Day #47 February 5 2019


Weather: Stunt run!

Got myself out in the sunshine today, so I guess doing it the easy way.

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Got a call on the way out the door, from a gentleman needing a key. Fortunately, he was very flexible, and met me along the way. Delivered the key over by Canadian Tire, and invited him to join me for the rest of my run. He didn’t say he didn’t appreciate the offer, but he didn’t park the care and join me, either.

I doubled back and ducked straight into the Marylyn Robertson trail, and headed over to the Legislative Assembly. I needed to check my phone around there, so stopped in since it offered a chance to warm my feet a bit.

Over to City Hall next, then ran across the lake again (the path is pretty good right now), then home again after, and quite enjoying the sunshine!

Training Tip: Strava route planning and sharing

Strava has a great tool in its’ route planner, which can be used in a number of ways.

First, you can plan routes in an unfamiliar running area, with their ‘heatmap’ feature. I find that this helps me to see which areas are most ‘in use’ for crossing major roads, rivers or other obstructions.

In addition to showing the heatmap, you may wish to have it display segments. This way you can plan a route which gives you the best chance to put your name out there.

Another handy feature, is that you can save a route, then share it with friends, who can then follow it with their mobile device.

It will print you a cue sheet, show a standard or satellite view, and add distance markers if you wish.

Lastly, it allows you to take a route from a previous run, so you can make a route out of a race course, even if the course itself was a bit ambiguous.

One of my favourite runs found this way, was a route around Tawayik Lake in Elk Island National Park. I’ve included a link to the route in the photo today. If you are in the Alberta area, come beat my 92:21 time!

Strava route planner helped me find this awesome 16km trail around Tawayik Lake, in Elk Island National Park, Alberta

Day #46 February 4 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

What should I say? It was cold before, now it’s cold. I expect more cold later.

I think the warm half of winter is behind us.

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Short runs seem to keep the heartbeats per kilometer lower. Then again, maybe it’s something about being colder than -50C.


80% of my runs this winter have been colder than -30C

I took my best hat out for a spin yesterday, and my sweetheart was kind enough to take some photos for me.

OK, full disclosure, I was worried it was too cold yesterday, so she drove to checkpoints along my route, so that I could bail out if I wanted to.

Thanks, Judi. I love you.

Got to keep the sun out of my eyes…

Getting back to today’s run, I took a short, easy one. Just over to Coop and back, by roads. My hands AND feet were cold for some reason, though I had the best of my stuff on. No big deal.

My hands were warmed up by the time I got home. I thought about heading back out for another few km, but it’s nice to finish a run wanting more.

Training Tip:  Athletes to Follow – Dave Proctor

One of the most inspiring athletes I have been following, is Dave Proctor.

I follow him on Strava, Instagram and in the news. I don’t remember how he first caught my eye, but his athletic achievements so far, are only half the story. Believe me, it’s an alarmingly big half.

One of his biggest upcoming stunts will be trying to beat the 24hour treadmill distance record. He’ll be making his attempt at the Calgary Marathon weekend in May, so if I finish in time, I might get a chance to meet him, or get a pic of him running.

But getting back to the record he is attempting. If you use a treadmill yourself, see if you can wrap your head around the previous record.

260.4km in 24 hours.

That’s 10.8km EVERY hour of that 24.

Or about 5:35/km pace for the ENTIRE 24 hours.

It’s his own record.

I’m so glad he is public about his efforts, and the bigger half of the story is his fundraising effort around Outrun Rare. It’s a worthwhile cause, and he clearly puts all he can and more into raising awareness for it. Even if you don’t follow him for his athletics, I hope you’ll give his cause your consideration. As a matter of fact, they just announced that they are seeking ambassadors through their outrunners program.

My favourite running hat

Day #45 February 3 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

Extra cold today, so both pairs of mitts, warmest pants, warmest shoes and pre-run load of dishes to pre-warm my hands.

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It was still brutally cold, but I quite enjoyed the trail, and wearing my big hat for tomorrow. (a favourite athlete is going to make an announcement)

I ran Old Airport Road to the cemetery, where I turned in to the trail. Judi checked in on me there, and picked me up at the other end, Somba K’e Park.

Great day for a run, but cold on the feet, even with my Ice+ shoes.

Training Tip: What have I got in my pockets

On my stunt runs, I carry the following safety gear. I’ll list some of the reasons, but always remember your own kit will have to meet your needs and situation.

I would like to mention that the best of this kit is taken from other people. Share, compare and examine each others’ safety kits.

  1. Keychain whistle and ‘thumbnail knife’ – in the bush, a regularly used signal for help is three. If you hear three shots fired, three honks on a horn, or three whistles, someone needs help. (3 signal fires will work as well) This whistle is what I carry because it is loud and pea-less. (a pea-whistle can foul in a few ways, including icing) The keychain has a small blade about the size of a thumbnail. Not too sharp, but stout, and with a twig-handle inserted in the slot, can rip enough bark and small stuff to make kindling, or cut a bit if needed.
  2. Baggie and fur couple to protect my phone. A regular, disposable sandwich bag lasts a couple of weeks, keeping my sweaty moisture away from the phone, mainly. I also place a phone-sized piece of hair-on sealhide in the bag, which helps to hold a bit of heat, and provide an extra insulating layer between the phone and the cold outside. This is especially helpful since I like to take my phone out periodically along my run.
  3. Mylar ‘spaceblanket’. This simple reflective sheet is an easy to carry extra layer. It is ’emergency only’ but should preserve heat when it counts. Can be secured with the coban strip I carry.
  4. Garmin Forerunner 920 is my tracking device, and it includes a feature called ‘LiveTrack‘. LiveTrack works via an app called Garmin Connect (and so needs my phone to be working/connected). When it works, an email is sent to select people when I start my run, providing a link to near real-time updates about my location. When it doesn’t work, sometimes it is even removed from the app’s list of features. I use it, but try not to rely on it, since it is so irregular, even from Garmin’s side.
  5. Coban and bandage kit – I carefully folded a 6′ strip of coban around a few bandages, and place all this in another ziplock bag. It’s smaller than a phone, so no excuse not to carry it. I wish someone at 3M could make me a more suited packaging for this use. I’ll try reaching out to them via their website. Who knows – maybe they already have a more suitable size for this use.
  6. Chemical heat packs – I use Hothands because that is what was available. They work. I don’t use them in the sense that I open them, instead, they are emergency gear. If I find my toes or hands dangerously could, I can place these heaters in, and run for cover. Also, if I need to wait for help, these will provide a bit more heat for whatever my coldest spot is.
  7. Bluetooth headset. With this, I have the ability to make or answer a call without digging my phone out. It isn’t a big deal, but worth remembering if, for some reason, I can’t get at my phone.
My Norman Wells training partner, Joe. If you are in Norman Wells, stop and see him at Mr. Joe’s Delicious Dogs (in the airport)

Day #44 February 2 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

Too cold.

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Today was a short run, with a nice low beats per kilometer, and an even lower overall temperature.

The cold started in my hands. When I stopped at the first traffic light (about 1km along) I found it pretty noticeable. I kept my legs moving, to keep my blood pumping, and ran on as soon as I could. Another half-kilometer or so, and things were just getting worse, so I turned back, climbing the hospital hill first, so as to get more heat going.

Caught at the light again, I kept my legs going with high knee reaches, and took off as soon as I could. By the time I got most of the way home, my hands were warm enough, but my toes were pretty cold.

I considered extending the run, then rejected it. I could use some delicious recovery time anyway.

It turns out that my training buddy, Joe from Norman Wells, also had some extreme cold warnings. It also turns out he has a run planned tomorrow, too.

Joe on a training run in Norman Wells, N.W.T. – Photo credit Reza Boubudi

It’s great that Joe shares his runs with me. It’s easy to lose motivation, but having people like him reach out really helps me feel like I’m not doing it alone.

Training Tip: Bear / Coyote spray

When running trails, there is a greater chance of having an encounter with wildlife such as black bears, coyotes or wolves. Most of these encounters will be at a distance, and I would consider myself lucky to see them, but occasionally, there are conflicts. To be prepared for them, I bring along a can of bear spray. During the coldest weather, it has to stay inside my clothing, to remain liquid. This means it’s a lot slower to get to it, but there are fewer of these kinds of hazards in winter.

These ‘pepper spray’ deterrents should be practiced first, and it wouldn’t hurt to try it out in windy conditions. This is such a close-range tool, and the conflicts so exciting, that it pays to have a plan for how to use it.

All that practice should be wasted, of course. The best a trail user can do is arrange things so that there are no conflicts which damage wild fauna. We are supposed to be smarter than them, after all.

Klondike Road Relay 2018 – Leg 6

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 #42 January 31 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

I know I was going to take it easy, but the weather was SO nice, I wanted to celebrate. Besides that…

Today is my sweethearts birthday!

Last year, for Judi’s birthday, I ran a sort of endurance feat. I ran a route through a soft bush trail, out onto Great Slave Lake, up the shore to the Dettah Ice road, where I ran a happy birthday message into the road, then came back. When I was nearly home, yet short of my planned distance, she called me to give me some encouragement, and it worked. I added another few loops and finished. Check out the Relive here.

I zoomed in on my ‘writing’ here…a bit sloppy, but in my defence, my body had been tenderized already.

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This year, I wanted to run something different for her birthday, so I decided to do the opposite – run my best 5k. Turns out a race effort yields a somewhat lower ‘beats per meter’ with an old heart.

No toque, mask, longjohns, third layer of sweater, or overmitts = hotter performance

So I left a layer at home, and felt it. I planned a route which would give me the best footing. I mostly got it, though along Kam Lake Road I was in the soft skidoo trail, and again on some parts of Frame Lake Trail.

The snow was packed, but not at its best. The slippery surface, combined with my speed desire and lots of corners, had me reflecting on form.

You see, I’m VERY strong in the legs. I almost never feel like my legs are the limiting factor. This means I push through a lot of things which might be better overcome another way.

Trying to accelerate after slowing for corners today, showed me that pushing doesn’t speed me up nearly as fast as leaning forward. Pushing with my legs caused my footing to slip, and wasted much of that effort. Focusing on leaning forward and bringing my legs up faster felt much more effective.

All that thinking, all those words, and it just amount to good form, as I should know very well already.

The cartoonish crap-footing of slippery snow really outlines the utility of that good form, though.

My speed over this route won’t seem impressive, even compared to me at other times, but my heart rate – averaging 149 bpm – shows the real story. I did great on this, effort-wise.

My Strava Challenge – shows that this effort was a 27:47 5k. Pretty good considering I had to wait at a couple traffic lights. And the cold and snow. I’m feeling pretty good about it, even if my body is a bit battered.

Training Tip: Ski socks – go high

On particularly cold days, knee socks made for skiing are a great choice. They keep your lower legs warm, and hold themselves up well.

Happy Birthday, Judi. I love you.

Day #40 January 29 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

Once again, good thing I’ve been liking it!

Todays run was cold, again. No surprise there, but as I noticed my left toes again being cold, I thought about it a bit more. Lots of time for that with a daily run.

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I think part of the reason my runs are overall staying of short duration, is that with the reduced feeling in my toes (due to frostbite damage last year) I get less warning about real damage. Because of this, I cut it earlier than I might.

Or maybe I’m just a bit gun-shy after having some frostbite

Training Tip: Track shoe usage and replace when necessary

Obviously, this will be a bit different between different brands, and different shoes.

I use my running spreadsheet to track my runs, and my shoes (free version here)

Strava also offers the service, as does Garmin Connect.

Once my shoes get around 500km, I start looking carefully at the cushion showing on the edge of the soles. I’ll also start examining the sole for damage. When either shows, or the shoe starts just feeling too much like a sock, I get some new ones, and TRY to throw the old ones away.

Bus crossing the ice road

Day #39 January 28 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

Cold weather again today. Looks like another thickest socks sort of run.

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Quicker run, due to feeling very cold, seems to have my heartbeats per meter up over 1 again.

I stopped briefly in to my local medical clinic to exchange one small bit of info, and though I didn’t warm up much, I still think it was a mistake.

I also made a mistake by leaving my garmin shut off, so todays distance and time were estimates.

I was pretty cold crossing Frame Lake, and decided to step up the effort and head home. It was a good choice, since I couldn’t have maintained that high effort level for a long time.

It felt fine sprinting home though. It’s good to run fast occasionally. I had meant to do more of it, but with my long runs so often being shortened by cold, I always seem to aim for long over fast.

Something to think about.

Training Tip: Use a heart rate moniton for easy workouts

A common mistake runners make, is to run their easy workouts too fast.

One of the ways I correct this, is to use an alert on my Garmin, to buzz when my heart rate gets above 130. I found this to be a fairly useful corruption of the method desrcibed by Dr. Phil Maffetone. I simply used his 180 – age + modifiers as an upper limit.

It’s worth looking over his program, and particularly the reasons he uses to modify the target heart rate.

I love Judi

Day #37 January 26 2019

Weather: NOT a stunt run

The weather warmed up for this daytime run. I wore my sunglasses, but I’m not sure about my other dressing choices.

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Below 9 beats per meter. I think that’s some kind of record.

I warmed up by running down Franklin to Rotary Park. Waiting there for me were some friends who wanted to run the Dettah Ice Road.

This is a unique and challenging run, across Yellowknife Bay to the nearby community of Dettah, then back.

It was really a nice treat today. Interesting traffic, and I’m pleased to say it looks like there is a small road going from the Dettah end to the trail coming out of Kam and Meg Lake. (this strava segment shows the connecting trails)

It was a great day, with perfect weather. I didn’t dress perfect though, and getting colder and colder, so I surrendered and took a ride home. It turned out to be a better decision than I thought, since it came with chocolate chip muffins. (thanks, Amanda!)

Great catching up with that gang!

Here is a flyover video of the run, showing how far out on the water we get. A garmin glitch makes it look like I ran off the road, away from Amanda at the end, but I didn’t.

Training Tip:  LibriVox free audiobooks

A terrific free find, this site boasts ‘Free public domain audiobooks, read by volunteers from around the world’

Basically, any out of copyright works may be included. A rating system however, is not.

This is an essential part of librivox, allowing anyone and everyone to read in. It means you have to check favourites or ratings on other sites, but that’s fine because there is a HUGE library available.

Twinning honeysuckle?

Day #36 January 25 2019

Weather: Stunt run!

Looks pretty nice out. I think I still got a good frost face though.

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Tonights run, on a busy Friday night in Yellowknife, runs straight through a club section of town, where revelers can enjoy Stake, The Monkey Tree and The Copper House. As I approached the intersection, I noticed a big RCMP truck there.

His loudspeaker came on, and he said ‘you’re doing great!’ while giving me the thumbs-up through the window.

I certainly don’t want to defy the reasonable request of a law enforcement officer. Especially one who had to work on a Friday night, instead of running. So off I went.

Hit Bristol, went through Meghan Trail to the Ceremonial Circle, then past the Black Knight.

Outside that pub, I saw a fellow who hadn’t seen me since I lost all the weight. I said hi, and Pat did recognize me after a few minutes.

Didn’t take me up on my invitation to come run though.

Halfway through the run, and halfway good frost-face

Training Tip:  Overflow

One of the more sinister hazards in this area is overflow. A classic example would be thick ice, with a foot or more of snow on it. This ice heaves, or melts, and a pool of water forms, hidden under the snow.

It looks just like the rest of the area, until you punch through to sink into the water.

I fairly steadily run well-traveled trails, so this is less likely to affect me. The last soaker I got this year was from a city leak, and the one before that was in the spring, splashing and giggling.

Dancing through the snow
Fort Resolution Fuel stop. Across the street from Tommy’s lively garden.