Photo by @tyholtanphoto
Sarah Korpach on how she stays connected to the outdoors and keeps active during COVID-19 restrictions.
Sarah has been a runner for the majority of her lifetime and started to venture into the outdoors more frequently four years ago. Running is still a big part of her life, but she also enjoys hiking, backpacking and skiing.
With limitations on what we can do in the outdoors at the moment, a lot of us are heading down memory lane for a recap of the most memorable adventures we went on last year. For Sarah, this was her trip up north to the Yukon, where she spent 10 days backcountry camping and trekking in the mountains. The main thing she learned was to appreciate what is available in our own backyard; "I used to think that an adventure meant going abroad or travelling some huge distances; but I've come to appreciate the mountains that are close to home"
2020 started off quite different to last year, and this is how she stays connected to the outdoors and keeps active during these strange times.
Where in the world are you located at the moment?
- I am based in Vancouver.
When did you start to feel the impact of COVID-19?
- Since I work in healthcare as a home healthcare/medical supply tech at a pharmacy, I started to feel the impact of COVID-19 long before the effects became apparent to the general public. We started to see increased demand in PPE and medical supply stockpiling as early as the first few weeks of January 2020.
What plans did you have before COVID-19 recommendations and restrictions came into place?
- Before the COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations came into place, I had planned to run my first ultra marathon, the Diez Vistas 50km in April, followed by the Squamish 50 mile in August. After that, I was set to depart to Scotland for the beginning of my Masters degree in Public Health in September.
Did you need to cancel or have your plans been postponed?
- Unfortunately yes! All of my races have been cancelled, and I've had to defer the beginning of my masters degree to Fall 2021. It was a preemptive decision, but I figured better safe than sorry with international travel at this point.
How do you stay connected to the outdoors now - any tips to our readers/community on things to do and how to stay motivated?
- I'm lucky to live close to some still open trails to stay connected to nature. If I'm using the trails, I'm adamant about practicing proper social distance and following recommended rules and signage displayed by the park. On days that I can't make it to the trails, I still try to take the opportunity to get at least an hour of fresh air a day; whether that be walking home from work, taking a stroll around my neighbourhood, or going to drop some baking off at a friends house (from 6ft away, of course). A big part of staying motivated for me came from some reflective thoughts about why I do the things that I do - without any races to get prepared for, or to structure my training around, I was forced to ask myself why I run, and why I love the mountains so much. Both act as a form of therapy for me, and staying connected to that, and knowing that I have that to look forward to in the future keeps me moving forward.
Have you figured out ways to stay active - any workout regime you could share with our readers/community?
- Yes! I still run outside, at early hours and on unpopular routes to avoid crowds. Otherwise, I do a lot of body weight strength training in my living room.
What is the first thing you are planning to do when it's safe to head outdoors again?
- Once the snow melts and we're cleared to head out into the parks again, I'm hoping to run the Howe Sound Crest Trail, in Cypress Provincial Park. It's been a goal of mine for some time now, and I finally feel fit and prepared enough to make the trip.
Anything else you would like to add?
- I miss sharing the mountains with the wonderful outdoors community.
Thank you Sarah and other healthcare workers for the hard work you put in during this pandemic!
Believe it or not, there are times when you will actually be able to relax when backpacking. You may get rained out and have to stay put for an extra day, or you may get to camp early and have the chance to enjoy a rest in your hammock. These are some of our favourite books to read in, and about, nature.