Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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My Week in Review

trees in autumn

How I wish it looked today (this was Wednesday)

How to summarize this week in close to 500 words?  Here goes…

Wednesday I left work early to pick Kobi up as I had planned to go back to town to run the community trail as the trails out this way were muddy.  On the way home, a very low flying small plane flew over me and I noticed the wing on the plane was on fire.  I realized the plane was attempting to make an emergency landing on a side road in town. 

Me and several other drivers turned down the road, to try to help I think.  When I got close, I saw the plane had landed and was engulfed in flames.  That was one of the scariest things I have ever witnessed.  The pilot escaped with minor injuries – pretty unbelievable.

I got home late as a result of the plane crash and ended up running on the muddy trails out this way as I wasn’t in the mood to drive back to town.  We (me and Kobi) did intervals on the trails, always harder than running on a track or road, but my preference.  Hey, Usain Bolt trained on a dirt track back in Jamaica, so there is something to be said about keeping it real. 

I haven’t seen Hugo (the black bear) in ages, but have seen his tracks.  I think he’s gone into Ninja mode and is out there, but not making his presence known.  I did notice these “wolf” tracks, at least I think they’re wolf.

Dog tracks

Pretty big dog prints

Friday’s run was a tempo run on the trail in town.  To sum that one up, pretty much felt like throwing up the entire time and as a result the tempo only lasted 20 minutes. 

Today’s run ended up 1.7km shorter than I had originally planned (planned 24km, ran 22.3km and yes, I am counting the 0.3km).  It was one of those runs that built more character than anything.  I couldn’t even food motivate myself, which is how I can usually get through anything. 

All I could do was try to get the run over with.  My hands were cold (I was wearing those cheap dollar store mini gloves) and my clothes had soaked up so much rain by 6km I felt about 10 pounds heavier.  I may as well have jumped into a pool prior to running I was so completely soaked.  My pants also kept slipping down because they were so heavy and water-logged.

You see, I rarely have to run in the rain as it typically doesn’t rain all the time up here and hardly during my scheduled runs – used to think I had great-weather-running-karma – up until now.  And I had to do the long run today as I’m running the Victoria Half Marathon in 2 weeks and this was the last long run prior to the race.   

I really really hope it doesn’t rain in Victoria on October 13.    

Wet white dog

How I felt during today’s run

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The World Through the Eyes of Kobi

Dog on a dirt road

Kobi at the start of our walk

I am taking a few days off from running as I have an angry left hamstring (it’s been angry since April and I have chosen to ignore it) and I seem to have picked up a bug, likely from two nights in a row of less than six hours of sleep and being around sick people.

In light of that I thought it would be an ideal time to have a guest blogger, the guest being Kobi.  Now because we humans love to anthropomorphize (that was a mouthful and took a few tries with spell check) everything that isn’t human, I am going to write how I think Kobi experiences the world on a walk or a run, but in English. 

Here’s how it begins….

Where’s the human?  Oh wait a minute, there she is.  Is she wearing shorts or those tight short pants?  Nope, we’re not going for a long fast adventure then, hmmm, what is she doing?  She’s going downstairs, I must follow as fast as possible as she might be trying to leave without me.  She’s putting the big black collar on me, OMG, I am so excited, that means we’re going on an adventure!  (Translation – e collar). 

I want outside now, now, now, let me out first, I must get outside first.  Let me out, let me out, let me out now!!

We’re outside…I must run as fast as possible down the driveway.  I must get there first.  I must smell everything.  Here’s a smell, oh and another, and another smell, oh wait another smell, I must follow this smell. 

I think I’m hearing a word I hear often.  I better run back, oh, there she is, sheesh she is so slow.  Oh, I smell a squirrel, oh, I see the squirrel.  I must climb this tree.  I hear that same word again – sounds like K-O-B-I.  I hear that a lot.  I better go back. 

Now she’s making me sit beside this smooth flat stretch (translation – road).  Why do I have to sit?  I prefer to run.  I’m still sitting, hurry up, I’ve been sitting for hours (translation – 2 seconds).  I heard OK, I must run fast.  Oh, I smell a bear, I smell dogs, I smell a million smells and I must smell them all. 

Wait, now I hear something.  I must chase this sound, I hate this sound.  Why is my neck buzzing?  Huh?  Oh, I hear that word again (translation – Kobi wanting to race a truck but distracted by the e collar and her name).  I love to run, run, run, and smell everything. 

Gotta poop, gotta poop, gotta poop.  This spot isn’t good, this isn’t good either.  Maybe if I spin around a bit, nope, maybe I’ll turn this way, nope, not good either.  I’ll move over here and spin around a few times.  Ah yes, this is good.  I POOPED! 

Now I must run again, run and smell and smell.  Yikes, what is that?  Maybe if I look really big and bark it will retreat (translation – hackles are up).  Where is the human?  I need her to take control of this situation.  I’m freaking out here!  Finally, she has taken control and is standing on the alien.  I can proceed now and investigate and kill the alien, kill the alien (translation – large pink plastic wrapper from house insulation on the trail at first scared Kobi, but then she grabbed it, shook it and ran with it until it was dead). 

We’ve turned around now.  What smell did I miss?  Did I miss this smell?  There is the alien again, whatever, boring.  Oh, I think I smell a mouse.  I smell something here…bear poo, I must pee on it. 

Must run after that loud noise (translation – another vehicle goes by).  Why is my neck buzzing?  I hear that word again (translation – Kobi, come here).  I better run back to her.  Why do I have to sit and wait again.  I hate waiting, it takes forever!!!  Yawn.  Translation – waiting to cross the road again.  I heard OK, now I can run again, yaaaay.  Oh, I see one of those black things in the air, I hate those things. I must chase it and catch it (translation – raven). 

I don’t want to go inside, I want you to throw sticks and chase me.  PLEASE!   PRETTY PLEASE!  Translation – cute brown eyes staring up at me.  Ah ha!  Works every time!  She’s throwing the stick now.  I got it first and no one can ever have this stick back from me.  Just try to catch me!!  I must run fast, as fast as I can around and around the yard.  The human runs so slow she’ll never catch me. 

Okay, I’m ready to go inside now.  Where’s my dinner? 

If we were on a run instead of a walk, imagine the above, but 10x longer.  Dogs are just so much fun. 


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Shred the Trail and Best Birthday Ever

puppy in the snow

Kobi as a baby

It isn’t my birthday, but it is Kobi’s birthday today.  Coincidentally, there is a fun run and half marathon on the same day.  You would almost think I planned it that way, but it wasn’t entirely intentional. 

I was never exactly certain about Kobi’s actual birthdate, but September 21 seemed close (based on the approximate age she was when I found her).  I also liked that date as it’s nearly the equinox which is cool (not so cool that the days get shorter now).  Turns out we also plan a community half marathon and fun run the third Saturday of every September and today’s event fell on the 21st.   

How many dogs can say they have over 100 people, 25 dogs, and a trail run for a birthday party?  I doubt too many and if they are out there, I’d love to hear about their parties! 

Because I’m one of the race coordinators I wasn’t able to run the race, but Kobi did run the half marathon with her Godmother (yes, she has a Godmother) and they both had a great time and ran pretty fast too.

I had the best time cheering on other runners and walkers and would highly recommend any runners out there who haven’t volunteered at a race yet to do so.  It is a lot of fun. 

Happy second birthday Kobi!

dog sleeping

Kobi and her post party nap


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Why Does Running Make Me so Hungry?

Dog in the forest

Kobi taking a breather on our run today

I’m not sure if it was the fresh air or because my run was over 30 minutes long (closer to 65 minutes), but I was ravenous.  I always seem to be ravenous after a run and especially during and after longer runs.

The second I got back to the house I was tearing through the pantry to find some quick high calorie carbohydrates.  I’m a carb addict.  I love them!  People are mean to carbs and don’t appreciate them for the amazing nutrient they are.

I ended up finding some stale chocolate cookies (made out of cocoa, butter and milk – how perfect is that), a Filipino short bread cookie called Polvoron (seriously, check these out, they’re small and have decent calories in them and are tasty, just a bit dry) and three questionable pancakes (made last Saturday).

Because I can’t do just one thing, ever, I threw the questionable pancakes in the toaster oven, decided I absolutely had to make yogurt so I plugged the kettle in to also make tea because I was cold and to boil water to heat up the yogurt cups, then I put the milk for the yogurt in the microwave and plugged the yogurt maker in to start warming it up.

Fortunately, the circuit breaker shut me down before I could do any serious damage like burn the pancakes, boil the milk over and knock the kettle off the counter.

It wasn’t as simple as just flipping the breaker back on.  That would be easy.  You see, I have this interesting preoccupation when I wear socks on hardwood floors, I have to do the “Risky Business” sock slide on every possible straight stretch where I can get some speed.  This is why I wear Birkenstocks 98% of the time inside the house (I wasn’t wearing my Birks because I couldn’t find them – misplacing things is another super power I have).

While en route to the breaker panel in the basement, I couldn’t resist yet one more “Risky Business” slide (I had already done two en route upstairs) and ended up crashing my ankle into a pile of wood in front of the breaker panel.  I’m not really sure why this wood is there, but that’s another rant.

I’m bruised, but will be fine.  Being the slow learner and multi-tasker that I am I still did a few more “slides” en route to get a load of laundry started as well as getting some chicken out of the freezer for dinner which I forgot about until somewhere between putting the laundry in the dryer, completing the yogurt and the reoccurring hunger pangs.

Thankfully, I did find my Birks and I am once again grounded.


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Best Friends and Rainbows

dog jumping

Kobi the white blurr and the tail end of Dino, her BFF

Everyone needs a friend who loves doing the things we love to do.  This friend should ideally be of equal ability to us or perhaps just a little bit stronger.  Not so much stronger that we nearly kill ourselves trying to keep up to them (or drive them nuts waiting for us all the time).  This friend should also be a bit braver than us or maybe just approach things a bit differently.  Or we just need to be gullible enough to say yes to their ideas.  Regardless, I am blessed to have such a friend.  Her dog Dino is also Kobi’s BFF so it is perfect.

Last weekend, this friend suggested that we go on a hike into the mountains.  The purpose of this hike was to swim in the lake that is the feature point at the end of the hike.  Who would think to pack a wetsuit through the mountains in order to swim across a lake?  Certainly not me, so I immediately said yes!

The hike was beautiful and literally covered in blueberries (no bears or grizzlies thank goodness).  We got to the lake and there were 3 mountain bikers there who probably thought we were absolutely nuts as we were getting into our wetsuits.  If you haven’t seen someone trying to get into a wetsuit before, it is quite funny as it takes a while.  Fortunately, they left before we entered the water, recall it takes a while to get into a wetsuit.

Up until this point, I hadn’t really considered where the water for this lake came from – first clue, mountains, second clue, oh I don’t know, glaciers maybe?   It was the coldest water I’ve ever been in.  Imagine an ice cream headache  x10.  We didn’t actually make it across the lake as it was so cold on our hands and faces it felt like we were going to freeze solid and break into a million pieces like roses dipped into liquid nitrogen and then dropped on the floor.

Kobi swam out with us to make sure we were okay, but she became so cold she tried climbing on top of us.  The older wiser Dino just barked at us from the shore.  Her barks were translated to this:  “You idiots, get out of the water!  Do you know how cold it is?  How am I supposed to rescue three of you from that lake when I hate swimming!  Did you think this through?  Get out of the water NOW!”.

We took her advice and got out alive (we didn’t make it across the lake but were okay with that) and proceeded to laugh our heads off.  That is likely a survival mechanism for warming up after swimming in ridiculously cold water.  Kobi literally ran in circles chasing her tail, winding up one way and then unwinding the other way.  Then she ran as fast as she could while making these little grunting sounds (don’t worry, she was okay).

The hike out was uneventful except for the handfuls of blueberries and then the typical unpredictable mountain weather that always has to happen – extreme winds and then rain.  The storm was short-lived and by the time we were almost back to the vehicle you would’ve never known it had even occurred it got so nice again and of course, there was a rainbow.

All in all I built a little bit more character and can now say that I swam in that lake (that I don’t even know the name of) all thanks to my adventurous friend.

Rainbows and mountains

The Rainbow at the end of the hike


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Saving the World and Second Dates

sun reflecting on a lake

The late afternoon sun

Have you ever had one of those moments when things become so clear that everything makes sense?  When all of a sudden you realize you can solve all of the world’s problems?

I had one of those moments today on my morning run.  I’ve had similar epiphanies during other runs, answers to all the hard questions, only to forget all the answers 2 minutes after my run.  Not today.  The answer is so simple too.  If everyone ran, everyone would feel so good they wouldn’t want fight anymore and we would achieve world peace everyone would be happy and eat healthy.

Of course there are significant flaws with this simple solution to the world’s problems.  But let’s just pretend it could be that easy.  Wouldn’t that be cool?

The weather has been so amazing in this province this past while that I think most everyone in British Columbia is euphoric.  BC is the best place on earth (sorry G, Britain is nice too , but what you lack there is made up for with cool accents, Top Gear and James Bond).

To add to my euphoric state I had a second date with my new “girlfriend” Nalu (the kayak/SUP for those of you unfamiliar with her).  We went out twice today, but I’ll count it as one date as it was all on the same day.  I’m completely exhausted, but sad that I have to leave her tomorrow.  I’ll be back to get her next spring.

I have to admit, I miss Kobi and will be happy to have her back as my running companion and adventure seeker.


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On a Whim

kayak on a lake

The maiden voyage of Nalu

I’m on a break from the north and I’m in close proximity to the most beautiful lake ever.  I decided to pack very light (I have no idea why) and left my wetsuit at home so I haven’t been able to swim as the lake is a bit chilly.

I have been intrigued by stand-up paddleboards (SUP) for a while and splurged and bought a kayak/SUP.

I have a new boyfriend now.  His name is Nalu, meaning wave in Hawaiian.  Correction, I was just told that any water vessel must be a female, so I mean I have a new girlfriend now, her name is Nalu.

I am officially in love with “her”.  I didn’t bother watching any “how to” videos first as often the best lessons (and stories) are those that we just jump into.  I didn’t fall off – yet.  That would’ve been cold but would’ve made for a good story.  I did the stand up version and then the sit-down kayak version.  I love both, I think I need to learn some paddling technique though as I’ve never really paddled before.

I haven’t run in a few days as I managed to injure myself on the plane ride down here.  Yup, only I could injure myself sitting on a plane.  I actually don’t know if it was the plane, the new yoga move (astavakrasana) I attempted a few days ago (that’s a story all by itself), or the fast tempo run (running in fear of Hugo the bear).  Maybe it was a combination of all three.  For whatever reason, as soon as I got off the plane I felt the worst pain in my hip.  I have to admit, injuries that prevent me from running are my worst fear.

I am keen to spend more time with Nalu (as we’re in the early stages of our new relationship), but I will also run tomorrow as my hip feels pretty good.  I hear there is a bear hanging around and there are even cougars (the feline kind) in these parts so I will likely and unfortunately avoid the trails.  I’m off to watch some YouTube videos on paddling now…