Resist much, obey little

My husband clued me into Walt Whitman last night and darned if I’m not really enjoying delving deeper! This has been a difficult week, not for work reasons but just for life/physical reasons. I’m still holding out some hope for a better conclusion, but in the meantime, the sage words of Walt Whitman hold some consolation.

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I have an excellent weekend to look forward to at least!

And I had a good (but definitely challenging and not great) riding lesson last night. My physical struggles this week manifested in my ride- I could hold things together for a bit, and then BOOM! Forget how to ride. I rode a very good first course, and then when the jumps went up, my brain fell out. Sorry Oats!

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Why do the jumps look big when you’re jumping and then small in video??

This meant we had some stops, about 3-4 jumps where Oats rode magnificently and I just…Didn’t ride and got left behind, spectacularly.  I was having a brain-body disconnect.

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Oh well, you can’t win them all and this week? I got out alive so I’m winning. I was fortunate enough to have my friend use her Pixio, and she let me borrow it to videotape my rides. It is SO COOL!!! Like having a robot film you the whole round! I am very impressed- how neat is that technology? It’s amazing!! And the quality/picture quality is so good, considering how bad the light is at that time of night (sun glare all the time).

 

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Helplessness Blues

Man, physically I have been having a rough week. I ran a great race on Sunday, felt pretty darned happy with it, and then……..Cue a long downslide into just terrible-ness. Ok, so I already know that Saturday was shit-tacular (I still want a do-over, World!!), Sunday was good but presented challenges (talk to my left foot blister that still itches..), and then Monday was pretty good, had a fun ride with my friends…And then boom!

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I needed someone to help me this week. Big time. 

Tuesday basically culminated in a few bad things: I haven’t been sleeping, like at all. I have problems with what I call ‘roving insomnia’ that present many challenges for me to get any rest. I get terribly anxious and restless at night, and cannot sit still or sleep. At all. Even after running a half marathon, I WAS TIRED and I couldn’t sleep.

This compounded (I wasn’t recovering) and I was exhausted, just exhausted at the onset of the week. Because I am also an idiot, I kept going…Riding, running, working. And then on Tuesday I was pretty busy after work (cleaning cages, cleaning bathrooms, walking my dog, etc), and I started feeling strange.

Cue another night of no sleep… And mystery cramps that were ripping my uterus apart. It. was. nightmarish. I was sweating, writhing in pain and so bloated that my ribs hurt. I couldn’t sleep, was in a tremendous amount of pain, and I was taking too much ibuprofen (by the handful, basically, in a desperate bid to get on top of the incredible pain. Newsflash- it was too much, and it DIDN’T TOUCH the pain). I was up all night in a real sorry state.

Oh and I checked the bottle of extra-strength ibuprofen that I was downing by the handful the next day and you’re supposed to take… 3 per 24 hours. THREE? Anyways, the road to ruin was started.

I ran to work, felt so fucking out of it I couldn’t type. I was nauseous and still having cramps and pain (I have a Mirena IUD which I am planning on getting removed DUE TO THIS – wtf is going on? I have not had such horrible PMS symptoms in 10 years????)… I took more handfuls of pain medication (yikes, a bad idea. Likely came close to causing an ulcer yesterday, but I couldn’t escape the pain)…

Anyway, went on a run at lunch and immediately felt like I was going to faint, or puke or both. I had terrible nausea, cold sweat, dizzy and cramps. It was just awful. I left, and crawled home and lay on the couch to try and rest off of what was rapidly becoming a terrible day and a bad decision all around.

Honestly? I think my crashing sickness was due to a few factors:

  • Not sleeping- I was rapidly losing control of my sanity. Rapidly. After running a half-marathon, not healing the way I should be, and not getting any rest at all.
  • Horrendous cramps, also causing my not-sleeping and my overdosing on x-tra strength medication. I was beyond desperate.
  • Overdosing on pain medication- I wasn’t getting ANY relief, despite the fact that I have the Mirena IUD and this SHOULDN’T be happening in the first place?! All I got was terrible nausea.
  • I got my blood iron levels checked and they’re on the low side of normal (Ferritin was 35, which preferably it would be at 50+…) and keep in mind that is with supplementing with iron. Hmmmmmmm.

I also bought myself a CBD+THC spray for insomnia, and I was anxious to try it out- and you know what? I think I finally slept for half a night for the first time in months! It’s no miracle drug, but I was so, so desperate to sleep. I think I was on the verge of a psychotic break. And I finally got SOME sleep. Yeah! And for the record, I have tried melatonin (doesn’t work) and over-the-counter sleep aids (and Benadryl) which do not work on me. Some of them make me actively crazy and restless.

The CBD+THC is no miracle drug again, but I think through some trial and error, I could fine- tune how much I need to allow my body to relax enough to sleep. 🙂

 

MEC Race #2: Royal Roads Half-Marathon Recap! (and this time, I won!)

I was having a difficult time mentally preparing for this race. I had a really shitty day on Saturday and was having trouble getting my head in the game.

It’s a challenging half-marathon course, two loops and the start is uphill for about 3km, and then flat-ish, and then some rolling hills, and then a looooooooong flat section of about 2.5km, and then .75km or so straight uphill. And you get to do it twice! Yeah! Sign me up?!

I am very familiar with the course, but like any race you run once a year, you kind of …forget…exactly how it goes. For example, I forgot about the uphill start and was kind of kicking myself/bummed about how off-pace and hard I had to work pretty much immediately. Oh joy! I also forgot my watch, so was running by feel. Which worked out ok!

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Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

It was a warm day, no watch, and my friends were at the race so that was cool to be able to see them, cheer them on and say hi! They were also running the half-marathon. I was very careful to stay hydrated and make sure I was fueled appropriately. I have run into real trouble at this race by getting dehydrated and significantly under-fueled, leading to staggering, and walking/feeling like I was going to die during the race. I had waffles, coffee, yogurt and a banana for breakfast, and brought with me a whole package of Clif Gummies (Salted watermelon) that had electrolytes in it. I even managed to eat most of the package before the race- not something I can normally do.

So the race?

I ran it, it ran me, I had some fun high points (jumping over a log! Getting electrolyte drinks, high-fiving the volunteers and hearing them say I was the first lady!!) 🙂 and some lows (immediately at the start when it felt hard, at the top of the big hill knowing I had to do it exactly over again, struggle-bus time).

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Note no left sock! Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

I was sweating like crazy, and I knew I had to be very good about getting electrolyte drinks and water at every stop. Score one for me!

When I started, my damn sock immediately slipped down to my mid-foot. Shit! I stopped (and this was ONE km in…) and pulled it back up. Got back to running and it slipped down again immediately. Ok fine sock, this is how you want to play it? I ran the whole race without a sock on my left foot. Went ok, have a blister now though 😉

When I crossed the finish line, I was really glad to see my time was even better than last year (note- this is NEVER a guarantee. Never.). I raced at a very respectable 1:38:58, for the first woman! My first-ever MEC win! And then I went straight to the medic tent to get a band-aid for my freaking blister.

And something strange, when they announced the 2nd and 3rd place women (who weren’t around), I immediately knew something was up- I never saw them on-course. And I mean, never. It’s a small race. I was talking to the 4th or 5th place woman, who was confused by her placing…I remembered seeing her a bunch of times, about 1:30-2 mins behind me, but NEVER 2nd and 3rd women, who were apparently even closer behind me, according to the race results.

So I did some digging when I got home, and saw that their previous race times at other MEC races were slow- very slow. Like, 1:40+ for 10k slow. There is no way they ran a 1:40 half right behind me- I never once saw them on course.

I suspect they ran 1 loop of the course, and ran through the finish lines. Whether they had signed up for the 10k and accidentally started with the halfs, or had signed up for the half and decided to cut it short, it seems a bit devious to me. I think that they should own up! It sucks for 2nd and 3rd women, who did really well on a very tough course.

So, some intrigue eh??

I’m curious to see the photos come out- photos don’t lie on a race day!

 

 

Want a weekend do-over

I feel like this whole weekend (ok, mostly just Saturday, but Sunday had a challenge as well) was the Universe just shitting on me. The whole day Saturday,  I was like, oh ok, so what next, Universe?

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Am I exaggerating? Well, let’s hear what happened to me exactly on Saturday:

I woke up Saturday to wine flooding my front closet… had to clean it up, it soaked shoes, wall, internet modem. The place smelled like a freaking brewery, and I was greeted to it when I walked downstairs in the morning…stick-stick…hmm why is the floor sticky? Oh right…. Shit! 

Spent the morning mopping up wine, and then went downtown before riding to pick up some stuff, and a bib number for my race on Sunday and it started pissing down rain…i was rushed, and ran around a corner and SLAMMED into a wrought iron garbage can.Bounced off it, hurt my leg. Literally a ‘BONGGGGG’ sound when I ran into it. EFffff! 

After that, went riding, and Oats had a big oozing cut on his leg- thankfully not lame. But still, something I have to clean and watch out for! It was just pouring rain at the barn. 

In the evening, Ian and i went downtown to see John Wick 3, *and it did not disappoint!  and walking to the theatres, I slipped in a PILE of dog shit. Yay, thank you Universe- a literal pile of shit. So, how my day has been going right? Bingo. And it even gets better~ While I was trying to clean my shoe on the grass, I look back and Ian is literally getting grabbed by the front of his sweater and screamed at in the face by a very aggressive crackhead who just kept screaming in Ians face about rape?? it was scary.

The crackhead was totally psychotic!!! Ironically I was telling Ian that I avoid that corner because there are always crackheads and crazy people who are howling at the moon- and what do you know, the Universe heard me and all of a sudden one is assaulting my husband?!!!!

UGH🤔 I am over it. Just…terrible. I deserve a weekend- do over!

Burn you up: Mr. Oats is a great pony

Had my regular jump lesson last night, and wowza it was warm at the barn, particularly in the outdoor arena. The sun was going down, but not near quick enough so it was quite hot for horses, riders and our trainer. Still, it was a lovely night and there’s no place I would rather be….Basking in the warm (sweaty) glow of working hard in partnership with my best pony, Oats.

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From last fall. When you ride it well, it goes well. 

Again I felt kind of complainy, that I didn’t know how to ride properly. I get strangely backed off and tentative/hesitant in the outdoor and get too conservative with my release with my body. It’s ok body, you know what to do! So do it! I told Nicole that I wanted to stop ‘letting the jumps happen’ and actively RIDE to each jump, and make them happen. Basically change from passive to active. Easier said than done, but heyyy it was a good ride regardless.

Oats was moving well but his -super bad and half changes- were not even a thing. I was feeling like I kind of had to really muscle him to switch leads, again, strange but I’m going to chalk it up to the harder footing and maybe him feeling a tad stiff.

On course we had some really nice fences, and some not-so-nice ones, but on the whole I focused on riding more boldly, changing things that needed to be changed, and riding TO and OVER each jump, rather than sitting, waiting and hoping. I need to feel more connected to my horse, rather than just floating on top of him, waiting.

Of course, the first fence we rode to on-course he…Stopped. Ha. It was a balance between ‘sitting’ and ‘riding’ and I just kind of…didn’t? Oats is a very honest pony, and not a stopper. I think he kind of just needed input from me, and I wasn’t there to provide it.

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From last summer- I hope to be feeling this confident again in the outdoor! 

No worries though, I circled, re-presented and he was fine. The rest of the course rode pretty well, with a few uglier jumps going downhill (the swapping lead thing kind of hit us hard), but we finished with a really lovely ride over the roll-top. YES! Go pony go!!!

We were wild

I had a really decent long weekend, and jump-started it by having a really solid dressage lesson on Friday. It was TOUGH! But excellent. You know that feeling of having worked hard, really hard, and gotten exactly what you wanted? That feeling!

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Not to say it was perfect, but after the sort of angst on Thursday, I told my trainer that we didn’t have a good ride, that my expectations of ‘perfection’ were ruining my ride and I wanted to get past it, over it. These weirdness spells sort of come and go, and I was ready to focus and not dwell!

We spent basically the whole lesson in canter (with plenty of walk breaks) focusing on building Oats’ lateral flexibility in the canter, leading to canter haunches-in. It was really good! And very much highlighted the difficulties I have in ‘riding’ his canter, rather than being ‘taken for a ride’ in the canter. Can I influence his canter? Or do I just sit there, like a passengers, helplessly?

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It was an important lesson for me to realize just HOW much I am needing to do and ride. I’m at the point where I can’t just sit and tune out, and expect Oats to read my mind and do ‘something’…I have to influence it, ride it, and ride every stride.

Good to know! It was a very cool lesson. Eye opening!