Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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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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Baby it’s Cold Outside

Wow, 2 posts in a month?  Don’t fall out of your chair in shock like I nearly did.

Here’s the long and short of it:  it got cold, quite cold actually, but now it’s warmed up a bit.

Here’s more detail, one run was in -23C, one was in -27C, and one was in a balmy -19C.  That’s -9F, -16F, and -2F if you don’t have access to a universal temperature translator.

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This is what running in -23C looks like.  Kobi is checking out my lashes

On our -19C run, we had a house guest.  Kobi’s friend Zola, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, came over for a sleep-over and of course we all had to go for a run.  Fortunately for Zola it was only -19C as she has less hair than I do and gets pretty cold.  She has a snazzy Ruffwear jacket to keep her warm and stylish.

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Out with the girls.  Only -19C!

We ended up exploring several snowmobile trails behind where I live.  The girls probably ran closer to 16km where I only ran 11km.  They’re much faster than me and had to come back several times to make sure I was still tagging along.  It’s hard running on packed snow trails in case you’re wondering.  Imagine running on a few inches of dry sand on top of wet sand, but you’re wearing several layers of clothing and dealing with a bitter wind biting into your face the entire time.  Okay, so that’s not like running in sand, but you kind of get what I’m getting at? Maybe?

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Sun runners

I also think the cold has caused a vitamin deficiency that can only be replenished through the mass consumption of chocolate because I’ve been eating chocolate the way a sailor with scurvy would attack a box of oranges.   It’s been out of control.  Sadly there is a lot of chocolate in my house so I’m still working on topping up whatever cold weather induced deficiency I have.

Hope you’re all staying warm and looking stylish like Zola.

Now it’s your turn…What’s the coldest temperature you have/would run in?  Sand or snow?  Favourite chocolate (mine is currently Lindt salted caramel)?  Sunrise or sunsets?  Mutts or purebreds?  


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So Little Time

I honestly thought I would have a surplus of spare time once winter set in.  I’m not sure why I had this idea, but I imagined the colder days and early onset of darkness would leave me with more free time to leisurely drink hot cocoa after an awesome snowshoeing adventure in the wilderness.  Turns out it’s the opposite, I have way less time.

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Random photo when I was out of town for work. So few trees.

Winter is a huge time drain.  Any and all activity that involves going outside takes a pile of time gearing up for and it takes a lot of gear just to survive a walk, run or ski with the hound.  It also doesn’t help that my memory is about 3 seconds long and I forget at least 2-3 critical items during the gear-up and have to run up and down the stairs to find the critical items before I actually end up getting outside.

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Kobi impatiently waiting for me (again)

I’m just grateful Kobi comes in a nice furry little package and doesn’t require all the gear that I do, otherwise it would take an hour to get out the door.

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Kobi’s growing in her winter boots

I had also forgotten that running in cold snowy conditions takes longer and you need to be a bit more prepared for the unexpected.  That leads me to a few other ‘things’ I had forgotten.

Thing 1:  I remembered that I really dislike drinking cold water when I’m running around outside in the cold, it just makes me colder.  To solve this I turned some tacky beer can coolers (you know, the little slip on foamy covers) into water bottle cozies!  Fill up a water bottle with hot water, put a few of those bad boys on it and voila, you’ve got water that is still luke-warm an hour into your cold weather activity.

Thing 2:  I remembered that cell phones don’t like the cold and die really fast.  To solve this dilemma, I made a nifty iPhone jacket.  I’d take a picture of it, but someone will steal my amazing prototype and get rich off it.  It’s pretty awesome and it works!  That’s all I’m going to say.

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Kobi loving the trails

I actually go so far as carrying some basic survival gear with me in case we get in some extra trouble and need to hunker down.  You know, things like matches, extra gels, hand warmers, and a fixed blade (that’s more to fight off Yeti, vampires and frozen zombies – yes, I have irrational fears).

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Purple Ninja (with my survival pack).  It was -32C at the time this photo was taken.

If anything, the colder, shorter days have taught me to be a bit more prepared when I head out the door, but at the cost of time of course.  So much for that relaxing hot cocoa.

How about you, do you carry extra gear for winter running?  Do you even experience winter running where you live?  What’s the coldest temperature you will run in?  Do you like Kobi’s hairy toes?  They will get hairier.  

 


24 Comments

Spring Hasn’t Yet Sprung

dog tracks in the snow

My running route. Looks like a big dog had taken itself out for a walk on the far L and R, I’m the second on the L, then Kobi’s little feet.

I’m tired of the cold.  It became quite cold again on March 21st.  It doesn’t make any sense.  Well it does actually, when you live 2 hours south of the Northwest Territories winter likes to sink its teeth in and hold on.

The forecast for the next 7 days is -18C to -20C overnight with highs up to -2C.  If it has a “negative” sign in front of a number that cannot be called a “high” in my opinion anymore.  Perhaps if I refer to the temperature in farenheit I will feel slightly better.

I’ve had a few decent runs outside this week, but I find my enthusiasm is wearing down.  I had to remind myself during yesterday’s run that I need to be happy and grateful to be running again (recall foot injury) and I am and that kept me going, but it’s getting harder and harder to continue embracing the cold.

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Kobi and her canine enthusiasm. Cold or snow doesn’t phase her.

It also didn’t help that there was a really cold head-wind and the footing was really tricky thanks to the inch of new snow over ice.

I’m sure in another 2 weeks spring will really be here and I’ll be complaining about something else (like mud), but I’m kind of looking forward to complaining about something else – with enthusiasm of course.


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Under Running Wear – Review(s)

I have been wanting to do a running underwear review for a little while as I’m always on the look-out for warm practical cold-weather underwear (mostly  because I live way up north in Canada).

It seems that mostly men’s underwear is made to cover a bit more than traditional girl underwear, but I did find a women’s version of warm under-shorts made by Sugoi.

I test drove three pairs (two men’s, one women’s) during a winter outdoor activity:  cross-country skiing and/or running outside.

The MEC ultra light merino boxers are men’s boxers and fit a bit large and sit very high (like 1980’s high) and were just a lightweight merino – not as warm as I had hoped.  For folks outside of Canada, MEC is Mountain Equipment Co-op.  MEC would be similar to REI in the USA (I love that store).

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merino

The other pair, also men’s, the MEC T2 wind boxer, fit true to size and were warm and made of a super soft fabric.  The bulgy front part has a wind proof fabric on it so it’s extra bulgy for girls.  Regardless these ones fit true to size, were warm and quite comfortable (and don’t ride so high).

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T2 boxer

The Sugoi Mid Zero Bun Toasters have nice long legs and are made from a very soft warm technical fabric.  They fit well, but sit a bit low on the backside, like plumber’s butt low.  That’s the last place I want a subzero draft getting in.  Not to give you more information than you need or want, but I don’t have a ton of junk in my trunk so I think the shorts are the ones lacking on the backside versus me having just too much junk for them.

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Sugoi Bun Toasters

I was really hoping to rave about the Sugoi’s as they seemed to have it all and were even made for women.  Perhaps it is just a matter of going up a size.  There is a men’s version of these too and I’d recommend those as the fabric is super soft and warm.

My top pick is the T2 wind boxers for serious cold conditions.  The Sugoi Bun Toasters are very warm and nice and long, but just don’t sit quite right unfortunately.  

Oh, and it just wouldn’t be proper if I didn’t post a photo of Kobi…

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Kobi keeping toasty