Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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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.


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Random Acts of Consideration

dog in a pool

Kobi enjoying her pool after a long run

For Saturday’s long run I chose to run to town using the ATV trails beside the road.  The route is very hilly and a nice change from my normal route, although Kobi has to stay on leash for the majority of it.

We didn’t see or hear Hugo and I actually notice that I’m a bit concerned about his well-being – now that I’ve named him and all.  I was soon distracted by 2 large dogs that came running out after us.  I shall not name breeds in order to protect their identity.  After I stopped and did some assertive “go homes” they left.

Then we had this powerful dog breed saunter over.  He had a warty face and wasn’t neutered (use your imagination) – a few red flags for me.  I put myself between him and Kobi and noticed his hackles were up.  I soon realized that I didn’t want to get caught in the middle of what might happen.  All I could think of doing was the Cesar Millan “ssstt” and surprisingly he looked up at me and walked away.  This is where I would insert a warning similar to one you see during a car commercial “professional drivers on a closed course, don’t try this at home”.  Only mine would say “non dog behaviour professional who just got lucky, do not try this at home”.

Not 5 minutes later we had 2 more nasty black dogs come charging out at us.  They looked like they didn’t get much socializing or care for that matter.  I resorted to a few loud expletives this time in the hopes the owner(s) might hear and call their dogs in.  They didn’t.

By this point I’m pretty annoyed by people and their inability to take responsibility for their dogs and frustrated that I’m going to have to turn around at some point and run the “dog gauntlet” again.  We fortunately didn’t have  any issues until the last 3 km when a German Shepard (oops, I mean powerful breed) started running behind us, he was sneaky too as I didn’t hear him for a bit.  He backed off when I turned around.

We’re finally almost home and I notice a picker truck passing us quite slowly and then stopping.  I think that perhaps he’s lost and looking for someone’s address (as it is a rural area).  He hops out of the truck and walks over to the edge of the road all apologetic for intruding, but wanted to warn me of a really big black bear about 1km ahead.  Hugo!  I thanked him for his concern and explained I was turning off before that so we would likely be fine.

I was quite moved that a random stranger would take the time to stop a truck, that clearly wasn’t easy to stop, to warn me of a potential wild animal encounter.  I once again had faith in the human race, well some members of it anyway.  I really doubt I’m going to run that route again.


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Maple Syrup and Caffeine

Dog and shadow

Our morning run

Sometimes when I’m running I think about what I want to write about (I like to think I’m profound and insightful), but this doesn’t really work as I can never predict what is going to happen during any particular run.

Today I was bit rushed to get my run completed and make it to a few appointments on time.  I didn’t see the bear I usually see within the first five minutes of my run so my thoughts started wandering (oh, I’ve affectionately named him Hugo).  Bear in mind (pardon the pun) that I was a bit caffeinated so my thoughts were moving quite quickly and quite randomly.  This is just a bit of where my brain was going during my short run this morning:

  • Why did I pick Hugo as a name?  Why would I name a wild animal in the first place?
  • Why do I name things that don’t need names?  Like the spider in the basement bathroom (Sid) and the 5 turkeys we had a few years back.  It’s a mistake to name an animal you intend to eat.
  • How can people run outside with headphones on?  I could never do that.  How would I hear if Hugo was around?
  • People, “young” ones especially, are way too connected to their smart phones and are likely losing their social skills.
  • Where’s Kobi?
  • When is this hill ever going to end!
  • My shadow and Kobi running looks cool, I should take a picture.
  • What time is it?
  • Full fat, sugar and sunshine are good for you.
  • Maple syrup.
  • I love maple syrup.
  • Hmmm, what am I going to eat today?
  • Can my brain ever shut up and I just run without all this chatter?
  • Why can’t I accomplish what Dan Millman writes about in his book Mind Body Mastery?  I just read this book, I need to read it again.
  • Where’s Hugo?

I think you get the picture.  Okay, so for tomorrow’s long run, I’m going to work on keeping the chatter down and trying to remain in the moment.  It will likely be exhausting.


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Nothing is Ever Easy

dog in a lake

Kobi after her swim

I’m all about structure in my life and Wednesday is scheduled as my second of four runs for this week.  I decide that this run shall be to a small lake that Kobi loves to swim in.  She loves a nice mid-run swim to cool down and it was quite hot out.

I proceed to get my gear ready.  I decide to use the largest of my three hydration packs as I can put more stuff in it.  I opt not to use the water bladder and instead just toss in a bottle of water, a bag of sport beans, my phone, my camera (the camera on my phone sucks, I think I wrecked it somehow), a hunting knife (hey, you just never know), the biggest canister of bear spray I own, chapstick (can’t go anywhere without that), and several gels.  Please note  it is only 7km to the lake and back, not 50km.

This hydration/backpack now weighs 7 pounds, seriously.

We finally head out along our favorite trail and as we pass a nice cool riparian area Kobi goes charging and barking into the woods.  Likely a bear, but I’m not afraid of bears anymore as I was talking to a Conservation Officer in town and he said they have had no reports of aggressive bears in town.   This means that I’m safe from all bears – in my naïve little mind.  Naivety is one of my superpowers.

We get to the gravel road that heads to the lake, the shady, spooky, gravel road that heads to the lake.  Now I’m scared.  I swear I hear something running beside me in the woods, it was likely just my pony tail brushing against my “backpack”, but I’m getting really scared now.  This road has turned into the dark staircase to the basement I was scared of as a kid, only this staircase is 1.5km long.  I keep telling myself that the bears aren’t aggressive this year, they’re all “nice” bears and besides Kobi isn’t acting weird.  She was probably keeping her cool for my sake.

We finally make it to the lake (I think time moves slower when you’re scared) and Kobi swims around like a happy swimming dog and then I see a truck coming down the road.  I think to myself, oh good, at least I’m not alone.  Then I decide I’m scared of whoever these people are.  As soon as they get to the lake I take off running with Kobi.  This time I smell something nasty on the way back and I swear it’s another bear.  Kobi notices it this time too.   We finally get back to our trail by the road and I feel safe again.  I have no idea why I feel safe as it is essentially as remote as the road to the lake.

We make it back to that nice little riparian area I spoke of earlier.  Sure enough, Mr. Bear is there.  Kobi doesn’t even bark, just charges in after him for a few metres and he takes off.  See, they aren’t aggressive this year, and for some reason, I’m not as scared as I was about 10 minutes ago although I probably should be.  I lasted another 2km and finally had had enough.

I should mention that this had to be one of the hardest runs mentally and physically I’ve done in a while and not because of the bears, I think I just need to learn to pack lighter.  That’s a whole other story.