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.

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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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Baby it’s Cold Outside

Wow, 2 posts in a month?  Don’t fall out of your chair in shock like I nearly did.

Here’s the long and short of it:  it got cold, quite cold actually, but now it’s warmed up a bit.

Here’s more detail, one run was in -23C, one was in -27C, and one was in a balmy -19C.  That’s -9F, -16F, and -2F if you don’t have access to a universal temperature translator.

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This is what running in -23C looks like.  Kobi is checking out my lashes

On our -19C run, we had a house guest.  Kobi’s friend Zola, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, came over for a sleep-over and of course we all had to go for a run.  Fortunately for Zola it was only -19C as she has less hair than I do and gets pretty cold.  She has a snazzy Ruffwear jacket to keep her warm and stylish.

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Out with the girls.  Only -19C!

We ended up exploring several snowmobile trails behind where I live.  The girls probably ran closer to 16km where I only ran 11km.  They’re much faster than me and had to come back several times to make sure I was still tagging along.  It’s hard running on packed snow trails in case you’re wondering.  Imagine running on a few inches of dry sand on top of wet sand, but you’re wearing several layers of clothing and dealing with a bitter wind biting into your face the entire time.  Okay, so that’s not like running in sand, but you kind of get what I’m getting at? Maybe?

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Sun runners

I also think the cold has caused a vitamin deficiency that can only be replenished through the mass consumption of chocolate because I’ve been eating chocolate the way a sailor with scurvy would attack a box of oranges.   It’s been out of control.  Sadly there is a lot of chocolate in my house so I’m still working on topping up whatever cold weather induced deficiency I have.

Hope you’re all staying warm and looking stylish like Zola.

Now it’s your turn…What’s the coldest temperature you have/would run in?  Sand or snow?  Favourite chocolate (mine is currently Lindt salted caramel)?  Sunrise or sunsets?  Mutts or purebreds?  


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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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It’s Nearly Winter Where I Live

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This stuff has already melted, but it will be back

It was so cold on my run last weekend I had to wear a toque (wool hat for you non Canadians), a jacket and mittens (my hands are ridiculously cold all the time).  That run inspired me to do the closet swap  – you know – pack all your summer clothes up and bring out the sweaters.  Gotta love life in the north.  I shouldn’t even bother putting winter clothes away for the short “hot” season we get, but it is more out of principle.

Did you know we had 3.5 months snow free this year?  Pretty amazing hey?

Regardless of the cold, I am still loving running in the wilds right now.  With no bugs and the beautiful colours who could resist?!

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Kobi on our foggy weekend run. Notice she’s sticking her tongue out at me.

 

Kobi has been loving the cooler weather and has 4-7 epic squirrel or grouse chases every walk and run.  Unfortunately one of these epic chases resulted in an injury, a back injury of all things. She must have slipped or tripped as all I heard was a yelp and then she wasn’t keen on jumping up anymore.

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What did you say? I can’t run?

I drove her 390km (230ish miles) one way (and then back again) to see a veterinarian as we were pretty worried (no vet in my town).  No fractures or breaks, but she’s on anti inflammatories and is going to need 3 weeks of rest.  Ever tried containing a hyper-super-fit dog for three weeks?  It’s not going to be easy. Poor Kobi.  She is showing signs of improvement already so everything should be a-okay soon enough.

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I think this will be our Christmas card as I never get all 4 critters in one shot

How many months snow free do you get?   Any ideas on how to keep a hyper dog calm without excessive exercise?


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Water Dog and Flying Ants

Springtime can be a really nice time of year in the north.  The days are very long, the birds are back and singing constantly, the frogs are croaking, and once the mud dries, the running is amazing – until the mosquitoes come out and terrorize you.  Translation:  3 days of great running.

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Kobi taking her first swim of the year

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One of Kobi’s water stops

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Kobi post swim

 

Kobi also loves this time of year as there are water ponds and puddles everywhere so she can cool off and regain her super powers every 10-15 minutes.  She also discovered playing in culverts.  Last week she ventured into one and had to run in and out of it at least 5 times before I could coax her on again.

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more playing in the culvert

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Kobi in yet another culvert

 

After our playdate with the culvert on a walk last week, I wanted to go for a bike ride.  You see, I signed up for a triathlon so I had better get on a bike a few times before the event.  Turns out the day I decided to ride was rather warm (24C) and that resulted in the first of the year flying ant invasion.

Apparently under the right heat and humidity, all the queen and male ants from all over Antville fly out at the same time in order to meet up and procreate (I Googled it).  They mate, the dudes die and the females go back and make their colonies bigger and also diversify the gene pool.  Please feel free to clarify any of this if there are any ant experts out there.

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There were more of them than this, but this is one with its wings still on

It’s kind of cool to read about, but not so cool to bike through swarms of slow flying large insects.  In short, it freaked me out.  I had several (it seemed like 100’s, but likely only 10 or 20) of them hit me and stick to my shirt and helmet, and get tangled in my hair (of course they had to get tangled in my hair) all while I’m speeding along on my bike.

I remembered back to a horrific crash I took as a little kid when I was out riding my cool bicycle that looked exactly like this:

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This is what bikes looked like back when I was a kid

A flying ant was heading straight at me as I was barreling down a gravel road.  I ducked, gravity took over, and I crashed and slid along the gravel.  It was the memory of that crash that helped me maintain my cool all while being pelted by ants, I’m also far too old to fall off a bike.  Oh yeah, my current bike doesn’t look like that one.

Have you experienced a flying ant event or other large insect event?  Does your dog dig culverts?  Do you like riding or running or both?  Did you have a bike like the one above – maybe not in pink – or am I just the oldest coolest person out there?

 

PS  Stay tuned, I had a pretty cool adventure over the weekend….

 

 


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The Power of a Nap

It’s been a rather interesting week.  Saturday I ran through the woods with Kobi and her BFF Dino and my friend, Sunday I rode my bike wrangling zombies while dressed like one (I only scared 2 kids), Monday Kobi and I ran to our favorite little lake, and then Tuesday to Thursday I had to head out of town for work.

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Kobi and Dino running on our favorite trail in the woods.

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Me and my friend preparing for the zombie run

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The lake Kobi and I love running to

I had a serious travel hangover Thursday.  I’m not great at adjusting to time away as I am such a creature of habit.  I also don’t sleep well unless I’m at home, in all honesty I don’t always sleep well at home either.  Add in a time zone change and I’m really messed up. 

After getting home Thursday morning, I lasted at work until about noon and then had to go home.  I had been up since 4AM so I was pretty much done.  I went to pick up Kobi, but first took her and her BFF Dino for a quick walk (Kobi sleeps over at her house when I go out of town – I can’t thank my friend enough for doing this – priceless) and then headed home. 

I decided I had to have a nap as I could hardly think let alone stand upright.  Of course Kobi and Kato (the hyper-active dog and kitten team) decide this is the time to do laps through the house and Kato must use the bed in his route.  After about 30 minutes, maybe it was 15, everyone settled down and accepted I needed quiet time or perhaps they just got bored or tired themselves.  I passed out and slept pretty hard for maybe 15-20 minutes, woke up quite abruptly (without an alarm), and felt amazing.  So amazing I went for a run with Kobi – our Halloween run. 

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Saw some ghosts in the trees while on our Halloween run

This run was like experiencing two seasons all at once, mud and ice.  I was either running through mud or trying not to wipe-out on the ice.  Kobi ended up a lovely two-toned white/brown dog.  She had to have a bath as there was no way this was coming off with a towel.  She loves baths. She drinks from the tap, gets all silly and wiggly, somehow distracts me and then bolts out of the tub, shakes in the hallway, chases Kato, and then comes back for the towel off.  Oh well, I need to wash the floors anyway, and the walls, and the bathroom, and the ceiling.  

Do power naps work for you?  And does your dog like baths?

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Kobi’s brown under-carriage


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Wings Versus Feet

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Kobi rolling in the dirt after our latest run, she wasn’t dirty enough I guess

The bears must be preparing for hibernation as I haven’t seen one in ages.  Nor have any concerned citizens stopped to warn me of any.  I was actually feeling a bit uncomfortable running outside because so many people kept stopping to warn me about bears.  I was beginning to feel they must think I’m stupid as I keep running outside regardless of their cautions. 

There is one particular warning that I will never forget.  A guy in a collector style convertible with 5 huskies in it stopped to warn me about a bear he’d recently seen in the area.  I was so surprised to see that many dogs in a convertible that I didn’t ask if I could take a photo, it would’ve been a cool photo. 

One critter I am seeing a lot of right now is spruce grouse (I think its spruce anyway).  I see them on all my runs and walks with Kobi, I can’t even count how many I’ve seen, well over 20 but some are likely repeats.  They do scare me half to death as they fly up at the very last second and are so well camouflaged I never see them until that last second.  Then I usually scream. 

I think flying up at the last second must be a grouse survival strategy.  This way if the predator has a weak heart, they will have a heart attack or possibly heart failure due to the surprise and won’t be able to catch the grouse for dinner. 

Often Kobi finds them first and I have noticed she has pointing skills (maybe she has some hunting breed in her genes).  She demonstrated them again on today’s afternoon walk.  I was wondering why she was standing so still in one spot looking, I thought she was just waiting for me (insert laugh here).  She had spotted a grouse and was watching it walk along the trail.  Don’t worry, it got away. 

I think she likes them better than squirrels right now as she thinks she has a better chance at catching one and they also seem to be in larger family units so instead of just one exciting animal to chase there are 4 or 5 of them.  I’ll stress again, she’s never caught one and I doubt she will ever catch one. 

I hope I don’t come across as a completely irresponsible dog owner as it probably appears that I let Kobi run wild and chase whatever she wants.  I guess I kind of do, but not really.  She wears an e-collar so I have contact with her at all times when we’re in our rural and remote areas and the buzz setting is all she needs to remind her to stop what she’s doing.  I do draw the line at chasing ungulates (deer and moose) and of course livestock.  Cows and horses mostly scare her anyway. 

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Horses we saw on one of our runs, Kobi did not chase them.

 


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The World Through the Eyes of Kobi

Dog on a dirt road

Kobi at the start of our walk

I am taking a few days off from running as I have an angry left hamstring (it’s been angry since April and I have chosen to ignore it) and I seem to have picked up a bug, likely from two nights in a row of less than six hours of sleep and being around sick people.

In light of that I thought it would be an ideal time to have a guest blogger, the guest being Kobi.  Now because we humans love to anthropomorphize (that was a mouthful and took a few tries with spell check) everything that isn’t human, I am going to write how I think Kobi experiences the world on a walk or a run, but in English. 

Here’s how it begins….

Where’s the human?  Oh wait a minute, there she is.  Is she wearing shorts or those tight short pants?  Nope, we’re not going for a long fast adventure then, hmmm, what is she doing?  She’s going downstairs, I must follow as fast as possible as she might be trying to leave without me.  She’s putting the big black collar on me, OMG, I am so excited, that means we’re going on an adventure!  (Translation – e collar). 

I want outside now, now, now, let me out first, I must get outside first.  Let me out, let me out, let me out now!!

We’re outside…I must run as fast as possible down the driveway.  I must get there first.  I must smell everything.  Here’s a smell, oh and another, and another smell, oh wait another smell, I must follow this smell. 

I think I’m hearing a word I hear often.  I better run back, oh, there she is, sheesh she is so slow.  Oh, I smell a squirrel, oh, I see the squirrel.  I must climb this tree.  I hear that same word again – sounds like K-O-B-I.  I hear that a lot.  I better go back. 

Now she’s making me sit beside this smooth flat stretch (translation – road).  Why do I have to sit?  I prefer to run.  I’m still sitting, hurry up, I’ve been sitting for hours (translation – 2 seconds).  I heard OK, I must run fast.  Oh, I smell a bear, I smell dogs, I smell a million smells and I must smell them all. 

Wait, now I hear something.  I must chase this sound, I hate this sound.  Why is my neck buzzing?  Huh?  Oh, I hear that word again (translation – Kobi wanting to race a truck but distracted by the e collar and her name).  I love to run, run, run, and smell everything. 

Gotta poop, gotta poop, gotta poop.  This spot isn’t good, this isn’t good either.  Maybe if I spin around a bit, nope, maybe I’ll turn this way, nope, not good either.  I’ll move over here and spin around a few times.  Ah yes, this is good.  I POOPED! 

Now I must run again, run and smell and smell.  Yikes, what is that?  Maybe if I look really big and bark it will retreat (translation – hackles are up).  Where is the human?  I need her to take control of this situation.  I’m freaking out here!  Finally, she has taken control and is standing on the alien.  I can proceed now and investigate and kill the alien, kill the alien (translation – large pink plastic wrapper from house insulation on the trail at first scared Kobi, but then she grabbed it, shook it and ran with it until it was dead). 

We’ve turned around now.  What smell did I miss?  Did I miss this smell?  There is the alien again, whatever, boring.  Oh, I think I smell a mouse.  I smell something here…bear poo, I must pee on it. 

Must run after that loud noise (translation – another vehicle goes by).  Why is my neck buzzing?  I hear that word again (translation – Kobi, come here).  I better run back to her.  Why do I have to sit and wait again.  I hate waiting, it takes forever!!!  Yawn.  Translation – waiting to cross the road again.  I heard OK, now I can run again, yaaaay.  Oh, I see one of those black things in the air, I hate those things. I must chase it and catch it (translation – raven). 

I don’t want to go inside, I want you to throw sticks and chase me.  PLEASE!   PRETTY PLEASE!  Translation – cute brown eyes staring up at me.  Ah ha!  Works every time!  She’s throwing the stick now.  I got it first and no one can ever have this stick back from me.  Just try to catch me!!  I must run fast, as fast as I can around and around the yard.  The human runs so slow she’ll never catch me. 

Okay, I’m ready to go inside now.  Where’s my dinner? 

If we were on a run instead of a walk, imagine the above, but 10x longer.  Dogs are just so much fun. 


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Why Does Running Make Me so Hungry?

Dog in the forest

Kobi taking a breather on our run today

I’m not sure if it was the fresh air or because my run was over 30 minutes long (closer to 65 minutes), but I was ravenous.  I always seem to be ravenous after a run and especially during and after longer runs.

The second I got back to the house I was tearing through the pantry to find some quick high calorie carbohydrates.  I’m a carb addict.  I love them!  People are mean to carbs and don’t appreciate them for the amazing nutrient they are.

I ended up finding some stale chocolate cookies (made out of cocoa, butter and milk – how perfect is that), a Filipino short bread cookie called Polvoron (seriously, check these out, they’re small and have decent calories in them and are tasty, just a bit dry) and three questionable pancakes (made last Saturday).

Because I can’t do just one thing, ever, I threw the questionable pancakes in the toaster oven, decided I absolutely had to make yogurt so I plugged the kettle in to also make tea because I was cold and to boil water to heat up the yogurt cups, then I put the milk for the yogurt in the microwave and plugged the yogurt maker in to start warming it up.

Fortunately, the circuit breaker shut me down before I could do any serious damage like burn the pancakes, boil the milk over and knock the kettle off the counter.

It wasn’t as simple as just flipping the breaker back on.  That would be easy.  You see, I have this interesting preoccupation when I wear socks on hardwood floors, I have to do the “Risky Business” sock slide on every possible straight stretch where I can get some speed.  This is why I wear Birkenstocks 98% of the time inside the house (I wasn’t wearing my Birks because I couldn’t find them – misplacing things is another super power I have).

While en route to the breaker panel in the basement, I couldn’t resist yet one more “Risky Business” slide (I had already done two en route upstairs) and ended up crashing my ankle into a pile of wood in front of the breaker panel.  I’m not really sure why this wood is there, but that’s another rant.

I’m bruised, but will be fine.  Being the slow learner and multi-tasker that I am I still did a few more “slides” en route to get a load of laundry started as well as getting some chicken out of the freezer for dinner which I forgot about until somewhere between putting the laundry in the dryer, completing the yogurt and the reoccurring hunger pangs.

Thankfully, I did find my Birks and I am once again grounded.


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Saving the World and Second Dates

sun reflecting on a lake

The late afternoon sun

Have you ever had one of those moments when things become so clear that everything makes sense?  When all of a sudden you realize you can solve all of the world’s problems?

I had one of those moments today on my morning run.  I’ve had similar epiphanies during other runs, answers to all the hard questions, only to forget all the answers 2 minutes after my run.  Not today.  The answer is so simple too.  If everyone ran, everyone would feel so good they wouldn’t want fight anymore and we would achieve world peace everyone would be happy and eat healthy.

Of course there are significant flaws with this simple solution to the world’s problems.  But let’s just pretend it could be that easy.  Wouldn’t that be cool?

The weather has been so amazing in this province this past while that I think most everyone in British Columbia is euphoric.  BC is the best place on earth (sorry G, Britain is nice too , but what you lack there is made up for with cool accents, Top Gear and James Bond).

To add to my euphoric state I had a second date with my new “girlfriend” Nalu (the kayak/SUP for those of you unfamiliar with her).  We went out twice today, but I’ll count it as one date as it was all on the same day.  I’m completely exhausted, but sad that I have to leave her tomorrow.  I’ll be back to get her next spring.

I have to admit, I miss Kobi and will be happy to have her back as my running companion and adventure seeker.