Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Is it 2017 Already?

I had intended to write a post sooner, but I was protesting the lack of snow.  I know silly, as only you suffered the loss, but apparently it worked because it started dumping snow on December 31 and we now have a decent amount to play in.

So here is my “2016 year in review” post with somewhat related cool photos of me and Kobi.

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Snowshoe fun in the tundra

To summarize 2016:  basically it sucked.

Those of you who follow my sporadic posts will recall my tumultuous relationship with Wolverine the Adamantium heel spur.  He showed up back in June of 2015 and the relationship was pretty much over as of January 2016, but I was stupid and did what an overly-excited runner recovering from a frustrating injury does – run too much.  By mid February I could barely walk.  Wolverine was back and we were in a serious relationship.

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Running across a frozen lake

Then I did another smart thing, I took up another sport, but not in moderation, I went totally overboard in the indoor climbing gym and by April I had what is affectionately called “climber’s elbow” (or Medial Epicondylitis).  I couldn’t even lift a cup of tea without cringing in pain.  That injury hung out with me until October.

I was running again by June and I’m still running, not great mileage, but at least I’m out there.  As far as Wolverine and I go, we’re tied up in an ugly divorce now.  I don’t hear from him for days even weeks and then out of the blue, there he is.  He doesn’t stick around long though, just long enough.

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Kisses mid-ski

The icing on the cake was a swimming related injury before Christmas.  I did a fancy flip turn at 700m into my swim (I had actually done about 14 of them prior to this one) and something in my neck went terribly wrong.  I tried to swim it off, but that made it worse.  I could barely lift my arms to get my goggles off let alone get out of the pool the pain was so bad.  Two weeks later and 100’s of dollars spent on chiropractic and massage therapy, I could once again turn my head and braid my hair without crying!

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Another snowshoeing in the tundra shot

There is one highlight of 2016, I bought a fat bike and love it! It’s fricken hard work, but a great alternative to running, climbing and swimming, should I get injured in one of those sports.  Plus I get to wear a cool helmet and goggles – they’re purple.  I’m all about the gear, purple gear preferably.

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Nice helmet and goggles hey?  Safety first.

My little rock star Kobi is fabulous of course.  She’s been very patient with my running issues.

I’m convinced 2017 is going to be a good year.

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Kobi says hi

Hope your 2017 is going well!  Ever pull something bad in your neck?  How much snow do you have?  Isn’t Kobi the cutest?  Chiropractic or massage?  Have you fat-biked?  Need any advice about plantar fasciitis or climber’s elbow – just ask!

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Cool Runnings

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Most epic dog ever!

It’s been so long I’m quite certain most of you have forgotten about me.  I’m still kicking in case you were wondering.

My last post spoke about that jagged little hook growing out of my heel.  Well, it’s still there and it still hurts, but I am running.  It isn’t hurting more, but it isn’t getting better so I figure I may as well keep running. I am hoping I’ll just pound that spur off eventually.

I am still adventuring, but due to the recent cold snap our outdoor adventures last about an hour.    Did you know that running in snow shoes or just in the snow alone (even in the most epic shoe ever made – the Salomon Snowcross) takes much longer than snow free.  I am dwelling more on effort and less on distance right now.

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Just out chatting and running

Not to make this a post about me and my woes, but I will take a paragraph of your time.  My absence is due to the fact that I now work two jobs.  Thanks to the downturn in the oil and gas world, I lost my dreamy job.  I won’t opt for the “fly in fly out” model where I work for a week or two in another community because I have this cool dog named Kobi who means the world to me so I opted to stay put so we could continue to hang out on a daily basis.

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How could I leave this girl?

I will say that working two jobs has taken meal preparation and scheduling things like exercise and running errands to a whole new level.

Perhaps one day I’ll work a normal job with a normal routine and I’ll just be that much more organized.  Ha!  Who am I kidding!  I’ll last .7 hours and I’ll be back to my usual procrastinating self.

Have you missed me?  You probably have missed Kobi, she is pretty cool.  Is it cold where you live?  Snowcross or snowshoes?  Do you even own either?  Thoughts on meal preparation?  Are you ready for Christmas??

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Running Along

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Kobi with a silly expression on her face.

Howdy y’all.  I figured you needed an update as to what’s been going on up here seeing as I’ve lost hold of time yet again.

I’m still running in the snow, like usual.  I haven’t skied much as it was quite icy, then it was quite cold, then it rained and made everything all icy again, and then it snowed again to cover up all the ice.

Rather than bore you with details of all my adventures with my sidekick Kobi, I thought I’d just mention a few that were extra epic.

I decided to do a slightly longer snowshoe run a few weekends ago so I ran to a little lake, circumnavigated the lake and then ran back home.  That was hard.  It was only 10.5km, but about 2km of it was breaking trail.  Not easy.  I discovered that running in snowshoes gives me a new appreciation for running without snowshoes.  Kobi likely ran 15km as she was off tracking caribou and ran back to me several times to make sure I was still moving.

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Epic Snowshoe run

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Us, circumnavigating the lake.

I was so excited about that snowshoe I had to do it again last weekend, only it was +5C out.  I didn’t realize that snow sticks to the grips on your snowshoes at that temperature (because it’s usually not that warm out) and turns into a giant snowball that just gets bigger and bigger.  Before you know it your foot is at a very bad angle thanks to the giant snowball and you have no grip.

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This was the not so epic day. It looks like fun, but it wasn’t

Of course it took me 2.5km to finally recognize that this snowshoe run wasn’t working out and that I had better turn around and head for home, but not before taking my snowshoes off.  I ended carrying them while I ran, one in each hand.  It was easier than running with them on my feet except my arms got sore carrying them.

I am ashamed to admit that I was carrying only 1.25 lbs in each hand and my arms got sore.   My excuse is that I had CrossFit that morning and my arms were experiencing a form of fatigue unknown to most of humankind.  Unfortunately Kobi wouldn’t carry them for me, something about not having thumbs, so I was on my own yet again.

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Kobi digging the run

Have you every circumnavigated a frozen lake in snowshoes just for fun?  Isn’t it cool that we have real live wild free-range caribou up here?  Kobi thinks so.  What can you put on your snowshoes to keep the snow from sticking – anyone have experience with this?  

PS  I’m sad Leonard Nemoy has left us.  His character Spock has always been role-model for me.  


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Catching Up

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Just out running in her red jacket

I honestly don’t know where the time goes, but I must be having fun because it’s flying by.

Me and Kobi have been up to our usual outdoor adventuring together. We haven’t cross-country skied much because we had some rain, yup rain, which turned everything to ice.  It shouldn’t rain when it’s -7C outside.

The ski trails were ice and I’m afraid of falling and breaking a hip so I didn’t ski. Then it snowed.  A lot.  But then the temperature really dropped. That deterred me from skiing some more as I can’t keep my hands warm when I have to hold ski poles and it’s -25C (or colder) and I even have electric mittens!

It got so cold on the weekend I had to use the treadmill.  It was -32C with a -40C windchill outside. I won’t subject Kobi to those temperatures so she slept on her princess bed while I ran on the treadmill and watched TV.

Here’s some photos showcasing our adventures (in case you don’t follow us on Instagram – you really should though – @outdoorrunning).

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Oh, I did start something new a few weeks ago, Crossfit.

Before Crossfit I thought I was in moderately decent shape, I have realized I am not in moderately decent shape. Holy beat-the-poop-out-of-you work-outs. Crossfit is hard. DOMS has an entirely new meaning to me now. Exactly 22 hours after a work-out I am in full on Crossfit induced pain. Sometimes lasting up to 3 days!

How’s your winter been going?  Are you getting tons of snow? Ever tried Crossfit? What’s your temperature cut-off for running outside?  Have you missed me?

Setting sun


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Welcome to 2015

Setting sun

This was the last sunset of 2014

It’s been almost a week into 2015 and life in the north has not disappointed.  Here are some exciting highlights…

We had a Chinook on New Year’s day, evening actually.  There was a really warm wind and within a few hours it went from -15C to +7C .  The drastic temperature increase resulted in a drastic snow melt and then 10 hours later it dropped back down to -15C and turned everything to ice.  Have no fear because then it started to snow, a lot, just so all the treacherous ice was well hidden.

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New Year’s day run, Kobi is behind the bigger dog. The Chinook happened after this.

After the impressive snowfall, I had to go for a snowshoe with my wing-girl Kobi.  We took off on the trails behind our place (middle of nowhere) which are all uphill for what seems like forever.  Not 10 minutes in I noticed Kobi lock onto something with her doggy radar.  It was a small herd of elk.  They ran into the woods once they heard me getting Kobi back under control (i.e. yelling at her).  Fortunately I had her under control before she could be a real terror.  That was exciting.

We carried on and then Kobi locked onto 2 grouse.  She loves grouse.  What dog wouldn’t love giant chickens that fly and travel in large flocks?  When one flies away there are more to choose from.  Don’t worry, no grouse were harmed, much to Kobi’s disappointment.

Eventually we arrived at the home stretch which is all downhill.  Nothing feels as good as running downhill after walk-jogging for 2km uphill in fresh snow with snowshoes strapped to your feet.  I have never felt so fast in my life.  I’m sure I wasn’t fast, but I felt like Meb.

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Me running like Meb, notice Kobi is standing still waiting for me

Then there was the full moon on the weekend which was amazing, but then it got really cold.  Like -27C (-17F) not counting the windchill as who counts the windchill (probably smart people).

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Full moon = cold weather

I had to go cross-country skiing the next day because it was just so bright and shiny out.  If it was -30C or colder I may have reconsidered, but heck, it was only -27C (-32C with the windchill, but I’m not a smart person).

A word of caution here, do consider the windchill and don’t try to take too many photos documenting your adventures when it’s -27C out.  It’s hard on fingers and gadget batteries.  Although, recall I have prototyped a pretty awesome smart phone warmer (read here).  I also keep the hand-warmer business in business as my hands are chronically cold from October to May.

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This was the -27C ski day. Kobi is sporting her new pink jacket.

The icing on the cake was the northern lights on Sunday night (and prior to 11PM).  However, by the time I got all my cold weather gear on (snowsuit, toque, headlight, gloves, mittens and neck warmer) and camera tripod ready to go, they had settled down so no spectacular photos.  Maybe next time.

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Some brief northern lights

How about you, do you consider windchill before venturing outside?  Ever feel Meb fast?  Does your dog like chasing things they’re not supposed to like large ungulates and flying chickens?