Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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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.

dog on a mountain

Kobi posing on the mountain.

dog and hiker

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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I Ran a Race (Last Week)

Pacific Ocean

Coastal Scenes

I have many quirks (aka superpowers) that you may or may not care to read about, but one that somewhat relates to this post is that I don’t like telling folks what races I have coming up.  I am paranoid that something will happen and I won’t be able to race and then you will be sad.  You likely won’t care one way or the other, but I want to protect you from any unnecessary stress just in case.

Anyway, I nearly had to un-plan my last secret planned race due to Kobi’s injury which totally justifies, in my mind, why I should keep my mouth shut.

I booked this trip over 2 months ago (flights, hotels, etc) and husband was even going to come along as his siblings conveniently live in the city where the race is.  Once he learned that Kobi needed 3 weeks of rest, he quickly offered to stay home and look after her, a little too quickly I might add, and encouraged me to carry on and go to the race.

So I headed off to run a half marathon in beautiful Victoria, BC.

I flew down to the opposite end of the province from where I live and then planned on taking a small seaplane over to the island from the mainland – just for the adventure of it.  Turns out it was foggy the day I was going to do this so my flight was cancelled.  I knew there wouldn’t be many commercial flight options left so I found a commercial bus line that drives you to the ferry and then takes you to downtown Victoria (I had 10 minutes to catch the bus).

What would have taken 30 minutes via seaplane took four hours by bus and ferry.  I also have issues with public transit type forms of travel thanks to my fear of germs.  I had myself convinced I was sick the next day, but I seemed to get over it race day.

foggy ferry ride

Just a bit foggy out

Now onto the race.

The weather was perfect for racing – overcast and not too cold and not too hot, just right.

Another of my quirks you may be fascinated to learn about is that I never wear my Garmin when I race and I rarely if ever look at my watch when racing either.  I love running by feel.

Here’s how I do it:  run just fast enough so that I don’t feel like throwing up and leave enough in the tank to run the last 3km as strong (I always feel yucky by 18km) if not stronger than the first 10km. That’s it.

mixedbreed dog

Rosie the lion/dog was there to cheer me on at the 13km mark.

I had secretly (well, not now) really really wanted to run under 1:36.  The clock said 1:36:30 when I crossed the finish line, my chip time was 1:36:19.  I was at first a little bummed, but I got over it as it was 8 seconds faster than my fastest half marathon ever time and just under 2 minutes faster than my fastest time for this race.

What I find cool about this race is that there are a few loops you have to run out and back so you get to see the pros fly by a few times.  Love watching them.

Okay, now a Kobi update.  She’s doing much better.  She still isn’t 100% herself and knowing that dogs are great at hiding pain I’m sure she still needs some time.  Technically we have only 7 more days and she can start running with me again – I’ll ease her in slowly of course.

Ever had to make exciting last-minute travel changes?  Do you ever race by feel?  Any other pointers to racing by feel?  Do you like Kobi’s white teeth?  

white dog

Isn’t she cute?

 

 

 

 

 


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Yukon River Trail Half Marathon

I agreed to do the above mentioned race with a friend (we put it on the race plan about 10 months ago).  It’s held on the first Sunday in August in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories.  It’s only a 950km drive from where I live.

The week before the race I said screw driving that far and decided to fly.  Not totally smart as I can only afford to fly using air miles on short notice and there weren’t many flight options available last-minute.  I ended up driving 390 km to the next closest airport, flew 1.5 hours to Vancouver and then flew 2.5 hours back north to Whitehorse.  I was at least on the same flight as my partner in crime.

Leaving on a jet plane

Leaving on a jet plane

We got in very late Friday night.   Saturday we did a little run along the trail in town (where I met Creepy Barbie) and spent the rest of the day checking out Whitehorse.  Sunday was race day.

creepy barbie was stuck in the fence along the trail

Creepy Barbie was stuck in the fence along the trail

Whitehorse, Yukon

Downtown Whitehorse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event hosts a full marathon, relay marathon and half marathon – all on trails, single track goat trails to be precise.

Most of the folks running this one are locals and the entire event is capped at 325.  There were 100 people in the half marathon.

This is me trying to look cool pre-race.  I haven't quite figured out how to look cool.

This is me trying to look cool pre-race, or like Captain Morgan

The half didn’t start until 10AM.  It’s a gun start and not really chip timed.  You get this little plastic thing you have to dip into a  reader when you cross the finish line.  Not good as my hands don’t work well after I run so I was pretty sure I’d drop it (spoiler alert, I didn’t).

I placed myself up front with the fast folks as why the heck not.  There were some really fast folks there.  One girl up front was maybe 5 feet tall and 85 lbs of fastness.  I saw her doing a warm-up, holy fast Batman.  She ran the half in 1:35 so that tells you how challenging the course was.  She looked like she could run a 1:15 on a road.

The first bit was on paved trail, then some road and then you hit the single track.  People were incredibly polite about passing.  The second half of the race was really hard.  Some seriously steep sections (up and down and I suck at downhill).

I didn’t take photos as taking your eyes off the goat trail along the cliffs and through the woods would have resulted in a face plant or fall off the side of a mountain into a cold lake below.  I also would’ve likely taken a wrong turn and would still be running out there as you had to pay attention to the trail markers (flagging tape).

Cool side note:  If any of you Canadians watched the Amazing Race Canada Tuesday, the bridge the contestants run across at the end of the show is the bridge I ran across in my race.

I finished in a decent time (I think) as I was the fifth chic in and first in my age group (there were 20 in my age group).  It took me 1:58:44.

The finishing medals are really cool.

The medals are made from pottery.  Very cool.

The medals are made from pottery.

Post race, I pigged out at McDonald’s (I just looked at the food as carbs and protein, that’s how I justified it, plus it was close to the hotel).  A little while later we made our way back into town – walking slowly – to find a place to eat dinner.  We ended up at a pub called the Dirty Northern Bastard.  It sounded too good to pass up.

We left the next morning on a 5:55AM flight back to Vancouver, then I flew back to where I started and drove 4 hours back home.  And I saw a grizzly bear on the drive – cool!

I am totally in love with Whitehorse, it’s so beautiful!  The people are so nice too.  It’s kind of like Hawaii, but in the north and obviously colder and no palm trees.  I think it’s more the feel of the place that made me think of Hawaii, laid back and everyone totally wants to be there.  I want to be there.

Ever been to Whitehorse?  Do Barbie’s freak you out?  What’s the coolest medal you’ve received at a race?  What’s the weirdest name of a pub you’ve been to?  Have you seen a grizzly bear in the wild?

 

Yukon River Trail Half Marathon

 


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The Last Half of 2013

Half Marathon start in Vancouver

I’m in the white hat looking at my watch

I ran my final race of 2013 last Sunday – The Vancouver Historic Half.  It’s two loops around the sea wall in Stanley Park.  My most favorite place to run – although the run along the beaches from UBC to Kitsilano isn’t too bad either.

It was so wonderful to run in only capris and 1 shirt versus 2 layers of pants, 3 shirts, a jacket, ear band, toque, mittens, and headlight (yes, I pretty much have a load of laundry after each winter run up where I live).

Prior to any race, I typically don’t run at all the week before.  I was going to do the same with this race, but my friend (who was also running the race) said she had to do a run the day before and a warm-up run right before the race (she has a coach).  The week before any race is time for me to eat too much and scoff at other runners running before a race.  I need to save my energy.

I was easily swayed and besides, I was in Vancouver and I would not waste a running experience “sans” snow (that’s French in case you didn’t know).  I tagged along for the interval run the day before the race.  All the while I’m thinking, “OMG, who runs fast before a race?”.  Then right before the race we did a warm-up run – I know, CRAZY!!  I was certain I would have no energy left at all to complete the race at this point.

Regardless of breaking my “rules” of not running at all before a race, I managed to run the half in a decent time of 1:38:31.  I reckon the pre-race runs didn’t take away all my running reserves (maybe just some).  Oh, and a huge shout-out to my race buddy Tina who ran a new personal best and smashed her previous best time by something like 13 minutes!  Awesome!!

Quick side note, there’s a guy I always see in Vancouver races who runs in a Gingerbread man suit and full face mask under that.  I’m not sure why?  Perhaps it makes him run faster.   It looks hard, but I do catch him every time, takes a bit though as he lives up to his costume and is quite fast.

Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man at the Vancouver Historic Half Marathon

The day after the race, I headed back north to the snow and cold.  I didn’t waste any time and hit the ski trails with my skate skis and Kobi.  Kobi loves the ski trails and always runs into her other dog friends, she has so many friends!

I actually remembered to bring all the appropriate gear with me while skiing.  Except my headlight batteries seem to have had enough of the cold and it was pretty dim by the end of the last ski.  No serious wipe-outs fortunately.

Wildlife count this week:  one great grey owl and very fresh lynx tracks.  Both the owl and the tracks got Kobi pretty excited.  She tried following the owl into the woods, but preferred sitting and listening to its hooting – it was cool.

Ski trails

Skate skiing in the forest with Kobi


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I am a Fitness Tourist

post race runner

Me post-race snacking

I have been off on a short fitness tourist vacation.  I travelled to the beautiful city of Victoria, BC in order to participate in the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon

Here are some standout race and pre-race moments: 

  1. Arrived in Victoria 4 nights before the race, not smart as I don’t sleep well when not in my own bed so I was pretty exhausted the morning of the race. 
  2. Behaved like a complete tourist and walked close to 20km a day hitting museums and stores in the three days leading up to the race.  My feet were killing me and I was convinced I had given myself plantar fasciitis – I’m a chronic pre-race hypochondriac.
  3. Ate way too much fudge, I have no excuse for that one. 
  4. Picked up my race number to see that it was all the numbers in my birthdate, either a good omen or bad one (see number 2).  Seeing as I survived the run I now feel that I just wasted incredible luck and should’ve purchased a lottery ticket instead of registering for this race as I may have been able to retire a millionaire (what are the odds of getting a race number that is your birthdate?).
  5. Applied purple nail polish to my finger nails (toe nails are always purple) as I swear that colour makes me run faster.
  6. Pre-race ritual is to use one of the port-a-potties.  Cost me 20 minutes in a line-up.  Would’ve been faster to walk back to the hotel. 
  7. Made it to my approximate corral location with 5 minutes to spare, looked to my right and saw my cousin in the start line (we’re second cousins).  We always seem to end up running the same races and I see more of him than my other cousins as a result.  Clearly my other cousins need to take up running if they want to visit me.
  8. Carried my own water bottle of Cytomax so I could speed by water stations and avoid choking on cups of water that I couldn’t wrap my lips around.  I dropped the bottle cap at around 15km and didn’t want to toss the bottle as the race was in a residential area and I didn’t want to litter so I held on to it until the next water station.  I looked funny as I was trying to hold a cap-less water bottle very still so as not to splash it all over me for nearly 3km until I made it to the next water station.  I just realized I could have dumped it out. Obviously, all the blood was in my legs and not my brain at that time. 
  9. At about 18km my cousin went flying by me, I figured he was already a head of me.  So I thought, “good, now I can see if I can match his pace and he’ll take me into the finish line.”  Didn’t happen, I looked for that next gear, but I was already in it apparently.  I did keep him in sight.  He is a very fast runner and 14 years younger so he ought to be faster (I try not to dwell too long on the fact that he didn’t really train much for this race). 

I crossed the finish line in a respectable time of 1:37:55.  My post-race gift to myself was a small silver dog pendant that I can wear at all the races that I can’t bring Kobi to. 


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My Week in Review

trees in autumn

How I wish it looked today (this was Wednesday)

How to summarize this week in close to 500 words?  Here goes…

Wednesday I left work early to pick Kobi up as I had planned to go back to town to run the community trail as the trails out this way were muddy.  On the way home, a very low flying small plane flew over me and I noticed the wing on the plane was on fire.  I realized the plane was attempting to make an emergency landing on a side road in town. 

Me and several other drivers turned down the road, to try to help I think.  When I got close, I saw the plane had landed and was engulfed in flames.  That was one of the scariest things I have ever witnessed.  The pilot escaped with minor injuries – pretty unbelievable.

I got home late as a result of the plane crash and ended up running on the muddy trails out this way as I wasn’t in the mood to drive back to town.  We (me and Kobi) did intervals on the trails, always harder than running on a track or road, but my preference.  Hey, Usain Bolt trained on a dirt track back in Jamaica, so there is something to be said about keeping it real. 

I haven’t seen Hugo (the black bear) in ages, but have seen his tracks.  I think he’s gone into Ninja mode and is out there, but not making his presence known.  I did notice these “wolf” tracks, at least I think they’re wolf.

Dog tracks

Pretty big dog prints

Friday’s run was a tempo run on the trail in town.  To sum that one up, pretty much felt like throwing up the entire time and as a result the tempo only lasted 20 minutes. 

Today’s run ended up 1.7km shorter than I had originally planned (planned 24km, ran 22.3km and yes, I am counting the 0.3km).  It was one of those runs that built more character than anything.  I couldn’t even food motivate myself, which is how I can usually get through anything. 

All I could do was try to get the run over with.  My hands were cold (I was wearing those cheap dollar store mini gloves) and my clothes had soaked up so much rain by 6km I felt about 10 pounds heavier.  I may as well have jumped into a pool prior to running I was so completely soaked.  My pants also kept slipping down because they were so heavy and water-logged.

You see, I rarely have to run in the rain as it typically doesn’t rain all the time up here and hardly during my scheduled runs – used to think I had great-weather-running-karma – up until now.  And I had to do the long run today as I’m running the Victoria Half Marathon in 2 weeks and this was the last long run prior to the race.   

I really really hope it doesn’t rain in Victoria on October 13.    

Wet white dog

How I felt during today’s run


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Shred the Trail and Best Birthday Ever

puppy in the snow

Kobi as a baby

It isn’t my birthday, but it is Kobi’s birthday today.  Coincidentally, there is a fun run and half marathon on the same day.  You would almost think I planned it that way, but it wasn’t entirely intentional. 

I was never exactly certain about Kobi’s actual birthdate, but September 21 seemed close (based on the approximate age she was when I found her).  I also liked that date as it’s nearly the equinox which is cool (not so cool that the days get shorter now).  Turns out we also plan a community half marathon and fun run the third Saturday of every September and today’s event fell on the 21st.   

How many dogs can say they have over 100 people, 25 dogs, and a trail run for a birthday party?  I doubt too many and if they are out there, I’d love to hear about their parties! 

Because I’m one of the race coordinators I wasn’t able to run the race, but Kobi did run the half marathon with her Godmother (yes, she has a Godmother) and they both had a great time and ran pretty fast too.

I had the best time cheering on other runners and walkers and would highly recommend any runners out there who haven’t volunteered at a race yet to do so.  It is a lot of fun. 

Happy second birthday Kobi!

dog sleeping

Kobi and her post party nap