A challenge

I went quiet last week, partly due to a large amount of stress at work, but also due to horse stress.  Yep, they both happened on the same day…Don’t you just love it? After all the shenanigans Oats has gone through lately (stopping at fences, being a dick at horse shows, stopping again at fences, me falling off in a bad 7-day period…) things got even worse. Not for riding–that’s been fine.

He banged into the stable manager when she was taking him out of the field, and she fell into a stump. On her back. Cue a hospital visit and now she’s off horses/stable work for a good two weeks, maybe up to six now. I felt terrible when I heard about this.

Jesus. First, my horse is an asshole to jump. Now he is an asshole to handle?

I was SO OVER THE HORSE THING. All of it. All of it was putting me in a really bad mood. I felt so sorry for her, and like, just…GAHHH. Last week and hell, most of the ENTIRE month of May, my horse had no redeeming qualities. NONE.

I was furious at him, angry and so pissed off.

I rode Thursday and it was actually a fairly productive ride, but I found myself chasing him to the pole exercise I was working on…So maybe I wasn’t good at letting things go. By Saturday, I had a good long time to stew in my misery and unhappiness. When my lesson time finally rolled around, I had worked myself into a frenzy of tension. Full of ‘I don’t wannas.’

So yeah, perfect to have a lesson, right?

WRONG.

This time I verbalized what was going on in my head to my instructor, who totally got it. I’m going through some stuff right now with Oats, and I’m not feeling comfortable at all. I needed to take a step back and re-evaluate and see where things are.

And I am pleased to say I did not lose my temper at Oats in my lesson, we didn’t push my boundaries with jumps- we did a small ‘x’ and a small vertical that I quite frankly could jump in my sleep- and worked on jumping those in combination with a leg-yielding pattern. It was interesting, I was very sweaty when we finished, and I didn’t at all feel keyed up, nervous, anxious or anything.

Ending on a good note. I was pleased with how it went.

Sunday, I set up the pole exercise in the outdoor and went to practice my ‘eye’- short distance, long distance, right distance. I deliberately pushed for the long distance and actually was able to ride it- wow! And I ‘collected’ sort of held for a short distance, and was able to make it.

It was a good ride, very comprehensive. I had a small jump set up, but it wasn’t calling to me yesterday, so I left it alone. Our lateral work sucked, but what else is new? Haha. Oh and Oats had a hissy fit about a car parked behind the arena- something NEW?! Gasp! But we managed just fine.

I finished feeling pretty calm and competent. I need the practice, apparently, on making decisions. I will keep on it until I feel like I can make the right decision!

I also felt awful about the stable manager so I sent her a Starbucks gift card as a ‘get well’ gesture. That made me feel a tiny bit better.

Oceanside Mother’s Day 10k: Race Recap!

Now this is a hard one to recap. To sum up: It sucked. It sucked out loud!

Last year running the course.

I did feel ready for this race too. My training has been pretty good, I’ve been enjoying my training- short runs, long runs, hill runs. My last race in Sooke was decent on what was considered a fairly challenging course, even after I drank and went partying the night before, showed up late to the race and had 5 minutes to pin my bib on and sprint to the start, and having to pee the entire race…

So the stars were aligned, relatively speaking, for a great race this weekend. I was rested, except for my shoulder and back killing me from when I crashed through the jump on Saturday. And then I completely BOMB this race. What the eff?

Last year I was unfairly rewarded with a first and a 2nd overall with a pretty mediocre time. This year, my time was better and I didn’t podium! Ah, Karma…

It was very windy, with a wind warning in our town. We started, and my first KM was ludicrously fast- 4:11/km. Very unsustainable for me. I slowed it down, and when I do this I usually take it to 4:22 or so…Imagine my horror when I felt like I’d taken it down to that, and checked my watch and it was at like 4:38/km WTF? How did I slow down that much? I still felt like I was running my lungs out???

It was surreal. The harder time I was having to run, the worse my times were getting. I was literally dragging myself along, and my legs felt like lead. Lifting them seemed like a huge struggle.

I watched my times bounce around each km between 4:34-5:00km/hr. Yes that’s right, FIVE. WTF? I think I maybe went that slow running up a hill at Sooke but that was after a good pace of 4:14-4:30 the whole race. What was GOING ON?! I wanted to give up so hard.

I was gasping for breath, and my times sank lower and lower. I struggled over the gravel section in a very picturesque section of the race. I wanted to enjoy it more, get that ‘flow’ feeling I love so much when I get in the groove racing, but it NEVER came to me. Not one. Every kilometer felt like a major struggle to breathe, make my legs go.

I was feeling exhausted, beat up, burned out, sore shoulder, out of breath, and breathing so hard my lungs and throat burned. I was working way too hard for so little.

It was a very discouraging race. I got passed by everyone, and only managed to pass 1 runner on my way to the finish. I finished with a decently strong time of 46:34 (for this course, not for me), but I wasn’t happy with the way the race ran. I failed, it hurt, I just never had that good, ‘pure’ race moment I run to find. I can blame a few factors: terrible allergies that my prescription meds stacked with over the counter antihistamines can’t even begin to touch, a very strong headwind, some mild injuries from the fall the day before.

The good news? My pre-race stomach issues were pretty much NOT a problem this time and I was able to eat breakfast (yesss!!) AND even enjoy the super generous spread at the finish!! Here’s to that keeping going in the future, whoop! I normally struggle with eating on race days, both in the morning and after the race.

Thanks again to the volunteers who put on a very safe and fun race, who were very encouraging and hosted a super awesome spread of snacks after. The best one yet! And I liked the ice cream at the end too. 🙂 Yeah!

Oh and last year? I would have loved this time. So funny, how perspective changes everything eh.