Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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12 Days of Yukon – The Prequel

Greetings after a long absence!

This post is the prequel to even more posts (to follow later) about my summer adventures while travelling in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.  But first, I need to set things up for you so you know how it all began.

About 22 months ago I decided I wanted to take some time away from work.  My employer has a “Deferred Salary Program”.  They deduct 10-35% of your salary each pay cheque and after X number of months you have saved up enough to take 6 to 12 months off while receiving full pay.  I went for it.  Well, it wasn’t as simple as “I went for it”, but I’m trying to keep the word count manageable.

It took me 1 year and 7 months of deductions to save enough to take 6 months off work starting June 1.  What’s kind of significant about this date is that it’s the month before I turn half a century.  It’s also the same time that Kobi, my intrepid wing-girl, turns half a century in dog years.  We will be 50 together for 3 months of Kobi’s life.  How cool is that.

During the last three months of work I was doing some loose planning about things I’d like to do while off.  Mostly I just wanted to not work, which really seemed to surprise people when they asked what my plans were.  You see, I’ve never really liked “working”, but because I like wearing Arc’teryx clothes and insist on driving a Jeep (yes, I drive a Jeep because cool outdoorsy people drive Jeeps), I need an income to support these habits.  I’d love it if I could get paid tons of money to showcase my average running skills with my epically cool Rez dog, but unfortunately being average doesn’t draw the attention of high paying sponsorships.  I’m also not particularly entrepreneurial or highly driven so I’ve never landed a job that didn’t feel like work.  I do have a job that I like so I’m not going to complain, besides, they let you take this much time off and still have a job when you come back!

I’ve digressed.  Besides planning on doing whatever I felt like (after waking up WITHOUT an alarm), I thought maybe a trip to the arctic would be cool.  I told my arctic plan to my partner (who didn’t even have a passport at the time and who I will refer to as Mr X from here on in) and he said that sounded cool and he’d like to go with me.  I was somewhat relieved as I figured it would be me and Kobi sleeping in a tent and occasionally getting a motel.  The thought of sleeping in a tent is fine and dandy, if it remains a thought.  When you’re 50, sleeping in a tent is a sleepless painful night of moving from your back, to left side, to stomach, to right side and back onto your back every 5 minutes as there is no air mattress that can offer comfort to an oldish, somewhat arthritic body.  Don’t even get me going if it should happen to rain.  

I’ve digressed again.  Now that Mr X was on board, we decided a travel trailer was the way to go.  Nothing big, just something practical with a toilet.  A toilet was mandatory.  Pooping in an outhouse is something that has lost it’s appeal – can’t say that has ever been appealing.  Mr X spent weeks researching and we landed on a 16.5’ Forest River, No Boundaries.  It looks outdoorsy and the Jeep could tow it.  

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I thought Kobi would love the trailer

10 days before the planned departure date, the Jeep went to the shop for some minor tweaks for the big trip and sure enough they discovered the entire rear end needed replacing.  That took 9 days to fix and cost a quarter of what the trailer cost.  Off to a good start.  With one day remaining before the big departure, we got the Jeep back and noticed the Jeep didn’t have the right towing electrical plug thingy that would fit the trailer. Plan B, take the one ton dodge diesel.

What you may not be aware of, thanks to my blogging delinquency, is that Kobi has developed some pretty significant travel anxiety.  If you follow me on Instagram (@outdoorrunning) you may be aware of Kobi’s anxiety.  It all started last August, I won’t bore you with the details of the circumstances that led up to it, that’s another blog (or two).  As a result of her anxiety and because my amazing dog sitter/cat sitter/garden waterer was available, Kobi stayed home.  

Now you are all up to date on the events that lead up to the start of the arctic adventure. Stay tuned for the next 12 posts about the actual trip to the Yukon (and NWT). Looking back, I honestly didn’t know travelling could be this “exciting”.

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Kobi says, “no way am I going with you on this trip human.”


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Dealing with Injuries

Just when things start going well and your ex-injury boyfriend (my heel spur Wolverine) appears to be gone for almost good, what happens?  My best friend and adventure buddy gets injured. Yup, Kobi is injured.

Dealing with Injuries

Kobi enjoying an off-leash moment

This started back in January, but I did what I do with my personal injuries, I deny them and try to “run” them off.  That worked about as well for Kobi as it has for me.  I gave her two weeks rest, but rest meant no long runs.  She was still running off-leash on our morning, afternoon and evening walks which added up to almost 5km a day.  That isn’t really rest is it?

Dealing with Injuies

Me explaining to Kobi she can’t run yet

The limp went away and I tested her out by taking her for a short fat bike ride.  The thing with Kobi is that when she sees the bike or me in running gear, she has to run like she stole something regardless of how slow I’m going.  Of course the limp came back.

Dealing with Injuries

Fat biking with Kobi.

I took her south to see her doctor 4 hours away and spent on x-rays what could have bought me a lot of new gear, like an awful lot of new gear (don’t get me wrong,  I’d spend ten times that on her if I had to).

The good news is there was no evidence of arthritis or joint issues.  The bad news is they don’t have a CT scan so we have to assume it’s some sort of soft tissue injury.  The vet said I had to get serious about resting Kobi. She went so far as saying kennel her, limit the stairs, and no walking off-leash – even to poop!  If Kobi could talk or had a middle finger she would’ve expressed what she thought of that plan.  So we compromised, we go for short walks on a leash down the driveway, she gets to poop off leash, and we try to limit the number of trips up and down the stairs.

Dealing with Injuries

Kobi doesn’t get the leash thing

We’re at day 22 now and I haven’t seen a limp for a while.  This is good.  The plan is to limit her walks for another week and a half and then re-introduce short running stints with a few days off in between.  I’m optimistic this will work and she’ll be right as rain again.

Dealing with Injuries

Kobi hugging her sloth. The sloth is a metaphor.

I feel so much guilt that I haven’t skied or biked or snowshoed since the visit to Kobi’s doctor.  I run at lunch from work so she doesn’t see me leave without her.  On my weekend long runs she does see me and shoots hot, sad daggers of “how could you cheat on me like this” into my heart.  The rest of the time I run on the treadmill or ride my bike trainer while she rests on her princess bed.  I don’t feel as much guilt on those days.

Dealing with Injuries

Play time before I hit the treadmill

I need to name Kobi’s injury.  Any suggestions?  Ever had to deal with a running buddy who gets injured?  Coping suggestions?


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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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Pre-Winter Update

 

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Cool morning runs

Greetings from the Canadian north!

I have been attempting to be a little bit more frequent in my posts, but I just can’t seem to catch enough time – it’s like trying to hold onto a little slippery snake.

I’ve mostly been busy with life and running and other stuff.  I did run a little local race organized by an awesome local gym operator (Coty at Battle Ready Fitness). It was a 7km run over muddy trails with Crossfit style challenges at 4 stations.  I was beat by a 15 year old kid and I’m okay with that (now).  I won a pedicure though, so I’m stoked. Not so sure the esthetician is going to be stoked when she sees my toenails.

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Muddy feet. Kobi had to sit this one out so she stayed clean

Oh, this was big.  It was Kobi’s 5th birthday on September 21!!  I’m not sure her exact birthdate, but picked that date shortly after I decided to keep her.  I can’t believe my baby is 5 already.

I also helped organize and coordinate a local race in late September -the 6th annual half marathon, 10km and 5km fun run!  Kobi ran with my friend so she got to participate.  I ran the route the day before getting the trails ready.

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Pre race trail checks

We had our first snowfall 3 weekends ago when my southern besty was up for a visit (@eastcoastlaine). We went to the mountains for a day and Kobi loved it.

You’re probably curious how Wolverine (aka heel spur aka plantar fasciitis) is doing – if you’ve been following my blog at all. We’re quite distant now and some days I don’t even hear from him.  I’m not complaining and I would prefer to put all my relationship energy into my running again rather than into him.

I did have a third prolotherapy treatment down in the big city a month ago. Recall prolo is dextrose and pain killer injected into the area causing pain with the intent to send your bodies resources there to deal with the invader.  Perhaps Wolverine isn’t into sugar.  My doctor up here did the treatment for me just yesterday.  My big-city sports doctor gave me a lesson on how to instruct her.

Here was the lesson:

  1. place the needle in the area causing the most pain
  2. push the needle in until you hit bone
  3. back off a little bit
  4. inject as much dextrose as the patient can tolerate.

Okay, just saying that hurts.   It’s actually only bad when the needle first goes in and hits the bone, then it’s not so bad – honest.

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OUCH!!!

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, Kobi and I were featured in the September/October issue of Canadian Running Magazine. We were in an article about runners and their rescue dogs.  Four other really cool folks with rescue dogs were also featured.  Check it out.  And here’s Kobi’s public service announcement:  please adopt, don’t shop if you’re looking for a canine companion.

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Famous dog

Don’t forget we’re on Instagram (@outdoorrunning) and Facebook (Kobi the Adventure Dog).  Follow us there and you’ll see cool photos of Kobi on a daily basis.

The next post should involve me raving about all the amazing snow, assuming I manage to post before June.

Happy running everyone!

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Mid run kisses

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Spring (ish)

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I thought I should get a post out before April came along so here goes…

My heel spur, now named Wolverine, is very angry.  To refresh your memory, in my last post here, I decided to name my heel spur and landed on Wolverine as that reminds me of Hugh Jackman, and I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Hugh.

Anyhoo, that bony little hook must be made of Adamantium, just like Wolverine’s claws, as it feels pretty indestructible and sort of like a hot, searing, sharp spike trying to cut through the flesh of my heel.  Yes folks, it really feels like that.  Not the most useful spot to have a steel spike even if you are a superhero.

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Kobi reassuring me that everything will be okay

While I’m on the whiny wagon, I may as well continue feeling sorry for myself as this little Adamantium claw in my heel means I will not be running my first planned half marathon on May 1.  There’s  80 bucks I wont be getting back, but I will be saving hundreds of dollars on hotel and flight expenses, I  guess there’s always an upside.

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How I typically deal with injuries, pretend I can’t see them

Because of Wolverine’s angry return, the bike trainer has been seeing a significant increase in use which means I get to watch a bit more television than usual – that could also be considered an upside.  Kobi sometimes sleeps while I ride, but more often she just barks to go outside and then barks to come back inside about every 3 minutes.  It’s her way of getting back at me for not being able to take her for a nice long 1.5 hour jaunt through the woods.

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How our lives used to look

In other news, I am at least able to walk Kobi and she is tolerating my slower speed, but not so much the reduced distance.  I can also cross-country ski.  We had a little warm snap which turned the ski trails to ice, but then it snowed again so the ice is now covered by a deceptive little layer of snow that has hidden the danger beneath, but ignorance is bliss.  Did I mention that I am not keen on breaking a hip?  It’s one of my many fears, you know, along with my irrational fear of vampires, dinosaurs, and yeti.

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At least we can cover more ground on skis

Well, enough about me.  Hope you’re all having a lovely spring.

What’s your go-to exercise when you can’t run?  Favorite television show that you hardly get to watch?  What’s scarier, vampires or a yeti?  


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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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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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The Story of Kobi

Because I’m still on a running hiatus I felt compelled to write more about Kobi,  my running partner, super hero, dragon-slayer and best friend.

She was born on or around the end of September 2011 in the small Hamlet of Fort Liard, Northwest Territories.  Her and her four siblings were brought to my town by someone who had visited Fort Liard.  He was going to attempt to find homes for them.  I have no idea what happened to the mother.

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The day I picked up Kobi and her 2 other siblings – 5 weeks old. She might be the one in the middle.

I came across the puppies on a random work visit.  It was turning very cold outside (late October) and the fellow who had the best intentions of helping/adopting them out was overwhelmed by 5 young puppies and the amount of poop they were producing.  My husband was away for the weekend and I felt I could take on the task of finding homes for these little guys before he even got home.  I dream big!

I took 3 of the 5 puppies as 2 were going to this fellow’s niece.  Then it was me and my cat’s turn to become completely overwhelmed by the crying and pooping.

I made a makeshift kennel in the shop out of television boxes and other random stuff.  I adopted the little black one out right away and then held onto the two white ones to make sure they went to really good homes.  Two weeks went by and I still had them.

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Kobi and her sister in the makeshift kennel

After spending a few weeks with these two, I was falling for the one with folded ears, not Kobi (upright ears).  Folded Ears was sweeter, calmer, and more affectionate, also a bit smarter.  I had tentatively adopted Kobi out twice.  The first person declined Kobi after thinking about it (she liked Folded Ears too, but I said I wanted her) and the second family called after four hours with Kobi and said it wasn’t working out, they had an older dog who wasn’t impressed with her.

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Kobi is in the front, her sister is behind her.

Plan B.  I learned there was a young, super nice couple in town looking to adopt a puppy, but not until spring.  I knew how to play that card.  If I were to show up with two adorable puppies in tow at his place of employment, how could he say no.   I placed Folded Ears in his arms and knew I had him at hello.  He brought his wife over that evening and she quickly fell in love as well.

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Kobi and her sister, Kobi is in the front again.

They took Folded Ears and named her Caribou.  I decided I’d keep the other one –  and named her Kobi.

I kept thinking back to Cesar Millan The Dog Whisperer and how he always says, “you don’t get the dog you want, you get the dog you need.”  That was Kobi.  She was beyond challenging in so many ways.  She seemed un trainable and was not food motivated so it made it very difficult to encourage her to do anything.  She hardly slept and had way too much energy.  She even went so far as refusing to use outside facilities until about 3 months old.  My work-out mat was preferable to the cold outdoors.

We would have playdates with Caribou who would dazzle us with her ability to perform at least 75 different tricks and stunts in three different languages (I’m exaggerating a little bit), and yet Kobi could barely manage “sit”.

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Kobi and her sister sleeping, Kobi is hanging her head over the cat bed

Then we started skiing and running together and our life changed.  She was finally content.  Her job is to be my playmate, or more like, my job is to be her playmate.  Her energy level is higher than mine, but she is a great middle-distance athlete.

As far as “areas of improvement”, she is a fearful dog and takes stranger danger to a whole new level.   If new people just ignore her entirely for 10-30 seconds while she checks them out, she’s cool.  Any attempt at touching her first does not go well.  I am constantly explaining to people not to touch, talk or look at her when she meets them for the first time.

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Kobi getting ready for take-off

Kobi learned to swim in July 2012.  The look on her face when she figured out she could move in this new element was priceless.  It was like a whole new world opened up for her.  She likes to swim for sticks, but she also just likes to swim and explore.  For this reason we stay away from the terribly large rivers that exist in this neck of the woods as she would definitely just swim out and get caught in the current.  My worst fear.

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Kobi swimming

Kobi’s likes are her BFF’s:  Dino the wolf hound/Pyrenees, Ginger Daisy the Nova Scotia Duck Toller, her sister Caribou of course, and Kato the cat.  She also loves running and skiing, pool parties, car rides, sticks, blueberries, warm milk, slaying dragons, bouncing tennis balls, and mixed martial arts sparring with Kato.

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Kobi and Kato sparring

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Kobi eating blueberries, she loves blueberries

Least favorite things:  strangers, oranges, and dogs that come into our yard uninvited.

She has tested me in ways I thought I would never tolerate, but she has also been the reason for so many great adventures.  She has shown me another lighter way of looking at the world.  She approaches every run, walk, ski or swim with unbridled enthusiasm.  Something we should all do.  I don’t regret her for a second.

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Kobi and her purple dragon


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Winter Wanders

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The view during our ski. It was actually snowing really hard when I took this.

It’s been a week mixed with some sun and snow and slightly warmer temperatures.  But of course it’s the weekend now so the temperatures have dropped.  Yesterday was  -20C with a wind-chill of -27C and it’s currently -27C with a -31C wind-chill, but it is sort of sunny out.  It will likely start snowing soon because it seems to like to snow here.

This is how I looked last Sunday after running outside for 75 minutes in -25C, no clue on the windchill.

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This is my winter ninja look.

I bought Kobi a pretty little red jacket.  I’m not certain if she needs one or not. She has a good coat of hair, but she is mostly an indoor dog unless we’re out on one of our daily adventures and I’m concerned she might get a bit cold sometimes.   I think I’ll just get her to wear it when it’s -20C or colder, warmer than that and I don’t think she needs it.

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Kobi sporting her Little Red Riding Hood jacket

She wanted to pull it off when she wore it for the first time, but during our weekend ski adventure she didn’t seem bothered by it at all and did all her usual dog stuff like pooping, rolling in snow, chasing squirrels and finding dead animal bones.

And for your viewing pleasure, I made this short work-out video with a friend this morning.  Check it out if you want to take your work-outs to a whole new level (and have snow).  Just a few notes:  I’m wearing the cool dark blue snowsuit, the other dog is Kobi’s BFF Ginger Daisy,  those are grosbeaks you hear in the background (birds at my bird feeder), it was -30C out when we did this, and remember you do any new work-outs at your own risk.


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Recovery Week, a Trail Run, and Now a Cold

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Kobi and her BFF in the larch stand

I always like to take it easy the week after a race.  I think I just like an excuse to take it easy or I’m a bit lazy – maybe both.  I transitioned back into the exercise world later in the week with a swim, a yoga class and my favorite Rushift workout with GSP. 

I did my first post-race run on Saturday (16.4km).  Part of the run was in the community forest.  I haven’t seen any bears (including Hugo) or sign of them in weeks so I wasn’t worried about running in the woods at all (I did a test walk the day before on the trail and saw no signs either so I was pretty confident).  The squirrels and grouse are still out in full force though.  I think I counted at least 10 squirrels on the run.  Kobi probably counted more. 

I was thrilled to run with a friend and her dog so I had someone to chat away at and Kobi had someone to run with too.  I’ve been running on my own for so long now, it was nice to have company especially on a longer run.  I think I talk too much when I’m running with other people and I doubt I gave her a minute to say anything.  Clearly I need to get out more. 

I couldn’t resist a photo of this part of the trail.  It’s a larch stand and if you’re at all familiar with trees, you know that larch trees shed their needles for the winter (like a deciduous, but they’re a conifer).  This part of the trail was covered in larch needles.  It looks like coloured sawdust. 

The weather has been absolutely amazing this last little while.  If I was more dedicated I could have been cycling every day, but I’m not.  I’m also coming down with something and feel absolutely lousy.  I hate getting sick.  I have one more race to do this year at the end of November – the Vancouver Historic Half – so getting sick now is going to interfere with my training.  I hate that.