Bazan Bay and series finale with the Vancouver Island Race Series

Last weekend we had the final race of the series, the 5k and the series wrap up! ๐Ÿ™‚

Heading back. Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

I was kind of dreading the 5k- I just find it so tough, and I feel like I am pretty weak at getting any top end speed but I figured I could probably hang well enough for a sub- 20:00 with the fitness I have right now.

And it was FREEZING out. We have had a really miserable spring- super cold, wind storms every other day, it was a blizzard last Monday?! The race morning it was 0 deg, and by the time we were racing, I think it crawled up to a measly 4 deg? Anyways I was frozen, wearing gloves for the last race of the season and cursing our luck. I guess we should have considered ourselves lucky that it wasn’t snowing (it was on the Malahat and up Island all day…) and the brave runners who traveled here definitely had to contend with a really tough go to get to the race.

Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

Weather gripes aside, the race itself was fine. I did get annoyed when I saw some older, non-elite runners head to the start. Guys, that’s a good way to get really hurt. Of course, when we started everyone blew past them and they got elbowed a lot. That’s life when you try to hang w/the pros… Do better!

I was hung up in a few packs throughout the race but nothing too tight, which was nice. I forgot my watch so didn’t have that pressure ๐Ÿ˜‰ at least!

At the start. My lungs didn’t love the extra-cold weather. Photo by Lois D’Ell.

It was tough, Ian blew past me like I was standing still which is always irritating! Lol! Wish I had speed if I didn’t train- how??? That will always confound me. My breathing was fairly labored and I did feel like I was at my max for speed. We hit the turnaround and zoomed back. As always, the finish loomed just out of reach for muuuchhh longer than I ever want…

About 1.5 kms to the finish, a guy was telling us we’re getting under 20:00 and I was like yes my dude, I know that, but I’m not gearing JUST for under, you know? I was running hard!

Second place in the series! Photo courtesy of Joseph ‘Crazy Legs’ Camillieri.

And luckily I did get under 20:00 by a fair margin- gun time was 19:22, chip..can’t remember haha. Good enough! I got 5th in my AG, and then we had the series awards. It was confusing at first because none of the 5k times were loaded so nobody knew what they had placed in, and the placings did have an effect on the series end awards. I was in 3rd place, until they called out the placings and I – in a big upset lol- moved to 2nd?!

Yeah!!

$50 gift card to Frontrunners was all mine, baby!! ๐Ÿ™‚

And the race results never did get loaded, so a few days later we saw them. Ha, my AG was quite competiive this year, phewww!

Grateful to have a good racing season, nice weather until the last race (how??) and lovely to see my run community buddies and enjoy some excellent post-race snacks. Until next time, racing!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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!

WordPress is pretty much broken and other Xmas fun

When I last left, I had a nice time in Kelowna visiting family, despite the growing spectre of bad weather + Omicron threatening most of everyone’s Xmas holidays!

I came home (flight was only delayed for over an hour) in the evening and then by morning we were up and packed for Christmas in Royston with my in-laws! When we left it was chilly and rainy, but that would immediately change…

But first, we visited the lovely Kingfisher hotel and spa to check out their beautiful lights display with my inlaws. They live quite close to it, and it is really a gorgeous place.

We cruised around Courtenay to look at the Xmas lights and were amazed by this guy- as it turns out, this house and skeleton are owned by an acquianteance of mine’s parents. Small world!!

Then my husband generously got us visits to the Kingfisher’s Hydropath experience, which I LOVED. Soooooo nice and relaxing, it’s a very expensive but super nice things to do and wow, you leave feeling tired hahah.

But we still had Christmas! It snowed a TON up in Royston on Christmas and we also lost power at his parents house, booo. We also spent three hours shoveling. Three of us! The worlds longest driveway?? Snow sooo heavy and thick, man. At least it wasn’t super cold out, but it did make me feel excited for our next adventure- back to cross-country skiing! ๐Ÿ™‚

And on Xmas eve we visited with my friend and her sister and mom, of whom also bought houses close to my in-laws. That makes four people I know who have moved up-island…Maybe the writing is on the wall? Should I move to Cumberland, Courtenay or Comox???

We swam around in her mom’s AMAZING giant hot tub/therapy swim pool and it was sooooo cool. I loved it!

And were all limbered up for skiing the next day too! We hit the slopes in the afternoon and I rented everything online, so it was a breeze to swing up to the Alpine Centre at Mt. Washington and go for a good few hours of x-c skiing. The weather was pretty good, considering it was basically a blizzard the day before (we walked to my friends’ mom’s place, lol). A bit tricky to drive but wow, such a gorgeous day for skiing. Of course, I took Ian on the longest route possible by accident (Far East) and we had to hustle our buns to get back in time before the rentals closed and so did the trails, eek!

We did get a chance to feed the whiskeyjacks though, so cute, I just love them!

It felt nice to get out and get active for sure. The only downer part was the absolutely miserable weather we drove home in on Boxing Day. WOW it was nightmarish. Basically a blizzard with black ice most of the way back, with a special shout-out to Nanaimo for their absolute HORRENDOUS highway conditions. We got caught waiting after two minor accidents, so it was a good 5.5 hours home. At least we made it alive, jesus. It was bad.

And waiting for me at home? More snowstorms!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Man!

Working Equitation Schooling Show at Wildwood Stables!

Wow now where to begin- we took the horses (mine, and my WE coach Shelly’s mare Heidi) up island this weekend to compete in a schooling show for Working Equitation, which was also a fundraiser for the Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society ๐Ÿ™‚ And it was a pretty intense weekend for 1 major reason- RAIN. Holy god, it was basically a monsoon for two days.

Oats was definitely a trooper and managed better about the rain than I thought, but me? Yeeesh, it was pretty rough haha. A good experience all around though, so I won’t discount that! I took Friday off and we loaded up the horses at 1pm, and headed up Island. It was so balmy out that we were wearing t-shirts, which was the last nice day we had, hah. We took the horses to the hosting stables, Wildwood out in Courtenay. It’s a great place with a coverall indoor and a really big outdoor. Too bad the outdoor was basically a swimming pool all weekend!

The horses settled in nicely and I had made 1 major mistake- I grabbed the wrong hay by accident and Oats HATES the barn hay. He gets really nice mega $$$$$$ hay and I …mixed it up and brought the wrong stuff. Shoot. He then kind of had me freak out this weekend wondering why he wasn’t eating much of the hay (ok he got hungry and had to eat) but not much and then was fussy about his grain (because I had his pills in it…) and I was worried! Plus I think he wasn’t drinking water- it is well water and he can be weird about drinking, because I saw him drink heavily from one of the huge puddles?! And he drank from it all day?! Sheesh, horses…Giving me heart attacks…

Anyways, drama aside, I also had bought Good as Gold calming paste, as he’s been a bit of a nut at shows lately. Getting it into his mouth turned into a big humongous fuss where he broke a crosstie off the wall and ran backwards into another horse. I finally wrestled him into his stall and managed to sort of finagle it into the corner of his mouth, but I think you can guess that this weekend I wasn’t Oats’ favourite person…

And in the morning (Saturday) I got out there super early to feed and wrestle with him/pick out his stall, and then I immediately went back to my in-laws because it was pitch black out and HAMMERING rain, allllll day lol. I cooled my heels for a bit enjoying the warmth of indoors and then went back to the show to warm Oats up. Newsflash: It didn’t stop raining, ugh.

He was hot to trot in the outdoor, pretty amped and was trotting around with his head on a swivel, charging around. I decided not to risk an explosion by cantering him like that, so I borrowed a longe line (I have one, but why do I never think to bring it?!!) from the barn owner and longed him first. He had zero explosions, just a few head tosses and then settled nicely. Phew, good to go!

I hopped on and he was ok, but tight throughout at the trot. His canter was better but yeah, he felt a bit stiff and resistant.

Finally our dressage test, it felt like forever to get there! I was completely soaked, hahah. Wet tack, gloves, helmet, boots, horse, argh. I wasn’t super thrilled with the test, he was still tight through his back and not coming through nicely. It’s a bummer, because we have SUCH NICE dressage lessons and they do not translate to horse shows, at all. Well, he did have a year off, so it’s a process to come back I guess??

Anyways, moderate griping aside, he was very compliant and well-behaved. He did have a look at the judge’s stand, but held it together nicely and gave me an honest, if not thrilling, ride. The judge (who I know pretty well) agreed and I got hammered hard on the scores, but with the understanding that she knew we could accomplish a nicer ride. I totally get that, and I think it was fair- we just need to get to a place where we see the work translate better at shows! ๐Ÿ™‚

And stay tuned, Sunday was the exciting stuff- Ease of Handling, and Speed Round. My faves!!! Ok, speed round is my absolute fave ๐Ÿ˜‰

And a snowstorm long weekend

Yes that’s right folks, winter finally came to the West Coast and wow, it was pretty tough!

We took Friday off and enjoyed a busy day travelling to get the best cinnamon buns on the Island (not too far from us, due to COVID19 travel restrictions), get grain for my horse, grocery shop and go for a nice walk after I did Oats rehab session. It was pretty great, even though it was very cold for us here, windchill of -10 to -15. BRRRRRRRRR. There was a big risk of the hoses freezing at the barn, and assorted drama with that. I am very thankful that the barn manager was so on top of things, and I felt safe with her managing it!

I also started experiencing a severe flare-up of endometriosis this entire long weekend, so that was pretty terrible. I am going to talk to my Dr. about the medication I am taking- it seems to have a lot of really terrible flare-ups, every month. So wtf is working??

Saturday we woke up to a snowpocalypse. It was about a foot of snow! We took Gidget to the park and went sledding, ha. ๐Ÿ™‚ Pretty fun! But yeah, stuck at home as my car was stuck in the snow. I managed to have the barn manager (who is AMAZING) give Oats his medications, but no rehab for him. An unscheduled day off. Boo! I strapped on my Saucony Peregrines and went on a snow run instead! It was pretty.

Sunday, more snow. It was supposed to start melting and raining, but it basically was a blizzard for most of the day instead. Yay… So what is a girl to do? Why, strap on those Peregrines and RUN TO THE BARN. Yes it was insane. Yes I did it. It took me a very long time, but I got there with no real issues, and was able to successfully get Oats back on his rehab schedule (he was a total psychopath, afraid of the snow, birds, the mirror, every single corner of the arena, noises in the air…you name it) and almost got me off a bunch of times. Fun fun! I then got changed after his rehab/meds/boots and ran home- now THAT was fun. My feet got totally soaked, hahah. Oh well it was an adventure.

Monday I braved the drive and it was hard to get my car out, and then back into, my own parking spot. Yeeeeeeesh. Oats was better, still a moron about the snow but settled better. He does best with little to no time off in his current rehab schedule (on week 5 as of tomorrow, yes!). No running because it was raining and snow/slush/ice mess. I can deal with that two days in a row but not three I guess, seemed just too tiring and annoying to me. And then coming home, I revved my car and almost slid into the concrete wall, wrestled it back, and then slid into my spot at a neat 45 deg angle, missing both the post and my neighbours car. FUNNN.

We are back to work, and no lessons tonight, just rehab day. The snow is melting, and things are returning to normal (well, whatever normal is during COVID19…). I am over winter, even if it’s just 1 week of it.

When your life feels like a loss

Happy 11th anniversary to my husband, and 10th anniversary to my horse Mr. Oats!

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11 years ago, we had summers!ย 

I truly wish we could just fast-forward this year. 2020 has just been one long chain of sucking. It started with a little trickle (for example, I was weirdly put out by the MEC races cancelling…and then boom! No more races at all, for the foreseeable future). How little I knew then, eh? How much I know now, sadly. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I am very fortunate that Oats’ sudden lameness can be traced to an old existing abscess that lurked under the surface of his left hoof for months, apparently? All those really random, minor lamenesses he had a few months ago can be traced directly to it! Weird eh? But PHEW that is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.

So, he gets treated with his poultice, Bute and a boot until *something* happens this time! I am super relieved.

Otherwise, we don’t get summer here anymore, so it’s been absolutely freezing, rainy, windy, grey and just miserable. Yay…

I can’t muster up any real cheer or celebration, just mostly low lying, existing dread for what comes next. This is probably what situation depression feels like?

Strange overtones

Let’s just strike last week off the map, shall we? I was only able to ride Monday/Friday, due to a number of bad timing things- husband got the flu and was sick for the week, I felt like total crap all week with a head cold and extreme fatigue? And I had a doctor’s appointment on Thursday, so Oats’ leasor got to ride that day instead, for her make-up lesson…And I had my first intro run club on Wednesday, and it took HOURS and I kind of hated it, and just….blah. So blaaaaah. Plus it has been windy as fuck lately and freezing.

So much for the summer?!

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Look at this good boy! What a sweetie.

I was supposed to join run club on Saturday, for a 14k intro long-run, but the idea of messing around for another few hours (like on Wednesday), viscerally made my face curdle, so I decided to not share my bad attitude with the world on that day and do a run on my own, perhaps more peacefully.

So my weekend was actually pretty nice! Lots of ‘me’ time, laid back, riding (and trying a dressage saddle, it was so cute but I reallly hated riding in it), rode in the field on Friday night (fun!!) and just doing what I wanted to do. Oats had one minor psycho freakout and bolted when I was going to change saddles at the barn. I led him up the hill and he spooked, bolted up the hill and trampled a rotted log. Genius.

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Good as gold in the show ring!ย 

I’m glad I elected not to join the run club on Saturday. At 8am, the LAST thing I want to deal with are 60++ people milling around,ย wasting my time (told you I was surly). I am just not that patient, sorry.

It was horribly windy this weekend, yet again, but I still got some solid patio-time. All in all, a decent weekend.

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.

 

Face down in the gutter of your love

Wow, this week definitely got derailed. I caught this weird creeping sickness- notably from people on the airplane last week, I’m sure. After I crashed hard this weekend and had to nap instead of run (the horrors!!) I thought I’d licked it. A big NOPE on that front. I came in to work this week and felt distinctlyย blah and unwell, but shrugged it off because quite frankly the only indicator to me that something wasn’t right was constant light-headedness at the gym. And I can get through that.

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Photo is from Global News. This is near my place!ย 

What I can’t get through? Coming in to work, sweating profusely and feeling light-headedย sitting at my desk. Yep that was me yesterday. I was at work for 2 hours, felt just terrible…faint, dizzy, super weak and just like someone had pulled the plug on my body. It was burned out, spent, done. (I really like that saying, my colleague had similar symptoms and she described it that way).

I crept home, sweating and feeling awful.

I then spent the entire day in bed.

I never do that! I can’t even recall the last time I was forced back into bed?? It’s been years I think. I dozed on and off, feeling miserable. Read for awhile, napped, lay there staring at the ceiling. Couldn’t muster the energy to read my phone until about 2pm. Wowza. Gidget was in dog heaven though, her favourite: Daytime sleeping!!

I cancelled my riding lesson (thank god, because I was in no shape to do anything), and as it turns out, it was the right call anyways because there was a terrific windstorm and trees were blowing down right, left and centre! It was nuts!!

So, I guess all things happen for a reason, or at least they did yesterday.

Back at work, and a dentist appointment to greet me in the morning (lovely). My stomach is still funny, but I don’t feel this crushing exhaustion so that’s good! It helps I guess that I spent the entire day in bed yesterday.

Here is hoping this weird sickness goes away!!

Hatley Castle 8k- Race Recap!

This past Sunday was the Hatley Castle 8k- a fun and challenging race in the VIRA Island Race Series. Notable for a very hilly course, scenic views, and tasty hotdogs for the participants!

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Yum!

It was alsoย freezing. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground, and the gravel was slick and icy. A windstorm was currently raging in Victoria, luckily we only got hit with it at Royal Roads when we ran along the water at the start. Anyways, it felt pretty lousy.

I didn’t have very high hopes for the race- not that this was bumming me out, but that I’m focusing more on building more Km’s into my week and not taking a lot of time off during the week= deader legs. I know this going in, so I am not using these races for goal races, I’m realistic about what I can accomplish.

But…I’m also improving. I am getting faster, even with not-so-fresh legs supporting me.

Logistics were pretty smooth, lots of parking, hit the port-a-potties early so no lineups, and I felt pretty chill (haha, I was frozen). We warmed up, I stupidly kept my fleece on for the race b/c I was frozen, and when we hit the start line, I fumbled trying to zip it up. I couldn’t! We were going too fast. I also hit my watch ‘START’ and it didn’t. So my recipe for success:

  1. Run with your jacket flapping like Superwoman. Yeah that’s not annoying at all!
  2. Watch doesn’t start. Notice 1km in.
  3. It is so cold my exercise asthma was kind of flaring but not badly so.
  4. ….
  5. Success?

We ran up the first hill, I was getting passed like crazy but I had a feeling like- nah, I can do this. I will wait. I will bide my time and then I will go.

To be honest this ‘zen’ mindset is more to keep me from freaking out and trying to run faster when I am getting passed early. That’s a quick way for me to ruin a race. I have to run MY race.

So I hung on, lost a bit of speed and enthusiasm up the longer hill and we hit the flatter gravel section. Now it’s flat but also gravel….slippy. The guy running ahead of me slid pretty dramatically around the turnaround but he didn’t fall! Came damn close though.

I plugged along, not running great but kind of looking forward to the forested trail section. We ran for awhile on the gravel and then turned into the woods. Yes! My time to shine! (sort of). I was able to tackle the hills well here, played leapfrog with another woman runner up to the top of the hill. By then, I was able to pass her and stay past. I had been getting passed by her consistently up until then. Sweet!!

Then the loooong downhill. Ouch my hamstrings.

Flat section, some more gravel, and a slight downill again. Use it! Free speed.

And…the long leadup to the finish. I didn’t really sprint (ha, yeah like I could) and my hamstring was feeling really cranky…

But I am happy with my time: 36:39 and good enough for 1st in my AG women’s 30-34. First time ever!

(also for context: This time last year would have netted me 6th place. Ha).

Thanks again for the volunteers, race directors and VIRA for putting on a well-run, smoothly executed race despite some weather challenges!