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.

Minutesaverage hrtotal heartbeatsKMbeats/km

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


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

Day #52 February 10 2019

Weather: Warm, no wind, sticky snow

This might mean the end of the ‘stunt runs’ for awhile. I’m glad too. I think it was beginning to wear on me. Tonight felt AWESOME!

Minutesaverage hrtotal heartbeatsKMbeats/km

Ran around Niven Lake again today, but WHAT a difference a few degrees makes! My toes weren’t cold tonight, and neither was anything else. I even stopped to pee and didn’t get cold right away.

This is Molly, not coming along for the run.

I did install my new spats onto my other Inov8 shoes. The tied in easy, and I forgot about them right away.

I noticed that the snow at this temperature was a bit sticky and soft. It isn’t as bad as it is when it gets above -10C, but it’s noticeably softer than it was just a few days ago.

Training Tip: How to share dogsled trails

Running through dogsled trails should come with a few instructions. I’m no musher, but I do try to be a good neighbour.

Trails such as the one described yesterday are made and maintained mainly by local mushers. Of course you can expect to find snow machines, cross country skiers and other users, but since the mushers put so much into these trails, I think of them first.

First instruction – if you bring a dog along on your run, keep it under control.

You might not need a leash for that, but I recommend it. The dog team you encounter WILL be tied (to the traces/sled/musher) but if yours jumps in to say hi, mayhem ensues. Not always the cute kind. The dogs pulling the sleds are bred and trained for athletics, not for being good socially with strange dogs.

Second instruction – if you encounter a dogteam, they might be in the midst of a training run, or a race, so give them the trail.

I prefer to leap hilariously and dramatically, but mainly it’s good enough to just step aside.

I reached out to a local musher for more info, but he must have been busy mushing, because I haven’t heard back from him. So for now, that’s all I’ve got except to suggest you go watch a dogsled race. It’s quite exciting!

Leaping out of the way of the team

Day #25 January 14 2019

Weather: Stunt Run!

Cold as ever and maybe better.

Minutesaverage hrtotal heartbeatsKMbeats/km

Todays run was with friends – one old friend and one new. Under one heartbeat per meter too 🙂

We were one blinky-disco gang!

We started at Javaroma, and took a tour of the city including the lights of Somba K’e Park and Rycon Drive. My socks were only my second-best pair, but my feet were warm enough. I’m pretty sure though, that running on the pavement is colder than running through the trails.

There could be two reasons for that. One is that it might be simply clearer near my feet, allowing more wind to reach my feet on street routes. The other, which seems more likely to me, is that on trails, my feet do a lot more flexing and moving, with the terrain being a bit more irregular.

Either way, I was still fine for tonight’s short run.

I’ve put a quarter of a million heartbeats into this challenge so far. I wonder how many it will be over the whole season?

Training Tip: What am I wearing – overview

This is not what I wear every day, but it IS what I wore yesterday (which was nearly a ‘coldest’ day)

Going over the items quickly, they are:

Icebreaker socks. These are great. I tried wearing multiple pairs of socks before, it doesn’t work. I recommend one sock (on each foot) good enough to do the job.

Driwear undies. OK wicking layer. Doesn’t often chafe.

Driwear sweater. Decent, cheap sweaters which take a beating. Almost always a mid-layer for me.

Icebreaker Merino 260 base layer sweater. No chafe. Good wicking. Takes a disturbingly long time to accumulate stank.

Icebreaker Merino 260 base layer longjohn. No chafe. Good wicking. Similar stank properties.

Mid-layer sweater. Not critical, but it’s nice to have an extra head-cover if needed.

Garmin Heart Rate Monitor. Doesn’t provide much warmth, but still gets into every rotation.

3/4 Fleecy Singlet. This is an altered garment. I had a fleece singlet, but cut the arms and neck off. This item goes from my thighs to my chest, and helps to keep my middle (tummy, butt and genitals) warm through even high winds.

Neoprene skidoo face mask. Welcome extra layer during cold runs. Keeps the ice buildup from my beard, most of the time.

Red merino wool buff and toque. What is against your skin needs to be most comfortable. I got merino because of this. I chose red because I like to call this piece of kit my ‘foreskin’, and red seemed the best choice, style-wise. The usual frost accumulation only adds to the aesthetics. Any toque seems to get the job done.

Craft mitts under sealhide gauntlets. Craft mitts are great down to around -20, but for really cold weather, I enjoy having the sealhide gauntlets over them. Honestly, when they get a bit warm, I prefer to pocked the Craft gloves and use only the sealhide. It makes it a lot easier to slip one off to take a photo or such.

Sweater vest. This one has a few extra pockets, where I keep some of my emergency supplies.

Sugoi Alpha Hybrid Jacket. This is a favourite jacket. With the body covered with wind-breaking material, and the arms left more breathable, I find it a more comfortable choice. (see todays’ feature pic for a decent view of its breathability). I think it’s really tough for a material to be waterproof AND breathable at -30C, so this seems a best compromise.

MEC ski pants. Nothing special here, except they are ALWAYS perfect. Zippers have worked for years, and I’ve NEVER lost the waist-string. Suspiciously stank-free after years of use and abuse.

Inov8 Rocklite 290. These shoes, recommended to me years ago by a local trailrunner, have been great. A bit tricky to put on, but they do a great job once installed. Also, note that after hundreds of trail kilometers, they look pristine, clean and flawless. I think it’s from so many kilometers run on snow and ice. Important, but not as important as my sock choice.

I’ll likely go over some of these items in more detail in future posts, as some are MUCH more important than they might seem at first.

Previous model of the Sugoi Alpha Hybrid jacket, but you’ll see some familiar layers showing through