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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Adventures in the Back Country

happy dog

Smiley Kobi

It’s me again! There’s been so much going on I haven’t had time to update you on my adventures up in this neck of the woods.
Back on June 20 we held the first annual epic Summit Run-It – a 12km run in the Northern Rockies. We had 30 runners show up and 10 dogs. Not bad for no advertising and it was held the day before the solstice which up here means nearly 22 hours of daylight. I also ended up making race medals with a caribou stamped on them. I can be crafty.

Summit Run-It

Views from the Summit Run-It

dog wearing a race medal

Nifty little race medal hey?

Okay, onto other epic-ness. I did my first backcountry hike a week ago. It was 3.50 days and 3 nights. I was with four others who knew what they were doing which was good because I didn’t. I also brought Kobi. We hiked an area called the Wokkpash. Google it if you’re interested, it’s kind of cool.

Wokkpash River

View of the Wokkpash River

My pack weighed a mere 55lbs. That’s 40% of my body weight. I was pretty certain my hip flexors were going to snap under the strain during the 2 hours of the 5 or 6 km we covered the first night.

Wokkpash campsite

Our first campsite

The next day Kobi had her first near miss with a porcupine. She was on a leash after that as the e-collar didn’t slow her down fast enough. By now my hip flexors were a little more understanding, not so much my hip bones. The hip belt on my pack was digging in pretty deep by now. I named my pack Cruella that day.

Wokkpash River

Shortly after I named my pack Cruella

Wokkpash Lake

Wokkpash Lake. It was only 7km long and we had to walk to the end

Day 3 was more hip pain, back spasms, an insane climb up a mountain as well as more porcupines. Kobi’s feet were showing some wear so I tried putting her boots on her feet, but they just immobilized her, that wasn’t very helpful. Kobi was also unimpressed that I did not bring her princess bed along. I was also wishing for a princess bed.

Forlorn Gorge Wokkpash Loop

Cool rock

Wokkpash porcupine

That little brown blob in the rocks is a baby porcupine. Mamma took off up the hill.

Day 4 was only about 23km worth of valleys and small mountains as well as four river crossings. My hip bones were causing so much pain after the first 2 hours I could only use my shoulder straps on Cruella. Thankfully I had eaten 8lbs of my 8.5lbs of food by this time so my pack was maybe closer to 48lbs. Easy peasy.

Wokkpash, Last Chance Lake

Night #3. Kobi is already in the tent on my bed.

Wokkpash Loop

Day 3, smiling through the pain

With only 2 km left, my right Achilles decided to betray me and I caused a bit of a teary, pathetic scene. Thankfully one of the trekkers in our group is ridiculously strong and carried my pack as well as his pack the rest of the way while I hobbled along feeling sorry for myself. I did give him the rest of my peanut M&M’s for his help and reduced Cruella’s weight by another 300g. Not that anyone noticed by this time.

Wokkpash

Are we done yet?

I will admit I had a few “dark” moments with myself on this trip, but that happens when you’re hungry, sleep deprived, experiencing significant pain, and haven’t showered in 3 days. Reflecting back on this trip now that I’m all clean and not so hungry, it was pretty cool (except for the hip bruises which are still very painful). I haven’t given up on backpacking and will do a trek somewhere else again, just not next week, more like next summer.

end of the Wokkpash Loop

The end

Ever backpacked in the back-country? What are your thoughts on porcupines – cute Ewok type creatures, or mother-natures nasty surprise (for dogs)?


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Tale of a Trail Race and a Mountain Climb

Toad River Run

Race signs – it’s very rural.

On Saturday I ran a very cool 10km race (and then climbed a mountain).

The race takes place way up north in one of the more picturesque parts of this province  (ruggedly stunning).  The race is hosted by a place called Stone Mountain Safaris and is a fundraiser for the small school in the community of Toad River.  There is a 5km walk/run and a 10km walk/run.  I think there was a shorter kids race too.  There were 90 people registered including kids and a small herd of dogs.  I think maybe 20 people (including kids) ran the 10km.  The race is mostly on trails through pastures and wooded areas and a bit of gravel road at the end.

Stone Mountain Safaris

The “lodge” that hosts the race is quite beautiful.

I drove up the morning of as it’s only a 2.5 hour drive and starts at 9AM so it’s doable.  Kobi was fully stoked as she got to come along.

The weather was perfect for racing, overcast and not too hot.  It’s a mass start so I was up front with Kobi as she’s like a race horse out of the gates and I didn’t want to trample any small children by accident.

field and mountains

This is what our views were like during the run

I was passed after a few minutes by a much younger dude, but I kept him in my sight the entire race.  I kept Kobi on the leash for the first little bit as the horses run with you and then away from you.  She has no horse sense so it was best to keep her leash on.  Once through the gate that kept the horses out, Kobi was off leash.  She mostly ran with the faster dude up a head as she likes being up front.  She was courteous enough to wait for me at corners and then would just take off again.

The course was well-marked, and there were route directors on atv’s at every confusing spot.  I did stop once to get a photo of this guy playing a mandolin (the faster younger dude obtained a slightly better lead on me as a result).

man playing a mandolin

This is what our live entertainment looks like up north.

I was the first chick to finish, well actually Kobi was.  I went over to congratulate the much younger-than-me dude on his win and compliment his speed.  He replied back in the most beautiful Parisian French accent that I would be welcome on their trail running team.

Then I asked a dumb question, “where are you from?”

“France”, he said.

That explains the beautiful accent and the fact that I didn’t know him.   I think he is working up here at one of the lodges.  I then had a short daydream about trail running in France.  I imagined scenic routes along the coastline with castles and vineyards as backdrops.  Sigh, wouldn’t that be lovely?

After my short daydream I came back to reality and cheered on my friends and the other runners coming in.

After the awards we took off to climb a mountain as a 10km race is a good warm-up for that and we were in the mountains so you can’t waste them.  We drove just under an hour back to Summit Lake and proceeded to hike up Stone Mountain (opposite side of my snowshoe to the radio tower).

Summit Mountain

Just one of the “steep” parts

I have done this hike before and always forget how steep it is.  It is just under 4km to the far peak (there are 2).  At the first peak it was noticeably  colder and windier and I swear I saw snowflakes.  I will admit I was a bit giddy from the views or perhaps hypoxia – maybe both.  We made it to the final peak and took a short break,  added rocks to the cairn and headed back down.

Stone Mountain Park

Kobi cooling off in the snow before the final peak way off in the top left of the photo.

Okay, so climbing up a mountain is hard, but climbing back down is harder.  I was in an isometric quad hold for over an hour thanks to the steepness and loose rocks.  My quads were destroyed and still are!  And I have a triathlon this weekend!  How smart was that?

Stone Mountain Park

View from the top of the world. Man was it cold up there.

Kobi slept the entire next day and her feet were a bit worn by all the rocks (I felt bad).  She had a hoot though, as did I (except for my quads).

sleeping dog

A very very tired Kobi.

Ever run a race where horses were running with you?  Have you run trails in France?  Does your dog like climbing mountains?  What do you do to keep their feet from getting too tender on rocks?

 


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Best Friends and Rainbows

dog jumping

Kobi the white blurr and the tail end of Dino, her BFF

Everyone needs a friend who loves doing the things we love to do.  This friend should ideally be of equal ability to us or perhaps just a little bit stronger.  Not so much stronger that we nearly kill ourselves trying to keep up to them (or drive them nuts waiting for us all the time).  This friend should also be a bit braver than us or maybe just approach things a bit differently.  Or we just need to be gullible enough to say yes to their ideas.  Regardless, I am blessed to have such a friend.  Her dog Dino is also Kobi’s BFF so it is perfect.

Last weekend, this friend suggested that we go on a hike into the mountains.  The purpose of this hike was to swim in the lake that is the feature point at the end of the hike.  Who would think to pack a wetsuit through the mountains in order to swim across a lake?  Certainly not me, so I immediately said yes!

The hike was beautiful and literally covered in blueberries (no bears or grizzlies thank goodness).  We got to the lake and there were 3 mountain bikers there who probably thought we were absolutely nuts as we were getting into our wetsuits.  If you haven’t seen someone trying to get into a wetsuit before, it is quite funny as it takes a while.  Fortunately, they left before we entered the water, recall it takes a while to get into a wetsuit.

Up until this point, I hadn’t really considered where the water for this lake came from – first clue, mountains, second clue, oh I don’t know, glaciers maybe?   It was the coldest water I’ve ever been in.  Imagine an ice cream headache  x10.  We didn’t actually make it across the lake as it was so cold on our hands and faces it felt like we were going to freeze solid and break into a million pieces like roses dipped into liquid nitrogen and then dropped on the floor.

Kobi swam out with us to make sure we were okay, but she became so cold she tried climbing on top of us.  The older wiser Dino just barked at us from the shore.  Her barks were translated to this:  “You idiots, get out of the water!  Do you know how cold it is?  How am I supposed to rescue three of you from that lake when I hate swimming!  Did you think this through?  Get out of the water NOW!”.

We took her advice and got out alive (we didn’t make it across the lake but were okay with that) and proceeded to laugh our heads off.  That is likely a survival mechanism for warming up after swimming in ridiculously cold water.  Kobi literally ran in circles chasing her tail, winding up one way and then unwinding the other way.  Then she ran as fast as she could while making these little grunting sounds (don’t worry, she was okay).

The hike out was uneventful except for the handfuls of blueberries and then the typical unpredictable mountain weather that always has to happen – extreme winds and then rain.  The storm was short-lived and by the time we were almost back to the vehicle you would’ve never known it had even occurred it got so nice again and of course, there was a rainbow.

All in all I built a little bit more character and can now say that I swam in that lake (that I don’t even know the name of) all thanks to my adventurous friend.

Rainbows and mountains

The Rainbow at the end of the hike