Run#29 Feb 24 – Stanley Park Seawall 10.2K

Stanley Park seawall

Stanley Park seawall

You may recall that after my last run, I promised myself that I would pick a nice long run that was a bit different this week. Somewhere that’s even a bit wild!

Well, there’s one run that just kept coming up again and again in my mind. So I jumped into my little red car on Sunday afternoon and headed west down Highway 1 towards Stanley Park.

No ‘ifs, ands, or buts’, it had to be done. I simply had to run the seawall!

Running on the seawall that afternoon was not for the feint of heart. When I first got out of the car after parking in the lot opposite the Fish House at 2nd Beach, the rain was beginning to come down steady. Then, by the time I ran around the seawall to the first point jutting out on the bay, I was running into a driving rain with a stiff wind coming in from English Bay.

Stanley Park - seawall

Stanley Park seawall

The big ships looked mysterious out there on the bay, cloaked in mist. There were at least 20 out there.

I have to admit, I was running at quite a good pace for the first 3K. The sea air felt fresh on my face. Most importantly, I felt that I was running effortlessly and getting an abundance of oxygen into my body.

It would seem my training thus far was paying off. I felt good!

Like many of you I’m sure, 3rd Beach is my favourite park beach. So beautiful and tranquil, it’s where the forest meets the ocean. I love watching the seabirds on the water and the big ships on the bay.

It’s also just a short distance from Lovers; a beautiful walking and running trail that runs across the middle of Stanley Park, right to 3rd Beach..

Stanley Park - 3rd Beach

Stanley Park – 3rd Beach

I noticed that there were hardly any other runners out on the seawall that morning. That’s too bad, it’s so beautiful out here.

As I ran by the steps leading to the 3rd Beach concession, the tranquility was briefly broken up ahead of me by a dozen or so squawking crows being chased buy an eagle!

Is he chasing them just for fun, or is he hunting them for food, I mused.

Siwash Rock

Siwash Rock

Before long, I was passing by the majestic Siwash Rock. There’s a plaque on the seawall with the story of a boy that died after jumping off the rock into shallow water.

When we come here walking as a family, my 7 year old daughter reads the plaque every time. Then she warns me.. ‘Dad, you must never ever jump off the rock, because it’s too dangerous’.

Not to worry my little girl, your Dad will stick to admiring Siwash Rock from the seawall!

Not too far beyond the rock, I ran by a most memorable spot for me. It’s a memory that part of me would like to forget, but unfortunately it’s indelibly printed in my mind. It is kind of a funny moment, I guess. So I will briefly share the story with you.

I was out kayaking with my good friend Donald from Halifax and we decided to paddle from Sunset Beach, up past 2nd Beach and then around the seawall, up to the Lions Gate Bridge and back.

Donald and I had first met on an Outward Bound 21 day kayaking trip. The trip commenced at Telegraph Cove on the north east coast of Vancouver Island. We first paddled across the Johnstone Strait and then into the Broughton Archipelago.

Donald and I had kayaked side by side though some pretty rough seas on that trip, without incident. The strong currents and whirlpools in the Gulf Islands can be treacherous.

Stanley Park seawall

Stanley Park seawall

That day, we were kayaking close to the seawall. The water was a little choppy perhaps, but not rough at all. I do remember being distracted for a brief moment; I was probably smiling and waving at tourists on the seawall, when a rogue wave hit my kayak broadside!

Suddenly I tipped, then flipped, and my kayak was totally upside down with me still sealed in it!

No worries, I instantly remembered my Outward Bound training, pulled the release cord on the skirt and I was quickly out of the kayak.

The water was fairly shallow and I had not banged my head on the rocks, fortunately. However, it was more than a little embarrassing to be standing there next to my kayak, chest deep in water, looking at the smiling faces of the tourists that I was waiving to just moments before. I can still hear the roars of laughter from my friend Donald to this day!

I better  ‘up the pace’ and get past this spot quickly, I thought, and I pressed on.

The Lions Gate Bridge looked so majestic ahead of me. I still can’t believe that they spent so much money upgrading that bridge and did not add an additional lane, I was soon passing under the bridge and was headed along the long stretch of the seawall towards Lumberman’s Arch and on to Brockton Point.

My Strava Run app soon told me that I was at the 7K point, and I was now looking forward to getting a well needed drink at the water tap!

Lions Gate Bridge

Lions Gate Bridge

Wow, was I feeling so great at this time and this was very gratifying after having completed 28 training runs in a month and a half of training.

There are so many things to see on the seawall that the time was simply flying by.

I should perhaps mention that I am no stranger to the seawall. Before my wife Marjory and I met about 12 years ago, I used to live by myself in an almost perfect, small and very affordable one bedroom apartment on Comox Street, just west of Denman Street in the West End.

Back then, I used to say to people that Stanley Park was my very own back yard. I enjoyed running in the trails mainly; they are beautiful and the terrane is much easier on the joints. However, I would once in a while run on the seawall to enjoy the splendid views and feel the fresh breeze in my face as it came off the ocean.

Those were the days, I thought.  I did all of my group running under the guidance of those fine folks that work at the Running Room on Denman. What a great group of people they are. There was Steve, Noah, and Neil from the store. They’re probably still there, I bet. Super helpful guys that collectively know just about everything one might need to know about running and running gear.

Then there were my good running friends that I used to run with out of the store. There were about 20 to 30 of us all together; we used to meet every Wednesday evening and on Sunday mornings and then go running together. Of course, the Denman store is right next to the seawall and Stanley Park. What a perfect location for a running store!

For almost 5 years, we ran together, trained together, and cheered each other on at races. We also did a fair amount of ‘celebrating’ together too. Well, we had to do it, for the team and all that!

Harry Jerome

Harry Jerome

It was a magical time and one that I will never forget. I was new to the city when I first went down to the RR, and it was a wonderful way to meet new friends while keeping fit and getting to know the running trails. I will always treasure the many wonderful and often hilarious running times with my many friends at the store by the park. Thank you Running Room!

Hey, there’s Harry Jerome. What a great statue of a great runner.

Before I knew it I was going by the Vancouver Rowing Club, and then under the bridge and back into the park. Wow, cherry blossoms on the trees already, I thought, as I spotted some on the trees by the lagoon. Spring is almost here at last.

Stanley Park - cherry blossoms

Stanley Park – cherry blossoms

I quickly ran through the park,  and along the seawall briefly before I turned off the path, and went up and over the hill to the car park and my little red car.

I did my stretches by the car. It’s good to have been back on the seawall again, I thought, and it’s wonderful to have done it again at this point in my half marathon training.

In my heart, I knew that my ears would most likely be ringing and my head would probably be aching by early evening, yet it was still so worth it. When all is said and done, the intense pleasure and deep sense of satisfaction that I feel while running far outweighs the risk of increased symptoms. That goes double if I’m running the seawall!

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Run#28 Feb 23 – Dawes Hill 3.2K

Dawes Hill

Dawes Hill

I only had time for a short neighbourhood run this morning but it was certainly a memorable one, all right. I powered up a hill that made ‘Heart Attack Hill’ in Mundy Park look like a speed bump!

When I left the house this morning, I knew that I only had about 30 minutes at the most to get back to the house.

My wife Marjory had to leave at 8AM to go and give her mother a ride to work. She has been driving here, there and everywhere supporting her father Carl and mother Margaret in dealing with Carl’s health challenges. Carl was taken back into hospital on Friday morning after suffering a fall during the night. The poor fella is not doing well right now.

Brunette Avenue

Brunette Avenue

When I headed out from the house around 7:30AM and ran down the hill, I really did not know where I was going.

I didn’t feel like going on my regular run through Maillardville, although I am quite fond of the route. I was up for something different today, as I have been all month!

So when I got to the bottom of Laurentian I turned left onto Brunette Avenue instead of the usual right. After running for a short distance and having considered and rejected turning onto a few side streets along the way, I came to a bend to the right in the road, looked up, and there before me was my challenge for the day. There is was, Dawes Hill, the stairway to the sky!

Dawes Hill

Dawes Hill

Even the busses seem to strain themselves going up Dawes Hill. It’s so steep that it’s often closed during the winter. All it takes is a little snow, ice or freezing rain and the hill is treacherous!

I decided that my objective was to run all the way up the hill without stopping, even briefly. I did give myself full permission to run as slow as I needed, but there was no stopping or even walking allowed today. It was a test of willpower as well as stamina and strength.

So up, up and away I went!

Well, I have to say that there was definitely some really slow running but no walking at all. It was not too bad really. My stamina has improved greatly over the last month and I was proud of my determination to get it done. No headaches or ringing in the ears either. Phew!

Pathway

Pathway

Once at the top, my challenge was then to get back to the house a different way and be there by 8AM at the latest, so that Marjory could leave on time to pick up her mother.

This was going to be far more stressful than climbing Dawes Hill, because I have never run in this area and I knew that there was at least one large ravine between where I was now and home. Hmm… I guess that I like to live a little dangerously, obviously!

I turned left from the top of the hill and ran at a good pace down Montgomery. As the road turned sharp right, I saw a small pathway headed left, and sure enough, it went across a small ravine. How fortunate, I thought, as I ran down the path and into yet another totally unfamiliar residential area.

Montgomery Middle School

Montgomery Middle School track

After a few twists and turns along the roads and through the houses, I spotted some familiar territory. Great, I thought. It’s the Montgomery Middle School playing fields and track.

I knew that across the field there was a pretty path that ran down the ravine, across the stream, up the other side and right back into my very own neighbourhood.

So I picked up the pace as I ran down into the ravine and then back up again to Laurentian. I knew that I was now only a short 3 minute run from home, so I was feeling somewhat relieved that my ‘running route’ intuition had once again served me well, and I would be back on time. Phew!

Ravine trail stream

Ravine trail stream

As I stretched and meditated for a moment outside the house, I first wondered when I might fit in my long run for this week. Tomorrow morning would seem the only time left that might actually work.

I really have to try hard to get a good night’s sleep tonight, and then get up early for my run tomorrow. I want to minimize the impact on the family, especially Marjory, who will want to go and spend time with her father at the hospital.

The home stretch

The home stretch

Then, for a moment, my thoughts turned to death and dying. My mother Marjory, my father Alexander, my younger brother Ray and my closest spiritual friend Ewald all died within seven years, at the end of the last millennium.

I am familiar with death and quite comfortable with death and dying. But I still remember well the pain, grief, sadness and loss that I felt when my loved ones died; and I will be there for Marjory when she needs me.

Let’s see. I wonder where I will go for my long run tomorrow. Somewhere different maybe. Somewhere wild perhaps.  Yes… I think so!

Run#27 Feb 20 – Centennial Oval Track 5K

Centennial High School track

Centennial Secondary School Oval

I was pondering where to run this morning after dropping the kids at school. It was a cold, dark, grey morning and the rain seemed almost sleet at times. I was thinking of running at Mundy Park and taking advantage of the shelter that the trees might offer, when it occurred that maybe today was the day for me to hit the track.

After all, the track is the ultimate test; it’s the runner versus time and distance. It’s where the ‘rubber hits the road’, so to speak. So instead of driving all the way down Foster to Mundy Park, I turned right on Poirier.

Then I parked my car opposite Centennial Secondary School, set my Strava Run app and my Timex watch, turned on my music, George Michael’s ‘Older’ album (I like it lol), and hit the Centennial Oval track.

Centennial track

Centennial Oval – track

Well, lets see what I can do. The distance is exact and the terrain is flat, so I would be able to see what I could do after six weeks of training. It’s a mental challenge as well, for me at least. Going round and round the track is not exactly my first love, I thought. But remember,  you love the meditative quality to running the track, once you’re in the zone, said my positive and optimistic self.

I had only done half a lap when I found myself right in the zone. Wow, this is a great space to be in. As George and the music picked up, so did my pace. My goodness, is that right, I said as Strava Run gently interrupted the music and told me that I had completed 1km at 5:48 per km. Wow, perhaps I can get close to 2 hours for my half, I thought excitedly. My mind then quickly tempered my raw enthusiasm as I reminded myself of what I had been through and all of the set backs that I had overcome over the past two years or so. I definitely did not want to have another set back at this point.

Centennial track - storage trailer

Centennial Oval – equipment storage trailer

Who could that be, I thought, as the music faded away and my iPhone rang. It was my wife Marjory and she needed me to come over to her parent’s apartment immediately to watch over her father. Oh dear, he was supposed to go to the doctor’s with her and her Mom but was so weak that he could go. Now she was going to visit the doctor with her mother and I was to go there and watch over him ASAP.

Of course, I left the track immediately and drove over there. I did not even take the time to stretch.

It was quiet as I entered the apartment. I looked into the bedroom. My father-in-law Carl was sound asleep, which worked well for him and me. I was scheduled to speak with Kim, a sports writer with The Province, after my run this morning about my Vancouver Half Marathon rehabilitation experience. Kim is writing a feature for this Sunday’s Province, I believe, about running and rehabilitation and she was interested in hearing my story.

I found myself a comfortable chair in Carl’s office, and got the call from Kim on my iPhone and we had a long, enjoyable chat. It was a lovely conversation and she seemed a very nice person. I am looking forward to reading her article, hopefully this weekend.

Centennial track & field - score board

Centennial Oval – score board

I though that I might relax for a while, but before I knew it, I heard the keys in the door and Marjory and her Mom were back home. My goodness, they had picked up a wheelchair at the Red Cross while they were out. Although I knew that Carl needed one, and I was pleased that we had it, there was an element of sadness that I felt when I saw it standing there in the hallway.

I left the apartment quite quickly, because I was off to the Starbucks on Austin to meet up with Carol, my UVic Chronic Pain Self-Management Workshop coordinator, to drop off some materials from a workshop that I had recently facilitated at the Earl Haig Retirement Residence. The handover was quick and then we proceeded to have a nice long chat, as we always do. We had to take a quick side trip to drive my son to his challenge program, but that din’t interrupt the flow at all. In fact, it enhanced it!

Carol is a wonderful person to work with and I now consider her to be a good friend too.

Centennial Oval track

Centennial Oval – track

As I left Starbucks and drove down Austin to pick up my daughter at her school, I was reminded once more that it’s so important to surround yourself with good people, especially when you are recovering from a trauma. I am fortunate to be surrounded by many good people at this time.

I quickly checked my clock in the car and it was 3:28pm and my daughter gets out of school at 3:55pm. I think that I just have time, I thought, as I turned right off Austin and headed up Poirier towards my daughter’s elementary school.

Then I parked my car opposite Centennial Secondary School, set my Strava Run app and my Timex watch, turned on my music, George Michael’s ‘Older’ album (I still like it lol), and hit the Centennial Oval track.

Centennial Oval - track

Centennial Oval – track

Strange thing; it was still raining when I started running and I entered the zone quickly, just as I did for my morning run. My lap times were almost identical and my distance and times per km were the same too, according to Strava Run.

Is it Groundhog Day, I wondered, as I drove off to pick up my daughter.

I am once again reminded by today’s events that, even with the best-laid plans in place, things and indeed life itself can change irreversibly in the blink of an eye. If you are able to resist the urge to fight the change, rather, accept the change and simply go with the flow, you are often able to still accomplish the things that you had  originally planned to accomplish, but perhaps in a different way and at a different time.

I am glad to have been reminded of this today, and I hope that you are too. And as this day comes to a close and another begins, may I wish you a good night and sweet dreams.

Run#26 Feb 19 – Blue Mountain and Robinson Memorial Park 5.1K

Blue Mountain Park

Blue Mountain Park

I wondered if I would even run today, first thing this morning. My head was hurting and my ears were ringing. It was a stark reminder that I am still dealing with my chronic concussion and tinnitus symptoms.

I am not sure exactly what caused my symptoms to be so bad at this time, but they have been getting worse for a day or so now. It could have been the jarring and shaking of my brain that likely occurred while running the Buntzen Lake mountain trail on Sunday, or maybe it’s the increased stress around my father-in-law Carl’s failing health. I am not really sure what caused it, but I wish it would just go away for good sometime soon!

After a shower and some oatmeal, I decided that I would go for a short run at least. It’s that old ‘athlete mentality’ of mine perhaps, thinking that I will just ‘run it off’. My two years of brain injury rehabilitation should have taught me that it doesn’t really work like that with brain injury, concussion and tinnitus. I thought a run might just help me feel better psychologically, at least, and if I run short and easy, my symptoms should not increase.

Robinson Memorial Park

Robinson Memorial Park

‘Now where can I run that’s different and not too far?’, I thought to myself after I had dropped the kids at school. I used to walk from our old house near the school, down to the Lougheed skytrain station, passing through the beautifully tranquil Robinson Memorial Park Cemetery. They are nice memories, so I decided I would take a run down that way today.

The sun was out and the weather quite spring like this morning in our area. It still is actually. So I parked my car at Blue Mountain Park and headed along the road and through the neighbourhood. As I passed the beautiful trees that are in the park, then past the many fine houses in the area, and looked at snow-peaked North Shore Mountains in the distance, I thought how fortunate we are to be living in such a beautiful area.

I was soon running on Foster Avenue, down a long stretch that runs by the Vancouver Golf Course. It’s a nice location, but lots of through traffic.

Robinson Memorial Park

Robinson Memorial Park

As I took the wooded path towards the memorial park, I saw a sign warning people to stay away from the Coyotes in the area. That’s new.

Further down the path at the edge of the memorial park there are some lovely, tranquil memorials nestled in the trees. Tended for by loving hands, the surrounding flowers and shrubs are beautiful.

This peaceful place would be somewhere that I would like as a final resting place when the time comes. It reminds me of where my dear mother rests,  by a sturdy tree in an equally tranquil wooded area, in the heart of the beautiful English countryside of Cambridgeshire.

I left the wooded path, quietly and respectfully ran along the perimeter of the main area of the memorial park and out of the gate at the far end.

Blue Mountain running track

Blue Mountain running track

After meandering around the neighbourhood for about a kilometer or so I headed back through the gardens and along that long stretch of Foster, turned onto Blue Mountain and ran down to Blue Mountain Park.

Once in the park, I decided to take a detour around the park and then onto the running track where I ran laps until my Strava Run app gave me the official word that I had completed 5K. I then ran back to the car, stretched and went home for a nice cup of tea!

Some people are afraid of cemeteries, I know, but not me. I enjoy the calm and tranquility and I feel the good energy of those souls that have lived their lives and now rest peacefully.

Run#25 Feb 17 – Buntzen Lake 10.4K

Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake

This morning, I decided to get up early and go out to Buntzen Lake to do my long run. It’s essentially a mountain trail run around a lake up in the mountains above Port Moody.

A fellow parent from my daughter’s soccer group, Chris, had recently mentioned that he runs the Buntzen Lake trail regularly. This planted a seed for me to do it as my next long run. It also brought back lovely memories of a few great summer hikes we’ve done around the lake, as a family.

As I was driving down to Port Moody from my place this morning, the weather down at sea level was quite bright and sunny. However, I could not help but notice the dark rain clouds that were hugging the mountains that rise above the Port Moody inlet.  ‘It’s a good job that I went back for my rain jacket’, I thought as I headed up from Port Moody into those mountains towards Buntzen Lake!

Buntzen Lake Trail

Buntzen Lake Trail

As I parked the car in the car park close to the trailhead, I decided that the rain was going to hold off and I would not need my rain jacket after all.

As I headed off down the trail through the forest and over the long bridge that cuts across the narrow end section of the lake, I was reminded that I was now running in the mountains. It felt good. The tall majestic firs were a darker green and the moss was richer and thicker than in the city parks and ocean trails where I usually run.

As my breathing increased, the air too seemed new and fresh. Of course, the mountain scenery was beautiful, as always.

It felt good to be back in the mountains again. Going to to the mountains is like going to church. I feel close to God when I am in the mountains; when I’m close to nature and all its wonders.

Over the last month, I have become even more aware of how exercise has always had such a positive impact on my life and how it has become critical to my rehabilitation.

Buntzen Lake - causeway & bridge

Buntzen Lake – causeway & floating bridge

I am now hoping that my Vancouver Half Marathon 3-month training program and the race itself will help me overcome my remaining chronic concussion and tinnitus symptoms and help me handle some post-traumatic stress issues that I have faced since my accident.

Regardless, a return to my regular running is clearly helping me with my self-confidence, positive thinking, self-esteem and general sense of well-being.

Of course, a positive thing that has resulted from my accident, injury and rehabilitation experiences is that I am now facilitating the UVic Chronic Pain Self-Management workshops and I am able to speak with authority when I talk about the importance of regular exercise for chronic pain management.

Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake

Another thing that I am able to speak about with some authority at the workshops is how healthy eating and water has a positive impact on chronic pain self-management. Let me explain exactly why I am able to do this and also how healthy eating can benefit all of us.

Last summer, my wife Marjory was researching a healthy diet for her own purposes when she came across an interesting book in the Coquitlam public library that eventually changed our lives. The book is entitled ‘Meals That Heal Inflammation’ and is written by Julie Daniluk RHN.

As Marjory glanced through the book that day at the library, she discovered that Julie’s non-inflammatory recipes might be of benefit to me for my rehabilitation. Specifically, she mentions that a non-inflammatory diet is beneficial for resolving tinnitus. Marjory also learned that this amazing book is actually a culmination of Julie’s own path to healing.

Buntzen Lake Trail

Buntzen Lake Trail

The first half of the book is entitled ‘Why do we hurt” and it identifies the causes of inflammation, emotional pain, allergies, infection, balance, injury recovery and the gut’s role in healing.

The second half of Julie’s amazing book is entitled ‘The Anti-Inflammatory Menu Plan” and it discusses a five-step plan to guide you into a lifestyle shift as painlessly as possible, the anti-inflammatory food chart, building a healthy kitchen, and liquid healing. The latter half of the book provides numerous recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and also lots of healthy ‘between meal’ snacks.

Whew! I was now about 30 minutes into my long run. Sure, the trail was just as beautiful as I remembered, but somehow I had erased all memory of its level of difficulty. There are some very steep sections and I had to walk up a few of them at this point in my training. I was also beginning to realize that I was quite overdressed with two running shirts and a vest. Next time, I will certainly dress a lot lighter considering the work rate required on this demanding trail.

The more Marjory and I got into the book, the more it made total sense. After finishing the book, we decided to adopt this non-inflammatory eating lifestyle as a family.

Buntzen Lake Trail

Buntzen Lake Trail

Specifically, in order to adopt this non-inflammatory food lifestyle, you have to eliminate all inflammatory food sources such as wheat, dairy, nightshade vegetables, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, all pre-processed food products and many other things fro your diet. They are all mentioned specifically in the book.

Julie also discusses the dangers associated with chronic dehydration and the need to fully hydrate the body by drinking 6-12 glasses of water each day!

In order to embrace this nutritional path to good health, Marjory and I had to first completely restock our kitchen and then get to know a whole new food language. All of the meals are created from scratch. They used many ingredients that were unfamiliar with and that could only be found at specialty stores like Planet Organic and Choices. We eventually found some of the things we needed at Thrifty’s too.

It’s quite expensive and time consuming to restock, but totally worth it. We soon became familiar with all the new ingredients and exactly where to find them in the stores!

Buntzen Lake Trail

Buntzen Lake Trail

Cooking all these new meals for the first time was quite exciting, and eating them nothing short of a real gourmet experience. Julie’s recipes are terrific and knowing that they are healthy and nutritious makes them even more delicious. The kids love them too!

Just to add that we all take multivitamin supplements too!

As for the health benefits, we all feel that our energy levels rose and that our mental sharpness seemed to increase quite substantially. Personally my concussion headaches and tinnitus symptoms improve and my head felt less foggy. However, the symptoms still increase when I am stressed or fatigued.

The unexpected bonus that might be the clincher for some of you is that both Marjory and I have effortlessly lost a substantial amount of excess weight. I dropped over 25lbs in three months and now weigh in at a healthy 165lbs. Marjory did equally as well, although I’m not allowed to give out any numbers, of course lol.

Buntzen Lake Trail

Buntzen Lake Trail

As you can imagine, losing this excess weight, primarily around my middle section, has been quite beneficial for my Vancouver Half Marathon training program. I especially appreciated just being a lean 165lbs as I was battling my way up the many steep pitches on the trail this morning. It was hard going at times and I had to walk up a few of the more extreme hills. It took me about a half hour more that I originally estimated to get around the entire lake trail.

Regardless of the time, I felt extremely satisfied and content when I eventually reached the end of the trail and arrived back to my little red Toyota Echo. Then as I was driving out of the park, to add to my pleasure, the sun broke through the clouds and the mountains revealed their full beauty.

Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake

Just inside the front cover of Julie Daniluk’s amazing book, you will find an inscription that say “May this book be an inspiration to all those who seek a path to healing using food as their medicine”.

Julie, if by chance you ever come across this blog on your travels, I would simply like to say thank you. By sharing your knowledge and experiences with us, you have inspired us.

Your book has changed all of our lives immeasurably, and for the better!

Run#24 Feb 14 – Burnaby Lake 5.3K

Burnaby Lake Trail

Burnaby Lake Trail

I had to drop the car off first thing this morning to get the back bumper repaired after someone rear-ended me last week. The repair shop was out Burnaby Lake way so I thought that I would get my morning run done there. Quite efficient, I thought!

I parked the car on the road before the turn-off to Piper Spit because there are so many break-ins that occur in the parking lot. I myself have been broken into twice and so I will not park there anymore. It’s unfortunate because Burnaby Lake is such a beautiful place to run and visit. However, parking just outside the park seems to solve the problem okay.

I headed out along the road towards Piper Spit after setting my Strava Run app. As I crossed the tracks the barrier bells sounded an oncoming train but I was so enthusiastic about my run I kept going despite my fondness of trains.

Burnaby Lake

Burnaby Lake

The Nature House was closed as I ran by. They have a butterfly garden there that’s quite lovely to visit in the summer when the flowers are in bloom. I thing that I will plant a butterfly garden on the sunny side of our house this year, I thought, as I headed onward down the trail.

I took a quick detour along a short trail, to take a moment to rest, enjoy the view of the lake and contemplate my progress.

My training is going well, I thought, and it feels so good. Actually, I recently sat down and worked out where I was in my Vancouver Half Marathon training program. I will have completed 26 runs for a total of 145kms after this run. Then I have schedule another 45 more runs including the race, for a total of 398kms. Let’s see, that’s a grand total of 71 runs and 543kms. Wow, that’s quite impressive, I thought, especially since this is a part of my concussion rehabilitation. So I am about 1/3rd of the way through my program and about to get into some longer runs now. It’s exciting!

Burnaby Lake Trail

Burnaby Lake Trail

As for my concussion and tinnitus symptoms, I am staying positive even though the runs usually increase symptoms after my runs. However, my increase in symptoms is still outweighed by the sense of accomplishment and general well being that I enjoy during and after my runs. I hope that this trend continues and that my symptoms diminish over time. That’s the plan!

I recently found a great feature in my Strava Run app. It  lets me know my ‘time per km’ for each kilometre through my earphones. The voice announcement fades in and out when I am listening to music. It’s quite handy at times.

As I left the forested section of the trail and headed down a long straight section, I spotted a small bridge quite a distance away. The I heard the somewhat stoic voice from Strava announced to me that I had just completed my 2nd kilometer.  So I decided that this little bridge was probably about 2½km out and a good turn-around point.

I was intrigued with the slow moving stream that ran under the bridge. Then I turned around and headed down the straight towards home.

Barnaby Trail bridge

Burnaby Lake Trail bridge

The run back was actually quite a breeze. The trail was gentle on my feet as my stride lengthened and my heart beat increased. It felt good as I ran past the Nature House, up the road and across the tracks.

Once back to the car,  I enjoyed my usual stretch and relaxation routine and my thoughts drifted to the busy days ahead.

First, I will drive home for a quick shower and change of clothes ,and then I am going out for a Valentine’s Day lunch with my dear wife and sweetheart. I love you Marjory!

Right after lunch, I will co-host our final Chronic Pain Self-Management workshop at Earl Haig Retirement Centre. I am so looking forward to being there with our group. They are such wonderful, inspirational people.  Then tomorrow, I am scheduled to attend another UVic Centre on Aging volunteer training course all day.

Busy and enjoyable times, I thought, but my big question is how and when will I mange to fit in my long run this week? Hmmm… I did not have the answer at that moment, but I was quite sure that it would happen!

Last but not least, I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Run#23 Feb 12 – Brunette River 5.3K

Brunette River Trail

Brunette River Trail

I have to admit that I am now searching hard in order to find a new route for every run that I do in February, but I did manage to find another new one again today!

My motivation to go and run by the Brunette River, which is on North Road at the Burnaby and New Westminster border, was partially coffee and muffin driven. There’s a great little restaurant in the Lougheed Mall close by the run, and I had it in mind to visit this fine establishment and feast a little following my run.

Oh well, my run was good as always. The path is actually a gravel road that is used for track maintenance for the railway that runs parallel to the river most of the way to Burnaby lake. It’s fairly straight and runs from the North Road Bridge right up to the entrance to Burnaby Lake, where I started my long run last Friday.

Brunette River Trail

Brunette River Trail

At around the midpoint, there’s a small dam with a fish ladder for the migrating salmon. I remember coming up here for a walk with my son in the Bob stroller when he was quite young. We had stopped to look at the dam and across the other side of the river there stood a large deer with a huge rack of antlers. He just stood there in the mist, just looking at us as we looked at him, for a considerable time. It was a great moment that the three of us shared together. He then quietly trotted off into the mist and the forest.

Soon I was running passed the spot where I parked my car last Friday and I picked up the pace a little. I was feeling quite good and had lots left in reserve, which is a nice feeling at this point in my Vancouver Half Marathon training.

Burnaby Lake

Burnaby Lake

I pushed on into Burnaby Lake park, past the Caribou dam and went right to the end of the paved trail where it meets the lake. I stopped and spent a few moments enjoying the quiet of the lake and I turned and headed back along the trail towards home.

Let’s see now, I thought. About 10 weeks or so to go until race day. I think that I am doing quite well.

In no time at all, I could see the end of the Brunette River trail.  Soon enough, I was back at the car where I enjoyed my stretch and relaxation, put on a fresh shirt, jumped in the car and I was on my way.

Now for some well-earned coffee and muffins, I thought, as I headed up the road towards the mall!