Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


9 Comments

Random Updates

dog in lake

It’s a been a while hasn’t it?

It’s been so long since my last post, it’s nearly winter. I actually did see snow on the weekend, but it was way up in the mountains so we’re still safe for now.

Wow, so much has happened over the summer I don’t even know where to begin. How about some highlights?

I have been struggling with what I had hoped was just a bruised heel. It’s actually a heel spur and plantar fasciitis. Oh goody!

The heel issue that I was denying started back in June and got really awesome just 3 weeks before my one and only planned out-of-town race this year. Great timing! I still managed to pull off my second fastest time out of 5 attempts at my favourite love-to-hate race, The Emperor’s Challenge.

Emperor's Challenge

The view from the top of the Emperor’s Challenge

Oh, I also smacked myself in the face, lower lip to be precise, with a weight bar at CrossFit. Of course the two most epic CrossFitters from town got to witness my awkwardness. I’m just way too cool. I didn’t cry though and I likely should’ve got stitches as I split my lip pretty good. I have a nice bulgy ugly scar now. Would you believe I did this the day before I had a wedding to go to? Yup! I know how to plan things.

wedding at Muncho Lake

You can sort of see my cut lower lip (I’m the one on the right). 

The day after that I helped with a colour run that could have no colour because apparently corn starch (the stuff the colour is added to) is actually very flammable. Keep that in mind when you sign up for your next colour run. Just don’t smoke and you should be okay.

We also went on an epic hike up a few mountains the other day. Mountains just make me so happy. Kobi too, she’s just a little mountain goat.

dog on a mountain

Kobi posing on the mountain.

dog and hiker

We’re so happy when we’re in the mountains.

An up and coming cool event is happening next weekend.  CrossFit Coach Coty is hosting the first ever trail run with epic CrossFit stations next week! I’m excited! I’m going to try very hard not to smack myself in the face with a kettle bell. I’m sure I’ll manage to hurt myself somehow. It will for sure be in front of an audience too as what better way to humiliate yourself than in front of an aid station and some totally cool CrossFit people who know how not to smack their faces with weights.

I will for sure post after the race and if I hurt myself, I’ll take a photo, unless it’s real bad.

Alrighty folks, that’s it for now. Standby for next weeks epic re-telling of the first ever CrossFit trail run! Bears may be involved!

Stone Mountain Park

One more from the mountains

Seen any snow yet? Ever smacked yourself in the face with a weight bar? Guess how many bears I saw in August? Is it feeling like autumn or winter where you live?


8 Comments

Adventures in the Back Country

happy dog

Smiley Kobi

It’s me again! There’s been so much going on I haven’t had time to update you on my adventures up in this neck of the woods.
Back on June 20 we held the first annual epic Summit Run-It – a 12km run in the Northern Rockies. We had 30 runners show up and 10 dogs. Not bad for no advertising and it was held the day before the solstice which up here means nearly 22 hours of daylight. I also ended up making race medals with a caribou stamped on them. I can be crafty.

Summit Run-It

Views from the Summit Run-It

dog wearing a race medal

Nifty little race medal hey?

Okay, onto other epic-ness. I did my first backcountry hike a week ago. It was 3.50 days and 3 nights. I was with four others who knew what they were doing which was good because I didn’t. I also brought Kobi. We hiked an area called the Wokkpash. Google it if you’re interested, it’s kind of cool.

Wokkpash River

View of the Wokkpash River

My pack weighed a mere 55lbs. That’s 40% of my body weight. I was pretty certain my hip flexors were going to snap under the strain during the 2 hours of the 5 or 6 km we covered the first night.

Wokkpash campsite

Our first campsite

The next day Kobi had her first near miss with a porcupine. She was on a leash after that as the e-collar didn’t slow her down fast enough. By now my hip flexors were a little more understanding, not so much my hip bones. The hip belt on my pack was digging in pretty deep by now. I named my pack Cruella that day.

Wokkpash River

Shortly after I named my pack Cruella

Wokkpash Lake

Wokkpash Lake. It was only 7km long and we had to walk to the end

Day 3 was more hip pain, back spasms, an insane climb up a mountain as well as more porcupines. Kobi’s feet were showing some wear so I tried putting her boots on her feet, but they just immobilized her, that wasn’t very helpful. Kobi was also unimpressed that I did not bring her princess bed along. I was also wishing for a princess bed.

Forlorn Gorge Wokkpash Loop

Cool rock

Wokkpash porcupine

That little brown blob in the rocks is a baby porcupine. Mamma took off up the hill.

Day 4 was only about 23km worth of valleys and small mountains as well as four river crossings. My hip bones were causing so much pain after the first 2 hours I could only use my shoulder straps on Cruella. Thankfully I had eaten 8lbs of my 8.5lbs of food by this time so my pack was maybe closer to 48lbs. Easy peasy.

Wokkpash, Last Chance Lake

Night #3. Kobi is already in the tent on my bed.

Wokkpash Loop

Day 3, smiling through the pain

With only 2 km left, my right Achilles decided to betray me and I caused a bit of a teary, pathetic scene. Thankfully one of the trekkers in our group is ridiculously strong and carried my pack as well as his pack the rest of the way while I hobbled along feeling sorry for myself. I did give him the rest of my peanut M&M’s for his help and reduced Cruella’s weight by another 300g. Not that anyone noticed by this time.

Wokkpash

Are we done yet?

I will admit I had a few “dark” moments with myself on this trip, but that happens when you’re hungry, sleep deprived, experiencing significant pain, and haven’t showered in 3 days. Reflecting back on this trip now that I’m all clean and not so hungry, it was pretty cool (except for the hip bruises which are still very painful). I haven’t given up on backpacking and will do a trek somewhere else again, just not next week, more like next summer.

end of the Wokkpash Loop

The end

Ever backpacked in the back-country? What are your thoughts on porcupines – cute Ewok type creatures, or mother-natures nasty surprise (for dogs)?


12 Comments

Where Does All the Time Go??

dog and horses

Kobi and the unicorns

Holy doodle, it has been a while since my last post!  Every week I mean to write a post to fill you in on my adventures, but somehow I run out of time.  So much has happened, but I’ll just dazzle you with the epic highlights in 400 words or less.

dog chasing butterflies

Just chasing butterflies

My first planned race of the year was cancelled so my next first race of the year will be June 20 – the Summit Run-It, the one I’m organizing.  We capped it at 40 people.  It will be epic.

dog eating ice cream

Summer time means ice cream time

We’re in full-on summer, except the odd day where it turns to near winter again.  That means the days are super long, the flying pinchers are out (the most dreaded insect of the north), the wild roses are blooming, and the bears are out again.

long horned wood borer

These large flying beetles smell my fear and always land on me.

I had my first bear encounter of the year last weekend.  The bear was where I needed to go and there was only one way out.  I wrangled Kobi up and got her on the leash and then attempted to get my bear spray out of my hydration vest.  I keep it in the outside pocket on the very back of the vest.  I nearly dislocated something trying to remove the canister without taking the vest off.  My arm joints stayed in place, but I did lose its cool case in my panic.  The bear eventually wandered back into the woods after a stare down and Kobi and I proceeded to run our guts out to get back home.  Reason #27 why I like winter.

dog in grass

Kobi likes all the seasons

In other news, we’re getting a brand new sparkly aquatic centre that opens June 21, I’m very excited.  And I learned how to climb a rope in CrossFit.  I’m all about prepping for the zombie apocalypse and rope climbing is one of those skills you just might need to escape from zombies.

swimmer

This is the old pool

rope climbing

That’s me, climbing a rope. I can get back down safely too

Ta Da – less than 400 words!  What’s scarier, flying pincher or bear?  Do you like climbing ropes?


28 Comments

Mosquitoes, Unicorns and Frogs

runner and dog

Look, I’m wearing shorts outside! First time since last September!!

Just wanted to catch y’all up on what’s been happening up north.  We’ve had a mix of weather up here ranging from snow to thunderstorms.  Typical spring.  The best part is that the leaves are starting to come out and the robins have come back!  There are huge flocks of sandhill cranes and swans flying by and the frogs are once again croaking.  I even saw one of these the other day.

Mosquito

I should have killed it as it probably had 3 million eggs in it to make more evil mosquitoes.

I can’t describe how wonderful it is to hear robins singing again.  Winter gives you an appreciation for some of the simpler things I reckon.  It’s light out for a long time now too which wakes the cats up very early.  They think it’s fun to wake up at 4:30AM.

cats

How can you get mad at those faces?

I just heard the frogs croaking at my place yesterday.  I love frogs.  We only have two types this far north (boreal chorus and the wood frog).  Both are smallish, the chorus frog is tree frog small and the wood frog a bit bigger.  Both burrow into mud and freeze solid for the winter and then thaw out in the spring and start all over.  Cool hey?!

I’m still running around lots with my partner in crime.  She’s a filthy muddy mess pretty much all the time now.  She’s replaced her love of snow for a love a mud puddles.

dog blowing bubbles

Kobi loves mud puddles and loves blowing bubbles.

I also saw the baby unicorns again.  Their horns still haven’t grown in though.  I think they need to be a few years old.

horses

Baby unicorns!!

I shall report back soon as I suspect I’ll have some exciting adventures to share as I’m sure I will be seeing the large predators (aka bears) out and about soon.

running with dogs

run run

Do you get excited when the birds come back?  Does that even apply to where you live?  What’s worse, mosquitoes or bears?


19 Comments

The Season of Mud

The season of mud has arrived.  I think it’s called spring in other more modern places.

mud and dog walking

My running trails look like this now. Aren’t my Mucks pretty!?

I do like this season because it means things will be green soon, but I don’t like this season because before things get green, they’re very brown and wet.  It also means the bugs and bears will be out soon.

This favourite season of mine also makes running tricky.  You see, I like trail running and the trails are mostly mud and/or soft impassable snow right now.  Which means I have to run on the paved community trail in town.  That means Kobi is “supposed” to be on a leash.  She’s not very good on a leash, more like I’m not very good on a leash.  I don’t heel well and I also don’t sprint, stop, sniff and repeat with the same level of enthusiasm she does.

dog running

The view on most of my runs. Yes, we were breaking the law and I was off-leash.

This season of mud also brings with it random snow-storms and other extreme weather events like severe wind and hailstorms.  Two more of my favourite things.

dog and hail storm

Kobi’s please-don’t-make-me-run-in-this-hailstorm face.

dog catching ball

We had snow showers and hail storms all on the same day!

As a result of the mud and nasty weather (aka hail storm), I have not run much this week.  But Kobi did have her first bath of 2015.

dog bath

Casper was supervising. Kobi really doesn’t mind baths, but you can’t tell that by the look on her face.

I’m sure things will dry up soon enough and I’ll be back on the dirt trails worrying about bear encounters.

Does your dog like baths? Which do you prefer, running in a hailstorm or severe wind or both?  What’s your favourite season?


18 Comments

Running with Wolves

dog photobomb

Oh hello

Over the long weekend I headed up the highway to the tiny community of Toad River where my friend was house-sitting at a local guide outfitters lodge/home. Being the spontaneous types we are we decided to run to a place referred to as the Nonda Creek Tower. It’s a radio tower at the end of a very rough road. I had driven to this place 10+ years ago so my memory wasn’t serving me well. I figured the route could be anywhere between 6km and 25km. Neither one of us consulted a map Google first.

dog in the mountains

Woo Hoo, we’re in the mountains

We aren’t totally dumb and did pack day-packs to be on the safe side (I’m quite certain mine weighed 20 lbs).
After 9km of blissful uphill running on a nice hard snow packed surface (thank you snowmobilers) we still had no clue how much farther the tower was.

group shot

We look so happy! The dogs didn’t want their photos taken though.

We did clue in to the fresh wolf tracks and wolf scat (poop, but scat sounds smarter). I also noticed that Kobi started heeling a few times. I just thought she was tired or perhaps demonstrating how well-trained she is (she’s a hooligan, but I’m easily fooled).

winter road

Not a bad view

Finally, at 12.5km, we admitted defeat and turned around as we still had to get ourselves back to the truck. By this time the hard packed snow was more like soft snow and my feet were wet and my toes were hurting from attempting to grip the snow from inside my shoes (futile, but I do this).

dog in a creek

Just a cool photo for your viewing pleasure

A few km’s into the return trip, Kobi heels again, this time so intensely she nearly trips me. Again I’m thinking, “what a good girl, so well-trained.” I’m completely exhausted at this point and my blood sugar is low and all the cells in my body were doing their best just to keep my legs moving at the expense of the higher cognitive functions of my brain. Basically, my brain didn’t translate heeling dog = imminent danger.

I’m quite sure there was something lurking in the woods watching us, likely wolves. I’m sure Kobi and the other dog Dino knew we were being watched, but the two completely exhausted humans were unaware.

mountain view at Toad River

More mountain views

Perhaps my obliviousness was my subconscious way of not freaking out. Had I put two and two together, I would’ve been scared. Especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere where cell phones don’t work and where no one else knows your exact location.

Kobi eventually took her usual place of 20-30m in front of the pack (I should have named her Scout) and we made it to the truck. Exhausted and with sore toes, but we made it.

winter trail

This is where Kobi is when there isn’t danger, way out in front.

I’ll know better next time to pay more attention to Kobi’s reactions.  I have high-tailed it out of many areas before because I’ve seen her acting odd.  I’ll blame my recent poor observation skills on low blood sugar and thin mountain air.

Do you find yourself gripping your toes inside your shoes when you run on uneven surfaces? What do you think was lurking in the woods? Wolves? Yeti? Other?


26 Comments

Racing Thoughts

runner and dog

Just us, pondering life and which way to run.

Howdy y’all. We’re full on in the season of Almost-Spring. You know, winter in the morning (ice and possible snow flurries) and then spring by afternoon (snow and mud). Soon enough it will be full on mud.

In the spirit of Almost-Spring, I’ve been thinking about my summer racing plans.  Okay, more like my lack of summer racing plans.  Because I’m so remote and have to travel far and wide to races I’m just not feeling the racing travel love.

I’ve decided to race close to home and will maybe just do a few out-of-town races, or not. We have some decent races up here, except 3 of them are ones I help with so I don’t get to run them. But, the ultra-cool news is that I wanted another local race so I’ve hit up the rec department and we’re going to host a mountain run! I’m not going to miss running this one because it’s in the mountains and there is nothing more beautiful than running with caribou in the mountains with your dog.

two dogs

Kobi is playing with her sister Caribou. She also likes running with the other kind of caribou.

Because we have no idea how many people may show up and we’re not really sure how the logistics of a remote race are going to work, we’re making it free!  We want folks to come out and run and provide input as to how to make it an even more super awesome event next year.  Oh and there will be no swag. That’s right, no stuff. No race shirt, no medals, no water stations, and you have to time yourself. Boy, I’m not selling this one very well.

You will get to see views like this (hopefully with less snow).

summit mountains

So pretty

There will be some perks, such as:  water and snacks at the finish line, you can bring your dog, and the Parks guy promised he’d chase the grizzly bears away – I’m serious.

This is going to be awesome! Come on, it’s in the mountains, it’s gorgeous and shouldn’t running be about running, not the swag?

In case any of you want to travel north and see some stunning mountains and wildlife, you can register here (remember it’s free). It all happens on June 20. It might cost you a little bit in airfare, but if you get yourself here, I promise I will drive you to the race – it’s a beautiful 1.5 hour long drive – as long as you don’t mind Kobi kisses. She likes to kiss passengers.

snow dog

Kobi sends kisses

Would you test out our mountain race? Ever run with caribou? How about grizzlies?  Is it springtime where you live?