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.

 

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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!

Lay low

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It was chilly for Gidget too! 

We’re firmly entrenched in a deep freeze here in the normally very mild climes of Vancouver Island. And I hate it. So much. I would honestly rather have rain (an unpopular opinion, but rain doesn’t make my fingers freeze walking home, and sit at my office cubicle, freezing my ass off, my pony very stiff for riding, feet frozen, frozen water buckets…I could go on).

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Ian syringe feeding the patient.

I wanted to cry walking home I was so miserable- and yes, I was dressed warmly with a winter jacket, hat, gloves and scarf. And I was miserable!! I spent all day freezing and then had a lousy walk home, and then walked my dog, and then went to spend more time at a freezing barn. Luckily the activity at the barn warmed me up and my ride, while painful and frozen, wasn’t too long and I was able to get some chill out of my bones.

Still!

I had a very nice weekend when the weather was good, just before it took a real turn for the worse…Oats in particular was feeling lovely on Sunday, so smooth..Good..Just, amazing. I love his flowy movement! I felt so lucky to ride him Sunday and just enjoy him for his fantastic gaits. I did a lot of running on the weekend, it was pretty mild out except turned cold on Sunday.

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Doing good work here. 

Went out for dinner (Dine Around Stay in Town is on right now!) to the Livet. A new restaurant to me, and I really enjoyed the $30 menu that they were offering- it was fantastic and a really decent deal too, for the level/quality of food (charcuterie starter, crispy rockfish main and chocolate-banana bread French toast with currants for dessert). YUMM!!

And best of all, the animal drama that has been plaguing me for a few weeks is starting to resolve, thank Christ. My bunny is on the mend, and eating really well and drinking water too. Phew!!!!!!

On to this week, in which I try just not to freeze. Oats gets ridden by an adult amateur on Tuesdays, so I have Tues/Wed off now. I am going to a hockey game on Wed now too, with a friend! 🙂 And maybe another dine-around event on Friday with my other friends? We’ll see!

Falling into pieces

I honestly haven’t been updating much because this week has just been incredibly stressful and drama-filled and it’s been too much to deal with. I think I am coming out the other end but yowza, what a shitty week. I don’t even really want to go over it on my blog because I feel slightly traumatized by it and it’s just…no. Ugh.

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This is actually a screengrab from a few weeks ago, when I had a rib injury. 

On happier news, I have been having some lovely jump lessons on old Oats! Had a great lesson last week, and this week- while still having some bobbles, ugly jumps and such, I’m coming out of my rides just feeling OK, smooth, calmer. You know? Feeling good, totally fine and leveled out. This is in stark contrast to my other, more anxiety-filled lessons that had such highs and lows that I came out of my lessons feeling like I’d escaped?! With what, my life? Hah. The jagged peaks and valley lows aren’t really there anymore. I am learning to ride leveled-out, calmer and just…with a lot less anxiety and emotion attached to the lesson.

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Go Oats! 

Are they perfect? HAH no. Are they good? Yes. Am I having fun and learning new things, re-learning old things, working on my position, enjoying what my pony is capable of, and appreciating it? YES!

Even yesterday, after leaving work crying, sick animals and just…fraught, I wasn’t in a good mood to ride. I was grouchy, tired, upset and stressed. I complained about it to my friend at the barn and she said- I know exactly how you’re feeling, I had that this week too. But you ride, have your lesson, and you’ll be smiling before you know it! You will always be glad you did.

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And you know what? She was 100% right.

(She is also taking lessons on old Oats on Tuesdays, and I’m LOVING the glowing updates she gives me on how much of a professional he is being for her, and a gentleman. YAY!)

I rode, screwed up, fixed it, made new mistakes, and kept going. And it was good!

We worked over a small trot-in grid, x-rail to a small oxer. We then built it into a small course, where we went off course a few times, haaah. Clearly my mind wasn’t really with it last night. But was that a big deal? Nope! Just regroup and keep going. 🙂

We are now coursing 2’6” fairly confidently and feeling good about it. Now that is priceless.

Cobble Hill 10k- VIRA race recap! (nothing hurts like a bruised ego)

Going in to this race I was unreasonably cocky. I was feeling good for once! No nasty chest cold, no coughing my lungs out, no rib muscle injury from coughing, no groin-tendon pull, it was smooooooth sailing and therefore I was owed a new PR!

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Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell of Ceevacs Running. The face of success! Not. 

*newsflash to me* that’s not really how running, racing or life works.

Sadly!

I think because I ran a surprisingly good race at the 8k while still being pretty sick, I indeed thought that a new 10k PR was basically in the bag. HAhh. I ran this race and felt pretty darn good for oh, 2k. And then I started feeling the drag, and it was then a pretty miserable slog for the rest of the race. I just couldn’t get over how much I had to fight for my time- I was working really hard? For what? Jeesh.

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The one time a 43:38 netted me a second place age group. Hah. 

I kind of wanted to give up and walk, to be honest. Be a bit of a sore loser. But then I remembered that racing is hard, that the line between a new personal best and getting a slower time than last time is razor thin. It was tough, I was gasping for breath, my legs felt uncooperative and like lead. Just..ugh. So ugh. No sprint, no victorious feelings, no rush no nothing. Just pain train.

So it was a sucky, hard race where I thought I could waltz in and like, smash my record. I don’t really feel that bad today, but my ego sure did hurt yesterday and friend, nothing hurts like a hammered ego!! 😉

My tendon injury was also tugging a LOT yesterday and ached last night. Sighhhh love it when that flares up. Oh well, the weather ended up being pretty darn good (chilly but no rain) and the food and snacks after were lovely! Except my rotten dog got sick of me leaving her in the car so she ate some of them. I came back from my cool-down run and found gingersnap crumbs all over the backseat and she had gnawed on a really nice large pretzel. Bad dog!

And a big thank you to the over 60 volunteers who make the run series- and this race- a safe, fun and enjoyable experience year after year! 🙂

Trophy Daughter

Jump lesson update! Again, I wasn’t really sure how things were going to go- I haven’t been doing that well this week, due to a lot of pain from my pulled rib muscle. I went to bed super early on Wednesday, feeling flu-ish and in pain and just generally really crappy.

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It was a very painful week.

Luckily my ribs started feeling much better on Thursday, so my jump lesson was a go! Small motions like trying to pick up barbells/hand weights were painful, but on the whole breathing/sitting/standing and walking things were much better.

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From when we were first back in the indoor…Now my life. Ah well! 

I was tentative in my lesson though- I wanted to jump (obviously!) but was wary about straining my injury. I shouldn’t have worried though, things were fine! Some aches and my ankle  now hurts for no reason, but overall pretty darn good! 🙂

We worked on a very simple course- a line of two jumps (3 strides), oxer on the diagonal, a vertical on the diagonal, and a line of jumps (4 strides, vertical to oxer). It was actually really good! I am LOVING how Oats is moving these days…So nice. I did get an awkward spot to one oxer after I kind of spurred him hard, and he protested, whoops! He was pissy, like hey, I said I AM GOING you jerk!! Ah, sorry Oats!

Bonus- our work on isolating his neck/shoulders in dressage might be paying off! He came the closest to a clean flying lead change in my warm-up than I have *ever* gotten from him. YES!!

Bad note though- he still has his back lumps and one on his butt too. WTF are these?

Burn me: Race Recap Pioneers 8k!

To be completely honest, I did not have great expectations

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At the start. Photo courtesy of Ceevacs Lois D’Ell. 

leading up to this race. I felt exhausted, beat down from near-constant coughing at night and in the morning. *It was truly horrendous just ask my husband, yuuuck.

Anyways, I was tired, feeling wimpy, coughing my lungs out and just…tempered my goals for this race. I couldn’t really even remember what my time was last year, just that I remembered it being a pretty decent time on the new course, during heinous rain and freezing temps.

Well, I am happy to say after a weekend spent coughing my lungs out and basically sitting on the couch/alternating with taking my dog out on walks, I was ready to race! The weather was GORGEOUS!! Oh man, polar opposite of last year in every way. Sunny, warm, no wind, not rainy, just amazing. I was so happy with that, I kind of figured ehhh we’ll see how this race goes.

My cough had somewhat subsided a bit to a low irritating hack every so often sooooo success?!! I trawled my way to the start and waited with my husband in the squish of other runners. It was pretty crowded, a bigger race attended by quite a few local elites and Olympians. We were off, and I zipped off. I definitely got lulled a bit by the pace- because there are so many fast runners, I didn’t realize how fast I really was going- everyone was sticking super tight. In other races, I tend to lose runners/get passed/some give and take. In this one? Boxed in for close to the entire race, at a pace that I am definitely ‘not comfortable’ at.

My first KM was ridiculous, and I misread my watch (I thought it said something like 4:56, instead it was 3:56..yikes). So I thought ok either way I’ll hammer through (people were sticking to me like glue by this point so I figured it wasn’t that fast). My next was something like 4:16? Ok ok…I see where this is going. Fast.

I lost a lot of impulsion (ha using horse terms here) on a very slight rise going up to 4k and the turnaround, leading to a 4:24 or so. The turnaround came up and I felt pretty darn good!!

And then hit a very gentle hill and lost all of it again, ha. 4:32 for that one. Ahhh well.

I held it pretty strong until like 6km..and then I felt like I was dying. I couldn’t believe how rough those last 2kms felt, oh man. My cough was dormant, but I had this sneaking feeling that if I breathed too deeply or started coughing, I would not be able to stop. As it turns out, I was right about this!

I hung on by my freaking fingernails, knowing my pace in the early parts of the race were indeed too fast and boy was I paying for it! I got passed- a lot. My finish was weak, and as soon as I stopped I couldn’t catch my breath and felt like I was going to puke. Instead, I started coughing horribly and couldn’t stop for oh, and hour or so. Lovely.

We had some awesome pizza and chocolate milk as our after-race snack (thank you for hosting, Prairie Inn Harriers!) and I was coughing my lungs out the entire time. God. As it turns out, I pulled an intercostal muscle in my ribs from the coughing and am now in a fair amount of pain when I cough, sleep, move too much, ughhhhh.

I just hope my next few races aren’t this rough, jesus! I haven’t had a smooth race in quite a while, haha. Injury, illness and now a mild injury part #2. Shit!!

Oh well, that’s life I guess. I was happy with my time though! 🙂