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 also 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!

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Working for/on the weekend?

Kind of a busy weekend, but more in terms of renos…We finally (with my father in law’s guidence and hands-on work) did the flooring in our spare bedroom. A year in the making! ha!

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Throwback to last Sunday- 4th place AG! Photo by Ken D’Ell.

It looks great but yeah, even doing flooring in 1 bedroom is a ton of work. Friday we dismantled the bedroom/moved everything out of it, Saturday my husband ripped up the old carpet and swept up the disintegrating carpet pad (yuck) and pulled out the staples.

Sunday my father in law came and they ripped up the baseboards, and laid the new flooring. It is a BIG job and took them close to ..9 hours? I of course did my part by disappearing for most of the day 😉

But in all fairness, I helped move stuff, toss out old carpet and then get Gidget out of the house because she freaks out when we work on the house. I also brought lunch, ha. We also went to go see the new movie ‘The Shape of Water’ in theatres now. It was really good!

So, yeah busy but I still managed to ride Oats (on Saturday we worked over x-rails and I jumped with one hand! FUN to practice!) and on Sunday I worked on centrelines (boooooring but important, very quiet).

Ran both days and the weather was HORRENDOUS. So what would you prefer: A) Running a longer distance (lets’s say 10-15k) in wind gusting up to 90 km/hr? I almost got knocked over by the wind, and lost my balance a few times/felt like I was physically running backwards…

Or Option B) Run hills in the pouring rain, raining so hard you have to wring out your socks after? Cuz that’s that my Sunday was like! YAY…. Not. Oh well at least I had the time and opportunity to do both I guess?

And it is pouring so hard today. Bring on the Ark!

VIRA Prairie Inn Harriers 8k Race Recap feat. NEW COURSE!

For the first time in oh, 38 years the 8k was at a new venue.

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Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri. Also why do I look like I am going in slow motion? Jeesh.

I was kind of grouchy about this…I really liked the Saanich Fairgrounds venue, it had lots of parking, wasn’t too far to get to, and the start/finish line was – right- there. The new venue had some logistical nightmares as per me. It was just like…arghhhh.

First off, the weather was HORRENDOUS. Pounding rain, blasting wind. Like, the entire time.

Parking was also kind of a nightmare…Busy race with 500 registrants and not a lot of parking available.

The bathroom situation looked crazy but turned out fine.

The jog to the start line was far. Very far. You had to go up over an overpass, and go close to 1km from the clothing dropoff at the school to the start, in absolutely nightmarish weather. Lovely. This also meant that you had to jog 1km back from the finish, which was ok but mannn I was soaked.

I know a few people that showed up late to the race because they came to the school, only to realize that it was quite a hike to the start! Whoops! Luckily we clued in that there would be some hoofing it, so we were fine, albeit very cold and wet.

The start was kind of tough, very narrow road and we were all crammed in. I didn’t seed well (I am not fast enough to start too close to the start, but I am faster than where I ended up) and we were all sardine-like at the start…Very slow. I wasted some time/energy and my gun/chip time took a big hit due to it.

My loose goal was to try for my reg. 10k pace and see how it felt. I wasn’t feeling spectacular so I was kind of like ehhhh…I’m freezing, soaked and just want this to be done with! My goal was then 4:30 or what I could cling to.

My first KM was quite fast- like 4:12. I was like, oh ok..well, let’s see. I immediately plummeted to 4:26 and was like, hmm…Hope I can cling to this.

My next few KM’s bounced a bit between 4:30 on the money, and then slowed to 4:33, making me feel a tad concerned. The scenery on-route would be beautiful (all farms! Horse farms! One I even recognized!) if it weren’t so god-awful. The left turn to the airport and eventually the turnaround was just soul-destroying…Blasting wind, rain scouring your face/ears…Wow.

But there was a sliver lining. That miserable rain/wind combo was at our backs, with a gentle assist on the way home. I picked up, splashing my way through the puddles with wet soaked feet and shoes, and I felt GOOD. My times improved, with mid-KM’s at 4:10 and 4:17. Who is this girl?

I wasn’t dying (though the last KM was hard) I was doing it!! 

My thanks to the volunteers who must have been totally miserable. You guys are the real troopers! The food was great after too- chocolate milk,  pizza! Brownies with salt on them, bananas and yogurt. Yum yum!

I finished my 8k with a time of 34:41 (chip) and 34:53 (gun) for a respectable 8th place in my age category. 🙂

How can you make a horse believe in you, if you don’t believe in you?

Oats and I had a tricky FREEZING jump lesson last night. Temperatures plummeted and it was threatening snow all afternoon (on Vancouver Island. Snow?!!). Definitely unusual and cruel for all of us, I was just lounging at the beach last weekend – true story! It did end up snowing all night too. Crazy.

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This was Sunday. Today it is freezing and it snowed. WTF?

Anyways, it was a shock to the system for both of us.

The lesson? 3-jump one stride line, a bounce on the diagonal – the evil diagonal that keeps haunting my dreams…, the panel jump and another flower x-rail on the diagonal, that was simple.

What was not simple? Managing to ‘keep riding’ through the bounce and managing my pace through the one-stride  line. I keep wanting to blast through it, OR when we come in deep, -stall- out through it instead of riding more strongly.

There were no huge mistakes, well except for the bounce jumps, ha those were definitely iffy, but  I was pretty pleased with how reasonable Oats was and how quickly the bounce and one-stride exercise was making us think! This is not my forte, at all. I like to think about jumping, oh…four strides after the jump, or 10 strides before it. Not AS it’s happening. Whoops!

Overall a good and fairly technical ride. Hm, much like my dressage lesson on Tuesday. Sensing a theme here…

Busy week & bad weather = bad

Got some kind of bad news, although it was not unexpected, it did greatly annoy me and it looks like I will have to start seriously look at making some changes in my life. SIGHHH…Well, to be fair I did kind of start wanting a change this year, but I didn’t expect to be forced into it!

That’s life, I guess?

I was also reminded that that, indeed, is life by this quote (from a poem by D.H. Lawrence)

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.

 

Anyways, despite my title, the gloomy-ass weather today (pouring rain, grey skies, 12 degrees?!) things are generally ‘ok’ this week. Been practicing hard at dressage with my two lessons this week, and my run-throughs of the tests last night in my usual jump lesson went better than expected! Ok, our overbending was an issue and Oats wanted to goggle mightily at ‘stuff’ outside the outdoor arena, but kept his shirt on and we made it work out pretty well! Also, picking up left lead canter going downhill in the outdoor= not happening. Ha.

I was in kind of a grouchy mood about the aforementioned life change, so I was extra glad my lesson went smoothly.

And for the busy week? I have something every single day this week- Mon- ride, Tues- dressage lesson, Wed, dressage lesson (a theme eh? ha), Thur- track meet! Fri, work drinks, Sat- Hopoxia (a beer fest), Sun- the dressage show!

Crazy eh?

Oh well, life is for the living and I’m gonna damn well live EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!

(I say that sitting my butt on my chair, doing nothing at the moment, oh well).

Back to the grind

Yep, back at it (work, riding, running, normal life that doesn’t include sitting at a pool drinking wine)..sigh. And I am still really sick, coughing a lot with some intense sinus pain pretty much daily. Love it.

Monday I flew in and rode Oats pretty much immediately. It was a HOT day and it surprised the heck out of me! We still rode in the indoor because my trainer and friends were hard at work on the outdoor, fixing it up and setting a course. It looks fantastic!

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Outdoor 2017!! Summer here we come. Doesn’t it look divine?

Tuesday I didn’t have a lesson, and desperately wanted to check out the outdoor arena, but it was not to be- there was a sudden and fierce windstorm, with winds gusting from 70-90km/hr! I had a devil of a time walking home from work, and then I was walking Gidget and the wind was so awful it blew her dog poo bag right off her leash where it was tied. She was getting blown backwards! It was horrible!

Nevertheless, I trudged out to the barn, my car getting pelted with small tree debris, leaves and branches. Greeeat….

My ride was good, but the tack-up and grooming part was marred a bit by me getting annoyed by a fellow rider, who insisted on ‘claiming’ a cross tie that led to me having to move all of my grooming equipment and tack THREE times. Next time, I’m saying too bad so sad you move! Seriously! I was pissed, had a violent sinus headache and just wanted to ride, go to the pharmacy and crash at home.

Anyways, despite that, Oats was in a good mood even if I wasn’t! Good boy. We worked on posting at the canter over poles, and I let it help me find my distances (sort of worked) as poles are our hardest work. I find it much easier to find a distance to an actual jump.

A good ride, even though my horrible sinus pain still plagued me and I couldn’t WAIT to get to the pharmacy to get some sweet sweet cold medication (I actually finished an entire pack last week, ugh this cold is something horrible).

Last night Oats had off, and I went running and made dinner. Tonight- jump lesson in the outdoor!

Things happen. That’s all they ever do.

Enjoying this song by Dawes recently.

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Oats, looking as impressive as always.

It feels lately like all I am doing is ranting about the weather (terrible), work (more terrible) and just feeling draggy, grouchy, griping, unhappy, burned out, fried, stressed, sleepless, exhausted, etc etc etc.

I’m happy to report that today, unlike every single day this week, the sun is shining, it is slightly warmer out, and I do not feel completely fried, though it is a Friday and those days are notoriously nightmarish at work, sooooo yeah. But hey, I’ll take it right now.

Last night though was a different story, ha. I walked home in the longest, bitterest, saddest walk ever. It was FREEZING, rain/frozen rain/hail/snow and blasting wind. It was quite epic in a really bad way. I was soaked, even with an umbrella, and had to take my dog out, and then get dressed and go ride in my Thursday jump lesson.

To say I wasn’t really feeling it is the understatement of the century, ha.

But, I did.

…And I didn’t regret it. I never do.

We had a fine warmup, it was a long warmup b/c I was FROZEN. I needed to warm up longer than Oats, who was feeling pretty fine. We worked over a really crazy exercise- two outside lines, and then a gymnastic in the middle of the ring.

It was pretty nuts! Small jumps-only x-rails, and we really enjoyed it. I was able to really ‘ride’ my ride. Sit tall, make decisions, ride forward, and go with it!

We’d jump the first outside line, and the slice the three fences on a diagonal- then jump the next outside line, and slice the fences on the diagonal going the other way. Then over small flowerboxes as skinnies (we failed at this EVERY TIME. Oats deked out, hahahhahah) and the over the gymnastic in the middle.

I like it! A good challenge, even if I was a grumpy Gus about the entire day.

Really enjoying the creativity. Go pony go! Loving what my trainer has for me each lesson.