Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Time Flies

Casper August

Casper says hi

Hi y’all. I’ve been somewhat absent for a while.  It’s all that gardening, lawn mowing and outside adventuring taking up my time (and watching the Olympics most recently).  Anyway, here are some points to get you up to speed since my last post (Summit Runnit):

  • Drove 1400km south to visit my folks and adventure with Kobi. We paddled, biked, and ran lots. Kobi met her social media boyfriend Cash (@eastcoastlaine on Instagram) and they hiked and played on their first real date.
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Kobi and her boyfriend Cash on an action date

 

  • Bought a fat bike and named him Fat Boy Slim. All my bikes are boys by the way. My tri bike is named Magnum (after the ice cream bar I eat after I ride) and my cyclo-cross is named Marcus. I like naming things. Recall my heel spur has affectionately been named Wolverine.
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That’s Fat Boy Slim in the background and Kobi post mud role

 

 

  • Ran my one and only race of 2016 in early August, The Emperor’s Challenge, in Tumbler Ridge. First time I haven’t actually raced a race, but rather participated. I was so grossly undertrained for this one thanks to Wolverine.  At least I ran it.  I have to say it feels kind of nice not to run so hard that you feel like puking the entire time. I recovered much faster too. Wolverine still joined me as he likes destination runs, but I think our relationship is becoming a bit strained. I’m ready for him to leave, but he’s not. We need counselling.
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It was a very foggy and rainy run up and down a mountain

  • And, Kobi is still awesome and we’re still adventuring lots together.
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This is how Kobi looks after 6 days of adventuring and a 3 hour paddle.  Tired.

There, now you’re up to speed. Now onto recent events, the black bear situation in this neck of the woods is something else this year. Every day for over a month now I have seen 1-2 bears and not while I’m out driving around, but while I’m out walking, running or biking.  I can’t count how many times strangers driving by have stopped to warn me of a bear up ahead.

I’ve run into one big dude a lot.  He scares me. He’s gone so far as snorting and growling at me when I’ve walked by him while he’s lurking in the woods.  Kobi typically smells them first and warns me by getting in her puffy dragon pose and staring at one spot.  She chases them when they come in her yard.

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Too close for comfort.  Kobi hates bears.

 

Another exciting near miss was a few weeks ago.  I rode Fat Boy Slim to the lake and about 2 minutes ahead of me was a sow with 2 cubs.  Kobi picked up the scent and went crazy.  I was oblivious to the potential hazard and didn’t see mama and cubs.  Fortunately there were some folks at the lake who had seen her and were quite concerned about our well-being and how we had made it to the lake in one piece.  They put Kobi in the van and drove her out with their dogs and I rode like a maniac beside their van.

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Splish splash.  We’re happy when we don’t see a bear

I have to say I’m really looking forward to winter. I’m so done with the bears.

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Our mountain run a few weeks ago in Stone Mountain Provincial Park.  A 1.3hour drive from my house.  Jelly?

What are your thoughts on large predators?  Would you still go outside?  Ever adventure too much with your dog?  Do you like my fat bike/tractor? 

Remember we’re on Instagram (@outdoorruning) and Facebook (Kobi the Adventure Dog) if you need a daily dose of Kobi!

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Fun on our last run

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This is the old pool

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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?


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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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Summer Hours

Why is it when you’re having fun time goes by way too fast?  That seems to be how things have been rolling for me.   I’ve also been burning up any spare time preparing for some races.

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Random photo of very large bear poo on the trail

I did a near Olympic distance triathlon (the swim is only 1000m not 1500m) a few Sunday’s ago and managed a 2:29:59.  My secret goal was to complete it under 2:30. Talk about squeaking in hey?!  I had no clue at any point what my times were so that was a really nice surprise.

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Kobi sporting my triathlon swag

I have two more races this summer:  a trail half marathon in Whitehorse and then a 20km mountain run in Tumbler Ridge 6 days later.  Both are very challenging elevation wise.  I really wanted to do the Whitehorse run and I just couldn’t miss Tumbler (it’s my favorite).  I just hope I don’t get too wrecked from the Whitehorse race.

I have also been up to my new favorite thing next to running – paddleboarding.  I love it.  I suck at it and my technique is probably all wrong, but I don’t care I’m having so much fun.  The awesomest part is that I really really wanted Kobi to board with me and would you believe she had it down in 20 minutes!?  I was stoked.  She is a SUP superstar.  She should have her own reality TV show!

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Me and Kobi boarding

Those of you who run with your dog know how awesome it feels, but I have to say that paddleboarding with your canine is rad.  Just watching her take in the scenery while we’re on the water is so amazing.  I do get a little worried when she sees ducks or snaps at horse flies, but so far so good.  She even digs her PFD.

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Kobi demonstrating safe boarding techniques in her PFD

Do you SUP?  Would you want to SUP with your dog?  Ever done two races in one week or am I the only person out there who can’t race plan very well?  What’s the biggest (native) wildlife poop you’ve ever seen out running?


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Bugs and Bears

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A rainbow in my yard!! But sadly, no pot of gold.

Bugs and Bears is my name for the season affectionately known as summer.  This season is all about biting blood-sucking insects and large blood-letting predators.

First, there are the mosquitoes that drive you mad with their incessant buzzing and biting.  When it’s too hot for them outside, their friends the horse-flies take over.

Did you know that a horse-fly can fly up to +40km an hour?  Maybe that’s why they’re called “horse” flies.  This means you can’t escape them when on a bike and you definitely can’t outrun them.  They flock together and fly around your head while you’re running.  It’s awesome.  What’s even more awesome is when they sink their fly teeth in.  According to Wikipedia, they have “knife-like mandibles to rip and/or slice flesh apart”.  How lovely.

Then there are the black flies (about 1/8 the size of a horse fly).  They leave a nasty bloody bite mark that itches terribly and usually gets infected.  And we can’t forget the no-see-ums (teeny tiny wee little biting flies).  I swear if you looked at these under a microscope they would be all fangs.  Their bite really hurts and they also leave bloody bite marks.

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No-see-um. This is what I think they look like.

Oh, and then there are the “pinchers”.  If there is one insect that instills the deepest fear in me, it is the dreaded pincher (aka the longhorn wood-boring beetle).  When I see them flying, I start waving my arms and jumping around frantically all while screaming.  I think this attracts them.  They also have hooks on their feet so once they land on you, they hold on.  They also bite when they feel threatened (they eat wood so they have strong jaws and my screaming makes them feel threatened).

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I’m shuddering just writing this caption. Photo credit Wikimedia

Then of course there are the large predators – bears.  It’s cool when you see them hanging out on the side of the road when you’re driving by (in a car), not so cool when you’re on a bike or out running.  You really only have to worry about the sows defending their cubs, the predatory ones (yes, they do hunt people up here), or the ones you surprise.  That pretty much covers most of the bear situations you’re going to encounter while out running.

On a positive note, I get a great running tan (if there is such a thing) and everything is so green and lush.  Such a lovely time of year.

What’s your favorite blood sucking insect?  Does your dog get terrorized by biting bugs?  What’s your favorite running season?  Does your dog like eating grass?

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Kobi eating her greens


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Wings Versus Feet

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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. 

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

 


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Random Acts of Consideration

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Kobi enjoying her pool after a long run

For Saturday’s long run I chose to run to town using the ATV trails beside the road.  The route is very hilly and a nice change from my normal route, although Kobi has to stay on leash for the majority of it.

We didn’t see or hear Hugo and I actually notice that I’m a bit concerned about his well-being – now that I’ve named him and all.  I was soon distracted by 2 large dogs that came running out after us.  I shall not name breeds in order to protect their identity.  After I stopped and did some assertive “go homes” they left.

Then we had this powerful dog breed saunter over.  He had a warty face and wasn’t neutered (use your imagination) – a few red flags for me.  I put myself between him and Kobi and noticed his hackles were up.  I soon realized that I didn’t want to get caught in the middle of what might happen.  All I could think of doing was the Cesar Millan “ssstt” and surprisingly he looked up at me and walked away.  This is where I would insert a warning similar to one you see during a car commercial “professional drivers on a closed course, don’t try this at home”.  Only mine would say “non dog behaviour professional who just got lucky, do not try this at home”.

Not 5 minutes later we had 2 more nasty black dogs come charging out at us.  They looked like they didn’t get much socializing or care for that matter.  I resorted to a few loud expletives this time in the hopes the owner(s) might hear and call their dogs in.  They didn’t.

By this point I’m pretty annoyed by people and their inability to take responsibility for their dogs and frustrated that I’m going to have to turn around at some point and run the “dog gauntlet” again.  We fortunately didn’t have  any issues until the last 3 km when a German Shepard (oops, I mean powerful breed) started running behind us, he was sneaky too as I didn’t hear him for a bit.  He backed off when I turned around.

We’re finally almost home and I notice a picker truck passing us quite slowly and then stopping.  I think that perhaps he’s lost and looking for someone’s address (as it is a rural area).  He hops out of the truck and walks over to the edge of the road all apologetic for intruding, but wanted to warn me of a really big black bear about 1km ahead.  Hugo!  I thanked him for his concern and explained I was turning off before that so we would likely be fine.

I was quite moved that a random stranger would take the time to stop a truck, that clearly wasn’t easy to stop, to warn me of a potential wild animal encounter.  I once again had faith in the human race, well some members of it anyway.  I really doubt I’m going to run that route again.