A place I’ll always go

I had a lovely weekend, and while it did end up being fairly busy it was also very low-key, which is my favourite! Saturday I rode, cleaned my tack (oh god, it was so gross), chatted with friends and went on a mega long run (so cold, so long). And then went to a friend’s housewarming part- a surprise because I didn’t even know he was back in town! Yay! I’m really happy that he is back, so maybe I might have a running buddy again.

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Last winter was very snowy. Maybe this year?

We got back laaaaaaaate from the party, and then on Sunday my husband kindly came to the barn and even got up on old Oats for a ride! I am trying to work more on Oats’ canter-  one of his weakest gaits, and something that I’m trying to address by using lateral work in the canter to strengthen. Mixed results, but each ride he is coming through better, I think.

We rode, and then my husband even rode Oats up the hill back to the barn. Ha, my friends were a bit concerned but Oats was as good as gold and he did fine.

We had our dog with us too, and decided on a nice-but-increasingly chilly walk around Thetis Lake with her.

Back home -brrrr- and I went on a quickie run before dinner, after desperately trying to stave off the magnetic pull of my couch. It only won partially, hahah. Brrr it was cold, and here we are entering a week of deep-freeze, just in time for me to jet set off to Mexico on holidays for a week! Good timing!

 

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You Won’t: Jump lesson update!

I’ve had kind of a mixed week- some personal-life drama (ughh) but in other news, my ligament injury seems to be making a real turnaround with treatment, so I am VERY pleased with that!! Man, it hopped on the healing train once I started treatment. Part of me is kicking myself for not doing this sooner, but hey you learn the hard way sometimes?!

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Cuddlebugs. Photo courtesy of Katie H. 

Jump lesson last night and we were in a real cold snap. Oats warmed up very stiffly, like he was running with a flat tire, ughh. Kind of like how I begin any race, as my husband said 😉

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Photo courtesy of Katie H.

So, we had to manage his stiffness in the cold, and kind of ‘work up’ to the level we needed. Luckily, after cantering and then going over some x-rails, he was moving much more smoothly. Yes! We then worked on a very basic, looping hunter-style course with 1 3-stride line in it, focusing on letting my hands go forward instead of taking back (god, this was harder than it sounds…very vulnerable position for me) no matter the distance. The problem being: When I see a distance, things are awesome! When I don’t, things get distinctly…less awesome. Meaning, they suck, I pull back or try to manage him with my hands and/or upper body. Not great.

So, I just had to ‘let go’ a little more. Mixed success on that, but overall I was fairly pleased with Oats’ effort and my effort to be a little more vulnerable and willing to get go, and also to work through the ‘push hands forward’ and take them back when I need to steer, and let them go again on my way to the jump. Riding- always simple, never easy.

Also having to rely more on my legs vs hands as a support for the jump. Hahahha yeah, this remains a work in progress… All in all, a good lesson and a good ride.

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!

Summer of high hopes

Weekend update, and as typical of my weekends- I did a LOT~ And really enjoyed myself for the most part.

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Great day out with the girls!

Friday night was a quiet one in, I had a residual bitter-hangover from the week and it was freezing. I felt antisocial and kind of isolated. It was fine though, because I had a lot to look forward to- Saturday my in-laws came for a visit and we went for lunch after I was out riding  Oats. Oats was great, we had a lovely little ride (it was freezing out), and my lunch was good- mac’n’ cheese at The Bent Mast. It was a very chilly walk out though!

Later in the afternoon we had a bunch of errands to run (Old Navy, groceries, hardware store), and I invited a girlfriend over for wine in the evening. We caught up for hours! I missed her so much, I was really happy to share time with her. I truly love visiting with my buddies, and I feel so much happier when I can. 🙂

Wine until 11am sounds like a great idea, until…The alarm goes off at 7:30 am and we were up and out for our race at 9am. It was FREEZING. I felt horrible – not hungover at all, but just tired and frozen, and stiff.

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Good food, good cider and great company.

My race recap is coming tomorrow, but let’s just say it was an extremely disappointing race.

But I did get the chance to see some more buddies at the race and they enjoyed their races, so whoop! Way to go! Afterwards I zipped home, showered at light speed, and put on my nicer clothes because we were off to Sea Cider for their annual Wassail party! I love it out there, it’s a great opportunity to try some ciders, sample some great snacks and just chill out and talk. I had a lovely time with my friends and time just flew by. The sample tix are $2/ea, and you can have 1 cider sample with 1 ticket, and many of the food varieties are 1/ea, some of the bigger options are 2/ea but I didn’t end up having those. So I had a great chance to try veggie curry, chicken curry, puff pastry with goat cheese X2, date-bread sticky pudding,  YUM!

We got back to the barn, and I changed clothes again and rode Oats. I realized I was very tired so our ride was quite short, but decent enough. Got home around 4-ish and was bone tired and chilled thoroughly. It was NOT warm out yesterday or the whole weekend.

That is about to change though- warming starting today! I already feel more hopeful. That being said, I hope this week doesn’t bash my good spirits into the ground…It might.

Snow?!

Yep it snowed here. Things have been insanely busy at work, coupled with a nice but fairly boring (ie- no big events) weekend, and some rides that are fine by themselves…Not much to blog about!

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The view today. Brrr.

I did bash the everloving hell out of my knee on Sunday- got too ambitious doing a turn to a pole and absolutely clobbered the jump standard and sent it freaking flying! Ouch I have two bruises now.

Every ride- the ride itself has been fine but then there is always just on THING that happens. I want one ride that is 100% uneventful- is that too much to ask?

Sunday- whang the hell out of my knee. Oats takes it all in-stride, no prob. While I am leading him back to the arena, the maintenance guy is working on the sprinklers to drain them (see cold weather/snow) and they go off in a terrific HISSSSS behind us. Oats is like WTF?!!! sigh…

Monday- Ride goes well, Oats feels stiff but works out of it well, and I think he was feeling cold-muscled and kind of ‘up’ because his trot was like Trot TROT trot TROT and very up and down, not so much forward.

Got a really fun ride in where we schooled poles like a jump course, Oats was steaming after! He had to be cooled out for a long time…When raccoons got in a fight outside the indoor arena, hissing and growing at each other. Freaked Oats right out! I hustled him up to the barn to cool him out in a more relaxing environment…

Just one ride? A non-drama ride?

Oh well!