Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Running Intervals with your Dog

Thanks to the snow fall event last week my plans to run intervals were put on hold for a few days .  I was optimistic that it would melt by Friday, but it didn’t.

The trail was still snow-covered so I decided I’d run intervals on the road.  First problem, I must run with my dog as it just wouldn’t be right to exclude her.  However, running intervals with her on a leash is not much fun for either of us.   I decided if I ran the same piece of road back and forth, Kobi could run on the trail beside the road when I ran west.  When we ran east, she’d be on the leash and unhappy only half the time.  That didn’t seem so bad.

First interval Kobi ran on the leash and was okay.  Second interval I let her off so she could run on the trail while I ran on the road.  That didn’t last long.  There was a pile of traffic exactly at that moment and it made me way too nervous having her off leash.

Third interval, Kobi attempted to trip me about 4 times.  She was getting even with me.  Fourth interval was uneventful. During interval five, Kobi decided that she was going to run behind me and provide resistance.   I swear I heard her laughing.  On the final interval I took her off the leash and she ran on the trail (there was no more traffic).  She was happy again and we were both filthy messes covered in road grime – no photo – I was too cranky.

dog in a truck

Kobi pre Saturday run – her excited face

On Saturday I ran with friends (one who is freakishly fast) and Kobi’s friend Zola the Rhodesian Ridgeback.  We ran the trail in town which still had 2-3 inches of slush on most of it.  First 2 minutes in and I stepped in a hidden puddle (covered in snow) when I went to clean-up Kobi’s first of 3 poops.  That was awesome.  After 20 minutes both feet were equally soaked.

two dogs

Kobi and Zola. That’s mud on Kobi’s nose.

sleeping dog

A happy, sleeping Kobi post-run. I had a post-run nap too.

The snow is mostly gone now and it certainly made for an frustrating interesting week of running.

PS.  The cranes are arriving!  A sure sign of spring now.

sandhill cranes

The sandhill cranes are back!! I think they over-winter in Texas.

Do you cancel work-outs if the weather outside is frightful or do you tough it out?  Ever run intervals with a dog helping/hindering?   Did you know Rhodesian Ridgebacks originated in South Africa and were used to hunt lions?   

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Seriously? It’s April!

I’m speechless….

snow falling

Look what started today?

dog in a snow storm

The snow is actually hurting Kobi’s eyes!

dog in the snow

It snowed 2+ inches in 3.5 hours! And it’s still snowing. At least Kobi is staying clean.

dog and human prints

Snow prints. I’m sick of snow prints.

On the bright side, we’ll get to experience spring all over again….

Please tell me everyone else is having a nice April?  No snow right?  And you’re running in shorts and T-shirts right?  

 


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More Snow Adventures

 

Summit Mountain

Aren’t mountains pretty?

To change things up a bit and take advantage of the beautiful weather, I went up the highway on Saturday with a friend and her dog (Kobi’s besty).   First stop, a pretty little canyon and a frozen river.

Canyon in Stone Mountain Park

We walked up the river a bit, but it was scary as you could hear water under you and the ice was cracking in places.

After the river photos we headed to a trail that led to a radio tower.

Alpine

Sort of the start of our snowshoe. Pretty hey?

There was still plenty of snow up there (elevation start is 4,250′) so snowshoes were a must.  The snow was packed quite well so we didn’t sink too badly, but we also used poles.  Those really help decrease the number of face-plants you take.

Dog on a mountain

One of the few times Kobi was close enough to see. She was running around like she’s never been outside before.

The weather was stunning!  We didn’t need jackets until we got to the very windy summit.  I have no idea the elevation gain, maybe 1,500′?

Stone Mountain Park

More of the view(s)

We saw a few interesting things along the way.  This was the first.  We’re convinced it was a bear den.  Or someone who just dug a whole in the side of the bank.

Hole in the snow

I’m convinced this was a bear den.

Then we saw some tracks.  Kobi saw them first, or smelled them first.  She started barking, had her hackles up and then ran back to me.  That means it was something she didn’t want to tangle with or had never smelled before.  At first I thought they were canine and then I thought maybe it was a bear that had woken up way too early.

I did some Googling when I got home and I am 98.9% certain they were wolverine tracks (not the Hugh Jackman X-Men character).  I deduced this based on the location – alpine, Kobi’s reaction – fear, and how they looked – cross between a canine and a bear = wolverine.  Not a critter I want to run into.  Actually, it is one of the scariest critters to run into.  They are fearless, strong, carnivorous, and did I mention fearless?  I’ve heard they go after bears.

 

alpine

More views along the way. I was too scared to take photos of the beast tracks

We continued onwards and upwards, quite literally.  We could see our destination, the tower, way off in the distance.  After what felt like forever, we finally made it to the top.  Of course we startled some caribou also hanging out up there.  I always hate when I startle cute wildlife.  No photo as I was frantically calling Kobi to get her leashed up so as not to chase the poor critters.

Summit Tower

The tower way off in the distance.

Alpine

The tower way off in the distance, but this time on our way back. Our tracks go on forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

girl and dog

Me and my wingman (girl) at the top. We took our snowshoes off for the last 200m as the snow was all blown away.

Mountain portrait

My friend and Kobi’s besty Dino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I checked the map when I got home and we snowshoed 12km!  That explains why I was so tired.  Kobi is still sleeping today.  She ran like an absolute maniac the entire time we were out there, you would think she had never been outside before.  Seems to be how she rolls.

What’s cool is this is only an hour and half drive (less actually) from where I live.  There also wasn’t anyone else out there – kind of cool and kind of spooky.

Do you think that was a bear den?  Do you think I deduced correctly in identifying the wolverine?  Ever felt like you’ve been running, walking, hiking, snowshoeing forever and it’s only been 15 minutes?

 

 


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Winter, Spring, Winter, Spring, Repeat

The title sums up the weather we’ve been having.  I even experienced both seasons simultaneously on my run on Thursday:  ice, mud and snow, oh and wind.  And it snowed again on Friday.

dog rolling in snow

Kobi doing her snow roll and slide after a run. Notice how muddy she is on the undercarriage.

Because the trails are either frozen ruts, great for breaking ankles, or a soft mess by the afternoon I actually had to run on a road.  Yes, a road!  I don’t think Kobi knew what to make of what we were doing.  She rarely runs on a leash or on a road.

Notice she was sporting her new pretty purple harness and bungee style leash?  I ordered her new accessories from Canadog.  I’m almost a Canicrosser now, almost.

Canadog Sport Harness

Kobi sporting her new purple Canadog Sporty Harness

 

Salomon Speedcross

Notice how my shoes match her harness?

I was quite surprised she didn’t pull as much as I thought she would on a harness.  I was kind of hoping for some help from her, but she mostly ran just off to the side slightly in front of me.  I’ll try a longer lead next time and see what she does.

I wouldn’t have worn my  purple Salomon’s had I known I wouldn’t actually be running in more mud and snow.  I would have worn my purple Kinvera’s, still a good colour match with Kobi and better for road runs.

I almost sound more concerned about matching my running attire and shoes with my dog’s accessories than actually running.  I’m not really, okay, maybe just a little bit.

Do you coordinate your running shoes with your running attire?  Do you even care?  Do you and your dog have matching accessories (if you run with a dog)?


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Living the Wild Wild Life

Sunday we had absolutely stellar weather.  I headed out on a run during the AM and early on had 4 ATV’s pass me.  One ATV had so much exhaust spewing out of it I think I may have lost some brain cells.   So much for being healthy.  Another ATV in the group slowed down to pass me and Kobi.  I thought he was being polite, turns out he was lighting a cigarette.  That made me laugh, or maybe it was the exhaust fumes.

Shortly after this, I came across a trail I hadn’t yet explored and decided today was the day.

winter trail

The new-to-me trail I went run-exploring down.

I didn’t pack any water and was kind of thirsty so I thought I’d eat some snow.   This time of year it’s important to watch out for little black bugs affectionately known as snow fleas.  Kobi photo-bombed my attempt at taking a picture of them.  I didn’t eat any snow.

snow flea and dog

If you click on the photo you can see the small black specks. Snow fleas!

This new-to-me trail ended at a snowmobile trail that I used for skate skiing (recall this post) and the conditions looked awesome.  It just so happened that my friend had suggested we skate ski later that afternoon.  I said I knew the perfect place.

After my run I ate these and then went for my ski.

pancakes

I don’t usual post photos of my food, but these looked so good and I did not stop at 3 and yes, that is maple syrup on top of the strawberries.

We got to the trail and were getting ourselves organized and lo and behold, these guys (girls actually) walked out right in front of us!!

mountain caribou

Not my photo, but exactly what we saw – Mountain Caribou!!

I’m sure the caribou would’ve hung out, however, they saw the dogs and took off back into the woods.  I didn’t get a chance to take photos.  I’ve seen caribou up here often, but never this close.  It was wild!

The skiing was awesome and I could have worn shorts it was so warm.  We felt like we were those fierce Norwegian skate skiers at Sochi, except we moved in slow motion compared to them.

stop sign

Signage on the snowmobile trails where we skied. Pretty much the middle of nowhere.

Ever seen a snow flea?  What are your thoughts about smoking while driving an ATV?

 


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Mostly Running (Away from Other Dogs)

winter running trails

More trails and still snow

It’s been an unusual week in that twice me and my wingman Kobi have had dog run-ins.

We were heading to our favorite little lake, that we usually have to ourselves, when I noticed a truck way down the road.  The dude was driving while his dogs were walking/running.   I stopped, made myself very visible and put Kobi on her leash.

One dog came up and was okay and then the second really big dog came up and totally attacked Kobi.  I of course put myself between her and the dog and was just getting myself together to kick the offender with my metal spiked snowcross shoes (good for ice and defense) when the dude finally got out of his truck to get his dog.

I literally screamed an expletive that I’m kind of proud of, but also kind of embarrassed of. It was like the expletive had a mind of its own and I had no control over what was coming out of my mouth (recall Ralphie from A Christmas Story).

The dude apologized and said he didn’t see my dog.  Seriously!!  How could you not see my dog!!  Kobi seemed okay, no broken skin, but probably bruised.

Then a few days later we’re running the same route and this time this old, fat, scruffy, but kind of cute husky dog starts heading across the road towards us.  A lady is yelling at him to come back (I think the dog was deaf or had selective hearing).  I quickly grab Kobi as I figure we’re in for it.

I yell back at the lady and ask a stupid question, “is your dog friendly?”

When you ask a stupid question, expect a stupid answer.  “Yes,” she says, “but he bites.”

Okay, how do you consider that friendly?

She tells me just yell at him and he’ll turn back.  I yell and he keeps up his slow, old dog jog towards us.  At this point I figure me and Kobi can surely outrun this guy and rather than getting bit by an old friendly dog I’d rather try to outrun him.  Which we did.

Thankfully, he wasn’t there on the way back so she must have wrangled him up.  Here’s hoping for no more dog adventures on future runs.

dog sleeping

Way too much excitement for Kobi results in her heading to bed early

Ever used an expletive that kind of caught you off guard?  Ever been chased by an old, slow jogging, friendly dog that bites?


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Once in a Lifetime

photo montage

Photo montage of the day

I survived the triathlon training day with my triathlete hero Simon Whitfield!

Some of you may recall my last post about the said day as I was just a bit nervous.  If you would like your memory refreshed, just go here.  In a nutshell, it was a day for 10 folks (they added one more so it was 11) to hang out with the talented Simon Whitfield and others and a learn a bit about triathlon from the pro’s.

Prior to my departure I was a bit behind schedule, not unusual for me as I work best under pressure.  I needed the clips off my bicycle as they were going to lend me a bike for the big day.  One YouTube video, 2 phone calls to husband, one probable broken clip on my one bike and 45 minutes later I was still clipless.  I tackled my other bike and had no trouble removing the clips.  Why didn’t I just start with that one??

I then scrambled to get the house clean as for some reason I must clean the house before I leave it for a night or two.  Not sure why, but hopefully the cats appreciated my efforts.

Oh yeah, one small incident at the airport on the way.  I guess my bike clips looked suspicious (in my checked bag!!) so the security dude pulled everything out of my suitcase to find them, but wouldn’t tell me what he was looking for.  It’s great that he knows what all my underwear looks like now just like everyone else who happened to be standing around in the waiting area.  This is a small airport so security is quite intense, go figure.

I arrived in Vancouver Friday night to rain.  Saturday morning it was still raining.  Now I’m getting nervous about the bike part as I have ridden a bike in the rain once, by accident, when a storm caught me off guard.

I made my way over to  the north shore and we hung out at Thomas Haas for a bit first.  OMG best hot chocolate and croissant I’ve ever eaten in my life.  If I were to have died that day (say in a bike crash), I could say I had truly lived life just  through that taste experience alone.

Then we piled into the International Triathlon Union  (ITU) office, Simon arrived, and we all got an opportunity to introduce ourselves through our stories.  There were a few folks who had done Ironman (one who qualified for the Worlds – go Diane!), a few just getting into triathlon, and a few who loved the sport and wanted to learn more.

After the stories, folks headed out on the bikes with non other than Allan Prazsky.  Turns out they didn’t find me a bike to borrow.  I was kind of relieved as I was worried I’d either cause a crash or crash myself.  Instead I ate more Thomas Haas chocolates and hung out with Loreen Barnett (first Canadian chic to do Ironman in the early 80’s and just an amazingly awesome lady), Ed Rice (photographer with a cool accent) and Simon Whitfield (!!!!) and his awesome little girls.  I’m not complaining.

Then we headed to the pool for the swim session.  It’s been a while since I’ve been in a high school change room and I can’t say I want to be in one again for a little while.  Why are teenagers so messy and smelly??  Regardless, the pool session was the most amazing session which was great as I quickly overcame my fear of wearing a bathing suit in public.  I honestly learned so much in this session.  I also nearly froze to death, the water was sooooo cold.

After the swim we had the most delicious lunch provided by Nourish Market and then had a super informative talk by Dave Vukets (Prima Bars) on real food nutrition for training and competition.  I took notes on my energy bar wrapper.

runners

That’s Simon way in the front with the hat on holding the little girl’s hand. His kids ran with us too.

We were pretty far behind schedule by this point and spent about 10 minutes on the run component (outside in the wind and rain).  Simon provided a few key points and then we headed to Level 10 Fitness to learn from Anthony Findlay.  This guy is the head strength and conditioning coach for nearly every Canadian elite athlete and team.  So cool.  He showed us all the moves we need to know to stay strong as triathletes.

Then we had an awesome unwinding yoga session with Christine German and we were done!

Phew!!  There is so much more I could write, but I don’t want to tie up your time anymore than I have.  I’ll just say it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so glad I went for it.  Everyone was so cool and fun and keen and the ITU did such an amazing job organizing the day.  It was surreal to be hanging out with this caliber of athlete and trainer.

triathlon training day

Here we all are at Level 10 Fitness. I’m on Simon’s right.