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


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 #71 March 1 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

Just barely, but with firm, sticky snow. Great footing on the trail, not so great on the sidewalks, terrible on the driveways.

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So today was cold again, and seemed too cold until the first 15 minutes were behind me. At the coop corner leak, I stopped to photograph the leak in sunshine, then ran across the lake, taking a closer look.

Mostly though, I just wanted to save the trail for last.

I found a bit of graffiti in Somba K’e Park, and snapped a pic to see if anyone knew what was written there.

Secret directions to a buried treasure, or an instagram hashtag…?

I got into the trail right away, but found it VERY crowded. After he stepped politely out of my way, I skidded off along a skidoo trail and on to more solitary areas.

Had the rest of the run to myself, until getting back into street traffic.

Training Tip: Overflow – caution

There are places where water can flow, even in brutal cold, and create unexpected hazards.

The overflow you see isn’t dangerous. It’s the stuff you miss.

overflow creeping toward the trail

This example is water overflowing onto Frame Lake. As you can see, there is a large wet area, which it would be wise to avoid. If you imagine the water continuing to spread, and a bit of snow cover after, you can understand better how treacherous it can be. The ground around you can look like all hard-packed snow – until you punch through and find yourself in slushy water. Wet ice is unexpectedly slippery.

Usually, you hear about this happening to snow machines. I think it’s pretty easy to keep free of such trouble when running, but I would be a bit more vigilant in areas where regular overflow is known (such as this one) and any unfamiliar area.

Marked trail across the lake – with Stanton under construction in the background

Day #64 February 22 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

Cool, clear with hard, sticky trails.

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Easy, chilly evening as usual. Ran the usual route, the usual way.

Stopped in to the Black Knight to say hi to Judi. A comedy of errors. I failed to turn my light off, twice, blinding unsuspecting drunks. When I did get it turned off, and completed my circuit of the place, I didn’t see anyone I knew, and headed out. It turned out, the art battle was at the Top Knight.

I’m better at trails than I am at Public Houses.

Home along Franklin for a change, and since I so seldom run flat roads, I fell into turning up the speed, cooking along faster than 5:00/km for a bit. I think it will be good to try out some road running for a change. It felt good to stretch out, lead with my hips and fall into that fast running.

Training Tip: Gamify your friend runs

I’ve been keeping track of how many of my runs have been with friends

My running spreadsheet has a section where I track a few things for the friends I run with. Total kms, average, and frequency. I can play friend A against friend B, and whoever wins, I end up inspired to go out and run more.

With my friends.

A rare in-person run with my Normal Wells training partner, on McMahon Frame Lake Trail

Day #57 February 15 2019

Weather: Beautiful afternoon for a run

Today was warm, sunny and gorgeous, so I took along my big camera.

I’ll try to give you a bit of an idea of how lucky I am, to be able to do this every day.

At least the visual part. Man, this trail is incredible!

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First, I want to mention that I thought about treadmill runners today, while walking up a hill. I am reminded that the treadmill is relentless, where my runs can have a variety of reasonable interruptions. Kudos to you who are running indoors.

Getting started

I had an unknown package notice on my door yesterday, so I decided to take a chance that it was small, and headed downtown to pick it up on foot.

It was a Petzl Bindi running light that I had won, in their ‘Petzl Night Running‘ challenge on Strava and instagram. It’s actually the second one I won. They awarded me one for a photo I submitted, and another from a random draw. I was so excited, I lost track of which one was which.

After unpacking the light and tossing the packaging, I started back toward Somba K’e Park. I was just getting into a groove, when some random tourists reminded me to take a photo of Elon Muskox, which I did.

Getting back to business, I decided to head over to the Legislative Assembly first, then went into the trail there.

This is NOT Daniel, just a passing skier

I crossed paths with a stranger. His name was Daniel, and he told me that on the hilltops, where it was windiest, I would have the wind at my back. It was a warm thought.

I stopped to photograph one of my favourite parts of this trail. It is still way more beautiful in person. Maybe I should try to photograph it in the morning. Anyway, you can see the kind of trail surface I’m using, and it is a best running surface, soft yet firm.

Marylyn Robertson Trail

Side-note, what you see in the next photo, crossing this trail are the tracks of a mighty Canadian wilderness beast – the bunny.

I’ve highlighted the tracks, and direction of travel, for those who are unfamiliar.

Next, I put my camera right down into the track, to give a closer look at it. And the footprint left by my juicy new Saucony Xodus trail shoes.

Tracks of xodus

I stopped at the Frame Lake Overlook to take a shot looking back. This trail is quite easy to find on a day like today. If the snow falls, or blows over it though, it can vanish easily.

Once I got out of the trail, the story gets a bit less interesting, so I’ll leave you there.

Yellowknife transit

Training Tip: Athlete to follow – Cameron Twa

My good friend and ‘Walk to Tuk‘ team Captain, Cam, is a great runner. He has learned to rebuild himself from open-heart surgery, to international marathon finishes. That itself is pretty awesome, but the most inspiring thing about him might be how well he encourages other runners.

I was fortunate to be a member of his team for the Klondike Road Relay last year, and after finishing his brutally tough, hilly segment, he drove around the course supporting others, and cheering us in.

On that team was a runner who had met Cam by taking a learn to run course he put on – for free – for strangers. (side-note, she is currently the runner most likely to run cold, hard winter trails with me)

He has started a new learn to run group, to share with more strangers. This group started in the middle of a Yellowknife winter, and I’m amazed at how many people are out having a lovely time in this weather.

You can follow Cam on strava, or find him running or volunteering at some local races.

Cam, Judi and I

Day #43 February 1 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

I think it’s been a cold winter. Tonight certainly was. Cut early due to cold foot.

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This run was extra lovely, with the aurora borealis fighting to outperform the light show that is Somba K’e Park this time of year.

Somba K’e lights won handily tonight, but the auroras are always a welcome sight.

It seems they are most likely to be out on the coldest nights.

They weren’t enough to keep me warm, though. Crossing Frame Lake on my first loop meant going through the coldest part of this run first. I’m glad I did. If I hit that piece of open lake soaked in sweat, I would have been uncomfortable, and tempted to run faster and harder.

The trails are packed a bit in the busiest places, but still not ideal. I guess I’ll have to go pound them down a bit more. (well, me and all those other Yellowknifers)

Not much effort by looking at the heart rate, but my huge efforts the last two days is showing. For now, I’m still taking it easy. I might still be headed on that big, bush run Sunday, so gentle is the order of the day, tomorrow.

Training Tip: Shoe spikes/tracks/grips/cleats

There are several brands of strap on shoe cleats. I haven’t much experience with any brand, except to note that they are a disaster if you forget them on, and walk into a mall with a tile floor. Quite slippery.

They take a bit of getting used to, but better footing is one less thing to worry about, when you are pursuing a beautiful run.

Dettah Ice Road run from last winter

Day #21 January 10 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

Warmer than yesterday, but still cold enough.

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Tonight’s run was a bit tough. I had just finished clearing snow, and while I was eating dinner, some ass-hat put it all back.

My sealhide spats, and the matching pair without them

Made running pretty but a bit tough. I lost the trail several times along the Marylyn Robertson Trail. Not more than a few feet, but it’s enough.

There wasn’t a lot of snow, but with the wind, the exposed sections of trail get covered quickly. Where that happens, it’s easy to step off the path a bit. That means it goes from 1″ deep light snow, to knee deep snow. Not too much trouble, but it slowed me significantly.

Did I mention that this is worst in the most wind-exposed areas? So the places with the worst footing were also the places I was compelled to run the hardest.

Season shaping up well

Since I’ve had this experience a number of times, I was prepared (thanks, extra undies!) but it still felt pretty rough. Maybe I am affected by the cold a bit more than I admit.

Training Tip: Progressive (bi or multi-focal) Glasses and Trailrunning

I wear prescription glasses. They are multi-focal, and for years, owning only one pair (due to high cost) I wore them for everything.

When running, it never really made a difference. I would take them off if I sweated too much on them, or if they were frozen or steamed, but other than that, they were good.

I ran into a new problem when running trails – I have to see my feet.

With progressives, glancing down at my feet means looking through the bottom of the glasses – where they are ground to focus on ‘close focus work’ (such as reading, or sewing etc.). This means the view of my feet wasn’t good, so I would roll my head further forward, which brought the good part of my glasses into play, when I needed to see the ground.

I didn’t notice at first, what this was doing to my running, but it was like this – I would run into a trail, and whenever trying to look down, rolling my head further forward would change my form, and speed me up more.

It was a subtle problem, but one which interfered. I would run a lot harder into trails than I intended, pretty consistently.

After finding a really cheap source of glasses, I looked a bit more, and decided to purchase single-vision glasses for running. It’s a bit tougher to see my phone or my watch, but everything else is fine.

Also, with the MUCH cheaper single-vision lenses, I am able to have a pair for night running (clear lenses) a pair for sunny day running (dark sunglasses) and a pair for runs that are day and night (yellow lenses)

These being so cheap, also help keep my fancy pair safe. On the trail, the glasses I risk losing or breaking are around 20 bucks. My fancy pair are hundreds of dollars.

Give your glasses a thought if you are going to run trails. You might also choose a different fit for running, vs everyday use..

This is why I call that section 'Marylyn Robertson Trail'
One of two plaques I have seen on my favourite trail, remembering Marylyn Robertson. This is why I call that section ‘Marylyn Robertson Trail’.