We celebrated by going to a friend’s amazing Halloween party extravaganza- we had a fabulous time! Enjoy some photos
Race recap: Cowichan Autumn Classic ‘Run now, wine later’
I ran this race last year and quite enjoyed the autumnal, small and cozy atmosphere of it- the fall colours, the winery, everything! So I signed up as an early bird this year and promptly forgot that I had signed up…Literally falling two weeks after my marathon debut. NOT great timing I guess?
But it took only about a week for my legs to stop feeling like total mush, and for my blisters to heal over and I felt fairly confident that it was going to be ok.
And then I got really sick…and dealt with a strong emotional blow with Tucker, and struggling with the after effects of the COVID+flu shot. Do not recommend, at all. Basically knocked me on my ass Thur/Fri/Sat. And race on Sunday? Yikes.
I slowly started feeling a bit better, but now it’s even Friday after having a cold and things for over a week and I am STILL snotty and nose blowing/coughing up stuff. WTF? My sinuses hurt man.
So last Sunday was not really an auspicious day at all but I’d signed up, felt reasonably ok but not great, and we did it! Ian signed up for the 5k just for something to do. When we drove up island, it was absolutely freezing, with frost on the ground. I was in shock. Two weeks ago we had a heat warning for the marathon, over 20 deg, and now frost? Damn! Luckily I planned ahead a little bit and brought my run gloves, but otherwise was in for a real slap to the face. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Plus we were running kind of late, we forgot how long it really took to get up there (an hour, apparently) and I was like arghhhh!
But, all worked out for the best! We hustled and got our bibs, raced to the bathrooms (not long lineups, thank GOD), didn’t have time to put our bibs in the draw 😦 and jogged to the start of the 5k. I was racing both 5k and 10k in a combined race ‘the combo’ where your times are added up and the fastest time wins.
We started and Ian and I were easily right in the leaders pack. I was pacing myself to a reasonable not great time- I didn’t really have the lung capacity to race super fast and my legs were frozen. Plus I wanted to be careful about not killing my lungs for the 10k. Burnout isn’t fun and when I start coughing, I really can’t stop!
It’s a super hilly course- up and down, with the downhill sections being very steep! There is also 1km section through a bit of trail, which is flat but very pitted with potholes, haha. So you went up-down-up-down on that part. I was reminded, with relief, how short a 5k is.
I cruised to a 22:?? and felt good about that. Hard effort but not killing myself. It still felt extremely cold. I then hung out for a bit waiting for the 10k to start. Ian finished ahead of me with a 20:?? which is a great effort- this isn’t a fast track by any stretch of the imagination!
Then the 10k- I learned my lesson from last year and started at the front. Last year I basically ran as hard as I could for the 5k and jogged the 10k…which was a mistake, b/c the combine the times and my 10k was just so.slow! Hit the middle for both, that’s the way to go.
We had more trail sections in the 10k course which was pretty good, but I am always surprised by how slow gravel feels compared with pavement. It is an excellently- marked course, very clear course markers and safe. Still damn hilly, haha. I didn’t really pass anyone, and nobody really passed me much.
It finally started to warm up (well, my body heat was going nuts haha) so I could take off my gloves the last 2-3 kms. A guy running ahead of me shouted that he wished he had my gloves earlier in the race 😉 I was SO thankful I had them. Lifesavers.
I tried to pull myself together for a stronger finish but kind of…blaaahhhhed my way. I felt strong, but nowhere near the lung capacity I could potentially have. That’s ok! I was done within my goal range (45 mintues) just squeaked under 46 hahah.
And it was good for 2nd place women in the combo race, Ian tied me with a 2nd in his 5k for the men’s, and we even got to do a complimentary wine tasting at Zenatta winery! Win-win eh??
This is a fun local race, quite small but well run with excellent and safe courses marked, good volunteers (thank you!!) and nice post-race snacks.
Before you fall apart
Things have been really nuts lately. Had a very challenging week last week that culminated in…
A lousy cold, that I STILL have this week
Getting a COVID booster and flu shot in the same arm, same day (terrible idea)
Putting my poor rabbit down
And this week, I ran out of my allergy medication and thought I’d be ok. WRONG. Immediately had flu-like symptoms yesterday (chills/body aches/sore and swollen throat/crazy phlegm) and today was woken up by insane sinus pain. So bad that it woke me up!
So I tried to get a renewal, only to be turned down by the pharmacists because they couldn’t be arsed. Thanks, guys. You are freaking useless. And I KNOW you can renew prescriptions now! God.
Basically, the entire weekend was a write-off, starting on Tuesday essentially with a sore throat…I should have known. It’s a shame, because the month was going so well.
We enjoyed beer events, wine tastings, races, horsey events, and great weather. It all came crashing down last week, and the weather joined in too- we are not in a drought any longer, rather it’s dropped to 10 deg and blasting wind/rain? Well, I know we had it coming but ouch, this stings. 😦
Onwards and upwards though as we prepare to leave on our big sabbatical. Only 6 days left- can you believe it? Then it’s adios, amigos!
You always remember your first: Marathon recap!
So, I did it. Like any good runner, you turn into a cliche: The marathon runner. SIGH!
I held out for a long time, chiefly because I couldn’t stay healthy enough to train, let alone race, that type of distance. I got a few stress fractures (when people talk about shin splints, they have NO IDEA how bad they can get. Source: me) and I wasn’t able to walk very well so goodbyeee race plans! And then a pandemic, and then another set of stress fractures, and well you know the whole story!
So, this was my time to shine- clearly.
I did train fairly well with a ridiculously ambitious training plan (for people aiming to get under 3:30, and I can tell you the plan was NUTS and clearly designed more for people trying to get closer to a 3:15, in my opinion!).
But…the bugaboos are always there. The gerbils were running wild in my head, I was so anxious. It’s not a joke of a distance and I was aiming for an aggressive time. I chatted with a few runners I knew at the start and told them my time goals and they thought they were agreeable, but when I was pacing with a guy we chatted too and he was surprised that my time goals were that ambitious for my first…So I was kind of knotted up in uncertainty. Go big or go home??
I had a lot of nightmares about the race leading up to the day. Two back to back nightmares about missing the start? Hah. Weird.
The morning was anticlimactic. There was a heat warning for the race, as we are having an incredibly unseasonably warm October- this was the warmest this race had ever been, at just over 20 degrees when we were running! This added to my freakout…
We jogged to the start (a huge bonus of doing a hometown race. Zero travel!) and got into position. The wheels in my brain started to churn- there was NO pacers. None. I was really counting on one, given I am a newbie…And kind of left the idea of pacing to someone else. Big mistake!
But no time to worry, time to focus! We started and it was very congested and very slow. The half marathon started with us, and many racers (half and marathon alike) pretty much went to the front and started…walking. I spent a lot of time and energy weaving, because I am an idiot.
I felt tired right away- good omen eh? The first 10k were uneventful, I had some candy in my pockets and I ate those. It was hilly and winding, very congested. We wouldn’t lose the halfers until about KM 14 I think?
Because of how dangerous the heat could be, I made sure to stop at every.single.water.stop. No skipping- not even one. I don’t normally even go for water in a half, but I knew that could literally kill me this time. I respected the heat warning, and in fact got so hot I started grabbing multiple waters (one to drink, one to dump down my chest).
I was so thirsty. SO thirsty.
My pacing (despite not running tangents due to crowds) was fairly even up until the half way point. I caught a few too fast KMs (4:23s) and toned it down. I’m still so green at this distance…I know it can mess you up badly. By the time we got to the half way point I was hanging on, but also starting to feel concerned…and like maybe this was a bad idea… The tightness in my right hamstring really started to call out to me.
Hah, joke’s on me. It only gets worse from there on!
At around Km 33, the wheels in my brain fell off and I wanted to
b. leave the course immediately and probably
c. get hurt so I wouldn’t have to finish.
Sweat was pouring off me, my core temperature was going crazy and I just couldn’t think straight. I ate a few more Xact Nutrition bars (clumsily, with sugar crystals coating my face, the bar a mushy mess in my mouth) and just tried to hang.
I bounced around with one of my friends until I thought he left me in the dust. I was feeling lightheaded and hot, so hot. After KM 36 or so, it honestly felt like time was slowing down. Everyone was moving in slow-motion, arcing in front of me but still going too fast for me to catch up. My legs, arms, body wouldn’t go faster.
I also tossed an almost full water cup straight into the chest of a volunteer (sorry!) who was standing in front of the trash cans and didn’t move when I was mumbling excuse me as I ran by. There was someone running in a full rhino suit- can you believe it!! It was SO hot man. Woof.
It was pretty funny in retrospect!
I had this thought: Get to KM 39 and THEN you can fall apart.
But then I got there, and the finish seemed so close!! (until you realize it’s still like 3km of winding). Any small amount of hill that normally wouldn’t bother me seemed like Mt. Everest. I wanted to walk so badly, I even stopped at the final water aid station (2km left) to drink in hopes it’d power me further. On a regular day no way would I stop that late in the race!
Clearly I was desperate 😉
Ian was going to watch me and I planned to spy him, but when it came I was so zonked out that I couldn’t do anything but stare straight ahead, and breathe with my mouth open. Hah. He did the half marathon (and got a very solid time!).
My time! Finally! It was good too, 3:17:38 (chip)
I jogged weakly through the finish, saw a chair and sat in it for a bit, then got up and got my medal. The snack volunteers were like: You want a banana or an apple? And my brain was so destroyed that I couldn’t figure out wtf they were asking me. So, I ended up with a banana and then went to the next volunteer and got the apple bag- hah.
I hung around waiting for Ian, and when I couldn’t find him decided to start walking home gingerly. I spotted him in the field of the Legislature and I was soooo glad because then I could lean on him to hobble home! We got home, I couldn’t take my shoes off so I sat on the stairs so Ian could take them off. The aftermath was prettttty hideous. But I hopped in an epsom salt bath for 30 mins and listened to a podcast (Gidget kept coming in to check on me!! ha she is so sweet) and then we were up and walking back downtown to beer festival. Crazy eh? It was SO GOOD!!! I loved it! It was amazing.
And then I walked home feeling pretty drunk but probably just tired and lay on the grass for awhile. Good end to a good day. At that point I told Ian I was NEVER going to run another marathon ever.
We’ll see ??
A plant-based extravaganza with House of Boateng and YAM!
Ian and I were incredibly fortunate to win a fantastic 10-course tasting experience with Chef Castro at House of Boateng, thanks to YAM Magazine!
It was a few weeks ago, but things have been SUUUPER nuts lately, so only now I am able to sit down and write all about it- it was lovely!
I bought us a few drinks (glasses of wine, that we both turned out to be incredibly allergic to unfortunately and made for a very challenging next day, ugh) and the dinner was set!
We started with a simple riff on caprese salad with tomatoes, and moved on to a tasty soup (was supposed to be served chilled, but it was served warm- which I was thankful for, I was absolutely FREEZING for the night, hah).
Roasted chilled white beets were good, but I was kind of getting concerned…so small…and I was so hungry!
The jalapeno that was stuffed was hilarious- apparently there is a lot of variability, mine was fine so I chowed down, while almost everyone sitting at the long table with us was freaking out it was so hot!! HAHAH.
The mushroom wrap was lovely, kind of like a green taco?
And who doesn’t like a hot dog (vegan!)
The squash noodles were lovely as well…
But the real standouts were the roasted white yam- AMAZING and complex flavours. Fantastic! A depth I never thought was possible with plant based!
And so was the finale- the King Oyster mushroom- very steak-like, tons of umami flavour. Delish!
Dessert was hilarious- literally carrots?! Not sweet at all- but worked with the cashew cream and balanced the sweet meringue nicely. A great way to end the (super long, omg we got home after 11am!) night. 🙂
Am I now a plant-based convert? Nope. It was very fun and an amazing way to try a huge variety of chef-specialties, but I did find myself missing the mouthfeel of cheese or meat. I did think the menu ‘built up’ better in vegan than meat-based, but it also leaves you hungrier, hah. We had to definitely eat all of the 10 courses to feel full.
Thank you to Chef Castro and YAM- amazing opportunity!!
Double the fun at Fairlawn Stables!
We took the opportunity to do a field trip on the weekend to try out our dressage trainer’s amazing new footing at her farm, Fairlawn. It’s also a gorgeous facility, so huge and spacious and bright so why not !?!
The ponies were…less than thrilled to see the trailer pull up again (Two WEEKS in a row?) but got onboard when we were there 🙂
And I said: Let’s do something FUN! That’s all I want to do now, lol. I only have less than a month left here, so let’s make the most of it and really enjoy ourselves, so that is the lesson we got- a pas de deux lesson with the two dudes!
And they are so cute together, I think they’re really figuring out how to rate with each other!! And Becky and I only forgot where we were going once or twice I think 😉 The horses picked it up faster than we did.
We then enjoyed a little cruise around the fields after, as they have a lovely little pond you can ride around. The boys were very well behaved, and it was just such a fun and chill atmosphere. Can you ask for any better? Plus the weather has been amazing lately…chilly today, but far, far above the seasonal temps for Oct. We’re stuck in the groundhog day of my dreams…An endless summer!
My reviews: A superlative ranking of ice creams!
Superlative ice cream rankings as we say goodbye to summer and I only have FIVE WEEKS LEFT!!! (and boy, I am so over everything ).
A few weeks ago I was telling my husband that I probably shouldn’t be the one to go to the grocery store, because no matter what, I come home with like three ice creams, two bags of marshmallows, yogurt, Cheetos Flaming Hot, and Funyuns. And no actual food, because I am a garbage person??
He agreed but also hinted that someone has to be the junk food buyer and someone has to be the responsible buyer, and it looks like that is now my role sooo…. I bring to you the best ice creams I have tried this summer, and likely all bought at the same time, hah. Hey, the freezer is there for a reason- ice cream and frozen pizza. You may be shocked, even surprised to learn: the winner was NOT chocolate peanut butter!! I know, blasphemy! BUT stay with me.
The winner of this year’s best grocery store ice cream is…. Western Family’s Signature Double Chocolate Cupcake!
I know, I was surprised myself but this ice cream is so incredibly rich and it has these lovely little sprinkles providing fun pops of colour throughout without being trite or tired, kind of like the Americans weird love of sprinkles called ‘Funfetti??’
Plus unlike peanut butter cup, the flavour appears to be evenly dispersed soooo to all of you mining for a rich vein of peanut butter cups, or peanut butter…You don’t need to! The taste is all in it, you don’t need to dig through half of the container seeking the one interesting chunk. That, to me, is priceless. Friends, get yourself this ice cream. You will NOT regret it.
I love product innovations and will seek them out because I think companies should be trying harder. On that note, bear with me on this rant but: I hate buying shards of pretzels jazzed up to make it seem like ‘hey great new product!!’ NO. I am buying YOUR mistake. Bring back the whole pretzel, you cheap bastards!
In other news, I still buy them because I like pretzels and they don’t seem to make whole ones in the fun new flavours these days.
Moving on to second place is Ian’s favourite and a pretty fun new flavour buuttt the quality is very much of the ‘frozen dessert’ mediocrity that is Breyer’s and the like. (I see they are calling it ‘light ice cream’ which is a pretty nice spin there, Breyers. Want a job at GCPE?) Try out the Nanaimo Bar ice cream as one of their ‘taste of Canada’ flavours and prepare for an interesting textural but still very on-the-note of Nanaimo bars.
It has flakes of coconut, mixed in with a fairly rich and delicious ice cream base that is marbled yellow/chocolate just like a good ol’ fashioned Nanaimo bar. Now, it’s not punching above its weight at all- that is reserved for actual ice cream, not a fakey one, however it’s a really nice take on something Canadian and a fun eating experience. Give it a try!
Third place (I couldn’t give this ranking to peanut butter cup- I just couldn’t do it to my truest love) so I am springing on you a new ice cream altogether. Enter the dairy-free offering from Coconut Bliss. I tried the Madagascar Vanilla Bean (by accident, thought I was buying chocolate peanut butter), and the Sea-Salt Caramel Chocolate. I actually really enjoyed the Madagascar Vanilla Bean once I got over the fact it wasn’t chocolate but it does have a pronounced and unsurprisingly heavy coconut flavour, so if that’s not your gig steer clear. The Sea-Salt Caramel Chocolate I like a bit less, and that did surprise me a bit, possibly because it still have a very heavy coconut base flavour that doesn’t mingle amazingly well with predominantly caramel flavouring? And I also expected it to be chocolately with caramel, but it’s the other way around- caramel with chocolate bits. So…yeah. Not a big hit but not bad either. If they go on sale (I found them for 2.97 a pint at Country Grocer) then give them a go!
As we bid adieu to a summer that seemed so very short, I also have a message to the ‘mother’ that got in my face to yell at me after her child ran into me when I was jogging on the Breakwater: I hope you NEVER get to enjoy another ice cream again, you ass. Also when you yell at a person about ‘why would anyone think they can run here’ and ‘this is a PUBLIC place’ I guess to cover her poor parenting, when there are about four other runners also enjoying a lunchtime run on the Breakwater, well hate to break it to you but die mad about it.
South Island Riding Club Gymkhana #2
Another fun day! Wow this fall has been sooo busy, I can’t keep up! This is a new club and I am loving their ethos- low key, supportive and fun 🙂 Oats and I are NOT fast but as English riders, we are welcomed and having a blast.
We did barrel racing (our weakest), pole bending, keyhole, surprise class and stake class. They were such fun and I borrowed hoof boots so Oats would be comfy this time. He was still very unhurried, lol, but he’s a solid citizen and very safe to show at this venue. Also, the Western horses all had a meltdown about the miniature x-rail in the keyhole lol so that was Oats’ time to shine!
We won the keyhole and might have won the surprise class (holding a lacrosse stick with a ball in it, you ride the stake pattern and on the way back, you deposit the ball from the lacrosse net into a basket!) Oats was a superstar about it 🙂
Love my boy! We also had our friends come, including Oats’ leasor, and it was really awesome to see everyone out again on such a gorgeous day.
Lake to Lake Half Marathon: Shawnigan to Glenora
Ah yes, forgot that I ran this one of a few busy weekends ago (Sept 11?). It’s quite a small community fun run, and it is unique in that it offers two distances: the full marathon, and the half. It is not chip-timed – and as I learned when I ran it- not quite a full distance either, hah. 😉
There was a small crowd as we started slightly after the full marathon folks, and it’s a point-to-point, so you do have to be aware of getting back to your car. They do offer a shuttle, but luckily for me Ian wasn’t running so he could pick me up afterwards! Yes!
The weather was fantastic. It’s been an incredible fall, no rain, just sun and warm weather days. I love it! I was a tad chilly in the morning, but that burned off pretty quick. Speaking of burned off, there was also smoke- due to forest fires from WA. Luckily for us, the smoke in the air didn’t get too bad until later in the afternoon and I was finished fairly early, so not bad.
I started up near the front, as it was quite a small race. I hung out for awhile with another guy, cognizant of not wanting to blow up my pace (this was supposed to be a practice run for training, NOT a real race). Did I actually do that? Well…sort of. I got pretty into the idea of racing quick 😉 and mistakenly thought I was KILLING IT!! A new world record for me!! (newsflash: This did not happen. You merely rise to the level of your training, not above it.).
So, I jogged along, beat the one guy and had a few fasties ahead of me. I hustled and caught up with them…and then started feeling tired. The aid stations were a bit odd, not very evenly spaced and we had one right off the bat where we didn’t need them, and then 1 at about 12k? And then one at the finish, lol. Guess they were more important for the marathoners hahaha. The gravel was ok to run on, but I think the fatigue of training caught up with me and I started feeling pretty chewed up.
I lost the fasties and kind plugged along solo for awhile. Wish I had some pictures actually!! And then it was the finish- at about 20.60, we were definitely a touch short. Oh well! I came in with no fanfare and my time was around 1:30:?? which is fine for a training run for sure, but again- course was short. I believe I was second female but not quite sure as there’s no awards or anything unless you win!
Waited around for Ian to come, he didn’t so I decided to just go and tackle the rest of my long run rather than waiting for the smoke to get worse, and for my legs to start stiffening up too much. That part was a SLOG lol. I did see a lot of other marathon runners so I cheered them on, hah clutching my participation medal because I didn’t know where to put it haha.
I finished that in about 1.5 hours, jogged back to the staging area and ran into Ian again. We wrapped up the day by going to Stillhead distillery for a spirits tasting (so good!!!) and then we went to watch the finishers of the Finlayson Arm Ultra (50k/100k day) and then went riding. A good day all around! 😉
I would recommend the Lake to Lake Marathon for a fun training opportunity that is supported and quite reasonably priced, it’s a beautiful course and very fun. Not a serious race, in my opinion but that makes it more fun!
I only drink when I’m drunk
Saw this on a Spotify playlist yesterday and man, I’m hooked.
Actually, I am not really drinking intentionally right now (trying to take a break, for health and you know, those reasons) but I have been very much enjoying my weekends, boozy or not 😉
We have had so many fun times, where to begin…We went to the Cobble Hill the other weekend and now it costs $10 to get in (not worth it) and it was a freaking ZOO with the most ill-behaved little monsters running around. I couldn’t handle it, ughh. I was overwhelmed and couldn’t manage to be in the same outdoors space as all of these little assholes running wild. NO THANKS. Yuck.
We didn’t stay that long, thankfully (and I cancelled my ideas to go to the Saanich Fair. Do that again? NOPE!). We then had approximately 100 errands to run, haha. Pick up a sweater I forgot at the horse show site, visit a cidery (Valley Cider, it was lovely!), go to Merridale too, and best of all- I bought the most insane Caesar possible. Friends, you haven’t lived until you have eaten the Coast Caesar!
Feast your eyes… And it did cost a cool $40, so maybe make it a once-in-a-lifetime treat eh?
And then on the Sunday, Ian and I did a long run of 24k and I got changed quickly and went to the James Bay BBQ with my friend Amaka. We listened to live music, I brought Gidget and we ate and ate and ate. Man! The BBQ was incredibly generous- as many jumbo dogs as you can eat (so, like I saved half of mine b/c i was too full), ice cream, freezies, bananas, cake, chocolate chip cookies. It was a feast!! What a great day 🙂
Ian and I also caught Phillips ‘Dino Sour’ patio party on a random Thursday. I got back early from my lesson and saw a biiiggg lineup…And almost bailed. But then we got in, and while it was busy, we ordered our drinks and got in, and out pretty quick. I had the Dino sour slushy and bought a few sleeves of the other random ‘dino sour’ flavours. One was a very hideous swampy-green cask-conditioned salted plum sour and wow did it look horrible! Tasted ok though.
Working Equitation Day 2: Redemption!
After my sad-sack ‘dressage’ test where Oats had a head tossing freakout, I forgot where I was going and he was spooking at everything, I was determined to just let it go. Ok fine, it sucked but I’m camping in a great spot, it’s super hot out and we have trails and a pond to swim in. It could be worse!!
So we trail rode, I focused on letting it go past me and I went for some more swims…Even going skinny dipping when everyone else who was finished for the weekend went on a night time trail ride. Daring eh?? HAh it was so refreshing, I slept amazingly well despite the really loud concert going on all night in a nearby farm (and they had huge tents, a professional sound system and everything!).
The next day of course I didn’t ride until… after 2pm. Was I hanging around, biting my nails, feeling hot and festering? NOPE! I was determined to actually enjoy my experience for once. I fed Oats, cleaned his stall, longed him in the morning (he was tired) and then I went on a little run to check out where the Cowichan Trail connected to where we were the day previous. Then I cooled off with a nice swim, packed up my gear and lazily went over to think about tacking up…to find they had accelerated the schedule! Yikes!
Ha but it was totally fine. We had lots of time still! So I tacked up, and felt fairly confident about the tracks I was planning. There was no real water obstacle, and no bank, both of which challenged Oats last year.
When it was our turn, I was fairly pleased with Oats, with the understanding that he was quite footsore on the rock hard grass, and some areas were worse than others- he couldn’t hold a good canter at all, and did a fair amount of ‘trantering’ where it was very hard. He was a good boy though and I couldn’t wait for my fav- the speed round!!
Oats is NOT fast, but he’s a canny little dude and gets really into it. When we had the speed round come up, he was great!! Of course we got absolutely blown out of the water by some of the other speedier riders and horses but he’s just SO fun 🙂 and I think he really enjoys it too!
We were in last place after our miserable dressage, and then first after Ease of Handling, to settle in second place out of three. Not bad for us and a great way to wrap up our show season. Go Oats!
Working Equitation Horse Show
And the fun keeps rolling! We did the Working Equitation horse show in Glenora a few weeks ago, in mid-August. I personally think that is the best time…even though it was extremely hot. Like, very hot for us. Last year Oats was high as a kite and a bit difficult to manage, so I was more prepared this year to work on his energy levels (though I may have overestimated them and worked him into tiredness a little early?!) guess that’s better than a nutty horse on-course.
I took Friday off work (I have a few days to use up and MAN I am really enjoying it!!) and my working equitation trainer Shelly and I loaded the horses/gear up and set out. The Malahat is pretty much terrible any time of day, but it was particularly nasty on a Friday afternoon so it took us ages to get there (and then about 2+++ hours to get home on Sunday…eff this for a 45 minute journey…).
It was a muggy day, I had already longed and bathed Oats at home so I didn’t stress him by working him further on Friday. Instead, we got the ponies comfortable in the stables, which Oats HATED and was pissed about all weekend, feeling like he was stuck in a cage… And then we went for a swim!
The next morning came really early, it was so hot out that I was slowly roasting in my tent. I went to warm up Oats after his breakfast/cleaning his stall and he was hot hot hot hot to trot! Sooo I hopped off and longed the little turd to get his yahoos out. He did have some! THEN I hopped back on and he was a gentleman.
And then, the waiting game…
And by the time my dressage time was up, I was pretty over it. Hot, tired, Oats was hot and pissy, and some flies were really bothering his eyes. We warmed up fairly nicely but it was very hot and stuffy in the arena, and the minute we trotted down centreline…Oats was freaked riiiight out. His head was on a swivel, he was spooking and flinging his head wildly. I got so distracted by his wacked-out behaviours that I forgot where I was going!! I had to pull up and ask the judge (who is SUPER nice). YEEEEK. I was in such a bad mood after that piss-poor showing. ARGH.
And then I noticed that everyone was crabby after dressage. HAHAH. So true.
After, to put the bad taste of the bad test out of my head, I asked Shelly to come with us on a trail ride. She did and with a few minor Oats moments (where he runs backwards and is an ass every time we stop on the trail..) they did really nicely 🙂
And then I got to go swimming again, and start perseverating about the Ease of Handling Round and Speed Round the next day… No banks this time, thank god (our real nemesis last time!).
…To be continued!
BC Day Adventure!
We had FANTASTIC weather this August, so we headed up Island to visit my in-laws, and my new nephew too!
It was so warm we swam in the ocean, every day. It was heavenly, just divine 🙂
I also went on a 27-km run that was pretty miserable, as it was 30 deg, full sun, a long, hot day AND I hit the trails to escape some of the heat and ended up tripping and falling pretty dramatically, but hey- I didn’t even get hurt!
I wrapped up the run covered in dirt/dust, lol and Ian had to go looking for me because it took me forever to get back, those trails…Not fast!
Wow, what happened to the summer?
After I left my last blog entry, it basically fell off a cliff!
Things were very busy, and lots of opportunity to blog but I just didn’t have the desire I suppose?
We went on a really nice summer holiday to visit my family in the Interior of BC, where we enjoyed camping at Christina Lake, kayaking, hiking, running, horseback riding, and biking/running the Myra Canyon Trestles, a trip to the Kangaroo Farm and then…COVID when we were in Vancouver.
We also enjoyed a fantastic dinner and wine tasting at Mission Hill, courtesy of my parents. It was divine!
Yep, the big Covid hit us, pretty hard. Not unexpected, as my sister was sick when she had dinner/visited with us in Kelowna but I was still fairly surprised and thought it was just terrible allergies when we were in Vancouver (running the sea wall, going out for drinks, out for dinner…greeeat…). Nope, COVID.
That knocked us on our butts for a while, and when I was feeling better I was working from home, and then back to work, where work proceeded to knock me on my butt again too!
Man, sometimes you can’t win!?
Show your PRIDE!
Phew, after a suuuper long day at the horse show on Sunday, I got home around 6-ish and we immediately zipped out to catch the last of Pride.
The Pride parade and festival happens every year, and ends up at the park near our house, we can just walk over! It was also extremely HOT out so I was kind of glad it was a bit shadier. Lol and of course, it’s 16 degrees and chilly/grey out today. Man, this weather!
I get by with a little help from my friends
We’re preparing for my sabbatical, piece-by-piece, and when we pack, the animals think that they’re helping! Goofs 🙂
Cowichan District Riding Club All-Pony Show!
Wow so we had a busy weekend and the horse show was a blast!!!
I loved watching all the adorable Welsh ponies, shetlands, minis, Fjords, New Forest Ponies and it was just so cool to be there. It was also an extremely HOT day, so we had to be very careful with the heat and the sun and old Oaty, who can tolerate things well but he is an animal and you have to respect their needs.
So, we parked it in the shade for a lot of the day, as it was a loooooooooong day, lol.
We got there early for the Sport Pony halter class, where Oats behaved himself fairly nicely, only getting a little irritated at the end of the class. He placed fourth in that one, and then it was time to tack up for our first u/saddle classes. We had a LONG wait, due to a class conflict. So, it started about an hour later than we thought…and I was getting hot hot hot! I hopped off and parked Oats in the shade.
Then it was our turn! We did the adult hunt seat equitation, where we rode well and the judge was very complimentary (the very kind Peter Holmes) but I got dinged hard for carrying an incorrect whip, whoops! And I am kicking myself, because I KNEW better lol. Doh!
Oh well, Oats was behaving himself perfectly 🙂
Next class: Hunter under saddle, and Oats was so good at it, and we placed first!
Next up was the hunter hack, and we had to jump two little fences. Video below: and of course, Oats was a star. We had a chance to warm up over it once, and it was set a little higher, maybe 18”? They knocked a rail off for the class itself, to Oats’ disappointment. Hah.
He was first that time too! Then our ‘suitable to be a dressage horse’ class, and we were second in it. Oats was getting hot and I was getting tired too. A long lunch break, and then we zipped over to ride the trail/agility class- and I messed it up, but it was fun! 🙂
Then our final classes of the day: Barrel racing and pole bending! I scratched the keyhole race, as I noticed Oats was getting too tired by the end of barrel racing, poor guy lol. We placed first in the pole bending!! Third in barrel race. 🙂
It was a super long day but the volunteers, competitors and sponsors were absolutely fantastic. Big kudos to everyone that kept the show running safely, well and happy!! We loved it!
A rust-buster show with CDRC
A few weeks ago we finally went to a show, in a month where despite my best efforts, EVERYTHING got cancelled on me. 😦
Games day with the horses? Cancelled, not enough entries.
Bachelorette party? Cancelled, bride got COVID.
Movie I wanted to go see? Left the theatres.
And so on…ARGH.
But this is the one thing that actually happened this month. And it went very well, both horses Donato and Oats were superstars and didn’t put a hoof wrong. My scores are not competitive anymore, and I am not entirely sure what to chalk that up to?
- Performance anxiety?
- Not able to replicate the homework we do at home in the ring?
- Oats aging?
- Me losing focus?
Whatever it is, it’s going on at every show we go to. SIGH. He is very well behaved but we just don’t have magic anymore. Regardless, it was a very nice day and super fun to get out there with our buds. We missed them so much over the years of injury + COVID that despite our lacklustre scoring, it’s just nice to be out, doing the things we love to do, you know?
Mr. Oats is immortalized
In a painting! I commissioned a painting of him earlier this year, and was able to pick it up two weeks ago, when I was grabbing my race bib for the Oak Bay half actually.
I love it so much!! The artist is a colleague of mine and incredibly talented 🙂
And how is the old boy? Oh being a terror, like usual 😉 On Saturday I rode, and then let him have turnout while I cleaned his disgusting horse blankets, and then went to bring him in- he can’t be on grass for too long right now, it’s too rich and he is a Cushings pony so too much grass is a big no-no…And I watched as he freaking BLEW past me, and galloped into the farm yard. He went from paddock to paddock, fighting and instigating chaos with each horse. Every time I went to get him, he basically charged past me or AT me. Asshole.
He then went back into his own paddock? Weird.
Guess he’s a time-limited terror?
He’s been super fun in my dressage lessons, mixing in a little test-practice, with some little fences, all kinds of little things to do and all fun! I haven’t had a Working Equitation lesson in awhile, due to being away in Port Townsend, the race, and then this weekend I didn’t have my car (because I was supposed to be in a bachelorette party, which got cancelled)…So I am hoping we can revisit WE practice this weekend.
He does really enjoy it, and I’m hoping there is a WE show in Aug. so we can strut our stuff! (but NO BANKS PLEASE jesus).
First time: Running the Oak Bay Half Marathon
Now, this is a combo of typical ‘big race’ and ‘community race’ I think. I’m not generally a fan of big races, it seems like more of an opportunity to spend more, and get wayyy less. This race is no exception, but it is very well organized, with a whole army of excellent volunteers, so I am very thankful for them and the organization! It is a very nice, leafy course and one of the most scenic ones in Victoria I think.
It is a fairly large race, there are no race awards for age-groups, and it is more ‘everybody gets a medal’ day ie- you get a race medal for completion. I am not a fan of participation medals, basically at all, unless you’re at marathon distance. (Ok I know there is some innate snobbery here, but I just don’t need medals myself unless I won them, is my thinking. Not meaning to rob someone of their joy here.).
So, last weekend’s race was much more lucrative for me, hahah. Oh and also that the run scene here is EXTREMELY competitive. Like…Olympian-fast. So you can take the overall placings out of your dreams, hahah because it ain’t gonna happen. That is the only reason I am able to place in races elsewhere, basically!
Also I had to get up early for this one, which is a hard sell for me, argh. 8am just isn’t…friendly to me and it was absolutely freezing that early in the morning. Lucky for me Ian joined me so he could park the car and take a video 🙂
We started off and it’s a mass start- 10k and half marathon all together, with relay participants. It’s a bit of organized chaos, as we run with the 10k’ers until they turn around. Now, I do think I owe my last half marathon personal best to having some unofficial pacers to follow until they dropped my ass at like 8k, so I was feeling a bit lost and apprehensive about being with 10k’ers. Like…who do I follow?
Well, it was fine. Maybe I came out a bit quick, but you run for so long you give that up pretty damn fast, haha. We were with the 10k’ers until just past 6km, and they turned around, and we kept climbing.
No lie, this was much hillier than I expected. I guess I thought Oak Bay was kind of flat? Also the wind was pretty nuts, gusting up to 60k/hr and we did so many twists and turns…straight into the headwind every time. It was never really at our backs, at all. My hat kept blowing off my head, so I took it off and held it. Boo!
I was apprehensive for up until oh, 11km and then I high-fived a spectator, felt good and kept GOING!
The only thing I was really struggling with was getting a solid, pounding rhythm …could get it great on the flats, and then we’d hit another hill and I’d lose my awesome pace. Then get it…and immediately hit another hill.
My legs felt awesome though, no troubles at all there. So good in fact I just wanted some flat sections to really test how fast I could go this late in the game! But the last 5km was just hills and a wicked headwind 😦
Wrapped up by charging past some of the walkers finishing the early start, not super inspiring because you’re alone out there again, racing past walkers. Finished with a not too shabby 1:31:39. Slower than my last one, but truly it’s a different race, so I am pleased with consistency. That was enough to net me 5th overall and 2nd AG (but no AG awards, sigh) and that’s it!
So would I do it again? No I don’t think I will. It is nice and scenic, when the weather cooperates it’s a fun race but I just am not that into more ‘fun runs’ really. I would recommend it for people looking for something new and interesting, but challenging. Don’t expect a personal best here.
Farewell Port Townsend
And what did we do on our last day, other than me joining the race? Well, we did a lot of hoofing around, ahha trying to get to a brewery (The Pourhouse). We finally made it AND they took a few bucks off my drink when I showed them my race bib – I had brought it just in case 😉 and it finally worked!
I enjoyed a sour, and then a truly incredible salted watermelon-apricot sour and wowza it was so tasty, I couldn’t believe it!
We cruised around, ate ice cream, drank beer, enjoyed the sunshine again and then ate dinner at the local greasy fish’n’ chips joint, Sea Jay’s and headed out to see the drive-in movie. That’s right, they have one of the last drive-ins in Washington State! OMG it starts so LATE though, wow. We got there after 8pm, and watched Sonic the Hedgehog #2 at like… 9:30am to 11:30am. Got back to the hotel after midnight. Phew, I was exhausted haa and my legs were starting to bug me, aching a lot I guess due to sitting too much!
Luckily we didn’t have to get up too early in the morning and it’s a quick and easy sail back home.
I would definitely revisit Port Townsend! I do recommend it 🙂
Port Townsend #3: Rhody Run 10k
That’s right, what kind of moron goes on holidays and signs up for a race, last-minute?
Yeah, haha. This moron!
It was very much on a whim. I saw that they had a race as part of their annual rhododendron festival called ‘Rhody Run’ and was like yep that’s it. I’m signing up! And sooo I did, haha. I couldn’t sign up only due to entries being maxed out, but they were allowing the day-before registration so we spent the day out at Fort Worden and then swung by the Fairgrounds around 3pm to sign up, and it was effortless, took 10 mins. Then the race was the next morning!
Ian got to dig through shirts to find one I wanted to wear, and off we went!
Of course we’d walked over 10k that day alone, and basically spend the rest of the afternoon drinking beer, but heyyyy…why not do a race? I slept HORRIBLY the entire weekend, which was the only downer part of the time but oh well.
Sunday dawned bright and early and we were back at the Fairgrounds (ok like a 7 minute drive hahahah) and I had my bib on ready to race!
The race had so many participants, they said it was a record sell-out. They had 10k and then 5k starting immediately afterwards. We got in line and were off!
Not gonna lie, I was hot already. I was very unused to the sun (hello, it hasn’t been sunny and warm for ONE day here in Victoria..not one day) and I was wearing long sleeves, gloves, long pants to run in every single day and freezing. So I ended up wearing my sleeping shorts for the race, hahah since I had only packed long pants/spandex tights due to it being so miserably cold the entire ‘spring’.
It was a challenging course, a few rolling hills and then QUITE the hill at oh… KM 5-6 I think? I can’t remember exactly other than cursing myself for signing up hahaha. Also someone was playing Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire soundtrack at like KM 3 and it made me feel really good, like Rocky!!
There was one screaming downhill at like KM 7 I think, and wow it was nuttssss…I was pretty sure I was going to fall hahah.
I was running alone a lot, there was one guy ahead of me who stopped to walk at like KM 8? The top woman was unreachable to me, but I held 2nd place the entire way which felt really nice 🙂
Zipped to the finish, and immediately took off my shirt, I was so hot. Also forgot that I’d packed my worst, saggiest sports bra b/c I really didn’t think we’d be running that much. Hah, whoops! Then the marine fog rolled in and I felt cold again.
We enjoyed some post-race snacks and Ian snapped some pics for me, and I was the happy recipient of a medal for first in my AG and a $200 gift card to Amazon for being second female. YEAH!!! Thanks Port Townsend, you rock!!
Next up: Fourth and final farewell to Port Townsend
A long weekend in Port Townsend!
Wow been awhile. As I left, I had just started my new position (same job) and things got very busy for awhile, but it is a change for the better.
In the meantime, I am still counting down the days until my sabbatical, and we also enjoyed a long weekend in Washington in Port Townsend!
It was a super awesome weekend. NOT cheap by any stretch of the imagination ($$$$$$$$$ for ferry, eating out, hotels, activities, booze, etc) but well worth it, given we haven’t really travelled much in oh, two years? THANKS pandemic…So, we were overdue I think.
Also we’ve had endless crap weather. Like, heat on in May kind of crap weather. And no signs of it improving either, so we’re feeling really stir-crazy with every single day being windy/freezing/raining/grey…No respite in sight. HOW?
Ok ran about the weather over.
First up in Port Townsend wasn’t even Port Townsend- it was in Sequim, about 20 mins away from Port Angeles at the Olympic Game Farm. We went there on a whim, when I saw an ad for it on the Coho haha. And it was a freaking blast! We bought bread (1 loaf) there and you pay $17/pp and drive-through a little animal safari. The critters were all over us hahaha. I did have a moderate buffalo freakout when one stuck his head in the car and basically mauled me with his giant 1ft long tongue-eeeek!!!
Ian got drooled all over by an elk. HAHA. It was so fun, Gidget didn’t know what to think, it was hilarious!
I highly recommend. And next up…Port Townsend marine science centre.
I’m moving on from my workplace of 11 years and while this is a change I really wanted to make, I also feel very strange about it now?!
I started here when I had just turned 25, and now I am turning 37. Where did the time go? I’ve really valued the friendships I’ve made here and my colleagues are great people, but I came to the realization that with just under 6 months left before my sabbatical, it was time to make a more permanent change and leave my current office.
I’m staying in the same position but handling some different aspects, something I haven’t done in oh, about 7 years?? But the change is necessary and important for both my mental health and personal growth. I need to take more proactive steps towards a future that I can believe in.
So here goes nothing…and a fresh start on Monday!
My reviews: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Mac and Cheese
You eat with your eyes, so maybe wear sunglasses..
Buckle up people!
They say you eat with your eyes, and if that’s the case, my eyes wanted sunglasses when I was staring down a bowl of this atomic-red monstrosity. Sidenote: We always associated atomic with the colour green? Why not this fiery inferno of red? The colour is so weirdly off putting that when you eat it, your brain and mouth don’t want to work together and kept insisting that this must have tomato in it? (It doesn’t, this is 100% chemically-created with not a hint of any sort of real food). BUT that being said, even if it is eye-blistering, it’s also very tasty! The texture is straight up cooked pasta, a fusilli shape to simulate Chester the Cheetah’s tail, apparently. That is a bit of a reach, personally. It’s fusilli, people. The taste is straight up spicy heat, kind of like eating a softer Takis Fuego, the kind that makes your face and eyeballs sweat when you’re eating it.
The portion sizes, like all mac and cheese dinners, is miniscule. Too much maybe for 1 person but too little for 2 unless you are both children in trenchcoat instead of an adult.
Also lacking: Cheese. For mac and cheese, it’s all bite and no smooth cheesy taste. So think it really wins on the heat level – impressive- but it does lack on the backup cheese taste. In that way, it is not like Cheetos at all, but luckily for them I have a solution- mix in a box of regular Kraft mac and cheese! Win-win!
So, please do that and let me know if it’s a winner because in my mind, it really will be. Cheetos mac and cheese is available in other flavours so maybe I will have to try those, see if they can balance the heat + cheese flavour a little better? Otherwise, this was available at Save On Foods for a ridiculously marked up price because of the novelty of it. Go ahead and try it, remix it 😉
Bazan Bay and series finale with the Vancouver Island Race Series
Last weekend we had the final race of the series, the 5k and the series wrap up! 🙂
I was kind of dreading the 5k- I just find it so tough, and I feel like I am pretty weak at getting any top end speed but I figured I could probably hang well enough for a sub- 20:00 with the fitness I have right now.
And it was FREEZING out. We have had a really miserable spring- super cold, wind storms every other day, it was a blizzard last Monday?! The race morning it was 0 deg, and by the time we were racing, I think it crawled up to a measly 4 deg? Anyways I was frozen, wearing gloves for the last race of the season and cursing our luck. I guess we should have considered ourselves lucky that it wasn’t snowing (it was on the Malahat and up Island all day…) and the brave runners who traveled here definitely had to contend with a really tough go to get to the race.
Weather gripes aside, the race itself was fine. I did get annoyed when I saw some older, non-elite runners head to the start. Guys, that’s a good way to get really hurt. Of course, when we started everyone blew past them and they got elbowed a lot. That’s life when you try to hang w/the pros… Do better!
I was hung up in a few packs throughout the race but nothing too tight, which was nice. I forgot my watch so didn’t have that pressure 😉 at least!
It was tough, Ian blew past me like I was standing still which is always irritating! Lol! Wish I had speed if I didn’t train- how??? That will always confound me. My breathing was fairly labored and I did feel like I was at my max for speed. We hit the turnaround and zoomed back. As always, the finish loomed just out of reach for muuuchhh longer than I ever want…
About 1.5 kms to the finish, a guy was telling us we’re getting under 20:00 and I was like yes my dude, I know that, but I’m not gearing JUST for under, you know? I was running hard!
And luckily I did get under 20:00 by a fair margin- gun time was 19:22, chip..can’t remember haha. Good enough! I got 5th in my AG, and then we had the series awards. It was confusing at first because none of the 5k times were loaded so nobody knew what they had placed in, and the placings did have an effect on the series end awards. I was in 3rd place, until they called out the placings and I – in a big upset lol- moved to 2nd?!
$50 gift card to Frontrunners was all mine, baby!! 🙂
And the race results never did get loaded, so a few days later we saw them. Ha, my AG was quite competiive this year, phewww!
Grateful to have a good racing season, nice weather until the last race (how??) and lovely to see my run community buddies and enjoy some excellent post-race snacks. Until next time, racing!!! 🙂
It’s been…a lot lately. The return to the workplace is making me realize a whole bunch of truths, namely that I need a big change and my sabbatical won’t be coming soon enough.
Things only change if you change them.
Also, I hate working in the workplace and I find it very distracting. And the time? Oh lord. My time management has gone to hell and back, namely I spend all of it sitting at work and then rushing around at home trying to get all of my life stuff done, like my animals, showering, preparing lunches, etc. Fun times.
Oats had a difficult week last week- he was spooky as hell, seeing things in every single corner of the arena, slamming on the brakes, half rearing, etc. I know him well enough now that this behaviour is seasonal (unfortunately or fortunately…) and it too will pass, but damn, I just wanted a fun pony to ride? Likely there is a big tie-in to his disease and the medication, as this only became a bigger issue the past two years he was diagnosed. 😦 blows either way.
And then he was foot-perfect at my Thursday lesson! Such a lovely little dude, we jumped cross rails one-handed and had the funnest time, which was great b/c mentally I was NOT in a good place (thanks, work). And then I free longed him on Friday and he came up lame. GREEATTT
But no swelling, heat, etc so I chalked it up to stiffness, and his leasor longed him on Sunday and he looked fine. I rode him last night, and while he was still stiff and moving quite ‘flat’ going to the right, he did improve and worked out of it, leading me to believe that it is indeed stiffness?
His leasor is going to ride tonight.
I don’t think the weather has been helping though- it’s been miserable. Freezing cold, unseasonably cold, raining, snowing, wind at 100km/hr almost every day? WTF? Just such a shit spring. No day is a respite. Our allergies also went completely bananas, and poor Gidget had the worst weekend with her ‘reverse sneezing’- honking and gasping allllllll day and the nasal spray we use didn’t work 😦 WTF life. Thanks guys…
Just the usual spring- I hate everything- blahs…
VIRA Sook River 10k: Unfinished business?
Ah, our first 10k of the season. I wished I had run a 10k or something a bit longer before the half marathon to be better prepared but I had to wait my turn until this past weekend 😉
The course is a bit more challenging than the other 10k that is on the VIRA race roster (Cobble Hill, we missed that one) so the times do tend to be a bit softer in general. That being said, I have run this one well and very poorly in the past. I was a bit concerned about the hills- not big ones, but lots of rolling terrain and I am finding hills to be an absolute killer recently, guess they’re my weak points!
The weather was SO nice, oh man it was gorgeous. I wasn’t expecting nice- it’s been really crummy, cold, wet, rainy, windy and so blah lately. I went back to wearing gloves and vests I was so cold last week! Hence, I definitely was a touch overdressed for this race.
We got there in good time, had a bit of a snafu with the race bibs running out of safety pins haha but I had extra from home so I was golden. We warmed up, and joined the start. It was a fairly non-eventful start except for one very fast runner who got tripped up and fell pretty hard. She was bleeding from quite a few scrapes! She rallied really well though. I saw another runner at the start wearing a regular bra (??) loose hair and generally didn’t look like she should have been at the start, more to the back. I was right about that…She walked about 2k. I saw her on the turnaround, well behind the packs.
Despite those, I had a good start and not much weaving.
My first few KMs were quick, relatively fast paced but I did have some trouble focusing. All I could think about was the turnaround, and how many hills we were going to face on the way back…Yikes.
We headed up to the turnaround and I held the pace ok, but it was definitely really wearing on me. The hills on the way home were rough, not gonna lie. My pace dropped off and I started getting passed, a lot. I ran in a pack pretty steadily the entire way until I got passed around KM 7-9. Ian even passed me! How dare he?! (I think the real mystery is how he can run such a solid race with NO training. Man, I can’t even!!? I’m jealous).
My breathing was a bit ragged and I was sweating heavily, but happy to see the finish.
I definitely didn’t rally as well as I could have (or should have??) but I know hills are my weak spot right now so fair enough Sooke, you win. I am happy with my time though! I am clinging desperately to the mirage that is under- 41:00, hahah. My chip time was 40:58, and my gun time was 41:01. Not too shabby for a girl who couldn’t break 43:XX to save her life a few years ago eh?
And that was good for 2nd in my AG and 8th woman overall. A fairly competitive field I think this year.
Best of all? CINNAMON BUNS as a post-race snack AND pizza. What a great day!!! 🙂 Lovely race, good folks, fun to catch up with everyone at the end and enjoy my (second) cinnamon bun even if I did drop it in my car and Gidget ate the rest of it hahah.
Working Equitation clinic with Darcy Henckel
This past weekend for a change in gears- we took part in a 2 day clinic with Darcy Henckel!
She was very friendly, agreeable and horsemanship-focused, something Oats and I really appreciated. It was a very focused weekend that reviewed how we approach each obstacle, and obstacle work in general, through a relaxed, calm and horse-forward approach.
Oats was a gem but I WAS prepared lol. I rode the absolute snot out of him on Friday, after not really wanting to ride on Friday (freaking tired man) but I knew I kind of had to, to prepare him to behave for the weekend. He was pretty lazy on Friday, so I was going to call it a day, until I lost his shit spooking and spinning violently at a pony that he sees every single day, soooooo I figured he had a LOT more to give. And boy, did he! We hand galloped for 35 minutes, and he STILL had energy to do another huge spook after that. Face palm.
I called it after his second spook and we cooled him out outdoors. He was so sweaty he was lathered white with sweat. Gee, thanks Oats… I gave him a calming paste the night before, and then Saturday came to the barn to longe the sillies out of him before our session in the AM. Meant a very early morning for me, but you know what? 100% worth it. He was very well behaved for both days, and I was NOT taking any chances of him being nuts or too silly.
He was calm, quiet and cantered nicely in a group. He approached the obstacles with focus and attentiveness, only really losing it at the gate on the second day when he spotted some horses unloading near the entrance of the arena and wanting to look at them instead. Can’t blame him for that!
I really liked how calm, quiet and attentive the trainer was. We weren’t pushed, nobody was, for anything that was too much. A good focused day was had by all 🙂 And I learned more about the obstacles- so many things to recall, ha. A lot of pitfalls you can fall into.
Wordless Wednesday: Hah!
When the dentist isn’t so bad
Because you have this little cuddlebug on your lap the whole time! Her name is Rizzo and she is a rescue dog from Mexico. She is only 1 year old, but she’s incredibly well behaved and the loveliest little pup. She stayed with me during my appointment and snoozed on my lap (well, lap and chest lol) and made the whole experience so much better. (well, that and the fact that my teeth looked pretty good!).
She is in ‘good etiquette’ classes right now and her owner is looking to have her assessed by St. John’s Ambulance to be a support animal. I think she’s the right dog for the job!
Some really fun rides
Had a great lesson last night, where we worked on an exercise that was deceptively simple but also tricky: Jump a small 2ft jump on the long side, then canter leg yields weaving through jump standards! We remixed it a few times to change direction, trot the jump, canter the jump, back to trot, and worked on straightness via leg yielding to the fence.
We had a really nice time! It was a reminder to focus on straightness as well, as that was definitely something we struggled with generally when we jumped. Also I haven’t really jump-jumped in awhile so that was nice too 🙂
We had a really fun ride and the ponies were game to try anything! Though they really herp-derped the warm up fence a few good times too hahah. Silly guys!
VIRA Comox Valley Half Marathon: Race redemption?
We had our first half marathon in over two years on Sunday and WOW I was ready to go!! It was up island, so quite a few hours drive away for us, but luckily our in-laws moved to that region so we could go up Saturday and stay overnight. That was particularly nice due to the time change (spring forward…) and I still feel tired and am not sleeping. Love that…
But yes, the race. I like saying I have unfinished business with the half marathon. With any distance right now actually, as I enjoy a burst of newfound speed. (Seriously, who am I????). I was a touch apprehensive going into the race as I did feel a bit undertrained, two 8ks aren’t really cutting it and I wasn’t able to get up to the distance/mileage I might have wanted but hey, them’s the breaks eh?
I was a bit worried that it would be pissing down rain on race day but we got lucky- just gray skies! Yay!
It was chilly but not freezing, ideal weather some would say for a race. I wore shorts and a long sleeved shirt, and felt warm enough to unzip it about halfway through. We warmed up fine, and I ended up chatting with a run guy I know, who also does race announcing- it was nice to see him again 🙂
Off we went, and they actually had pace ‘groups’ for 1:30, 1:45 and 2:00 so you could align yourself with your ‘corral’ and I lined up with 1:30 feeling VERY ambitious. We started and I ran with the 1:30 group- kind of unofficially- for as long as I could hang. Turns out I could hang for about 8-9km and then not at all, lol.
I felt quite comfortable but was very aware that I hadn’t had much time on my feet lately and not raced this far and at 10-11km, it SHOWED. Woof. I immediately felt worse and while I wasn’t struggling, it wasn’t as smooth and easy feeling as up to 9km had been. Goodbye, pace group!
I ran alone for awhile, which was ok. Did some creative math that always equaled out to me finishing a shorter distance instead of the full one, that was boiling my brains a bit. I didn’t even get water? I just felt like if I did, I’d never be able to regroup my legs. My left hip felt pretty miserable, I guess from the road cambering. I felt like I handled the hills ok for my level of conditioning but I never really got better at pacing through them.
But I was trucking along. The only real killer time was the loooong 2km stretch before the final turn to the last 1.5 kms. All a big lineup of trucks, diesel exhaust and just so blah. An uninspiring finale on what is a very picturesque course.
And then it was the finish! And I was running alone, just like Rocky hahah. I felt quite triumphant and not even like puking or anything?! Yes!!! My time was 1:29:23, good for 7th woman overall and 3rd in my age group. It is a small but fairly competitive field. Ian did amazingly as well- right behind me at 1:32:51. With no training?! HOW?? I just know I personally would just die instead, ha.
The volunteers were excellent, and did a great job wrangling all of the recalcitrant runners. We had some chili after that was great, and I picked up my award. After, we had a beer outdoors at Gladstone Brewery. I was pooped!! It was chilly out but a pretty decent day all around.
Taking it easy: Horse edition!
And how is old Oats? He’s doing great! We haven’t had many WE lessons- due to my race schedule and a few other scheduling conflicts, but we have been enjoying our dressage/multitasking lessons on Thursdays very much 🙂
And on Sunday I was sooooo tired from having friends over that I couldn’t stomach the idea of rigorous ride so we cruised around the block and then I met some friends for lunch (for me that means a gigantic milkshake from Politanos!) 100% a great idea. Get yourself over to Politanos and you will not regret it!!
Prairie Inn Harriers 8K race recap!
Whew, meant to update this last week, when I actually ran this race, but you know…Life and such. I will admit that I wasn’t overly excited for it- I kind of wished it was the Cobble Hill 10k, which we missed due to Mexico (wah wah such a hardship eh? haha) but this one will do I guess!
Selfishly I also wanted a 10k to better prepare for the half this weekend, which I do not feel overly prepared for but anyways…
It’s at a very friendly 11:30am, the sun was shining until it wasn’t, and it was very balmy out. I love that. I was wearing shorts, in Feb. Whee! There were issues getting into the school- that also involved alarms going off- so we elected to jog to the start about 1km away and use the porta-potties there. Good call I think, because we then had just enough time to jog a bit, warm up, and then get into the start line!
This is a very popular race because it’s the flattest 8k in town and also gives out prize money, so it attracts an extremely fast and professional field- there was an Olympian in this one who won! I seeded myself in an ok spot, better than Hatley, and while there was some jockeying and jostling, not so much as Hatley. I did waste time doing juuust that, but also kind of ran my first few Km’s too fast. That currently scares me off, so I now have an ‘ignorance is bliss’ policy and do not check my watch. It did feel fast, and challenging.
I hung on to that pace for a bit, saw it dip by feel around the small hill at the turnaround, and then cranked it up (?) around km’s 6-7. I got passed a lot here, hahah. Oops! Oh well, I was still trying really hard. I really didn’t have much get-up-and-go to the finish, but I was generally pleased with my effort on the whole.
Ian finished mere seconds behind me, with little to no training, which is a feat in itself!!
We had pizza at the end, and I was able to pick up my Hatley Castle medal so that was awesome. No medals for me this time around, but I am happy with my race: 32:10 for a two minute PR in the 8k and good for 4th in my AG. A good race, good weather and some fun company and great snacks. What more could a girl ask for?! 🙂
Hatley Castle 8k Race Recap
Wow- two years since I last raced this series, and almost two since I raced- period! I did two little races this fall, to whet my appetite to get back out there 🙂 and I can tell you by this race, I was READY.
We missed two of the VIRA races- the first one was cancelled due to snow/ice, and we were in Mexico for the second (oh what a hardship eh??) so I was feeling eager for this one. I know Hatley is a tough course, kind of a heartbreaker for people hoping for a good time due to the rolling hills, steep hills, and gravel/trail sections but no matter we were racing again!
The weather was SO nice. Like, amazing. Too bad it’s absolutely miserable right now, lol I am dying it is so cold. Last week the sun was shining and it was around 10 deg? We didn’t need to dress warmly for Hatley, which is funny b/c I swear every photo I have from that race there is snow on the ground, or ice, or it’s hailing and we are frozen.
We started a bit late hilariously because the main gate was still locked, so they had to go get big snippers to cut the lock off!?!
So good thing it was so warm.
The start is very congested- I started fairly close up, but was still bouncing off folks for a good…1km. Ouch, that does hurt your time a bit. When you pass 1k and start heading to the first out-and-back hill, it thins out greatly. I was passing/getting passed a fair bit until kms 3-4, where I just got…passed, ha. I was running in a bit of a ‘reach’ pace I think, particularly for my inexperience in racing over the past two years (and no hills…and a serious injury…lol). But I kept at it! It felt pretty horrible but, a horrible I could maintain.
Something fun- this time I was ahead of Ian. So when we had two out-and-backs (km 2-3, and km 5-6) he waved to ME this time! 🙂 Now that’s a first!
I thought I was running pretty well through the trail section but I was definitely slowing down. The transition from the trail to the ridge, and then the loooooong downhill, was much longer than I recalled/wanted. I hit the downhill and immediately felt like I was one step away from face planting most spectacularly, yiiiikes! I am not used to running fast downhill and it was freaky.
Then it was roughly 1km to the finish, and I did…Not run super triumphantly, ha. I was straining, it was rough. BUT then there was the finish! 🙂
And I did it! Gun time was 34:13, and that makes a 2 minute personal best for me on this course. I was really happy with that, not shabby at all. I, of course, coughed my lungs out for the next three days…Racing is extremely hard on my lungs, quelle surprise!
Ian finished shortly after me, and we cruised up to get our snack bags and surprise! Sweet swag in it. An Endur hat AND I won a door prize- a super soft t-shirt 🙂 how awesome is that?!!!
A gorgeous day and a good race. Life is returning to normal (at least sometimes).
Gidget goes for a kayak ride!
The weather was SO NICE this weekend- just phenomenal. Very warm for February (which isn’t unheard of here, but last year was really nasty) I loved it! We went for a long walk after Oats’ farrier appointment/our riding on Saturday, and then on Sunday we had the trifecta: Our first VIRA race of the season (the first race was cancelled due to snow/ice, the second one we were in Mexico for, so voila!) and then I went riding while Ian went to buy life jackets with Gidget, and then we got the inflatable kayak Ian got for Christmas and went for a paddle after the barn!
What a great day!
The kayak requires a few kinks to be work out: Seats, leaking, etc. But we are going to figure it out and enjoy ourselves 🙂
Gidget seemed to be having an ok time too!
Happy Valentine’s Day
Mr. Oats is still my Valentine, but Ian comes a close second 😉
Christmas part 2: Royston Xmas
I forgot to write about this AT Christmas, and I finally have a moment to do so. Over the holidays I took a big chunk of time off (had to for work basically) and at that time, I desperately needed it. Things got reeeallly rough in my horse life, personal life, and work life. It was very challenging.
I then headed off to Kelowna for a good old fashioned family Christmas, which went better than I could have hoped for! When I flew home, I had 1 night at home and then we were driving off for another family Christmas- at Royston, for the first time! Ian’s folks moved just before the pandemic hit and therefore we couldn’t spend any time at their place over the holidays the past two years. This year though, no prob!
It went really well, the weather was insane though. UGH. It had snowed a bit before we got there and it was very rainy and slushy, but on Xmas eve? Blizzard with no power!! We spent about 4 hours shovelling, woof. That I do NOT MISS about living in the North, ha.
We also had a chance to visit with my friend and her mom who moved up right near Ian’s parents too, so that was really nice, and Ian surprised me with a lovely Xmas gift- visit to the Hydropath! It was sooo nice. On Christmas Day I booked x-c skiing for a half day for me and Ian, and it was just lovely. It was cold, there was a ton of fresh snow, the skiis were way better than when I went with my mom, and we had a great time!
The only thing that really sucked was driving home. It was an absolute, hair-raising nightmare on the roads and I now have more grey hairs because of it. Jesus, I never want to drive in a black-ice, blowing snow blizzard ever again. Yikes.
After a kind of challenging Dec and a January that wasn’t improving….We took a trip to Mexico! Specifically Huatulaco. I had been there before, but not for a few years and after two years of going nowhere and doing nothing…I was beyond fed up, stressed out and unhappy and I WAS GOING DAMMIT.
It was an extremely stressful lead up. In the days that preceded our trip, we had:
- A tsunami warning
- Crazy fog taking over everything and not lifting
- Omicron variant taking over everything and overwhelming the health system, flights, work-staffing, ferries, buses, etc
- One of my colleagues went missing and he is still missing three weeks later
- No third booster shots (I just got mine this week!)
No joke. I was SO TENSE and freaked out going into the holiday. I had no idea what to expect, and how our testing worked to get home, what if we had tested positive and had to quarantine, what to do with the animals and Oats, etc etc etc.
And you know what? It went perfectly fine. Were there glitches, like not having a paper copy of our COVID neg test results and the airport demanding them, when we only had QR codes/apps? Yep! Was there uncertainty? Yep. Was it worth it? OMG YES 100%. For your mental health, go. Just go. Life is too short and too horrible most of the time. Do something nice for yourself, for once.
We swam, kayaked, went stand-up paddleboarding, went into town, snorkeled, went fishing, I did aqua fit and we drank a million crazy cocktails and generally just had an awesome time.
I needed it desperately and I firmly believe so does everyone else.
Don’t shy away: Dressage lesson!
Man, I haven’t had a good dressage lesson in…2 months? Soo many things came up, unfortunately.
Nov we had extreme flooding, so had to wait for the roads/arena to dry up, and there was a gasoline shortage too. Fun!
Dec we had abscesses for weeks (not so fun), snowstorms, holidays. Boy that really adds up! We also had extreme cold- a week and a half of -9 so people had frozen pipes, frozen/black ice on roads and a ton of snow. Needless to say, not a productive month.
Jan my trainer got COVID so we had to wait until she was feeling better, and now she is! Yay!
And I was thrilled with how lovely Oats was feeling. Man this guy- 20 years old and he blows me away with how lovely and accepting he was in my lesson. We worked on a little pole circuit, and to the right he was foot-perfect. To the left, we started off really well but managed to kind of blow it to the pink poles. SIGH. Something to work on, as I know going left causes my body to twist in ways I don’t really want, lol. Oh well, guess it can’t be totally perfect, can it?? It was close!
Good boy Oaty, I love you!
Being active over the holidays!
I traveled a fair bit over the Christmas holidays (narrowly avoiding what turned out to be an absolute disaster of travel later, as many airlines cancelled due to their staff getting Omicron… ) and it went well!
I wasn’t in a great headspace due to the issues mentioned earlier (colleague dying, being way understaffed at work, Oats lame with what turned out to be a months-long abscess journey- thankfully that was it though?!!) but I figured it’s better to be away from all of that nightmarish mess, isn’t it?
I visited my family in Kelowna and it went completely fine. We had lots of activities and I enjoyed being in a winter wonderland for Christmas, we we don’t normally get snow here (and as I write, we have had the WORST weather in all the years I have lived here sooooo yeah we have a lot of snow here this winter?!).
We enjoyed skating outdoors in a beautiful little outdoor rink in downtown Kelowna, we went to Mission Hill winery for a truly fantastic little private tasting event, we went to see House of Gucci, we decorated gingerbread houses, I took my mom cross-country skiing to a hill near their place, and we went to a lovely and extremely pricey dinner at the Eldorado Hotel.
It was a very nice experience and something I didn’t know I needed- to get away from my own life.
Next up- actual Christmas in Courtenay at my in-laws house. And they had a ton more snow? Why/how is this winter weather chasing me?!
My reviews: Something weird for a weird year
And I am definitely remiss in my reviews but I have a good excuse- the lead up to the holidays/end of the year ended in a tragic and sad series of events and I didn’t feel it was appropriate to have something fun or bright to post about.
That being said, I also know that we need something interesting and exciting to look forward to, soooo here we go: I ate the tinned daggertooth eel!! As per the recommended display, I ate it with a fork. So daring! To be honest, it felt a bit anticlimactic. Kind of a mirror to the end of a holiday season, is it not?
All the hype, bling and excitement and then poof! It’s over, and you’re left sitting on your sagging couch watching the ceiling stains from a slow leak in your roof grow larger, wondering what happened to all of the chocolate you got from Christmas. I listened to a podcast over the holidays (Dateline’s Too Fat to Kill) and I couldn’t help but feel like I identified in some way with it.
Also a curious title- was the person too fat to physically kill? Or too fat to muster the energy to kill someone? As it turns out, it was the latter, but hey, makes you think, right?
Anyways, the Christmas chocolate is gone because I ate a lot of it and also because Ian treaded into extremely dangerous territory by forgetting to buy me my half-pound Reese’s. HOW? A travesty!
To make up for it, he went and bought me more (non half pound but still ok Reeses) from Boxing Day sales and I already ate some. So, a partial redemption maybe but if I were Ian, I’d sleep with one eye open… So the daggertooth, looks slimy and unappetizing, also weirdly red?
But I’m here to tell you to be brave. The red is from a slightly sweet sauce, think that red sauce that you have on fried chicken balls from your best Western-Chinese takeout or buffet and the eels are slightly crunchy but stiffer than their similarly crunchy cousin- the sardine. I think the crunch comes from the spines?
I pulled out a spine or two for Gidget, but she has yet to crawl out of bed to try it… So they actually aren’t bad, and certainly don’t taste very adventurous. You know what is adventurous? Eating chapulines. Man, their little crickety legs got stuck in between my teeth every single damn time so I don’t eat them anymore, but you get it.I would compare daggertooth eel to a sort of crunchier, sweeter sardine. Not a tinned-fish favourite, but honestly not that bad!
I do prefer canned octopus, smoked oysters and mussels. YUM. Basically any fish out of a can is great, oh and don’t get me started on canned vegetables like mini corns, or mushrooms. YUMMM… I love the mushrooms, little button ones in a can. Amazing as a snack, and as a bonus, the eating experience takes me weirdly down memory lane to my grade 8 classmate, Constance Kaminiski, who told us her father died in a mushroom factory accident. We, as grade-eight prime assholes, thought it was the funniest thing. As an adult, I can fully recognize how terrible we were to poor Connie.
Maybe I enjoy mushrooms in particular in homage to her, in retrospect? Food as an experience links us to our past, and our future. Try going to Fairway and dig up a can of something strange yourself, really get out there. You only live once!
And the hours tick down!
That’s right, on my last day before holidayyyyys…!
And some bummer news, I no longer have a jump trainer 😦 I knew this day was coming, and fair enough: She now has to travel a great distance due to owning a farm up island. I was kind of surprised she lasted this long~ but with the increasingly bad weather making travel on the Malahat a dangerous proposition, combined with a lot of her students either not riding due to lame horses or varying schedules…I totally get it.
Just a bummer, overall but a very fair reason.
Here’s to the many years we shared- it was great! 🙂
And a video from our last real jump lesson- it was very fun. As I step Oats down from most of our competition jump lessons, it’s nice to look back at the great things we’ve done. I love our partnership and how it has grown and progressed over the years, much like my relationship with my now-former jump trainer.
A little bit of Christmas spirit?
It’s not a secret that I find the holiday season very difficult and I am usually in the WORST mood before Xmas. Ugh, I just find it very depressing, phoney and fake and this is partly due to work usually blowing up in my face right before Xmas, and my family being a collection of nutbars…
But I take steps to combat this!
Chiefly by making things I like to do a priority and giving back to my friends, who have had hard years themselves. I also make sure to take time OFF at Xmas, so I don’t poison everyone around me with my horrible mood, lol. (Plus it’s just easier on my mental health if I am not slowly being ground down by work at the same time, so a win-win).
This year we have already been to one Xmas party and we had a BLAST!! Omg it was so fun- at my husband’s work. We made ornaments, enjoyed amazing food (an entire seacuterie!!) and danced and sang karaoke 🙂
And then last weekend we made and decorated cookies as gifts for my friends and trainers 🙂
This weekend we got a tree! We also watched the Jon and Roy Christmas revue and it was really good, wow it was LONG lol we didn’t get home until after 11pm on Friday!
I also invited a friend/former colleague out to see Oats and have a pony ride and she came on Saturday and they were so good together, makes my heart proud to see people enjoying my pony too!
Soooo bad mood at Xmas or not, I am trying to make the best of things and I am on the home stretch- 2 DAAAYSSS!!! Let’s do it!
Wow, absolute chaos
So I haven’t been writing here because things got crazy busy again at work, but also just totally insane here?
We had really heavy rains this weekend Sun- Mon, and it caused extreme devastation throughout the province. We didn’t get affected much (localized flooding near the stables, Saanich, Langford and shut down and destroyed parts of the Malahat) but other areas got absolutely slammed and are still trying to work their way out. It’s terrible.
The indoor naturally got flooded as well, but not as bad as it could have been, really.
So I couldn’t ride on Monday, but I went to graze and groom Oats, give him his meds. We cancelled our lesson, not really realizing how bad things were going to get?! Like, there’s no way our trainer could even get OVER the Malahat that day anyways?! Yikes.
Tuesday we attended a networking lecture at UVic and it was great! It was part of the alumni association’s events and we love supporting them- they are a steal of a deal and really engaging and interesting, plus getting parking, a drink, snacks and dessert PLUS a book about the talk is a win-win!!! Can you believe it?
Wed I was in a terrible mood, with a weird ear infection that’s starting to drive me insane. Still not great today and itchyyy.
Which brings us to today and I am hoping that I can maybe get gas? The lineups are totally crazy, with 100’s of cars lining up as people lose their goddamned minds about the impacts of the supply chain due to the flooding and COVID…fun times…it’s incredibly stressful and I do not like living in this time, at all. It’s like, what NEXT? Chriiiiiiiiist.
Otherwise, we had a really fun working equitation lesson on Sunday and that was like, before things absolute blew up in the province, ha.
I guess it’s like Jumanji here…Stay tuned for the next disaster??????
Trying to save small animals
And failing miserably every time! WHyyyy?? I just want them to live 😦
In the spring I picked up a dead (I thought) baby barn swallow and it MOVED so I got gloves, and moved it to a nest…Where it later died. ARGH.
Last week I found a dead mouse in a bucket of mine in my locker, so I dumped it out onto the muck pile and again…it MOVED. ARGH.
So I dithered greatly about it and ended up putting it in a small tissue box with some rags. It still wasn’t really moving, so I rode and then put Oats away and checked on it. Still not moving. I microwaved the rags and put it back with the warm rags and that seemed to really perk it up!
I caught a little video of my little mousie friend, but sadly the next day it had died. It climbed out of the tissue box when I left and fell off the bench and died 😦
Why do I try? Because somebody has to, even though they never make it…
Halloween fun part 2!
Barn party time! And I had already forewarned one of the organizers that 10 a.m. was likely too early for me to show up lol as I was going to be at a party and PROBABLY hungover. Wow, how right was I? Too right, unfortunately 😦
We got home from the party around 2 a.m., YIKES. So..yeah the morning wasn’t really working for me. To add to the fun I was caught in a nasty cough- puke cycle thanks to my terrible cough from the race the day earlier…Fun times. So I got up around 9 a.m.-ish and spent a few hours puking before my kind husband bought into my madness and determination and agreed to drive me to the barn to participate.
I made it to the barn without puking so I figured I was getting closer to getting better! But tacking up was …a challenge. Every time I bent down I felt like I was going to puke again, so Ian had to help out and pick out hooves, etc. But hey were there and trying to make it! Sheesh.
I mounted (and everyone was glad to see me make it, ha) and wobbled around nauseously for a bit, thank god Oats is basically a saint pony because I was NOT riding, more like just existing at that point. Bit by bit I felt better slowly, not good enough to eat but ok to try and drink, because I was dying of thirst.
The barn organizers kindly waited for me for the trail class and we got to do that first! 🙂
And then it was games time- we started with egg and spoon and it was HARD hahahah and I think it was a tie or something. Next was musical stalls and we lost lol, and then pole bending and Oats and I beat our lesson mates 😉 and finally it was time for ride-a-buck, where we dithered if we were going to do it full bareback and guess what? We all DID?!
Now that was the last thing I’d figure I’d be doing, hungover as hell, but hell we did it! Oats was a total star and we only won because my lesson partner had to forfeit- she couldn’t get her very recalcitrant pony to canter. Oats and I were doing lap after lap with me clinging on, feeling like mayyyyyyybe it’s time to gently slide off and die.
Ian got the prize money ($30?) for being a good sport for the day!
And then it was time for clean up and a bonfire with weenies. I couldn’t eat any but Ian got one, and I got a mini cupcake that I ate much later, lol.
A fun time was had by all!
So in typical me fashion, I very much overscheduled Ian and I for the Halloween weekend, it was nuts! Great, but nuttsss!
On Saturday we were doing a 5k fun run in a town nearby, as a fundraiser for the food bank. I signed us up on a whim, and when we got there I didn’t realize …it was FREEZING out. Like, 3-4 deg freezing. Wow, what a shock! So we weren’t really prepared to be that cold and we had to do a lot of waiting around at the start as it was a very small scale fun run. My muscles tightened up so much that when we started, my arms physically hurt from being so cold. I kept my toque on even?! I felt like I wasn’t wearing anything on my bottom half because my legs were so cold I couldn’t feel my shorts.
So we ran, and it was pretty brutal, ha. My lungs were DYING. It wasn’t very flat, I will say that lol and the turnaround had a lot of confusion there (ah, fun runs) but we made it to…4k and finished? So I guess we paid very little $$ and we get a 4k not five hahah. That’s more than fine with me, I was pretty much dying!!
When we finished (Ian was ahead of me, but there weren’t any other women near me) I was drooling incessantly and felt like my lungs were going to burst out of my chest- they hurt so much, wowza. That set us up for a nice strong emphysema coughing fit for the next two days, ickkk just what you want in a pandemic amirite?
I picked up my prize (which was really nice!) for being the first woman finisher 🙂 and we were off to task #2- ride Oats! I had a pretty ok ride, he was a touch resistant about doing shoulder-fore and I couldn’t quite capture the magic of our lesson, but that’s always the case, isn’t it??
Then we were home again for our next event: Beer tasting/tour with Hoyne Brewery, hosted by UVIC alumni society. It was a blast! I learned so much and Sean was the best storyteller ever. Plus the beer was good too, yessss!
And then it was time to get our costumes on and take the bus to our friend’s place- they bought a historical mansion and had the most AMAZING Halloween party at it. It was phenomenal!!!!!! Creepy coloured lights, pumpkins, snacks, candies, a great treasure hunt (one of the clues had an infrared camera?!!) that basically stymied us for the whole night, lol, and get this: Dry ice cocktails?!!! OMG. I was in heaven!
We had such a nice time I didn’t want the night to end 😦
Until the next morning, when I was in hell….And had to get up for the barn’s Halloween fun show, that I promised I was going to do…Good lord why do I do this to myself?
to be continued…
Working Equitation horse show Day 2: Ease of Handling/Speed Round
That’s right, Sunday Sunday Sunday was the most exciting day! And true to form, the weather was HORRENDOUS. Monsoon raining, a ‘weather bomb’ event was descending on us at the same time…How would Oats fare?
Pretty well actually!
I went straight to longe him, and I was a bit concerned- he hadn’t really eaten much of his hay (because it was the wrong hay, I am an idiot) and was fussy about his breakfast (it had his pills in it, which he hates..) so I had to hand feed him his grain as a ‘treat’…And he wasn’t drinking so he ran to the nearest huge puddle (there were TONS) and had a 5 minute drink from it.
All those issues aside, he was lazy. I had to chase him around with the longe whip in the pouring rain in the swimming-pool outdoor and he wasn’t very jazzed about it, ha. Poor Oats! So we didn’t need much prep time at all, which was good because unlike the day before, we rode first thing! Course walk was at 8:30am, and I got up at 6ish to be ready to feed Oats, longe/warmup and then course walk and then immediately ride. Busy!
The course was fairly straightforward due to us being constrained in a small indoor, rather than the huge outdoor that we were really hoping for (thanks, weather…) but it had some neat lines and good flow. The only super awkward turn was the single slalom turn to the gate (obstacle #6) but we made it work, but you had to be extra careful about getting disqualified from crossing your lines on that approach.
I wished we had a bridge though! I like those. But we gotta work with what we got!
I was up first too, so I didn’t have a chance to watch, eeeek. But it went well! We majorly flubbed the back-up and knocked down the corridor 😦 which is super irritating because I swear to god, I have BEEN PRACTICING on that?! Also I missed the ring AGAIN on the garrocha line…Again I just don’t seem to have the grip/wrist strength to really accomplish that. Well, things to keep hammering home I guess?!!! ARGH.
But again, the course still flowed pretty nicely and I took a long approach to get to obstacle #1 because I didn’t feel like I had enough ‘flow’ so it was a bit circuitous, but overall an ok course.
Next up was the course walk for Speed Round (my personal fav!!), with a slightly shortened course by 1 fence, and we started and ended with the jump (also my fav obstacle, haha. Oats is good at it!) and the start was quite a tight little turn from the jump to the figure-eight barrels. We ALMOST ran straight into the barrels but I sat up and we roughly kind of steered around it. Heck, speed is about speed and that’s it- so who cares how nice it looks?
Oats was a bit slow off the leg for some of them, but turned nicely and was very accommodating for the whole round. What a little pleaser, my Oats 🙂 We had a lot of fun with this round for sure! I was smiling and smiling after.
I wanted to do it over and over again, so much fun! And best of all my father-in-law and husband came to watch the speed round too. Yay 🙂 My WE trainer also did well, though I know she struggled a bit with the jump intro and end- a bit nervous but her horse is a good girl.
It was very nice to have all the volunteers and everyone helping out- we had a lovely weekend despite the challenging and terrible weather events!
And Oats had a clean sweep of all of the classes- a first for dressage, Ease of Handling, and Speed Round- can you believe it?!!! I can’t! We packed up and cleaned our stalls and headed out…Straight into a hurricane. ARGH again. It was rough travelling home and I know my trainer handled the trailer very carefully with our precious cargo on board.
A tiring but good weekend!
I had to say goodbye to my bunny, Tucker last Wednesday. A rabbit of distinction, he was an engaging, curious, funny and cute little dude. He came into my life when my other rabbit, Buster, passed away. I wasn’t ready for another and yet, there was Tucker- in need of a new home!
He had many health challenges that made life very difficult, as he was so sensitive. He was a tough old bunny though and always made it through. Putting him down made me feel like I had amputated a part of my soul. I still look for him. It was excruciating and I would NEVER wish that for anyone. The emotional pain still lingers greatly everyday.