What will we be

Jump lesson last night, and dinner out with longtime friends. A great evening! It was such a lovely night that I couldn’t fathom going anywhere but out in the field. Luckily my trainer was onboard, so she dragged out the cavalettis into the field and we had ourselves a nice little jump session!

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How could you hate this cute face?

Marred only by one BIG spook where I swear I was going to eat it, Oats was really great! We schooled over the little cavalettis, and over the ditch too. Love that he was so calm and steady about doing stuff like that. And it doesn’t hurt that the jumps were teeny little cavalettis. Just my size, ha.

It was a gorgeous night to be out riding, and dinner with friends just capped off a lovely day. I had kind of a stressful afternoon, as I had agreed to join my family to pick blackberries and then make jam on Saturday, and when I got an email about the details, it ended with this phrase that instantly raised all of my hackles: ‘don’t bring your dog’

WTF

No. for one thing, my dog has a NAME. ‘Gidget’ is tiny, and if we’re going blackberry picking she is for sure going to be joining me. If there is a safety issue or something like, say a dinner party, then no she doesn’t come but give me an effing break. So, this is the stand they want to take now? After completely dismissing my sadness and grief after the death of my dear bunny Buster? They apparently now hate all my animals, who are my family.

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Gidget likes taking part!

Forget it.

So I sent a response that basically said my dog is my partner and she goes where I go, so thank you and good day to you.

And the plus side is, now I don’t have to engage is awkward family dynamics, which I was NOT looking forward to (husband was going to come as an emotional buffer). It is too soon, and I need my space.

So, yeah…

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Wondering? Don’t. I am childfree by choice, and love it!

Saw this, and while I don’t normally share things on my personal page that make it really clear that I am childfree by choice, I couldn’t resist! I shared it, and the response has been fantastic. This is by CBC’s comedy page, and I LOVED it.

I am who I am, and my choice does not mean you made the wrong choice. Everyone’s decisions are personal to them, and choosing something different isn’t a judgement on your decision! Why can’t people live and let live? Jesus. OH and for reference, I had a pretty serious family rift this year when my parents decided that ‘I’ owe them grandchildren. Wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG. We are currently  not speaking, by my choice. Maybe in a year, we can reconnect and laugh about it?! 🙂 But there are none so blind as those who will not see.

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And just like that…It’s over. Cedar 12K Race Recap & VIRA Series Finale!

Wow. Six weeks. Six races in a row. It’s done and wrapped up as of yesterday.

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Photo by Lois D’Ell with Ceevacs. The awards line-up at Cedar 12k.

Crazy.

This season has been extremely challenging- I struggled with breathing very early on, experiencing exercise induced asthma, and then got a mystery foot injury that made running very difficult at the Cobble Hill 10k. And then, a series of colds that culminated a pretty nasty chest cold last week/this weekend to top off the season! Not my most shining season, 2017, at all. This sickness affected a whole bunch of races- the Sooke 10k, my half marathon, the Port Alberni 10k, the Cedar 12k (I was feeling fine for the MEC trail 10k but it wasn’t a fast one for me).

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Photo credit to Neil Gaudet.

However, at the outset my goal was clear- finish. FINISH. ALL of my races. And did I achieve that goal? You bet I did!!

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Basically sums up how I feel about finishing 6 races in 6 weeks. Photo credit to Neil Gaudet.

I even placed the same as last year (5th) for the VIRA Series year-end awards. Whoop!

The Cedar race for me this year was significantly slower (58:3?) compared with 56:14 last year. Ouch!!! But, my primary goal was to try and finish it without coughing out my lungs/collapsing, so did I achieve my goal? Yes I did! We tried to pace very responsibly, and even with a pretty quiet pace, I found it quite hard. My legs were aching and exhausted, but luckily my breath kept going and I did it. I even found enough energy to surge forward in a few moments, something I thought would NOT be happening. And, I was pleased to pull out a strong finish, assisted by my husband. A great end to a very tough season.

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Muddy shoes after the MEC 10k.

The food was great, I won a doorprize>!! And the volunteers were fantastic. Cedar 12k is a really well run race, so I would highly recommend it.

Though it’s easy to look back to last year and feel bummed out. It is VERY humbling and kind of anger-inducing to think of what a freaking trainwreck this run season has been for me, particularly after I was looking forward to it all summer/fall, but you know…I am uninjured, relatively healthy after being sick for so long, and that’s all I can take right now.

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Big wrap up for the season at Riot Brewery in Chemainus.

Turns out living with extreme pressure and stress just destroy your capabilities to recover, run well, manage your health and wellness and sleep–and I learned exactly how important that was this year. Live and learn!

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Enjoying a beer at Gladstone Brewery in Comox after the half marathon.

I must thank my great husband for supporting my runs, coming with me, and best of all- taking me to try new breweries after many of our races! We went to the Sooke Oceanside Brewery, the Riot Brewing Company, and Twin Cities Brewery- all brand-new! How lucky were we??

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Ian at Riot Brewery post-race Cedar 12k.

We also visited Category 12, which he really enjoys. I like beer- I don’t love it, but I do love the social aspect with it (much like wine…).

Here’s to a good season that challenged me in ways I never though possible. I am looking forward to a break, and I thank the VIRA organization for putting on another great, competitive season that I always recommend to other people! YAY.

Being appreciative

Rode Oats a lot this past week/weekend (Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun/Tues) and while I can’t even really remember how my rides went, with the exception of a fun jump lesson and some small jumps/polework on Saturday, I remember one thing:

I love riding him! I feel very appreciative to have him in my life, eating $$ and all.

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Photo courtesy of Nicole G. I love it so much! Big D and his mini-me.

I saw a photo my trainer took of Oats and his buddy Donato (Big D) being reuinted in the field and it made my heart sing with joy. He was so happy! The photo was sooo cute! I don’t always have these feelings and to be honest mostly take old Oats for granted (it’s like I’m afraid to acknowledge how much of an influence he is in my life, just in case). But, I heard some tragic news this past week about one of my trainer’s horses passing suddenly with a twisted-gut colic, and wow…I would be heartbroken if that happened to Oats.

So, my rides were unremarkable but you know, unremarkable is a good thing these days. I didn’t have my lesson yesterday b/c I skip every other week now for $$$-saving purposes (HA yeah right), and I will have it next week. But, we had a very solid ride focused on circles and straightness down the quarter-line. Easier said than done!

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

Also, with more daylight and warmer temps, I’m wanting to actually BE at the barn more now, and my barn friends have moved back so it’s a win-win for all of us here.

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More screenshots- jumping the weird jump!

 

Weekend part 2: The Farm!

As I mentioned, we had a crazy busy weekend with family visiting. Sunday we decided to go to my in-laws farm, as it’s a great place, they wanted to see my parents when they came, and bonus- lambs!!

I got up early (thanks, daylight savings time…) and drove to the barn to do a dressage school on Oats. I wanted to kind of get him revved up and working hard, something I really didn’t want to do with my sister riding him. And so this was a great chance to do it! We worked on an exercise that seems really simple, but as with horses ‘always simple, never easy’…Canter down the long side on the quarter line, as straight as you can do it.

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From my lesson on Thursday. No wonder I didn’t stick the landing well!

Yeah, that was a lot harder than it seems. Not straight, breaking to trot, swapping leads?! Oh, Oats!

So, it ended up being a tough, though very simple, exercise. We worked on it both ways, and I mixed it up a bit by asking for trot, trotting straight, walking on the straight line and then picking up canter. Medium rate of success on that.

My family met me at the barn and we zipped off to the farm. We had lunch there, and it was really nice! The weather SUCKED though. Pouring rain, blasting wind…UGH. A repeat of Wednesday’s hair-raising drive up the Malahat.

I did get to catch a lamb though! We had to rescue them, they got stuck on the other side of the fence from their moms. Dumb animals…it happened more than once actually. How do they survive past lamb-hood?

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Springtime!

We enjoyed our mucky farm visit a lot, and then when we got back to town, we took my mom for a hike up Mt. Doug. It was a good hike, except for the fact that when we got to the top, the wind and rain picked up again and the rain felt like needles stinging my freaking face! OUCH!

We didn’t take the trail back down, we hustled as fast as we could down the road and wow…the weather was sooo horrible. Tree branches were cracking off, it was pouring rain, and the wind was in a frenzy! I was so glad to get back to the car, and even the drive home was very frightening…A tree branch cracked off in front of us while we were driving and fell in front of the car!

Sheesh, can we have a good spring yet??? It is also absolutely FREEZING these days. I hate it! We wrapped up the evening by having my sister make a very tasty Italian potato pizza for us, and her friend stayed overnight because she was going to drive back up the Malahat and the weather was still too dangerous. I think she made the right decisions–I know all too well how scary it can be at night in a storm!

And the countdown is ON!

Yep, on my last day at work here before Christmas holidays….And I can’t complain about my last day. My whole week, sure, but today? Nope! Things are ok as of right now.

I had to go back and edit this- no, I’m STILL overworked, and feeling swamped, done, tired and stressed. WHEN WILL THIS EFFING WEEK BE OVER>? I ask you….

Buster shares a moment

Buster shares a moment

Other than not being able to control my ‘must eat all the Christmas treats’ desire, things are fine. It looks like my Buster Bunny is on the mend, though stubbornly refusing to eat his rabbit pellets in another hunger strike…I got him some hay to play with, so maybe that distracts him into actually eating his normal food again…

Had a fun jump lesson last night, and you know what? We tried some interesting things and I quite enjoyed being ‘challenged’ in that way. We tried wide-hands jumping, wide-hands jumping over a tiny grid, wide-hands AND phyllis ‘carriage rein’ hands over the grid, one-handed grid-jumping – we almost smoked the standards though, yiiipes! And then we wrapped up with phyllis rein wide-oxer grid.

A good day!

I’m really liking trying new things jumping. It’s cool, neat and keeps Oats and I engaged. It was also nice to see my trainer again, I know she is grieving and going through a difficult time, so I was glad to see how well she is holding it together right now. One foot in front of the other, at this point.

We have the barn Christmas party tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it- my husband promised to help me make meatballs to bring (while I am a good baker, I am a terrible cook). I also have to arrange my secret santa gift, no guesses on who it is but it is someone special to me and my horse! 🙂

Looking forward to taking some time to uwind, relax with family, and enjoy the holidays with my horse, husband, dog and rabbit–the little troublemakers.

Also, my colleague gave me a Christmas card at work today and it was so nice and thoughtful. She is one of the most heartfelt people I know, and I think the world is a better place with her in it.

Also a shout-out to my husband, who handled my stressful week really well and helped me clean Buster’s gross butt last night, and even brought lentil tacos and beer on Wednesday when things were particularly rough! You’re the best!

It felt just like Christmas

Borrowing a title from the band ‘Low’ for a minute for a weekend update.

The update is again, good and bad.

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Can you believe this was 2 years ago?

Good: My work lunch was fun, I ate way too much and drank even more. The delight I discovered was in my work gift x-change- Fireball whiskey and hot chocolate. Mannn…Wish I didn’t know about that the next day, that’s for damn sure!

Also good: Decorating the tree! Finally had a free night (Saturday) to set up the fakey tree we got. Confession time: Also bad because I just don’t like fake trees. I am trying to be a convert because our fascist building rules say no more real trees but damn, it just isn’t the same. It looks ok though.

And great: A jump lesson on Saturday with Nicole and Oats! He was good, I was…well, less good and pretty hungover. Gak. He was very forgiving and I couldn’t see or ride a distance to save my life, despite crowing recently about how much of a rockstar we have both been in our solo jump efforts. Oh well!

Bad: My trainer’s mom died very suddenly Sunday night. She had a stroke from what I understand, and when she was removed from life support, passed away instantly. I’m very sad for Nicole and feel that life for sure has dealt her the toughest blows this 2015. From putting down her old horse of 17 years a month ago, to some relationship troubles, to getting injured a few weeks ago, to her mom passing–she has not had a good or easy time of it.

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Feeling sorry.

Also bad: The weather. WTF! It was soooo insanely windy and crazy all weekend, but Saturday in particular. Last week was pretty nuts all week too. And now it is freezing again. We seem to be stuck in a cycle of windy/rainy storm cyclone, then freezing with frost on the ground, back to windy/rainy. Can I get off this carousel please?

Bad: Fake trees. Blah!

More bad: Hangovers! But they come from a fun place, so….Take what you can get maybe.

And to wrap it up: An ok ride on Sunday, can’t quite remember what we were working on but it was fine. An equine counseling session yesterday that was quite cathartic and emotional for me, so I elected not to bring that to Oats for a ride.

Instead, I worked him free-longing to do some ‘join-up’ work and it wa really nice to see him follow behind me! I was sooo late coming home though, eeek.