years ago, and I was considerably lighter, so this is better in at least two dimensions.

I found the sidewalks alternating between clear with a bit of gravel, and terrible with slush, ponds and melting dog-droppings. I managed to keep a pretty good pace despite those challenges, logging an average of 6:21 for three and a half hours.

Pretty happy with that, but even happier looking back to see how much I have done to bring me to this state of readiness.

I’ll get to that summary soon, for now, enjoy this run, with no photos (no time!)

Training Tip: Athlete I follow – Judi Mah

Judi was the reason I started running. She has been a steady encouragement, both by cheering me on, and by sharing a little of her own achievements with me. You might not be lucky enough to follow her like I do, but at least you can have a glimpse.

I love you, Judi. Thanks for all your help with this.

Molly peeking sadly over the picnic table

Day #89 March 19 2019

Weather: Sunny and warm with sloppy, wet snow

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Todays run was meant to be a test of my new road shoes, to see if they are better for road training (my ultra in May is a road ultra)

I meant to go for an easy run around the freshly exposed pavement. Well, it went differently.

As I slowed to decide how to navigate the first driveway-pond, I stepped through slush into water over my ankle.

Undaunted, I stomped in the other one, and kept on.

It seems ok to run in them, wet, though they were a bit cold. I hope they dry enough for tomorrow, so I can beat them unfairly again.

Training Tip: Persistence Hunting

This form of hunting has always been inspiring to me as a runner. It exemplifies the merciless, terrifying predator that is a hungry human.

Basically, it is very simple. You run after an animal until you get your teeth on it, then chew and swallow.

The ‘horror’ part comes from empathizing with any animal pursued in this fashion. There really aren’t many ways out of this.

Except maybe running more.

Beautiful friends, on beautiful Rat Lake Trail, with the beautiful ‘Rob Shaft’ (Con Mine) in the background

Day #88 March 18 2019

Weather: Warm and weird, with mostly sticky snow

Above-zero temperatures all day, but the trail was still mostly frozen and sticky. Soon, it will be all-slush! Or it’ll go back to hard cold.

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Today I got some new gels in the mail, and tried one. I got as far as the coop leak, and tried it there while navigating around the spreading puddle. The leak seems to get worse when it warms up, and there is also softer, rotten snow when it is warm and sunny.

As to the gel (Endurance Tap), it was pleasant, and did nothing at all to upset my stomach. Next test will be a long run with one (100 kCal) every 15 or 20 minutes along. I don’t like the packaging, but maybe I’ll get better at emptying them. If not, I might just get and fill a syringe or something. a dozen or so empty packages in a race doesn’t sound like a great habit to start.

I was just watching Super Troopers, and those guys simply chugged syrup straight from the bottle. They just might be on to something…

Coop leak
Spreading across the lake

I kept my feet dry this time, but I’ve got a feeling that won’t last long.

Training Tip: Glasses frost and fog

Planning for vision-free adaptations has been best for me. Glasses frost, or fog, whatever treatments I’ve used. I tried a product, and a home-remedy. Neither worked well.

So my garmin watch faces are set up so that I can have the data I need biggest when I need it. My glasses are on when I can, but when they frost over, they go to an inside pocket, which means I’ll get a few seconds of vision before they freeze again.

I’ve also adjusted the size of the text on my phone, and can find and use voice-to-text via squinting and cursing. (incidentally, I also talked my voice-to-text into using f-bombs)

It’s also handy for me to have a fresh pair of glasses ready for when I get home.

A corner I pass nearly every night

Day #87 March 17 2019

Weather: Sunny and warm, soft snow

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Today I had a warmup run with Leah and Beth, going around Niven Lake with Leah telling me about her project. Leah agreed on a goal of running around the Niven Lake Trail, nonstop. I’m excited to hang out with her while she learns to do it.

After that, Meghan caught a ride over. We ran over to Kam Lake, then through the dogtrail (as mentioned in a previous post) to Great Slave Lake. Once there, we turned north and followed the shoreline, and soft skidoo tracks, to meet up with Michele, who skied along with us back to Rotary Park.

What an AMAZING day out there! It’s been too long since running with Meghan and Michele. In fact, I had to enter BOTH their names into this years ‘run with me’ database.

I was especially happy that Meghan came along because I’ve been having a tough time coordinating with someone to go, and the trail is melting away. Since this trail is one I prefer not to do solo, I almost missed it this season. It is just as beautiful as I remember, and nearly twice as shiggy.

Training Tip: Take in running events as a spectator

The Frostbite50 is a local 50km event which can be done on skis or snowshoes. I went to see the start, then came back in a few hours to watch the participants finish. I put some finisher photos up at nwtrunning.

In a long day full of my favourite scenery, and interesting stories, the best might have been late in the afternoon, when the crowd came out to cheer in the last finisher. They did such a good job, it made me want to go run.

Thanks to everyone who delivered such a great event


Day #86 March 16 2019

Weather: Cool and clear

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Tonight’s run was going to be a shorter one, but the aurora’s were out, and I was reminded today about how lucky I am to have them lighting my trail.

Went around Frame Lake, late this evening. Had a busy day photographing an endurance event. I haven’t finished processing yet, but here is one from the finish line.

finish line

Training Tip: Phone battery in the cold

My smartphone battery is pretty amazing, for all it can do, but it VERY quickly discharges when exposed to extreme cold. I do pull it out for the odd photo, but I’ve had it freeze and die. When that happens, it won’t turn on, but if I take the phone indoors, and allow it to warm back up, it will.

Since my smartphone is part of my safety kit, I seldom head out without a full charge. That seems to help.

Bison bison athabascae

Day #85 March 15 2019

Weather: Bright, partly cloudy and lightly falling snow

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Today, I ran downtown to join pals for a run. I tested the gopro in a rear-facing arrangement, and learned a bit about it. Didn’t get any useable footage though.

Stayed off the lake, sticking to paths and streets. Near the end, I steered off my own way, and headed home to beans and peanut butter.

the vid was no good, but I did manage to get a screen grab showing that it was slippery

Training Tip: Run on ice for form drill

It isn’t strictly necessary to run on real ice, if you have a good imagination.

Picture yourself running on a sheet of super-slippery ice, and try to run as lightly, and smoothly as possible. If you want to speed up, instead of applying more power to your feet, you will have to lean forward more, and allow your legs to catch up.

If you feel your feet slip at all, you need to run more balanced.

If you do it right, it will be a very slow process to speed up, slow down or turn, but the form improvements are worth it, in my opinion.

On the training road

Day #84 March 14 2019

Weather: Sunny warm and a bit melted

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This morning’s run was gorgeous! Of course, the warm weather has more melt-issues around Coop, but that won’t affect me, right?

I noticed that the overflow spot had spread near the lake crossing path, but didn’t look really closely. I really enjoyed the run through the trail today, totally forgetting the wet spot.

As I came back through Somba K’e Park, I paused to consider ‘trying’ the segment. I felt good, the ground looked pretty good. I decided to try it.

Did ok at first. Got nearly all the way across, maintaining just a smidge over 5:00/km, when I got to the newly groomed area of path which skirts the big puddle.

My time went to trash, but I’m still calling it a win today.

Training Tip: Food after a run

While I don’t have a specific nutrition plan for this, in general I like to have some sensible calories nearby, because it can easily turn insensible after a run, without that kind of choice handy. You can’t outrun a bad diet.

I’m a fan of 0% fat Greek yogurt, with a bit of granola and frozen berries. It’s like ice cream.

Steaming boreal morning

Day #83 March 13 2019

Weather: Sunny, warm, soft slippery snow

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Today I tried out a GoPro, and got a tiny bit of footage out of it, showing my usual trail entrance, over by the Coop.

It doesn’t convey how nice it is to get out of traffic, but trust me – this is the place you want to be.

The season is shaping up nicely, and I took a run through the trails up to the Bristol Monument, then back through the City Hall area.

Same trail, warmer weather
South end of Meghan Trail
North end of Meghan Trail

Training Tip: Favourite Trail – Meghan Trail

Meghan Trail, northbound or southbound, is a favourite trail. I was introduced to it by Meghan, who met me at Fred Henne, where we went into the trail system.

I’ve been stuck in it ever since.

Meghan runs this like it’s fairly level, maintaining her composure and grace throughout. If you are like me, you will get to the top of the stairs gasping, wheezing and looking for a bench. In either direction.

Meghan and Judi

Day #82 March 12 2019

Weather: Warm overcast and soft footing with light snow

Today I ran my Sunday route in order to look for my missing mitt. Didn’t find it.

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I wore my (sort of new) orange jacket, and it felt like a MUCH better run because of it. It was like I found more spring in my step, and more energy in general. Amazing how much difference a cool new jacket can make.

Unless, of course, it was the fact that today was the first day out with some new shoes.

Ok, it probably was the new shoes.

New set of Inov8 Rocklite 290

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Training Tip: Favourite Trail – Tawayik Lake Loop and how I found it

Tawayik Lake is a lake in Elk Island National Park. I hadn’t ever seen it, or heard of it, but when I found out I would be going to Elk Island, I decided to check strava for segments in the area.

Happy me, in the middle of that first run around Tawayik Lake

Using the ‘Segment Explore‘ feature showed a few in that Park, and the Tawayik Lake Loop (titled ‘Elk Island NP Trail 9 Tawayik Lake’ in Strava) was pretty interesting. It was a ‘good run’ for me, distance-wise, and a few others had already completed it.

Looking at the athletic profiles of others from the leaderboard, told me what a ‘runner like me’ could expect, in terms of time.

I enjoyed a GREAT run, that I probably wouldn’t have considered without this kind of information.

McMahon Frame Lake Trail