Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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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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Yukon River Trail Half Marathon

I agreed to do the above mentioned race with a friend (we put it on the race plan about 10 months ago).  It’s held on the first Sunday in August in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories.  It’s only a 950km drive from where I live.

The week before the race I said screw driving that far and decided to fly.  Not totally smart as I can only afford to fly using air miles on short notice and there weren’t many flight options available last-minute.  I ended up driving 390 km to the next closest airport, flew 1.5 hours to Vancouver and then flew 2.5 hours back north to Whitehorse.  I was at least on the same flight as my partner in crime.

Leaving on a jet plane

Leaving on a jet plane

We got in very late Friday night.   Saturday we did a little run along the trail in town (where I met Creepy Barbie) and spent the rest of the day checking out Whitehorse.  Sunday was race day.

creepy barbie was stuck in the fence along the trail

Creepy Barbie was stuck in the fence along the trail

Whitehorse, Yukon

Downtown Whitehorse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event hosts a full marathon, relay marathon and half marathon – all on trails, single track goat trails to be precise.

Most of the folks running this one are locals and the entire event is capped at 325.  There were 100 people in the half marathon.

This is me trying to look cool pre-race.  I haven't quite figured out how to look cool.

This is me trying to look cool pre-race, or like Captain Morgan

The half didn’t start until 10AM.  It’s a gun start and not really chip timed.  You get this little plastic thing you have to dip into a  reader when you cross the finish line.  Not good as my hands don’t work well after I run so I was pretty sure I’d drop it (spoiler alert, I didn’t).

I placed myself up front with the fast folks as why the heck not.  There were some really fast folks there.  One girl up front was maybe 5 feet tall and 85 lbs of fastness.  I saw her doing a warm-up, holy fast Batman.  She ran the half in 1:35 so that tells you how challenging the course was.  She looked like she could run a 1:15 on a road.

The first bit was on paved trail, then some road and then you hit the single track.  People were incredibly polite about passing.  The second half of the race was really hard.  Some seriously steep sections (up and down and I suck at downhill).

I didn’t take photos as taking your eyes off the goat trail along the cliffs and through the woods would have resulted in a face plant or fall off the side of a mountain into a cold lake below.  I also would’ve likely taken a wrong turn and would still be running out there as you had to pay attention to the trail markers (flagging tape).

Cool side note:  If any of you Canadians watched the Amazing Race Canada Tuesday, the bridge the contestants run across at the end of the show is the bridge I ran across in my race.

I finished in a decent time (I think) as I was the fifth chic in and first in my age group (there were 20 in my age group).  It took me 1:58:44.

The finishing medals are really cool.

The medals are made from pottery.  Very cool.

The medals are made from pottery.

Post race, I pigged out at McDonald’s (I just looked at the food as carbs and protein, that’s how I justified it, plus it was close to the hotel).  A little while later we made our way back into town – walking slowly – to find a place to eat dinner.  We ended up at a pub called the Dirty Northern Bastard.  It sounded too good to pass up.

We left the next morning on a 5:55AM flight back to Vancouver, then I flew back to where I started and drove 4 hours back home.  And I saw a grizzly bear on the drive – cool!

I am totally in love with Whitehorse, it’s so beautiful!  The people are so nice too.  It’s kind of like Hawaii, but in the north and obviously colder and no palm trees.  I think it’s more the feel of the place that made me think of Hawaii, laid back and everyone totally wants to be there.  I want to be there.

Ever been to Whitehorse?  Do Barbie’s freak you out?  What’s the coolest medal you’ve received at a race?  What’s the weirdest name of a pub you’ve been to?  Have you seen a grizzly bear in the wild?

 

Yukon River Trail Half Marathon