Race recap: Cowichan Autumn Classic ‘Run now, wine later’

I ran this race last year and quite enjoyed the autumnal, small and cozy atmosphere of it- the fall colours, the winery, everything! So I signed up as an early bird this year and promptly forgot that I had signed up…Literally falling two weeks after my marathon debut. NOT great timing I guess?

But it took only about a week for my legs to stop feeling like total mush, and for my blisters to heal over and I felt fairly confident that it was going to be ok.

And then I got really sick…and dealt with a strong emotional blow with Tucker, and struggling with the after effects of the COVID+flu shot. Do not recommend, at all. Basically knocked me on my ass Thur/Fri/Sat. And race on Sunday? Yikes.

I slowly started feeling a bit better, but now it’s even Friday after having a cold and things for over a week and I am STILL snotty and nose blowing/coughing up stuff. WTF? My sinuses hurt man.

So last Sunday was not really an auspicious day at all but I’d signed up, felt reasonably ok but not great, and we did it! Ian signed up for the 5k just for something to do. When we drove up island, it was absolutely freezing, with frost on the ground. I was in shock. Two weeks ago we had a heat warning for the marathon, over 20 deg, and now frost? Damn! Luckily I planned ahead a little bit and brought my run gloves, but otherwise was in for a real slap to the face. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Plus we were running kind of late, we forgot how long it really took to get up there (an hour, apparently) and I was like arghhhh!

But, all worked out for the best! We hustled and got our bibs, raced to the bathrooms (not long lineups, thank GOD), didn’t have time to put our bibs in the draw 😦 and jogged to the start of the 5k. I was racing both 5k and 10k in a combined race ‘the combo’ where your times are added up and the fastest time wins.

We started and Ian and I were easily right in the leaders pack. I was pacing myself to a reasonable not great time- I didn’t really have the lung capacity to race super fast and my legs were frozen. Plus I wanted to be careful about not killing my lungs for the 10k. Burnout isn’t fun and when I start coughing, I really can’t stop!

It’s a super hilly course- up and down, with the downhill sections being very steep! There is also 1km section through a bit of trail, which is flat but very pitted with potholes, haha. So you went up-down-up-down on that part. I was reminded, with relief, how short a 5k is.

I cruised to a 22:?? and felt good about that. Hard effort but not killing myself. It still felt extremely cold. I then hung out for a bit waiting for the 10k to start. Ian finished ahead of me with a 20:?? which is a great effort- this isn’t a fast track by any stretch of the imagination!

Then the 10k- I learned my lesson from last year and started at the front. Last year I basically ran as hard as I could for the 5k and jogged the 10k…which was a mistake, b/c the combine the times and my 10k was just so.slow! Hit the middle for both, that’s the way to go.

We had more trail sections in the 10k course which was pretty good, but I am always surprised by how slow gravel feels compared with pavement. It is an excellently- marked course, very clear course markers and safe. Still damn hilly, haha. I didn’t really pass anyone, and nobody really passed me much.

It finally started to warm up (well, my body heat was going nuts haha) so I could take off my gloves the last 2-3 kms. A guy running ahead of me shouted that he wished he had my gloves earlier in the race 😉 I was SO thankful I had them. Lifesavers.

I tried to pull myself together for a stronger finish but kind of…blaaahhhhed my way. I felt strong, but nowhere near the lung capacity I could potentially have. That’s ok! I was done within my goal range (45 mintues) just squeaked under 46 hahah.

And it was good for 2nd place women in the combo race, Ian tied me with a 2nd in his 5k for the men’s, and we even got to do a complimentary wine tasting at Zenatta winery! Win-win eh??

This is a fun local race, quite small but well run with excellent and safe courses marked, good volunteers (thank you!!) and nice post-race snacks.

I only drink when I’m drunk

Saw this on a Spotify playlist yesterday and man, I’m hooked.

100% worth it

Actually, I am not really drinking intentionally right now (trying to take a break, for health and you know, those reasons) but I have been very much enjoying my weekends, boozy or not 😉

We have had so many fun times, where to begin…We went to the Cobble Hill the other weekend and now it costs $10 to get in (not worth it) and it was a freaking ZOO with the most ill-behaved little monsters running around. I couldn’t handle it, ughh. I was overwhelmed and couldn’t manage to be in the same outdoors space as all of these little assholes running wild. NO THANKS. Yuck.

Where is the hay seed sticking out of his teeth?

We didn’t stay that long, thankfully (and I cancelled my ideas to go to the Saanich Fair. Do that again? NOPE!). We then had approximately 100 errands to run, haha. Pick up a sweater I forgot at the horse show site, visit a cidery (Valley Cider, it was lovely!), go to Merridale too, and best of all- I bought the most insane Caesar possible. Friends, you haven’t lived until you have eaten the Coast Caesar!

Feast your eyes… And it did cost a cool $40, so maybe make it a once-in-a-lifetime treat eh?

A thing of beauty. It was also a triple, so that meant the rest of my day was very fuzzy…

And then on the Sunday, Ian and I did a long run of 24k and I got changed quickly and went to the James Bay BBQ with my friend Amaka. We listened to live music, I brought Gidget and we ate and ate and ate. Man! The BBQ was incredibly generous- as many jumbo dogs as you can eat (so, like I saved half of mine b/c i was too full), ice cream, freezies, bananas, cake, chocolate chip cookies. It was a feast!! What a great day 🙂

Fun day in the sun with a friend!
Gidget got a lot of treats that day.
Gidget also likes friends 🙂

Ian and I also caught Phillips ‘Dino Sour’ patio party on a random Thursday. I got back early from my lesson and saw a biiiggg lineup…And almost bailed. But then we got in, and while it was busy, we ordered our drinks and got in, and out pretty quick. I had the Dino sour slushy and bought a few sleeves of the other random ‘dino sour’ flavours. One was a very hideous swampy-green cask-conditioned salted plum sour and wow did it look horrible! Tasted ok though.

Dino Sour night!

Racing again?? Cowichan Autumn Classic ‘combo’ race recap

Things are still not great with poor bunny Tucker. I just don’t know what the right choice to do is.

But otherwise, I had a really fun/awesome weekend!

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

AND I raced again, for the first time in two years, I can’t believe it 🙂 I have had a really challenging return to running after my second stress fracture episode of Feb. I wasn’t healing, from something that seemed so minor, really wasn’t. It seriously cramped my style, brought me down. I signed up for this race and was doubting if it was the right choice up until I hit the start gates, I’m not kidding.

Dying at the finish- photo courtesy of Joseph Camillieri.

I signed up for the ‘Combo’ race where you run the 5k and 10k and get two finishers medals (argh I do not need these, anyone want some medals??) but I figured it’s unique, new to me and why not? I also know myself and figured if I could take the pressure off one race then I could enjoy myself for two! 🙂

But yeah I aggravated my injuries last week and was DREADING the race. Like, I couldn’t run last week, wtf was I thinking??

Well, anyways the die has been cast haha.

We were forecasted for absolutely heinous weather and gotta say, SO GLAD they were wrong for once. It wasn’t terrible and rainy, it was pretty nice out and not too cold!! The setting was lovely for a fall race, so scenic, well organized and picturesque. I lined up for the start of the 5k right up in front, as I figured such a small race will have a lot of walkers/etc. Turns out my instincts were 100% correct: I went to the front, and stayed in the front. I felt funny, like I was having an out of body experience and boy this 5k was tough- some rolling hills, and you ran through trails?! For a 5k? hahh so that sucked the speed right out of me lol. I got beat by the 1st place woman and it was no contest, ha. I couldn’t catch her at all.

Running so fast you can’t catch me, camera! Photo by Ian.

But I was hanging on to my 2nd place, kind of by my fingernails even! It was hard, I was horking and gasping and just ..ick. Felt like I was going to puke going through the finish lines, but the ending was great, basically a screaming downhill for the finish. LOVE that.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camillieri.

And after staggering around for awhile, I grabbed some water and felt my legs tighten up in a way that I haven’t felt in 2 years. Then it was go time for the 10k! My lungs were in pretty bad shape- I have asthma that causes me to cough like I have emphysema, bronchitis and pneumonia all at once. It’s awful. That’s why I have a few inhalers, it’s so painful.

Taking it easy in the 10k!

But not time to linger, it’s 10k time! This one I was going to take it easy and jog it out. I started mid-back pack and started so casually that I forgot to take off my mask, haha. I cruised off and enjoyed myself until I got boxed in by slower runners after about 1km, so I had to actually ‘run’ sigh…And then I was running alone on and off for awhile. The trails were beautiful, big puddles but flat, and we ran up to the Holt Creek Trestle (but not onto it) and then back to the road and I passed one more runner on my way to the finish.

Lovely scenery that day.

Good thing too, because I didn’t know they judged the combo race as a separate race! My take it easy pace kind of killed it for me hahaha, oops! It was also a lucky thing I ended up passing that one runner, because she came in 4th and I was 3rd. Maybe I should have tried during it? Ahahah I am also glad that I didn’t know- it was more fun that way.

Much deserved wine sample.

We finished, and I felt good and happy. I then got my wine sample (think I should have gotten two, or maybe a full glass for winning a medal??) and we waited around for the awards. I was certain I got something- and I was right! But yeah, third place woman for the combo, and I was kind of like ahh…that second place for the 5k would have been sweet, but hey, who cares eh?

And a full beer for me thanks to Ian. A good day!

A lovely day, fun people and some excitement in our lives. What more can a girl ask for??

Saddle updates-tomorrow it is!

Lucky me I get my revamped saddle tomorrow! One more day (my lesson today) of borrowing my trainer’s saddles and then yes, all mine.

f4cf0d4e-f2ed-4b00-ae5c-217d45fd2dc0

Soon, back to the indoor for good…

But last night’s ride saw me using my trainer’s school horse saddle. It is a fine saddle, but I forgot that last time I used it I had to wrap the stirrup leathers TWICE! Who are these giants with long legs?

So, I wrapped it once and rode with stirrups that were juuuuust a bit too long. It was kind of awkward…But doable. And as it was getting quite dark out, and I was riding in the outdoor arena, I made do and worked it. I was happy to ride in the outdoor at all- given the weather and losing the light at night, anytime I can get out there and ride is a good night!

AND my trainer had my old friend out to school her horse- he used to ride Oats for me when Oats was a total jerkface, and he is such a lovely, talented and confident rider. I was glad to see him again and I liked watching him work my trainer’s horse. He rode her really well, and it was a pleasure to watch.

Super nice to reconnect with old friends.

He said Oats was looking really good! I said all thanks to your hard work on him a few years ago (how many was it?? 2 or 3 now??) and then just persevering though it all.

We lost the light, and I was riding in the dark. Oats was so perfect! Not spooky at all with the darkness. In those times, I really appreciate how good he can be and how honest–no silly behaviour at night in the fall, riding in the dark.

Fun times- nothing earth-shattering, but just a good, fun ride with friends.