So let’s go: Weekend recap

Ride recaps- nothing too exciting since my good jump lesson. But, solid quality rides nonetheless.

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From the last race. Focused.

Sat/Sun, I can barely remember what I did, ha. I do recall working very hard on Saturday about corners at the canter, from diagonal to diagonal. Oats was very sweaty after, and we also worked on some quick steps-collected walk-quick steps. He did find that challenging.

My allergies are out of control despite my daily dose of Singulair, and my nose was running down my face the entire ride. YUCK. I spent the entire day coughing up phlegm or something, I just could NOT stop coughing. My nose didn’t stop running, and I was blowing it so much my ears hurt. Lovely…

Oh and it doesn’t end there either- after my ride, I went home and we went on a longer run, and I stupidly made and ate a salad about 30 mins beforehand. Dumb idea eh? I felt good for about 30 mins into our run, and then after that…Puked.

GROSS.

My stomach was fighting a battle and I lost. Yiiick.

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Probably from when I went out too fast.

My breathing also took a turn for the worse, as I was fighting off nausea and horrible stomach acid reflux, and the ever-present allergies, and when I finished my run my lips and hands had turned blue. Lovely.

My stomach felt shitty for the next two days, thanks to my meal+run choices. God.

And it was FREEZING on Saturday!

Sunday was definitely a bit warmer, had a decent ride on Oats where I schooled a few x-rails, nothing too hardcore. I packed my run clothes to the barn, and headed off to run a few hills from my old neighbourhood straight from the barn. I am a crafty cat!

It was pretty good and I learned my lesson about eating and just drank some iced tea, haha.

Back to the grind this week, with a session with my equine therapist yesterday and a dressage semi-private tonight.

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My review: Oreo Creme Egg

Simply labeled ‘Oreo’ it looks exactly like a blue Cadburys Crème egg, not very inventive and tiny as anything. Package graphics done by the laziest of designers. Aren’t they at least supposed to be called Oreo Crème Egg or something?

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For size reference. Pathetically small

For size reference I have it next to my Blerch stress ball/voodoo doll.

Sidebar rant: Size and quality of Cadbury’s Crème eggs have declined drastically so off the top I can’t necessarily recommend ever buying these full price at Easter. That being said, this was a gift from my lovely colleague Brent and it is still January and these are now in the stores for $1.29 at my local Pharmasave.

The quality I mentioned? The shell seemed much thinner than I recalled, and the chocolate gone in an instant. Like, two bites gone leaving only the slightest whiff of chocolate and a greasy feeling on my teeth. The inside was curious, not quite a fondant, more like the delicious dirty-pleasure of eating Duncan Hines frosting straight out of the can, mixed with some mildly interesting crunchy cookie pieces. Not outstanding but not offensive, and I also immediately wanted to eat like, 10 of them.

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Eating this reminded me of the time I bought and hoarded close to 30 Crème eggs in my freezer one year. That was a great year.

I can say this is a nice one to try on sale, if you like frosting out of the can. Also, if you find the actual Crème egg too sweet due to the fondant, give this one a try. It’s different, I’ll give it that.

Never Enough

Jump lesson recap: Spoiler- it was a really good one!

Poor old Oats had a rather strenuous jump lesson the day before with Sarah (and it turned out really well, and they had a good lesson) so he wasn’t exactly ‘on fire’ with me on Thursday, but he managed to pull some enthusiasm together and we did it.

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I am learning how to take screenshots! Still in the indoor though. Proof that we jump oxers, haha.

We worked on pieces of a course, first trotting some x’s on the diagonal, cantering them, then cantering them as verticals, and then cantering a five-stride outside line. And then it was time to get technical!

The course had two bending lines, riding off a jump from the diagonal to the existing jumps in the five-stride outside line. We practiced one of them, and it went fine, so it went up to a vertical and it was coursework time.

(Note: this all happened gradually and even though we only rode the course once, because we practiced so many of the elements, Oats was huffing and puffing and working QUITE hard.)

We started the course and I was feeling apprehensive. He didn’t exactly have a ton of energy, and I was having to work hard to keep that engine rolling. We did have some ugly jumps (well, who doesn’t) but I was determined to ‘stay in the now’ and keep focused on the course, not on my emotions.

And funny enough, my counting, 1-2-1-2, to keep the rhythm, actually really helped!

I was rolling on course, things were really working for us both! Until I forgot where I was going and had to circle for the next bending line- oops. No worries though, we just circled and Oats was GAME ON. He was awesome! He rocked it and I felt fantastic.

It was among the only jump rides where I was feeling like, this course could keep going and I’d be totally fine with it! Instead of wishing for it to be over and rushing to the last fence. Who is this girl?

We even got a chance to try the skinny set in the centre-line. We had to approach it coming off a diagonal fence, and then a tight right turn (10 metre circle practically) to ride up to the skinny. My turn kind of sucked- went wide- but made it happen!

I was so happy, what a rockin’ course.

Nicole even let us finish on that, as she thought Oats was getting tired and didn’t want to push it until things fell apart. We rode well together and it was sooooo fab!

I love that while I was still feeling a tad anxious, I could acknowledge those feelings and keep riding my horse. Sitting up. Hands low. Riding each fence as it came- so much so that I lost myself in the course and didn’t want it to end?? 🙂

 

 

This tornado loves you

So in between recovering from my 3-races-in-three-weeks, I am still riding, though Oats and I both took some time off Sun-Mon and Tuesday I was back at it!

I know- only two days off and I’m like, I miss my pony.

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Who wouldn’t miss this guy?

I would normally ride on Monday, but my friend and talented rider asked to ride Oats in her makeup lesson today, and I said sure!! It’s a great chance for Oats to try some new (read: higher and more technical) jumps that I am too weenie to try. So I get the day off today, but Oats doesn’t, haha.

So, I wanted to make sure the old pony had enough energy and gave him Monday off, so I could hack last night, he has his lesson with Sarah today, and then my jump lesson on Thursday, and then Friday off. Gotta spoil the old goat!

I also bought some MSM on recommendation from my trainer and added it to his feed, starting today. I hope that it helps him be more comfortable in the long-run.

Last night’s ride was pretty fun actually. We worked on canter transitions from walk, trot, sitting trot, big trot, walk again. Mixed it all up and around. Oats was feeling really good, smooth, bouncy and flexible. We also did some minor lateral work and he did get really fussy about it, and I ended up full on booting him in the side to get him OVER! He complied, though very grudgingly. Needs work…

My legs also need work. I gather from the races, they were strained and KILLING me. During lateral work I got a charley horse in my hip, again.  Ouch!!!!! Excruciating. I’m also still recovering from my mystery foot injury and it has been slow going, sadly. So between the races, my foot injury, and the temps dropping 9 degrees last night, I was a bit achy, sore and tired.

OH well, that’s life. I enjoyed my ride regardless.

Here’s hoping his lesson is fun and goes well, and that he is feeling good tomorrow too for me. 🙂

 

Have you tried, trying? Cobble Hill 10k race recap!

Man, this one is hard to write because it kind of caps off whatever weird gloominess I was feeling about racing. It’s hard to be positive (even though there are TONS of things to be positive about!) when all I feel now when I am racing is how hard this is, how much I want to give up, and how shitty my times are given the sheer amount I am struggling.

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And they’re off! I am at the far left.

But, without further ado, my race recap!

Warning: it has a lot of gripes.

First gripe: Pouring effing rain. From the sun-soaked Saturday to a just-soaked Sunday, my husband and I were shocked out of our skins at how crummy the weather was for the race. I thought it was going to be grey out, but how cold and how WET everything was? UGH. Just UGH. I didn’t want to go outside, I didn’t want to stand at the start line, just nothing.

And I was just thinking about me, I wasn’t even thinking about all those poor, hearty volunteers! That is a rough day for them.

And to top it off, I injured by foot in a strange series of events the previous week, and by Saturday could barely walk on it. I jogged to the start line on Sunday with some serious apprehension- I had to jog because walking caused too much pain?! Oh no.

We made it to the front, and huddled under shelter with all of the other freezing, soaked runners. I grumbled about how I might pull off the course.

We started and as per my current ‘losing’ strategy, I blasted off and ran my first two KMs too fast- 4:05 and 4:16/km. That is not a sustainable strategy for me, and I should know better. I get excited, and just blast off! I also do this right now because last week, when I started off slower, I ran even slower and still kept struggling! So, that showed me that even when I start off slower, my body isn’t keeping pace and my breathing/stamina is seriously compromised.

So, start slow= stay slow. Start fast= go slower but still have a buffer? I am struggling, no doubt. And I can’t seem to find the answer.

This would then set the theme of the entire race. Slower, slower and slower. My per km pace dropped drastically between 4-5km, and then kind of hovered for awhile. I was exhausted- no energy. My legs felt like lead, and I couldn’t get my head in the game at all. I got passed a ton.

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Fierce

My foot didn’t bother me greatly until about 8-9km, when we ran on gravel. Then it definitely hurt. But I was kind of beyond trying. I was stuck in a tunnel of pain-misery and I can’t figure out why I am having SUCH a hard time this year. I’m in even better shape than I was last year, so why the physical disappointment?

I just feel like my body is letting me down, and I hate that feeling.

But, because I am proactive- I have a doctor’s appointment this week to try and figure out if there is indeed something physical going on–because I know I’m capable of better.

And I sort of weakly sprinted to the finish line, with a mediocre but not totally pathetic time of 45:54 gun and 45:51 chip time. So, I am back in the 45’s but just barely. Last year I was able to run a 45:23 and I actually felt way better. So, wtf is going on this year?

The food was fantastic, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. No ribbons for me this year, as I  placed 11th (boo just missed 10th!) but my husband placed 7th in his category with an absolutely smoking time- sub 40. WOW.

And I am limping this week, as my foot is now swollen and close to being unwalkable. Joy of joys…

Here’s to being here

Dressage lesson on Tuesday and it went quite well actually. I have noticing Oats being a bit more stiff in recent months, with no real turnout, so we discussed that and a few approaches to it. That also led to our lesson being focused on teaching the horses to go to ‘long and low’ while still moving out into the bridle.

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Mr. Oats, dressage superstar

Oats did struggle with that, he shifts between wanting to snatch at the bridle and root, or raising his head up. We definitely had a few things to work out, that’s for sure! He was quite sweaty after, with white foam on his neck–we had a GREAT warmup this week, with temperatures reaching 12 deg?! And remember last week at -9? I was frozen? Yes it feels like another country right now 🙂

Wednesday I took off for both of us, as our jump lesson has now moved to…Thursday!

I used to always ride on Thursday, so it felt more normal to join the Thursday night jump crew. We worked on another grid (where I knew what I was supposed to be doing and yet couldn’t seem to make my body, you know, DO it..) My hands pulled up, instead of releasing down -shoot- and my traitor legs shot backwards. We also had one totally blasted turn that I made that Oats slipped, his legs went out from under him and he scrambled to recover. SHIT!

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2 steps forward, 1 step back.

I definitely was feeling it, this weird rusty, ‘out of practice’ feeling when I was jumping. Which is odd, since I haven’t really taken a lot of time off from it? Maybe from coursework? Or maybe the bitter cold took more out of me than I thought.

We worked on the grid, and then to a small course w/tiny little jumps. It was funny, I felt anxious again and declared I was NOT going to do it again! (not sure why I do this, it’s definitely anxiety-related and it happens when I feel a bit shakier or tired), but Nicole just laughed, let me walk it off for a few minutes, and then I was ready to go again! Hahahah.

So yes, I squashed that ‘fear’ part of me, breathed, calmed down, and went and rode the entire course w/the grid again. And you know what? It wasn’t perfect but it went perfectly fine. Sure, I was feeling wobbly and a bit unbalanced but you know what? I did it anyways! Go me!

So to sum up- Oats was great, very forgiving. It wasn’t perfect and sure didn’t ride lovely, but I conquered by fear and decided to do it again and it was totally ok. Baby steps.

So easy to do, and so easy not to do: MEC Rust Buster 10k race recap!

So yeah this race….

Going in, I had planned to run it at a slower pace and use it as an appropriate training run. I wanted more ‘go button’ at the end, I wanted to be able to breathe/not feel like dying during it, and I wanted to save myself for my bigger race this upcoming weekend.

Newsflash: Basically none of those things happened. It was a huge struggle bus, I let my ego get the best of me, and I kind of hated the whole race.

I was planning for an avg. of 4:45/km, but that started feeling really hard? What exactly was going on? Why was I struggling so badly? It was FREEZING out. Frost covered everything, I was absolutely dying in the cold, and my hamstrings- which don’t normally bother me- were tight as hell and twinging with every step. My legs were exhausted, my breathing sucked out loud- every breath I took in, I choked on phlegm. In short, I was miserable.

A few mistakes I can identify off the top- while I wasn’t overly pleased with my race strategy last weekend at the 8k- it overall wasn’t a bad race and I got my best 8k time yet. That was a tough effort, and I shouldn’t have expected the 10k to go that smoothly…

I expected the pace to feel easier and when it didn’t, I beat myself up.

I was struggling mightily with the cold and never warmed up.

I stayed up late-ish drinking wine with a friend (it was a great time! So sue me haha)

I felt like I was getting run off my feet even at a slower pace- and my ego dictated that I keep trying, instead of just…oh, slowing down? dummy!

I wanted to give up, give up, give up.

And so ends the saga of my worst 10k time in two years- 47:14? Ah…running is very humbling. But, I would like to shout out to my friends who ran VERY good races. One of them is even back to racing after a life-threatening battle against cancer. I’m so impressed by their sheer force of will and tenacity.

It reminds me that any day I can run is a good day! And any race is kind of gamble- either you have it that day, or you don’t. Either way, I get to run 🙂

And thanks to the volunteers who make the MEC race run so smoothly. I’m always so pleased with the coordination, the ease of bag check/pickup, course is always safe & well-timed and good post-run snacks. Yes, more please!

Better luck next time.