2 weeks ago…

…was my last post so it’s time for an update. Since I last wrote, I’ve put in a couple of long runs, 30 and 33km’s respectively on the last two Sundays. There have been a couple slight changes in our training. We are up to seven hills this week and our Thursday runs have increased to 10km from 8km.

I did have to get new shoes. After the 30km run my feet were very sore and I knew that sooner than later I would need to replace the shoes. Inspecting the shoes after this run, there was considerable wear in the left shoe so it was time. I stayed with the Asics Gel Kayano’s but now they are up to #20. I was in 19′s before. There isn’t much difference in the shoe’s although the newer ones seem a bit tighter but that could just be due to fact that the old ones were stretched out.

It does seem that I have shaken any injury bugs I had. There is no calf issues anymore and I’m feeling pretty good on runs. My runs are all rated from A to D and I have not had a run below B with mostly A’s for the last couple of weeks.  I would like my cardio to be a bit better but I am wondering if I picked up a bit of bronchitis over the winter. I have been sick twice this winter and that is very unusual. Speaking of winter, it just won’t let go. As I write this it is 3c and we are getting wet snow and rain.

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learning to shave all over again…

A while back I found an article on old style, double edge razors. You know, the kind your father had when we were kids. Remember how he’d take the blade out of the razor, hand it to us, lather up our 6 year old cheeks and let us pretend to shave. The article intrigued me. It talked about  the smoothness of the shave and how to properly care for your skin pre and post shave to protect and prevent rashes and razor burn.

I probably stopped using a DE (double edge razor) close to forty years ago. Over that time I would say 95% of my shaves have been with disposable razors and the rest with electrics. As we all know the cost of today’s disposable blades is ridiculous so even the cost of switching back to DE interested me. I shave in the shower, and have been doing that for about 30 years. My beard is very tough and the hot water just adds that element of moist heat to help keep the stubble soft for the shave. For some reason, if I shave at a sink, it looks like Freddie Kruger tried to shave me with a rock.

As disposable blades progressed over the years, I kept buying the latest and greatest. First two blades, then a vibrating handle, on to four blades and now five. After reading more articles on DE shaving I became convinced that this might be the way to go once again. Disposable razors are mostly used for convenience, DE razors will make shaving an experience. After all, most of us do this every day so we might as well make it enjoyable and comfortable.

So I went to the Fendrihan website and purchased the following; a Merkur 33C Classic razorrazor, Proraso Eucalyptus shaving soap, a sample pack of various blades (Feather, Merkur, Astra and Derby), a Fendrihan Classic Pure Badger brush brushand PREP Original pre-post cream. Remember, I’ve been using canned shaving cream and a five bladed Schick razor and throwing on some Nivea post shave balm (which is prorasogood stuff by the way). Two minutes the shave was done and out of the shower I jumped.

My order with Fendrihan was placed on a Saturday and I had it in my possession by Thursday. Because I had to work, I was a little leery about diving right in with a new style of shaving. I didn’t want to be going to work with dabs of kleenex all over my face! Let’s face it, everyone associates skin cuts and rashes with DE shaving and that may be in fact why many of us stop using that type of razor. So for the first couple of days I just practiced using the new brush and soap, working on building up a lather and shaving with my disposable. For those two shaves, it was pretty much business as usual. There was not a noticeable change in the shave results. I was able to get a good handle on how to lather up the brush and I used the post shave PREP cream. It has a nice smell to it, not overpowering but fragrant and it was soothing.

So this morning, despite the fact I had to work, I decided to give the razor a try with a Merkur blade (one came with the razor, and I also had my sample packs). Blades made by different manufacturers are different and they will react to different types of beards in a different way. That’s why I bought the sample pack, to find out which blade works best for my face. The initial passes of the razor seemed to pull on the beard more so than a disposable, almost feeling like a dull blade, but of course there is just one blade doing all the work instead of five, which I’m used to, that lifts, pulls and separates the beard. The trick with a DE razor is to let the razor do the work. They are much heavier and so the razor uses its own weight to create pressure on the face. Angles play an important part in maintaining blade contact on the skin. With a disposable, you have create your own pressure by pushing it into the skin, which is not really good for the face and the pivoting head takes care of any guess work for angles.  My shave took a bit longer than normal, after all it had been 40 years and I really didn’t need to slice my face open. I did one pass over my face and then lathered up again and did a second pass (this is not unusual in DE shaving) and was pleased with the shave. After rinsing, and using cold water to close the pores, everything felt good. There were no nicks or cuts (surprising myself!) and my face felt pretty smooth. Afterwards I rubbed in a fair amount of the PREP to help soothe my skin.

In the end the results were much better than I expected for my first DE shave in 40 years. I have a couple of areas that could have been cleaned up better but my skin is soft and now, about 3 hours after my shave I still sense the PREP and there is no irritation at all anywhere on my face or neck. Like anything else, it will take a bit of practice to develop technique which in turn will lead to a better all around shave.

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I can’t feel my nose!!

Our latest week started with a 19 km run this past Sunday that stretched into a 21 km jaunt  by the time we completed our route.

I went to bed the night before with the wind howling and was not looking forward to the morning if that kept up. I got up at 5am and went thru my usual ritual; a coffee, some oatmeal, a bit of fruit then some light foam rolling. It was apparent that the wind was still out there although not as strong as the previous night. But before I left the house I checked the weather…-12c with a windchill of -21c.

I dressed for the conditions with an extra light pair of pants and a running jacket (which I had hoped was put away for the winter), light toque and headband and double gloves. I was comfortable, when there were sections, heading east that that wind just took a bite out of you! I’ve run in some pretty cold conditions, well into the -30′s but without much wind. This wind? Well, I don’t think I’ve ever run in these cold conditions. Even though it was only -12c, that wind was just biting. My body was warm, but at points I could barely feel my nose and chin. I should have worn some protection on my face but I didn’t think I would need it. I’m pretty sure that some of the drivers who passes us figured we were insane to be out in that wind.

Temperatures are supposed to go above freezing starting April 1st (I hope that’s no joke) so I should be able to shed some of the winter wear I had to drag back out. Nothing changes too much this week, 6km on Tuesday, wee’ll do 5 hills on Wednesday, 8km on Thursday, rest Friday and 6km on Saturday. Sunday, the start of the next week sees us take a big step up to 29km.

I’ve also registered for a Edmonton Police Foundation half marathon that takes place on April 27th which fits in line with our training distance that day. I ran it about 4 years ago and ran a sub 2 hour half so that is the standard that I will judge myself by to see if a sub 4 hour marathon is possible. It’s a nice run, starting and ending at Fort Edmonton Park and running through the river valley and neighbourhoods with a few challenging hills along the way.

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the cold came back, and so did my cold…

Winter reared it’s ugly head again this past week. After close to 2 weeks of nice spring like weather, I awoke to a blizzard on Thursday morning. Not a huge amount of snow, but it was blowing hard and caused lots of drifting from open fields and yards. What did fall from the sky was being blown almost horizontally.

Temperatures took a dip as well, down to the minus 20c’s again. Time to get the winter coats out again.

Also, the cold that took me three weeks to shake decided to come back this week after leaving my head and chest for a week. I never really get sick, but having two colds in less than a month is really taking its toll on me. My nose feels like mush.

The week started with a 23km run as I previously mentioned in my last post. We continued on our regular routine which included hills on Tuesday evening. The hill we are using is 600m long with an elevation increase of about 34m in that length. This week we did 4 trips up the hill. Thursday, due to the snow storm I ran inside at work on our track here at Servus Place. Thirty two laps to do about 8.5km. Round and round and round. My Saturday morning run was glorious. Out at 730am on a nice cool morning, I headed east and as the sun rose as a great big ball of blinding orange it felt really nice on the face and you could feel the heat in it, even at that time of the morning.

My calves had not given me any problems all week, just an ache and stiffness but as I ran through the weekend they really seemed to get better with no problems at all while running. After our long Sunday run yesterday, and up to me writing this ,my legs feel really good. I rated our 26km run yesterday as an “A”. The only issue was I might have been a bit under dressed as the wind had a good bite to it and it never really warmed up like I thought it would from the -15c that we started with.

I’m looking forward to this week being a good one although the temperatures are still to remain about -10c for about the next 10 days or so and maybe some snow next weekend.

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long run….

We headed out for our usual Sunday long slow run two days ago. The route took us north to the Edmonton Garrison and through some of the trails around the base. In all we did 23km. My time was 2:37:00 with a pace of 6:49 minutes per kilometre. Here is a Google Earth view of the base;


The base is an interesting place, a community to it’s own. It does have a couple of interesting features as you can see on the aerial shot from Google Earth. Long decommissioned, the only thing flying out of the base today is helicopters. However, at one time while it was still active, the runway was on the list of emergency landing locations for the space shuttles.

Also on the base is the only military prison Canada. “Guests” stay one day less two years at this facility. If their sentence is longer, they serve the remaining time in a federal prison. It’s a pretty non-desript building except for the razor wire that sits on top of the fences. I also hear it’s not a very nice place to be compared to other federal prisons in Canada.


Just to give you a perspective on the Edmonton area, here is an image of the entire city with all three airports. The City Centre Airport was just shut down this past December. The largest planes flying out of there were 737′s but that stopped a few years ago as well. It gives a great perspective on the size of the runway at the Edmonton Garrison.


As far as distances go, it’s about 41 km’s from the Garrison south to the International, just short of a full marathon!!

Also, on a completely different note, when I was getting the images from Google Earth I found something interesting. The closeup shot of the prison turned out like it did above. However, when I moved just to the other side of the intersection in street view, I got this image;

winter Jail

Strange, two different seasons, separated only by a few feet. Strange indeed!

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and then the BOOM!!!

Since my last post I have been somewhat negligent in my training. First I was sick and then as I started to get better, work got in the way. I had to work all last weekend so that meant I have missed two long runs on consecutive Sundays, one, a 16k and the other a 19k.

So I picked things back up last Tuesday, March 11 when we went out for a tempo 6km run. At about 4.5km’s into the run, BOOM!! I was struck in the left calf with what felt like a baseball bat. A “Calf Heart Attack”.  I had about 2 seconds worth of warning. I was able to carry on but had to do a bit of walking for the last 1.5k and any running I did was with a noticeable limp. Home to some ice and heat but no rolling or stretching because it was just too painful.

The next day, Wednesday morning, I could barely make it down the stairs.  Also, hill training was to start that night.  At lunch I went up to our fitness center and just rolled the calf and gently stretched. We keep some frozen rubber gloves in the freezer at work so when I got back to my desk I just strapped one of those right onto the area.  Well I guess I left it on too long and I just applied it directly to the skin. Dumb.


This is the burn that I gave myself. But it felt better. So off I go to hill training, not knowing if I will be able to do anything. I start out okay, with a bit of a limp, and although the calf is sore, it’s not painful and I was able to get through the hills.

So it’s back home and I’m going to ice the calf again and it feels pretty good considering how painful it was originally. Thursday rolls around and I have the day off work so out I go for an 8km steady run. The calf feels much better and I complete the run in about 46 minutes, a bit faster than I wanted but I’m feeling good. I did manage to get 2 soakers as one part of the path was under about 5 inches of water and when I tried to go around it, one foot went through the melting snow bank into the water and the other foot instinctively just shot itself out into the open freezing water.

So back at home I take the following picture of my calf and the burn on it;

burn2This is two days after the first picture. If you look close at the bottom you can see the little stubby fingers from the slush filled rubber glove.

So, lesson learned…always use a cloth or towel before putting an ice pack on skin.

From the injury standpoint, I think it is under control. I seem to have the process figured out, some ice, some heat, some foam rolling, a tennis ball on the exact location and constantly using my “Stick” to roll out the calf. Only time will tell if it is good. Today is an off day, Saturday is a 6k run then Sunday, the start of the next training week is a 23k long, slow run which I will be able to attend.

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A lost week…..

My last run was a week ago today, the long slow 16km run that started the week off. It was -34c with windchill but sunny out. I ran at a 6:47/km pace and to be honest I found the conditions very nice to run in. It took an hour and fifty minutes to complete and I felt great afterwards. no stress at all on the body.

Then at dinner it started. A runny nose that would not stop, for three days. It was like a tap. I spent more time with kleenex shoved up my nose to stop the leaking and to soothe the itching. I missed two days of work. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

Then on Wednesday the coughing started with the sore throat. That lasted for a couple of days until everything moved into my chest on Friday. Needless to say I sure didn’t feel like running and I certainly was in no condition to go outside.

Speaking of outside, we entertained our third polar vortex of the winter. Temperatures have been consistently in the high -30′s for the last week or so. Yesterday, Saturday morning it called for -50c with windchill!! 1621784_10203019700842785_2121407338_n

It never hit that low but was into the -40′s.

So here we are on Sunday March 2 and I’ve missed out on five training runs. I’m not too concerned. It gave my body a chance to recover although it took a big hit with the cold I caught. As it is now, I just have some slight chest congestion and a bit of a cough. Tomorrow is a planned rest day, which I will probably adhere to based on the way I’m feeling now, and I think I’ll be back at it on Tuesday. But the work week through next weekend will be very busy and will play havoc with training again. I hate it when life gets in the way of running!!

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