Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Shred the Trail and Best Birthday Ever

puppy in the snow

Kobi as a baby

It isn’t my birthday, but it is Kobi’s birthday today.  Coincidentally, there is a fun run and half marathon on the same day.  You would almost think I planned it that way, but it wasn’t entirely intentional. 

I was never exactly certain about Kobi’s actual birthdate, but September 21 seemed close (based on the approximate age she was when I found her).  I also liked that date as it’s nearly the equinox which is cool (not so cool that the days get shorter now).  Turns out we also plan a community half marathon and fun run the third Saturday of every September and today’s event fell on the 21st.   

How many dogs can say they have over 100 people, 25 dogs, and a trail run for a birthday party?  I doubt too many and if they are out there, I’d love to hear about their parties! 

Because I’m one of the race coordinators I wasn’t able to run the race, but Kobi did run the half marathon with her Godmother (yes, she has a Godmother) and they both had a great time and ran pretty fast too.

I had the best time cheering on other runners and walkers and would highly recommend any runners out there who haven’t volunteered at a race yet to do so.  It is a lot of fun. 

Happy second birthday Kobi!

dog sleeping

Kobi and her post party nap


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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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On a Whim

kayak on a lake

The maiden voyage of Nalu

I’m on a break from the north and I’m in close proximity to the most beautiful lake ever.  I decided to pack very light (I have no idea why) and left my wetsuit at home so I haven’t been able to swim as the lake is a bit chilly.

I have been intrigued by stand-up paddleboards (SUP) for a while and splurged and bought a kayak/SUP.

I have a new boyfriend now.  His name is Nalu, meaning wave in Hawaiian.  Correction, I was just told that any water vessel must be a female, so I mean I have a new girlfriend now, her name is Nalu.

I am officially in love with “her”.  I didn’t bother watching any “how to” videos first as often the best lessons (and stories) are those that we just jump into.  I didn’t fall off – yet.  That would’ve been cold but would’ve made for a good story.  I did the stand up version and then the sit-down kayak version.  I love both, I think I need to learn some paddling technique though as I’ve never really paddled before.

I haven’t run in a few days as I managed to injure myself on the plane ride down here.  Yup, only I could injure myself sitting on a plane.  I actually don’t know if it was the plane, the new yoga move (astavakrasana) I attempted a few days ago (that’s a story all by itself), or the fast tempo run (running in fear of Hugo the bear).  Maybe it was a combination of all three.  For whatever reason, as soon as I got off the plane I felt the worst pain in my hip.  I have to admit, injuries that prevent me from running are my worst fear.

I am keen to spend more time with Nalu (as we’re in the early stages of our new relationship), but I will also run tomorrow as my hip feels pretty good.  I hear there is a bear hanging around and there are even cougars (the feline kind) in these parts so I will likely and unfortunately avoid the trails.  I’m off to watch some YouTube videos on paddling now…


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Finally, the Long Run and Only One Bear

white dog after a long run

Kobi covered in dirt and burrs after our long run

You’re probably getting sick of hearing about bears and hopefully soon I won’t be running into them and can write about other adventures, but not yet.  Yesterday’s long run (20km) had no serious bear run-ins, unless you count the one Kobi chased away.  She’s my hero.  Here’s how it all started…

The night before this run I was laying awake in bed trying to think of a route that was outside on trails, would be somewhat safe from bears, and would afford Kobi some off-leash time.  It didn’t help that two of our neighbors had just called to warn us of bears in the neighborhood.

I landed on running in the area where I live (regardless of the phone calls).  There are ATV trails worn in beside the roads and some gravel roads that are okay to run (if all the other neighborhood dogs aren’t up yet).  I also thought being close to a road would be safer as someone is bound to drive by at some point.  The only issue is there is a 1.5km section of lonely road/trail that I have to run through to get to more populated areas, and of course, this is where all the bears like to hang out.

We had no problems at the start of our run.  It was the last 5km that were quite exciting.  That was when the very sweet truck driver stopped and warned me that he had seen a bear about 15 minutes ago.  Not 1km later (in the 1.5km section of no-man’s land)  I smelled the most horrible smell ever.  If you have ever smelled a bear you will never forget it, kind of like skunk, cat pee, and something dead for a long time.

Kobi then proceeded to see the bear and bark and chase it into the woods.  I think I let out a loud expletive and then I know I really picked up the pace.  I only had 4 km to go and really wanted to get this run done.

Why must I run knowing there are bears all over the place?  Three reasons:  1) because they aren’t as bad as Velociraptors, thank God those are extinct, 2) I imagine I’m the star of a cool reality television show, except it would be hard for a camera crew to run behind me and the video would be bouncy and likely cause motion sickness when viewed, and 3) it wears Kobi out and I get a break from entertaining her all day long.  I can hardly wait for Monday’s run.

Dog and kitten

Young Spock, the kitten, would not let Kobi sleep after her run


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Running from Bears and Saved by Squirrels

Dog in the backseat

Kobi after our run, wet and dirty

We did go for a run yesterday and of course we had an adventure, well, more of a near adventure.  First I have a short story that leads up to the near adventure during yesterday’s run.

I quite often run/walk Kobi just using an e-collar, kind of like an invisible leash, as we live in a very rural area and rarely run into other walkers or dogs (just bears).  During yesterday’s lunch time walk she had on her e-collar, she sees a few ravens and takes off at about 30 km/hr after them.  She hasn’t quite realized she can’t fly or she’s just so angry she can’t fly she feels compelled to chase ravens or maybe the ravens are calling her names as ravens are quite smart and are perhaps insulting her in canine.

I call her back and she doesn’t listen so I start the e-collar warning process:  1) I call her to return, if she doesn’t return,  2) I give her the warning buzz, if she still doesn’t listen and there is no imminent danger, two more warning buzzes are given while calling her back, if still no response,  3) give her the little zap to get her listening.   Well, I was yelling, buzzing and buzzing and yelling some more and no response.  I’ve gone to zap mode now and still nothing.  I’m thinking, hmm, she must be getting really tough or is really focused on these ravens.  Nope, the battery was dead.

So that leads me to our run later that same day.  I now know that the e-collar has a battery issue, but I do not have the technological savvy to change the battery (that would involve a screw driver – you can roll your eyes) and I still decide that she will wear the collar (and maybe she won’t realize that it doesn’t work).  Off we go out onto the community trail and after about 5km’s into the run, I see a big steamy pile of bear poop.  I spend about 3-4 minutes trying to take a picture of Kobi with the poop and all the while she’s more interested in the two squirrels having a territory battle in the woods beside us.

Dog and bear poop

Kobi posing by the bear poop, but distracted by squirrels

I have to thank these squirrels in some way as once I finally stop my fascination with the bear poop I start running again and look up to see a big shiny black bear chowing down on rose hips about 50 m up from me.  Kobi is still distracted by the squirrels and didn’t see or smell the bear – thankfully.  As you may recall, the e-collar does not work and she is off leash (okay, not smart and yes you can roll your eyes again).  I playfully call her name and turn around to avoid a potential bear encounter.  Of course I was shoulder checking for about 2km, but the bear showed no interest in us.  I can hardly wait for Saturday’s long run, but at least the e-collar battery has been replaced.

Bear on the trail

The Bear that Kobi didn’t see or smell


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Guilt, Fear, Bears and Running

Dog playing with ball

How Kobi burns off extra energy

It’s August and it’s already cold outside. Not unusual when you live north of the 58th parallel.

I went so far as not completing my long run (20km) on Sunday because it was raining and windy and cold and yes, I’m made of sugar. I should’ve just sucked it up and done it because Kobi (my dog) was annoyingly hyper all day as a result and I ended up restless and feeling guilty for not doing it. I hate that feeling of guilt.

Weather should never really be an excuse not to run. Okay, it can be an excuse, but rain and a bit of wind is not really an excuse. Tsunamis, tornadoes, blizzards and excessively cold or hot temperatures are excuses. Even then, if the power hasn’t gone out, there is always a treadmill one can find.

I’ve also done this long enough to know that the guilt will get to me and now I can’t make up that long run because it’s already Thursday and I’ve lost my long run weekend window. I do have another excuse for not running and it’s likely the root cause of my first weak excuse: bears. They are out in droves this time of year. I swear the colder temperatures has them scrambling to fatten up for winter on whatever rose hips, cranberries, crab apples and guilt-ridden runners they can find (I don’t think they like eating guilt-ridden runners though, too sour).

Most of my bear experiences have involved me screaming and the bear screaming and both of us taking off in opposite directions, but there have been a few times when the bear didn’t leave and I was probably a bit too persistent in wanting to pass where he or she was versus just turning around and getting the heck away. Having Kobi now adds a new element to bear experiences. She freaks when she sees them or smells them. Her hackles go up and she barks like a crazy dog – looks kind of dragon-like actually. That has to date scared the bears away, but I’m concerned that on some random occasion she is going to bark at the wrong bear and come charging back to me for help with a bear charging behind her. That scares me.

Hmm, what’s worse, fear or guilt? I think guilt. I clearly need to go for a run. Besides, it might make for a good story and I’ll likely run a bit faster out of fear.