Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Time Flies

Casper August

Casper says hi

Hi y’all. I’ve been somewhat absent for a while.  It’s all that gardening, lawn mowing and outside adventuring taking up my time (and watching the Olympics most recently).  Anyway, here are some points to get you up to speed since my last post (Summit Runnit):

  • Drove 1400km south to visit my folks and adventure with Kobi. We paddled, biked, and ran lots. Kobi met her social media boyfriend Cash (@eastcoastlaine on Instagram) and they hiked and played on their first real date.
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Kobi and her boyfriend Cash on an action date

 

  • Bought a fat bike and named him Fat Boy Slim. All my bikes are boys by the way. My tri bike is named Magnum (after the ice cream bar I eat after I ride) and my cyclo-cross is named Marcus. I like naming things. Recall my heel spur has affectionately been named Wolverine.
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That’s Fat Boy Slim in the background and Kobi post mud role

 

 

  • Ran my one and only race of 2016 in early August, The Emperor’s Challenge, in Tumbler Ridge. First time I haven’t actually raced a race, but rather participated. I was so grossly undertrained for this one thanks to Wolverine.  At least I ran it.  I have to say it feels kind of nice not to run so hard that you feel like puking the entire time. I recovered much faster too. Wolverine still joined me as he likes destination runs, but I think our relationship is becoming a bit strained. I’m ready for him to leave, but he’s not. We need counselling.
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It was a very foggy and rainy run up and down a mountain

  • And, Kobi is still awesome and we’re still adventuring lots together.
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This is how Kobi looks after 6 days of adventuring and a 3 hour paddle.  Tired.

There, now you’re up to speed. Now onto recent events, the black bear situation in this neck of the woods is something else this year. Every day for over a month now I have seen 1-2 bears and not while I’m out driving around, but while I’m out walking, running or biking.  I can’t count how many times strangers driving by have stopped to warn me of a bear up ahead.

I’ve run into one big dude a lot.  He scares me. He’s gone so far as snorting and growling at me when I’ve walked by him while he’s lurking in the woods.  Kobi typically smells them first and warns me by getting in her puffy dragon pose and staring at one spot.  She chases them when they come in her yard.

bear august

Too close for comfort.  Kobi hates bears.

 

Another exciting near miss was a few weeks ago.  I rode Fat Boy Slim to the lake and about 2 minutes ahead of me was a sow with 2 cubs.  Kobi picked up the scent and went crazy.  I was oblivious to the potential hazard and didn’t see mama and cubs.  Fortunately there were some folks at the lake who had seen her and were quite concerned about our well-being and how we had made it to the lake in one piece.  They put Kobi in the van and drove her out with their dogs and I rode like a maniac beside their van.

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Splish splash.  We’re happy when we don’t see a bear

I have to say I’m really looking forward to winter. I’m so done with the bears.

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Our mountain run a few weeks ago in Stone Mountain Provincial Park.  A 1.3hour drive from my house.  Jelly?

What are your thoughts on large predators?  Would you still go outside?  Ever adventure too much with your dog?  Do you like my fat bike/tractor? 

Remember we’re on Instagram (@outdoorruning) and Facebook (Kobi the Adventure Dog) if you need a daily dose of Kobi!

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Fun on our last run

 

 

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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.

Blog June 2016 medals

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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Where Does All the Time Go??

dog and horses

Kobi and the unicorns

Holy doodle, it has been a while since my last post!  Every week I mean to write a post to fill you in on my adventures, but somehow I run out of time.  So much has happened, but I’ll just dazzle you with the epic highlights in 400 words or less.

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Just chasing butterflies

My first planned race of the year was cancelled so my next first race of the year will be June 20 – the Summit Run-It, the one I’m organizing.  We capped it at 40 people.  It will be epic.

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Summer time means ice cream time

We’re in full-on summer, except the odd day where it turns to near winter again.  That means the days are super long, the flying pinchers are out (the most dreaded insect of the north), the wild roses are blooming, and the bears are out again.

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These large flying beetles smell my fear and always land on me.

I had my first bear encounter of the year last weekend.  The bear was where I needed to go and there was only one way out.  I wrangled Kobi up and got her on the leash and then attempted to get my bear spray out of my hydration vest.  I keep it in the outside pocket on the very back of the vest.  I nearly dislocated something trying to remove the canister without taking the vest off.  My arm joints stayed in place, but I did lose its cool case in my panic.  The bear eventually wandered back into the woods after a stare down and Kobi and I proceeded to run our guts out to get back home.  Reason #27 why I like winter.

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Kobi likes all the seasons

In other news, we’re getting a brand new sparkly aquatic centre that opens June 21, I’m very excited.  And I learned how to climb a rope in CrossFit.  I’m all about prepping for the zombie apocalypse and rope climbing is one of those skills you just might need to escape from zombies.

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This is the old pool

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That’s me, climbing a rope. I can get back down safely too

Ta Da – less than 400 words!  What’s scarier, flying pincher or bear?  Do you like climbing ropes?


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September Stuff

Turns out August was a pretty low mileage month for me. Between back to back races, tapers and recoveries, I didn’t run much.  September will be different.

September also means the bears are out in full force which is totally nerve-wracking.  Turns out the ones I’ve been seeing have a mamma with them (even though I thought they were kind of big to still be with their mamma).  Every walk and run has Kobi on high guard with hackles up.

I honestly can’t wait for snow right now just so these guys go to sleep already.  Oh yeah, it did snow on the weekend, but it melted.  The weather is supposed to be quite nice for a few more weeks so I’ll be running nervous for a while longer yet.

It feels very primal to be running in fear all the time.  Isn’t this what we did 5,000 years ago?  Ran in fear from pretty much everything?  It’s stressful.

Enough about that.  Now I shall entertain you with photos from the week…

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How’s your September going?  Are you jealous of my snow?  Don’t you wish you could nap like Kobi?  


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Adventures Abound

This past weekend involved flying fish, fighting raptors, stinging Hymenoptera, baby unicorns and large predators.  Well, sort of.

It all started Saturday when I went out for an hour-long run. Turns out this was one of those runs where you just don’t feel the love.

I headed to the lake first so Kobi could have a swim break. There were all these schools of little minnows close to shore. Then they started jumping like crazy. I think they wanted to fly or become land dwellers, they were going nuts.

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Flying Fish

We stayed a while and watched the fish who wanted to fly before carrying on.  Then we saw a raven and a hawk fighting or maybe they were playing, it was cool.

Forty minutes in and I still wasn’t feeling the love, but I was starting to accept this.

Then I collided with a large flying thing. It was either a bee or a hornet as it got tangled in my camelback strap and stung me! I actually started yelling and cursing and then failing and throwing my camelback off as fast as possible as I feared it was still tangled and would keep stinging me.

I never actually saw the stinging Hymenoptera so I don’t know which it was – bee or hornet. I first assumed hornet as they are always angry and like to sting. However, I was wearing the brightest yellow shirt ever and bumblebees like flowers so perhaps I looked like a flower and the bee didn’t realize I was running and therefore the collision. I’m sure a bee would only act in self-defense so I forgive the bee. Not so much if it was a hornet. Regardless, it hurt. I haven’t been stung in a while and I had forgotten what the burning piercing pain of a sting was like.

I carried on as I’m not allergic to stings, I’m just a wimp.  I also wanted to check out the baby unicorns ahead.

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They could be baby unicorns?

They’re not real unicorns, but they’re cute and I would love to see a real unicorn.  After the unicorns horses I hit another watering hole for Kobi and then headed home.

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Northern water dog

The adventure didn’t stop there. Sunday I talked myself into a bike ride. I’m not super crazy about cycling up in my neck of the woods as the roads suck and are not bike friendly and I can’t take Kobi with me.

During the first 5 minutes I saw 3 red tail hawks playing around and thought that was pretty cool and maybe this would be a good ride. It wasn’t. I never really get used to large semi-trucks speeding by me at 110km/hr. Then I saw the biggest black bear cross the highway in front of me. That was all it took, I turned around and high-tailed it home. Total ride: 45 minutes.

But wait, there’s more…Monday I saw a giant fresh steamy pile of bear poop about 300m into my jaunt with Kobi. Kobi pee’d on it then proceeded to charge into the woods back and forth so the bear wasn’t too far away.

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Bear poop

Oh, icing on the cake, these guys are everywhere right now. I don’t know how to spell a shiver, but that’s what they make me do.

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Check out its hairy legs

Ever had one of those runs where you just aren’t loving it? What do you think, bee or hornet? Are you allergic to stings? Ever been stung while running or cycling? Aren’t those horses cute?  Does that spider freak you out?  Seriously they are everywhere this year!!

kittens

You needed a kitten update too, they’re way cuter than spiders


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Wild Runnings

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On Sunday, I completed my last long run prior to my two upcoming races.  I wanted this final run to have lots of long hills and rather than driving 1.5 hours up the highway to the mountains, I opted to run a brushed-in old road/trail out my back door.

As you may or may not recall, I live in an untamed part of the world and I am a bit paranoid of large predators.  The trail is very brushy and thick with berries so I’m extra nervous.  What bear wouldn’t want a portion of protein with their fruit?  So I asked Mr. Husband to ride his ATV while I ran.  He agreed.

More or less what my trails looks like

More or less what my trails looks like

It has to be pretty boring to ride an ATV with someone who is attempting to run up a hill.  I say attempting as it doesn’t really look like running, more like a hunched over sllooowwww jog.  Fortunately there are no photos of my less than perfect uphill running form (just think of Quasimodo wearing a camelbak and Asics).

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My bear protection

It was nice to have the comfort of company, but it didn’t help that he kept riding up beside me to say he saw more wolf poo.  This happened like 3 or 4 times.  Then he commented on a weird smell at one part of the trail.  I told him it was stink currants, but it was likely a bear.  Bears really stink and if you are ever unfortunate enough to get close to one or close to where one just was, you will smell it.

I tried the “I’m just going to ignore all these comments” approach as ignorance is bliss, but fear won out and I ended up only running the route twice (I was aiming for 3). It didn’t help that at one point Kobi had her hackles up and wouldn’t pass a part of the trail.  It was probably just a weird shadow as her eyesight isn’t that great, but it still freaked me out.  I finished up my run in a more open area and all ended well.

Would you run with wolves or bears?  How’s your hill running form?  Check out my kittens, they’re growing!!

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Sleepy Casper – he’s so pale.

Cricket knows how to chill

Cricket knows how to chill

 


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Bugs and Bears

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A rainbow in my yard!! But sadly, no pot of gold.

Bugs and Bears is my name for the season affectionately known as summer.  This season is all about biting blood-sucking insects and large blood-letting predators.

First, there are the mosquitoes that drive you mad with their incessant buzzing and biting.  When it’s too hot for them outside, their friends the horse-flies take over.

Did you know that a horse-fly can fly up to +40km an hour?  Maybe that’s why they’re called “horse” flies.  This means you can’t escape them when on a bike and you definitely can’t outrun them.  They flock together and fly around your head while you’re running.  It’s awesome.  What’s even more awesome is when they sink their fly teeth in.  According to Wikipedia, they have “knife-like mandibles to rip and/or slice flesh apart”.  How lovely.

Then there are the black flies (about 1/8 the size of a horse fly).  They leave a nasty bloody bite mark that itches terribly and usually gets infected.  And we can’t forget the no-see-ums (teeny tiny wee little biting flies).  I swear if you looked at these under a microscope they would be all fangs.  Their bite really hurts and they also leave bloody bite marks.

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No-see-um. This is what I think they look like.

Oh, and then there are the “pinchers”.  If there is one insect that instills the deepest fear in me, it is the dreaded pincher (aka the longhorn wood-boring beetle).  When I see them flying, I start waving my arms and jumping around frantically all while screaming.  I think this attracts them.  They also have hooks on their feet so once they land on you, they hold on.  They also bite when they feel threatened (they eat wood so they have strong jaws and my screaming makes them feel threatened).

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I’m shuddering just writing this caption. Photo credit Wikimedia

Then of course there are the large predators – bears.  It’s cool when you see them hanging out on the side of the road when you’re driving by (in a car), not so cool when you’re on a bike or out running.  You really only have to worry about the sows defending their cubs, the predatory ones (yes, they do hunt people up here), or the ones you surprise.  That pretty much covers most of the bear situations you’re going to encounter while out running.

On a positive note, I get a great running tan (if there is such a thing) and everything is so green and lush.  Such a lovely time of year.

What’s your favorite blood sucking insect?  Does your dog get terrorized by biting bugs?  What’s your favorite running season?  Does your dog like eating grass?

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Kobi eating her greens