Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Cool Runnings

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Most epic dog ever!

It’s been so long I’m quite certain most of you have forgotten about me.  I’m still kicking in case you were wondering.

My last post spoke about that jagged little hook growing out of my heel.  Well, it’s still there and it still hurts, but I am running.  It isn’t hurting more, but it isn’t getting better so I figure I may as well keep running. I am hoping I’ll just pound that spur off eventually.

I am still adventuring, but due to the recent cold snap our outdoor adventures last about an hour.    Did you know that running in snow shoes or just in the snow alone (even in the most epic shoe ever made – the Salomon Snowcross) takes much longer than snow free.  I am dwelling more on effort and less on distance right now.

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Just out chatting and running

Not to make this a post about me and my woes, but I will take a paragraph of your time.  My absence is due to the fact that I now work two jobs.  Thanks to the downturn in the oil and gas world, I lost my dreamy job.  I won’t opt for the “fly in fly out” model where I work for a week or two in another community because I have this cool dog named Kobi who means the world to me so I opted to stay put so we could continue to hang out on a daily basis.

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How could I leave this girl?

I will say that working two jobs has taken meal preparation and scheduling things like exercise and running errands to a whole new level.

Perhaps one day I’ll work a normal job with a normal routine and I’ll just be that much more organized.  Ha!  Who am I kidding!  I’ll last .7 hours and I’ll be back to my usual procrastinating self.

Have you missed me?  You probably have missed Kobi, she is pretty cool.  Is it cold where you live?  Snowcross or snowshoes?  Do you even own either?  Thoughts on meal preparation?  Are you ready for Christmas??

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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.

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Kobi posing on the mountain.

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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?


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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.

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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.

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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.

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


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The Season of Mud

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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?


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For the Love of Winter

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Just out running in the snow

I have realized I am totally in love with winter. I don’t think love is too harsh a word either. Perhaps this is the first stage of vitamin D deficiency or some other cold weather induced chemical reaction in the brain that has yet to be diagnosed and only occurs in people living close to the 60th parallel. Perhaps not.

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Just one of those amazing snow and sunshine runs

Perhaps winter is just in my DNA as I am a mix of solid European farmer types. It’s definitely in Kobi’s DNA. That girl was made for the snow so I’m going to assume I am too. Except for my hands, they get terribly cold.

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Doggy snow roll

Winter is just so much fun (providing it is warmer than -30C). There is so much do to during this amazing season. I can cross-country ski, skate ski, skijor (ok, I’m new to that), snowshoe run or just snowshoe (only a Canadian would have 3 different types of snowshoes). Or I can just plain old run in a nice spiky set of Snowcross runners. It just doesn’t get any better.

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First skijor. It was way too icy. We’ll try again.

To top off this amazing season, I don’t have to worry about bears or bugs, just packs of wolves and protective cow moose and the odd small herd of white tail deer which can also be quite protective of their young. Regardless, it’s still a great season.

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Biggest wolf tracks I’ve seen!

I think I’m so stoked about this season because we have had a pretty decent winter this year.  We weren’t hammered like the east coast with storm after storm and the temperatures have been pretty manageable.  I also took a small tropical break. Nothing like absence to make the heart grow fonder.

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Guess what I did while on vacation?

Can you guess where I was on vacation?  Ever go skydiving?  Am I weird to love winter so much?  

Setting sun


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Welcome to 2015

Setting sun

This was the last sunset of 2014

It’s been almost a week into 2015 and life in the north has not disappointed.  Here are some exciting highlights…

We had a Chinook on New Year’s day, evening actually.  There was a really warm wind and within a few hours it went from -15C to +7C .  The drastic temperature increase resulted in a drastic snow melt and then 10 hours later it dropped back down to -15C and turned everything to ice.  Have no fear because then it started to snow, a lot, just so all the treacherous ice was well hidden.

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New Year’s day run, Kobi is behind the bigger dog. The Chinook happened after this.

After the impressive snowfall, I had to go for a snowshoe with my wing-girl Kobi.  We took off on the trails behind our place (middle of nowhere) which are all uphill for what seems like forever.  Not 10 minutes in I noticed Kobi lock onto something with her doggy radar.  It was a small herd of elk.  They ran into the woods once they heard me getting Kobi back under control (i.e. yelling at her).  Fortunately I had her under control before she could be a real terror.  That was exciting.

We carried on and then Kobi locked onto 2 grouse.  She loves grouse.  What dog wouldn’t love giant chickens that fly and travel in large flocks?  When one flies away there are more to choose from.  Don’t worry, no grouse were harmed, much to Kobi’s disappointment.

Eventually we arrived at the home stretch which is all downhill.  Nothing feels as good as running downhill after walk-jogging for 2km uphill in fresh snow with snowshoes strapped to your feet.  I have never felt so fast in my life.  I’m sure I wasn’t fast, but I felt like Meb.

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Me running like Meb, notice Kobi is standing still waiting for me

Then there was the full moon on the weekend which was amazing, but then it got really cold.  Like -27C (-17F) not counting the windchill as who counts the windchill (probably smart people).

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Full moon = cold weather

I had to go cross-country skiing the next day because it was just so bright and shiny out.  If it was -30C or colder I may have reconsidered, but heck, it was only -27C (-32C with the windchill, but I’m not a smart person).

A word of caution here, do consider the windchill and don’t try to take too many photos documenting your adventures when it’s -27C out.  It’s hard on fingers and gadget batteries.  Although, recall I have prototyped a pretty awesome smart phone warmer (read here).  I also keep the hand-warmer business in business as my hands are chronically cold from October to May.

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This was the -27C ski day. Kobi is sporting her new pink jacket.

The icing on the cake was the northern lights on Sunday night (and prior to 11PM).  However, by the time I got all my cold weather gear on (snowsuit, toque, headlight, gloves, mittens and neck warmer) and camera tripod ready to go, they had settled down so no spectacular photos.  Maybe next time.

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Some brief northern lights

How about you, do you consider windchill before venturing outside?  Ever feel Meb fast?  Does your dog like chasing things they’re not supposed to like large ungulates and flying chickens?


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Another Year

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We’re so fast, we’re blurry. That’s Kobi in the red.

I haven’t been all that consistent with the ol’ blog lately, but I figured you would all just be dying to read my year in review so I’d better get on it.  Here goes, and I must warn you, it’s brief…

What I did

I completed 8 races:  5 half marathons (2 were trail races), a 10km trail, a triathlon, and a 7 miler (Alcatraz).  Of those 8 races, only 2 didn’t require significant travel (as in driving time and flying time).   I did help organize 2 local races which means I wasn’t able to run them, but that’s okay, the locals need some local races.

Golden Gate Bridge

Alcatraz Escape – Golden Gate Bridge and my purple arm warmers.

What I learned

I’m kind of tired of driving and flying long distances to races and I kind of get overwhelmed with the crowds at those big races.

Victoria Goodlife Fitness Half Marathon

If I’m in this one, I’m wearing a white hat and gray shirt, but I don’t think I’m in this one                                                       source

The plan for 2015

Not sure.  Definitely less travel and mostly trail races.  I will run the Victoria half again as that has sort of become my Thanksgiving ritual (Canadian Thanksgiving) and besides, there’s some family there so it’s kind of like multi-tasking.

What’s currently going on

There is no such thing as running intervals in the current dead of winter conditions so I’m running, skiing, and snowshoeing for Kobi and for fun.  I run with a small pack of humans and dogs on Saturdays too and that’s awesome.  I like socializing as does Kobi.  And Winter Solstice has been and gone, that means we’re progressing past 6 hours of daylight slowly but surely.

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Kobi and her pack of buddies

What’s new with Kobi

She had some sort of leg injury a little while ago that cost me a fair chunk of change driving her 4 hours to see her doctor plus all the tests and x-rays.  They couldn’t find anything so I gave her more rest and rest days between our adventures.  She likes leg massages too.  She’s fine again.  Maybe she just wanted a road trip and a leg massage.

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Kobi loves fresh powder

I have no resolutions for 2015 as I never make any, too much pressure.

Do you like to plan your year or just wing it?  Do you like my purple arm warmers?  Isn’t Kobi the cutest?  Does your dog like snow as much as she does?

Happy New Year!!