Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Spring Hasn’t Sprung

I’ve been thinking of posting for months and then came to the realization that winter would be over by the time I got around to it.  Turns out I was wrong.  It is officially spring and has been for a bit now (at least according to the calendar), but winter hasn’t let go yet.

Rather than writing about my adventures since December, which would take at least 5,000 words, I shall summarize my most memorable moments since my last post in photos.  I’ve had some epic moments this winter too.  Perhaps I just attract epic adventure much like James Bond attracts gorgeous women.  It’s more probable that it’s just a natural consequence of running in the middle of nowhere with wild animals (I’ve had about 3 adventures with wild caribou alone).  One very memorable run involved a 95 lb golden retriever colliding into the side of my friends knee.  Now I know what bones cracking sound like.   She ended up with a compound fracture on her tibial plateau and will be a in a cast for 12 weeks.  Lesson learned from this, be careful when running with dogs.

Okay, now onto the photos…

7 caribou encountered on this run

Quick trip to the mountains

A little mountain trip

Just out running on the lake

Can you tell we like winter?

Out on the lake again (that’s Zola with us)

Kobi is keeping it real (and I’m trying to look all cool)

Our pack out in the middle of nowhere (a week before the knee break)

Kobi really likes the mountains

Girl power

Okay, that’s enough photo enjoyment.

I have no races planned (except Emperor’s Challenge – if I can get in).  My feelings towards races have evolved since my somewhat dysfunctional year and a half long relationship with Wolverine (recall my heel spur), but that’s an entirely separate post (or series of posts).

As I was closing this post, Kobi showed up at the door with a part of a white tail deer (it’s tail of all things).  I suspect some larger predators had a meal at the expense of the poor deer.  Life in the wild is harsh.  See, I do live an exciting life.

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Cricket is suggesting I not let that in the house

Has spring sprung where you are or is that still up for debate?

Should I have let Kobi in with the body part?  

Which photo is your favourite?

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Catching Up

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That’s how high the sun gets in winter up in these parts

Holy moly people, it’s been a while.  I’ve missed you guys and missed sharing my stories with you.  I’ve had some interesting ones that aren’t so interesting now that they’re old news.

Last time we visited, Kobi was dealing with an injury.  She’s all better now, but it was tough as I felt so much guilt doing anything fun without her that I actually didn’t go skiing and resorted to running on the treadmill.  Yup, I gave up fun for my friend because that’s what friends do for each other.

Okay, so here are some highlights from the last 9 months:

  • I ran one of the Five Peaks races – the one in Golden Ears Park
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I laughed during most of this run.  It was awesome.

  • found a chiropractor for Kobi (only a 5 hour drive for us)
  • Wolverine (my heel spur) hasn’t made his presence known for a while now.  I suspect he’s found someone younger and prettier to torment (that will only make sense if you’ve read my previous posts).
  • spent a solid week at Green Lake where Kobi and I ran and SUP’d every day
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Captain Kobi

  • ran a little mountain race with Kobi where we ran with wild elk
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Post race selfie.  Coach Coty won the 5km and Kobi won the 10km, I came in second.

  • organized and ran the third annual Summit Run-It (with Kobi).  Lots of people didn’t show as the weather was just nasty (wimps), but it was still an epic day
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Kisses at elevation

  • helped organize and participated in a local triathlon and had my first DNF thanks to a tire blow-out and a CO2 cartridge I set off way too early
  • did an insanely difficult mountain hike (three mountains actually) in 7 hours and did not encounter a grizzly bear but did encounter a large section of mountain spiders.  That moment is still burned into my psyche and if I think about it too long I curl up into the fetal position and start shaking uncontrollably.  I am terrified of spiders, but I never  kill them as that would be bad juju and I figure it’s buying me some spider karma.
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Kobi does not fear spiders like I do

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That’s smoke in the background.  BC had a tough year with fires.

  • did a really cool 25km in the Kamloops area – A Walk in the Park (14km, 25km, 50km) that Kobi was allowed to participate in.  I asked the race director if I could bring my dog and he said no one ever asked him that before so he said sure (being a dog lover as well).  All the other runner’s dogs were impressed by her stamina as they all waited for their humans at the finish line.  I have to say that was the most fun race ever.  Really amazing vibe (I won a whistle and plantar fasciitis foot sleeves).
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Kobi ditched me when she saw the photographer and ran with this girl instead

  • did lots of kayaking with Kobi and lots of running (mostly away from mosquitoes and bears).  On one run I ran into two bears literally 200m apart.  Kobi chased them away.  She’s a superstar.
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Paddling around our little lake

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One of my favourite runs

And now we’re well into our favourite season of winter where we run, ski and snowshoe and eat our weight in pancakes and butter-tarts.

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And now it’s winter!

There, now you’re all caught up.  You can’t tell from this particular post that winter is my favourite season, but it is.  What’s yours?  Are you in the middle of a deep freeze right now?  Best run of 2017?  Have you missed Kobi?

Happy 2018!!

 


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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.

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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.

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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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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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Baby it’s Cold Outside

Wow, 2 posts in a month?  Don’t fall out of your chair in shock like I nearly did.

Here’s the long and short of it:  it got cold, quite cold actually, but now it’s warmed up a bit.

Here’s more detail, one run was in -23C, one was in -27C, and one was in a balmy -19C.  That’s -9F, -16F, and -2F if you don’t have access to a universal temperature translator.

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This is what running in -23C looks like.  Kobi is checking out my lashes

On our -19C run, we had a house guest.  Kobi’s friend Zola, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, came over for a sleep-over and of course we all had to go for a run.  Fortunately for Zola it was only -19C as she has less hair than I do and gets pretty cold.  She has a snazzy Ruffwear jacket to keep her warm and stylish.

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Out with the girls.  Only -19C!

We ended up exploring several snowmobile trails behind where I live.  The girls probably ran closer to 16km where I only ran 11km.  They’re much faster than me and had to come back several times to make sure I was still tagging along.  It’s hard running on packed snow trails in case you’re wondering.  Imagine running on a few inches of dry sand on top of wet sand, but you’re wearing several layers of clothing and dealing with a bitter wind biting into your face the entire time.  Okay, so that’s not like running in sand, but you kind of get what I’m getting at? Maybe?

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Sun runners

I also think the cold has caused a vitamin deficiency that can only be replenished through the mass consumption of chocolate because I’ve been eating chocolate the way a sailor with scurvy would attack a box of oranges.   It’s been out of control.  Sadly there is a lot of chocolate in my house so I’m still working on topping up whatever cold weather induced deficiency I have.

Hope you’re all staying warm and looking stylish like Zola.

Now it’s your turn…What’s the coldest temperature you have/would run in?  Sand or snow?  Favourite chocolate (mine is currently Lindt salted caramel)?  Sunrise or sunsets?  Mutts or purebreds?  


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How I Roll, Sort of

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Have to have a Kobi photo

I had to take a quick trip south earlier this week, only about 1000 miles south, but everything is that far away from here.

Of course I had to squeeze some running in as I was in a pretty cool rural area and it was only a balmy -5C.  I headed down the road and after a few minutes spotted a snowmobile trail heading into the woods. When it comes to me and trails, it’s kind of like flies on poop, I just gotta check it out.

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The trail I found

First I stopped to take a photo of the signs at the trail and noticed I was standing on a cattle guard (aka cattle stop, cattle grid, Texas gate, livestock guard). I was totally distracted taking photos and walked backwards over the cattle guard not really paying attention.

I quickly learned that caution should be applied when walking backwards over cattle guards in the snow. It appeared that the snow was packed to the top of the guard, thanks to the snowmobile tracks, but it wasn’t, it was actually hollow underneath. As a result of this illusion, I stepped between the parallel bars of very hard steel and proceed to fall through.

You know that moment when you suddenly realize you aren’t on a solid surface anymore and you’re falling, I had that moment. Then of course the first thought through my head (the one that always presents itself when free-falling) was, “this is going to hurt”.

Cattle guard

See how it looks like the snow goes to the top, but really doesn’t.

I fell between the steel bars and landed smack on my butt. It didn’t hurt!  I then did what I always do after a fall, a quick scan to see who saw. No one fortunately.

I did smack my shin pretty good trying to get my leg out from between the steel bars.  I shook it off and assessed the damage, nothing was broken so I proceeded to start trotting along the trail happier than a fly on poop again.

Then that little smarty-pants voice in my head spoke up and reminded me I was in the thick of mountain lion country and it’s winter when mountain lions are the hungriest. Nothing scares me more than mountain lions, well maybe velociraptors, but thankfully those are extinct (although they still scare me).

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About when I started thinking about mountain lions

I had no safety gear with me, no Kobi my fearless protector, and my cell phone was now dead thanks to my cold weather photography obsession with a battery that only had 20% left on it when I left the warm house.

Long story short, I got a little turned around, ended up doubling back and eventually made it back to the cattle guard and the road without getting mauled by a mountain lion or breaking a leg. Phew.

I stuck to the road after that and had an uneventful but enjoyable run. Lessons learned, don’t step between the metal bars of cattle guards in the snow and don’t run in mountain lion country without at least a cell phone that works.

Ever had a run-in with a cattle guard or are you smarter than that?