Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Time Flies

Casper August

Casper says hi

Hi y’all. I’ve been somewhat absent for a while.  It’s all that gardening, lawn mowing and outside adventuring taking up my time (and watching the Olympics most recently).  Anyway, here are some points to get you up to speed since my last post (Summit Runnit):

  • Drove 1400km south to visit my folks and adventure with Kobi. We paddled, biked, and ran lots. Kobi met her social media boyfriend Cash (@eastcoastlaine on Instagram) and they hiked and played on their first real date.
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Kobi and her boyfriend Cash on an action date

 

  • Bought a fat bike and named him Fat Boy Slim. All my bikes are boys by the way. My tri bike is named Magnum (after the ice cream bar I eat after I ride) and my cyclo-cross is named Marcus. I like naming things. Recall my heel spur has affectionately been named Wolverine.
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That’s Fat Boy Slim in the background and Kobi post mud role

 

 

  • Ran my one and only race of 2016 in early August, The Emperor’s Challenge, in Tumbler Ridge. First time I haven’t actually raced a race, but rather participated. I was so grossly undertrained for this one thanks to Wolverine.  At least I ran it.  I have to say it feels kind of nice not to run so hard that you feel like puking the entire time. I recovered much faster too. Wolverine still joined me as he likes destination runs, but I think our relationship is becoming a bit strained. I’m ready for him to leave, but he’s not. We need counselling.
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It was a very foggy and rainy run up and down a mountain

  • And, Kobi is still awesome and we’re still adventuring lots together.
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This is how Kobi looks after 6 days of adventuring and a 3 hour paddle.  Tired.

There, now you’re up to speed. Now onto recent events, the black bear situation in this neck of the woods is something else this year. Every day for over a month now I have seen 1-2 bears and not while I’m out driving around, but while I’m out walking, running or biking.  I can’t count how many times strangers driving by have stopped to warn me of a bear up ahead.

I’ve run into one big dude a lot.  He scares me. He’s gone so far as snorting and growling at me when I’ve walked by him while he’s lurking in the woods.  Kobi typically smells them first and warns me by getting in her puffy dragon pose and staring at one spot.  She chases them when they come in her yard.

bear august

Too close for comfort.  Kobi hates bears.

 

Another exciting near miss was a few weeks ago.  I rode Fat Boy Slim to the lake and about 2 minutes ahead of me was a sow with 2 cubs.  Kobi picked up the scent and went crazy.  I was oblivious to the potential hazard and didn’t see mama and cubs.  Fortunately there were some folks at the lake who had seen her and were quite concerned about our well-being and how we had made it to the lake in one piece.  They put Kobi in the van and drove her out with their dogs and I rode like a maniac beside their van.

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Splish splash.  We’re happy when we don’t see a bear

I have to say I’m really looking forward to winter. I’m so done with the bears.

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Our mountain run a few weeks ago in Stone Mountain Provincial Park.  A 1.3hour drive from my house.  Jelly?

What are your thoughts on large predators?  Would you still go outside?  Ever adventure too much with your dog?  Do you like my fat bike/tractor? 

Remember we’re on Instagram (@outdoorruning) and Facebook (Kobi the Adventure Dog) if you need a daily dose of Kobi!

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Fun on our last run

 

 

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Summit Run-It

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Group shop seconds before the start.  That’s me and Kobi far right.

We did it! We held our second Summit Run-It on June 5.  This time we advertised, last year we didn’t as we just wanted to test out the idea. This year we had 51 folks participate and about 12 dogs.  Several hiked the route and the rest ran.  The route is uphill for 6km and then you turn around and get to run all the way back downhill.  There are some steeper sections, but they aren’t too long.

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A real mountain man.  He always races in jorts and he’s very fast.

This event is free so you don’t get a race shirt, have catered food or win any prizes. You do get to drive yourself 1.5 hours up the Alaska Highway to the incredibly scenic Stone Mountain Provincial Park.  Water, granola bars and dog treats (for the canines) were available post-race and participants received handmade finishing medals.

Blog June 2016 medals

Low budget finishing medals

 

We did have two “aid” stations. We had a park ranger at the mid-point and a volunteer fireman at the turn-around.  These stations only had water for dogs and were primarily there just to provide assistance to participants should it be needed.  The other park ranger and volunteer fireman stayed at the finish line ready for dispatch in the unlikely event of an emergency.  We are in the great white north, so one never knows what one might encounter.

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We also provided free photos of participants taken during the race.

Now onto me, recall I have basically been off running since March with only a few shorter runs completed recently. My intent was to run to the turn-around and then just dawdle along and take photos of the other runners.  I realized early on that one does not sustain running fitness by not running for 3 months.  To avoid vomiting in front of folks, I changed plans and started taking photos much earlier than planned.  I was okay with that.

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Selfie time – aka rest time

I had Kobi in her harness and a bungee leash attached to my waist. This set-up speaks to her inner sled-dog so she pulls very well.  I was worried that her pulling my pathetically out-of-shape butt up a mountain might re-hurt her recently healed foot so she wasn’t on leash for too long.  I can see why folks like canicross.  Man, you can really give’r when you’ve got a dog pulling you.

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Mountain crocodile

Of course Wolverine (aka my heel spur) didn’t want to miss out on the scenery and fresh mountain air so he hung out with me too. On a pain scale of 1-10, I was at a 7 by the finish line.  Just so happens Mavis, our local massage therapist, completed the event and has been working on my foot a bit so she did some post-run work on me.

Let me tell you about Mavis:  she also did this event last year, is close to 80 years old (but looks way younger), still works as a massage therapist, is constantly taking new training in her field, swims three times a week, and hikes like no one’s business.  She is amazing.  She even brought almond cake to share with everyone post-race.

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Mavis the Amazing

It was a good day.  Happy running y’all!

Are you all about the swag or would you dig this kind of event?  Uphill or downhill runner?  Maybe I’ll encourage folks to bring baking next year like Mavis did.  Do you know of someone like Mavis?  Isn’t she the coolest?!  


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Random Updates

dog in lake

It’s a been a while hasn’t it?

It’s been so long since my last post, it’s nearly winter. I actually did see snow on the weekend, but it was way up in the mountains so we’re still safe for now.

Wow, so much has happened over the summer I don’t even know where to begin. How about some highlights?

I have been struggling with what I had hoped was just a bruised heel. It’s actually a heel spur and plantar fasciitis. Oh goody!

The heel issue that I was denying started back in June and got really awesome just 3 weeks before my one and only planned out-of-town race this year. Great timing! I still managed to pull off my second fastest time out of 5 attempts at my favourite love-to-hate race, The Emperor’s Challenge.

Emperor's Challenge

The view from the top of the Emperor’s Challenge

Oh, I also smacked myself in the face, lower lip to be precise, with a weight bar at CrossFit. Of course the two most epic CrossFitters from town got to witness my awkwardness. I’m just way too cool. I didn’t cry though and I likely should’ve got stitches as I split my lip pretty good. I have a nice bulgy ugly scar now. Would you believe I did this the day before I had a wedding to go to? Yup! I know how to plan things.

wedding at Muncho Lake

You can sort of see my cut lower lip (I’m the one on the right). 

The day after that I helped with a colour run that could have no colour because apparently corn starch (the stuff the colour is added to) is actually very flammable. Keep that in mind when you sign up for your next colour run. Just don’t smoke and you should be okay.

We also went on an epic hike up a few mountains the other day. Mountains just make me so happy. Kobi too, she’s just a little mountain goat.

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Kobi posing on the mountain.

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We’re so happy when we’re in the mountains.

An up and coming cool event is happening next weekend.  CrossFit Coach Coty is hosting the first ever trail run with epic CrossFit stations next week! I’m excited! I’m going to try very hard not to smack myself in the face with a kettle bell. I’m sure I’ll manage to hurt myself somehow. It will for sure be in front of an audience too as what better way to humiliate yourself than in front of an aid station and some totally cool CrossFit people who know how not to smack their faces with weights.

I will for sure post after the race and if I hurt myself, I’ll take a photo, unless it’s real bad.

Alrighty folks, that’s it for now. Standby for next weeks epic re-telling of the first ever CrossFit trail run! Bears may be involved!

Stone Mountain Park

One more from the mountains

Seen any snow yet? Ever smacked yourself in the face with a weight bar? Guess how many bears I saw in August? Is it feeling like autumn or winter where you live?


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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).

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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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Tale of a Trail Race and a Mountain Climb

Toad River Run

Race signs – it’s very rural.

On Saturday I ran a very cool 10km race (and then climbed a mountain).

The race takes place way up north in one of the more picturesque parts of this province  (ruggedly stunning).  The race is hosted by a place called Stone Mountain Safaris and is a fundraiser for the small school in the community of Toad River.  There is a 5km walk/run and a 10km walk/run.  I think there was a shorter kids race too.  There were 90 people registered including kids and a small herd of dogs.  I think maybe 20 people (including kids) ran the 10km.  The race is mostly on trails through pastures and wooded areas and a bit of gravel road at the end.

Stone Mountain Safaris

The “lodge” that hosts the race is quite beautiful.

I drove up the morning of as it’s only a 2.5 hour drive and starts at 9AM so it’s doable.  Kobi was fully stoked as she got to come along.

The weather was perfect for racing, overcast and not too hot.  It’s a mass start so I was up front with Kobi as she’s like a race horse out of the gates and I didn’t want to trample any small children by accident.

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This is what our views were like during the run

I was passed after a few minutes by a much younger dude, but I kept him in my sight the entire race.  I kept Kobi on the leash for the first little bit as the horses run with you and then away from you.  She has no horse sense so it was best to keep her leash on.  Once through the gate that kept the horses out, Kobi was off leash.  She mostly ran with the faster dude up a head as she likes being up front.  She was courteous enough to wait for me at corners and then would just take off again.

The course was well-marked, and there were route directors on atv’s at every confusing spot.  I did stop once to get a photo of this guy playing a mandolin (the faster younger dude obtained a slightly better lead on me as a result).

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This is what our live entertainment looks like up north.

I was the first chick to finish, well actually Kobi was.  I went over to congratulate the much younger-than-me dude on his win and compliment his speed.  He replied back in the most beautiful Parisian French accent that I would be welcome on their trail running team.

Then I asked a dumb question, “where are you from?”

“France”, he said.

That explains the beautiful accent and the fact that I didn’t know him.   I think he is working up here at one of the lodges.  I then had a short daydream about trail running in France.  I imagined scenic routes along the coastline with castles and vineyards as backdrops.  Sigh, wouldn’t that be lovely?

After my short daydream I came back to reality and cheered on my friends and the other runners coming in.

After the awards we took off to climb a mountain as a 10km race is a good warm-up for that and we were in the mountains so you can’t waste them.  We drove just under an hour back to Summit Lake and proceeded to hike up Stone Mountain (opposite side of my snowshoe to the radio tower).

Summit Mountain

Just one of the “steep” parts

I have done this hike before and always forget how steep it is.  It is just under 4km to the far peak (there are 2).  At the first peak it was noticeably  colder and windier and I swear I saw snowflakes.  I will admit I was a bit giddy from the views or perhaps hypoxia – maybe both.  We made it to the final peak and took a short break,  added rocks to the cairn and headed back down.

Stone Mountain Park

Kobi cooling off in the snow before the final peak way off in the top left of the photo.

Okay, so climbing up a mountain is hard, but climbing back down is harder.  I was in an isometric quad hold for over an hour thanks to the steepness and loose rocks.  My quads were destroyed and still are!  And I have a triathlon this weekend!  How smart was that?

Stone Mountain Park

View from the top of the world. Man was it cold up there.

Kobi slept the entire next day and her feet were a bit worn by all the rocks (I felt bad).  She had a hoot though, as did I (except for my quads).

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A very very tired Kobi.

Ever run a race where horses were running with you?  Have you run trails in France?  Does your dog like climbing mountains?  What do you do to keep their feet from getting too tender on rocks?

 


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More Snow Adventures

 

Summit Mountain

Aren’t mountains pretty?

To change things up a bit and take advantage of the beautiful weather, I went up the highway on Saturday with a friend and her dog (Kobi’s besty).   First stop, a pretty little canyon and a frozen river.

Canyon in Stone Mountain Park

We walked up the river a bit, but it was scary as you could hear water under you and the ice was cracking in places.

After the river photos we headed to a trail that led to a radio tower.

Alpine

Sort of the start of our snowshoe. Pretty hey?

There was still plenty of snow up there (elevation start is 4,250′) so snowshoes were a must.  The snow was packed quite well so we didn’t sink too badly, but we also used poles.  Those really help decrease the number of face-plants you take.

Dog on a mountain

One of the few times Kobi was close enough to see. She was running around like she’s never been outside before.

The weather was stunning!  We didn’t need jackets until we got to the very windy summit.  I have no idea the elevation gain, maybe 1,500′?

Stone Mountain Park

More of the view(s)

We saw a few interesting things along the way.  This was the first.  We’re convinced it was a bear den.  Or someone who just dug a whole in the side of the bank.

Hole in the snow

I’m convinced this was a bear den.

Then we saw some tracks.  Kobi saw them first, or smelled them first.  She started barking, had her hackles up and then ran back to me.  That means it was something she didn’t want to tangle with or had never smelled before.  At first I thought they were canine and then I thought maybe it was a bear that had woken up way too early.

I did some Googling when I got home and I am 98.9% certain they were wolverine tracks (not the Hugh Jackman X-Men character).  I deduced this based on the location – alpine, Kobi’s reaction – fear, and how they looked – cross between a canine and a bear = wolverine.  Not a critter I want to run into.  Actually, it is one of the scariest critters to run into.  They are fearless, strong, carnivorous, and did I mention fearless?  I’ve heard they go after bears.

 

alpine

More views along the way. I was too scared to take photos of the beast tracks

We continued onwards and upwards, quite literally.  We could see our destination, the tower, way off in the distance.  After what felt like forever, we finally made it to the top.  Of course we startled some caribou also hanging out up there.  I always hate when I startle cute wildlife.  No photo as I was frantically calling Kobi to get her leashed up so as not to chase the poor critters.

Summit Tower

The tower way off in the distance.

Alpine

The tower way off in the distance, but this time on our way back. Our tracks go on forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

girl and dog

Me and my wingman (girl) at the top. We took our snowshoes off for the last 200m as the snow was all blown away.

Mountain portrait

My friend and Kobi’s besty Dino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I checked the map when I got home and we snowshoed 12km!  That explains why I was so tired.  Kobi is still sleeping today.  She ran like an absolute maniac the entire time we were out there, you would think she had never been outside before.  Seems to be how she rolls.

What’s cool is this is only an hour and half drive (less actually) from where I live.  There also wasn’t anyone else out there – kind of cool and kind of spooky.

Do you think that was a bear den?  Do you think I deduced correctly in identifying the wolverine?  Ever felt like you’ve been running, walking, hiking, snowshoeing forever and it’s only been 15 minutes?