Hatley Castle 8k: Race Recap! (redemption run?)

To preface- my Garmin read this race as short, but I know they certify it, and I have had trouble with this area reading my Garmin correctly, soooo…But anyways, I got myself a shiny new personal best! Whoo!!

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Best of all: A finish line photo where I don’t look stupid or exhausted! YAY! Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

After the ego-crushing of last race, the much-awaited Cobble Hill 10k, I was kind of not super feeling this one. I thought it was quite frankly going to be an ass-kicking of a race, and not a fast one for me. It is VERY hilly, notoriously so, and just…Not fast. Gravel, mud, some ice and snow leftover from our incredibly lousy February (which continues..), and you know the drill= run for conditions. And I did!

I didn’t tone down for this race because I had missed running due to all the snow and ice. Which, in my defense, I really enjoyed running again so at least it felt worthwhile? But between that, and my adventure on the Saturday with a lesson with Sam at Fairlawn, my legs/body were tired.

The morning of the race my legs felt tired walking upstairs. Greeeeeeat. Oh well! I got to the race nice and early, and it started snowing. Ahh..Shit. It was very cold, and I was dressed fairly conservatively, with long sleeved zip-up, long race tights and gloves. I was shivering at the start though! Yikes! This weirdly would change about midway through the race, when the sun came out and I got hot? Hah.

We were off though, and I tried to balance between going fast, and not burning myself out. Up and over the first hill and I was kind of stuck in a pack of people going slower than I wanted. ARgh! Down the hill and over the next hill, things started evening out a bit better. I played rabbit with a few runners, which was cool!

The hills weren’t feeling too bad, I think my legs were a bit used to them or at least they weren’t complaining too hard. I was seriously out of breath though, just gasping. I was annoyed, thinking it was my allergies but in retrospect, it was probably just because I was hauling ass and breathing hard.

I slipped, hard, a few times. Once on the snow and ice, and another time in the mud. I am not that agile and pretty clumsy, actually. However I didn’t fall! Yes! Victory!?

We were up and around the hill, and then pelting downhill for awhile. This was great, until there was more mud, and then it was scary. I was afraid of slipping again! I kind of skipped/slid over it and then we were on the flat gravel straightaway. It’s not that quick, but you can still make a good show of it. I did…Sort of.

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Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

I ran through the finish and done! A time of 35:36, for 5th in my age group and maybe 13th female finisher? And best of all, a minute faster than my time last year! 🙂 I wrapped up the day by chatting with a few other runners, and grabbing a hot dog and M&Ms. Yum! Thanks again to the VIRA organization, Frontrunners for hosting the race, and the volunteers who put up a brave front in the face of snow/ice and freezing temperatures and wind!

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Don’t let it get to you: Riding fieldtrip!

So this weekend we had our rescheduled trip out to the fancy environs of Fairlawn, the stables owned by a trainer and her family. I ride with this trainer regularly, but we wanted the whole meal-deal- a ride in her fabulous indoor with all the works! And we were NOT disappointed! It was lovely 🙂

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They still had a lot of snow, but the driveways were cleared enough to be able to get the horse trailer (my friend hauls for us, it’s her rig/truck) onto the property and the horses off and tacked up.

The place is gorgeous! We had soooo much room, we didn’t know what to do with it! Oats and I worked on the counter-canter loop and boy did it feel different with so much space to play with. Not gonna lie, we struggled a bit but when I figured it out, so did Oats and he was happy to comply. I still feel a bit like the loop challenges me personally, and so it’s something I want to ‘finesse’ a little more until our next horse show…

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Synchronized waiver-signing 😉

Which is counting down! Our first dressage schooling show will be later in April 🙂 I can’t wait to take my guy out more. We had a really nice time, and it was great to be able to practice in a bigger arena.

You can have what you want

Another jump lesson (finally!! I missed it last week when our schedules were thrown out of whack!) and another good ride to report on. This week we focused on some cavaletti work (3 cavaletti, 2 strides in between each). We did it in two ‘bigger’ strides, and I did a compressed stride of 3 strides in between and it was wayyy too easy for Oats. He is a fan of the ‘slug’ stride, apparently!

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Here’s my schoolmaster! 

So we decided to keep him at 2 strides, because clearly the bigger stride was more challenging for him than compressing the stride!

And then we moved on to a small course, incorporating the cavaletti work into the course. I was actually kind of tired doing the cavaletti work, it feels more ‘physical’ than just jumping jumps, weirdly. Nicole says it’s because you have to keep riding through it, rather than kind of like, ‘jump’..coast… ‘jump’! Oats was also having to work hard, and he was getting tired through the end of the last course, haha.

In the course we had a small 1-stride, and I bungled it a few times before figuring it out. He was going in boldly, and I was getting left behind and kind of jostled. Not to my liking! So I came in quiet, and asked for a closer takeoff and it worked out great! Until…I took too much back and we bungled it, haha. So, I needed to be conservative, but then ‘LET GO’ in the 1-stride. Easier said than done? But we did it well after!

I did feel vulnerable really releasing over the second element of the 1-stride. It feels weird!! But Oats was jumping great, so I had to, hahaha. Good boy 🙂

And I also feel weirdly proud that his Tuesday rider is having such good rides on him- almost prouder than what I have been able to achieve on him myself. Yay Oats for being a good boy and a schoolmaster. It makes my heart feel so happy!

Hold onto something

After a disappointing week (ok, weeks!) of freezing, tons of snow, ice and blah leading to some serious cabin fever, I was OVERJOYED with how awesome the weekend was. And it was a long weekend to boot! Yes!!

I was able to zip out and ride Oats really fast on Friday and I so needed it! 

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Photo courtesy of Sarah C. 

I was also under a tight timeline because on Friday I took my husband out to dinner for our Valentine’s Day (I was supposed to have a jump lesson the actual day, and we all know how that turned out…) so our dinner was scheduled for the Friday. We went to Camosun College’s ClassRoom Restaurant and it was lovely! I highly recommend it- supporting the students and program, great food and very reasonably priced. Win-win-win!

Saturday was back to riding as per usual. There was still a lot of snow at the stables and the trip down to the arena was slippery and treacherous. I basically waterskiied off my boot heels all the way down, clinging to Oats’ mane. He was not loving it.

He was good to ride though, just lovely and even though he was irritating me when I was mounting up (grabbing at EVERYTHING ugh) he was focused and down to business for our ride. I also had another idea up my sleeve- begged my friend to come out to the outdoor arena with us to take photos! Basically the only good thing to come out of the massive amounts of snow.

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I loved it! Hahaha.

I also got a lot of running as the snow and ice melted and the sidewalks were safer. Yay! Went out for drinks on Saturday, and met up with a work friend for a run on Monday. Just overall loving life this long weekend. 🙂

The incorruptible heart: Valentine’s Day!

Ugh, just some more weather-griping from me these days. It is cold, unseasonably so, with tons and tons of snow and ice. Yay?! UGH!! I hate it. I finally got out to ride Oats yesterday, driving very carefully. There is a lot of snow at the barn, but you can get to the barn, paddocks and arena- it’s a bit of a tough slip ‘n’ slide but I made it!

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Tucker is OVER IT.

Have a lesson tonight, and the forecast is calling for more snow. Can it just be rain, please please? For me? Good lord, I’m not cut out for this winter- business. Not even close! I was commenting to my colleague the other day that when the weather clears up, what will I be able to complain about? I’ve had a lot of ”good” material this new year (really sick, pulled a rib muscle, the dog-sitting adventure from the depths of hell, sick rabbit to join in the fun, and now tons of snow, ice and freezing temperatures).

Oh 2019, you aren’t making it easy to like you!

Keeping in mind of course, these are all minor annoyances and small gripes. Thank Christ.

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It looks pretty until there’s 2ft of the damn stuff! Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

Happy Valentine’s Day? I’ll meet you on the other side, when the sun shines and the sidewalks aren’t treacherously deadly.

 

Snow Weekend

And week…

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Tucker came to work with me on Friday. He was so good! 

I want a weekend do-over! The weather was soooo bad here. Windstorms, snow storms, -15 with windchill and tons of ice. 😦 Not good. Needless to say, after walking home in the beginning of the wind/snow storm on Friday (after enjoying appetizers and drinks with a friend) I was so over it!

I went to ride Oats on Saturday and my friends warned me against the indoor- the hurricane force winds were making a terrific slamming sound and trees were slapping up against the indoor. As you can imagine, the horses were NOT having it. Neither was I, as it turns out!! I tacked up Oats and we slipped and slid our way to the indoor. The wind was hammering at us, and I hopped on him and was flinching every single time the wind slammed a tree against the indoor. NOPE!! This is not the way I want to go, honestly?!

He was a total saint, but even for a saint, there are indeed limits. And I’d hit mine. I hustled Oats back up the hill (he was confused but pleased that he didn’t have to do anything) and he was huffing and snorting and VERY excited as the wind blew straight up his butt the entire way up the hill.

So yeah, no riding Saturday. Similar story to running, except that it was very icy, and every time I turned around a corner, wind blasted me and sent me reeling off-balance. Greeeeattt….

It was horrible. The rest of my weekend was spent on the couch, reading, drinking wine and napping with my dog. There are worse things, I guess? I did ride on Sunday with a friend, and fortunately we got our ride in before the wind/snow storm picked up again for Round #2. It was a lovely ride! So dusty in the indoor though, with freezing temperatures we have not had water in the indoor, and there is like zero moisture in the air right now either. UGH!!

Got home, planned for another run, and thought the weather would hold for that. Newsflash- it didn’t. I was surprised because it didn’t look that windy, but yeah, it was horrible. I got to the small hill at Clover Point and gave up when I got blasted back UP the hill by the wind. Add in snowflakes into my eyes and NOPE!!! I gave up, and ran home. It was miserable, just so miserable.

Back to the couch!

And I was supposed to ride today…there is another blizzard. SIGH!! I guess I will struggle back home, and reschedule my ride for Wednesday (traditionally Oats’ day off, but I have to be flexible with this terrible weather). I’m just so glad I got my ride in yesterday! Man!

 

 

Love, appreciate, joy,

I’m just feeling really good about my pony these days. Had a jump lesson last night that sure wasn’t ”perfect” but man, it made me just feel so glad to have him, my Oats, with me. I rode on Monday and wanted to cry I was so cold, it was horrible. Oats was perfect, but I could tell that the chill was tough on him too.

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I heard he was a total gentleman for his rider on Tuesday (they have been having some great rides, yes!!) and hearing that just makes my heart sing. You know when you have a horse that other people like?  And more importantly, like riding? It’s a good feeling! So going into my Thursday jump lesson I had warm fuzzies in my heart. 🙂

We warmed up a tad lackluster- he was coughing a bit, and inattentive. I was like, c’mon get with the program! And bit by bit, we did. We didn’t work on anything very complicated, but there was one particular turn that made me feel a bit nervous- come around in a circle, jump the rock jump and cut left immediately (2-3? strides) to an oxer on the long side.

Now, this oxer was the friendliest oxer you could possible want. A x-rail in front of a vertical, which really draws in horses and makes it easier to jump. It was also the highest fence on the course! Two things in one! Hahahh.

The first time we did the cut away jump to the oxer, it went perfectly! The second time…I didn’t lock on to the second jump, landed and got pulled wayyyy wide to the oxer. Whoops!!! Oats had basically veered way right, and it was a judgement call: go around (would be easy!!) or right the course in 1-stride and go jump! We jumped!! It was NOT pretty, given it was at this point a 2’9” oxer, but Oats was game and away we went!

Whee!!!! Man that was funny. But we dug deep and pulled it out, hahah.

He definitely goes better when I don’t forget what I’m doing/lock on to the correct jump, but he’s such a good and honest pony that it doesn’t really matter to him anyways! So game! I think I was having a bit of a hard time seeing last night, as my eyes were watering constantly throughout the course due to the chill. (And yesterday was the warmest it’s been all week, yiiiikes!).

Anyways, things that I always have to work on: Release with my arms instead of chicken wings… Go with the horse, instead of getting caught in the back seat! This happened a few times last night, my body wasn’t clicking with it for some reason. Land on my knee/upper thigh. Hips back, consider a sitting seat to the fences to achieve this. Look where the fences are!! And stay there! I had a lot of trouble with this last night too- I’m going to partially blame the cold/tears in my eyes.

But overall, we jumped the highest we’ve jumped a single fence and it was the one on course that we jumped a few times, and even after a tricky attempt, and it was not a problem. Good to know, and I felt so appreciative and happy with my pony. Go Oats!