Once upon a hell of a time: MEC race #3 The Pace Setter recap

Even writing this, a day or so later, makes me cringe. Jesus, what WAS I THINKING? Let’s put it this way- sometimes race times don’t tell the whole story. This race was 2:10, my personal worst time, and boy, the worst race I have ever foolishly attempted.

Clearly, my ego has more stamina than my body.

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Background of the race- Hatley Castle. Photos by MEC.

As I mentioned earlier, I made the (stupid and ill-advised) decision to run the half marathon the day after the Sooke Saddle Club, in the heat (hot for here, 28 degrees) with a raging head cold and exercised-induced asthma. I know enough that I just knew this was a bad idea, a really bad one.

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Three friends walking to the race. Photo by MEC.

I was joking around with my husband safely ensconced on our patio the night before with a glass or three of wine that my goal was to just NOT DIE. Newsflash- so I am a fortune teller, because that’s the way I spent the entire race feeling: close to death.

I also drank more wine to chase away my fears that what I was doing was dangerous and stupid and yeah….What could it hurt at this point? (Jury’s still out on that but I still like wine, so). Anyways, I was pretty beat after the horse show. I was jumping off Oats to blow my nose furiously, and overnight had developed quite the hacking gross cough that kept me up pretty much all night too. Lovely.

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Fueling with a gel. I should have known how bad it was going to be…Photo by MEC.

The morning of the race felt warm. Stomach-wise, I was feeling pretty good which should have been a warning sign of impending doom. I drank a bit of water, had some coffee, and met up with a friend running the 5k. I joined in with the warm-up routine and found my legs felt, well…like lead. I had a few twinges of fear but pushed that away, telling myself that it’s always like that and then I settle really well. Um, no.

We were off, and I felt ok for oh..1km? By 3km I was in trouble, and a lot of it. My legs were on FIRE, burning so badly with lactic acid I was wondering WTF was going on with them. I’m used to running pretty regularly??

This is a spectacularly hilly race, it starts off uphill, levels out a bit, and then has uphills on and off until one loooong downhill, to a really long flat section right along the ocean (so picturesque! I wanted to die!!) and then a steep and long climb back to the start, where you do it all over again.

I knew after my trouble at 3k that I was going to suffer, and suffer mightily. By 5k, I was really worried. Even after the downhill, I was telling myself I was walking up the big hill. No worries on that though, because by 8k I was struggling. My asthma started flaring up, I coughed phlegm basically all over myself and was gasping and dramatically clutching my chest.

Yay.

I walked/staggered/jogged my way miserably up the hill, thinking “just make it to 10km” and the miracle of miracles, I did. So, I just…sort of…kept going? At that point, I was fairly sure I was going to collapse. I have fainted this year so I know the warning signs, I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be near a MEC volunteer or not…

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So glad to be done. Photo by MEC.

Stupidly, I struggled on. I couldn’t run at that point- my legs weren’t responding, I was incredibly thirsty and every time I tried to attempt a run up something that wasn’t flat, my lungs were gripped in a clenched fist. So, I did what any dumbass runner who feels like giving up is impossible did- ran/walked the entire rest of the 2nd loop. And boy, did that take FOREVER. Enough time to want to cry anytime I saw a MEC volunteer.

I was in a real hell of my own making, and spending a lot of time in it, too. I couldn’t even run 1km, it was more like 100m of weak jogging, walk for awhile, and then try it all over again. Hell is also hot and doesn’t have enough Gatorade stops.

Surprisingly, I made it to the finish where I dramatically got my puffer from my husband, and felt like crying again. I was SO. BEAT. I wanted to crawl away and lick my wounds in private and pretty much never run, or at least race, ever again. EVER.

I was salty with sweat. I could feel it coating my face, my arms, my chest and my hat. We went home and I showered and slept for 2 hours. No race, ever, had bested me this badly before.

I sat on the patio, drank wine and contemplated my life choices for the rest of the day.

Biggest weekend recap ever: Jumping, massively sick, a bachlorette party?

Thursday I rode in my lesson (perhaps unwisely) as I had gotten turned away at work for showing up sick…I had a horrible sore throat that came on suddenly overnight and it was just awful. I couldn’t sleep all night, felt like knives stabbing my throat and I couldn’t swallow, my throat was so swollen.

Yay…

So I went home and lay around the house after work kicked me out. It was so boring that I was desperate to do something, so I dragged myself out of the house and went, drowsily, to my lesson. Where we jumped 2’9” hahah.

I know eh? But hey, it went fine! Scared the bejeezus out of me but he did it great every time! More times than I wanted to jump even! We just kept doing it. The other jumps weren’t…so good. He had some issues with a short distance into a line and kept slamming on the brakes? WTF? He is not a horse that stops, and it was NOT high, haha. It was almost like he was getting spooked by it? Weird. We did that one over and over again until it was fine with no issues.

Silly pony. 2’9” oxer no prob, but 2’3” black and yellow? Nuh huh!

I felt very spacey and dizzy after. Ugh. Just in time for my sister’s bachlorette party in Kelowna, which I was flying out to on Friday. Whoop! *cough* cough* sneeze repeatedly, cough some more…My sinuses hurt…

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The view from Arrowleaf winery. Sigh…

But yes, Kelowna. Despite being pretty sick, I had a really fun time! We rented a condo in a golf course area, and we had a blast! We visited the Kangaroo farm on Saturday, and then found a beach that wasn’t completely flooded out to chill out on and eat some junk food picnic, drink some booze, and float around on the lake!

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We wrapped up that day by more drinks around the pool at the condo, and then a BBQ (that turned out to be a total shenanigan…we had no propane tank?) meaning we had to make friends with a football team staying at the golf course to borrow their propane tank…It didn’t work so we had to get them over to fix it…I then put temporary tattoos on them like ‘Cheers Bitches’ and ‘Team Bride’ and ‘Miss to Mrs.”…fun times!

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I’m a natural (wallaby) mother!

I drank a touch too much but also I blame the heat (28 deg and unused to it) + junk food+ cold medication so yeah, ended up feeling quite rough the next morning. I got my run gear on, went to tie up my shoes, immediately felt like puking, ran to the bathroom, threw up, and then went back to try the shoes again (success!) and went on a wimpy, hot, weirdly sweaty run.

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Got back, still felt queasy and ick, showered and ate a bagel and then we were off to wine tours! The tours were great, we went to these wineries and they all had really neat and different venues with lots to offer.

  • The Blind Tiger
  • Arrowleaf Winery
  • Parallel 50
  • Grey Monk- we had lunch here and it is PRICEY. The food was not included in the wine tour, so the tour was $150, and lunch at the winery ran about $45/per person. Ouch!
  • Intrigue Winery

All in all, a great but quite expensive day.

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What’s a bachlorette party without hunks?

Then we were back to the pool & hot tub, and I swam for a bit in the pool. Really enjoyed it! I wast totally sacked though, so I prepared dinner for the gang (all 7 of us) from our grocery leftovers and did a pretty good job if I do say so myself, and then went to bed and didn’t sleep at all. Sigh! My flight out was at 8:45am on Monday and I felt so sad to leave. It was so hot, it felt like summer was finally here.

A good weekend all around, and I even got back to ride Oats on Monday, get a sunburn on my shoulders and still continue being sick back at work today. That part sucks!

VIRA Race Recap: Comox Half Marathon!

So yeah, this blog right now is just for race recaps apparently. I have a good reason for it- I have been under an insane amount of pressure at work, and starting to crack. I haven’t had any time/inclination to blog because the only things I’d write are about how unhappy I am, and how miserable things are.

So…Please consider that warning for the next, oh, three weeks. Things are not great in my world in one particular area, and it’s killing my motivation, desire and will to live. OH well. This is also time sensitive so hopefully in three weeks I can be happier.

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Me and a Bastion Run Club guy. Incidentally, the photo is also by Bastion Run Club! 🙂

Without further ado…the big race!!!

It was a GLORIOUS day to race. Sunny skies, not too cold, not windy, not raining?!! A lovely day all around. I was so happy to just be out, doing my thing. The volunteers at this race are fantastic- so cheery and fun, and encouraging. I just love them 🙂

I had a pretty significant head cold the entire week leading up the race. I was exhausted, coughing, sinus pain & pressure, ear pressure/pain that kept me from work on Friday even? And just feeling super shitty and blah. Spent most of the weekend either laying on the couch or sleeping. So sick+overwhelmed at work= success?!!

Something like that at least! I swear I wasn’t the only one blowing my nose at the start on the race.

I didn’t really have high hopes for the race. I wanted to complete it, chiefly because you have to race the half marathon to be eligible for series awards at the end of the season. Other than that, I was kind of just hoping to not collapse or something.

Off we went, and I started very conservatively. Very. Like, 4:49 conservatively, ha. And it felt hard…I kind of felt like dying for oh, the first 9km. It doesn’t help that the course is an out-and-back, and the out part is a lot of uphills. Still, I stayed present and kept an eye on people. I wasn’t ready to make any moves yet, but I could see some people who were foolishly tearing out before the 5km marker–I knew they wouldn’t last. It’s a looooong race, guys.

I grabbed electrolyte drink at 7km (bizarrely it was clear) and focused on making it up the hills between 7-9km. It was kind of horrible.

I started making my move after 11km. Then, we were flying downhill and I was feeling ok- not great, but that I could actually do this. Run a competent, solid race. I was making it happen! Fortunately or unfortunately for me, every time I tried to pick up the pace I couldn’t breathe, so it forced me to maintain a very manageable pace instead of flying and dying like I kind of wanted to…

At 18km, I felt like staggering. I couldn’t believe there was so much left. My legs were done! I felt sorry for myself until I passed the runner ahead of me. WHa?

Why is she letting this happen? Letting me pass her at 18? Suddenly I could run again, I was doing ok and making it!!! WOW! I never have that feeling this late in the game.

I cruised up to the finish line with a blistering (ha) 5:00km pace – ok, it felt fast anyways.

And I didn’t even feel that bad! WOAH!

We had the best food after too- chili, with buns and cheese 🙂 YUM!!! Oh and my husband finished with a crazy fast time- he got 1:34, while I got 1:44. I was very pleased with my time too, as this is now my personal best for the half marathon. I have a feeling that I can do better now.

Can’t get enough of myself

Dressage semi-private on Tuesday, and my willpower/enthusiasm was greatly waning. I had a really bad stomach ache with stabbing pains at work, and it didn’t go away all night. I just wasn’t feeling great, at all.

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Also, Oats’ friend moved away on Tuesday. I bet he misses him!

It got cold here again, after a blissful period of 9-10 degrees it plummeted back down to -1 or so. GOD.

Despite my stomach trouble, I was able to mostly ride it out. I only lurched sickeningly a few times at the canter and our ride was actually pretty good though- Oats was amenable to most of my suggestions, and we worked on transitions: walk/quick steps/trot/medium trot/canter. All while asking the horses to ‘stretch’ and reach down while still engaging their back. We did get some nice steps in the trot/quick steps, but in the canter it mostly turned into Oats flying around with his head down instead of being, well, engaged.

Oh well, at least he was trying! His attitude has been quite good about dressage so maybe we have turned a corner with less hissy-fits in our future. One can hope!

As I rode Oats 4 x days in a row, I took yesterday off and went for a jog instead. I am glad I did it, but my face was frozen after and it kiiiind of felt like a mistake, as it was BLASTING wind and absolutely freezing. My legs felt like blocks of concrete. My foot started hurting again (oh joy) and I was kind of feeling grouchy about how slowly I am running right now.

I do not have high hopes or expectations for my upcoming race- the weather is supposed to be incredibly shitty AGAIN (every race this season has had just terrible weather) freezing, raining/snowing. Lovely.

And in case you can’t remember, here is a recap of what the weather was like at each race:

  • Prairie Inn Harriers 8k: Freezing cold, with a blizzard starting once the race ended
  • MEC Rust Buster 10k: Freezing, about 0 deg the entire race.
  • Cobble Hill 10k: Cold, pouring rain the entire race.
  • Sooke 10k: My prediction? Everything at once! Freezing cold, rain mixed with snow, wind? We shall see 🙂

And to top it off, I burned my hand last night, and jacked up my wrist somehow (still not sure how?). Add that to my ever-present chronic and horrible allergies, and my bum foot, and I feel like a falling-apart robot right now! At least I am sleeping pretty well?? Love that.

Jump lesson tonight, and I hope it’s not completely freezing. Though, it will be.

So easy to do, and so easy not to do: MEC Rust Buster 10k race recap!

So yeah this race….

Going in, I had planned to run it at a slower pace and use it as an appropriate training run. I wanted more ‘go button’ at the end, I wanted to be able to breathe/not feel like dying during it, and I wanted to save myself for my bigger race this upcoming weekend.

Newsflash: Basically none of those things happened. It was a huge struggle bus, I let my ego get the best of me, and I kind of hated the whole race.

I was planning for an avg. of 4:45/km, but that started feeling really hard? What exactly was going on? Why was I struggling so badly? It was FREEZING out. Frost covered everything, I was absolutely dying in the cold, and my hamstrings- which don’t normally bother me- were tight as hell and twinging with every step. My legs were exhausted, my breathing sucked out loud- every breath I took in, I choked on phlegm. In short, I was miserable.

A few mistakes I can identify off the top- while I wasn’t overly pleased with my race strategy last weekend at the 8k- it overall wasn’t a bad race and I got my best 8k time yet. That was a tough effort, and I shouldn’t have expected the 10k to go that smoothly…

I expected the pace to feel easier and when it didn’t, I beat myself up.

I was struggling mightily with the cold and never warmed up.

I stayed up late-ish drinking wine with a friend (it was a great time! So sue me haha)

I felt like I was getting run off my feet even at a slower pace- and my ego dictated that I keep trying, instead of just…oh, slowing down? dummy!

I wanted to give up, give up, give up.

And so ends the saga of my worst 10k time in two years- 47:14? Ah…running is very humbling. But, I would like to shout out to my friends who ran VERY good races. One of them is even back to racing after a life-threatening battle against cancer. I’m so impressed by their sheer force of will and tenacity.

It reminds me that any day I can run is a good day! And any race is kind of gamble- either you have it that day, or you don’t. Either way, I get to run 🙂

And thanks to the volunteers who make the MEC race run so smoothly. I’m always so pleased with the coordination, the ease of bag check/pickup, course is always safe & well-timed and good post-run snacks. Yes, more please!

Better luck next time.

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.

What are you doing with your whole life? How about forever?

Oh man, this winter is just dragging for me. In excruciating detail: the wind is insane, it’s been unseasonably COLD for about six weeks now?! It’s dark. Work is insane. I miss my friend who moved away. My family is…a work in progress…shall we say?

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This is about the third time I have used this photo to illustrate how awful the wind has been. I was scared for my life!

Needless to say, I’m so over it. I have been struggling over the past oh six weeks or so with feelings of intense unhappiness. It isn’t really every day, but it’s been frequent enough to make me seriously wonder- why can’t I find joy in things I love? In the everyday? Is is seasonal affective disorder?

I have been taking vitamin D, and making sure to get outside, but still…It’s honestly super difficult.

Anyways, that whine preamble was to start my ride week in a nutshell:

Fell off Oats on Sunday after my race when he spooked lightly at something.

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At least Oats has his best horse friend to play with every day!

Tried riding Tuesday because I was too stiff and sore Monday to ride. There was a windstorm on Tuesday with wind gusting up to 90km/hr. It was TERRIFYING. Thank god I was on Oats,  who allows me to do the dumbest things with him. I wouldn’t trust any other horse. Still, I was scared out of my mind and ended up riding for 15 very tense minutes and I jumped off and thanked god I was still alive. NOT doing that again. Just terrifying, 100% alone in the pitch black with hurricane winds. Nope…

Wed: Actually a good jump lesson. I was in a bad mood all week, and so wasn’t expecting greatness or anything. I thought Oats was going to feel stiff but he was moving out quite nicely! We worked on a gymnastic- my nemesis- to a small course with a skinny on a circle, and another skinny on a straight approach. Oats was a very good boy, and I quite enjoyed my ride!

Today: Planning on riding. It is -5 and feels like -9. To give context, it’s usually around 8 deg Celsius and rainy here in the winter. I am so sick of it.