Dogs

Five Things Friday: Snow day, trail running and dogs in hats

Happy Friday, friends! Here are five things I’m excited about this week.

1. I woke up to a very rare sight this morning.

snowday

Snow!

I’m so happy today is my flex day. I don’t plan on going anywhere — people in Victoria don’t know how to drive in the snow and we don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it, so it’s best to avoid driving anywhere if possible when it snows here. It also doesn’t help that we live on a hilly, twisty road that’s always the last to get plowed and de-iced. We had a bit of snow earlier this week and I was sliding all over the place trying to get from my house to the main road to work. Needless to say I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere today, and get to spend the day playing in the snow with the dogs, doing a bit of writing and baking cookies. (more…)

The importance of exercising outside

IMG_5561I feel incredibly blessed and lucky every time I go out for a hike or trail run — even if it’s pouring rain and the trail is nothing but miles of mud puddles and slippery roots like it was this past weekend. How lucky am I to live in a place where such pristine and breathtaking trails are only a short drive away? I am well aware that that are millions of humans on the planet who will never get to walk trails like these. That they may never see anything except for concrete towers or suburban slums. I wish I could come pick you all up on a bus and take to you these trails or somewhere just as magical. Everyone should have the opportunity to be in nature. It’s part of our humanity.

I don’t know the type of person I’d be if I didn’t have access to nature and the ability to exercise safely outdoors. It had been about three weeks since I went hiking, and I was already starting to feel the effects of my absence from nature: Despondent. Tired. Sad. Lost. Irritable. Luckily on Friday, Matt’s sister Sara — who resides in the middle-of-no-where Saskatchewan — agreed to join me for a hike out to Mystic Beach, one of my most favourite places on Vancouver Island.

There’s just something about being in the trees and near the ocean that’s so healing for me. And after the stress of these past few weeks, it seemed to be just what I needed to feel balanced again. (more…)

How do you train for a 50k trail race?

Me and Kai on the Timberline Trail

Me and Kai on the Timberline Trail

I’d like to know, because I signed up for one taking place in Squamish on August 10!

I’ve been getting out at least once a week lately for a long trail run, usually running for about an hour to an hour and a half on a few hilly trails. On Friday, my friend Debbie and I ended up running for about two hours on the trails without any water or nutrition; we weren’t planning to go that far, but really wanted to see what Joycelin Hill was like in Gowlland Tod Park. It didn’t look like it was that much farther from Squally Reach, which is where we usually run to when we go there. We ended up running about 12 kms, and were both pretty bagged at the end. I just went downhill from then on, thinking I was getting sick (still having tummy troubles… not sure if I’m fighting the flu bug that’s been going around or if was the haggis I tried on the weekend), so I opted not to go for our planned Coast Trail run on Sunday. (more…)

Saturday hikes around the Island

Indy at Matheson Lake.

As part of my new do-whatever-I-feel-like-doing fitness routine I’ve got going on lately, my boyfriend and I have been exploring a few of the local Vancouver Island trails with the dogs almost every Saturday. Although sometimes I think I’d rather be flying through the trees, expertly side-stepping roots and clamoring up rocks like a mountain goat (okay, I run trails more like a regular goat… that’s been hit with a tranquilizer dart. It’s more of a controlled fall, actually…), it’s nice to take your time once in awhile and to really appreciate the scenery. I could not imagine living somewhere without these parks and trails just a short drive away. (more…)

Running with puppy?

After a week of my puppy alarm clock going off at 4 am and the inability to leave Indy unattended in the condo, my running has seriously suffered this week.

I tried to compensate by riding my bike to work twice this week.  I love riding, but when you are trying to become a more efficient runner, you need to be running. I managed one 20-minute run after leaving Indy with my parents, and another 30-minute run yesterday after a 45-minute Jillian Michaels DVD that pretty much depleted any energy I had for running.

The ride to work is about 17 or so kilometres, and it takes me about an hour to get there and another hour to get home.  I have a crappy mountain bike that needs some TLC (the chain in so covered in dirt and mud it takes almost five minutes so change gears), so I feel like I have to work extra hard JUST to go at a decent clip.  It sucks getting passed by every single rider on the Goose – even 70-year-old men pass me.   

I’d love to get a $3000 bike one day so I can do a tri or a du and not have my bike to blame for slowing me down. I could just take the time and take it somewhere for a tune-up, and I will, but it’s at the bottom of my enormous To Do list this summer at the moment.

Next week is going to be even busier; we move into the house, and it needs to be painted and cleaned, so I’m going to have to fit in running when I can. At least in a house I can leave Indy in his pen and let him howl all he wants – I’m so worried about leaving him in the condo and pissing off the neighbours that I take him to my parents house anytime I have to go do anything, whether it’s grocery shopping or running. And howl he does – it’s so loud and nerve-wracking, I bet the whole building can hear him.  I can only take 10 minutes of it before I reappear to make him be quite, which a big no-no according to Cesar Millan; if you reappear when he’s howling, it will only make him think that all he has to do is whine to get his humans to come back.  You have to ignore him, and he’ll stop eventually. But not in this condo!

Living with a puppy and being a runner makes me wonder how running moms do it. Indy is like a child, and I was fully prepared for the change in my lifestyle, but now my WHOLE schedule revolves around this tiny little mutt.

He’s the sweetest little thing, and I already have him sitting on command and shaking a paw (at 8 weeks old!), but I want him to just settle down long enough for me to do what I want to do. When I said this to my mom, she said “Better get used to this! This is training for having kids!” Ugh, not yet.

So after lunch with mom and dad today (who have been so awesome looking after Indy everyday for almost 12 hours at a time) I’m going to see if I can run around my old ‘hood (which will soon be my neighbourhood once again!) for an hour and a bit. The weather looks perfect for running, so I just hope I can keep my energy up that long – I’m a morning runner, and seriously struggle to get the motivation to run in the late afternoon.

Indy & Me

Eating some grass at six-weeks old

Things are going to be a bit different next week.

But it’s all part of the process, right?

You move out with the boyfriend, buy a couch together, split the bills, open a joint bank account, and spend your Saturdays at Home Depot looking at paint chips.

Then you get a puppy.

I’m thrilled, obviously, because I love animals. I’ve always had pets – lizards, rats, cats, dogs, you name it.  My boyfriend Tyler, on the other hand, only had a hamster when he was quite young, and it died not long after they got it. He could care less if we got an animal, but it’s what you do. 

Last night, at a friend’s birthday party, three couples out of our group of friends brought their dogs. They were tearing all over the house, fighting, chewing, puking. Give it a couple more years and the dogs will be left at home; instead, everyone will be bringing their kids to parties and letting them tear all over the house, fighting, chewing, puking.

Indy the sausage dog

As much as I’ve been fighting this “process”, it’s happening. I always thought I’d be some sort of nomad writer, travelling to exotic locals and writing about worldly issues. 

But as of next week, my boyfriend and I will be responsible for a cute bundle of fluff, and not long after that, a house with a yard that will require many more Saturday trips to Home Depot.

As much as I long for travel and adventure, I like where I am in my life.  It’s quaint.  I’m reminded of that scene in the film Marley and Me, where John (the main character who writes a column about his lab Marley for a local newspaper) bumps into his old writer buddy who has been travelling the world, writing about Pulitzer prize-winning issues.  His friend talks briefly about his latest writing assignment, then asks John how his life has been.  John pulls out a family photo of his wife, kids and Marley, and beams. You can see the pang of jealous on John’s friend’s face.  

And it’s true  –  when you don’t have anyone to enjoy your time spent on earth with, what’s the point?  And who’s to say I can’t write and travel eventually? When I do, at least I’ll have something to come home to and share my adventures with.

Indy and his sister meeting some older dachshund pups - look how cute Indy's face is!

So I’ve stopped fighting the process.  Last weekend, we bought a puppy pen, chew toys, and a bed.  I’ve been reading Cesar Millan’s puppy training book, and I’m all set to go. The parents are all saying this is good training for other responsibilities, but I’m not even thinking about that yet. 

I’m just excited to have an ensthusiastic running and hiking buddy that will always be willing to hit the trails with me 🙂

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