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
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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