Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


Leave a comment

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.


4 Comments

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.


2 Comments

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.