Running Anniversary

It has now been one year since I started doing my daily run. It has been quite the experience.
Since I keep track of all my runs electronically, I know that I’ve done 354 hours of running. A year has 8760 hours; if I do the math, I see that I have run for 4% of the last year.
I wish I could say I ran every day, but back in March I got subjected to plantar fasciitis. That took me off for about two weeks where I was forced to endure the torment of bicycling, mostly on a stationary bicycle. During that time, I did try an actual bicycle for the first time in Vancouver. I discovered that bicycling is not as strenuous a workout as with being on a stationary bicycle; on my tour of Stanley Park I could coast. However, when I was going through downtown a van nearly cut me off, so it has soured my opinion of bicycling in this town.
Right now I am at 147 days of running in a row, when I previously has a maximum of 216. So my current goal is to at least beat that. (Two thirds of the way there!) But really, I’m trying to run for as long as possible.
I started with doing 5km and then increasing by 10% each week. After I got to 13km, I started just increasing the distance on my Sunday runs, and dropping back to 8-10km on the other ones. This culminated when I had enough distance to do a marathon. I did that the fastest I have ever done. But it doesn’t feel like it really counts as a marathon when I haven’t been doing it with hundreds of other people and aid stations. I would have tried to do the Vancouver one, but that was at the height of my injury; not advisable. (But I stilI had to check with my physical therapist. He told me the obvious answer of “No”.)
After the injury a similar pattern happened again. But this time I had a different goal. Instead of trying to do a speedy distance, I made a goal of going up the mountains of North Vancouver. So four weeks ago, I was finally able to run from downtown Vancouver and up to the top of the Grouse Mountain, also known as the “Grouse Grind”. It’s motto is “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”.
It is a beautiful route. I go through the Capilano River Valley, which is a rainforest filled with rolling hills. At the top of it is the Cleveland dam where I get a good look at the height of the entire Grind. Then up the road called Nancy Greene Way to the base of the Grind. Then it is up that trail which is more of a staircase than anything else. You can feel your ears pop as you do the climb.
It was surprisingly crowded. I was passing people the entire way. Fortunately for my ego, no one passed me. I got to the top in 48 minutes.
I hung out there for a bit of time, getting more water and taking in the view. Then it was time to move along. The Grouse Grind only allows you to go up. To get back down, most people take the gondola. I took the other option: The BCMI trail. It is less staircasey, but still a steep drop. It was slow to go down though, but downhill is always slower; you have to control your speed and it is harder on your knees. I could see getting injured very easily there. It took me about an hour and ten minutes to get to the bottom. Three people, all walking, passed me on the way. One of them admitted he does the trail down a couple of times a week for the last thirty years. So I don’t feel that bad.
Once I got back to Nancy Greene way, I ran like I was flying. The BCMI trail had given me a break, but still kept my legs active. There was no way I was making up the time though. My final pace was 8:18 per km. On flat trails it is usually around 4:55 per km. 34km in 4:42:18: A slow speed, but I got from about sea level to 1090 meters above. I feel it was an accomplishment.
Since then I’ve rejoined the Running Room for their Sunday morning runs. It’s nice to join a group again, and the distances are comparable.
Recently the air has been against me. The forest fires are causing smoky air to descend on Vancouver. For three days, I decided to take care of my health and not run outside when the air quality is really bad. That left my only option to use a treadmill (hereafter known as the “Dreadmill”. They are incredibly boring. Listening to music helps, but it is still a task. That may be partly my fault; if I get bored, I tend to raise the speed. So by the end, it is painfully fast.
If I keep on track with my normal schedule, August will be the month that I’ve run the furthest. Ever. I’ll be over 460km.