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. 🙂

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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.

VIRA Race recap: Bazan Bay 5K

Ah the dreaded 5k- probably my weakest distance and the one I dread the most. It’s funny, but people who are inexperienced in this distance and in road running always ask, “why do you hate 5ks? Aren’t they so easy? After all- they’re short!”

Yeahhh…

Short like a swift kick in the throat.

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So, in 2015 the weather was WAY NICER. My first Bazan Bay 5k.

But this year, my overarching goal for the winter run series (VIRA and MEC, some overlap) was simple: To DO IT. Run all my races.

And so I was running the 5k this Sunday, at Bazan Bay (I have skipped this race in the past) because I can usually find something better to do than run a lung-busting 5k, haha. But this year no wimping out!

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Wish it was that nice again…This year has been the WORST.

I’m not lying- I was NOT looking forward to it. Work has been out-of-control busy, my husband and his dad spent all Saturday replacing flooring in our townhouse – it looks great but he was not in great shape to run on Sunday! And I felt creaky, aching and stiff. So, bonus. Also it was snowing the morning of the race. Snow, in March, in Victoria. WTF???!

So yeah the stars were aligning and things were going to be a huge success *sarcasm*

We got out there, delayed going to the start as long as possible due to the snow, and then grudgingly shed our layers and jogged out there. We jogged back and forth trying to stay warm. At the start, I huddled with the other runners, enjoying their shared warmth. Too bad I stayed so far from start though, as it definitely cost me chip vs net time as I got boggled right down badly in the beginning. ARGH.

We started and it was kind of rough- I bounced off a few people, and then got in my first KM quite fast- 4:04/km. Hmm..I knew I couldn’t maintain that, but it’s also only 5k so maybe this strategy works for me?

The next KM plummeted- yikes. 4:29/km. Ouch.

Running the ‘out’ section of the ‘out and back’ was fine. Turning around, however…Rain/wind/ice pellets pelting us in the face the whole time. I could only thank GOD that it was a short race. We were grimacing, grim, eyes closed and desperate.

My next two KM’s were ok- I rallied at 4:22 and 4:23 (good). The wheels fell off the track for my last km at 4:29 again, but it was ok. I was dying!

I looked up at the clock and saw my time- and it shocked me- I was going to break 22:00? How on earth did I do that? I weakly sprinted, coughing and feeling like I was going to puke. Went through the finish line and staggered around reeling for awhile. I couldn’t figure out if I was going to faint, or puke first. But I DID IT! My bib time was 21:59 and my net time was 21:54 (that was where getting held up at the start bit me bigtime).

No chance of ribbons at 11th place- this is the second time I’ve gotten that placing this year, haha. BUT the best time I have gotten in a 5k, and quite frankly, a huge bonus for me as I was not expecting to do well.

Thanks to the volunteers who braved the horrible weather, and the fine folks at VIRA for putting on a great run series. We were stopped on our way back to the Mary Winspear centre for snacks/post-run and a few ladies asked us about the run series- I said I really liked doing them, and that it was a fun series that was very affordable and full of good runners 🙂

 

Hot moment: Week update?

So this week. Yeah….

Not much riding happened- 1 ride on Tues where Oats was hot to trot, and I loved it! And then it blizzarded again on Wednesday, so I walked home and didn’t leave the house all night…

And then a jump lesson Thursday after all the snow melted and it was a slushy mess everywhere!

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So, my week and my winter…

My lesson was pretty good, some big oops moments (like, disunited canter and me turning Oats too fast and him slipping so badly I swear I thought he was going to FALL ON ME) he saved my freaking butt!).

We worked on a gymnastic- canter-in bounce to four strides, and then coming around to a single fence on the outside line, and then the gymnastic, but we then did a bending line the second time around to a small oxer. That’s where I screwed up a bunch of times, grabby hands on my left hand pulling Oats’ face around. Shit!

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Some days you ride better without hands. This remains true…

We then went from the small oxer to the angled fence, and then angled it the other way, and then to a small ‘step’ type jump, back to the oxer, and to a single fence on the diagonal.

We made some big mistakes, Oats got surprised by the angled jump and slammed on the brakes but it was like, oh hey no big deal, let’s try that one again. And he jumped it totally fine, phew!

So, even though my lessons aren’t perfect or necessarily really nice looking, I am working through some things and enjoying the process. I didn’t want Nicole to put them up though, so that’s my next goal- be ok with the course, be slower through my turns, rein in my rogue elbows & left hand, and BE BRAVER about jumps going up. The jumps themselves? Totally fine, not a problem.

So, do it, ME!

Also work has been a nightmare this week and I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping. UGHHH.