Lake to Lake Half Marathon: Shawnigan to Glenora

Ah yes, forgot that I ran this one of a few busy weekends ago (Sept 11?). It’s quite a small community fun run, and it is unique in that it offers two distances: the full marathon, and the half. It is not chip-timed – and as I learned when I ran it- not quite a full distance either, hah. 😉

Lake to Lake!! An eerie glow…

There was a small crowd as we started slightly after the full marathon folks, and it’s a point-to-point, so you do have to be aware of getting back to your car. They do offer a shuttle, but luckily for me Ian wasn’t running so he could pick me up afterwards! Yes!

The weather was fantastic. It’s been an incredible fall, no rain, just sun and warm weather days. I love it! I was a tad chilly in the morning, but that burned off pretty quick. Speaking of burned off, there was also smoke- due to forest fires from WA. Luckily for us, the smoke in the air didn’t get too bad until later in the afternoon and I was finished fairly early, so not bad.

I started up near the front, as it was quite a small race. I hung out for awhile with another guy, cognizant of not wanting to blow up my pace (this was supposed to be a practice run for training, NOT a real race). Did I actually do that? Well…sort of. I got pretty into the idea of racing quick 😉 and mistakenly thought I was KILLING IT!! A new world record for me!! (newsflash: This did not happen. You merely rise to the level of your training, not above it.).

So, I jogged along, beat the one guy and had a few fasties ahead of me. I hustled and caught up with them…and then started feeling tired. The aid stations were a bit odd, not very evenly spaced and we had one right off the bat where we didn’t need them, and then 1 at about 12k? And then one at the finish, lol. Guess they were more important for the marathoners hahaha. The gravel was ok to run on, but I think the fatigue of training caught up with me and I started feeling pretty chewed up.

Cute participation medal eh?

I lost the fasties and kind plugged along solo for awhile. Wish I had some pictures actually!! And then it was the finish- at about 20.60, we were definitely a touch short. Oh well! I came in with no fanfare and my time was around 1:30:?? which is fine for a training run for sure, but again- course was short. I believe I was second female but not quite sure as there’s no awards or anything unless you win!

Waited around for Ian to come, he didn’t so I decided to just go and tackle the rest of my long run rather than waiting for the smoke to get worse, and for my legs to start stiffening up too much. That part was a SLOG lol. I did see a lot of other marathon runners so I cheered them on, hah clutching my participation medal because I didn’t know where to put it haha.

I finished that in about 1.5 hours, jogged back to the staging area and ran into Ian again. We wrapped up the day by going to Stillhead distillery for a spirits tasting (so good!!!) and then we went to watch the finishers of the Finlayson Arm Ultra (50k/100k day) and then went riding. A good day all around! 😉

I would recommend the Lake to Lake Marathon for a fun training opportunity that is supported and quite reasonably priced, it’s a beautiful course and very fun. Not a serious race, in my opinion but that makes it more fun!

Cowichan District Riding Club All-Pony Show!

Wow so we had a busy weekend and the horse show was a blast!!!

I loved watching all the adorable Welsh ponies, shetlands, minis, Fjords, New Forest Ponies and it was just so cool to be there. It was also an extremely HOT day, so we had to be very careful with the heat and the sun and old Oaty, who can tolerate things well but he is an animal and you have to respect their needs.

Spoiler: Winners!!

So, we parked it in the shade for a lot of the day, as it was a loooooooooong day, lol.

We got there early for the Sport Pony halter class, where Oats behaved himself fairly nicely, only getting a little irritated at the end of the class. He placed fourth in that one, and then it was time to tack up for our first u/saddle classes. We had a LONG wait, due to a class conflict. So, it started about an hour later than we thought…and I was getting hot hot hot! I hopped off and parked Oats in the shade.

A very restrained Oats in the halter class.

Then it was our turn! We did the adult hunt seat equitation, where we rode well and the judge was very complimentary (the very kind Peter Holmes) but I got dinged hard for carrying an incorrect whip, whoops! And I am kicking myself, because I KNEW better lol. Doh!

And we won this sweet plaque, redeeming ourselves in hunter hack. Isn’t it awesome?

Oh well, Oats was behaving himself perfectly 🙂

Next class: Hunter under saddle, and Oats was so good at it, and we placed first!

Oats says: No frame, just freeeee

Next up was the hunter hack, and we had to jump two little fences. Video below: and of course, Oats was a star. We had a chance to warm up over it once, and it was set a little higher, maybe 18”? They knocked a rail off for the class itself, to Oats’ disappointment. Hah.

He was first that time too! Then our ‘suitable to be a dressage horse’ class, and we were second in it. Oats was getting hot and I was getting tired too. A long lunch break, and then we zipped over to ride the trail/agility class- and I messed it up, but it was fun! 🙂

I don’t know if I’ve ever smiled this much in the show ring! 🙂

Then our final classes of the day: Barrel racing and pole bending! I scratched the keyhole race, as I noticed Oats was getting too tired by the end of barrel racing, poor guy lol. We placed first in the pole bending!! Third in barrel race. 🙂

Alll the prizes!! It was incredible!

It was a super long day but the volunteers, competitors and sponsors were absolutely fantastic. Big kudos to everyone that kept the show running safely, well and happy!! We loved it!

Mr. Oats is immortalized

In a painting! I commissioned a painting of him earlier this year, and was able to pick it up two weeks ago, when I was grabbing my race bib for the Oak Bay half actually.

Stunning! Artist is Linda Stagg

I love it so much!! The artist is a colleague of mine and incredibly talented 🙂

And this is the photo inspiration! Isn’t it amazing what she did?

And how is the old boy? Oh being a terror, like usual 😉 On Saturday I rode, and then let him have turnout while I cleaned his disgusting horse blankets, and then went to bring him in- he can’t be on grass for too long right now, it’s too rich and he is a Cushings pony so too much grass is a big no-no…And I watched as he freaking BLEW past me, and galloped into the farm yard. He went from paddock to paddock, fighting and instigating chaos with each horse. Every time I went to get him, he basically charged past me or AT me. Asshole.

He then went back into his own paddock? Weird.

Guess he’s a time-limited terror?

From the scene of the crime…He looks so innocent but he definitely is NOT

He’s been super fun in my dressage lessons, mixing in a little test-practice, with some little fences, all kinds of little things to do and all fun! I haven’t had a Working Equitation lesson in awhile, due to being away in Port Townsend, the race, and then this weekend I didn’t have my car (because I was supposed to be in a bachelorette party, which got cancelled)…So I am hoping we can revisit WE practice this weekend.

He does really enjoy it, and I’m hoping there is a WE show in Aug. so we can strut our stuff! (but NO BANKS PLEASE jesus).

First time: Running the Oak Bay Half Marathon

Now, this is a combo of typical ‘big race’ and ‘community race’ I think. I’m not generally a fan of big races, it seems like more of an opportunity to spend more, and get wayyy less. This race is no exception, but it is very well organized, with a whole army of excellent volunteers, so I am very thankful for them and the organization! It is a very nice, leafy course and one of the most scenic ones in Victoria I think.

And then in two minutes I wanted my sweater back…

BUT…

It is a fairly large race, there are no race awards for age-groups, and it is more ‘everybody gets a medal’ day ie- you get a race medal for completion. I am not a fan of participation medals, basically at all, unless you’re at marathon distance. (Ok I know there is some innate snobbery here, but I just don’t need medals myself unless I won them, is my thinking. Not meaning to rob someone of their joy here.).

So, last weekend’s race was much more lucrative for me, hahah. Oh and also that the run scene here is EXTREMELY competitive. Like…Olympian-fast. So you can take the overall placings out of your dreams, hahah because it ain’t gonna happen. That is the only reason I am able to place in races elsewhere, basically!

Also I had to get up early for this one, which is a hard sell for me, argh. 8am just isn’t…friendly to me and it was absolutely freezing that early in the morning. Lucky for me Ian joined me so he could park the car and take a video 🙂

Whee!

We started off and it’s a mass start- 10k and half marathon all together, with relay participants. It’s a bit of organized chaos, as we run with the 10k’ers until they turn around. Now, I do think I owe my last half marathon personal best to having some unofficial pacers to follow until they dropped my ass at like 8k, so I was feeling a bit lost and apprehensive about being with 10k’ers. Like…who do I follow?
Well, it was fine. Maybe I came out a bit quick, but you run for so long you give that up pretty damn fast, haha. We were with the 10k’ers until just past 6km, and they turned around, and we kept climbing.

No lie, this was much hillier than I expected. I guess I thought Oak Bay was kind of flat? Also the wind was pretty nuts, gusting up to 60k/hr and we did so many twists and turns…straight into the headwind every time. It was never really at our backs, at all. My hat kept blowing off my head, so I took it off and held it. Boo!

I was apprehensive for up until oh, 11km and then I high-fived a spectator, felt good and kept GOING!

The only thing I was really struggling with was getting a solid, pounding rhythm …could get it great on the flats, and then we’d hit another hill and I’d lose my awesome pace. Then get it…and immediately hit another hill.

My legs felt awesome though, no troubles at all there. So good in fact I just wanted some flat sections to really test how fast I could go this late in the game! But the last 5km was just hills and a wicked headwind 😦

Wrapped up by charging past some of the walkers finishing the early start, not super inspiring because you’re alone out there again, racing past walkers. Finished with a not too shabby 1:31:39. Slower than my last one, but truly it’s a different race, so I am pleased with consistency. That was enough to net me 5th overall and 2nd AG (but no AG awards, sigh) and that’s it!

So would I do it again? No I don’t think I will. It is nice and scenic, when the weather cooperates it’s a fun race but I just am not that into more ‘fun runs’ really. I would recommend it for people looking for something new and interesting, but challenging. Don’t expect a personal best here.

Port Townsend #3: Rhody Run 10k

That’s right, what kind of moron goes on holidays and signs up for a race, last-minute?

Yeah, haha. This moron!

It was very much on a whim. I saw that they had a race as part of their annual rhododendron festival called ‘Rhody Run’ and was like yep that’s it. I’m signing up! And sooo I did, haha. I couldn’t sign up only due to entries being maxed out, but they were allowing the day-before registration so we spent the day out at Fort Worden and then swung by the Fairgrounds around 3pm to sign up, and it was effortless, took 10 mins. Then the race was the next morning!

Ian got to dig through shirts to find one I wanted to wear, and off we went!

Of course we’d walked over 10k that day alone, and basically spend the rest of the afternoon drinking beer, but heyyyy…why not do a race? I slept HORRIBLY the entire weekend, which was the only downer part of the time but oh well.

Sunday dawned bright and early and we were back at the Fairgrounds (ok like a 7 minute drive hahahah) and I had my bib on ready to race!

Pre-race

The race had so many participants, they said it was a record sell-out. They had 10k and then 5k starting immediately afterwards. We got in line and were off!

Not gonna lie, I was hot already. I was very unused to the sun (hello, it hasn’t been sunny and warm for ONE day here in Victoria..not one day) and I was wearing long sleeves, gloves, long pants to run in every single day and freezing. So I ended up wearing my sleeping shorts for the race, hahah since I had only packed long pants/spandex tights due to it being so miserably cold the entire ‘spring’.

It was a challenging course, a few rolling hills and then QUITE the hill at oh… KM 5-6 I think? I can’t remember exactly other than cursing myself for signing up hahaha. Also someone was playing Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire soundtrack at like KM 3 and it made me feel really good, like Rocky!!

There was one screaming downhill at like KM 7 I think, and wow it was nuttssss…I was pretty sure I was going to fall hahah.

I was running alone a lot, there was one guy ahead of me who stopped to walk at like KM 8? The top woman was unreachable to me, but I held 2nd place the entire way which felt really nice 🙂

Zipped to the finish, and immediately took off my shirt, I was so hot. Also forgot that I’d packed my worst, saggiest sports bra b/c I really didn’t think we’d be running that much. Hah, whoops! Then the marine fog rolled in and I felt cold again.

We enjoyed some post-race snacks and Ian snapped some pics for me, and I was the happy recipient of a medal for first in my AG and a $200 gift card to Amazon for being second female. YEAH!!! Thanks Port Townsend, you rock!!

Next up: Fourth and final farewell to Port Townsend

Overwhelm

It’s been…a lot lately. The return to the workplace is making me realize a whole bunch of truths, namely that I need a big change and my sabbatical won’t be coming soon enough.

Just want nice sunny weather again- is that too much to ask?

Things only change if you change them.

Also, I hate working in the workplace and I find it very distracting. And the time? Oh lord. My time management has gone to hell and back, namely I spend all of it sitting at work and then rushing around at home trying to get all of my life stuff done, like my animals, showering, preparing lunches, etc. Fun times.

Oats had a difficult week last week- he was spooky as hell, seeing things in every single corner of the arena, slamming on the brakes, half rearing, etc. I know him well enough now that this behaviour is seasonal (unfortunately or fortunately…) and it too will pass, but damn, I just wanted a fun pony to ride? Likely there is a big tie-in to his disease and the medication, as this only became a bigger issue the past two years he was diagnosed. 😦 blows either way.

And then he was foot-perfect at my Thursday lesson! Such a lovely little dude, we jumped cross rails one-handed and had the funnest time, which was great b/c mentally I was NOT in a good place (thanks, work). And then I free longed him on Friday and he came up lame. GREEATTT

But no swelling, heat, etc so I chalked it up to stiffness, and his leasor longed him on Sunday and he looked fine. I rode him last night, and while he was still stiff and moving quite ‘flat’ going to the right, he did improve and worked out of it, leading me to believe that it is indeed stiffness?

His leasor is going to ride tonight.

I don’t think the weather has been helping though- it’s been miserable. Freezing cold, unseasonably cold, raining, snowing, wind at 100km/hr almost every day? WTF? Just such a shit spring. No day is a respite. Our allergies also went completely bananas, and poor Gidget had the worst weekend with her ‘reverse sneezing’- honking and gasping allllllll day and the nasal spray we use didn’t work 😦 WTF life. Thanks guys…

Just the usual spring- I hate everything- blahs…

VIRA Sook River 10k: Unfinished business?

Ah, our first 10k of the season. I wished I had run a 10k or something a bit longer before the half marathon to be better prepared but I had to wait my turn until this past weekend 😉

Photo by Joe Crazy Legs.

The course is a bit more challenging than the other 10k that is on the VIRA race roster (Cobble Hill, we missed that one) so the times do tend to be a bit softer in general. That being said, I have run this one well and very poorly in the past. I was a bit concerned about the hills- not big ones, but lots of rolling terrain and I am finding hills to be an absolute killer recently, guess they’re my weak points!

The weather was SO nice, oh man it was gorgeous. I wasn’t expecting nice- it’s been really crummy, cold, wet, rainy, windy and so blah lately. I went back to wearing gloves and vests I was so cold last week! Hence, I definitely was a touch overdressed for this race.

Running with a pack: Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell

We got there in good time, had a bit of a snafu with the race bibs running out of safety pins haha but I had extra from home so I was golden. We warmed up, and joined the start. It was a fairly non-eventful start except for one very fast runner who got tripped up and fell pretty hard. She was bleeding from quite a few scrapes! She rallied really well though. I saw another runner at the start wearing a regular bra (??) loose hair and generally didn’t look like she should have been at the start, more to the back. I was right about that…She walked about 2k. I saw her on the turnaround, well behind the packs.

Despite those, I had a good start and not much weaving.

Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

My first few KMs were quick, relatively fast paced but I did have some trouble focusing. All I could think about was the turnaround, and how many hills we were going to face on the way back…Yikes.

We headed up to the turnaround and I held the pace ok, but it was definitely really wearing on me. The hills on the way home were rough, not gonna lie. My pace dropped off and I started getting passed, a lot. I ran in a pack pretty steadily the entire way until I got passed around KM 7-9. Ian even passed me! How dare he?! (I think the real mystery is how he can run such a solid race with NO training. Man, I can’t even!!? I’m jealous).

My breathing was a bit ragged and I was sweating heavily, but happy to see the finish.

Finally the finish, wish my eyes were open! Photo courtesy of Joe Crazy Legs

I definitely didn’t rally as well as I could have (or should have??) but I know hills are my weak spot right now so fair enough Sooke, you win. I am happy with my time though! I am clinging desperately to the mirage that is under- 41:00, hahah. My chip time was 40:58, and my gun time was 41:01. Not too shabby for a girl who couldn’t break 43:XX to save her life a few years ago eh?

And that was good for 2nd in my AG and 8th woman overall. A fairly competitive field I think this year.

Best of all? CINNAMON BUNS as a post-race snack AND pizza. What a great day!!! 🙂 Lovely race, good folks, fun to catch up with everyone at the end and enjoy my (second) cinnamon bun even if I did drop it in my car and Gidget ate the rest of it hahah.

Don’t shy away: Dressage lesson!

Man, I haven’t had a good dressage lesson in…2 months? Soo many things came up, unfortunately.

Nov we had extreme flooding, so had to wait for the roads/arena to dry up, and there was a gasoline shortage too. Fun!

So naturally I had to get video. Still wish I’d gotten it from the right, it was a touch nicer.

Dec we had abscesses for weeks (not so fun), snowstorms, holidays. Boy that really adds up! We also had extreme cold- a week and a half of -9 so people had frozen pipes, frozen/black ice on roads and a ton of snow. Needless to say, not a productive month.

Jan my trainer got COVID so we had to wait until she was feeling better, and now she is! Yay!

And I was thrilled with how lovely Oats was feeling. Man this guy- 20 years old and he blows me away with how lovely and accepting he was in my lesson. We worked on a little pole circuit, and to the right he was foot-perfect. To the left, we started off really well but managed to kind of blow it to the pink poles. SIGH. Something to work on, as I know going left causes my body to twist in ways I don’t really want, lol. Oh well, guess it can’t be totally perfect, can it?? It was close!

Good boy Oaty, I love you!

Being active over the holidays!

I traveled a fair bit over the Christmas holidays (narrowly avoiding what turned out to be an absolute disaster of travel later, as many airlines cancelled due to their staff getting Omicron… ) and it went well!

Outdoor skating! I was so bad at it

I wasn’t in a great headspace due to the issues mentioned earlier (colleague dying, being way understaffed at work, Oats lame with what turned out to be a months-long abscess journey- thankfully that was it though?!!) but I figured it’s better to be away from all of that nightmarish mess, isn’t it?

Actually yes!

I visited my family in Kelowna and it went completely fine. We had lots of activities and I enjoyed being in a winter wonderland for Christmas, we we don’t normally get snow here (and as I write, we have had the WORST weather in all the years I have lived here sooooo yeah we have a lot of snow here this winter?!).

Very Christmassy

We enjoyed skating outdoors in a beautiful little outdoor rink in downtown Kelowna, we went to Mission Hill winery for a truly fantastic little private tasting event, we went to see House of Gucci, we decorated gingerbread houses, I took my mom cross-country skiing to a hill near their place, and we went to a lovely and extremely pricey dinner at the Eldorado Hotel.

Mission Hill

It was a very nice experience and something I didn’t know I needed- to get away from my own life.

Next up- actual Christmas in Courtenay at my in-laws house. And they had a ton more snow? Why/how is this winter weather chasing me?!

And the hours tick down!

That’s right, on my last day before holidayyyyys…!

And some bummer news, I no longer have a jump trainer 😦 I knew this day was coming, and fair enough: She now has to travel a great distance due to owning a farm up island. I was kind of surprised she lasted this long~ but with the increasingly bad weather making travel on the Malahat a dangerous proposition, combined with a lot of her students either not riding due to lame horses or varying schedules…I totally get it.

Just a bummer, overall but a very fair reason.

Here’s to the many years we shared- it was great! 🙂

And a video from our last real jump lesson- it was very fun. As I step Oats down from most of our competition jump lessons, it’s nice to look back at the great things we’ve done. I love our partnership and how it has grown and progressed over the years, much like my relationship with my now-former jump trainer.