What is it they say about the heart? That it’s a muscle?

Had my jump lesson last night and the temperatures dropped dramatically since earlier this week (when I was bragging about running in shorts!) so it was very cold in my lesson, unfortunately. Lucky for me, Oats is now on regular Previcox and I find that helps him a great deal with the cold/winter stiffness that he was starting to feel regularly, as an older pony.

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Seeking this good feeling- and I’ve got it! Hah no t-shirts last night, that’s for darned sure.

He was pretty bouncy and feeling good last night! I, on the other hand, felt stiff, cold and creaky. Hah. The horse was going better than the rider! I watched my friends ride in their lesson before mine, so I had an idea of what our lesson was going to consist of- though I was wrong, I had bending and broken lines up the wazoo, where theirs was a bit simpler due to a few technical issues early on (one horse had to bow out, he wasn’t feeling quite himself).

So we warmed up (ha, warm. I don’t think I ever felt warm), over a few small x-rails, then lead up to a line (5 strides), and then started working over bending lines still with the cross poles. And the funny thing? We were just nailing it! I don’t think I need to remind you how that pretty much never happens when I ride, ever. It was just so smooth, I didn’t need to think about working or trying or anything, it was was.

Nice eh?

We then moved up to work on the course, and there were so many twisty-turny bending lines, broken lines, it was so fun! Oats was a STAR!!! It was so cold that my eyes were watering the whole ride and I could barely see where I was going, hah.

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Oats is such a good pony. I love him! 

We did biff a few things (wicked drift on the first fence when I didn’t go in riding very well…) and the last fence was kind of a slump, but otherwise it was just BANG ON. Yeah!! Felt awesome! Maybe my trot fence homework is starting to pay off? I wanted to develop feel, agility, comfort and flexibility. I needed to build back my resilience- mine and Oats’- by working on the lowest-level, boring, but important work. No stakes, easy to mess up and easy to fix.

So, I guess the good news is that it is working! The bad news? I have to keep doing it! I used to have a bad habit of completely giving up when something was either working well, or not working at all. So, I keep going.

Doing your homework

Last night I went out to the barn and was really dragging. It was pouring rain, though still fairly mild, and I just wanted to sit on my couch and watch Heartland, to be honest.

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There was a lot of this. Soooo exciting… 

However, I know that Oats has his leasor riding in a lesson tonight (she has Tuesdays), and I like to give Oats Wednesdays off before my jump lesson on Thursday, so MONDAY it is!! And because I am a masochist (I don’t actually think I am, I am more of a hedonist, ha), I decided to do what I had been putting off all weekend- my ‘homework’ ride. These can mean anything from working on our canter (ugh), long and low work (ok) transitions (ugh), or the double UGH- trot fences. No cheating in the canter, trot only.

So trot it is!

I really don’t love having an audience for these rides. They are just so…unfortunate. Ugly. but, I had no choice last night, so I had to swallow my pride and just do it. Over and over and over….Trotting a million crosspoles. Knocking them down, having to get someone to put them back up, and going back at it.

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I’m sooo not a fan of trot fences. 

It was really tiring actually! I also ate too much at home and my stomach was joggling MOST unpleasantly.

Oats was a good boy but damn they are just…grinding. Grinding it out. Homework. Not flashy, fun, or glamorous or anything. I just do it. And do it over again. And over again, and then take a break, and then do it again. It’s funny but when I was a kid I would have KILLED to have access to a fabulous pony like Oats and the opportunity to do x-poles to eternity…As an adult I’m like, ugh not trot fences again…

I do know that this unglamorous, fussy and tiresome work of endless trot fences is GOOD FOR ME and I will keep doing it. It keeps me loose, my position relaxed, and me more fluid and flexible when I have a jump lesson. It is just hard work though.

 

Easy tiger

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I love the photos Christi took. I miss summer! (though I don’t miss the drama-filled shitshow that summer turned into…)

After a week fraught with stress, I had a really solid, nice weekend. It was good, relaxing, stuff to do but not TOO much, you know? A fine balance with me. I had a dressage lesson with Sam on Friday and Oats was sassy, and we had to work HARD but it was a far better lesson than last week. I felt like he was more flexible, and not quite so stiff. His left lead canter is still a work in progress, but he was trying, he really was. He wasn’t misbehaving or anything, I could tell it was just tough for him.

So, things to work on. I know that his canter is what is holding us back from Second Level right now- just too much to fix/try to adjust at this point…Oh well, onwards right?

Saturday I had a nice ride, flatwork but working hard at it! The vet came and gave me wormer for Oats – he was going to do it, but I said it would be easier if I did. Oats HATED IT and was in a sad, deflated state after. Nothing looks good, can’t eat, bad taste in my mouth..wah wah poor pony.

Then we had a show- we went to see BRONCHO perform (most of their stuff was from the album Bad Behaviour) and they rocked! Such a fun set. I’m glad my husband sprung for tickets. I was on the fence- not sure if I would like them enough, since they are pretty new to me. But it was super fun!

Sunday I did something fairly ambitious- ran to the barn from home (it was raining in my face the entire way. Joy.), rode (bareback! It was fun and chill. Just what we needed), and then I ran home. It was a lot of running (a cool close to 25k, whewww) but at least it stopped raining and the sun came out! Sure didn’t help the absolutely wicked chafing I experienced…Ouch….that one needs more time to heal. Lesson learned about jogging in wet tights. Bring a spare shirt and shorts. At least it was very mild out?!

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From last spring- I hope we continue to have mild weather~

We even had tacos for dinner and went to Dairy Queen to get dessert- Peanut Buster Parfaits! And on that note- I couldn’t believe how expensive they were now. 1 cost a cool $6.50. Can you believe it? It wasn’t THAT good. Pfft. I won’t go again. Not worth it…Plus the clientele at DQ, in a pretty normal/ok location close to downtown, was ….yikes. Street involved, druggy, a sex worker was wandering around. It was about dinnertime? Hm.

I am dealing with a lot of rebound hunger today though, ha. Despite my dinner + dessert!

Stuck under the surface

Dude, this week…For a short week, it sure hasn’t felt short. Work was an absolute shitshow. Everyone working flat-out all hands on deck style. While not physically tiring, I was SO.TIRED. by yesterday…brain tired I guess? Just fried. I know I’m not the only one, pretty much everyone feels like this.

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Some days you ride better without hands. This remains true…To this day! 

I also had a dentist appointment, huge event, and riding lesson yesterday. I am mentally tired.

Dear god, this week!

Thankfully, Oats had his lessor resume lessons for November, so I was able to ride Monday, she rode Tuesday, and he had Wednesday off. That left me with time to stay later at work and not have to worry about trying to get to the barn. I had my lesson last night, and while my day/tacking up was clumsy (literally everything I touched fell into the dirt. EVERYTHING. Helmet, saddle pad, bridle, horse boots, my gloves…everything I touched fell on the ground)…The lesson itself was really good!!! 🙂

We worked on a series of x-poles in a bounce gymnastic and when that was going well, we moved it to NO HANDS people! I was terrified- even though Oats is a saint, I have a lot of trouble relinquishing control, particularly in front of the jump. I just want to grab! I ended up trying a few times and failing, until I finally managed to let go of the reins a good stride or two before the first x-pole and it went perfectly!

We then worked on a small course and all was well. What a little lovebug.

Dressage lesson tonight, and I hope it goes better than last week. He just felt really stiff and resistant on the left rein last week. UGH. It sucked, given our general rides/jump lessons have been so smooooth.

Why hasn’t everything already disappeared?

Had our regular jump lesson last night, and it was really good! I just felt overwhelmed with gladness…Almost sad, in fact, because I enjoy my pony so much, and I know this- all of this- is fleeting.

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Compared to this, it was peanuts. But so fun! 

I guess we enjoy things more because we know they don’t last forever?

Our lesson wasn’t groundbreaking or jumping super high or fantastically or anything, in fact it kind of pales in comparison to what we were doing this summer, but it just…Felt good. It was funny, I was laughing in it! Can you imagine?

QMS show

Yeah this wasn’t a great show…Circa 2013/14?? Ha. 

We worked on these wonky curving line set-ups, trot in to an x-rail, canter 6 strides to a small jump, come around to the jump on the circle…Very twisty-turny. But fun, and I felt really smooth (even though some of the efforts were SO awkward. HAh.) and you know, it just rode really fine. I did have trouble getting him to land on his right lead, on a straight line, and yet we were just nailing the left-to-right lead change at the jump on a circle? Horses…Gotta love ’em.

I appreciate Oats in horse shows, during show rounds, in the dressage arena, but sometimes I appreciate him more for being able to take a joke, ride bareback, trudge up the hill with me quietly at night…Just, good things all around. I appreciate him.

Feels nice to be outside!

And a bit of a blast from the past! 

MEC Victoria Race 3: Halloween half marathon!

That’s right, fresh off a whole three weeks returning to running from a summer++ off, I ran a 10k and then ran a half marathon the weekend after! What am I, totally crazy?

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why am I always alone at the finish? 

Well, yes but that’s half of it. I had already signed up for the MEC half (I normally sign up for all of their race packages, so cheap and well-run, but I won’t anymore because they basically halved the races they offer and cut 2 of my favourite ones, and kept the one I hate and won’t run…soooo nope).

But anyways, I usually like this one because it’s fall, Halloween time and the air is crispy with anticipation! (or frost. Mostly frost). Plus since I traditionally have my summer-to-fall injury, I haven’t been able to run the half marathon in a year or so, and I wanted to this year!

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My kind husband came to support me and take pictures, but they were all blurry. Boo! 

I didn’t have great expectations. Hell, I just wanted to run it, see if I could finish, and then try and deal with the aftermath (injuries don’t mess around). I have also been dealing with nagging health issues, so I’m not really at the top of my game this fall.

Anyways, it went quite well! The first loop felt terrible. I was tired, we had Oktoberfest the night before, and just…EH. My stomach was unhappy, my legs felt like they belonged on someone else’s body…It was rough.

Lucky for me, I’m a strong second-loop runner though! I kind of shook off the annoyed and tired thoughts and felt- hey, it’s a gorgeous day! You’re DOING IT! Look at this! A few months ago, this was only in the realm of ‘maybe’..and I’m here!!! I felt great then, happy to be able to physically run again- and a half, with only a few weeks back into running under my belt? WOW!!

So I picked up the tatters of my morale and just ran. Pure, free, able. Running!

It also helped that I stopped getting passed by literally everybody, ha. Slow running is still kind of new to me 😉 And I felt strong going to the finish. Sure my left hip locked up, and my right foot had a sore spot on it…I was going to do it!

And I did! My time is humbling and slow, but I am happy with my efforts. 1:46 and change. Pretty sweeeeeeeet! As always, the volunteers were great, and the aid stations were well-manned and well stocked. I picked up two Clif gels but didn’t end up eating them, as the Nuun electrolytes were good enough.

I myself am good fortune: Okanagan Sunrype race recap!

Ok you guys, I did it- I made my debut back into running! This weekend was one of firsts for both of us- Ian ran his first marathon (debuting with a smoking-fast 3:15!!) and I was able to heal enough to finish a 10k- my first race in months and first successful long-ish run! Yeah!!

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A really well organized race. One for the books! 

We were at the Okanagan Sunrype Marathon (marathon weekend offered a 5k on Saturday, a 10k, half and full-marathon on Sunday), and we had the BEST logistics. Our hotel (the Prestige) was across from the City Park where the race, bib pick up and start/finish lines/awards were. How amazing is that?!!!

Unfortunately I was not feeling amazing- last week was literally death by a thousand cuts..

Monday- hideous cramping, bloating, bleeding, nausea that ruined an entire day.

Tuesday- stomach not feeling great due to the day before. My ovaries felt like someone had been punching them with knives… Oats decided he would also run away from me after my ride, and spent quite awhile racing outside the indoor arena in the freaking pitch black…Stupid horse!

Wednesday- getting a cold

Thursday- sick

Friday- off, and cramps, and nausea make a comeback along with crushing fatigue and bleeding, and still sick. YAY? Shoot me.

Saturday- cramps, bloating and bleeding, still sneezing and nose running to beat the band. Feeling kind of defeated the day before the race, but luckily our drive up to Kelowna was uneventful. We had a lovely dinner with Ian’s sister, who lives in Kelowna now and will be there for a few months.

Sunday- race day!!! I had ZERO expectations. Ha, none. From feeling completely miserable due to chronic health problems (ovaries), to being sick with a cold, and having oh, a good 2.5 weeks of actual running led me to severely limit my hopes.

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The gang! 

The race was good though! I struggled my way to the front, as the start chute was quite narrow. Some real fasties there, but it definitely thinned out to the front. I started out strong, and immediately passed a few women who were just slightly out ahead of me. I don’t normally pass people that quickly, so I was surprised. I’m more of a slow-burner…And here I was, in front of people at KM 4. Wha?

I reeled in another woman, and then this other guy and I played piggyback, until he definitely passed me at the finish, ha. I had no kick, and I could definitely tell that I was not that fit…It was exhausting! My sinuses hurt and I had a racking ‘run cough’ at the end. BUT I was very happy with how the race itself went, and pleased with my time- 44:32, which is a humble time but I guess ok for this race- I placed third AG and third overall. Sweet eh?

I had time to zip back to the hotel- excellent location! And grab my dog for the awards ceremony. A nice bronze medal for me 🙂

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Look at him go! 

And then it was time to cheer on Ian as he finished- and he did it!! He is officially a marathoner. A good, solid weekend for the two of us, for very different reasons. We then celebrated with a bottle of champagne in the hotel room with his sister, and went on a small ‘brewery’ crawl to try out the many, many breweries that Kelowna had to offer.

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Time to celebrate! 

The only fly in the ointment…The weather was TERRIBLE after the race, ha. Rainy, cold and there was basically a blizzard driving home the next day. Yikes. DO NOT want to repeat that drive anytime soon…