Mr. PG welcomes you

Anndd I was just away for another week! Fire season was calling, and I couldn’t say no. This meant another week away from my dear pony, dog, rabbit and husband. Shoot! Oh well, I figured my time was coming up for deployment.

Weather was cold and smoky, cleared on my last few days. Fairly uneventful.

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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!

New look

I rode Tuesday (no lesson, but I did practice our lateral work via the diamond-shape pattern. It was tough but kind of meditative?). And I took Wednesday off and got a haircut!

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I really like it, and I think it totally suits me ūüôā

Jump lesson tonight. I hope it’s a bit warmer at least….Yeow. Down to zero last night, blahh.

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. ūüôā

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!

Rain, rain go away

As I am far behind in my recaps…I did a jump lesson in the pouring rain on Thursday and I did it pretttttyyyy grudgingly- hello, it was pouring!!

Nicole however, insisted we do it to practice for the upcoming SSITS Avalon Derby Cross that we had signed up for and I guess she was right, we needed the experience jumping and toughing it out in all weathers, as it poured rain on our warm-up day Saturday at Avalon as well! Hm..good thing I had Thursday under my belt.

I was feeling weird before my lesson. Kind of angsty- thinking about the show, bummed about the weather, just kind of strange. We came down to the arena and Nicole was bundled up in a tarp like this:

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Photo courtesy of Sarah C. Horses didn’t even blink!

Ha! And Oats, good pony, got a¬†good look at her but then didn’t bat an eye when she was rustling around moving jumps, even when we were like behind her and the tarp was louder. Good pony! The jump course was the same as last week, which I was thankful for, as it gave us another opportunity to work on some aspects that kind of bungled for me–the turns, and forward, and bravery.

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Trainers have to stay dry somehow! Desensitizing horses=win/win! Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

Not that I didn’t still make mistakes- in fact, the final jump (10) I bungled so we looped around and just jumped it on it’s own, and it rode really well! Also the jumps that had oxers went up to oxers- which did make me nervous, and they didn’t ride well for me- I kind of tried to chase Oats past his distance, so they were weirdly chippy.

I was much happier with most of tracks I chose, and we didn’t have any stops or anything. He was a good and honest pony in the pouring rain- I was soaked- and didn’t put a hoof wrong, even with a bunch of new stuff piled behind the indoor arena, his favorite spooky zone.

I did notice that I was much more comfortable with a closer stride and distance, and so was Oats, funny enough. It wasn’t lovely, but it was pretty darn good. Considering the strange nerves I had going in, I was pleased with the ride and looking forward (with more than a little trepidation) to my first-ever Derby Cross event on the weekend.

That recap is to come!

Fall is harvest season

I was grouching about fall yesterday when I showed up for my lesson and was feeling cold, the sky was blah and grey and it got dark during our lesson. Wahhh summer is ending…

Fall bounty

Fall bounty

I don’t hate all of fall though. A big part of our fall family tradition is helping harvest at the farm (read, picking¬†everything at my in-laws farm).

Over the past few weekends, we have picked:

  • plums- both Italian Prune Plums and Damson, and very few Shiro
  • grapes
  • apples
  • quince- yeah only two. Quince is a hard fruit to like…
  • pears
  • rhubarb- still!
  • blackberries
  • squash. So many squash.
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • basil
  • hot peppers- that seem to be getting hotter every time we pick them, ouch.
  • onions
  • garlic
  • tomatoes
Pick everything!

Pick everything!

It’s crazy, isn’t it! I love fall harvest season. It’s a true joy to be able to pick and enjoy this much from their farm. The only thing I don’t like is the number of spiders in the trees and in the squash plants, and also I pulled down an apple and a bunch of earwigs flew out of it…onto my head. EEEEEK.

A wheelbarrow full of random squashes.

A wheelbarrow full of random squashes.

So far we have enjoyed chocolate plum cake, crumble, muffins galore, dried apple chips with cinnamon, applesauce, squash loaf with chocolate chips, rhubarb and ginger syrup, blackberry syrup and now I am contemplating making some fruit leather. Yummmy!!

So, one good use for fall- harvest ALL the things!!