Healthy Living in the North

He led me up the garden path – and I liked it!

Anne, trail running

Anne Scott, running on the Otway trails.

You’ve heard it before, but exercising with a friend is great – motivation, competition, and pushing your boundaries, all in one sociable package. I thought about this last night when I asked my husband if I could come on one of his runs on the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club trails at Otway, near Prince George.

The Otway trails are mostly narrow and steep, and Andrew has been running there since the snow melted. Meanwhile, I’m cautiously returning to running after hip problems. Here’s our email exchange:

Me: “Hi, dear! Can I try a trail run with you? I could run a little way and then go back and read in the truck while you finish your run. Let me know!”

Andrew: “We’ll do a light 15-minute trip to give you the lay of the land, and then you can decide if you want to continue or head back.”

A light fifteen minutes — that sounded doable! I jumped out of the truck at Otway excited about my first trail run ever.

Exactly 41 minutes later, I staggered back into the parking lot.

In the interim, Andrew led me up and down Curves, Mad Dog, Upper Levels, Dirt Bag, and other creatively named trails. We ran over roots and rocks, brushed past thistles, and panted up a steep, lonely hillside where I was sure the discovery of our bear-gnawed skulls would make headlines in a year or two.

As I ran along, I could think about only three things:

  • What my physiotherapist would say (I’m supposed to increase my time/distance by only 2-3% each run).
  • Northern Health’s position statement on Sedentary Behaviour and Physical Inactivity recommends that adults get “at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.” Was I going to get mine all in one shot?
  • How much I was loving this!

The weather was perfect, we had the trails to ourselves, and the scenery was stunning. I ran much farther and with more enjoyment than I would have if running in our suburb, and I loved the feel of the trails under my feet. At every turn there was something interesting…a patch of glorious wildflowers, a fallen log, a glimpse of the view, a scary animal noise (Mel Brooks was right about fear being the earliest form of transportation).

It was also a huge confidence-booster to find I could go farther that I’d thought, and (perhaps because of the soft running surface), I haven’t experienced any aches and pains in the aftermath!

Andrew was also a great encouragement, waiting for me when I got tired, walking with me on the steep bits, taking a picture to illustrate this post, and not complaining that I was drastically slowing him down on his favourite route. Truly a husband in a million!

I can’t wait till my next trail run – see you out there!

Anne Scott

About Anne Scott

Anne is a communications officer at Northern Health; she lives in Prince George with her husband Andrew Watkinson. Her current health goals are to do a pull-up and more than one consecutive “real” push-up. She also dreams of becoming a master’s level competitive sprinter and finding a publisher for her children’s book on colourblindness. Anne enjoys cycling, cross-country skiing, reading, writing, sugar-free chocolate, and napping -- sometimes all on the same day!



  1. Great post Anne! Sounds so peaceful, quiet and like a great way to get moving! I’m definitely going to bring my dog to check out the dog trails at Otway!

  2. Kim Menounos says:

    Trail running is one of the fastest growing sports in North America, and Anne’s post certainly describes why! I am also a trail runner and love each and every minute out there, even when I’m not 100% sure where I am. We are so lucky to live in close proximity to such beautiful trails – check out the Cranbrook Hill Greenway, and Forests for the World for more great trails!

    • Hi, Kim! Thanks for your comment! I will definitely check out the Greenway and FFTW sometime. Friends of mine have run or biked them and they do sound wonderful! For now, though, I’m just savouring the beginning of fall at Otway…had a great 4k there with my husband on Sunday.

  3. Wow how awesome. It sounds like you had a lot of fun and got some great exercise! Make sure not to push yourself too hard so that your hip heals nicely :)

    Great post!