Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Maple Syrup and Caffeine

Dog and shadow

Our morning run

Sometimes when I’m running I think about what I want to write about (I like to think I’m profound and insightful), but this doesn’t really work as I can never predict what is going to happen during any particular run.

Today I was bit rushed to get my run completed and make it to a few appointments on time.  I didn’t see the bear I usually see within the first five minutes of my run so my thoughts started wandering (oh, I’ve affectionately named him Hugo).  Bear in mind (pardon the pun) that I was a bit caffeinated so my thoughts were moving quite quickly and quite randomly.  This is just a bit of where my brain was going during my short run this morning:

  • Why did I pick Hugo as a name?  Why would I name a wild animal in the first place?
  • Why do I name things that don’t need names?  Like the spider in the basement bathroom (Sid) and the 5 turkeys we had a few years back.  It’s a mistake to name an animal you intend to eat.
  • How can people run outside with headphones on?  I could never do that.  How would I hear if Hugo was around?
  • People, “young” ones especially, are way too connected to their smart phones and are likely losing their social skills.
  • Where’s Kobi?
  • When is this hill ever going to end!
  • My shadow and Kobi running looks cool, I should take a picture.
  • What time is it?
  • Full fat, sugar and sunshine are good for you.
  • Maple syrup.
  • I love maple syrup.
  • Hmmm, what am I going to eat today?
  • Can my brain ever shut up and I just run without all this chatter?
  • Why can’t I accomplish what Dan Millman writes about in his book Mind Body Mastery?  I just read this book, I need to read it again.
  • Where’s Hugo?

I think you get the picture.  Okay, so for tomorrow’s long run, I’m going to work on keeping the chatter down and trying to remain in the moment.  It will likely be exhausting.

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Finally, the Long Run and Only One Bear

white dog after a long run

Kobi covered in dirt and burrs after our long run

You’re probably getting sick of hearing about bears and hopefully soon I won’t be running into them and can write about other adventures, but not yet.  Yesterday’s long run (20km) had no serious bear run-ins, unless you count the one Kobi chased away.  She’s my hero.  Here’s how it all started…

The night before this run I was laying awake in bed trying to think of a route that was outside on trails, would be somewhat safe from bears, and would afford Kobi some off-leash time.  It didn’t help that two of our neighbors had just called to warn us of bears in the neighborhood.

I landed on running in the area where I live (regardless of the phone calls).  There are ATV trails worn in beside the roads and some gravel roads that are okay to run (if all the other neighborhood dogs aren’t up yet).  I also thought being close to a road would be safer as someone is bound to drive by at some point.  The only issue is there is a 1.5km section of lonely road/trail that I have to run through to get to more populated areas, and of course, this is where all the bears like to hang out.

We had no problems at the start of our run.  It was the last 5km that were quite exciting.  That was when the very sweet truck driver stopped and warned me that he had seen a bear about 15 minutes ago.  Not 1km later (in the 1.5km section of no-man’s land)  I smelled the most horrible smell ever.  If you have ever smelled a bear you will never forget it, kind of like skunk, cat pee, and something dead for a long time.

Kobi then proceeded to see the bear and bark and chase it into the woods.  I think I let out a loud expletive and then I know I really picked up the pace.  I only had 4 km to go and really wanted to get this run done.

Why must I run knowing there are bears all over the place?  Three reasons:  1) because they aren’t as bad as Velociraptors, thank God those are extinct, 2) I imagine I’m the star of a cool reality television show, except it would be hard for a camera crew to run behind me and the video would be bouncy and likely cause motion sickness when viewed, and 3) it wears Kobi out and I get a break from entertaining her all day long.  I can hardly wait for Monday’s run.

Dog and kitten

Young Spock, the kitten, would not let Kobi sleep after her run


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Guilt, Fear, Bears and Running

Dog playing with ball

How Kobi burns off extra energy

It’s August and it’s already cold outside. Not unusual when you live north of the 58th parallel.

I went so far as not completing my long run (20km) on Sunday because it was raining and windy and cold and yes, I’m made of sugar. I should’ve just sucked it up and done it because Kobi (my dog) was annoyingly hyper all day as a result and I ended up restless and feeling guilty for not doing it. I hate that feeling of guilt.

Weather should never really be an excuse not to run. Okay, it can be an excuse, but rain and a bit of wind is not really an excuse. Tsunamis, tornadoes, blizzards and excessively cold or hot temperatures are excuses. Even then, if the power hasn’t gone out, there is always a treadmill one can find.

I’ve also done this long enough to know that the guilt will get to me and now I can’t make up that long run because it’s already Thursday and I’ve lost my long run weekend window. I do have another excuse for not running and it’s likely the root cause of my first weak excuse: bears. They are out in droves this time of year. I swear the colder temperatures has them scrambling to fatten up for winter on whatever rose hips, cranberries, crab apples and guilt-ridden runners they can find (I don’t think they like eating guilt-ridden runners though, too sour).

Most of my bear experiences have involved me screaming and the bear screaming and both of us taking off in opposite directions, but there have been a few times when the bear didn’t leave and I was probably a bit too persistent in wanting to pass where he or she was versus just turning around and getting the heck away. Having Kobi now adds a new element to bear experiences. She freaks when she sees them or smells them. Her hackles go up and she barks like a crazy dog – looks kind of dragon-like actually. That has to date scared the bears away, but I’m concerned that on some random occasion she is going to bark at the wrong bear and come charging back to me for help with a bear charging behind her. That scares me.

Hmm, what’s worse, fear or guilt? I think guilt. I clearly need to go for a run. Besides, it might make for a good story and I’ll likely run a bit faster out of fear.