Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


Running into Fashion

Kinvara 4 runners and a white dog

The purple runners and Kobi

I am sick or ‘estoy enferma’ (I’m taking beginner Spanish and likely got that wrong).  I decided to run today regardless and besides, the razor blades in my throat only feel dull now, not too sharp.  I also heard that you can run sick as long as you don’t have a fever – probably heard that from an unreliable source, but I’m sticking with it.  I also hit the pool bright and early this morning and had my butt kicked by the instructor. Sprint after sprint after sprint and I didn’t drown or faint so I figured I could run. Besides, Kobi needed a run regardless of  my cold. 

I decided to run after work on the trails in town as the trails out my way are nothing but mud right now.  This way I could just haul Kobi back to town with me and then we’d hit the trails right after work.  I also needed some running gear so as I was pulling out running attire, I realized that was coordinating everything to go with my purple runners.  

I have to digress here for a minute as this is kind of funny.  I was on-line window-shoe-shopping the other day and found some Saucony Kinvera 4’s in my size so I was all hot and bothered to order them as I wanted to try them so bad.  I didn’t buy them as I know I need to give myself a “time-out” on any shoe purchase as I tend to buy things I don’t really need (kind of like giving yourself 24 hours to calm down before replying to an email that you gets you all fired up).  Anyway, I was on my “time-out” and then forgot about the shoes until this morning when I saw these cool purple shoes tucked into my running shoe collection.  Guess what they were?  The Kinvera 4’s I wanted to buy!  I already had a pair and totally forgot!  How bad is that?  I either have:   A) too many running shoes,  B)  a very poor memory or,  C)  a dislike for them and therefore forgot about them.  The answer is A and B as how could I not like a purple running shoe! 

Now back to my fashion coordinating.  I select some Lululemon capris with a purple highlight, a black Nike shirt with a subtle white/reflector highlight and a black hat with white highlights.  This outfit tied in very nicely with the purple shoes and of course Kobi’s purple leash.  Remember how I think the colour purple makes me run faster?  

The run was good, but I was cold.  In all my fashion coordinating, I neglected to remember gloves or ear warmers.  I had also wanted to run intervals, but I ended up sort of doing a tempo run as my throat and lungs weren’t up to intervals. 

As far as wildlife encounters:  Kobi chased 3 grouse, 1 raven and 15 squirrels (6 on the way up and 9 on the way back, likely some repeats).  She also had two poops conveniently by garbage receptacles so I could be the responsible dog owner and clean up after her without having to carry a poop bag for miles, although it did help with the cold hands (gross hey?). 

white dog

Kobi post run

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Recovery Week, a Trail Run, and Now a Cold

dogs in the woods

Kobi and her BFF in the larch stand

I always like to take it easy the week after a race.  I think I just like an excuse to take it easy or I’m a bit lazy – maybe both.  I transitioned back into the exercise world later in the week with a swim, a yoga class and my favorite Rushift workout with GSP. 

I did my first post-race run on Saturday (16.4km).  Part of the run was in the community forest.  I haven’t seen any bears (including Hugo) or sign of them in weeks so I wasn’t worried about running in the woods at all (I did a test walk the day before on the trail and saw no signs either so I was pretty confident).  The squirrels and grouse are still out in full force though.  I think I counted at least 10 squirrels on the run.  Kobi probably counted more. 

I was thrilled to run with a friend and her dog so I had someone to chat away at and Kobi had someone to run with too.  I’ve been running on my own for so long now, it was nice to have company especially on a longer run.  I think I talk too much when I’m running with other people and I doubt I gave her a minute to say anything.  Clearly I need to get out more. 

I couldn’t resist a photo of this part of the trail.  It’s a larch stand and if you’re at all familiar with trees, you know that larch trees shed their needles for the winter (like a deciduous, but they’re a conifer).  This part of the trail was covered in larch needles.  It looks like coloured sawdust. 

The weather has been absolutely amazing this last little while.  If I was more dedicated I could have been cycling every day, but I’m not.  I’m also coming down with something and feel absolutely lousy.  I hate getting sick.  I have one more race to do this year at the end of November – the Vancouver Historic Half – so getting sick now is going to interfere with my training.  I hate that. 


I am a Fitness Tourist

post race runner

Me post-race snacking

I have been off on a short fitness tourist vacation.  I travelled to the beautiful city of Victoria, BC in order to participate in the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon

Here are some standout race and pre-race moments: 

  1. Arrived in Victoria 4 nights before the race, not smart as I don’t sleep well when not in my own bed so I was pretty exhausted the morning of the race. 
  2. Behaved like a complete tourist and walked close to 20km a day hitting museums and stores in the three days leading up to the race.  My feet were killing me and I was convinced I had given myself plantar fasciitis – I’m a chronic pre-race hypochondriac.
  3. Ate way too much fudge, I have no excuse for that one. 
  4. Picked up my race number to see that it was all the numbers in my birthdate, either a good omen or bad one (see number 2).  Seeing as I survived the run I now feel that I just wasted incredible luck and should’ve purchased a lottery ticket instead of registering for this race as I may have been able to retire a millionaire (what are the odds of getting a race number that is your birthdate?).
  5. Applied purple nail polish to my finger nails (toe nails are always purple) as I swear that colour makes me run faster.
  6. Pre-race ritual is to use one of the port-a-potties.  Cost me 20 minutes in a line-up.  Would’ve been faster to walk back to the hotel. 
  7. Made it to my approximate corral location with 5 minutes to spare, looked to my right and saw my cousin in the start line (we’re second cousins).  We always seem to end up running the same races and I see more of him than my other cousins as a result.  Clearly my other cousins need to take up running if they want to visit me.
  8. Carried my own water bottle of Cytomax so I could speed by water stations and avoid choking on cups of water that I couldn’t wrap my lips around.  I dropped the bottle cap at around 15km and didn’t want to toss the bottle as the race was in a residential area and I didn’t want to litter so I held on to it until the next water station.  I looked funny as I was trying to hold a cap-less water bottle very still so as not to splash it all over me for nearly 3km until I made it to the next water station.  I just realized I could have dumped it out. Obviously, all the blood was in my legs and not my brain at that time. 
  9. At about 18km my cousin went flying by me, I figured he was already a head of me.  So I thought, “good, now I can see if I can match his pace and he’ll take me into the finish line.”  Didn’t happen, I looked for that next gear, but I was already in it apparently.  I did keep him in sight.  He is a very fast runner and 14 years younger so he ought to be faster (I try not to dwell too long on the fact that he didn’t really train much for this race). 

I crossed the finish line in a respectable time of 1:37:55.  My post-race gift to myself was a small silver dog pendant that I can wear at all the races that I can’t bring Kobi to. 

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Wings Versus Feet

white dog rolling in sand

Kobi rolling in the dirt after our latest run, she wasn’t dirty enough I guess

The bears must be preparing for hibernation as I haven’t seen one in ages.  Nor have any concerned citizens stopped to warn me of any.  I was actually feeling a bit uncomfortable running outside because so many people kept stopping to warn me about bears.  I was beginning to feel they must think I’m stupid as I keep running outside regardless of their cautions. 

There is one particular warning that I will never forget.  A guy in a collector style convertible with 5 huskies in it stopped to warn me about a bear he’d recently seen in the area.  I was so surprised to see that many dogs in a convertible that I didn’t ask if I could take a photo, it would’ve been a cool photo. 

One critter I am seeing a lot of right now is spruce grouse (I think its spruce anyway).  I see them on all my runs and walks with Kobi, I can’t even count how many I’ve seen, well over 20 but some are likely repeats.  They do scare me half to death as they fly up at the very last second and are so well camouflaged I never see them until that last second.  Then I usually scream. 

I think flying up at the last second must be a grouse survival strategy.  This way if the predator has a weak heart, they will have a heart attack or possibly heart failure due to the surprise and won’t be able to catch the grouse for dinner. 

Often Kobi finds them first and I have noticed she has pointing skills (maybe she has some hunting breed in her genes).  She demonstrated them again on today’s afternoon walk.  I was wondering why she was standing so still in one spot looking, I thought she was just waiting for me (insert laugh here).  She had spotted a grouse and was watching it walk along the trail.  Don’t worry, it got away. 

I think she likes them better than squirrels right now as she thinks she has a better chance at catching one and they also seem to be in larger family units so instead of just one exciting animal to chase there are 4 or 5 of them.  I’ll stress again, she’s never caught one and I doubt she will ever catch one. 

I hope I don’t come across as a completely irresponsible dog owner as it probably appears that I let Kobi run wild and chase whatever she wants.  I guess I kind of do, but not really.  She wears an e-collar so I have contact with her at all times when we’re in our rural and remote areas and the buzz setting is all she needs to remind her to stop what she’s doing.  I do draw the line at chasing ungulates (deer and moose) and of course livestock.  Cows and horses mostly scare her anyway. 

Horses in a field

Horses we saw on one of our runs, Kobi did not chase them.


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Falling off the Exercise Endorphin Bus

kitten yawning

How I was feeling today

Yesterday was an awesome day.  It all started at 5AM (not so awesome) when I got up in order to make it to the 6AM Swim Fit class at the pool.  The instructor, just some former competitive level swimming athlete, holds these classes twice per week.  Needless to say, her workouts are not for the faint of heart, although my heart feels a little faint at the end of each session.

Prior to this workout, I indulge in an instant ice coffee mix made by that famous coffee place that originated in Seattle (at this hour of the morning, everything needs to be instant or it just isn’t going to happen).  I know it’s an ice coffee mix, but I break the rules and add hot water and a bunch of half and half/creamo.  It is the sweetest, dreamiest coffee you can have.  If you like sweet coffee, you might like this, it is so good!  There is nothing like a little (maybe a lot of) sugar and caffeine to get you going first thing in the morning. 

Here’s a formula to summarize things:  sugar + caffeine + swim workout = feeling pretty darn good.  I just love caffeine and exercise induced endorphins (likely released to mask the stress I’ve just put myself through – I’ll have to Google that and see if it’s true). 

The only downside was that I was so hungry after the workout I felt like I could eat my body weight in food and had my entire lunch eaten by 10AM.  Recall my lunches are not small – they take 15 minutes to make.  I scrounged and ate every protein and granola bar I had hidden in my desk and purse.  That got me to 11AM.  I had to buy more food. 

Regardless of the issues with relentless hunger, I was in a completely stellar mood all day.  What could possibly make things even better?  A run of course!  I wasn’t going to run but I just couldn’t waste how good I was feeling or how beautiful the weather had turned and besides, Kobi loves to run too. 

After the run, I was still on an absolute happy high and completed more chores in 1.5 hours than I can usually pull off in an entire day.  To top things off, I even had time to make it to the power flow yoga class.  I like to mix power yoga up with my weight workouts so yoga it was and Rushfit will have to wait another day (sorry GSP – I still love you). 

The yoga class was awesome like always, but hard (I only nearly dislocated my shoulder once).  I haven’t been to yoga in weeks and my inflexible hips (from running) and tight upper back (from swimming) make it more difficult (in my head anyway).  

All in all, yesterday was a pretty amazing day.  Today on the other hand, was not so great.  It was either because I was doing housework related chores all day, or that I was having an exercise endorphin hangover, or I was just completely exhausted.  I honestly think it was a hangover, although housework can suck all the fun out of any day. 


Never Enough Time

many white dogs

Kobi Clones

Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the lack of spare hours I seem to have in a day.  By the time I get home from work, walk the dog (or run the dog), do some general tidying up, make my lunch for the next day (very important), make dinner, eat dinner, then do some more clean-up, it’s time for bed!!

This doesn’t even factor in cross-training, washing the floors, picking up the mail, buying groceries, or cleaning litter boxes.  I can’t imagine if there were kids in this picture!

I’ve decided that in order to do all these things relatively stress-free, I need to clone myself.  Wouldn’t that be awesome? 

Here’s what I need for clones:

  1. One that does the house-work, runs errands, watches some television to keep me up to speed on good sitcoms and what’s going on in Hollywood (and the world), as well as plays with the cats and dog
  2. A chef clone that does the cooking, baking, grocery shopping, lunch-making, and plays with the cats and dog 
  3. An exercise clone who would do all the exercising:  running, swimming, biking, walking the dog, weight training, etc (I think I want to be this one)
  4. A clone that is a chiropractor, massage therapist, physiotherapist specializing in sports medicine, and an investment specialist (we all need one of those)
  5. One of us would work full-time in order to cover the costs of our running obsession as well as eating habits and of course just to stay in touch with the outside world
  6. And finally, a spare clone to pick-up where the others might need help and to fill in if someone needs a sick day.

In my bizarre fantasy, we’d all get together at the end of the day over some nice herbal tea and chat about our day(s). 

Okay, don’t over think this as you’ll ruin it and of course don’t even begin to consider the moral rights issues, I’m trying to keep it light. 

Well, time to go walk the dog, tidy up the house, clean the litter boxes, make my lunch, make some dinner, clean-up some more…

Let me know how you fit it all in?  Do you prioritize or run anyway and deal with the messy kitchen later?