Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Living the Wild Wild Life

Sunday we had absolutely stellar weather.  I headed out on a run during the AM and early on had 4 ATV’s pass me.  One ATV had so much exhaust spewing out of it I think I may have lost some brain cells.   So much for being healthy.  Another ATV in the group slowed down to pass me and Kobi.  I thought he was being polite, turns out he was lighting a cigarette.  That made me laugh, or maybe it was the exhaust fumes.

Shortly after this, I came across a trail I hadn’t yet explored and decided today was the day.

winter trail

The new-to-me trail I went run-exploring down.

I didn’t pack any water and was kind of thirsty so I thought I’d eat some snow.   This time of year it’s important to watch out for little black bugs affectionately known as snow fleas.  Kobi photo-bombed my attempt at taking a picture of them.  I didn’t eat any snow.

snow flea and dog

If you click on the photo you can see the small black specks. Snow fleas!

This new-to-me trail ended at a snowmobile trail that I used for skate skiing (recall this post) and the conditions looked awesome.  It just so happened that my friend had suggested we skate ski later that afternoon.  I said I knew the perfect place.

After my run I ate these and then went for my ski.

pancakes

I don’t usual post photos of my food, but these looked so good and I did not stop at 3 and yes, that is maple syrup on top of the strawberries.

We got to the trail and were getting ourselves organized and lo and behold, these guys (girls actually) walked out right in front of us!!

mountain caribou

Not my photo, but exactly what we saw – Mountain Caribou!!

I’m sure the caribou would’ve hung out, however, they saw the dogs and took off back into the woods.  I didn’t get a chance to take photos.  I’ve seen caribou up here often, but never this close.  It was wild!

The skiing was awesome and I could have worn shorts it was so warm.  We felt like we were those fierce Norwegian skate skiers at Sochi, except we moved in slow motion compared to them.

stop sign

Signage on the snowmobile trails where we skied. Pretty much the middle of nowhere.

Ever seen a snow flea?  What are your thoughts about smoking while driving an ATV?

 


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Running on Empty

tracks in the snow

Morning tracks on the trail

There was no “low fuel” warning light that came on for me today.  I was fine one minute, then having a hunger meltdown the next.   I had forgotten how the cold burns extra calories and this was my first long run in the cold since last winter (which I think was only 5 months ago).  

I did a short night-run yesterday in order to get a few extra kilometres in so as to stick to one of my running rules:  your longest run must not be greater than the total of your weekly runs.   I needed another 5km in order to run the 23km I wanted to do today. 

The night-run sucked.  It was dark (obviously) and cold and I had neglected to put on a neck warmer so my chin was cold.  I wore a headlight, but because it was snowing, it was like driving in a snowstorm with your high-beams on.  As a result I could hardly see or hear where Kobi was (recall I let her run off-leash on the trails as I’d likely suffer a serious injury if we were tied together).   I was grateful it was only a 5km, but Kobi ran like she’d never been outside before.  I think she likes running in the dark. 

white dog in the dark

Kobi(s) on our night run

Onto today’s run.  It was -12C with a reported -15C wind-chill.  I started off doing a short burn on the forest trails and then hit the paved community trail.  I ended up back at the forest trail where I was to meet my friend who would run the last 8km with me.  I had just enough time to do a quick clothing change (dry shirts, jacket, toque and mittens) before she showed up.   I find after running over an hour in anything colder than -10C I need a dry clothes change, it makes life so much more bearable.

We ran about 2km together and then all of a sudden I started raving about food (I always think about food, but not like this).  I loudly and enthusiastically explained what I was going to eat after my run (pancakes, maple syrup, canned peaches and a latte) and how awesome these almond butter chocolate balls are that I made (seriously they are the best!  I’ll post the recipe below).

My friend commented that I was getting a bit off – she seems to see my hunger warning signs before I do.   I swear when I get hungry, my body starts devouring my brain cells for the nutrition it needs and I become someone else, like someone who has been taken over by an alien body snatchers species and I can no longer think for myself.

I took another GU and a ton of Cytomax, only because my friend strongly recommended I do this.  I did have one gel earlier (an hour into my run) with tons of Cytomax drink, but I think the cold just took a bit more out of me as one gel and Cytomax is all I usually need on a 20-24km run.

Thankfully, about 5 minutes after the second gel and Cytomax I started to feel better.  And then I felt really good.  And then I recognized that I was entering the “runner’s high” zone.  Suddenly I felt really really happy and was coming up with amazing ideas and saving the world – again.

I seriously think I need to take some voice notes on my phone when I hit this high as I suspect I sound like a raving lunatic versus the genius I think I am.

I did make it home and did eat my pancakes with maple syrup and canned peaches as well as a Kona coffee latte.  I’ve also just polished off my second grilled chicken burger with goat cheese, avocado, and red pepper and I am too embarrassed to say how many almond butter chocolate balls (and everything else) I’ve eaten.

Oh yeah, here’s the recipe from Canadian Running – Nov/Dec 2013 – Almond Butter Chocolate Balls

  1. 1 cup almond butter (mix in the oil)
  2. 1/2 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla
  4. 4 oz dark chocolate (I like 70% cocoa)
  5. 1/2 tsp coarse salt

Mix the almond butter, sugar and vanilla.  Roll into 20 equal sized balls (I made 25).  Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and put them into the freezer (1-1.5 hrs).  Melt the chocolate.  Roll the almond butter balls in the chocolate once they are frozen, garnish with a few grains of salt (I left some without) and refrigerate until the chocolate is set (about 30 minutes).  So good!