Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Spring Hasn’t Sprung

I’ve been thinking of posting for months and then came to the realization that winter would be over by the time I got around to it.  Turns out I was wrong.  It is officially spring and has been for a bit now (at least according to the calendar), but winter hasn’t let go yet.

Rather than writing about my adventures since December, which would take at least 5,000 words, I shall summarize my most memorable moments since my last post in photos.  I’ve had some epic moments this winter too.  Perhaps I just attract epic adventure much like James Bond attracts gorgeous women.  It’s more probable that it’s just a natural consequence of running in the middle of nowhere with wild animals (I’ve had about 3 adventures with wild caribou alone).  One very memorable run involved a 95 lb golden retriever colliding into the side of my friends knee.  Now I know what bones cracking sound like.   She ended up with a compound fracture on her tibial plateau and will be a in a cast for 12 weeks.  Lesson learned from this, be careful when running with dogs.

Okay, now onto the photos…

7 caribou encountered on this run

Quick trip to the mountains

A little mountain trip

Just out running on the lake

Can you tell we like winter?

Out on the lake again (that’s Zola with us)

Kobi is keeping it real (and I’m trying to look all cool)

Our pack out in the middle of nowhere (a week before the knee break)

Kobi really likes the mountains

Girl power

Okay, that’s enough photo enjoyment.

I have no races planned (except Emperor’s Challenge – if I can get in).  My feelings towards races have evolved since my somewhat dysfunctional year and a half long relationship with Wolverine (recall my heel spur), but that’s an entirely separate post (or series of posts).

As I was closing this post, Kobi showed up at the door with a part of a white tail deer (it’s tail of all things).  I suspect some larger predators had a meal at the expense of the poor deer.  Life in the wild is harsh.  See, I do live an exciting life.

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Cricket is suggesting I not let that in the house

Has spring sprung where you are or is that still up for debate?

Should I have let Kobi in with the body part?  

Which photo is your favourite?

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Summit Run-It

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Group shop seconds before the start.  That’s me and Kobi far right.

We did it! We held our second Summit Run-It on June 5.  This time we advertised, last year we didn’t as we just wanted to test out the idea. This year we had 51 folks participate and about 12 dogs.  Several hiked the route and the rest ran.  The route is uphill for 6km and then you turn around and get to run all the way back downhill.  There are some steeper sections, but they aren’t too long.

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A real mountain man.  He always races in jorts and he’s very fast.

This event is free so you don’t get a race shirt, have catered food or win any prizes. You do get to drive yourself 1.5 hours up the Alaska Highway to the incredibly scenic Stone Mountain Provincial Park.  Water, granola bars and dog treats (for the canines) were available post-race and participants received handmade finishing medals.

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Low budget finishing medals

 

We did have two “aid” stations. We had a park ranger at the mid-point and a volunteer fireman at the turn-around.  These stations only had water for dogs and were primarily there just to provide assistance to participants should it be needed.  The other park ranger and volunteer fireman stayed at the finish line ready for dispatch in the unlikely event of an emergency.  We are in the great white north, so one never knows what one might encounter.

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We also provided free photos of participants taken during the race.

Now onto me, recall I have basically been off running since March with only a few shorter runs completed recently. My intent was to run to the turn-around and then just dawdle along and take photos of the other runners.  I realized early on that one does not sustain running fitness by not running for 3 months.  To avoid vomiting in front of folks, I changed plans and started taking photos much earlier than planned.  I was okay with that.

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Selfie time – aka rest time

I had Kobi in her harness and a bungee leash attached to my waist. This set-up speaks to her inner sled-dog so she pulls very well.  I was worried that her pulling my pathetically out-of-shape butt up a mountain might re-hurt her recently healed foot so she wasn’t on leash for too long.  I can see why folks like canicross.  Man, you can really give’r when you’ve got a dog pulling you.

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Mountain crocodile

Of course Wolverine (aka my heel spur) didn’t want to miss out on the scenery and fresh mountain air so he hung out with me too. On a pain scale of 1-10, I was at a 7 by the finish line.  Just so happens Mavis, our local massage therapist, completed the event and has been working on my foot a bit so she did some post-run work on me.

Let me tell you about Mavis:  she also did this event last year, is close to 80 years old (but looks way younger), still works as a massage therapist, is constantly taking new training in her field, swims three times a week, and hikes like no one’s business.  She is amazing.  She even brought almond cake to share with everyone post-race.

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Mavis the Amazing

It was a good day.  Happy running y’all!

Are you all about the swag or would you dig this kind of event?  Uphill or downhill runner?  Maybe I’ll encourage folks to bring baking next year like Mavis did.  Do you know of someone like Mavis?  Isn’t she the coolest?!  


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Adventures in the Back Country

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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.

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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.

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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)?