Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Day One of the 12 Days of Yukon

Finally, I am posting the start of my epic northern Canadian travel adventure that happened in July. If you missed the Prequel, just go here. It will set the stage for you.

Just so you know, I did not grow up camping much or travel-trailering.  I recall one tent trailer trip that left me pretty traumatized. As a result, I have no experience and neither does Mr X, but that’s what Google is for.  Based on my “what to take in your trailer” searches, I think I packed everything that was needed. I think.

Plan A: leave on Friday morning and take a short detour down to Boya Lake, spend the night there and then head to Whitehorse the next day. Boya Lake is one of those turquoise blue lakes full of islands. I’ve always wanted to go there. I did not get to go there.

I got this shot off Pinterest.

We weren’t remotely ready in the morning, therefore onto Plan B: leave at 2PM and get to Liard Hotsprings. We got to the Hotsprings campground and low and behold, it was full. I had no clue you should pre-book sites. We opted for the semi-private (I’m joking), beautiful (gravel parking lot) overflow site across the highway with at least 30 other campers. Welcome to camping. Oh, and it was raining.

I got this shot off Trip Advisor. It wasn’t this sunny when we were here.

Rather than cooking inside the trailer and having our neighbours (some girls in a car camping out of the trunk) enjoy our bickering, we opted to eat at the lodge.  Have I mentioned I’m a fussy eater? Pretty much the only thing I would eat off the menu was fish and chips. They seemed a bit freezer burned.

We didn’t even go in the hot springs because I’m spoiled. If there are more than 10 people present and it’s not a winter month, I don’t like going in. The springs were jam packed full of people (maybe because the campground was full and the overflow was nearly full too). It was nice to walk around and check things out regardless.

Needless to say, it was an early night. I took the queen sized bed option half of the trailer and Mr X opted to sleep on the kitchen table/bed as we both like our space.

Stay tuned, Day 2 will be posted soon. This trip just kept getting better.

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12 Days of Yukon – The Prequel

Greetings after a long absence!

This post is the prequel to even more posts (to follow later) about my summer adventures while travelling in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.  But first, I need to set things up for you so you know how it all began.

About 22 months ago I decided I wanted to take some time away from work.  My employer has a “Deferred Salary Program”.  They deduct 10-35% of your salary each pay cheque and after X number of months you have saved up enough to take 6 to 12 months off while receiving full pay.  I went for it.  Well, it wasn’t as simple as “I went for it”, but I’m trying to keep the word count manageable.

It took me 1 year and 7 months of deductions to save enough to take 6 months off work starting June 1.  What’s kind of significant about this date is that it’s the month before I turn half a century.  It’s also the same time that Kobi, my intrepid wing-girl, turns half a century in dog years.  We will be 50 together for 3 months of Kobi’s life.  How cool is that.

During the last three months of work I was doing some loose planning about things I’d like to do while off.  Mostly I just wanted to not work, which really seemed to surprise people when they asked what my plans were.  You see, I’ve never really liked “working”, but because I like wearing Arc’teryx clothes and insist on driving a Jeep (yes, I drive a Jeep because cool outdoorsy people drive Jeeps), I need an income to support these habits.  I’d love it if I could get paid tons of money to showcase my average running skills with my epically cool Rez dog, but unfortunately being average doesn’t draw the attention of high paying sponsorships.  I’m also not particularly entrepreneurial or highly driven so I’ve never landed a job that didn’t feel like work.  I do have a job that I like so I’m not going to complain, besides, they let you take this much time off and still have a job when you come back!

I’ve digressed.  Besides planning on doing whatever I felt like (after waking up WITHOUT an alarm), I thought maybe a trip to the arctic would be cool.  I told my arctic plan to my partner (who didn’t even have a passport at the time and who I will refer to as Mr X from here on in) and he said that sounded cool and he’d like to go with me.  I was somewhat relieved as I figured it would be me and Kobi sleeping in a tent and occasionally getting a motel.  The thought of sleeping in a tent is fine and dandy, if it remains a thought.  When you’re 50, sleeping in a tent is a sleepless painful night of moving from your back, to left side, to stomach, to right side and back onto your back every 5 minutes as there is no air mattress that can offer comfort to an oldish, somewhat arthritic body.  Don’t even get me going if it should happen to rain.  

I’ve digressed again.  Now that Mr X was on board, we decided a travel trailer was the way to go.  Nothing big, just something practical with a toilet.  A toilet was mandatory.  Pooping in an outhouse is something that has lost it’s appeal – can’t say that has ever been appealing.  Mr X spent weeks researching and we landed on a 16.5’ Forest River, No Boundaries.  It looks outdoorsy and the Jeep could tow it.  

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I thought Kobi would love the trailer

10 days before the planned departure date, the Jeep went to the shop for some minor tweaks for the big trip and sure enough they discovered the entire rear end needed replacing.  That took 9 days to fix and cost a quarter of what the trailer cost.  Off to a good start.  With one day remaining before the big departure, we got the Jeep back and noticed the Jeep didn’t have the right towing electrical plug thingy that would fit the trailer. Plan B, take the one ton dodge diesel.

What you may not be aware of, thanks to my blogging delinquency, is that Kobi has developed some pretty significant travel anxiety.  If you follow me on Instagram (@outdoorrunning) you may be aware of Kobi’s anxiety.  It all started last August, I won’t bore you with the details of the circumstances that led up to it, that’s another blog (or two).  As a result of her anxiety and because my amazing dog sitter/cat sitter/garden waterer was available, Kobi stayed home.  

Now you are all up to date on the events that lead up to the start of the arctic adventure. Stay tuned for the next 12 posts about the actual trip to the Yukon (and NWT). Looking back, I honestly didn’t know travelling could be this “exciting”.

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Kobi says, “no way am I going with you on this trip human.”


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Spring Hasn’t Sprung

I’ve been thinking of posting for months and then came to the realization that winter would be over by the time I got around to it.  Turns out I was wrong.  It is officially spring and has been for a bit now (at least according to the calendar), but winter hasn’t let go yet.

Rather than writing about my adventures since December, which would take at least 5,000 words, I shall summarize my most memorable moments since my last post in photos.  I’ve had some epic moments this winter too.  Perhaps I just attract epic adventure much like James Bond attracts gorgeous women.  It’s more probable that it’s just a natural consequence of running in the middle of nowhere with wild animals (I’ve had about 3 adventures with wild caribou alone).  One very memorable run involved a 95 lb golden retriever colliding into the side of my friends knee.  Now I know what bones cracking sound like.   She ended up with a compound fracture on her tibial plateau and will be a in a cast for 12 weeks.  Lesson learned from this, be careful when running with dogs.

Okay, now onto the photos…

7 caribou encountered on this run

Quick trip to the mountains

A little mountain trip

Just out running on the lake

Can you tell we like winter?

Out on the lake again (that’s Zola with us)

Kobi is keeping it real (and I’m trying to look all cool)

Our pack out in the middle of nowhere (a week before the knee break)

Kobi really likes the mountains

Girl power

Okay, that’s enough photo enjoyment.

I have no races planned (except Emperor’s Challenge – if I can get in).  My feelings towards races have evolved since my somewhat dysfunctional year and a half long relationship with Wolverine (recall my heel spur), but that’s an entirely separate post (or series of posts).

As I was closing this post, Kobi showed up at the door with a part of a white tail deer (it’s tail of all things).  I suspect some larger predators had a meal at the expense of the poor deer.  Life in the wild is harsh.  See, I do live an exciting life.

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Cricket is suggesting I not let that in the house

Has spring sprung where you are or is that still up for debate?

Should I have let Kobi in with the body part?  

Which photo is your favourite?


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Catching Up

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That’s how high the sun gets in winter up in these parts

Holy moly people, it’s been a while.  I’ve missed you guys and missed sharing my stories with you.  I’ve had some interesting ones that aren’t so interesting now that they’re old news.

Last time we visited, Kobi was dealing with an injury.  She’s all better now, but it was tough as I felt so much guilt doing anything fun without her that I actually didn’t go skiing and resorted to running on the treadmill.  Yup, I gave up fun for my friend because that’s what friends do for each other.

Okay, so here are some highlights from the last 9 months:

  • I ran one of the Five Peaks races – the one in Golden Ears Park

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I laughed during most of this run.  It was awesome.

  • found a chiropractor for Kobi (only a 5 hour drive for us)
  • Wolverine (my heel spur) hasn’t made his presence known for a while now.  I suspect he’s found someone younger and prettier to torment (that will only make sense if you’ve read my previous posts).
  • spent a solid week at Green Lake where Kobi and I ran and SUP’d every day

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Captain Kobi

  • ran a little mountain race with Kobi where we ran with wild elk

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Post race selfie.  Coach Coty won the 5km and Kobi won the 10km, I came in second.

  • organized and ran the third annual Summit Run-It (with Kobi).  Lots of people didn’t show as the weather was just nasty (wimps), but it was still an epic day

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Kisses at elevation

  • helped organize and participated in a local triathlon and had my first DNF thanks to a tire blow-out and a CO2 cartridge I set off way too early
  • did an insanely difficult mountain hike (three mountains actually) in 7 hours and did not encounter a grizzly bear but did encounter a large section of mountain spiders.  That moment is still burned into my psyche and if I think about it too long I curl up into the fetal position and start shaking uncontrollably.  I am terrified of spiders, but I never  kill them as that would be bad juju and I figure it’s buying me some spider karma.

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Kobi does not fear spiders like I do

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That’s smoke in the background.  BC had a tough year with fires.

  • did a really cool 25km in the Kamloops area – A Walk in the Park (14km, 25km, 50km) that Kobi was allowed to participate in.  I asked the race director if I could bring my dog and he said no one ever asked him that before so he said sure (being a dog lover as well).  All the other runner’s dogs were impressed by her stamina as they all waited for their humans at the finish line.  I have to say that was the most fun race ever.  Really amazing vibe (I won a whistle and plantar fasciitis foot sleeves).

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Kobi ditched me when she saw the photographer and ran with this girl instead

  • did lots of kayaking with Kobi and lots of running (mostly away from mosquitoes and bears).  On one run I ran into two bears literally 200m apart.  Kobi chased them away.  She’s a superstar.

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Paddling around our little lake

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One of my favourite runs

And now we’re well into our favourite season of winter where we run, ski and snowshoe and eat our weight in pancakes and butter-tarts.

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And now it’s winter!

There, now you’re all caught up.  You can’t tell from this particular post that winter is my favourite season, but it is.  What’s yours?  Are you in the middle of a deep freeze right now?  Best run of 2017?  Have you missed Kobi?

Happy 2018!!

 


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Dealing with Injuries

Just when things start going well and your ex-injury boyfriend (my heel spur Wolverine) appears to be gone for almost good, what happens?  My best friend and adventure buddy gets injured. Yup, Kobi is injured.

Dealing with Injuries

Kobi enjoying an off-leash moment

This started back in January, but I did what I do with my personal injuries, I deny them and try to “run” them off.  That worked about as well for Kobi as it has for me.  I gave her two weeks rest, but rest meant no long runs.  She was still running off-leash on our morning, afternoon and evening walks which added up to almost 5km a day.  That isn’t really rest is it?

Dealing with Injuies

Me explaining to Kobi she can’t run yet

The limp went away and I tested her out by taking her for a short fat bike ride.  The thing with Kobi is that when she sees the bike or me in running gear, she has to run like she stole something regardless of how slow I’m going.  Of course the limp came back.

Dealing with Injuries

Fat biking with Kobi.

I took her south to see her doctor 4 hours away and spent on x-rays what could have bought me a lot of new gear, like an awful lot of new gear (don’t get me wrong,  I’d spend ten times that on her if I had to).

The good news is there was no evidence of arthritis or joint issues.  The bad news is they don’t have a CT scan so we have to assume it’s some sort of soft tissue injury.  The vet said I had to get serious about resting Kobi. She went so far as saying kennel her, limit the stairs, and no walking off-leash – even to poop!  If Kobi could talk or had a middle finger she would’ve expressed what she thought of that plan.  So we compromised, we go for short walks on a leash down the driveway, she gets to poop off leash, and we try to limit the number of trips up and down the stairs.

Dealing with Injuries

Kobi doesn’t get the leash thing

We’re at day 22 now and I haven’t seen a limp for a while.  This is good.  The plan is to limit her walks for another week and a half and then re-introduce short running stints with a few days off in between.  I’m optimistic this will work and she’ll be right as rain again.

Dealing with Injuries

Kobi hugging her sloth. The sloth is a metaphor.

I feel so much guilt that I haven’t skied or biked or snowshoed since the visit to Kobi’s doctor.  I run at lunch from work so she doesn’t see me leave without her.  On my weekend long runs she does see me and shoots hot, sad daggers of “how could you cheat on me like this” into my heart.  The rest of the time I run on the treadmill or ride my bike trainer while she rests on her princess bed.  I don’t feel as much guilt on those days.

Dealing with Injuries

Play time before I hit the treadmill

I need to name Kobi’s injury.  Any suggestions?  Ever had to deal with a running buddy who gets injured?  Coping suggestions?


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Is it 2017 Already?

I had intended to write a post sooner, but I was protesting the lack of snow.  I know silly, as only you suffered the loss, but apparently it worked because it started dumping snow on December 31 and we now have a decent amount to play in.

So here is my “2016 year in review” post with somewhat related cool photos of me and Kobi.

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Snowshoe fun in the tundra

To summarize 2016:  basically it sucked.

Those of you who follow my sporadic posts will recall my tumultuous relationship with Wolverine the Adamantium heel spur.  He showed up back in June of 2015 and the relationship was pretty much over as of January 2016, but I was stupid and did what an overly-excited runner recovering from a frustrating injury does – run too much.  By mid February I could barely walk.  Wolverine was back and we were in a serious relationship.

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Running across a frozen lake

Then I did another smart thing, I took up another sport, but not in moderation, I went totally overboard in the indoor climbing gym and by April I had what is affectionately called “climber’s elbow” (or Medial Epicondylitis).  I couldn’t even lift a cup of tea without cringing in pain.  That injury hung out with me until October.

I was running again by June and I’m still running, not great mileage, but at least I’m out there.  As far as Wolverine and I go, we’re tied up in an ugly divorce now.  I don’t hear from him for days even weeks and then out of the blue, there he is.  He doesn’t stick around long though, just long enough.

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Kisses mid-ski

The icing on the cake was a swimming related injury before Christmas.  I did a fancy flip turn at 700m into my swim (I had actually done about 14 of them prior to this one) and something in my neck went terribly wrong.  I tried to swim it off, but that made it worse.  I could barely lift my arms to get my goggles off let alone get out of the pool the pain was so bad.  Two weeks later and 100’s of dollars spent on chiropractic and massage therapy, I could once again turn my head and braid my hair without crying!

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Another snowshoeing in the tundra shot

There is one highlight of 2016, I bought a fat bike and love it! It’s fricken hard work, but a great alternative to running, climbing and swimming, should I get injured in one of those sports.  Plus I get to wear a cool helmet and goggles – they’re purple.  I’m all about the gear, purple gear preferably.

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Nice helmet and goggles hey?  Safety first.

My little rock star Kobi is fabulous of course.  She’s been very patient with my running issues.

I’m convinced 2017 is going to be a good year.

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Kobi says hi

Hope your 2017 is going well!  Ever pull something bad in your neck?  How much snow do you have?  Isn’t Kobi the cutest?  Chiropractic or massage?  Have you fat-biked?  Need any advice about plantar fasciitis or climber’s elbow – just ask!


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Pre-Winter Update

 

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Cool morning runs

Greetings from the Canadian north!

I have been attempting to be a little bit more frequent in my posts, but I just can’t seem to catch enough time – it’s like trying to hold onto a little slippery snake.

I’ve mostly been busy with life and running and other stuff.  I did run a little local race organized by an awesome local gym operator (Coty at Battle Ready Fitness). It was a 7km run over muddy trails with Crossfit style challenges at 4 stations.  I was beat by a 15 year old kid and I’m okay with that (now).  I won a pedicure though, so I’m stoked. Not so sure the esthetician is going to be stoked when she sees my toenails.

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Muddy feet. Kobi had to sit this one out so she stayed clean

Oh, this was big.  It was Kobi’s 5th birthday on September 21!!  I’m not sure her exact birthdate, but picked that date shortly after I decided to keep her.  I can’t believe my baby is 5 already.

I also helped organize and coordinate a local race in late September -the 6th annual half marathon, 10km and 5km fun run!  Kobi ran with my friend so she got to participate.  I ran the route the day before getting the trails ready.

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Pre race trail checks

We had our first snowfall 3 weekends ago when my southern besty was up for a visit (@eastcoastlaine). We went to the mountains for a day and Kobi loved it.

You’re probably curious how Wolverine (aka heel spur aka plantar fasciitis) is doing – if you’ve been following my blog at all. We’re quite distant now and some days I don’t even hear from him.  I’m not complaining and I would prefer to put all my relationship energy into my running again rather than into him.

I did have a third prolotherapy treatment down in the big city a month ago. Recall prolo is dextrose and pain killer injected into the area causing pain with the intent to send your bodies resources there to deal with the invader.  Perhaps Wolverine isn’t into sugar.  My doctor up here did the treatment for me just yesterday.  My big-city sports doctor gave me a lesson on how to instruct her.

Here was the lesson:

  1. place the needle in the area causing the most pain
  2. push the needle in until you hit bone
  3. back off a little bit
  4. inject as much dextrose as the patient can tolerate.

Okay, just saying that hurts.   It’s actually only bad when the needle first goes in and hits the bone, then it’s not so bad – honest.

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OUCH!!!

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, Kobi and I were featured in the September/October issue of Canadian Running Magazine. We were in an article about runners and their rescue dogs.  Four other really cool folks with rescue dogs were also featured.  Check it out.  And here’s Kobi’s public service announcement:  please adopt, don’t shop if you’re looking for a canine companion.

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Famous dog

Don’t forget we’re on Instagram (@outdoorrunning) and Facebook (Kobi the Adventure Dog).  Follow us there and you’ll see cool photos of Kobi on a daily basis.

The next post should involve me raving about all the amazing snow, assuming I manage to post before June.

Happy running everyone!

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Mid run kisses