Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Rambling into March

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Snow seal

Well, somehow I missed February.  Likely something to do with it being a shorter than usual month, although this year was the leap year or leap day as Kobi and I affectionately call it.

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Happy Leap Day

 

All was going quite well for me running-wise until I forgot how to check my weekly mileage and unknowingly jumped from 32km a week to 42km then to 50km.  The week of 50k was where things went spiralling downhill.  I actually started spiraling at 42, but I didn’t want to acknowledge the pain so I opted to wait until the pain was not going to let itself go unnoticed.

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This is all thanks to that bony hook in my heel.  I think I’m going to name my heel spur.  Maybe we can develop a more cordial relationship if we’re on a first name basis.  “It” was tolerating runs over 10km, but I think “It” prefers 2 days in a row off every 2nd run.  Now I know.  Hopefully this doesn’t take longer than a week to settle down because us runners are an impatient lot.

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One of our rest days

 

Kobi and I did have some great runs through February and were enjoying the balmier temperatures.  I have to admit the snow conditions have been tough, as in very sand-like.  March is only going to be worse as March is that month where all the seasons fight for territory.

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Kobi likes to eat and run

In closing, here are some highlights since I last dropped in:  I had a bone graft and dental implant – now that was a whole new definition of fun, a few sleep-overs with one of Kobi’s besties – Zola the Rhodesian Ridgeback with an overbite featured above and below, and I got my CGI Level 1!  That’s short for Climbing Gym Instructor.  Yup!  That means I can teach y’all to climb at an indoor climbing wall now!   Run-on and climb-on folks!

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Kobi and the amazing Zola

 

How was your February?  Did you leap on leap day?  Help me pick a name for my heel spur, vote on one of these or suggest a new one, choices are:  Captain Hook, Sid, or Wolverine.  That’s all I got.

 

 

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Is it Really October Already?

dog and person

Autumn is already done for us

It’s been a while!  Seems I start all my posts like that lately.

I think I’ve been negligent in posting anything because I haven’t really been running much.  Turns out I have a heel spur and because I prefer to live in denial and often believe that you can run off most injuries, I kept running.  Apparently that doesn’t help heel spurs.  Who knew??

dog in the woods

Random photo – Dog on a log

I finally dealt with reality and was able to make the 4 hour trek south to see my physiotherapist.  He’s awesome because he gets us runner types and always tells me how we’re the worst group when it comes to dealing with injuries.  It also helps that he’s a runner.  I take his advice mostly because of that.  He told me about 8 times that I would need at least 4-6 weeks off running and jumping.  He also shoved 4 really long needles into my heel and attached an electrical current to them two days in a row.  If that doesn’t make you listen, I don’t know much else that will.

physiotherapy

Needles and electrical current. What fun!!

He’s getting me some carbon fibre shoe inserts that will provide a little indent for the sharp bony hook growing out of the centre of my heel.  Just the fact that they’re carbon fibre means I will be faster and stronger right?  I won’t mention how much they cost, but they are carbon fibre!!

In other news I’ve been having many walking adventures with Kobi, she runs, I walk or sometimes ride my bike.  If you follow me on Instagram (which everyone should – outdoorrunning) you will have seen that #flatkobi came along on a trek to the coast of BC with me.  She had fun.  It was so hard being in an absolutely epic place to run without my wing girl and not being able to run.  That was absolute torture.

dog at Tofino

Flat Kobi at the beach. The beach I could not run.

I’m currently in week 5 of recovery and will likely take one more week off before I attempt to run again.

Injuries really suck as you all can relate to I’m sure.  Anyhoo, maybe next week I’ll be running and posting again??

Know anyone else with a sharp bony hook growing out of their heel bone?  If you do and they have had a positive outcome, please tell me.  If they had to give up running and life as they knew it, please don’t tell me, just lie.  Thanks!!  Happy Halloween!!!


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Racing Thoughts

runner and dog

Just us, pondering life and which way to run.

Howdy y’all. We’re full on in the season of Almost-Spring. You know, winter in the morning (ice and possible snow flurries) and then spring by afternoon (snow and mud). Soon enough it will be full on mud.

In the spirit of Almost-Spring, I’ve been thinking about my summer racing plans.  Okay, more like my lack of summer racing plans.  Because I’m so remote and have to travel far and wide to races I’m just not feeling the racing travel love.

I’ve decided to race close to home and will maybe just do a few out-of-town races, or not. We have some decent races up here, except 3 of them are ones I help with so I don’t get to run them. But, the ultra-cool news is that I wanted another local race so I’ve hit up the rec department and we’re going to host a mountain run! I’m not going to miss running this one because it’s in the mountains and there is nothing more beautiful than running with caribou in the mountains with your dog.

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Kobi is playing with her sister Caribou. She also likes running with the other kind of caribou.

Because we have no idea how many people may show up and we’re not really sure how the logistics of a remote race are going to work, we’re making it free!  We want folks to come out and run and provide input as to how to make it an even more super awesome event next year.  Oh and there will be no swag. That’s right, no stuff. No race shirt, no medals, no water stations, and you have to time yourself. Boy, I’m not selling this one very well.

You will get to see views like this (hopefully with less snow).

summit mountains

So pretty

There will be some perks, such as:  water and snacks at the finish line, you can bring your dog, and the Parks guy promised he’d chase the grizzly bears away – I’m serious.

This is going to be awesome! Come on, it’s in the mountains, it’s gorgeous and shouldn’t running be about running, not the swag?

In case any of you want to travel north and see some stunning mountains and wildlife, you can register here (remember it’s free). It all happens on June 20. It might cost you a little bit in airfare, but if you get yourself here, I promise I will drive you to the race – it’s a beautiful 1.5 hour long drive – as long as you don’t mind Kobi kisses. She likes to kiss passengers.

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Kobi sends kisses

Would you test out our mountain race? Ever run with caribou? How about grizzlies?  Is it springtime where you live?


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Once in a Lifetime

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Photo montage of the day

I survived the triathlon training day with my triathlete hero Simon Whitfield!

Some of you may recall my last post about the said day as I was just a bit nervous.  If you would like your memory refreshed, just go here.  In a nutshell, it was a day for 10 folks (they added one more so it was 11) to hang out with the talented Simon Whitfield and others and a learn a bit about triathlon from the pro’s.

Prior to my departure I was a bit behind schedule, not unusual for me as I work best under pressure.  I needed the clips off my bicycle as they were going to lend me a bike for the big day.  One YouTube video, 2 phone calls to husband, one probable broken clip on my one bike and 45 minutes later I was still clipless.  I tackled my other bike and had no trouble removing the clips.  Why didn’t I just start with that one??

I then scrambled to get the house clean as for some reason I must clean the house before I leave it for a night or two.  Not sure why, but hopefully the cats appreciated my efforts.

Oh yeah, one small incident at the airport on the way.  I guess my bike clips looked suspicious (in my checked bag!!) so the security dude pulled everything out of my suitcase to find them, but wouldn’t tell me what he was looking for.  It’s great that he knows what all my underwear looks like now just like everyone else who happened to be standing around in the waiting area.  This is a small airport so security is quite intense, go figure.

I arrived in Vancouver Friday night to rain.  Saturday morning it was still raining.  Now I’m getting nervous about the bike part as I have ridden a bike in the rain once, by accident, when a storm caught me off guard.

I made my way over to  the north shore and we hung out at Thomas Haas for a bit first.  OMG best hot chocolate and croissant I’ve ever eaten in my life.  If I were to have died that day (say in a bike crash), I could say I had truly lived life just  through that taste experience alone.

Then we piled into the International Triathlon Union  (ITU) office, Simon arrived, and we all got an opportunity to introduce ourselves through our stories.  There were a few folks who had done Ironman (one who qualified for the Worlds – go Diane!), a few just getting into triathlon, and a few who loved the sport and wanted to learn more.

After the stories, folks headed out on the bikes with non other than Allan Prazsky.  Turns out they didn’t find me a bike to borrow.  I was kind of relieved as I was worried I’d either cause a crash or crash myself.  Instead I ate more Thomas Haas chocolates and hung out with Loreen Barnett (first Canadian chic to do Ironman in the early 80’s and just an amazingly awesome lady), Ed Rice (photographer with a cool accent) and Simon Whitfield (!!!!) and his awesome little girls.  I’m not complaining.

Then we headed to the pool for the swim session.  It’s been a while since I’ve been in a high school change room and I can’t say I want to be in one again for a little while.  Why are teenagers so messy and smelly??  Regardless, the pool session was the most amazing session which was great as I quickly overcame my fear of wearing a bathing suit in public.  I honestly learned so much in this session.  I also nearly froze to death, the water was sooooo cold.

After the swim we had the most delicious lunch provided by Nourish Market and then had a super informative talk by Dave Vukets (Prima Bars) on real food nutrition for training and competition.  I took notes on my energy bar wrapper.

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That’s Simon way in the front with the hat on holding the little girl’s hand. His kids ran with us too.

We were pretty far behind schedule by this point and spent about 10 minutes on the run component (outside in the wind and rain).  Simon provided a few key points and then we headed to Level 10 Fitness to learn from Anthony Findlay.  This guy is the head strength and conditioning coach for nearly every Canadian elite athlete and team.  So cool.  He showed us all the moves we need to know to stay strong as triathletes.

Then we had an awesome unwinding yoga session with Christine German and we were done!

Phew!!  There is so much more I could write, but I don’t want to tie up your time anymore than I have.  I’ll just say it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so glad I went for it.  Everyone was so cool and fun and keen and the ITU did such an amazing job organizing the day.  It was surreal to be hanging out with this caliber of athlete and trainer.

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Here we all are at Level 10 Fitness. I’m on Simon’s right.

 

 

 

 


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Road to Recovery

Super heroes

Just a funny photo from a fun run a while ago. Me and Superman (and Robin)

What’s that saying again?  When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, something like that.

I’m trying to remain optimistic in light of my body working against me.  To start off the new year I developed extensor tendonitis in my foot (no running), then I was plagued with two migraines in two weeks (real ones too, I’ve been cursed with those since I was 12 but they still catch me off guard and knock me off my feet for a good day) and then earlier in the week I had some serious neck/upper back muscle spasm thing going on (no swimming no weights no yoga).  The icing on the cake was all the warm weather we had that turned my ski trails into pure ice (no skiing).

Rather than looking at this in a negative light and feeling sorry for myself, although I do like a good pity party complete with pomegranate martinis, I’ve decided that there must be a reason.  Either A) it’s my body’s way of dealing with issues all at once to get them out of the way so I can really hit the ground running.  Or B) it’s the universe telling me I need a little break as 2013 was a good and busy year and I need some rest.  I’m sure it is likely the universe as it’s always sending me messages and conspiring for my greater good because the world and universe do revolve around me and what’s best just for me – ha – not likely!

Regardless, I like to reflect on such things (while walking the dog) and I’ve realized that I do occasionally need to be reminded of how grateful I should be when I have my health and can run my guts out or at least completely tire Kobi out (more so the latter).

I have also been reading about how a few other bloggers I follow (Prairie Princess Runners and Motivation) have been dealing with injuries so it isn’t something unique just to me.  That helps put things into perspective and probably suggests that it isn’t really ‘B’, the universe having an intervention for just my sake.  But more like, stuff happens and it’s never a good time, but you have to deal with it and that’s life.  Also, never take anything for granted.

Onwards and upwards!


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The Last Half of 2013

Half Marathon start in Vancouver

I’m in the white hat looking at my watch

I ran my final race of 2013 last Sunday – The Vancouver Historic Half.  It’s two loops around the sea wall in Stanley Park.  My most favorite place to run – although the run along the beaches from UBC to Kitsilano isn’t too bad either.

It was so wonderful to run in only capris and 1 shirt versus 2 layers of pants, 3 shirts, a jacket, ear band, toque, mittens, and headlight (yes, I pretty much have a load of laundry after each winter run up where I live).

Prior to any race, I typically don’t run at all the week before.  I was going to do the same with this race, but my friend (who was also running the race) said she had to do a run the day before and a warm-up run right before the race (she has a coach).  The week before any race is time for me to eat too much and scoff at other runners running before a race.  I need to save my energy.

I was easily swayed and besides, I was in Vancouver and I would not waste a running experience “sans” snow (that’s French in case you didn’t know).  I tagged along for the interval run the day before the race.  All the while I’m thinking, “OMG, who runs fast before a race?”.  Then right before the race we did a warm-up run – I know, CRAZY!!  I was certain I would have no energy left at all to complete the race at this point.

Regardless of breaking my “rules” of not running at all before a race, I managed to run the half in a decent time of 1:38:31.  I reckon the pre-race runs didn’t take away all my running reserves (maybe just some).  Oh, and a huge shout-out to my race buddy Tina who ran a new personal best and smashed her previous best time by something like 13 minutes!  Awesome!!

Quick side note, there’s a guy I always see in Vancouver races who runs in a Gingerbread man suit and full face mask under that.  I’m not sure why?  Perhaps it makes him run faster.   It looks hard, but I do catch him every time, takes a bit though as he lives up to his costume and is quite fast.

Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man at the Vancouver Historic Half Marathon

The day after the race, I headed back north to the snow and cold.  I didn’t waste any time and hit the ski trails with my skate skis and Kobi.  Kobi loves the ski trails and always runs into her other dog friends, she has so many friends!

I actually remembered to bring all the appropriate gear with me while skiing.  Except my headlight batteries seem to have had enough of the cold and it was pretty dim by the end of the last ski.  No serious wipe-outs fortunately.

Wildlife count this week:  one great grey owl and very fresh lynx tracks.  Both the owl and the tracks got Kobi pretty excited.  She tried following the owl into the woods, but preferred sitting and listening to its hooting – it was cool.

Ski trails

Skate skiing in the forest with Kobi


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I am a Fitness Tourist

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Me post-race snacking

I have been off on a short fitness tourist vacation.  I travelled to the beautiful city of Victoria, BC in order to participate in the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon

Here are some standout race and pre-race moments: 

  1. Arrived in Victoria 4 nights before the race, not smart as I don’t sleep well when not in my own bed so I was pretty exhausted the morning of the race. 
  2. Behaved like a complete tourist and walked close to 20km a day hitting museums and stores in the three days leading up to the race.  My feet were killing me and I was convinced I had given myself plantar fasciitis – I’m a chronic pre-race hypochondriac.
  3. Ate way too much fudge, I have no excuse for that one. 
  4. Picked up my race number to see that it was all the numbers in my birthdate, either a good omen or bad one (see number 2).  Seeing as I survived the run I now feel that I just wasted incredible luck and should’ve purchased a lottery ticket instead of registering for this race as I may have been able to retire a millionaire (what are the odds of getting a race number that is your birthdate?).
  5. Applied purple nail polish to my finger nails (toe nails are always purple) as I swear that colour makes me run faster.
  6. Pre-race ritual is to use one of the port-a-potties.  Cost me 20 minutes in a line-up.  Would’ve been faster to walk back to the hotel. 
  7. Made it to my approximate corral location with 5 minutes to spare, looked to my right and saw my cousin in the start line (we’re second cousins).  We always seem to end up running the same races and I see more of him than my other cousins as a result.  Clearly my other cousins need to take up running if they want to visit me.
  8. Carried my own water bottle of Cytomax so I could speed by water stations and avoid choking on cups of water that I couldn’t wrap my lips around.  I dropped the bottle cap at around 15km and didn’t want to toss the bottle as the race was in a residential area and I didn’t want to litter so I held on to it until the next water station.  I looked funny as I was trying to hold a cap-less water bottle very still so as not to splash it all over me for nearly 3km until I made it to the next water station.  I just realized I could have dumped it out. Obviously, all the blood was in my legs and not my brain at that time. 
  9. At about 18km my cousin went flying by me, I figured he was already a head of me.  So I thought, “good, now I can see if I can match his pace and he’ll take me into the finish line.”  Didn’t happen, I looked for that next gear, but I was already in it apparently.  I did keep him in sight.  He is a very fast runner and 14 years younger so he ought to be faster (I try not to dwell too long on the fact that he didn’t really train much for this race). 

I crossed the finish line in a respectable time of 1:37:55.  My post-race gift to myself was a small silver dog pendant that I can wear at all the races that I can’t bring Kobi to.