We were wild

I had a really nice weekend, despite the fact that I am still sort of in the grips of the ‘death cold’ and Ian picked it up as well, UGH. My energy levels aren’t great still, I am coughing up grossness and blowing my nose every two seconds still. BUT I was able to get off the couch to do things, so that is a big win!

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And just in time too, because I had lots of plans for this weekend- I didn’t go ride on Friday, partly due to my extreme fatigue/sickness, but also I had to make approximately one million cookies to decorate as part of my holiday festivities for my friends on Saturday night. I had a few friends over and we had a blast! Cocktail hour with snacks/appetizers and mulled wine and mulled cider, which is my specialty, and then our activity- cookie decorating, and then dinner! It was such a lovely night.

I did get a lot of running and riding in, though my run on Saturday was short and miserable due to my endless coughing, nose blowing, and incredible fatigue. I only ran like 6k I think? And it felt tough.

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I wasn’t super happy with my ride on Oats on Sunday- I got way too wrapped up in angsty perfection-chasing, which is NOT normal for me. I had to take a break, re-set my brain and let things go. This includes me clenching my jaw and feeling tense…Sheesh. Every time I think I’m past that kind of tension, it comes roaring back. No fair!

Oh well, I am planning on a fun bareback ride today, and in reality, I had a GREAT ride on Saturday- he felt like riding a cloud! Smooth, effortless, easy. I loved it.

Plus the weather has been fantastic- warm, I was running in shorts, and not even that rainy! How amazing is this, compared with the awful deep freeze of a few weeks ago? Aren’t we so lucky? I love it!!

I don’t believe people ever change. But I’ve changed.

So I am slowly getting over the grips the death cold had on me (wow, it was grim this week) and I had my riding lesson back again too! I had to cancel last Thurs – actually my trainer cancelled because too many people were sick, and I was really starting to go down that road myself, and I was bound and determined to have a LESSON yesterday!

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Remember when we jumped a little house?

I practiced up by riding on Wednesday- it was ok, as Wednesday was the first day I was physically able to stay at work without going home early, though I still felt pretty miserable and tired.

Thursday I was more or less back in action- still feeling physically weak and coughing up a ton of grossness, as well as blowing my nose oh, every two seconds. BUT I could do it! On my way to the barn I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open, I felt so tired and exhausted, but I wanted to ride! The fatigue with this sickness has been truly eye opening. Wow. I have never felt so exhausted in my life.

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Loved this jump photo! Back from when we did our first derby! 

Anyways, I made it and the weather has mercifully turned back to mild so at least I wasn’t freezing my ass off or dealing with lung- freezing and the resultant coughing.

I am happy to say that despite my feebleness and ineffectual riding (ok that’s how it felt, Nicole said I was actually riding pretty well), Oats was on FIRE! He was so good! I love my pony, he is a little superstar. Nothing too big height wise, but we worked on long approaches to a single fence, and then 1 small sort of ‘blind’ bending line, which we aced every time- it was our best line I think! Oats even took a very enthusiastic jump to a small oxer and almost sent me over his head! I could barely hang on…I was NOT expecting to get jumped out of the tack! hahahahah

Can hardly fault the boy for jumping too well! What a star 🙂

I was really, really happy with how the lesson went, even though I was weak and basically clinging on to him. Mr. Oats is a saint pony.

Deep into this: Try something new

Had a very decent weekend, where I tried my FIRST SPIN CLASS! Woo! A colleague is an instructor at the spin studio downtown, and I have been promising to try it out for oh…A solid year now? In my defense, my weekends can get really busy (training, travelling, horse shows, races, riding…) so this past weekend, I dropped my excuses and just did it! And I liked it!

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I miss the summer…

I did see how it could get really intimidating…I am not a cyclist, and I don’t know how to use clip on shoes, so he had to clip me onto the bike and when I clipped out, I couldn’t see well enough to get them clipped back in, hah. Luckily it was at the end of the class when we were stretching, so I just hopped off and stretched off the bike.

The room is not very big, and it’s dark. The music is loud and really fun! The choreography was not very complicated, thank god because I am the WORST at figuring out what I am supposed to be doing, and nobody likes a class where you spend the whole time fumbling instead of working it out!

It was super warm, so I was sweating my ass off. I like that! I worked pretty darn hard, I’d say. My body was unused to the exercise, for sure- felt quite different from running. I don’t normally get so hungry running- this- I was freaking ravenous. I did have a real ‘ephiphany’ moment riding the bike thinking, I am going to be so healthy and virtuous after this! Salads! Smoothies!  and I would say that feeling lasted, oh…until I jogged home and straight to a candy shop. Whoops! And ate Ramen for lunch. Oh well, it’s winter right?

I had lunch, cooled off and then went to ride- and I think I had a good ride? It was a flatwork ride. Sunday my legs were definitely feeling the workout- I went to ride in the morning, after meeting Oats’ new farrier (I think she seems nice and good at her job, phew!). I went to do my ‘homework’ ride and my legs were straight-up burning. Whooow… Those xpoles never worked me so hard!

Yesterday is my ‘easy’ day, so I do not run, only do minimal working out and more stretching at the work gym, and I rode Oats bareback. It was freaking freezing. Ugh.

It’s an easy day for both of us.  I jumped my first xpole bareback last night! I was grabbing onto his mane like it was going to save my life, hahah. Death grip for sure. He did it perfectly, and I almost collapsed into a quivering pile of adrenaline on the backside of it. Good boy!!! hahah.

Tonight Oats is doing his beginner’s lesson and I am off at the Premier’s Awards dinner! Yes!

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.

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Things are going well in my world this week! The weather has been mild, I had a very enjoyable couple of rides on old Oats as well as a fun lesson yesterday and I have been running to and from work happily and successfully!

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I still kind of miss the summer though… 

This weekend is a busy one- I am celebrating my husband’s birthday today (35! where does the time go??) and we have an Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday night. Should be a fun one! I am also working at the barn (raking party to handle the new sand/sawdust for the outdoor and indoor), and I hope the weather cooperates for that. We currently have a wind warning on, and in true ‘Wizard of Oz’ style, I see leaves blowing up against the windows of my office building…

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Plus one of our bosses brought doughnuts today. A win! yeah!! 

Tonight we’re off to a movie, Oats gets the night off (he got worked 3 days in a row this week, so his day off is well-deserved).

I am looking forward to riding tomorrow!

Hatley Castle 8k: Race Recap! (redemption run?)

To preface- my Garmin read this race as short, but I know they certify it, and I have had trouble with this area reading my Garmin correctly, soooo…But anyways, I got myself a shiny new personal best! Whoo!!

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Best of all: A finish line photo where I don’t look stupid or exhausted! YAY! Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

After the ego-crushing of last race, the much-awaited Cobble Hill 10k, I was kind of not super feeling this one. I thought it was quite frankly going to be an ass-kicking of a race, and not a fast one for me. It is VERY hilly, notoriously so, and just…Not fast. Gravel, mud, some ice and snow leftover from our incredibly lousy February (which continues..), and you know the drill= run for conditions. And I did!

I didn’t tone down for this race because I had missed running due to all the snow and ice. Which, in my defense, I really enjoyed running again so at least it felt worthwhile? But between that, and my adventure on the Saturday with a lesson with Sam at Fairlawn, my legs/body were tired.

The morning of the race my legs felt tired walking upstairs. Greeeeeeat. Oh well! I got to the race nice and early, and it started snowing. Ahh..Shit. It was very cold, and I was dressed fairly conservatively, with long sleeved zip-up, long race tights and gloves. I was shivering at the start though! Yikes! This weirdly would change about midway through the race, when the sun came out and I got hot? Hah.

We were off though, and I tried to balance between going fast, and not burning myself out. Up and over the first hill and I was kind of stuck in a pack of people going slower than I wanted. ARgh! Down the hill and over the next hill, things started evening out a bit better. I played rabbit with a few runners, which was cool!

The hills weren’t feeling too bad, I think my legs were a bit used to them or at least they weren’t complaining too hard. I was seriously out of breath though, just gasping. I was annoyed, thinking it was my allergies but in retrospect, it was probably just because I was hauling ass and breathing hard.

I slipped, hard, a few times. Once on the snow and ice, and another time in the mud. I am not that agile and pretty clumsy, actually. However I didn’t fall! Yes! Victory!?

We were up and around the hill, and then pelting downhill for awhile. This was great, until there was more mud, and then it was scary. I was afraid of slipping again! I kind of skipped/slid over it and then we were on the flat gravel straightaway. It’s not that quick, but you can still make a good show of it. I did…Sort of.

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Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

I ran through the finish and done! A time of 35:36, for 5th in my age group and maybe 13th female finisher? And best of all, a minute faster than my time last year! 🙂 I wrapped up the day by chatting with a few other runners, and grabbing a hot dog and M&Ms. Yum! Thanks again to the VIRA organization, Frontrunners for hosting the race, and the volunteers who put up a brave front in the face of snow/ice and freezing temperatures and wind!