Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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The Last Half of 2013

Half Marathon start in Vancouver

I’m in the white hat looking at my watch

I ran my final race of 2013 last Sunday – The Vancouver Historic Half.  It’s two loops around the sea wall in Stanley Park.  My most favorite place to run – although the run along the beaches from UBC to Kitsilano isn’t too bad either.

It was so wonderful to run in only capris and 1 shirt versus 2 layers of pants, 3 shirts, a jacket, ear band, toque, mittens, and headlight (yes, I pretty much have a load of laundry after each winter run up where I live).

Prior to any race, I typically don’t run at all the week before.  I was going to do the same with this race, but my friend (who was also running the race) said she had to do a run the day before and a warm-up run right before the race (she has a coach).  The week before any race is time for me to eat too much and scoff at other runners running before a race.  I need to save my energy.

I was easily swayed and besides, I was in Vancouver and I would not waste a running experience “sans” snow (that’s French in case you didn’t know).  I tagged along for the interval run the day before the race.  All the while I’m thinking, “OMG, who runs fast before a race?”.  Then right before the race we did a warm-up run – I know, CRAZY!!  I was certain I would have no energy left at all to complete the race at this point.

Regardless of breaking my “rules” of not running at all before a race, I managed to run the half in a decent time of 1:38:31.  I reckon the pre-race runs didn’t take away all my running reserves (maybe just some).  Oh, and a huge shout-out to my race buddy Tina who ran a new personal best and smashed her previous best time by something like 13 minutes!  Awesome!!

Quick side note, there’s a guy I always see in Vancouver races who runs in a Gingerbread man suit and full face mask under that.  I’m not sure why?  Perhaps it makes him run faster.   It looks hard, but I do catch him every time, takes a bit though as he lives up to his costume and is quite fast.

Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man at the Vancouver Historic Half Marathon

The day after the race, I headed back north to the snow and cold.  I didn’t waste any time and hit the ski trails with my skate skis and Kobi.  Kobi loves the ski trails and always runs into her other dog friends, she has so many friends!

I actually remembered to bring all the appropriate gear with me while skiing.  Except my headlight batteries seem to have had enough of the cold and it was pretty dim by the end of the last ski.  No serious wipe-outs fortunately.

Wildlife count this week:  one great grey owl and very fresh lynx tracks.  Both the owl and the tracks got Kobi pretty excited.  She tried following the owl into the woods, but preferred sitting and listening to its hooting – it was cool.

Ski trails

Skate skiing in the forest with Kobi


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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