Day #16 January 5 2019

FINALLY not a stunt run!


Warm enough that it isn’t a stunt run. Cold enough that the ground will feel good. Perfect conditions.

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Seasonal averages looking as good as my red frosted foreskin

This was a pretty run, with hoarfrost, cheerful skiers, a slight traffic jam where I ran into the trail groomer, and my toes, while a bit cold in the deep, soft snow on the way to Stock Lake Trail, all the rest was good. I was a bit hesitant about the roughest trails because I’m still taking it easy, or relatively easy.

I’ve started a strava club called ‘90 Dark Nights‘. If anyone finds their winter nice enough to run outside every day, you are welcome to join me. I suspect that it will be a ‘club’ with just me šŸ™‚

Training Tip:Garmin graphs ā€“ stride length

Stride length isn’t something I pay a lot of attention to, but it may be more useful to some. As seen here, my stride length went down when crossing the soft snow on the lake, then raised considerably when I got to the park and ran a bit harder to warm up. It dropped again during my second crossing (around the 1h mark)

Best stairs around! A favourite part of the Marylyn Robertson Trail (McMahon Frame Lake Trail)

Day #14 January 3 2019


Nearly back to normal temperatures. The snow is still pretty soft, where it has been blowing around, but it’s getting firmer.

Not that 320m section crossing Frame Lake near the hospital – that was like running through damp sand. It sucked almost enough to turn around after 50m. Almost.

As long as it stays cold, it should be lovely in a day or two.

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Todays run was a lot harder than intended, but that might be because of Marathon Dave.

Molly looking blurry as usual

Nothing he did wrong, you understand – it’s just that he inspires me to run harder. My average heart rate reflects that difference too. Usually, the recovery recommended by my garmin (which is based on heart rate, at least partly) is somewhere les that 24 hours. Today, it recommends 58. I guess I’ll be running slow for the next few days.

It may sound a bit silly, but I was worried I wouldn’t be able to run today (after hours of snow-shoveling cardio). I shouldn’t have worried. I put out a harder run than I expected, and even half an hour later here at home, my legs feel pretty damned good.

Just a reminder, fellow runners – the first couple kilometers are a lie.

VERY happy I did this run today. It was good to catch up with Dave. He’s coming to Calgary in May, so I hope we get a lot more opportunities to train together.

Training Tip:

Garmin Graphs – pace

This is one of the garmin graphs I do find useful. Here it shows my first stop at the lights on Old Airport Road, where another pedestrian was wearing the same toque as me (how EMBARASSING!!!), then my next at Javaroma, where I met Marathon Dave, then a speed peak (where I chose to hover because my pace was 4:01 min/km – however briefly) after my restroom stop back at Javaroma, then my last pace dip where I waited for the lights at Taylor, on my way home.

The various garmin graphs do allow you to review your runs in interesting ways.

Interesting doesn’t always mean useful.

My Sweetheart running with Molly Agnes Dinkle on the Amisk Wuche trail in Elk Island National Park, Alberta Canada

Day #11 December 31, 2018

First, a look back at running in 2018 for me.

292 runs this year (so far) totalling a bit over 3000kms.

More importantly, I had some awesome runs, with my awesome people.

My ‘RunWithMe’ sheet shows 98 runs with others that I remembered to log, and a total of 7 individuals with 3 or more runs. Mostly old running pals, but a couple new ones as well.

35 names got on the list this year. I really should decide how to choose when to add someone, but I guess I prefer my spreadsheets a bit lackadaisical.

Last year, I wiped all the names off, and started again. Might do the same this year.

That runwithme page is a terrific reminder of how much I liked running with everyone. Most of all Judi, Cam, Meghan and Michelle, but I know I’ll miss some, so I’ll stop there except to touch on one of the runs I had with an olympic athlete and educator, Evan Dunfee.

Mr. Dunfee was in town to share his love of his sport (racewalking) and took the time to slow down, and run around Frame Lake with me. Afterward, we went to the Bistro for a quick bite, and he ordered oatmeal.

Mr. Dunfee, making Yellowknife look GOOD!

I have no idea about the finer points of his nutrition plan, but making choices like that must make it easier to execute even the strictest plan.

I may have admired that tiny moment a bit more than seems reasonable, but cut me some slack – I had just earned a runners high working out with a world-class athlete.

I was a bit starstruck.

This showed me clearly how a determined individual can nearly always find better food choices – even at restaurants where all I seem to find are excuses. šŸ™‚

Another highlight of 2018 was my opportunity to work with a coach. One of Canada’s truly elite athletes, Emily Setlack. After asking about what training plans were available through Team Setlack, she simply offered to coach me, for free, to prepare for my Klondike Road Relay. Coach Setlack spent months giving me weekly custom training plans, nearly daily feedback via email, and a course analysis in the days before my race which was a huge help. It was an incredible gift and I am still enjoying the benefits of it.

Another great memory started at the end of the 2018 Yellowknife Marathon. I photographed the event, and stayed to capture images of all of the participants. The second-last person to cross the finish line was a man named Rich Holmes. He was, at that time, a finisher of around 700 marathons, had completed 5 on each continent, and had (most admirably) continued to enjoy running into his retirement. Mr. Holmes has also given me some information about running via email correspondence.

Mr. Holmes completing the Overlander Sports Marathon in Yellowknife 2018

I am really thankful for how easy it is to learn from some of the elite athletes who run. If you have a hero in the running world, I highly recommend telling them so, and even reaching out to them for advice. In the running world, the worst that is likely to happen is that they run away!

On to today’s run:

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A short, easy one today. I bumped into a neighbour who joined me for part of the run. Excellent way to finish my year!

Ready to go out in the cold, pictured are ski goggles, toque, neoprene skidoo mask, headlamp, red foreskin, jacket, sweater, sweater, (not pictured sweater, and another sweater)

Sunny, gorgeous clear day! Took my time stopping to chat with strangers and puppies. Busy day full of smiling people (or was that squinting…?)

Sealhide overmitts – one of my favourite bits of running gear.
A day beautiful enough to bring tears to your eyes – where they remain until you thaw.

Just as I came through the snowmobile tunnel by the Coop, I noticed a lot of new, wet-looking ice. Slowing, I went through, and got a pretty good soaker.

liquid water presents unique hazards in this cold

Cold day for it, but I have dealt with these before. It’s probably most important that you know how you will deal with it before it happens, so as not to rush a decision in the moment.


Cold, with additional cold

Still cold

As cold as the weather is, I found the sunshine made it feel warm.

Training Tip: Wind Direction

When planning a run, remember that running upwind can be significantly colder than running downwind. In temperatures colder than -30C (my ‘stunt run’ threshold) I make it a point to choose my route and direction with wind taken into consideration.


I love Judi

Day #10 December 30, 2018

Weather:Ā STUNT RUN!!!Ā (-34CĀ feelsĀ likeĀ -42C)

My first weather warning of the season.

I took a bit of extra precaution today, to be respectful of the laudable efforts of Environment Canada. I expect everything to be fine, but I’ll be more diligent about my checks and my kit (I forgot my snacks yesterday, for example)

Went all-out today, and used a brand new phone case (with the same-old piece of hide)
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A slower run seems to cost more heartbeats per kilometer. hmm…..

This run was fine, but I found that I was getting cold in my hamstrings, of all places. Not a big deal, but I don’t mind missing a few kilometers on a chilly night like tonight.

Training Tip:Ā PlanĀ aĀ saferĀ route

With today’s cold weather warning, I changed my planned route, in order to keep bailout points closer to home. Basically, make loops smaller, and make it easier to get home if I get cold. This route had me never further than a 20 minute run from my front door.

Frosted trail frame

Day #9 December 29, 2018


Same as yesterday, low 20’s with wind bringing it down another 10 degrees.

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Low average heart rate, less than one heartbeat per meter, all in all a great evening for a run.

Today I altered the singlet I was using. I cut the top off, around the nipple line, then rolled the remainder and tacked it in a few places. This roll makes it easy to find my way in when I need to pee. It seems to be once or twice per run. Makes me glad I run trails mainly.

Nearly a thousand minutes, and still not ten days in to the season šŸ™‚

Training Tip: Strava

Strava is an app which tracks your activities, and allows you to share/compete/club up with your friends, near and far.

On your smartphone, it uses GPS to track your route, speed and if connected, heart rate.

On the web page, you can route plan, search race ‘segments’ and stalk your friends ‘course records’.

I also make use of it, when a run is a ‘stunt run’, to provide a route and time estimate to my ‘flight follower’ (Judi – thanks my love).

I have really been enjoying one aspect of it.

It’s free.

There is a paid version, with some advanced features, but I’ve been enjoying the free version for years, and I’m happy to report that it works great.

Check it out at and for an example of how awesome some connected wizardry can be, check out this link
to see my 2018 in sport.

Thanks very much to Strava, for making their service available to everyone, even if they can’t afford a monthly fee.


Even the ravens get hoarfrosted when it’s really cold!

Day #7 December 27, 2018

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Weather:Ā StuntĀ run!

With temperatures well below -30C, I did the extra planning and loaded my pockets with the extra gear.

My advanced cell phone case

Here is the ‘advanced cell phone case’. A sandwich bag, and a piece of hide to trap some warmth and provide a layer between phone and outdoors. (my cell phone needs to be accessible, so I can put up quality images like this:

Season going well so far

Today’s run was a treat. Brutal cold cut it short a bit, but not without learning useful things.

My sweetheart got me a singlet last year, and while I tried it a couple times, I never used it because of how complicated it is to take a piss.

Today, I added this fleece singlet as an extra layer. I didn’t put it on fully, it only covered from thighs to chest, but that has been a problem area. With the layer arranged this way, I was able to keep the critical areas warmer, and while taking a piss was still a bit more work, it wasn’t too bad.

I got to a bailout point about 14 km in, and decided to shear off and go home. Like yesterday, I was a bit too cold to take the route I had planned, and when on a ‘stunt run’, I stick to my plan or go home and make a new one.

I still ate my ‘gel’ (Purdy’s Peanut Butter Fingers), even though I was running home. They are very tasty! (Thanks, Judi!)

Still a pretty good run. I feel like I’m falling into daily running very easily.

I did take a lot of time to prepare, so that makes sense.

Daily Training Tip:

Carefully assess feelings in extremeties and other cold-troubled areas regularly.

When running during dangerously cold days, I set a few checkpoints, and do a brief inventory of toes, fingers, face, ears, groin and tummy. These are all areas which can get quite cold without realizing, so focusing deliberately on them, periodically, is an effort to avoid frostnip or frostbite.

Generally, I place these checks at key parts of the run so that I can ‘bail out’ easily and safely, if I decide to.

If you are checking a buddy, look for discoloured, white areas on their skin, particularly on their face. This is one of the visible early indicators.

Meghan, loving the challenge she is jogging through. This is among the reasons I call that section ‘Meghan Trail’ 

Day #6 December 26, 2018



With temperatures well below -30C, this run was to be treated like a stunt, and I did. It was too cold to commit to the next segment (with no houses/streets around for some of the route) and while I probably could have been fine, last year the frostbite I enjoyed tuned me in more to how this particular problem creeps up.

So I called it early, came home, and have a boring story about not getting frostbite.

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This was an easy effort run, as I was planning to run quite a bit longer until my stuff started feeling cold. Still an hour of good cardio, and I’m unreasonably proud of having my heart beating less than one beat per meter with this mode of travel.

Season totals are shaping up!

My running goal is based only on weekly mileage, along with the daily running commitment here. The way I have been aiming to keep it reasonable is like this:

At the beginning of each week, I figure out my weekly goal divided by 7. This week, for example, my goal is 96.5km, so 96.5/7=13.8km each day. If I run more than that distance each day (going by feel, and taking care with my aging bones), then I ‘earn’ myself a short run Sunday.

This week I changed things up, by running a small run on Monday (with a great group). This means I need to run 15km each day remaining this week, if I hope to ‘earn’ myself a short run Sunday. With today being also a short run, I may have to toss in an extra long one (weather permitting) to make it up. Not a huge deal if I miss my distance this far out. Lots of room for adjustment.

Daily Training Tip:

Wash a sinkful of dishes to pre-warm your hands before going out into cold weather. If your feet are sensitive, wear your shoes awhile in the house for the same reason.

It’s MUCH easier to stay warm, than to get warm.

Image by Judi Mah, and one of my favourite shots, from the Dettah Road, before the Robertson Headframe was demolished.